Thursday, December 6, 2012

Finding Time to Write

Yes, I finished NaNo, in case you're wondering. And in the spirit of getting words on the page, here's a post I wrote earlier in the year for Good Choice Reading

 You know who you are—a lurking writer, someone who loves books with a mad fiery passion, someone who holds vocabulary as dear as chocolate, someone who dreams up stories while doing laundry or dishes or cleaning the toilet. You take notes on the people around you, pondering character traits, studying motivation, considering farfetched hopes and wild dreams.

Yes, that’s right, you want to be an author.

“But I don’t have time,” you sigh regretfully, looking at your ridiculously long to-do list and mentally itemizing your obligations and responsibilities.

I sympathize. Believe me, I do. Been there. I spent years putting off writing. I was a mom, a wife, a person with a job! Yes, I wanted to write, but anyone could see I didn’t have the time. That book would just have to wait.

I didn’t commit to finishing my first novel until divorce turned me into a single parent with less time than ever.

I made time. Started getting up really early to write even though it messed with my biorhythms. Kept going until I finally finished.

Writing takes commitment. And now, years later and remarried, I still struggle with finding enough time to write. But the books still refuse to write themselves.

Think of it as laundry or dishes or cleaning the toilet if you must, but get it on your list and treat it like it’s too important to put off.

Because it is.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pantser or Outliner?

In honor of National Novel Writing Month, which gets shortened to NaNWriMo or further shortened to NaNo, I'll be posting some guest blogs I wrote earlier this year. (And yes, I am doing NaNo in 2012. 30K+ words so far. Awful appalling laughable words, but words.)

Here’s a question I often hear from people interested in writing a novel: I can’t come up with an outline. What should I do?

You may have heard of “pantsers” vs. “outliners.” Let’s talk about this.

The term pantser derives from “flying by the seat of the pants.” Pantsers jump into their stories without outlining in advance, completely caught up in the characters and unconcerned (at first) about the plot. For a pantser, the experience of writing is one of immersion in a fictional world. The plot reveals itself along the way. 

For a pantser, trying to outline up front would only bring on discouragement and a sense of futility. But once the first draft is done, outlining can be helpful because an outline will identify tangents or redundancies that need to be trimmed or plotholes that require new pages.

Outliners plan ahead. They can’t imagine sitting down to write a book without having an idea of where the story begins and ends. Outliners take courage in knowing the bones of a novel before they begin to flesh it out. 

Often, outliners aren't attached to specifics, adapting well when characters change and grow and events take new turns as they write. But to an outliner, plunging in with no sense of direction would only bring on discouragement and overwhelming doubts.

So it’s helpful to know whether you’re a pantser or an outliner. When you understand your style, you’ll quit thinking you “should” be approaching things another way. All approaches are valid so long as they get you to write!

Finding what works best for you is the big golden key. This seems to be true for everything from diets to exercising to picking out shoes, so it’s no surprise that writers often need to experiment before discovering what will help them get ‘er done!

Wishing you well on your quest,


Monday, June 18, 2012

Podcast on examples of voice

It's a Monday, and it's been 9 days of fire and smoke nearby. There were 1748 people, 113 engines, and 17 helicopters working the fire yesterday. It's 45% contained at 58,000 acres. They say it could burn all summer. I can't even express my gratitude to all the firefighters who have been laboring in 97 degree heat and high winds. THANK YOU!

On another subject, I'm often asked, "What IS voice?" So for today's podcast I've put together some examples of first person and third person voice in YA novels, with a bit of discussion.

 Click here to listen.

I hope the air is clear wherever you are!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

High Park Fire

Well, I meant to cast another pod today, but I've been mesmerized and freaked out by the High Park fire. The smoke plume is huge and visible from my window. Looks as if it's growing by the minute! This picture was taken yesterday evening right behind our house when the fire was still "only" 5000 acres. Now it's 14,000 +, and friends have been evacuated.

We just finished spraying the house and yard with water. Apparently, that can make a difference. It looks as if the fire's right over the ridge, although it's still about 20 miles away. They're describing it as "very aggressive." No doubt the sunset will be beautiful with smoke lit by sunfire, but I wish for a different sort of cloud!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chance for a copy of Wild Ink Success

Posting twice in a week? Unheard of! Well, it's a busy time. Here's a link to an interview on the Readinista blog with a chance to put your name in the hat for a copy of Wild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market.

I hope you're having a great week!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day -- no podcast this week


Just a quick post to say I'm skipping the YA writing podcast this week.

If you'd like to read a list of my top ten tips for YA novelists, you'll find them in a guest post here:

Here's wishing you a great Memorial Day!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

5 min podcast: Your Voice Part 4: Life Experience

See, here we are at Week 4, back to 5 minutes. The topic is Your Voice: Life Experience. Everything we've done, everywhere we've been, everyone we've known, feeds us as writers. This week is all about remembering that. What strange characters have you met? Where in the world have you gone? And what the heck have you been doing? All of it's important. Details matter! And even a seemingly insignificant experience can turn into something much more.

Oh yeah,  Click here to listen!