Friday, July 30, 2010

My Name, Can I get back to you on that?

What's in a title? Would a book by any other name smell--er--read as sweet?

I don't want to go into whether a title draws your attention today - I'd like to discuss the magic that takes place waaaay before that.

More specifically, the title of your work, and when/how you arrive there.

Today I was thinking about what I would call my book, but nothing sounds right, and I think it's because for me, it's not finished.

I, for one, have never titled my work before I've started writing. I always wait until the end, and then give my story its name. (I even do that with my blog posts!) I don't know why it's like that--it's just always worked for me.

I know some authors can't write a single word until they've formulated their title, and that works too. To each his/her own :)

When I've finished writing, sometimes the name just comes to me, sometimes I play around with a few, but the one I like the best--when it's right, I just somehow know. (I know sometimes Agents/Publishers suggest different titles based on marketability, but we all have to start somewhere).

What do you do? Do you title your work before or after you start writing? What helps you to determine your title?

p.s. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thoughts for Thursdays

Today's quote:

"Usually, when people get to the end of a chapter, they close the book and go to sleep. I deliberately write a book so when the reader gets to the end of the chapter, he or she must turn one more page. When people tell me I've kept them up all night, I feel like I've succeeded." Sidney Sheldon

I've heard many different perspectives on this. Some people enjoy reading a book that gives them time to catch their breath in between each chapter, while others enjoy the breakneck pace that leaves them breathless at each turn and dying to know what happens next.

I'm the type that loves moving at the breakneck pace, but I don't mind the breather now and again. When I'm forced to put down the book at a point when I need to know what happens next, it drives me crazy--this is when I appreciate a nice wrap up chapter.

With my own writing however, I try to do a bit of both.

What's your take on this? Do you love to read books where the end of each chapter forces you to turn to the next, or do you prefer some time to catch your breath? How about when it comes to your writing?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I just can't let go...

I was standing on the train platform yesterday, anxious for it to come so that I could get on and get back to my Harry Potter book, which I couldn't do beforehand because I was holding too many things that would make turning pages difficult--when something caught my eye.

The girl next to me had a fancy little contraption in a brown leather case, which she held with one hand, her purse slung over her shoulder and two additional bags resting comfortably on her other arm. Every now and again, she would click something with her thumb, but apart from that, there was no other movement.

Yes--as you may have already guessed--it was an e-reader.

When the train arrived, I settled in and pulled out my book, which I had hastily shoved into my bag that morning and now had a nice crease on the right hand corner. The same girl sat down across from me just as I was thinking that would never happen with an e-reader.

I know this is nothing new, and this topic has probably been exhausted by now, but I guess I've been avoiding reality. The truth is, I like holding the books, I like the smell of them and the way they feel in your hands. I love walking into a bookstore and not knowing which aisle to go to first, and wondering which treasure I'll take home that day, and when I'll be able to come back for more.

And while I know they're better for the planet, more portable and economic, I just can't make myself convert. I can't imagine holding a screen in my hands and not being able to turn pages (even though they sometimes pose an inconvenience--it adds to the whole experience!).

It's inevitable, but I'm not ready to cross that bridge yet. It may burn, and I may still be standing on the other side, but that's another story for another day.

What's your take on this? Is this the future of books? Have you switched over to an e-reader as yet, or are you like me, and can't relinquish that indescribable bind you feel to real, tangible, old fashioned books?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekend Update and the Moment of HORROR

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

My weekend was productive, although not as productive as I would have liked. I got through 6,136 words, although maybe it's closer to 7,000 because I went back and rewrote a section at the beginning that became irrelevant in Chapters 2 and 3, then deleted it. I just took the final word count. So 2k short, but it's still something though!

On Sunday evening, disaster struck. I was plugging away at the keyboard furiously, the scene practically writing itself, when what should happen?

The power went out. Yes. The power went OUT. I'm not kidding.

Now, I'm currently working on the desktop, so everything literally shut down. I proceeded to bite my nails for the next half an hour while I waited in vain for the darn electricity to come back on (amazing our dependency on technology). I'd been saving the document all along as I went, but for the life of me, I couldn't remember the last time I hit the button before everything went black.

Thankfully, that document recovery function in Word is working, and I didn't lose anything. It did sort of put a damper on the rest of the evening though, and needless to say, I didn't do much else after that. At least I still have it! Can you imagine losing the entire weekend's work (or the entire MS *shudders*)? I haven't made this much progress in a while.

How was your weekend? Did you make a dent in that MS? Have you ever experienced a computer mishap while working on your novel? Please--share your experience!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Let's Play Catch Up

Happy Friday Everyone!

I'm sorry I haven't made it to many of your blogs in the last two days, but I promise I will be making my rounds today.

After that, I'm going into a writing frenzy in the cave - think I'm going to aim high for this weekend since I don't have much else planned.

My goal?

I'm going to set the bar way at the top for me for two day's worth of writing - say 8000k (I wanted to say 10k, but come on, I've barely written 2k this entire week). I need to play some serious catch up with regards to my daily word count goal - updates on that to come next week.

I hope everyone has an awesome weekend, filled with productivity, fun and relaxation (if possible).

What are your plans for the weekend?

Anyone want to take a (hopefully not mildly ridiculous) word count challenge with me?? :D It doesn't have to be that exact number, just a commitment to make a serious dent in your MS!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thoughts for Thursdays

Today's quote:

"We don't write what we know. We write what we wonder about." Richard Peck

I know the old adage is to "write what you know", but when I stumbled across this quote, I realized how true it was (for me anyways - I know it depends on what you're writing).

A lot of us create our books based on "what if" scenarios, and while writing what we know lends the foundation, the real story emerges based on an idea in your head, a burning question to which you are dying to know the answer - what if this happened? How would it work? How would so and so resolve this problem?

Say for example...ummm.. I don't know...What if a girl finds herself falling in love with a vampire who cannot resist the smell of her blood ;) OR What if a young boy, on his 11th birthday, discovers he is a wizard?

Obviously these are not the only cases (Stephen King says the majority of his stories start with this same question), but I guess what I'm trying to say is if we, as writers, didn't wonder about things and try to write them down and find resolutions for them, there may quite a few less books in the world... and wouldn't that make for a dreary place.

Do you agree or disagree? What do you write about - what you know or what you wonder about? Perhaps a little bit of both?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's your sign?

This may seem a little random (although by now I know you're probably used to it), but I promise, I have a point.

What is your zodiac sign?

I'm a Capricorn, and according to most sites, I'm pretty on point, with a hint of Sagittarius thrown in.

Now the whole reason I started thinking in depth about this is because I was trying to decide my MC's birthday. I wanted to make her birthday in June, but (of course) I got slightly distracted, and ended up doing some research, and I found out that her characteristics don't fit a Gemini or Cancer. Maybe a Taurus...

Truthfully, it doesn't make a difference--in the end I am going to make her what I want to make her, even if she does have all of the attributes of a bull in August, but I thought it was interesting. I'm not big on this stuff now, even though I was very into it when I was younger. I used to borrow books and books on Astrology and horoscopes from the library.

Do you believe in the Zodiac? Does it have any effect on your characters? Do you base them off of these signs?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No.. YOU wait your turn! Please?

Okay, quick show of hands: how many of you are writing more than one story right now?

I have one question for you...

HOW do you do it????

I'm currently writing two parts of the SAME story (the back story and Book 1 of my novel), and boy am I getting myself confused. The back story isn't even a real part of the book - it's strictly just for me and my own knowledge.

To make matters worse, I think I'm toying with ideas that shouldn't even come into play until three books from now. And on top of that one, I'm also getting ideas that shouldn't even be in this story PERIOD.

So I'm just jotting everything down and sticking with my guns, no matter how tempting that popping...amazing...grrrrr... idea IS. It's not even like my current story is falling to the wayside (thank goodness), it's still there too, and my mind feels like it wants to explode!

But despite all my frustration......I.... I love it! I absolutely love it, and wouldn't change it for the world. I would take being too creative any day to having my muse go on vacation again. Those were not fun times.

Do you ever feel this way? Do you have so many ideas from different (or the same) projects bouncing around your head that need to get out?

p.s. For those of you with more than one on the go, I bow to you - you guys are brilliant!

Monday, July 19, 2010


I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!

I was at the doctor's office on Friday and I took my book along with me to read as I knew the wait was going to be over an hour (it was actually nearly two and a half!). I was near the end of the book, at quite an exciting part, but I just couldn't concentrate.


The receptionist had the radio on, and the speakers were right above my head. Depending on how loud it is or how distracting, I can tune out the world around me when I'm reading or writing, but a lot of the time I need complete silence to get into the zone--especially when writing.

I know quite a few people can read or write or study with music, or some sort of background noise, but I am definitely not one of them. Never have been. My muse likes to go partying when the beat hits, and leaves me stranded at the back wall, watching and waiting for my turn (or banging my head desperately against said wall).

Which type are you? Do you usually read or write with music or any sort of background sounds for inspiration or are you like me, and need the silence to hear yourself think?

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Big ONE-OH-OH!


Something incredible has happened! Earth shattering! Mind blowing! (at least to ME)

I. have. reached. 100. FOLLOWERS!!!!!! (Hi Nicole! :D *smiles & waves*)

I'm still looking at the number in awe. When I first started blogging, I honestly wasn't sure if I could do it. I wasn't sure if I had anything worthwhile to say that anyone would want to read about.

But that's the thing about the blogosphere - you're welcomed with open arms - everywhere I go, I feel the love :)

You have no idea how much your comments and support mean to me. The understanding, guidance and acceptance within this community is something I have not been able to find anywhere else.

Each and every single one of you is so amazing, and unique, and creative, and inspiring (I could go on forever) and I'm not sure what I would without visiting your blogs and seeing your comments. Amidst the rejoicing and cheering, commiserating and consoling, we constantly push each other forwards. You guys keep me moving.

Not only do I feel like I've made honest to goodness, genuine friends here, but I learn something new everyday, and I am so grateful for all of this.

Now I WILL be having a shiny, exciting contest very soon (I clearly wasn't planning ahead), but I'm not sure when as yet, as I want to it to be extra special to give back a little bit of the love you all have shown me in the past month and a half!

Thank you all again from the bottom of my heart and I hope everyone has an uber awesome weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thoughts for Thursdays

Today's quote:

"I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don't know what I did before that. Just loafed I suppose" P.G. Wodehouse

The first story I can remember writing was when I was six. It was grade one, and we had to write a very short piece for our unique class project. We were hatching chickens. Yes. Real, live chickens. We had incubators set up in the classroom and each group of 5 or 6 had an egg assigned to them.

When he hatched, my story was about Clutzy, the little yellow baby chick with the blue dot on his head. We wrote the stories up, illustrated them, and they were taken to our school's "copy" room for printing and publishing. Really, the little leaflets just came back laminated and nicely binded, but hey, we were six--this was a very big deal, and it made us feel extremely important.

I think I still have it somewhere. If I can find it, I will scan and post it for you guys.

How old were you when you first realized you wanted to write? When did you write your first story and what was it about?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

For the Love of Reading

So Day 1 updates?

515 words.

Not great, and not quite where I wanted to be, but it's halfway there and definitely something, right? Baby steps.

I'll probably do a bi-weekly progress update for this--just to keep you all informed, and me on my toes. I don't want to be reporting nothing now, do I? :D

All this got me thinking about something else. I know we try to set writing goals for the day or the week or the year, whichever works best :), but you know what they say, if you want to write well, you need to read a lot. Like a LOT.

With the busy lives we all lead, it's hard to squeeze in precious time to do some reading, but like with writing, reading to me is essential.

I usually read in the train as that's the only part of the day that I can get some uninterrupted time for it - it's not much, usually about an hour or just over (depending on delays). But similar to making however much writing progress, it's something.

What about you? Do you find it's harder to find the time to read now along with your other responsibilities? When do you usually find time to read?

Ooh, and before you go! I want to say thank you to the fabulous Bec over at Gaining my writing wings... for this beautiful award that she made. Please check out her blog now if you haven't already - you won't be disappointed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Set it, but don't forget it!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and got a bit (or a lot) of time to do some writing.

I have decided that I'm going to develop (and try to stick to) some sort of schedule. It may not work, because my days tend to be all over the place, ending at all odd hours, but it may help me to stay on track a LITTle more, and feel a lot more productive!

And ain't no shame in that ;)

My new goal is to write at the very minimum 1000 words per day. I've decided that I will try to achieve this goal every weekday between 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and every weekend between 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

And of course the best way to stick to something is to TELL people about it, because once everyone knows, it makes it harder to not do it, because now other people have expectations of you too.

Wish me luck! Day 1 starts TODAY.

Time to share. Do you have some sort of writing schedule or daily writing goal that you currently adhere to? If not, do you have one in mind that you plan to implement SOON?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Searching for the Greener Grass

So I know I usually try to leave you with an inspirational post on Fridays to help us welcome the weekend, but I had an awful day yesterday and unfortunately, am not feeling very motivated :(

I hate my "day" job. I really do. The day stretched on for more than 12 hours yesterday.

But I'm scared to venture out there and change it for fear of the unknown. I've been there for almost 5 years nows, and while most people may be thinking that's high time for a change, I'm thinking that maybe I've just reached the epitome of the comfort zone (and shouldn't that be a good thing?).

But do you know what I'm really scared of? I'm worried this "day" job is going to suck the creativity right out of me. Like I will wake up one day and find that it's become my entire existence, and I've lost... well... me!

Now I know I just need to keep moving forward, and plowing through and believing in myself, but some days (like yesterday) prove to be more difficult than others! I'm so sorry to be a downer--I'm not trying to be--I just wanted to put this out there.

I think my dislike for this job should be pushing me to finish this book sooner - I need to redirect that energy.

Please tell me I'm not alone in feeling this way and that I'm not crazy. Do you ever have these moments/fears? If you're currently working, are you amongst the fortunate few that wake up every morning excited to go to work? Are you doing what you love?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thoughts for Thursdays

I'm really liking hearing your thoughts on the past couple of quotes I've put up, and since I have so many, I think I am going to make it a permanent Thursday feature :)
"Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day" - Ernest Hemingway
I don't know if I'm allowed to disagree with this, because well, it's Hemingway, but I am going to.  I think the art of writing itself can be construed as being lonely--because most people do write when they are alone for that's when the ideas flow.  Yes, you probably do produce your best work whilst alone, but it doesn't have to be lonesome though.  Not all the time.  
To me, it's also about achieving that balance, which allows you to manage both writing and other aspects of your life.  And I know it's hard, especially when you're juggling several hats, and trying to fit far too many hours into one day, but somehow, we manage.  We make it work.  
Please share your thoughts on this - do you agree or disagree, and which side of the spectrum are you on?  What advice do you have for those who are struggling?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Before the beginning, there was.... uh, what?

Okay, so my story begins when my characters are ages 15 and 17. They have a history, but no one knows it. The characters don't even know it. It will be revealed to all as the series progresses.

The thing is - I don't quite know it yet either, and I want to. I want to know that back story. I want to know their history.

Unfortunately, since it hasn't been written yet, I'm as much in the dark right now as readers will be later. But the author should know, right?

So I have two little side projects along with writing my main MS -- I'm going to write that back story. It will really just be for my own edification, and probably no one will ever read it, but I will have it, and I think it will help with writing the novels.

Because as they say--you don't really know where you're going unless you understand where you came from.

They will be short, maybe about 30k - 40k each, 2 novellas which chronicle the beginning.

Do you ever experience this when you're writing? Or do you usually already know the history of your characters and your story when you start?

Friday, July 2, 2010

I'm late--I'm late!...Oh wait... I'm not???

In Tuesday's post, I alluded to "having all the time in the world" to write when I was younger. And looking back now, I really did. At least it seemed that way. And yes, the fact of the matter is I don't have so much now.

So I am going to play devil's advocate here, because I strongly believe in both sides of the coin.

Yes, you have all the time in the world to create, to write, to get back to it, to do it, and it's true that you should never rush your art. Because writing doesn't necessarily work that way. You need to feel inspired and motivated, and while much of the time, you can get into that particular zone just by simply writing, writing anything, if you try to force it, you might mess it up. But that doesn't mean you should be sitting around waiting for inspiration or your muse to strike.

Because on the other hand, if you're not doing something--anything--you won't finish. And you have to finish, regardless of when--if not for anything else, at least for yourself. And you will finish, you just need to believe in yourself that much. In the end, only you can push you to do what you have to do.

Life may not get easier, in fact, it might become more complicated (as I've realized), and we're always going to be searching for time to do things.

This isn't a race or a competition, just make certain you have no regrets and you're happy with where you are. There's always time to get there, but you have to keep moving forward and towards your goal.

Do you ever have these moments? Do you ever feel like you're running out of time or that you won't finish what you've started?

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend :)

p.s. Happy 4th of July to all you American bloggers out there :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

REALLY? That's SO VERY weird!

I have another quote for you to lead into today's post:

"Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be". Mark Twain

As soon as I saw this, I laughed, because, very truly and really, honestly, this is so totally and completely me.

When blogging, I usually write the way I might speak, or how I hear things being said in my head. Then I get all excited and try to do the same thing (usually without even realizing it) in my novel.

Unfortunately, the same passion that might come across quite effectively in your speech will ultimately probably be the death of your MS.

We all have our favorite qualifiers that we brutally overuse until they drive your reader (and you when you finally notice them) crazy.

While "very", "really" and "so" may be my worst offenders, I am guilty as charged of all of the above.

What are some of your favorites? What words do you tend to find yourself overusing?

p.s. Happy Canada Day to all you Canadian bloggers out there :)