No…it’s not as awesome as it appears, but still…

For those of you who read on a regular basis, you’ll notice that my word count just jumkped like 10,000 words in about a week.  Looks great, right?  And don’t get me wrong, I love seeing that little pink meter move further and further to the right.  And I did technically add that many words to the book.  However, most of it was already written.  As I’ve had ideas over the past six or so months, I’ve written them out into very rough drafts right within my outline.  So all it really took to get that 10,000 words was to transfer them from my outline to the manuscript itself.  I did do a lot of polishing — basically what was in my outline was a very very rough draft — so I guess that has to count for something, and all of it was stuff I’ve been really excited about getting in there.  The only downside, I’ve left a few holes.  There is one chapter where I’ve only included a small paragraph giving a general idea of what I want to happen.  Other chapters have an introductory paragraph that is the same.  I just wasn’t up to working out all the intricate details of political intrigue and plot.  Plus, I’m not sure I have it all figured out yet.  So, there you have it.  My amazing 10,000 words in a short space of time.

3,000 words…

In the past few days, I’ve written over 3000 words on book 2.  Even more significant, I’ve gotten past a scene that I haven’t known exactly what to do with.  I finally just knew what needed to be done.  It’s still pretty rough, but at least I know who’s feeling what and how the events got to where I wanted them.  Now I enter the section of the book I only recently decided on.  It’s going to be tricky.  I’ve always known the middle would be.  The beginning almost wrote itself.  The ending I’m actually excited to write (because it explains a lot of unanswered questions — past and present — and really sets up well for the third and final book).  But the middle…the middle is full of building tension, guesses by the main character on what he should do next, and build up to a battle.  The trickiest part is going to be making sure everything plays out in an orderly and logical way.  The characters have to respond to what’s prestened to them in a way that makes sense.  They can’t go off to battle without a good reason.  They must take risks, but only ones that are realistic.  The hero has to struggle.  The relationships between the characters have to grow.  And all that happens in the middle.  I guess I have a lot of work to do.  I’m even tempted to do a real general outline and write the ending first, but who knows…

Dilemma…

As all you regular readers know, I’m working on finishing book 2 before the end of April (when I am having a baby).  I’m finding that I’m a lot pickier doing the first draft of book 2 than I was on the first draft of book 1.  On book 1, the first draft was really really rough.  I mean no proper names, places, and most of the speech tags weren’t even there.  However, because that draft was so rough, it took a ton of revisions to get it right.  Now, with the draft of book 2, I’m trying to get a much better draft the first time.  Because of this, it’s taking longer.  I tend not to write a scene unless I have it all worked out in my head, including making sure it works with what has happened before and what I want to happen after.  This has slowed me down a lot and I’m wondering what to do.  Should I continue to do a better first draft, or should I do more of a free write like I did the first time?  On the one hand, it makes for a lot less revision work.  On the other hand, the story gets down on paper a lot quicker.

Book Review: “The Thief,” “The Queen of Attolia,” and “The King of Attolia,” by Megan Whalen Turner

I know, I know, another book review.  I’ve been enjoying myself lately by reading a lot of books, and these three were ones I really enjoyed.  You know when you finish a book or a series and you can’t stop thinking about the characters?  Well, that’s how this was for me.

The first book (a Newberry Honor book) is about Eugenides, a thief.  It starts with him in prison and where it ends is actually quite surprising and unexpected — and therefore great.  The second book is about Eugenides’ role in a war going on between his kingdom and the neighboring kingdom of Attolia.  I don’t want to say too much more for fear of ruining it for someone.

The last book, and probably my favorite, was really the one that left me thinking about the characters, their motivations, their fears, and their humanity.  It was really good, mixing political intrigue, war, and romance.  The characters acted because of who they were and not becasue Turner wanted a particular result.  Sometimes you wanted to hit them and tell them to get real, suck up, and do what they know they should.  Sometimes you hurt right along with them.  Either way, it was a good book.

Because of the way the third book ends, I assume there is going to be a fourth, and I can’t wait to read that one!

Sometimes, when I’m not writing, I get the best ideas…

So, let’s face it, Christmas is a busy time of the year.  I also had a family funeral a few days later.  Consequently, I haven’t hardly done any writing in about a month.  It was probably good.  I was at a point where there were a few things about the book that were bothering me, but that I didn’t quite know how to fix.  And so the title for this post.  Sometimes, when I don’t know what to do, it’s better if I do nothing at all and let the problem sit in my brain for a bit.  I usually think about it as I’m falling asleep at night, and more often than not, the problem sorts itself out. 

In my current case, I think I know exactly what I’m going to do, and I think it will make it better.  It just kind of came to me one night.  I had a scene in the very first chapter where I needed certain things to happen, but the way they were happening just seemed a little forced to me.  I knew I couldn’t really cut something, I had to present it differently.  And now I know what to do.  The second section that was bothering me was  a scene where essential information was presented in dialog, but it seemed to drag.  Again, everything that was there needs to be there, it just isn’t presented right.  And now I think it will be.  So…long story short.  Although I haven’t gotten a lot of writing done, I have solved two problems that have been bothering me for months.

Anyone else ever feel the same?

Character motivation

I was reading over at Diane Gallant’s blog about the frustrations of character motivation.  It seems that others have the same problem I have:  the characters do things that totally make sense to me and I assume everyone else will totally get it, when in reality, there needs to be a little more explanation.  This has been pointed out to me quite a few times by one of my beta readers, who is always telling me to show what my characters are feeling, to get into their heads.  I have to admit, it has made the book a lot better to show my readers what my characters are doing, instead of just watching them do it.  I think it provides a lot more character development, and it lets the reader identify more with the character — because they can feel with them, instead of just watching.  And as an additional bonus, I’ve added quite a few “showing” scenes that weren’t in any of the first drafts.  Some of those scenes are actually now included in my favorite scenes catory (if there is such a thing).

A few thoughts…

I know, I know, I haven’t posted for…well, for forever.  I’ve had a couple of reasons.  One, my kids are on year-round school and they’ve had the last three weeks off.  I just don’t get as much done when the kids are home all day, everyday.

Another reason I haven’t done much is because I’ve been on a school boundary change committee.  We have so many kids in my area (my kids attend an elementary school with an enrollment of 1224!!!), that they’re building a new school.  A group of parents are on a committee to decide where the boundaries of that new school should be.  It’s been hectic, and honestly, a bit ridiculous.  Sometimes I feel that there just aren’t enough logical thinking people in the world.  But…that’s not really that important to this blog.

Finally, and this is a good reason not to have done much, I’ve finished my query letter.  I’ve gone through dozens and dozens of drafts.  I’ve submitted on AW.  I’ve asked other authors to read it.  And I think I finally have a great version that not only gives all the pertinent details, but also sounds good.  Yeah!!!

For anyone interested, I’ve added a brief summary of my book.  It’s under the book tab, or listed on the side column on the left.

I’ll post more later, and sooner, next time.

“Brisingr” — Christopher Paolini

I don’t know how many of you have read Christopher Paolini’s books, but I personally like them.  Sometimes I think he gets a little long-winded (and I seriously wonder why his editor didn’t cut more material), but the story is great!!  I read “Eragon” after it had been out for about a year and “Eldest” right after it’s release.  I’m excited to get “Brisingr” tomorrow.  I hope it is as good as I want it to be.

Anyone who follows this series probably already knows that this third book was originally supposed to be the last in the series.  Not any more.  Paolini decided he had too much story left to tell and he added a book.  So…there’s still one more to come.  I sincerely hope he doesn’t wait another three or more years to release the fourth book.  I honestly think that because it’s been so long since the release of “Eldest” that some of the hype has died down and that people aren’t as interested.  I may be wrong, but I just don’t know very many people (besides those I’ve give the books to) that have read this series.  Maybe I just know the wrong people, though, because it’s been a New York Times Bestseller.

So everyone go to your local bookstore tomorrow (or Wal Mart, in my case) and pick up a copy of “Brisingr.”  Hopefully it will meet expectations.

A new author…coming Summer ’09

I’d like everyone to check out a new author, whose first book, Wings, is coming out next summer.  Her name is Aprilynne Pike.  She actually lives pretty close to me and I check out her blog frequently.  She even read and critiqued my query letter.  Wasn’t that nice of her?  Anyway, I already have a link to her in my sidebar, but here’s her blog, and here’s her web page.  Go check them out, especially if you like YA, or want to see how her writing process, getting an agent, and finally a publisher, went.