Sunday, December 31, 2006

My busy brain. . .

Wow, I just noticed that my last post was on Dec. 12, 2006. At the time, I didn't realize that was the actual anniversary of the day I started "Star Sons"! Now it's complete, going through critique on a writing website and after the post-critique final polish, I'll be searching for an agent and/or publisher!

Meanwhile, on Dec. 29, 2006, I completed the first draft of Book 2 of the "Star Sons" saga, which still has no title. This is the novel I worked on as my NaNoWriMo project, which is now up to around 105,000+ words. I have to go back and punch up some descriptions and other stuff to complete it. I pushed the plot forward as fast as I could, trying a different style of writing for this one, rather than my normal "write a bunch, next day re-read that and polish, polish, polish, then maybe write some more if there's time" style of writing. It will be interesting to re-read it from the beginning and see how "polished" or "unpolished" my first draft is!

Someone on my HPRefinersFire Yahoo group said my imagination must be very crowded, after I'd posted that book 1 is being polished, book 2 is finished and book 3 is clamoring to be written! I had to agree, my imagination IS crowded! That led to this post, which I'm copying here from my Yahoo group:

I start a novel with the characters in mind, a basic conflict in mind, and the ending, as well, but then have to hope I can weave all that together in a coherent whole and make it something people will CARE about! There's a lot of "dancing on ice" involved, hoping I don't hit a "thin patch" and fall through a hole (not being able to finish the story, or writing something that's BORING or that nobody can care about - ACK!). I think what I've written in book 2 is going to be an exciting read - sure hope so, anyway!!

You would not BELIEVE how crowded my brain is!!! Yet when I'm going to sleep now, with no scenes to plan, I feel quite lonely. Ethan, Jake, Laurel, Casey and Merlin have kept me entertained, excited, involved and curious for over a year now (I started "Star Sons," the first book, Dec. 12, 2005). I'm TRYING to give things a rest now so I can polish accurately and get some SCULPTING done (writing kind of takes over mylife and my art business just coasts along while the writing has control of my brain. Good thing I do editions instead of one-of-a-kind sculptures or I'd be in big trouble!) It's been strange since I wrote "the end" to book 2 how lonely I've been in my dreams, which are usually great places to plot scenes. Kind of hard to switch gears.

Now I'm getting ready to make some lists of things I want to "punch up" in both books to make the characters even more sympathetic, more flawed, more three-dimensional, more INTERESTING. I'm having trouble making Ethan "flawed" - he's such a hero and I love him so. His biggest flaw is his sense of responsiblity, which makes him, even as an older teen and young man in his early twenties, "stodgier" than his brother Jake - at least in Jake's eyes. Ethan is shy, Jake's outgoing, but Jake's an impulsive rascal and in some ways is more "dimensional" than Ethan. I have to make sure Ethan isn't a one-note hero, a cardboard cutout (although he isn't to ME -- I have to make sure he's as rich a character to READERS as he is to me). Ethan's other "flaw"is his temper, which can result in things exploding without his sending spells in any direction, so he's a very controlled person even as a child. But I'm gonna have to let his temper explode a bit more (and earlier in both books), I think, to show how dangerous it can be and make it obvious how good a person he is for being able to control it as well as he does.

Anyway, that's how Ethan and Jake are entertaining me today - trying to show me their flaws and foibles as well as their good sides, so I can enhance their characters in the book. <<

So now I'm off to work on those lists and start incorporating the critiques of book 1 from that writing site into the chapters (which is MUCH harder to do at times than it sounds!!)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's been a while!

It's been a while since I posted, but I've been busy! As you can see from the NaNoWriMo icon, I'm a WINNER with my NaNo novel coming in at 55,506 by the 28th of November, when I had to quit writing for a while due to real life pressures. That novel is the second in the "Star Sons" series and now stands at over 82,000 words. It's light on descriptive passages right now because I used the impetus of NaNo to push the plot forward, which is a different way of writing for me.

A couple of days ago, I posted some questions about fantasy battles on three different websites--my Yahoo group (HPRefiners Fire, the Hatrack River Writers Group, and Critters Newsgroups. I've gotten an amazing array of answers to my questions at these three sites. The first one, my Yahoo group, is made up of readers of my Harry Potter fanfiction, many of whom are eager to read my original work as well. Many of my readers are also writers of fanfiction, some more serious than others. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, so they have lots of interesting expertise to share in many fields. The second and third groups are writers message boards. The people posting there are either published or hoping-to-be-published authors. Their suggestions and opinions are interesting, valuable and much appreciated by me.

The trick, when asking for opinions or suggestions for your writing, is to remember that everything any of these folks say is their own opinion. They haven't read my stories. They only know what I've told them in a post, which may or may not be a good representation of the story itself.

Sometimes it's hard to trust yourself, to trust that what you've written is actually of interest to other people. That's why I'm so glad I started out writing fanfiction, where I could upload completed stories and get instant feedback. Doing those fanfiction stories helped me gain confidence in my writing so that when someone does make a comment that leaves me wondering why I'm bothering, or if I get stuck and make my OWN comments about "why am I bothering???" I know I actually am a decent writer. So kudos to my fanfiction readers! And thanks to those on the various message boards who offered suggestions to help me out.