Another nod for a 7×7

I feel so appreciated! Only about a week ago, Fredrik nominated me for the 7×7 award. Then, this morning, I woke up and found that sweet Laura over at  nominated me for the award also!

Here is the link to the original award in case you missed it the first go-around.

Thank you Laura & Fredrik!

NaNoWriMo–in February?

My friend, Kady, is embarking on a solo journey for 31 days. She is doing her own NaNoWriMo from February 1 – March 2.

Kady told me, “Since February has 29 days this year I’m giving myself until March 2nd because 1) This is my first time damn it, I’m going to need that 31st day and 2) The kids start vacation on the 27th and that may seriously cut into my writing time!”

Kady is a married mother of three boys (all under the age of 8) and has been wanting to do something writing related for years now. It wasn’t until she read “No Plot, No Problem!” by Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, that she decided to write something.

Baty pushes quantity over quality, he believes that writers get tripped up trying to write perfectly the first time around, and that everyone needs a deadline. But what struck a chord the most with Kady is Baty’s advice against being a ‘one day’ writer, as in “One day I want to write a novel.” Kady says,  “I say that to myself ALL THE TIME. I thought after I read that, Why not let today be the day!! and decided to do the Nano in February. Simple as that. I’m at a point where I’m getting anxious to figure out what I want to do with my life.”

First order of business was to make sure she had someone pick up the slack when she’s immersed in her writing. She says, “I mostly needed to have Eric [hubby] back me up on this. I needed to know he was going to take the kids out for the day if it’s week 3 and I’m seriously behind on my word count. Otherwise, I’ve told a handful of people about it. I’m hoping having people know about it and ask about it will give me the drive to keep going!! I just hope they don’t want to read it when I’m done!”

Kady is one of the most organized people I know. For instance, she is preparing her tax documents, putting all her CDs on Itunes, and cleaning out her fridge in preparation for her writing frenzy. She explains, “so that I won’t be tempted to do mundane things just to avoid writing.”

As a writer who also waited so long to get “serious” about snagging her dream, I asked Kady where she finds her motivation. “I’m mostly motivated by the curiosity to see if this writing thing is for me. Plus I like a good challenge. I’m a creative person at heart so something like running a marathon isn’t a challenge that appeals to me but writing 50,000 words in one month seemed like a good idea! It’s something I want to do even if it doesn’t turn out great.”

Is she terrified about any of this? Feeling confident? Yes, and yes! She admits, “I’m terrified that I think I have a lot to write about and that on Day 2 I’ve already written it all! I’m nervous about getting stuck, about having characters that fall flat, and about what people might think! Having said that though, I’m pretty confident that no matter what I’ll reach 50,000 words by my deadline (March 2).”

With Kady’s personal NaNoWriMo right around the bend, it’s ironic that her 5-year-old son, Ben, asked her, “Who are you?”

Kady said, “What?”

“You know, are you a teacher? A policeman?”

“Well, mostly I’ve just been your mom because you guys need a lot of taking care of but I’d like to be a writer so I’m going to start doing that soon.”

Ben said, “Yeah, I like that.”

A Tasty Touchdown

How do you decide which background information to put into your novel?

Last night during our 5 Pages Writing Group meeting, two members didn’t like something I wrote about my protag’s statistics from his college football career. Liz said there was too much detail. Elaine said she didn’t care about it, and it’s not important to know.

They claimed that I will lose my audience, that they will glaze right over that information because there is no interest in football stats.

I had a substantial reason for the background info (or so I thought until I met with the group). The information supports my protag’s anxiety disorder because he uses the stats to compare how successful he was to how he struggles now.

Ironically, Elaine wanted to know precisely where in Florida my fictional town was located, whether it was in the panhandle, on the coast, etc. I told her that info wasn’t important to the story so I didn’t include it. She thought it was important and it suddenly dawned on me that she wanted to know that info because she herself is from Florida. This bit of info attracts her on a personal level. Even though the location of the town has no bearing on the outcome of the novel nor is it related to any of the plot points, she was drawn to this piece in the story.

So, our discussion/debate got me thinking about the importance of information or detail in a novel. As readers, are we more interested in information that we share a kinship with, or in information that is relevant to the outcome of the story?

Why is Elaine more intrigued about the precise location of a fictional town but not in my protag’s football history that could make or break his career?

Or, does it go deeper than that? Would the reader be more willing to take in boring information if it was presented in a palatable manner? Perhaps the issue is not in the type of information provided, but in how the author presents, or delivers, the information. You might need rigid, boring information in the text for the purpose of background or explanation or set-up, but you sure don’t want to be presenting it poorly.

I want the reader to know this is a guy who is destined for NFL stardom, but is setting himself up for disaster. That being said, I don’t think I’m going to scrap the football stats, but if the problem is in my delivery I will fix it.

How about you? How do you handle dry background information that seems necessary to the plot?

Originally posted on Pat Bean's blog :

“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.” – Richard Wright

The Write Words

While I want my words to stand out like the red leaves on the tree I can see outside my RV window, too often I feel they read like one of the tiny green ones hiding in the background. It's call writer's angst. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Angst and doubt about one’s ability are part of a writer’s world, at least the ones I know. We worry that the words we put out to the world aren’t good enough. And unlike the carpenter who can redo the lopsided chair he built before anyone sits on it, we writers can’t take back our words once we’ve sent them out into the world.

This past week I wrote about Custer State Park, but in a photo caption written during a brain fart, I called it Custard State Park. I later corrected the error but not until after…

View original 318 more words

4amWriter is One Lovely Blog

Beth over at Limebird Writers nominated me with the One Lovely Blog Award!

Thank you Beth!

Apparently, there aren’t any rules for this award. So, I am going to turn around and present this award to 5 of the top commenters on my blog. (After scouting through my top 30 commenters, I found that many of them have already received this award. So, a couple of my nominees are fairly new commenters on my blog, but as far as I can tell have not received this award.) Very cool sci-fi writer and awesome poet. He even dances! It is because of Fredrik that I have any followers at all. It’s true, buddy. Love, love, love this gal. I wish she lived closer to me because I think we’d have a rip-roaring good time buying shoes and talking shop. I’d even introduce her to a wolf or two. :) I cannot get over this woman and the beauty and peace she brings into my life through her photos and her posts. I truly appreciate his comments on my posts as he is always thanking me for helping him write. I can’t think of anything better in this writing gig than to hear that I have inspired or helped someone. We’ve only just met, but I have enjoyed exchanging comments over blogging, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Quite an interesting woman.