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Archive for November, 2012

I’m tired this morning. Partially because I worked an eight hour shift at my temp job, and partially because I didn’t sleep really good. A nap will probably be put on the agenda somewhere today.

While I have today off, I’m not sure how much writing I’ll get done. As always, there seems to be a long list of things that ‘have’ to get done first. Dishes, laundry, straightening up around the house. I freely admit there are some chores I put off as long as possible. But they’re still in the back of my head, nudging me.

The need to write is just that. I NEED to do it. When I’m under the spell of my muse, it’s everything I can do to pry myself away from my keyboard. Even when I’m driving our daughters to school, my fingers will be itching to feel the keys beneath them. I live for the feeling.

Other days, it’s a struggle. I can’t quite get the dialogue down, or the scene just right. My mind wants to do something, ANYTHING, besides write. Those are the days when the deep scrubbing of the house takes place, or I spend more time playing computer games than anything productive.

If you’ve read anything of ‘Daughter of Hauk’, you know I write a very detailed way. I love to hear the crackle of the fire, the smell of the trees, and the sound of waves lapping on the side of a boat. We don’t live in a silent, colorless world and I don’t want to read a book that exists in such a place either. We react to the environment around us on a daily basis. And so our characters should, and our readers through them. This is probably why I do my best writing when I’m in the zone. When I have that clear mental image of everything around the characters, when I can become that proverbial fly on the wall that eavesdrops on their conversation, so can my readers.

And, I hope, they like it.

Later this week, I’ll be doing some guest blogging! Once I get the links, I’ll share them here. Have a terrific post-Thanksgiving week!

BB

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Names, names, names

Naming characters is a tough business!

Get it right, and the name resonates through every thing you have them do and the reader remembers them.

Get it wrong, and they’ll be forgotten or regulated to ‘you know – what’s his name that did x, y and z’.

I’m working on ‘Son of Corse’ today (sequel to ‘Daughter of Hauk’). There’s one name I’ve already used that I don’t like and need to change. It doesn’t fit with the rest of the names in the book. I’ve also got two more male names that will be coming up, one sooner than the other.

Does anyone have suggestions? Keep in mind, this is a fantasy. The name I don’t like is Erik…just not fantasy-ish enough. 

Here’s some examples of the male names from DoH and thus far in SoC for a reference: Hauk, Joss, Senyan, Lu’Thare, Corse, Barek, Hugh, Bohrs, Ramberti, Anthones, Diel.

I may even send the ‘winning’ suggestion a pdf of ‘Daughter of Hauk’…..

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It’s Monday! The weather’s icky, three of the four of us are fighting our first cold of the season, the kids are home from school today, and I’ll spend at least two hours today doing the grocery shopping.

My writing Big Brother shared something on FaceBook this morning, and I’m encouraging ANYONE who is a writer or attended a convention of ANY kind to read it. It’s a wealth of information we all need to remember.

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/10/16/25-things-writers-should-know-about-conferences-and-conventions/

Someone recently asked me to help them with a cover letter and bio for a submission. I have no problem with this whatsoever. Those are some of the most daunting tasks a writer has to face, and we ALL have to do them. By helping her, I’m polishing my own skills. Just because I have a publisher now doesn’t guarantee that they’ll want the next book I submit. Or renew my contract when it’s up. Sales are a big part of what drives a publisher. They can like me as a person all they want. If my book doesn’t generate revenue, there’s no reason why they should keep me.

Learning never stops. I’m never going to reach a point where I can just spew words onto a page and know they’re perfect without sending it through beta readers and editing prior to submitting it. You always learn something new, improve on what was written. Indeed, one of the hardest things to do is to say to yourself, “This story is as good as I can get it. It’s time to submit it.” The urge to tweak, revise, rework just one more scene never goes away.

I’m still thinking about the reviewing idea. I need to put together my own criteria of what I would be willing to review, and how. Not to mention I’m still learning my way around here! I want to make a separate area for requests, reviews, and what my guidelines are. 

The washer is done, the dishwasher is ready to be loaded, and the cat box needs to be scooped. Once that’s all done, it’s going to be time to head to the store and get the food to feed the house for another week. My fingers are itching today. 

This is not a bad thing for me, or my readers. My characters might disagree, though. LOL

BB

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To review or not to review

Another blogger, whom I respect a great deal, does some wonderful reviews on his site. He’s got a set of rules about book reviews that I admire. He always buys the book instead of taking free copies. He says this is to help him gauge if the book was worth the cost. Another thing, he builds in a section where he mentions what he thinks could’ve been done better. This helps him avoid doing an over the top gushing review.

Last week, I’d finished reading his book, ‘American Goddesses’. I posted a review on Amazon, then sent him a private note on Twitter letting him know he could email me if he wanted a more in-depth critique. We ended up having a wonderful conversation! Not just about his book, but writing in general and the nature of reviews. One of his suggestions was for me to start posting more comprehensive reviews here.

I’m still thinking about that, and any commentary from my followers is welcome! Would this interest you? Would my opinion (for that’s all a review really is) be interesting to read?

I don’t do super-comprehensive reviews on Amazon. I see that site as a say something nice, don’t slam a book place for a review. If I can’t give it a 4-5 star rating, I won’t. Rather, I’ll contact the author privately and let them know I won’t be posting a review, inviting them to contact me directly if they want an honest reason why.

Authors are touchy people. We’re emotionally tied to our work, and we crave the praise. Hearing someone didn’t care for your ‘baby’ is hard. A bad review can, however, benefit the author as long as it’s constructive. Like any other craft, writers have to learn from their mistakes. We need to be open to what does and doesn’t work, take the criticism with the praise, and be able to separate what’s helpful from what’s just plain mean.

The reason I hesitate about writing reviews here is simple: I fear retaliation. I could review a book here, do my best to balance the good with the bad, only to have the author blast my own work in return. There are those out there who cannot take being told their work isn’t an instant classic with grace. 

So, to review or not to review? What do you think?

BB

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