Thursday, February 18, 2010

Help - my book is being hijacked.

Day ____ (I won't say) of getting a submission ready.
Yep, my submission is being hijacked by my characters. I'm happily editing along when the plot takes a lefty, then a righty, then a u turn. What the...! Now, I have to go back and re-think this sucker.
I REALLY need to get this submission ready. I'm feeling the pressure to have it GONE! But I can't let it go until I think it's good enough for my beta readers to check over. As I've previously stated I seriously suck at grammar. I think it's the fact I'm an Aussie trying to write in the US market and I'm doubting myself at every turn.
But the story has some twists and turns and hidden agendas that are creeping out - thanks Warden! Yeah, you know who you are - just because you are the controller of my hero doesn't mean you can twist me to suit your needs. No sir'ie ma'am. I'm gonna take back my power and pull you into line!
I sound insane and yes, you would be correct. But I need to write this down - to trigger my mojo to overpower 'Gina hard-face beeatch' as I've started calling the Warden. To tell my brain to get on with it.
I'm back!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The dreaded BLANK page

‘I can fix a bad page, but I can’t fix a blank page.’ These sage words were spoken by Nora Roberts at a RW Australia conference in Sydney I attended a number of years ago.
Then not so long ago I attended a workshop with Barbara Samuel and she showed me another trick. Write in long hand, for a short period of time, on something from your childhood. No stops, no pauses. You finish and read and think, well, yes I can produce.
The words and the sage advice these women spoke are almost a mantra to me now and I find myself saying them when I stare at that blank page.
You’ve all heard, writing isn’t easy, if it was, my cat, whom I’m sure can talk, would be pumping out NY Times bestsellers.
A lot of things can contribute to you not being able to write.
I don’t call it writer’s block I think stress block may be a more appropriate term to use. Daily stresses like work, home, family and kids are big hurdles that put road blocks in your mind.
Another is self induced stress, the stress to succeed, the stress to produce, to meet deadlines. These things can stop you. They’re like devils, pixies or gnomes, sitting on your shoulders whispering in your ears to the point where you can’t concentrate enough to produce anything.
Yep, I’ve been there, but I remembered that advice and I found myself doing something else. I may not have produced much during that time but I edited and got the ‘girl’, aka my muse, to cooperate.
Yep, I’m free to write crap for however long it takes for her to start taking the hint.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The benefit of critique groups

I don't admit that I know everything - I think I should quote the immortal words of Sergeant Schultz, 'I know nothing, nothing, nothing!' These words would be closer to the truth.
Critique groups - love them or hate them? It's a mixed bag. I think we should all go into critique groups fully aware that you may not fit. It's nothing against you as a person, or as a writer, sometimes the dynamic isn't there or our expectations are a little different.
I belong to a genre specific critique group because of what I write. I find the members are a mixed bag of skills and knowledge and that's great. But beware the dreaded 'critique group voice', sounds dire and it can be. What can happen is that your voice changes to a blending of voices from the various crits from your critique group. Keep that in mind and your 'voice' won't change. No, not your singing voice, although come to think of it mine could do with a little changing, hmmm. I digress. I mean your writer's voice - your own special way of how you put your words together. But voice can be a lot of other things as well.
The benefits of a good critique group can be immeasurable - I’ve learnt to be a better writer. Although my grammar still sucks to the power of 10 and that’s not my critique groups fault - that's mine. I've learnt so much about plot, character, pacing, emotion, pov and the list goes on, I've experienced the truly wonderful writers of RWA and the FF & P Chapter who give, give, give of their time and expertise.
I submit critiques to my critique group and ask them to rip it up and then help me put it back together again. There's nothing personal about it – it’s business and I want to be a better writer. And they've made me a better writer by being able to point out things I can't see because I'm too close to the work.
We share in our triumphs and disappointments. There is always a shoulder to cry on and then a smack over the back of the head when we've wallowed in our pity party long enough. Then there's the hand that reaches out and helps us to get back up and put bum to seat, hands to keyboard and write.