Friday, November 14, 2014

I've Been Tagged!

Kristin Rae and I became friends over the years through our love of FRINGE and figure skating. She's the author of WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN and her second book, WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED comes out in early 2016. She's been an exceptional mentor and friend, so when Kristin tagged me in a blog hop, I found it perfect for a mid NaNo November blog post.

What are you working on?

Last week I finished what I believe is the next to last round of revisions on a middle grade fantasy. After that I decided to give National Novel Writing Month a try and I'm working on a young adult fantasy. I'm using some world building concepts from something I wrote three novels ago, but drawing up a fresh new cast of characters and conflict. I'm really enjoying the project. Sad to say though, I'm not quite keeping up with the NaNoWriMo pace. According to the stat tracker on the website, if I keep writing like I am, I'll finish the novel February 17, 2015. And that'll just be the first draft!

How does your work differ from others in your genre?

I love unique and strange stories like Maggie Stiefvater's THE RAVEN CYCLE trilogy or THE SCORPIO RACES. I'm always aspiring to write that never-done-before story and I hope that shines through in my writing.

Why do you write what you do?

I love music because of the lyrics. And I love books because of the characters. If a story has real, fleshed out characters, then I fall hard. So for me, regardless of something being contemporary or fantasy (which are the two genres I write), it always comes down to writing characters that come off the page and that I can't live without.

What does your writing process look like?

My writing process has consistently evolved over the past ten years. But, I'll share what I did with my past two novels.

  • I make a beat sheet. If you don't know what a beat sheet is, check out SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder. OR I fill in the blanks on a plot diagram sheet, planning out every high point and low point. OR I do both.
  • I write about 20-30k words of the manuscript.
  • I revise.
  • I put that 20k words through Natalie Parker's Crit Camp.
  • I revise again based on my Crit Camp notes.
  • Now, that my novel has a strong 20k foundation, I write the rest of the novel.
  • I let that novel marinade for about 6 weeks. I don't open the document. I don't think about it. And I usually catch up on my reading pile during this time.
  • I print out the manuscript, read through it, and edit with a red, purple, or green pen (has to be one of those colors).
  • It's been 6 to 8 weeks by now, and I'm finally opening the document on the computer to implement edits.
  • I send to three or four critique partners.
  • I receive critiques and decide which suggestions I want to use to make the story better.
  • I revise.
  • Send new version to different crit partners/beta readers.
  • Decide which suggestions I want to implement in story.
  • I revise again, and then will let my agent know I have something new to share with her.
For the past two novels, this entire process takes about a year. Around bullet point #12 I start thinking about and planning for the next novel.

Thank you Kristin for tagging me in the blog hop. It's alway fun to chat about writing! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

So I've Decided to Do the NaNo

Did you know November is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month? It's when people buckle down and try to pump out a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. I tried to do this many years ago and epically failed for several reasons:
  • I hadn't given my story idea any thought prior to November. So there was no character sketching. No pre-plotting. Nothing. It's pretty daunting to come up with an idea and write it to completion in 30 days.
  • I had the misconception that 50,000 words was a full length novel. It isn't.
  • I didn't have enough time.
  • I was too tired.
  • I thought I wanted to do it, but it turns out I really didn't.
  • I thought my brain was incapable of churning out creativity in such mass quantities.
So when writer friends asked me if I was doing it this year. I was like, no. Nope. Definitely not. And I listed my reasons about how my writing method did not conform to NaNo. Or about this or about that. Blah, blah, blah.

But then I got caught up in all the NaNo pre-hype. 
And all my writer friends were doing it. 
And I already have an entire novel pre-plotted, characters all dreamt up, and worlds ready to be built. And I felt this itch to do NaNo. I didn't want to be left out of all the writing fun.

So I signed up for NaNo today and plan to join the drafting frenzy. My NaNo name is: AnitaSk8. If you're doing it, add me as your buddy, and we can cheer each other on.

Do I expect to complete an entire YA Fantasy novel this month?
Heck no, considering your average YA Fantasy can be almost 80,000 words.
Do I expect to write 50,000 words?
Probably not.
Do I plan to have fun and enjoy the camaraderie of writers striving to put words on a page?
Absolutely, yes!