Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back to the Beginning

Lately I've been thinking about my writing, particularly its growth or lack of. I pulled out a couple of my early manuscripts...oh, my. It's funny how when I started writing I thought I was really good. NOT! I can't believe all of the 'writing crimes' I committed.

I started with picture books. I wrotes stories that really were only interesting to adults. They had an adult voice. And the worst was that they went on and on and on. The word counts were rediculous. It didn't take too long before I realized that picture books were not my forte.

Then I wrote a chapter book. It was better than the PB but not by much. I had animal characters that talked like wooden statues and the storyline left something to be desired. So I moved on to Middle Grade.

I had greater success there. By now I was actually reading books on writing and read through some MG. The storyline was age appropriate and could possibly interest my target group. But...and there really is a but, the execution was horrendous. Then I made a wonderful move, I joined a critique group.

I can't tell you the improvement in my work, though it didn't happen overnight. What I learned was that I have a decent voice for MG, but when I tried my had at Young Adult, I found myself.

Here are the things that I learned I am pretty good at and still perfecting. My voice for YA works. My imagination is perfect for science fiction. No surprise there since that's what I love to read. The surprise was that I found that I'm really good at writing action sequences!

I shouldn't have been surprised about that since I love books and movies that are fairly fast-paced. I prefer a lifestyle with exciting things happening in it. And I married a man who plays football and is a firefighter by profession. That right there should have told me something.

Then I discovered conferences and workshops. What a find! There is so much to learn and it's all right there waiting for me. I even found the courage to submit to the critiques. The feedback is invaluable! I've even had a few of the top editors enjoy my writing.

Now I'm closer than ever to reaching my goal. And what is that? My goal is beyond publication. What I am striving for is to become such a good writer that when one of my readers sets my book down, they are  shocked at being some place other than the scene they just read. That is my goal and I plan to get there!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To Web or Not to Web

I've been thinking and wondering about creating a website. My author friends say that it is a must even though I'm not published yet.

Okay, so lets say I put one up. Now what the heck do I put on it? Some say I should put up excerpts from any of my WIPs. Others tell me to create new stories just for the website. How on earth do I figure out what to do? Shoot I'm still trying to figure out the whole blog thing.

So today I go to one of my critique groups. After going through everyones' work we sat around chatting. About what? You know it was the website issue. We went on line and looked at each of theirs. They were beautiful and full of things they have published, fiction and non-fiction. One of the members has over sixty books out there and working on more.

Me? I'm chugging along, writing and querying, looking for my first contract. The only thing that I have published is my doctoral thesis. I don't think there are that many people out there interested in the statistics of child sexual abuse. While there might be a few, it doesn't make for happy reading. And since I write YA, the number of interested people decreases exponentially.

Which brings me back to my original question, should I have a website and if I did, what would I put on it? I'm not even sure how to begin thinking about the process and deciding what it should be or how it should look.

I would love to hear about someone's process. How they decided to create a website or what made them decide not to do it.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

No NaNo

This is the month that billions of writers (it could happen) are busily banging out those new manuscripts for the National Novel Writing Month. Just not me. I've tried it before and it's more than a can do. Not that I can't write that many words, or that I can't sit at the computer that long, it's that my brain doesn't work like that. In my process I have to day-dream each scene and write it out several times until it fits. Then there's that O/C side of me that needs to perfect each paragraph before I can let it stand. I go through this process for each draft. Completing NaNo does not allow time for this, at least not for me.

So, this month, I'll just be chugging along at my usual rate. Writing through my WIP until that draft is done and then work on another. I take my hat off to those who complete NaNo. It's definitely an interesting challenge with some side benefits.

This morning I'm chugging in contemporary America, but tonight I'll be in another galaxy. I do get around.