Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm a Winner!

by G.Parker

Okay, so there are a lot of us out there, but I figured it was worth saying.  ;)  I think it's the earliest I've met my goal in all the years I've done this contest, as I finished on Monday.  My daughter was typing late last night, and will probably be typing till late tonight, though she only has 3000 or so words left.  My other daughter met her goal last night, so I'm in good company!

My husband teased that I could have reached 60,000 words.  If I'd been working on a different story, I'm sure I could have, but 53,000 words are enough for me this year.  One of my daughters is writing a fantasy novel, and so she's probably going to end up with over 100,000 words.  It blows the mind.  ;)

Anyway, it's the end of the month, the end of another writing craziness and the beginning of the Christmas season.  I hope you're ready.

I'm going to go take a long hot bath and eat some chocolate.  My nerves need it.

I also thought I'd post the past year little buttons.  I really like the one from last year, but I'm not consulted on these things, lol.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Do Over

I think I've previously mentioned that I have 2 WIPs right now (and no, I didn't do NaNo due to my day job thinking it had a swing shift for the first part of the month). One of which is a Y.A. Sci-fi. The other is a general fiction that would be romance if the main characters ended up together, but I'm not nice enough for that. So that story is deemed "literary". And that's the story that is the inspiration for this post.

See, when I was a teenager,  I had come up with a place and a bunch of characters with an ongoing story.  I knew exactly who ended up with whom and who killed whom and...yeah...basically, this was a literary soap opera.

Recently, I had the idea to try and write that series and self-publish it as novellas. I wanted to go with the soap opera concept and have an ongoing story taking place in one city and have all the characters interact and be confusing as you-know-what. But then I realized, that's not very marketable.

So, I have to rethink my strategy. The thing that really made me feel comfortable in writing the first of the series was I saw a story. One that had a beginning, a middle, and an end. Now, even though I had an outline I was "supposed" to be following, I realized I had an over-arcing story I could use as the main storyline. It'll have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Also, it can stand alone as one story.

And with that, I have to pull a do-over. I have 2 1/2 chapters written in this random endeavor of mine. And the first, despite needing some revision, still fits. But the second pulls in a different point of view and a direction I may not be taking the story. Problem is, I could discard it and then rewrite a new chapter two (because chapter three would not make sense), I could discard two and my half of three and go the direction I'm seeking. I could edit chapter 2 to take it the direction I want.

In the end, I'm always worried that a do over will make things worse than help. I'm always worried that keeping things as they are is going to kill the whole concept. This is what I get for trying to write new and uncharted territory for me. Oh well.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The details of detail

by C. Michelle Jefferies

While I have thought about what to write about, my thoughts have repeatedly wandered back to Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  I just finished it a few weeks ago and am enamored with it.

What I liked about it:
The deep southern charm of it. The cooking, the rythms of southern life, the weather, the accent.
The deeper world of the Casters. Their traditions and lives. How intertwined the human and Caster world is.
The library(s)
The areas relationship to the Civil War. Both Human and Caster
The magic system

What I didn't like about it:
I felt the ending went too fast and I wanted more.

While detail isn't everyting to a story, it makes the characters, plot, and conflict more interesting. I am one writer that believes that we need to make at least one edit round purely for detail oriented issues.

I hope one day to write a book as deep in amazing details as Beautiful Creatures is.

The path to wisdom is not always straight

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rewriting the Script

By Keith N Fisher

I began to notice a trend while watching television back in the seventies. It seemed that different shows repeated scripts from other shows. It was obvious that the writers of those shows were borrowing form what had come before. Well, not really borrowing, because in most cases, it was almost the same script with different characters.

I realize, it’s hard to write a whole new plot each week, but I remember being disappointed to know the outcome before each story played out.

Through all the reading writers must do, much of their writing is influenced. We tend to write copies of what we have written. Rather than take from others and improve our style, some writers become clones of their favorite authors.

Although I understand how it happens, It really irks me to discover elements of other work in my own. I wrote a piece once my wife read, and said it sounded like Diagnosis Murder. In fact I had written it while watching an episode of that show.

Most of us write from our experiences. That includes what we’ve read and seen. The problem lies in the fact that many readers have read and seen the same things. Be careful what you allow be published. You might find out its been done before.

Good luck in your writing—see you next week.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

by G.Parker

I know Thanksgiving was yesterday, but I wanted to take this time to mention all the things I'm thankful for.  There is so much to be thankful for in today's world, and I would like to mention the ones that are at the top of my list.

I'm thankful for:

A loving husband and family.  There can never be enough said about that, especially my husband who supports, loves and is simply the most amazing man on the planet.  ;)  My extended family that we just spent Thanksgiving day with.  Who else can you go shooting with, and then having a large feast with and will still want to play card games until all hours of the night?

A warm house to live in - especially when so many are struggling to make ends meet and keep their homes, let alone the weather issues that have created so many homeless.

Running water (not to mention HOT water) and electricity.  I'm thankful every day for modern conveniences, let me tell you.  I remind myself what it would have been like for the pioneers and having to wash things by hand by a river or over a rock...shudder.  And electricity for the internet...where would we be today without the internet?  You wouldn't be reading this for one thing.  ;)  With that goes computers and word processors.  I grew up with typewriters, and remember being thrilled when I first typed on an electric typewriter.  Wow!! That was amazing.  Now it's a whole different world, and I love that most about my computer.  I could actually loose the internet and most other functions of the computer, but take away some way to write and I'd be really depressed!

The nation we live in.  Yes, it has it's problems, and I may not always agree with the people who are running it, but it's still better than anywhere else on the planet and we're still free.

Food.  Especially bread and pizza.  Okay, and chocolate.  Green veggies are there too.  I guess a stove and oven would go with food (or else electricity or gas, depending on which you use.) And I would like to add microwaves to that group...they are a marvelous invention!!  I remember when I came home from my mission and my parents had one.  Wow.  (I guess that dates me...)

Cars.  I'm very thankful for having a car that runs and I don't have to walk everywhere or depend on a bus.  Not that those things are bad -- walking especially is good for you!  But when you're in a time crunch, or it's in the middle of a rain storm or it's freezing outside, a car is a very handy thing.

And this is only last because I wasn't going to mention it, and realized it was missing.  The gospel of Jesus Christ.  Where would we be without that??  I'm hanging my head in shame now....

So, as we contemplate the Christmas season, I would ask that you keep the spirit of Thanksgiving in your heart every day for the air that we breath, the bodies that we have, and the people in our hearts.

Thanks for being part of our lives, and I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  See you next week.

By the the end of today I will have finished Nano.  Have you reached 50,000 yet?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What I have learned from NANOWRIMO

by C. Michelle Jefferies

This is the fourth or fifth time I've done NANO.

In the process of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, I've learned alot. These are a few of the tricks. The great thing is that this can be applied to any writing of a novel whether in November or not.

1, Plan your novel. Know your structure, know your story, know the characters.

2, Think about the story for the few weeks before you start on the MS. Take notes, work in your project notebook, gather character pictures. Get your head IN the story.

3, It's okay to take something you wrote and didn't like and use the "strikethrough" element. It still counts as words.

4, It's okay to write crap in a rough draft. It's okay to write bare bones and flesh it out later. It's okay to write flowery and cut later. It's okay to write telling and then write the showing later. It's okay to leave blanks where secondary characters names should appear, you can figure them out later.

5, It's okay to cheer for yourself and post progress and to pat yourself on the back during and after. I mean come on who is crazy enough to write a book in a month?

The path to wisdom is not always straight

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Getting Excited Again

By Keith N Fisher

Our critique group met in an unusual place, this past week. I’m not going to tell you where it was. Like all good restaurants, fishing holes, and parking spots, a little word of mouth can ruin the exclusivity. Let me just say, It was one of my better ideas.

I’ve been threatening for years, but lately, I returned to my humble beginnings. I went back to my first novel. I started re-writing because I believe in the characters and the plot. It was painfully obvious from the poorly executed writing craft, that I didn’t know what I was doing back then, but it’s also been like visiting an old friend. I love the characters and they chastened me for leaving them on the shelf.

I’ve also discovered a technology gap. I had to give my characters cell phones and bring them up to date on the Internet. I’ve got to get that thing published before we have more breakthroughs.

I’m still writing my other stories, waiting to hear back from a publisher on one, and taking another to critique group, but it’s been good to return to the beginning. I’m getting excited again.

Good luck with your writing--- see you next week.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Funeral, 2 Weddings a Play and 40,000 Words

by G.Parker

Well, as many things do in life, it feels like we have come full circle.  Not only do I remember having this same type of title sometime before, but I feel like my life is de ja vu lately.  We were helping with a Pow Wow last weekend, and while there, my sister-in-law's father-in-law (are we confused yet?) passed away.  It wasn't like it was totally unexpected, he had been ill for a while, and was in the hospital when he passed, but it was still something I don't think anyone is prepared for.

So the viewing was Wednesday and the Funeral was Thursday, in Heber.  Which is at least an hour away from us.  Neither of us could take the day off Thursday to go to the funeral, so we ran up Wednesday before a meeting where our church was introducing the new Sunday School and YMYW curriculum to the parents. Nothing like spending two hours in the car...

Anyway, we have a wedding reception tonight, and then my husbands nephew is getting married tomorrow in Logan and we are going to be tied up with that all day.  On top of that we spent Thursday night at a school play so my son could get credit for his drama class.  And then this afternoon I had apple crisp to make for the wedding breakfast/dinner.

That doesn't leave a lot of time for writing.

Thus, I am thankful that I've been able to get more writing done before now, and am at 38,000 words.  I can probably squeeze a thousand in before the reception tonight, and then hopefully another thousand before that I won't have to stress during the weekend and be able to finish easily before the end of the month.  Unless something else crops

I used to wonder how some of those people could get in thousands of words.  I have discovered it's all a matter of organization and how fast you can type.  I have another story that I think I'll be trying to get as many words in that I can before the end of the month as well.  There's no way I'll make another 50,000 words, but it should be interesting to see what I come up with.

Hopefully everyone is at least close to 20,000 words.  What is your goal for the weekend?  Going to attend a write-in?  Going to hide down in the basement and see how the muse works?  Good luck on whatever the plan, I know you can do it!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What I've learned.

by C. Michelle Jefferies

Well the launch is over and my office is filled with boxes of decorations and stuff that I have yet to put away. My freezer is filled with baggies of food that people didn't eat and that wasn't because I send plates home with people.

What I learned was that books sell because of personal connections and not fliers and newspaper articles. The people who showed up were family (of course) and friends that I made contact with. People who I talk to whether on the computer or in person.

I learned I didn't need that much food. and that my gut was right on the ammount of books I needed. I also saw that the effort to make the place look nice was worth it. That door prizes and a reading of the first page were "hooks" to keep people there for a while and talk and make friends.

I'm glad I studied the subject of book launches. I'm glad I made the extra effort of things like bookmarks, boomerangs and origami butterflies.

It was succesful and that was because of time and effort. And people who answered questions for me.

~ the path to wisdom is not always straight

Saturday, November 10, 2012

When the Whole World Goes Crazy

By Keith N Fisher

I had an idea for another, new book, the other day. It would be based on my observations of the current political climate in the USA. It would be a good story full of intrigue, but I won’t write it.

I added it to the list of books I’m going to hire someone else to write, someday, when I become famous, like James Patterson. I’m sure you know his prolific success has come because he drafts some of his stories and gives them to other people to write. It’s a great way for new authors to make a name for themselves. Patterson also benefits, because he shares his name, and makes a lot of money.

Anyway, I have a file of drafted novels I’ll never have time to write, so I’ll save them for when I’m famous.

As you might have noticed, I check Facebook a lot. For me, it’s a nice way to support my friends and family, and it entertains me. It’s also a great way to procrastinate writing, but lets not go there, right now.

You also might have noticed a slight depression in my attitude over the past year. I’ve been discouraged, and I couldn’t figure out why. Which, leads us to what my book idea and Facebook have in common. About six months ago, I realized to my horror that many of my good friends and family had succumbed to hate and negative comments originating from political points of view.

We, here at the Blogck, have managed to keep politics out of our blogs. We didn’t want to offend anyone and we don’t all agree. I’ve also been proud of some of my Facebook friends for taking the high road, but the hatred has been grating.

Now, the book idea: A while back, at the rise of a certain political movement I predicted a sad condition that would envelope our country and lead to a second civil war. I wondered how long it would take for conditions to degrade enough to make it happen.

During this last election, we’ve all noticed the polarization. Most of us, in our arrogance, have convinced ourselves that we are right. The attitude that followed was curiosity about the stupidity of our friends. Many became convinced that God was on their side in the fight. None of us, I assume, considered the effect we were having on ourselves. I noticed more negative mud slinging politics on Facebook, than came from all the superpacs combined. They don’t need to spend money on their ads. Status updates and rebuttal comments accomplish their goals much better.

For a while, right after the election, there seemed to be peace on the Internet. People were trying to move on with their lives. It was wonderful to read about cookie recipes and how many words were being written, but the hatred has begun again. Why can’t we realize that political opinions and agendas just aren’t important in the eternal scheme?

My book idea explores the beginning of the end. The time when the whole world goes crazy and the civil war begins. Then again, it might have already begun. I get depressed to think about it, therefore, I won’t write that book.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Week 2, Day 9

by G.Parker

Welcome to the crazy world of writing, where each person is unique in style and desire.  Each of us that writes on this blog write's something different.  Some of us write adventure/fantasy, some write romance and some write mystery.   It's a great combination that makes for variety.

We humans seem to thrive on variety, though there are times when I think there's a bit too much to

Anyway - here we are in week two, day nine.  Are you where you wanted to be?  Are you getting your writing in every day?  My three participants are doing various levels of achievement.  My youngest is happy that he's reached 5,000 words, and I don't think he's really going to get close to 50,000.  My oldest is trying to get to 20,000 this weekend, but she works 12 hour days and doesn't get a lot of writing in on her days off.  She tries to do mega words on Mondays and Tuesdays.  I'm meeting my goals, so far.  I will be at 25,000 words by the end of the day, which makes me happy.  

I have a son-in-law who wants to be a fantasy writer.  He asked me to read some of his stuff the other day and give him my opinion.  I told him what I thought, and asked him if he was going to participate in NaNoWriMo.  (Big surprise)  He said no.  He felt that they promoted the word count, and not the quality.  He claims someone could just sit and type 50,000 words with "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog."  He has a point.  If someone wasn't really picky about how they earned the certificate that we get doing NaNo, then yeah, you could write whatever you wanted.  You could write the word 'stupid' 50,000 times.  It wouldn't mean you were a writer, but you would be the only one that knew.

I could see his point, but I also pointed out that the quality and skills come later.  For some people you just need to start getting the words down on paper, and then you can learn how to do it right.  He's also trying to write with a two year old running through the house and several different people living with them.  I didn't write for the first ten years of my marriage as there was simply too many other things that needed my attention.  (Like seven children...)

So, hopefully you are meeting your writing goals, and making that time slot every day.  It will come.  It's just one word after another...

Thursday, November 08, 2012

NaNo Not Me

Every year I wish to do NaNoWriMo. Every year, I don't. It's just bad timing.

But that's something I want to talk about "timing". See, there are a lot of people who do NaNo and schedule their lives so that they can accomplish this awesometastic task. I envy them. For me, I have month end/financials the first week of the month at work, followed by the possibility of staying late at work getting budgets ready. This doesn't mean I can't find time to write.

Like blogging. I've been lousy at it in 2012. My own personal blog has been a disaster. I blog at Mormon Geeks and haven't done well at that since my 3rd child was born.

But this Sunday during priesthood (as it was wrapping up), I jotted down a To Do list on my Nook. It was quite ambitious. But I put on there all the things I'd like to do this week. And my goal is to update the list next Sunday. I have two books I'm writing right now and a third that I should be revising (I just don't have the heart to destroy that book further and maybe it'll have to sit in oblivion for now.) My goal this week is to just write a chapter for each this week. I have my chapter for critique group ready but knowing where the story is heading more will be good. And on my other book (a novella), it's more being written "for fun" than anything and will most likely be my first book as I intend to digitally self-publish it. Still, I want self-imposed deadlines to give myself achievable goals.

I'd love to see my YA Sci-Fi finished with its first draft by the end of the year. That will require a lot on my part. So it's about finding the time to write.

Speaking of finding the time, I'd love my novella (I'm going to call it general contemporary fiction) to be done by the end of the year as well. But, I'm just gonna take it one week at a time and one day at a time.

I wish all you NaNoers luck. And those who aren't, I'm sure you have plenty of writing related things going on to keep you busy this month too.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

It's almost here!

by C. Michelle Jefferies

I have books. Actual physical books I can hold in my hands. I'm so excited I snapped a picture of them and posted them on my facebook. Today I was baking treats for my launch so I post my progress also on facebook.

While social media is fun and an easy way to get the word out to lots of people, it can also be bothersome. (How many of you are sick and tired of political post on Twitter and Facebook?) 

Where is that line?

At what point does somone get to the point of being unfriended because of excessive--whatever it may be posts?

What do you guys think?

The path to wisdom is not always straight.

Sunday, November 04, 2012


by Donna K. Weaver

It's NaNoWriMo, and I'm feverishly working on a companion novel to my adventure romance, A Change of Plans, which comes out in June with Rhemalda Publishing. I've been planning for this most of the year, and it's exciting to see the story unfold.

Since it deals with a broken secondary character from the first book, there were things that happened to him that I glossed over with references. As I'm getting into his story, however, I'm realizing that some of those things would have had a much more profound emotional impact on him than I ever touched on in that first book.

What can I say? I love him even more.

Unless I finish my book before the end of the month, this will be my only post for November. Happy writing everyone!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Requiem, In Support of my Sisters

By Keith N Fisher

It started on a Saturday morning, after a Storymakers conference. There were two published writers, A beginner, and two wannabes. Our work was varied and original, like fine wine that needed a chance to breathe. I brought contemporary fiction; there was a romance, a contemporary mystery, a true story, book one in a string of romances about a group of sisters, and a cozy mystery.

We lost one of the group right away, because of time restraints, but we kept meeting.

Shortly afterward, I cooked a Dutch oven meal in my backyard and we read our chapters. Cooking was my way of giving back to the ladies who helped me so much. Soon, we were taking turns hosting our weekly exploration into the fine art of novel writing.

There have been weeks that we couldn’t meet, but we always managed to provide homework chapters to keep the work going. Through it all, I’ve been learning my craft, but most importantly, I grew closer to my sisters, the ladies of my group.

I found I could relate to Jeff Savage when he spoke of his group, and called them The Ladies of Thursday Night. I was the lone testosterone laden voice in a room full of estrogen. With all this romance being written, is it any wonder that I changed my genre? After my contemporary novel about two brothers, was rejected, I brought another story. It had a more feminine feel to it, and I became the writer of women’s fiction.

I discovered a wonderful symbiosis that was my group. Each of the ladies specialized in a different aspect of writing. I received extremely helpful critiques and plot suggestions from a woman’s point of view. I tried my best to fill their pages with red ink, but often, I settled for being the lone masculine voice.

I often got so caught up in their stories, I forgot to look for errors, but the ladies were patient with me. I became a better writer, and cooked for them as often as I could.

After a while, we added a long distance member, but she has her own, more local group. We also auditioned others and added a few who left us, but five of us have stuck with it. When one married into a combined family of ten children, her time was spent elsewhere, but she tries to keep in touch.

I’ve heard stories about critique groups who didn’t mesh with each other. I’ve heard authors tell about writers who just didn’t get it, but I’ve never met five people who care more about each other than we do. We’ve cried about rejections, kicked each other in the pants, and cheered our successes. There have been many, published books come out of our group. I’ve included cover pictures here. Now, with Nichole’s contract, one of those books will be published in the national market.

We met at my house this week, and turned a page. I cooked in Dutch ovens. We cried because one of us is moving to Texas. No worries though, we’ll keep meeting through Skype, or in email, but it won’t be the same. We still have to take the road trip we always planned, but we won’t be able to meet, physically, once a week.

Perhaps, when we’re on the Times Best Seller list, we can meet each week in Honolulu, or in the Cowboy Bar. I promise to keep Tristi out of trouble.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Week 1

by G.Parker

I have a house full of NaNoWriMo participants this year.  It's strange, I didn't really encourage this, but I guess children follow your example despite what you say...

My husband isn't thrilled.  He doesn't like National Novel Writing Month anyway. He always asks me every year, "Why didn't they pick March?"  But such is life.

I have a bargain with my eldest daughter.  We can't have any chocolate until we reach 1000 words.  We have to take a break every hour.  We don't write on Sunday (which means we have to write more during the week) and we can't take our stress out on the rest of the family.

I found myself wanting to munch on something the whole time I was writing yesterday.  It was crazy!  I hate how a habit comes back to haunt you, even when it's been a year!  I managed to control myself.  Once I really get into what I'm writing, then the cravings and urges go away.

I have three children doing the competition this year.  My youngest is actually writing his story.  I was surprised, as he's talked about writing several books in a "Halo" type story.  I asked him yesterday why he was writing his story, and he said he just wanted to get it down on paper.  I'm still surprised.  I think it's cool...but you know, I'm not sure it's going to fill out 50,000 words...he's only 17.

Anyway - this is day 2 of the month, so hopefully you've gotten started and have written at least 3,000 words.  I'm working on getting to 6,000 words today.

I went out and did the early voting thing because the lines are insane on voting day.  While I was in the line at the library, I thought about having a write-in at the library or somewhere else.  I think the library would be best...the whole idea is to write while you're in a group, correct?  If you have a write-in at a cafe or something, it seems to me it would be too loud and too busy to be able to concentrate.  But then, I write best to music without words because the words distract me.  You could never tell my kids have ADHD, right?

Well, good luck to all who are writing.  To those who think the rest of us are crazy and don't need something like this to keep you motivated, I'm impressed.  You see though, it's come to the point where I do this because it's fun and I like to see the numbers rack up.  Not because it's the only thing that gets me writing.

What's your reason?