Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo… What to do, what to do?

I find myself in the midst of an interesting conundrum. I have a wonderful idea for a book that I have been holding onto (much like so many other ideas) for the better part of two years. I would LOVE to work out a zero draft during NaNo, and I have done all of the footwork and interpretive dance necessary to prepare for that. 

There is but one thing holding me back from following through on that lofty goal, and that is the cyberpunk/cyber-fantasy book I have been working on the past while. I wrote a first draft of it for last year's NaNo and I let it sit a good long time. Sure, I worked on other projects in the intervening time. I jotted notes to enhance the possibilities available for when I finally sat down to edit. I learned a lot about myself and the characters I chose for the story. I learned that they are very different from how I imagined them during that long ago pantsless draft. I took more notes. I plotted. I planned. Things in the original idea shifted. Things thought since then fell into their proper place. I like the way it is going… Let's be clear. THIS STORY HAS ME ON LOCKDOWN. I can't think past it. There are more bits of my characters coming to me. There is research needed. Story is beginning to peek out and it has me focused.

All of that leads me to believe that I will not be able to participate in NaNoWriMo in a conventional sense. I'll still take the time to write everyday as if I am headed toward that end goal, because I really am. I write every day. It isn't always a beautiful line for a book. Sometimes it is very badly stated statements or questions about what is to come in a story. Other times it is a horrific bit of poetry to force my mind to get back on track, but the fact is I write ALL of the time. 

It is GREAT to focus on a draft for NaNo. It is also GREAT to be stuck completely to something from the year before. I won't put it toward a win this year, but I think the best use of my time, right now, is to get the story that is begging me to tell it out on paper where it can be refined. Anything else I do right now would lessen the ardor that I have vibrating through me for the work I hope it will become. I WANT my characters to be fully fleshed. I WANT them to show me how they react to the situations I put in front of them. I WANT them to grow and change before my eyes into the people I know they can be. I WANT to share them with you, and the only way I can see that happening is if I stick by them. They're going through some pretty rough times right now. I'll do my best to make their story worthy of them. I'll make sure you can understand them even if you decide that you don't like them. I promise to devote as much time as needed for them to tell you their story. 

I am excited for you to hear it from their own mouths. I am thrilled that, one day, you might see it in your mind's eye. I am floored by the possibility that you will like it, but right now, I need to focus on what they need from me. I can't do that if I am forcing myself away from them right when it seems I am needed the most.

I hope you will understand when I say that they give me hope. It is for that reason alone that I am willing to set aside my plans for NaNoWriMo this year. My heart is with them. My head is with them. What kind of friend could I be to them if my hands were not theirs as well? 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Crossroads, Round Two

I apologize for the late post. I have been sick, and lazy. OK, mostly lazy.

Crossroads Writer's Conference in Macon Georgia is, without doubt, on of my favorite things to do ever, period.

There I said it. You can see my previous thoughts on the subject from last year. This year I think I will lay off the absolute fanboy-ism and tell you a little more of the story.

*hunches forward and looks around to see if anyone is listening*
The people are what makes this conference so great.
I was like you once. I thought writers were something more than just people like us.
*takes a shaky sip of his beverage*
*looks quickly around again*
They are, you know. People, I mean. Real people. You can have conversations about the most idiotic things with them and they will laugh just like anyone else.
*stares at you for a long moment*
Some of them are really amazing, too. Delilah Dawson, for example. She writes things. Really great things.
*holds himself*
She wrote a book titled Wicked as They Come. I bought it last year. She signed it for me. IT WAS LIKE A DRUG! She just keeps putting more books out.
*leans at you suddenly*
I read things called YA now. Things I had never seen before
*gapes open-mouthed at nothing*
Such places, SUCH PEOPLE!
*reaches for something unseen in the air*
I want more of it, this writing. There are so many others like her. Lauren Morrill, she was in charge of the whole thing this year.
THAT. That's how they get you. I blame Cate Noble too. E! (;-) ) Carrie Howland was there. She's an enabler, that one. She is what they call a 'Literary Agent'.
*nods knowingly*
I guess that means she is one of the 'big shots' of the whole pipeline. Cat Scully is working on something in horror for her, and God help me, I WANT TO READ IT NOW!
*weeps quietly*
Jackson Pearce was there too. She has some wonderful retellings of classic stories that are truly amazing.
I want to read all of those again too. A.J. Hartley writes in all kinds of genres. How will I explain buying children's books when I don't have any kids?
*looks at you with a plea in his eyes*
This is all Chuck Wendig's fault. I was fine until I sat at that table with Chuck,  Delilah and Emilie Bush and all of their little literary addictions packaged in neat paper disguises.
*looks haunted*
I tried one. What could it hurt? It was such a little book, after all. It had a nice 'signed by the author' sticker on it. Delilah even drew a natty little shirt on the cover.
*looks away*
Chuck added nipples to it and got me in trouble, but… it was all in good fun. Wasn't it?
*looks confused*
Wasn't it?
*mumbles to himself, "How will I get all of these adverbs and superlatives back out of my writing?"*
Now I sit here in this Library... (that's like a halfway house for those with troubles like mine).
They let me read a little bit, but they control it so closely.
*looks at you in earnest*
They only let me check out 20 books at one time, but I can sit here as much as I like.
*starts rocking himself and nodding to no one*
*nods in a vigorous fashion*
Oh yes Mister Criminy, tea would be lovely, but I don't think Mister Coburn drinks tea.
*sips imaginary tea*
You know, they're going to let me go back to Crossroads in 2013?
*continues rocking and nodding as you slowly escape*


So, that is what has happened to me since last year. :-) Add to that crazy new addiction all of the writing I have been doing and you get an idea what my waking hours look like. To be fair, and as gateway drugs go, this wasn't my first experience with YA. I loved the Twilight books (don't judge me) and I read the Charlaine Harris novels in addition to my main needs which tilt decidedly in favor of SF&F (it's a literary version of BDSM. Most people wouldn't understand… even some that read it. ;)) Anyway, If I said all that to say anything it is this… what was I saying? Oh yeah, I love all of the genres out right now. I don't have a particular favorite unless you allow me to say speculative fiction. Even that does little to encompass all of the books I read and love.

I am truly thankful to all of those mentioned for being there as well as all of the people I didn't get a chance to meet. Some of you are friends on twitter, etc. It was truly a pleasure to talk over words, sentences and larger collections of words with you over that weekend. Seems like we should do it again some time. Finally, I can't walk away from this without giving blame… errr credit where it is due. Chris Horne, and his blameless wife Heather are the Original Dealers of my new yearly addiction.(however, I blame Chris exclusively) You can blame him for me being there or for it even happening. I recommend you do. In person. Next Year.

Please keep writing.


P.S. What do you mean I was still being a fanboy? *looks at the post again* I just don't see it. *totters off laughing*

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Upcoming Event: Crossroads Writer's Conference Macon Ga. Oct 4-6th 2013

Edited to fix formatting issues as this was posted from my phone

I will be attending this year's Crossroads, (fireworks!) which is a bit of a last minute surprise for me. I was certain (CERTAIN) I would be unable to attend it this year due in large part to monetary concerns, but also because I am on the road. I have the tremendous good fortune to be visiting friends in Florida and California for most of the remainder of the year, but more on that in a separate blog post.

In the words of Captain Jack Sparrow(this is the second time I have quoted him this week) "Events arose, ensued... Were overcome." This means I will be able to attend and I am seriously looking forward to it. I met a great many wonderful people last year and I hope to do the same again. What makes it even more exciting is see I get to see some of last year's wonderful people again. Double-plus good times.

One of those people is Delilah Dawson. If you have not yet read her works then I can absolutely say you are missing out. I'm not a big reader of most romance novels, but I really enjoyed Wicked as they Come. Shut it! It isn't just romance! I'll give you a minute to accept that all books are not just one genre... Are we done? Good. Once I find myself with book money I will be picking up many more of her works. She is such a wonderful person to talk to. If you are a writer, or you want to be one, she is also a great source of no-nonsense information on the subject.

I'm also calling her out by name since she is the keynote on Friday and you shouldn't miss it.
There are so many other awesome authors, agents, editors and artists that I think you should go to the schedule and check them all out. If you are in the area and you write a little, but you never thought about the possibilities; or if you are an artist and you can't think of a single thing you could apply yourself to other than comic books; or if you find yourself anywhere in the middle or on either side of those two, then this conference will have something for you. (Huge sentence is huge... But it is also correct.)

In case none of this is getting through your very stone-like head, there are many worse places that you could go on a weekend. It is highly likely that you are going to one that weekend... and you may find that you will be eaten by a grue. My personal magic 8 ball says to check back later on that, but can you really afford to? Huh? Can you? *makes weird faces at you*

P.S. congrats on the whole stone-like head thing. Where does one go to get one of those? *scribbles notes* uh huh. Really? Twenty menthol Kools, you say? Sounds too good to be true.

P.P.S. I MAY blog a bit about it while I am there since most of the first of the year has been taken up with writing/editing/crying/writing/slashing/burning/bleeding/etc. I won't know how to act otherwise on such a break from it.