Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How writing has gotten easier, harder, more fun, and less fun all at the same time!

BTW, I LOVE this!

Sometimes I sit back and wonder, has writing always been this way?

Even ten years ago, without the internet how did writers communicate and interact with each other?  Did they?  It seems to me that it would have been easier to write in your own little bubble, free from the influence of the opinions of so many other writers.  At the same time, I'm a product of the NOW Generation and I like getting immediate feedback from friends and people I don't know.  I don't know how I'd have functioned in a pre-Book Country/My Writer's Circle world.  And don't even get me started on Facebook or Twitter.  For that matter, what if I didn't have this blog or access to all of the other cool and informative blogs out there?

Writing has gotten easier in that information is easier to find.  It's easier to research more topics and the spectrum of things we can write about is broader because we, as a people in general, are more/better educated. 

The tools and resources on the craft of writing are literally at our finger-tips.  It's easy to Google (or Bing - I LOVE the pictures they have on their main page) anything from "How To Write Better Dialogue" to "Writing a steamy sex scene from A-Z".  It's nice to be able to go out there (without actually going anywhere) and get that kind of information.

Sites like MyWritersCircle.com and BookCountry.com have popped up and it's easy (and FUN) to give an receive feedback.  A unforseen side-effect of wonderful sites like these for a lot of people has been the benefits they get from critiquing others.  A writer can grow SO much from giving constructive feedback to other writers.  Issues you see in someone else's work become issues you avoid in your own work.

At the same time, writing has gotten a little bit harder because there seems to be so much more competition.  While sites like the ones I listed earlier are great resources, they also show us there are other people out there with ideas that are just as great as own. 

With all of the resources out there on how to be a better writer, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming.  For me, personally, I have a hard time letting up on the reigns and just writing.  I'm always sweating things like sentence structure and adverbs as I go along.    This can sometimes take the fun out of writing for me.  When you got your first great idea and all you wanted to do wass get it down and out to the world, you probably hadn't thought about all the crap that goes along with it.

And this post isn't even going to touch finding agent or publishing! 

It's not so bad though, because I think writing's also gotten a LOT more fun.  There's now a whole community of writers.  An internation network that allows to exchange feedback and ideas in a way that's never been seen before.

It can be overwhelming at times, but if you know when and how to use the resources available then this can be a great time to be a writer!

What's your most and least favorite thing about being a writer in this day and age?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

No! No! Bad Writer!

Y'all know I love Roni Loren (The Fiction Groupie), right?  Well, I've been really intensive on the whole writing thing lately - that's actual writing and not just outlining or researching.  (Yay, me!) 

One of the things I've been working on is my Showing and not Telling.  A really good way I've discovered to achieve this is through dialogue.  Honestly, dialogue is something I struggle with .  I'm always worried that it won't be realistic enough or be too writerly.  So, in search of some good information/advice I did a search through Roni's tags and found this gem of a blog post:

Growing up, I was a girl who (except for the occasional rebellious moment) followed the rules. I wanted my parents, family, and teachers to be proud of me. I did what I was supposed to, got the As, and developed a bit of a perfectionistic personality. In many ways, this was a good thing. On the other hand, worrying about perfection is a bit maddening because of course it can never be achieved.

When I started to get serious about my writing last year, I jumped in and just started typing. I didn't pick up a writing book, read an agent blog, or do a lick of research. Very unlike me. But the creative juices were churning and I needed to get the words on the page before I did anything else. Once I finished my first draft, I took a breath and started to read more about writing. And boy, oh boy, there was enough out there to send me into a near panic attack.

There was so much I didn't know, so many rules I had never heard of. I thought with a firm grasp on grammer, an idea about story structure, and the show don't tell rule, I was good to go. I had no idea there was a written (and unwritten) code of the do's and don'ts of writing. This, of course, sent my anal-retentiveness into overdrive. I jumped into editing and tried to fix the things I had no idea were wrong the first time around. Then, draft after draft, I would discover a new rule I wasn't aware of and would have to go back through again. It was liking trying to break the code into a secret society.

And it hasn't stopped yet. I'm still learning new rules and agent/publisher preferences every day. At times, it's overwhelming, but I want my manuscripts to be as good as they can be, so I'll keep digging and finding out what I can. I know I can never reach perfection, but I can sure try, lol.

What I Done Learnt So Far:

1. Adverbs are the devil incarnate. They will steal the soul of your verbs.

2. Excessive adjectives are like white shoes after Labor Day.

3. Prologues (this one hurt) are not your friend.

4. Dialogue tags are like big, fat "I'm a new writer" billboards in your manuscript

5. The being verbs are the ugly stepchildren of the verb family

6. You want verbs that go to the gym--nice and strong.

7. Rhetorical questions in query letters make agents burn your letter in a weekly bonfire.

8. Backstory should be slipped in like roofies into a drink--your reader didn't even notice it happened.

9. Present Participial phrases are generally bad. (This one is a new discovery for me. Editortorent has a whole series on PPPs alone.)

10. Hidden/Buried Dialogue is not preferred and slows down your pacing. (This one is also new to me. My handy dandy critique group gave me a lesson on this one recently. Apparently, dialogue passages need to be in one of the following structures:
  • dialogue -->narrative-->dialogue
  • narrative-->dialogue
  • dialogue-->narrative
NOT narrative-->dialogue-->narrative OR (my personal favorite) Dialogue-->narrative-->dialogue-->narrative. Don't bury dialogue in the middle of narrative. I did this all over the place, including the submissions I currently have with agents--sigh).

I'm sure there are hundreds more rules, but these are the ones that made the most impact on me.

What writing rules have you discovered that you never knew existed? Which rule stabbed you in the heart when you heard it? Which one is your biggest enemy--the one who sneaks in your writing all the time?

Isn't she just great?!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SCRATCH THAT...and start all over!

Most of the time, the idea of completely scratching something I've written is a thought that borders on the sacrilegious.  In this particular instance, though, it’s been a Godsend!  As some of you may or may not know, my computer is broken.  It’s not a hard drive issue or anything, just the keyboard.  Certain letters don’t work unless I press REALLY hard on them for long periods of time.  It’s ok though because I almost have enough money saved up to buy a Mac!  (Mini-squee!)

Anywho, due to my computer trials I was forced to work with a pen and paper on my last couple of days off.  What started as a character developing exercise turned into something really special.  What I meant to do was to write a journal from my main character’s POV.  It turns out that it’s actually easier for me to write in 1st person.  Who knew!  I had convinced myself that I DETEST 1st person. 

Anyway, this little exercise of mine produce a good 5 pages of solid writing in under an hour.  It also helped me to identify my genre.  The Phantom Chronicles is officially an Urban Fantasy series.  Actually according to Book Country it’s actually “Dark Urban Fantasy with a Hint of Sexy”, and if we want to get more specific I’ll call it Dark Dystopian Urban Fantasy with a Hint of Sexy.  How’s that for confusing as Hell?

Anyway, I’m firmly on the right track and I’ve also discovered the writing method that works best for me.  I’m a good ol’ fashioned pen and paper kind of girl.  Then, when I move it to a computer I actually do a bit of editing as I type it up.  Pretty nifty, eh?

Have you ever stumbled across a whole new method that turned out to be the key to unlocking your creativity?  If so, what’s your method?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Book Country

Are YOU on a writer?  Are YOU on BookCountry.com yet?  If not, ya needs to be!  It's fantastic!  Once you sign up, please contact me and we'll follow each other's books!

Look for me:

Kimberly Jones and my book is The Phantom Chronicles.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Something I've Thought About For a While

Long time, no blog - Sorry, I suck at life...or maybe life's just really good at getting in the way of doing the things I love. 

First off, I wanted to let y'all know that I've set a goal for myself for the month of June.  I'll be writing a minimum of 2 chapters per week.  If I go over two chapters in a week, I still owe myself at least two chapters the next week - so no "roll over" chapters.  The chapters won't necessarily be proof-read and polished, but at least they'll be written.  I'm excited about pushing myself like this.  I'm such a pre-plotter, and I've done the hell out of that for the general story arc and the major points, but I thinks it's time to try and be a little adventurous and just let the keyboard take me on a journey through the world I've created. 

We'll see and I'll do my best to keep y'all posted on my progress.  I've got 6 months til the end of the year and my ultimate goal is to have book 1 finished and book 2 started by Christmas. 

As always, I'm looking for a crit group or partner!  Please contact me if you're interested - kajones36@gmail.com!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Writing Paranormal Romance

What's one of the hardest things about writing PNR?  Maintaining the balance between world-building, action, and romance + plus since this is more on the erotic side, I've got to pepper it with some steaminess!

I've FINALLY moved on from the planning stages (sorta) and have begun writing.  I feel like like if I can get off the intro/hook, then I'll be in the clear and my OCD/Control-freakishness will allow me to move on.

I've started planning plots for the next couple of books/couples in the series and fitting in the romantic conflicts/tension and steaminess has been a fun little challenge I hadn't expected.  I'm SO into the world-building and planning out of the overall conflict and the story and everything, that now that I'm down to the nitty gritty writing, this has kind of slapped me in the face.  I've learned from the The Fiction Groupie that character development is KEY and she's actually kind of made me re-assess how I plan my characters out. 

But...yeah...People think romance is easy to write because it's easy and fun to read - well, it's only easy and fun to read because it's well executed! 

I'm hoping to have something available for beta reading VERY soon, so if you're interested let me know!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself

I've had writing blogs before, but never under my own name.  (Which is Kimberly Jones, btw - nice to meet'cha!")  I've had blogs under a couple of pen names  - Jordin Karrow, Kiera Bryant, and a couple of others.  I did this because I was never comfortable writing under my own name.  

The thing is, whether it’s Y/A or Paranormal I’ve been thoroughly entertaining myself with these characters and ideas for about four years now.  I love the world that I’ve created and I think readers would too.

So, I’ve made the decision to write as myself to hold myself accountable to my own potential.  I owe it to MYSELF to get this written.  
So, from here on out...you get the real deal.  I'll be using this blog mainly to document my writing journey, but also for documenting my life...Cause the FrankenMuse puts herself in every aspect of it!

Peace, love, and all that jazz!