Saturday, November 9, 2013

Why I write the way I do

So you've heard me babble on and on about NaNoWriMo. For anyone who doesn't know, here's the deal:

You sign on and you track your writing. And the goal here is to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.

I signed on November 1. Some people signed up two months ago, some more. Then they waited. And they started out on November 1. I think I actually got to start on November 2, but I'd have to look. Anyway, the idea is to write 1,667 words per day.

Yesterday, I wrote over 11,000. Today I wrote over 3,000. I only have 5,205 words to go to hit the 50,000 mark. And that won't finish my novel. Why, you ask?

Mark Coker of Smashwords says that if you can't come up with 40,000 words to put in a book, you should go and do something else. What I've found is that if you have a minimum of three people in a book, you might be able to get by with 60,000 words. And that's if you only introduce your characters and don't really develop them. But I don't do that. I want my readers to really get to know the characters, to feel what they feel, understand what they think and why they do what they do, and, most importantly, to relate to them. I want them to think to themselves while they're reading my book, "Hey, that woman reminds me of my cousin Claudia!" That's relating. That's what I want.

I've had several people tell me, "You have the best, most well-developed characters I've ever seen. I love them. I feel like I really know them. I'm invested in their stories." That's what I'm working toward.

You see, something horrible happened to me one time. I read a book by a famous author (if I've told you this story before, forgive me) and, at the end of the book, I still didn't give a damn about the female protagonist. That's a shame.

Do you care about what you read? Have you ever read a book and, when you finished, you thought, Well, that was a huge waste of my time? I have. And it sucks.

So if you wonder why I would write over 11,000 words in one day, I can explain it this way: I write them because as I write, I get caught up in their stories. I get invested in their lives. I don't want to stop, because I want to see what they do next. Sometimes they surprise me. Those are the times I love best. When Laura's parents walk into Tony and Nikki's house on Memorial Day and she starts a slow burn. When Tony falls apart because he knows he has to do something that will destroy Vic. When Little T climbs up into the judge's lap. When Raffaella corners poor Nikki in the restroom. When their whole world goes to hell in a handbasket, and when it all spins around and comes up sunny again. When the one person who can help you pull your life together is bleeding to death underneath your hands. When those things start happening . . .

I just keep writing. I don't know what most writers would do, but I can't tear myself away from it. And my goal is that my readers feel the exact same way.

So if at times I don't make sense, I sound crazy, or drugged, or incoherent, know that it's because I just wrote 11,000+ words. And I'm exhausted.

And tomorrow, I'll get up, sit down, and do it all again. Because with all the crap out there on the shelves, you deserve at least one good story. And I intend to deliver.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I did it myself and I still don't believe it

I got an email this morning. Actually, it was sent yesterday morning, but I didn't get it until this morning. And I'm pretty bummed. This email was from Huffington Post Live, and they wanted me to do a live interview with them today. They had found the comments I made on the The Daily Reader regarding censorship and The Great Purge of 2013. Here's the article and my comments: Problem is, they're in New York and an hour ahead of us. And I didn't get the email until 9:50 this morning, which was right at 11:00 their time. So, basically . . .

I missed the boat.

National coverage. And thanks, Comcast, for that efficient delivery of my mail. Nice job - as always.

But here's the good part:  I was bummed. Really bummed. Still am. And what did I do about being bummed?

I sat down and wrote. I wrote all afternoon and most of the evening. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo, and I'm supposed to write 50,000 words by the end of November.

As of today, I have 41,466. Of those, I wrote 11,271 of them TODAY. Yes, you read that right. Today. In response to being bummed about missing out on a nationally-televised interview. Who would've guessed?

No, the 11,271 words does not make up for the missed interview. It doesn't even make me feel better. But it does make me laugh. According to my stats, at the rate I'm going I should be done with my 50,000 words by . . .


Good god. That's just ridiculous.

But let me tell you a little something about my writing today. I'm actually using NaNoWriMo to get a jump on the third novel, Renovating a Heart. I was so pissed off that I thought, You know, I probably shouldn't try to write when I'm so pissed off. But I did it anyway.

I picked up where I left off yesterday and started writing this afternoon. Two hours later, I was writing one of the most heartbreaking scenes I've ever written and crying. Really crying. Then I got to see them somewhat resolve the problems they were having, and I was happy for them. It was so sweet.

So the moral of the story is this, convoluted as it may be: Just frickin' write. It doesn't matter if you're pissed off, on top of the world, or feeling like somebody just kicked you in the gonads. Just write. Just sit down and do it.

And if you think your work is crap, just remember what Annie Dillard said: "If I actually believed that the progress of human understanding depended on our crop of contemporary novelists, I would shoot myself." Annie, I couldn't agree more.

So yeah, I'm glad I wrote 11,271 words today. And no, I'm still pissed about the interview. But when I make my first million, I'll get over it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My NaNoWriMo journey continues

I'm still in a state of shock.

I started writing today at about 4:30 p.m. That was after I'd gone for my nail fill (thank you, Tonjua, the best nail tech in the whole darn world!). I came home, did a little reading (Fire Birds, written by my friend Shane Gregory), and then started writing. My partner cooked dinner (he's a keeper) and I stopped long enough to eat. It's now 10:43 p.m. and I just got my word count verification for today.

Between 4:30 p.m. and 10:43 p.m., I wrote 9,734 words. I'm still in a state of shock. I mean, I know I've told said author-person mentioned above that my writing is somewhere between prolific and ridiculous, but really? Don't ask me how I do it; I really don't know. It still amazes me. And my partner came in here, asking where I was in the story, so I read him some of it. It's damn good.

That means that NaNoWriMo is going to help me finish the third novel of the Love Under Construction series, Renovating a Heart. At this rate, it should be done well before the end of the month, and I'll have time to work on one of the others I'm writing. Don't ask which one. There are many.

In the meantime, hang in there with me. If you'd like for me to post a contest, let me know. That might be fun. I could give a really good prize - a pretty, 14K gold prize. But I have to know you want it. Do you? It's in your hands.

And the writing continues!

I've mentioned several times that I'm doing NaNoWriMo. The WPD (that's words per day in NaNoSpeak) is about 1,667. Today, in three hours, I did 3,868. I think that's pretty good.

I must also say that it must be pretty good. I read one of the scenes to my partner and we both were cracking up - Vic and Tony are so funny! It had to do with the dog that Clayton rescued. The one Nikki brought home to Tony. The one that's decided she's his dog and won't let him out of her sight. The one Vic described as "a shag rug gone wrong."

I personally think she's cute. Yeah, Franklin is a girl. Thank Ella Jane for that.

And since he made such fun of her, I'm wondering: If Vic got a dog, what kind of dog would it be? I'm thinking it would probably be some pansy-ass dog that he'd wind up taking copious amounts of shit over. Would serve him right.

So I'm continuing along. The first Harper's Cove novella is almost ready for publication. Won't be long now and you can have some very, very naughty fun with one couple in the neighborhood.

Come back often. You never know what you'll find. Seriously. Could be anything.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Working, working, working

I'm up to my neck in manuscripts over here. I have so many going that I don't know what to work on next. I signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I put in a manuscript, then changed my mind and put in another one, then went back and put the first one back in. Now I'm thinking I made a mistake and should've put the third Love Under Construction novel, Renovating a Heart, as my NaNoWriMo project. Is it possible to have too many good ideas? I never thought so before, but now I'm beginning to wonder.