Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Linear or Puzzle Pieces?

For those of you not keeping up on Twitter, two major midterms stalled my post Monday. Now, I'm all studied out and I really want to write about something that has nothing to do with ASL or Japanese!

I'm sure everyone has experienced what it's like to be inspired. That rush of ideas that suddenly strikes, or just the right mood to make you defeat your inner critic and have potential to soar above the daily word count. Sometimes it hits for something specific and sometimes it can be directed into anything, so long as it gets out.

One of the latter moods struck me after I finished watching "I am Number Four" with my dad. It was a pretty good movie, I recommend it if you want some fun entertainment. Back to the point, though. That unfocused inspiration came to me once I got home to my computer. I had one dilemma: what should I write with this opportunity? At the point I'm at in my WIP, there is relatively low action and I wanted some excitement. This led me to wonder if I should write a future scene in the plot instead.

My typical style, whether I like it or not, is very linear. I have to have all the middle details written before I get to the juicy parts. Chapter 2 has to be written after Chapter 1. When these unfocused moods strike, I'll blast music through my headphones and think through my favorite future scenes. I've only ever skipped ahead to writing those scenes twice, and both times my mood was very content with my decision.

So how do you write? Are you like me where A has to come before B before C can happen? Do you like writing whatever scene that springs to mind like a series of puzzle pieces that you put together once they're all put down? Somewhere in between?

On a side note, thanks to the most recent followers for your comments (and welcome to the blog!) and to the older followers who consistently make my day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Eventful Weekends

For those of you keeping track of my Twitter, you'll see my weekend was pretty eventful yet again. Last week it was homework, this week it was social life and chores.

Friday: did my usual hang out with my language buddy (she signs and is learning Japanese with me, along with being an all around amazing sister in Christ, I have hit serious jackpot).

Saturday: planning and outlining a performance project for Japanese class with said language buddy and our other group member, then first ever experience clubbing! Yeah, that was fun, got gussied up in a little black dress and the most makeup I've worn since Halloween at Rocky Horror, then went out with a couple of girlfriends and danced the early morning away (I went to bed at 4 AM).

Sunday: church and a lot of accumulated laundry, as well as renewing my legs (my knees still ache).

It makes sense I wouldn't have much time for reading between those. I managed some scraps of my intended Indie Book and a published Urban Fantasy. The UF is Bloodfever, second book in the Fever series by Karen Moning. I am seriously hooked and don't want to put this series down so far...ever. Thank God I bought the next two books already.

The Indie Book intended for this week was Torc of Moonlight by Linda Acaster. So far it has old Romans, a Celtic Goddess, and one frustrated university student. I'm definitely intrigued! The writing style is a bit thick at first, but so far she puts it to good use in elegant descriptions and effective characterizations. The full review should be up sometime next week when I can find enough time to buckle down and read the rest.

Meanwhile, I hope everyone's weekends went as stupendously as mine!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Contest Thing: Pay It Forward

I found this at "A Literary Pursuit," T.K.Richardson's blog. She normally posts insightful tidbits and useful links for writers. She even has a YA book out called Return the Heart about a girl who can see into other people's hearts with plenty of Russian Folklore behind it. Feel free to check her out, it's definitely worth it.

The rules to this little shindig are as follows (and bottom line, five lucky people will get something):

~The Rules~ (as taken and modified from "A Literary Pursuit")

ME: I will create something handmade to send to the First Five People who leave a comment on this post saying they would like to participate! (In my case, this handmade something will more than likely be a hand-drawn picture of whatever you like, and samples are on my DeviantArt account.)

YOU: To play along you must be willing to repost this and do the same, offering something handmade to five other people. (At this part of The Rules, it didn't say the five people must be the first five to leave a comment on your blog, but that seems to be the thing to do.)

YOU & ME, BOTH: All handmade "gifts" will be sent sometime in 2011.

Sound good? Sure does to me! So comment at your leisure and I'll get back to you if you win about what your drawing will be. :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Padding: Yay or Nay? - Word Count

Here is a conundrum...a lot of fantasy authors have issues with their word counts being too long. That's all well and good. It's easy cutting stuff for me. If only that were my problem.

Over at Rachel Gardner's publishing blog "Rants and Ramblings," I read over her quick and dirty tutorial on what it takes to get published. I figured I would expand my education, no harm right? Well, the issue of word count came up and she pointed to a resourceful post by Colleen Lindsay of "The Swivet" that described industry standard word counts in a variety of genres. I balked because the genres my projects fell under -- Adult Contemporary Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Historical Fantasy (for one project at least) -- had 90,000 words as the standard minimum.

My current MS, Faerie Games, has a grand total of 70,000.

So here's a quandary for everyone out there: is it acceptable to pad a manuscript a bit so that it can sell?

On one hand, if an MS is too short, adding additional description is never bad. Adding entire scenes isn't even bad, just make sure they can do something for the rest of the plot. However, 20,000 words worth of padding seems a bit excessive. That might just mean I'm being stubborn, but revisions that huge would mean super charging certain minor subplots, adding entire chapters dedicated to minor events and largely unneeded development.

Then again, perhaps more is needed. Sometimes character development is lacking, sometimes extra, vivid, descriptions are needed. Sometimes certain subplots need to be intensified and minor events can lead to phenomenal moments in a work.

You tell me, how much is too much and how much is too little? What's your personal experience with the word-count system? Too much, too little?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weary Weekends - Joys of Escapism

Yeah, slipping into the alliteration again. This weekend was somewhat chaotic, but in the good way (mostly). I signed the lease to my first apartment, my mother visited, stayed up till seven in the morning reading a manga/comic book/what-have-you (HanaKimi, I recommend it), talked a friend through serious badness, and finally had time to get homework done... Not necessarily in that order either. So yes, very busy!

Through all that, stuff piled up in my e-mail/blog-watch/Twitter/Facebook, etc. It's a delightful pain, really, checking up on everything after quite a few solid days, delightful because I love my net peeps, a pain because there's just so much. The internet, in general, seems to have this same effect. I'm on my computer for a better part of the day, either working on homework, writing or checking things. My laptop is my single most important piece of technology, I kid you not. I use this thing more than my fridge/microwave (college student's best friends). The computer itself stores my writing and homework, while the internet harbors half my social life and contact with all things not-Florida.

Honestly, after such a busy past three days, I seriously relished staying out of the dorm and finishing up a good paperback between classes (Darkfever by Karen Moning, all I can say is buy it now). This is the big reason I will remain partial to solid books and not convert to Kindle so quickly. This is the reason I want to seek more traditional means of publishing for my work. It's nice to escape from the screen for a few hours for brain rest. Good old fashioned escapism.