Tag Archives: novel

Breaking Free (and a general update)

I know, I know. It’s been far too long since I posted anything here. In 2015, I had hand surgery and became asthmatic, both of which slowed me down a bit. I volunteered at three summer writing camps for grade school kids, which was super fun. I made a lot of progress editing my second novel and wrote several short stories and poems. I haven’t written much flash fiction since I stopped posting weekly, but I did write one piece recently, which was a lot of fun, so maybe I’ll get back into it. A few months ago, I took my first novel and started re-writing it, removing one of two POV characters entirely from the story (about 45% of the content) and switching from third person past tense to first person present tense. I’m only a few chapters in, but it’s interesting and fun so far, so I’m going to stick with it and see what happens.

The real reason I’m writing is that the latest anthology from Scripting Change, Breaking Free, is now available!

It includes a poem of mine.

Proceeds from the anthology will benefit Reach, an organization based in Massachusetts which supports domestic violence victims of all backgrounds and ages, while also increasing awareness in local communities.

The digital collection is available through:

The Scripting Change store
Smashwords (set your own price!)
Amazon in the US
Amazon in the UK
Amazon in Canada
Barnes and Noble

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First Page – Are You Hooked?

Miss Snark’s First Victim, Authoress, is currently hosting a first page critique for adult novels.

You can read the first page of my novel here and provide (much appreciated) feedback! Let me know if you’re hooked! Take a look at some of the other entries while you’re there!

Guidelines for critique can be found here.

Thank you for commenting!

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MCWC – The Mendocino Coast Writers Conference

I just got back from a fantastic trip to the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference in Fort Bragg (California). I participated in the novel workshop and received some wonderful feedback on the beginning of the novel I’m working on. I was inspired to really buckle down and get this novel ready to submit.

On Friday afternoon, I read a five-minute excerpt from a dystopic, science fiction short story that won first place in the conference participants short fiction contest. It was inspired by this piece of flash fiction I wrote last November, which is the way the story begins.

Marion (who writes awesome fantasy) summed up all the contest winners here.

If I met you at the conference and you’re reading this, thank you for stopping by! Please browse around and let me know what you think.

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NaNoWriMo Debrief

It’s December. NaNoWriMo is over. I didn’t “win,” but I wrote 22,675 words in November. There were many days I didn’t write due to family visiting, getting a head cold, etc. And one day I wrote over 4,000 words, the most I’ve ever written in one day. I do feel like I accomplished something. The encouragement from other NaNo-ers and the pressure were helpful, inspirational sparks.

The first draft of my second novel is now at 29,630 words. I recently passed what Larry Brooks calls the first pitch point (3/8 of the way through) in his book, Story Engineering. This point is where you show the antagonistic force, so things really start to get interesting. I’m excited about this, because I’m excited to continue writing until I finish this draft. NaNo helped me gain the momentum I needed to get this draft going.

Prior to November, I had been focused on editing my first novel and writing flash fiction and poetry. After a break, I’m now ready to start editing my first novel again with a new perspective that only time off (and lots of writing/planning another project) can give. My new plan is to intersperse working on the draft of my second novel with editing my first novel. I also plan to continue posting poetry and flash fiction to my blog on a regular basis. I have a pile of books to review too, so you can expect posts once or twice a week.

For those of you who participated in NaNoWriMo, I hope you got what you wanted out of it, even if, like me, you didn’t “win” this year. My experience met my expectations. How about yours? What were your expectations going in and did you meet them?

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Logline for my Second Novel

Instead of posting a #FridayFlash fiction piece this week, since today is the first day of NaNoWriMo, I’m presenting you with the logline I came up with this morning for my second novel (any thoughts/critique you have are most welcome):

Initial logline:

A lone vigilante vampire seeks a crime-fighting companion and is drawn to a fate-bender, but the fae have conflicting plans.

After John’s feedback (see comments below):

A lone vigilante vampire seeks a crime-fighting companion; drawn to a fate-bender, her troubles multiply when the fae intervene.

 

I started thinking about my second novel shortly after I finished NaNoWriMo two years ago, in December 2011. The idea for it actually developed out of a short piece I wrote for the fiction writing class I took at De Anza college that fall. Ideas for it have been percolating and jelling in my mind all this time. Characters have developed. Plot lines and subplots have formed. I’ve written a number of scenes from random places in the novel, and I’ve constructed a document with the rules of magic governing the universe. I don’t have an outline, other than some vague ideas, but I think I’m ready to jump into a first draft. For NaNo, I’ll only count words added to what I already have.

Best of luck to all you NaNo-ers! I’m skipping PIFG this month, but I’ll make up for it next month.  🙂

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Pay it Forward Giveaway

I’ve joined Rachel Russell‘s Pay it Forward giveaway.

 

If you haven’t heard about the giveaway, it’s just like the name suggests. It’s all about giving back to the writing community. The online writing community is so generous and welcoming. I won a 50-page critique of my manuscript from Rachel back in June, and it taught me a lot about editing. In last month’s PIFG, I won a query critique and author spotlight from Rebecca Carvalho. I’d like to start giving back.

The giveaway is open to everyone in the writing community, not just writers. If you’re a reader, reviewer, or blogger and want to enter, go for it!

This month, I’ve decided I’ll have two (okay, three) prizes (but two winners):

  • Prize #1: A query critique – I’m no expert, but I’ve been reading a lot of advice online about queries, and my query’s been critiqued by three professionals and a number of other writers. I will take the knowledge I’ve learned and tighten your query’s prose, make sure the main conflict is stated clearly, and your voice comes through. We can go through multiple passes if necessary to put a shiny polish on it (5 max passes total).
  • Prize #2: A detailed 10-page critique – It can be the first 10 pages of a novel or a short story, or an excerpt from the middle, whatever you think needs work. I will look at voice, pacing, tension, character development, dialogue, plot, setting (worldbuilding, if applicable), point of view, show vs. tell, sensory details, grammar, and sentence structure. The whole shebang.
  • Alternate (non-writer) prize – You get to name a character in my second novel. I still don’t have names for some of the major characters (male and female). I will email you a little bit about each of the unnamed characters so you can think about it and come up with something good. That way you get a sneak peek at content no one else has seen. (I reserve the right to use the name you pick for a more minor character if I’m not in love with it.) *Conditions Apply*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Fine Print: No purchase necessary. The giveaway ends at midnight Pacifc time on September 3rd. The first place winner can choose whichever prize they want (yes, you can choose the “non-writer” prize if you’re a writer and you really want to name a character). The second place winner wins their choice between the other two prizes (yes, there can be two character-naming prizes; there is more than one unnamed character, after all). If the second place winner has the choice between query critique and alternate prize and they don’t have a query that needs critiquing, but they are a writer, they can choose between a detailed critique of the first page of a story with multiple passes (5 max passes total) and the alternate prize. I will announce winners the morning of the 3rd on the blog, Twitter, and email the winners. Compliance with entry requirements will be verified.

Watch the #PIFG hashtag on Twitter for Pay It Forward Giveaways on other blogs, or check my Twitter stream for retweets of other giveaways!

Good luck to everyone! I hope you choose to Pay It Forward in some way in the future. Continue reading Pay it Forward Giveaway

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It was him!

Last weekend, I went out for dinner at a local restaurant with a friend. I was eating my meal, when out of the corner of one eye, a bright shirt caught my attention. Something in my facial expression changed.

“What?” my friend asked.

“Don’t look now, but,” I held up one hand and tried to conceal pointing with the other to the man who was now walking past my elbow. “It’s one of the characters from my book!” I hissed.

The man turned to order at the counter. My friend studied his profile. His jaw dropped. “It is!” he whispered.

My eyes bugged out of my skull. “I know, right?!” From the cut of his hair to his posture to the slightly baggy clothes to the color of his shirt. It was him, like he stepped right out of the page. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to jump out of my seat and ask him his name, what he did for a living. He even wore nerd-tastic glasses, which I had thought would be too cliche for my character, but now I’m totally adding them. OMG. I was so excited, I was bouncing in my seat, food forgotten. I hoped the man didn’t notice…

My point is, inspiration can strike anywhere–whether it’s a character that you already wrote springing off the page, or finding slices of inspiration in observing those around you to blend into new characters. Keep your eyes open. Open them wide and take a good look around.

Thursday’s Children are talking about firsts this week. It was definitely a first seeing a character I wrote leap out of the page into the flesh. It was a total shock.

thurschilbadgejpg

Read the other Thursday’s Children’s posts by clicking on the link below (and consider joining in the fun):

Powered by Linky Tools Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

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So You’re a Vampire Now – #flashfiction

Hopefully you’ll find this a little more entertaining/humorous than my last post. I wrote this piece last month for my writing group. Our assignment was to write a short piece imitating the style of “Orientation” by Daniel Orozco, a witty, satirical short story that uses a deadpan, second person voice and inane details to desensitize you to the oddities taking place in an Office Space or Dilbert-like cubicle farm (it reminded me a bit too much of my old workplace). I had a lot of fun writing this. I hope you enjoy it!

Writing Exercise: Try your own hand at writing a short piece in this style of voice. Post a link in the comments to your piece!

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This is the alleyway, and here’s the bar where we like to hunt. Come on inside, and you’ll see two areas: the dance floor, and the lounge. The dance floor is the elders’ territory. You can take your pick from the lounge. Never feed IN the bar. Except in the bathroom. That’s okay. But only during an emergency. Try to get your victim out of the bar and into the alley before you begin to feed. If you have an emergency and need to feed in the bathroom, ask your master first. If you can’t find your master, ask any older vampire who isn’t currently feeding, but try not to be too intrusive if he’s busy charming a victim. If  you feed in public, you will be punished. You don’t want to know how.

You must pace yourself when you feed. What do I mean? I’m glad you asked that. We pace our feeding according to the 2-pint night–one body to drain–at least to begin with. If the whole gang is going somewhere and we’re taking down a crowd and you’ve got four bodies to feast on, pace them out; don’t suck them dry all at once. Alternatively, if we’re headed into a desert spell and one’s gotta last you a whole week, sip on her. A little here, a little there–make her last. She’ll get drowsy and regenerate more supply. Good question, good question. Ask too many though, and you won’t see the outside of a coffin for a long while.

As I was saying, that’s the ladies room, and that’s the men’s. Don’t get them confused. Only use your designated restroom to primp and only use it to feed in an emergency with prior approval. If you see a lady go into the men’s room, do not follow her. It could either be someone going in to meet the Master, or, there are a handful of cross-dressers around.

There are three bartenders: two men named Andrew, who look completely different, and a woman named Erika. Never speak to the bartenders. Don’t even look at them. Pretend they don’t exist.

The emergency exit is in the back of the bar, past the restrooms. An alarm will sound if you use it. Try not to use it. If you end up covered in blood and you can’t remember where it came from, use it and run. Run like the wind.

If you cut yourself, your skin will magically knit back together. If you break a bone, it will magically heal too. There will still be blood, ooze, and pain. But you’ll get over it. Pretty quickly too. It’s kinda awesome. You want a demo? No? Alright, maybe later.

You can’t eat food anymore. Can’t drink anything either. The only thing you can consume is blood. If you try to eat or drink anything else, you’ll just barf. I’ll let you try that one on your own.

You can’t have any contact with your former family or friends. No one you used to know. If any of them ever show up at the bar, point them out to your master, then leave. Your master will make sure they are not on the night’s menu. If you can’t find your master, find an elder vampire. Go down the list. If you can’t find anyone else, feel free to ask me.

Can I see your cell phone? Thanks! No, you can’t have it back.

Sorry about that. Doesn’t look like the SIM chip survived. This is your new cell phone. It has the whole gang’s digits pre-programmed into it. Only call if you’re in a bind or if you’ve been invited to call. I think that about covers it. And we’re back in the lounge.

I call dibs on the redhead. Yes, I can do that.

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It’s fun breaking out of your routine to try to imitate someone else’s voice sometimes, especially if that writer has a strong voice. It’s a good learning experience. It’s something we did often in the Fiction Writing class I took at De Anza college. I think it’s a helpful exercise when you’re trying to figure out what exactly your own voice is. I highly recommend trying it on occasion.

In other news, the process of revising my novel to incorporate an urban fantasy element by introducing a new character has become more involved than I expected. I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s fun though. She’s spunky. The other night when my husband came home from work, I bit him on the shoulder (not hard). He asked me, “What’s gotten into you?” I shrugged. I think it was a bit of my character.

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Re-envisioning

My husband finally had a chance to read my first novel when we were on vacation last week. He had quite a few thoughts (on almost every page). He is a very critical person. But I figure, if I can take his criticism, I can take criticism from anyone. And, I think that I greatly benefit from his insight. He has read a huge number of books, mostly sci-fi and fantasy, so although he is not exactly my target audience, he is a good beta reader.

Before he read my first novel, my husband and I discussed how my second novel is in the urban fantasy genre, and how I think I’m leaning towards wanting to write urban fantasy and dark urban fantasy/horror more than science fiction in the future (maybe UF with sci-fi elements). We discussed how I was a little afraid that publishing my first novel as a sci-fi would pigeon-hole me as a sci-fi author.

So, when he read my first novel and decided that he thought parts of it would be more plausible if you add urban fantasy to it, I decided I liked the idea. If my first novel is sci-fi and urban fantasy, then it will pave the way for my second and subsequent novels to be urban fantasies. This novel is more than just sci-fi and urban fantasy; it’s a mix of a lot of things: sci-fi, urban fantasy, romance, and technological horror, with a little humor thrown in to dispel the tension. I suppose it would more generically be called speculative fiction.

I’ll be re-writing a number of passages, adding a few new sections and a new character over the next few weeks. I think it will be a fun challenge. I’m going to alternate working on this re-envisioning with writing new scenes for my second novel.

If you feel stuck in your writing, you might want to try Writer’s Digest’s (@WritersDigest) 30 Writing Assignments for the 30 days of June.

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And I’m done!

I just finished editing the Epilogue of my first novel to post to my beta readers. Now comes the scary part — searching for an agent and publisher.

I’m really excited. It’s the first big milestone I’ve reached since I finished the first draft of the novel over a year ago. If you happen to know any literary agents, or have any advice for me, I could sure use the help! This is such a new adventure for me. It’s daunting. But the feedback I’ve received to date has been so positive, it gives me confidence and hope. Thank you!

If you want to become a beta reader, leave a comment or email me. There’s still a lot of editing to come (and a new novel to write).

My plan for this blog is to post excerpts from my novels, writing prompts, other short works of writing, musings on my inspirations, and news. I started a writing group a little over a year ago and we’ve been writing short pieces between and during meetings, so I’d like to share a few of those. Subscribe, or come back soon to see what’s new!

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