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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Tears and Tantrums

It’s been a busy week, and I am exhausted. Writing always drains me. It always has. Especially when I am writing emotionally. I’d forgotten quite how much the emotions of my characters take a hold over me.

Chapter 1 was fine. It has conflict, but not involved conflict: Distant conflict.
Chapter 2 I loved. My characters made me feel a little of their pain, their anger, the unjustness of life, along with the stirrings of sexual attraction.

Now comes the beginning of an emotional rollercoaster. Before I can truly connect with Chapter 3, I have to get to know who my characters really are. I can’t avoid it any longer. And it hurts. Both my characters are bringing with them emotional ‘baggage’. In order to convey it accurately, I have to live through their pain.

In order to ‘set the scene’ I find I have to immerse myself in the relevant mood. Chapter 2 involved a lot of anger. What worked for me on that occasion was Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. My goodness, that girl was angry when she recorded those tracks! I loved it. (My children knew to stay away from me when they heard me listening to it, lol!)

Today, I am trying to connect with the pain in my hero’s life. To get me in the mood I am watching Everwood. I first watched this series on ITV1 last year. I loved it so much that I ordered the series (very cheaply) on DVD from America. I’ve owned it for over six months, but today it the first time I’ve watched it. It’s perfect. It is packed full of emotion.

Fortunately, I have a rare day of having the house to myself until at least 10pm. Just as well. Nearly every episode, on more than one occasion has me sobbing my heart out! I am beginning to understand exactly what my hero has been through, and is still going through emotionally (Of course, my plot is nothing like the same, but the emotions they feel are similar). I only wish I could let my heroine in on the secret sooner rather than later. .

I think I’m falling in love…

Ps. what works to get you in the appropriate mood for writing? Music, TV, film…?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Procrastination... and my Hero!

Okay, I hold my hands up: Procrastination is the bane of my life. I wish it wasn't, but it is, and I confess I don't always have the energy to fight it.

I know I should be writing. I have Chapter Three to begin. But I don't want to! I know why that is too. It's because I sort of know where I'm going with the chapter, and I like that feeling! I love knowing that I have something to write. But, I know that as soon as I write it, it'll be gone and I'll be left not knowing what comes next - again! [sigh]

If you have read Kate Hardy's blog today you will know that she has posted a picture of the guy who inspired one of her heroes. Yesterday I posted a comment on somebody's blog (memory like a sieve and can't remember whose), that said I wasn't ready to spill the beans on who my inspiration was.

I've changed my mind. Or rather, Kate's hero changed my mind! He is gorgeous, and my hero became jealous! So he insisted that I post a picture of him as well.

I would like to say that he didn't start out as my hero. I was patiently waiting to use him for a different book, but somehow, he wheedled his way into this one. I think I could use him more than once though [VBG]. Here he is:

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Birthdays...

Yesterday I shared a birthday with my daughter. I can't believe she's now 17! (That makes me 37, as she keeps reminding me!) Apparently that makes me "okay for another three years" when of course I will hit the big 4-0. Then she tells me I'll be O-L-D. Ha! That's what she thinks. I can't wait to prove to her that life begins at 40! :-)

Because of said birthday, I have family visiting today, which means no writing. I don't feel too bad about that though, because I polished Chapter Two yesterday earlier than I'd scheduled. :-)

Here are some links to other blogs by aspiring writers that I love:

Magnolia

Jade

Sharon

I am in the process of doing lots of blog-jumping and finding many more interesting writers. I will post some other recommendations over the coming weeks...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Chapter Two: Change of plan (again)

I spent all day yesterday (on and off) trying to load my new post. I thought it was just me who blogger didn't like, but a friend has confirmed that the site was down - for everyone.

Normally I'd be patient. I'd wait calmly. Even put my post aside for another day... but yesterday was different. It was URGENT. I needed HELP! Grrrr... isn't it typical?

However, although any advice will still be gratefully received, the urgency has gone - for the time being. I know; how changeable am I? Well, to be fair it's not me who's changeable, it's my characters.

My Hero decided (in frustration I think), that he ISN'T a paediatrician. How dare I get his position wrong? He is in actual fact an obstetrician! D'oh! If only he'd told me in the first place. I know about all sorts of things that can go wrong in pregnancy...

Anyway, as it happens it was too soon to write about a medical emergency. That's not going to happen until Chapter Three, which is when I get the hero and heroine together in a working capacity. Note to them both: WORKING!

I am pleased to say my first (rough) draft of Chapter Two is now finished. Hubby will probably suggest revisions (it's great being married to a writer), and I will hopefully be ready to forward a polished draft to my critique partner by Sunday. :-)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Chapter Two Update.

I have approximately 1,000 words left to conclude this chapter. What a struggle I am having!

Firstly my hero and heroine tried misbehaving by wanting to kiss too soon. No way was I going to let them go there. No way! I know from past experience that once they do, I have trouble getting them to take off their rose-tinted glasses. That is a sure-fire way to another rejection. "...We don't feel your characters have enough conflict..." blah... blah... blah.... Been there. Done that. And received the rejection(s)!

Well, I hope I have successfully sorted that problem out. I was generous enough to let them both feel the anticipation and sexual tension of what it would be like to kiss... but that kiss was never gonna happen. Not in MY book! I have cruelly left them both believing their paths will never cross again...

Now for the next problem... I have come to the point where I need to introduce a medical dilemma - after all this IS a medical romance. I am now discovering what a nuisance it is to have to stop writing in order to research. I have tried leaving large glaring letters in my manuscript saying ***RESEARCH REQUIRED***, with the intention of leaving it to continue with the writing, and come back to it later. No can do. Don't ask me why, but my brain is refusing to move on. (Hmmm... I think I could be having some character retaliation from my treatment of them earlier. They are refusing to cooperate.)

So, what now? Procrastination... No, I am going to fight it. I MUST get on with the research. Does anyone have any pointers to the right direction for finding a paediatric emergency, which would require the consultant to be paged? Any tips gratefully received; otherwise I feel I could be googling for hours!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

I Won!!!

Readers of Kate Walker's blog will know that she recently ran a competition. The prize was an autographed copy of one of her titles.

I am always entering different competitions etc. I forget about them as soon as I've entered because I never win. Until now that is! [VeryBigGrin]

Imagine my surprise, when checking my email before going to bed last night, I discover that I have won! Not only have I won an autographed copy but I am humbled by the fact that Kate Walker visited my blog to tell me!

I am currently reading her fantastic non-fiction title the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romantic Fiction. I already love her Harlequin books, and this book for struggling writers is BRILLIANT. I have bookshelves full of How-to advice, but I can honestly say that Kate's book provides all the advice an aspiring romance writer needs. The scary thing is, I know that if I put into practise all her advice, I have no reason not to be published!

Anyway, back to the competition. I now have the hard decision to make of deciding which one of her books I want. It's an impossible feat when they are all great reads. Oh well, this is the best dilemma I've had in ages...

Busy, Busy, Busy

I can't believe it's only been two days since I last posted. It feels like it was a week ago. So much has happened.

Thursday I was desperate to work on Chapter Two. But the day began with having to hunt for an important piece of paperwork... this then led to the entire morning being devoted to organising and tidying the study; a mammoth task and long overdue!

Then I received an email querying the newsletter I have volunteered to take over. It's for the local branch of the MS Society. Fortunately I'd written what was needed, I just needed to print it off (or so I thought). Having never compiled a newsletter before, I discovered (thankfully on the trial run, rather than the whole print!) that once the paper was folded and stapled some of the words couldn't be read. Back to the computer to move and resize various articles, followed by more trial print runs. Finally, I'm on a roll. My first edition hits the printer...

Meanwhile, hubby gently reminds me that I promised I'd read through his manuscript that he is now ready to send off. He is an author of a new experimental scheme providing a bite-size summary of literary works for students. He was given the project of Jane Austen's Persuasion to condense. I had to edit this before the kids came home from school and college, while I still had relative peace and quiet.

This was a reminder for me how much I enjoy reading other people's writing. Why is it so easy to find errors and constuctive criticism etc. in another writer's work than it is our own?! I guiltily remembered that I'm also in the midst of a Chapterhouse Editorial/Proof Reading course that I haven't so much as looked at since Christmas!

My critique partner had also sent me her latest chapter, which I was looking forward to reading. I never had the opportunity to look at it because of all the work that was involved in getting the newsletter together. Thank goodness there is only going to be a quarterly edition!

Friday: More running around re. the newsletter. In the afternoon I finally treated myself to reading my friend's chapter. Did I mention how much I enjoy reading other people's work-in-progress?

Before I know it, another day has passed...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Chapter One Revised and Edited :-)

Phew... Chapter One is finally revised and completed. At this moment I feel good. At this moment I know there is nothing else I can change. At this moment I am happy :-). Oh, how I wish moments like these could last.

Of course, it won't. Or rather it will last as long as I can stay away from it! I am going to try not to go back to it until I have written a few more chapters. This however, is easier said than done. When I get stuck with the plot I tend to go back and edit.

I'm okay at the moment because Chapter Two is flowing quite nicely. That's because I am using some of the material from my old chapter one. I actually managed to write over a 1,000 words yesterday. (You can't tell on the word-o-meter because I'd already written them before starting this blog).

The good news is that I am getting to know my characters at last. The bad news is that I am having trouble controlling them! They had been behaving so well. They were oozing with conflict. Half way through Chapter Two and they are ready to declare eternal love (groan).

Conflict, conflict, conflict. That is the most important ingredient, but can I keep it flowing? Can I heck! Oh well, it's another day tomorrow. I will sneak up on them and force them to go back to loathing each other...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Humiliation of it...

If you take a quick peek to the left (and up a bit), you will see every writer's nightmare - their word count! I have installed a word count purely to motivate (and embarrass!) myself to keep plodding on.

Plod is the right word for me. I am definitely a plodder. Last week my word count was as high as 4,000 (that's good for me :-)). Then I came to the conclusion (aided and abetted by a free critique I was owed...) that my plot just wasn't working.

I tried to rebel, but a hundred words later I realised there was nothing for it, I had to rewrite the entire chapter and rework the plot!

I have a confession to make too - I have never ever completed a full manuscript before. I've never admitted that publicly. I don't even know whether I can complete a whole novel.

The good news for everyone else is that I believe if you can see me struggle, little by little, word by word, and eventually finish it, it will motivate you to give it a go too.

Click on the word count and it will take you to the site where you too can get one free. Go on, I dare you to join me...

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Please come and join me on my journey to becoming a successful novelist. I will share all the laughs, cries and torture along the way.

I will also share all the advice and inspiration I discover whilst on my travels. I look forward to speaking to you soon.