Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Couple of Milestones and a Chat About Writing

I'm amazed at how a year goes by so swiftly now. My husband and I have just celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. But we've been together for 25--our first date Anni is more important to us.

Dennis and I stayed home last night, brought out all our loose pictures (in two bins), and went through them and enjoyed our memories of the trips, the Christmases, and so forth.

And of course the other milestone is my second book coming out this past week. The paperback is to follow next week. And I begin my blog tour. I have lots of things lined up. If anyone wants to host me/my new book (aside from those who are already), please let me know. You can email me or leave a comment with your email.

For many of you, you may not know that I have worked on my writing for 3 decades. I am dyslexic, and so before there were any computers or spell check I had big trouble getting the spelling right, as well as the grammar. I struggled with typing page after page and retyping them all over again and again. Do you know how much work that was? Many of you don't.

When I began writing, you could actually approach a publisher yourself--you didn't need an agent, but it was good if you had one. I know of some people who had been invited to New York, read about it in papers and such. My mother-in-law had that opportunity to speak to a publisher, she had an agent, too. However the reasons as to why she didn't take the advise given to her at that time and apply it, has died with her. She never quite revealed the truth to me. I think it was because she had a family of four children and a husband who did not really support her in this idea of writing. She did not continue it when she retired. It's quite complicated, so I won't go into it here.

Writing for me--and I know a lot of you (since I read your blogs/post about it from time to time)--is something you can't just stop doing. You may have a full time job but you want to be home writing and working on your craft. You wonder if you will ever get whatever it is your writing done. You will, I asure you, you will.

Been There Done That!

I think with Vampire Ascending it took me 4-5 years from the concept of the book to finish. I worked on the story/plot, the characters, their world (as it is an urban fantasy), figured out what folk-lore I would use and what I would not. I learned quite a bit by browsing other people's blogs, read many books and I re-wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote. As a mater of fact, the first chapter that I had was changed weeks before I even tried to send it out. What you read in the beginning of Vampire Ascending was actually the second chapter. I took the advise: "Sometimes your second/later chapter is where the story begins". I was told by my mother-in-law that something needs to happen within the first 3-5 pages of the story. The way I'd had it, nothing really happened in the first chapter.

When it comes to the writing process, don't cheat it. That's my advise. You need to take your time to develop your characters. They need to have a past. They need to feel as real to you as anyone you might know, or anyone on the street. That disgusting guy that stinks and has scraggly hair, no teeth, and walks around looking lost, may be an ex-Vietnam vet / homeless person, etc. You don't know what people have gone through their lives and are the way they are now because of it. So, your characters need to have a reason for being who they are, and you had better damn well know why. And this counts toward your secondary characters and the minor ones, too, if they play any part in the drama/action/plot developments.

As I write this I'm going through the fourth book of the series. The way I write is thus: I write a first draft--which may take me anywhere from 3-5, or 6 months (because that's how long it takes). Every time I return to the manuscript in progress, I often read through what I wrote the day before--unless I've got a scene that's itching to be put down. When I do, I edit as I go. When I do the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth drafts (hard to tell any more since I don't type them on paper but do this all on computer now), I do what I like to call a "layering in" of details and anything new that strikes me to put down, and take out whatever is crap-writing. Things can still change in the sixth draft and often do. I've changed something and have had to go back and rearrange things, take scenes or dialogue out. It's work, but I would much rather be doing that than anything else. A good thing to use is the bookmark feature if you have it for your manuscript. And the "note" under the INSERT heading on your document.

You may have a different way of writing. Maybe this sort of layering isn't what you do and you are the organized type who has an outline for every single chapter. Everyone has to find their own way of writing. There is no right or wrong way of doing it.

Well, this was quite long, but I felt I needed to chat with you today.

Tomorrow I start off my blog tour for the book Vampire's Trill !

It is also Coffee Klatch Monday, stop in and tell us what you are having in, and with your coffee, and what you're up to. I will be on VampChix tomorrow! There is going to be an ebook give away, so don't miss it.

On Tuesday, I am also going to be over on Subrban Vampire with Cathrine, who I believe had some questions for me, and another ebook give away.

Should be fun. Please try and join me if you can.

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