Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting Inside The Writer's Mind

Growing up, I was always in my own little world. I would sit outside, stare into my back bushes and think I had invisible people who lived in there. On certain days, there was something “extra” in the air. A bit of magic? Or days when I felt the winds of change… knowing something exciting was on the horizon.

Now, there are going to be two reactions to this last paragraph. One, let’s get this girl into a mental hospital, stat! Or two, yeah, I know what you mean.

I’d like to think the latter are writers… not sure.  I’ve always felt I’ve had an extra sense. (No, I do not see dead people. Yeah, cliché, but you were all thinking it!) A writer’s sense. Where you’re able to take in extra feeling or magic in certain situations and absorb it. Feel it when others can’t.

Am I making sense?

I think it takes a different kind of person to be able to take one of these situations and use words to create the mood and make it come to life. You have to be able to see it/sense it first in order reproduce it.

I bring this up because not everyone “gets” this. I think there are people who really do just live day to day without feeling that extra “something” that’s begging to be seen and written. They are just content to… be. (Which is fine! No slamming here!)

We writers aren’t.

We’re driven. In a different way than most.

So what I’m curious about is do you understand what I’m saying or should I go find my straightjacket? What were you like as a child? Were you always in your own little world, creating stories before you even knew what you were doing? Writing?

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Friday, March 23, 2012

What Kind Of Beta Reader Are You?

Yes. I’m at the awesome stage. With my WIP done, I’ve called on my amazing colleagues who are sacrificing time, sleep, and probably sanity in order to help me out. ;)

I love this part. It’s my favorite part of the writing stage. It’s so fun to tweak and flesh out and rearrange… not to mention hear what’s working or not.

It’s incredible what a fresh pair of eyes can do. It’s soooo beneficial for any manuscript to be ripped to shreds so it can be pieced back together and become all pretty and shiny.

I prefer to use the tier effect, where I use a reader, apply the changes I deem fit, and pass on to the next person and so on. It minimizes the amount of readers and you end up with a tighter project.

One thing the fabulous Jolene Perry taught me was to read your MS in a different format (iPad, paper, kindle) between readers. Such brilliant advice! I just finished a read on my ipad and it’s crazy what pops out at you. Also, time away from your project is the BEST editing tool ever.

But what I’m curious about, is what kind of beta are YOU? Each reader has different strengths. I know when I read for someone, my strengths tend to go to the actual writing. Sentence structure, paragraph flow, word choice, etc… so when I need a reader, I find CP’s who will look at content, progression, whether or not the tension is believable or if the tension is in the right place and so on.

The best way to judge a great beta is to read their work. I’ve tried to align myself with people that not only know their stuff but also have stories that I can’t put down.

On the flip side, when you beta, you have to be careful. There are writers out there who are looking more for approval than help. People who want fluffy “I love it” responses. Hopefully most of us are past this stage. I know I am. But sometimes it’s a good thing to ask what kind of crit the author is looking for beforehand.

And as a general rule, if someone betas for you, beta for them. I know I’ve had stories I’ve put in a line edit for where the person has never reciprocated. There’s nothing more irksome. It’s a one-way ticket to lose a great reader. (IMO)

What do you look for in a beta? Do you have awesome betas? What are your strengths? And if you haven’t given a virtual hug to your betas lately, go do it.

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Trolls in the Writing World... They're There.

What is it that makes some people so nice and others so… well, lame?

I’m floored by the kindness some people exude just… because. People who take the time to step outside of themselves and say something nice, spend hours on a crit, or even say “thank you.”

It’s such a difference from the people who… well, don’t. And I’m not speaking about people you randomly brush shoulders with and are busy in their lives, I’m talking about people who go out of their way to be rude. It’s interesting.

As a writer, you learn how to take criticism, absorb it, apply it to make you stronger.  But there are trolls out there whose sole purpose is to look for ways to put you down. 

I’m one of those people who like to give a person the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I’m too trusting. Maybe not. I can get feisty, and I can think of mean ways to retort, but do I do it? Do most of us? 

This is a business. And whether you’re friends, acquaintances, or “enemies,” there should always be a level of respect and professionalism. I’m shocked with how catty and competitive people can be. And it’s too bad.

And really, I’d say that 90% of the population is supportive and wonderful. It’s just that the negative seems to amplify, doesn’t it? It sucks you down, wants you to be miserable with them. It’s poison.

Which is why I think it’s so important to seize onto the good. Don’t let it go. Find those people that you know have your best interests at heart. They’re there. People who won’t backstab you and aren’t thinking solely of their own success.

So what’s the difference between a troll and a friend? What’s the key component? Is it fear? Jealousy? It’s not as if there’s only room for one person to be successful. Have you experienced this first hand?

Or what is it that makes people drop everything just to serve? (Thinks of all my awesome beta readers right now…) And is there a gray? From my view right now, it seems pretty black and white.

This is something that’s been on my mind for a while and I’d love to know your thoughts.

And on a side, "par-tay" note, last weekend I got to spend some time with some amazzzzing great people in this writing world. To see pics and get the low down, check out David Powers King and Leigh Covington’s sites. They do a fab job summing it all up!

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Got Green?" Blog Hop!

Yaaaay... the day is finally here. I've had me Lucky Charms, Green clothes, and DVD of Far and Away waiting fur weeks. ;)

Welcome to Mark Koopman's Mahvelous "Got Green?" Blog Hop!

Today my entry features two very special people. One, a villain. The other, a super hero. But beware folks, because both only surface on One. Day. A. Year. St. Paddy's day!

Before we get to my 333 word entry, let me introduce you to our two stars. First off, we've got Lucky, the "lobaircin" who makes all our lives miserable by chalking our kids full of sugar and is notorious for being stingy with the marshmallows.

And our hero? None other than the infamous Super Irish Guy, aka SIGGY, aka Mark Koopmans. Who... well, you'll just have to read about his super power below.

The Ides of Ireland:

The crowd stood shoulder to shoulder, the early morning sun pounding down on our heads. The smell of sweat and unwashed bodies perforated the air and a baby wailed somewhere in the chaos. Hundreds surrounded the arena, some having been camped out for days.

I shifted my weight, my legs aching with the wait. But it was worth it. I’d stand here for another week to get a good look at Super Irish Guy, aka SIGGY.

Then he entered.

Face painted green, orange, and white, with parallel colors flowing from his back, he stood with his feet planted, one hand on hip, other clasping a mug of ale. His eyes scanned the crowd under his backwards baseball cap until they zeroed in on his opponent.

The small green man sat across the arena, one knee propped up, clover stuck between his teeth. His red hair was matted under his green top hat, an evil smile lurking at his lips.

“Do ye think he’ll win?” I asked the man next to me. “Lucky looks pretty smug.”

“Och, dinna fash, lassie. 'Course he’ll win. No one can stop the SIGGY.”

As if hearing our words, the SIGGY took one last swig of ale and tossed the mug to the ground. Lucky unfolded from his position and spit the clover from his teeth. The two faced each other in silence, as if waiting for the other to move.

Then Lucky charged. He pulled out a small dagger, the sun glinting dangerously off its shiny face. SIGGY grabbed the blade with one bare hand, unflinching, and ripped the weapon from Lucky’s grasp. But Lucky procured another blade and stuck it in SIGGY’s side, pinning him.

The crowd stopped. No one moved. But SIGGY smiled. He removed his cap. The sun bounced off SIGGY’s baldhead and burned Lucky like a magnifying glass to an ant, the heat sizzling him to a crisp.

The crowd erupted.

“Who's got yer Lucky Charms now!” SIGGY yelled. “Beware the Ides of Ireland!”

And now I'm off to go check out the other entries! You can find them on Mark's blog here

Red. IrishHead. Out. :D 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Are You Ready?

I know I am!

I've got my Green, my Lucky Charms, and the Red Hair...

If you haven't signed up for Mark Koopmans "Got Green?" Blog Hop, DO. SO. NOW. It's gonna be a blast. (I wrote my "entry" this morning and I'm just itching to post it...)

You've got one more day to sign up because it starts on the 17th! So go hop over to Mark's blog and get your name on the Linky List  PRONTO.  Click on the button below:

In other news, I wanted to give a THANK YOU shout out to Clarbojahn for her lovely awards over on her blog. You are awesome!

And as far as the WIP goes, I'm writing the ending scene now... can't wait to give the whole thing a nice read through before sending off to my lovely betas. Hope your writing is going well!

Red. Head. Out. (With a hop, skip, and an Irish jump!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Catch Up and Craziness!

I'm quite literally 10,000 words away from finishing my WIP which is both awwwesome and daunting. Awesome because it feels amazing to be so close and daunting because I know what's ahead. (beta's, revisions, querying...)

It'll feel good to be fully functional soon since half of my brain is in another world :P


Time to play catch up and do a few "thank you's" and shout outs!

First off, thank you Rach Harrie and everybody for voting for my flash fiction entry for The First Campaign Challenge. I took 6th place out of 210 entries and am honored. Thank you!

Second, thank you Cassie for the Dream Launcher award. If anyone knows how to launch dreams, it's you ;)

Next, big shout out to Rachel Morgan who just released her debut (?) novel, Guardian. She's an awesome blogger/writer/friend so go check out her site and book!

Thanks to Honey for the awesome tag in her 11 questions game and Kevin Hiatt for hosting an awesome 100 followers give-a-way that I was one of the lucky winners!

And lastly, I got tagged in the Lucky Seven Meme game by Hope Roberson and Amber Clites. So here we go:

The Rules:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know

Here's mine: 

"He knows things about people. It’s weird. You’d think that he’d be a target of ridicule because of his disability, right? Wrong. He’s put anyone who’s ever come across him in their place at one time or another.”

“How?” I asked.
“Don’t know. He says something to them, I guess. I’ve seen it happen a couple times. He’ll get right up in someone’s face like he’s gonna hit em, ya know? And then he just tilts his head to the side and whispers something in their ear. They back off immediately and their faces go all white like he’s just told them he knows the date of their death or something."
Did I forget anything? Hope not! (I'm not going to tag anyone else due to my want to continue my absolute focus on the WIP) Hope the writing is going well with all you fantastic people and I might not be back 'til the WIP is done. Then I'll be calling my betas... look out, guys... ;) 

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Second Campaign Challenge!

It's time for the Second Challenge for Rach Harrie's Fourth Platform Building Campaign! I wanted to really step it up this time and do as many of the added tasks as I could. So, I used ALL FOUR of the picture prompts presented (say that five times) using a common theme, kept it under 200 words, and wrote in a genre that is not my own. The idea for time travel came up with this pic: 

Past, Pear, and Future

Screaming. Everywhere. I bit the corner of my lip and tried to shut out the chaos. Tears trickled from my eyes, but seemed to dry before they reached my cheeks. I clenched my jaw tight and strained against the net of energy that pushed, pulled, and surged around me.

And they said time travel couldn’t happen.

The pressure dissipated and a cool breeze lifted the hair off the back of my neck. I peeked open to see a boy in a red coat chasing a ball along the oceanfront. Me twenty years ago. Wrong location.

I had to go forward. Discover what was to come.

Chaos seized me again and I pressed on, mentally straining as I squeezed through the space. Time stopped. Back at home. Not far enough ahead. Taking a deep breath, I allowed the travel to take hold and the pear on the counter appeared to dissolve before my eyes.

After the madness had silenced again, a mixture of heartache, horror, and utter shock pulsed through me. Garbage strung out over the ground, with half naked children wading through the filth. No. This couldn’t be our future. What had I done?

Hope you enjoyed! To go "like" your favorites you can check out the rest of the awesome entries here. 

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Today I'm...

... over at Sarah Belliston's Blog. She was crazy enough to want to interview me. (I'll send the check in the mail, Sarah )  So go support her blog, follow, and check it out!

And to continue with my cane post below, I think I've discovered where my cane/staff infatuation came from. You HAVE to check out this dance from SYTYCD season 4. It's one of my fav's EVER and features one of the best dancers to come from the show. Mark Kanemura. 

If that video didn't convince you how awesome cane/staff's are *coughs Tiana* then there's no hope. LOL.

Red. Head. Out. :D

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Great Characters With Canes...

I know, a bit random...

But since I'm still immersed in my WIP, and not wanting to go too deep today,  I thought I'd share just a bit about my leading man. 

He has a cane. 

I find canes sexy.

Is that weird? (Please tell me I'm not weird!)

If you know me, you know my biggest celebrity crush is Hugh Laurie, Aka Dr. House. I'm not sure if it's him or the cane that is so appealing... maybe both. 

What about Harry Dresden? One of my all time fav book characters from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I mean, look at that pic! He wouldn't be nearly as cool without his staff (which is totally cane-esque)

Or the Luscious Lucius Malfoy? Yup. Take out the cane in this picture and he loses quite a bit of his power presence. 

And what about this little guy? Without the cane, he'd just be a peanut in a top hat and monocle. Okay, so those are definitely cool... maybe he's the exception.

Do you have a favorite character with a cane? What is it about them that add mystery and power? Or is it just me? 

I also wanted to give a special shout out to these folks who have been so kind to tag me or give me an award this past week:

Go check out their sites and follow!

Red. Head. Out. :D
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