Sunday, January 27, 2013

Coincidences & Plotting

I'm experiencing (again) one of the big down sides of being a pantster. Coincidences.

When I start drafting I tend to know a few things:
  • my 2 main characters - their names, jobs, main personality traits, flaws
  • the 1st scene (or at least what starts it)
  • the final outcome or the climax scene (at least a snippet of it)
That's pretty much it and none of it's usually written down. I used Scivener for my latest project and I did know a bit more than usual for this story. This time I had a solid picture of the town in my head and I knew more of the people than I usually do. I even had about 5 bullets for plot points. Yup - for me that's a lot!

But it wasn't enough. I still messed up. I've got a major problem because of some unrealistic coincidence type things that seemed perfectly appropriate during the draft. *sigh*

Now I'm facing a big choice. Tweak the ms in a major edit (which should take roughly forever :)) - or keep the story issues in my head and rewrite it from scratch (possibly facing the same issues next time).

*bigger sigh*

I've learned a lot over the past 3 or 4 years that I've been writing, but I still haven't learned to plot in advance and not kill the joy of writing the story. So I'm looking for a little help. I THINK I'd like to create an outline for the same story and then rewrite it. Because I'm removing some MAJOR events and plot points, it's going to be a pretty different story - and I'm more than a little nervous about even trying an outline.

So, let me in on what works for you. 3 act structure? Chapter by chapter outline? Major twists first - fill in from there? A long list of bullet points?

Help! How do you outline? And, how do you outline and still have fun?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Valerie Parv & Superheroes

Today I'd like you to welcome the talented Valerie Parv to the blog! I really enjoyed her book Birthright - a great combination of sf and romance! :)


Why we love super heroes
After I’d written Birthright, it dawned on me that I’d created a new breed of super hero called beacons. I didn’t set out to. I just wanted to explore these interesting people who popped into my mind, and happened to have abilities beyond our own.
The story started with my favorite question – what if? What if you had the ability to see anything you wanted to see? Instead of wondering how your parents or friends were doing, you could extend your special senses and “see” what they’re up to. Or see inside someone’s purse, very revealing. What if you had hearing that defies logic? Just by wanting to, you can tune in to a conversation in the next room, or listen to space and the music of the solar winds. What kind of people would have such powerful sight and hearing? Are they human? Where did their powers come from? How do they use their abilities? I won’t spoil the book by answering here. But I can tell you that finding out the answers was one of the most satisfying experiences of my writing career. After 70 books and millions of sales, that’s saying something.
I think we love super heroes because they represent the secret side of us nobody else knows about. Sure, we might be timid and ordinary-looking in real life, but inside lives the beautiful, powerful part of us; our brave, successful dream self.  Many super heroes have bumbling alter egos who may represent the “us” the world sees. But step into the phone booth or spin around at super speed and the “real us” appears to save the world. I guess that means the beacons are what I’d most like to be.  
If you had a free choice, what would your super power be? One comment will win a download of Birthright for Kindle or Nook, with a personalized “authorgraph” to make it…er…super special.
Valerie Parv is one of Australia's most successful writers with more than 29 million books sold in 26 languages. She is the only Australian author honored with a Pioneer of Romance award from RT Book Reviews, New York. With a lifelong interest in space exploration, she counts meeting Neil Armstrong as a personal high point. So it's no wonder she's taking romance to the stars and beyond In Birthright, her most ambitious novel yet. She loves connecting with readers via her website, blog, @ValerieParv on Twitter and on Facebook.
About Birthright
Former police officer turned deputy governor, Shana Akers, is used to handling high-stakes situations. But after learning that a space shuttle mission about to be launched from her island home may have a shocking secret agenda, she must turn for answers to the man who has challenged her mind and emotions for years.

Scientific genius and space center director, Adam Desai, is a truly self-made man. Found adrift at sea as a baby, he knows nothing about his origins until two VIPs attending the launch force him to confront the truth about his past, changing everything Adam has ever believed about himself.

Faced with a danger that threatens the entire world, can Adam and Shana find the strength to trust not only each other, but the mysterious VIPs whose unusual abilities defy logical thinking? Especially when it becomes clear that they'll need all of their combined resources to reclaim humanity's BIRTHRIGHT.

Published by Corvallis Press USA 2012.
Super heroes are tons of fun! I think I'd choose super travel powers (like beaming!) to visit all the places in the world I'd love to see! How about you?

Monday, January 14, 2013

PAPfest ... really!

Yup - it's a PAPfest! Three of my buddies from over at AgentQueryConnect & From the Write Angle are hosting the Pitch-a-Partner Festival! (Don't you feel better now you know what it stands for??)

Even reading the instructions (along with the awesome illustrations) made me laugh. If you write MG or YA, you really HAVE to check it out. You pitch your crit partner's MS in order to get a request for YOUR story. Agents are involved and will be looking at the queries and first 200 words of the finalists!

Details are available at any of the blogs of the 3 brilliant minds behind this contest. Pop on over and check it out!

Mindy McGinnis - Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire
RC Lewis - Crossing the Helix
MarcyKate Connolly

Good luck to everyone who decides to enter!!

So, do you/have you entered a lot of writing contests?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fresh Starts

Well, 2013 has been here for over a week now. How's it treating you? We've all finally gotten rid of the flu virus (I hope!!) that haunted us for most of the holidays. Nasty stuff - hope it stayed far away from all of you. Is everyone relaxed, refreshed and ready to make this a great year? Hope so!

I'm NOT a resolution maker - never have been. I tend to focus on next steps as opposed to longer goals - otherwise I get lost in the big plans and dreams and forget about taking those steps. Baby steps work best. One thing at a time.

Today I'm over at From the Write Angle talking about Fresh Starts. I think we all need those once in a while! I hope you'll pop on over and add to the discussion!

How about you? Do you make those resolutions ... and do you keep them? Do you like fresh starts too?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Solomon's Compass

My bloggy friend Carol Kilgore is having her cover reveal today! Her new book - Solomon's Compass - will be out and about soon!

Taylor is in Rock Harbor, Texas, on a quest to unearth her uncle’s treasure—a journey far outside the realm of her real life. There’s one glitch. Taylor's certain the buried treasure was all in Uncle Randy's dementia-riddled mind. Now he’s dead.

Former SEAL Jake Solomon is in Rock Harbor under false pretenses to protect Taylor from the fate that befell her uncle and the other members of a tight circle of Coast Guardsmen called the Compass Points who served together on Point boats in Vietnam.

Jake is definitely not supposed to become involved with Taylor. That was his first mistake. Taylor is attracted to Jake as well, but she refuses to wait for him to locate the killer when she knows her plan will force her uncle’s murderer into action.

But the killer's actions are just what Jake is afraid of.

Carol Kilgore is an award-winning author of several published short stories and many essays and articles. Solomon’s Compass is her second novel, a blend of mystery, suspense, and romance she calls Crime Fiction with a Kiss – always at least one crime; always a love story. Carol and her Coast Guard husband live in San Antonio, Texas, with two herding dogs that like nothing better than pack time on the patio.
You can find Carol here:

Love it! If you haven't met Carol yet, visit her Under the Tiki Hut. And check out her first book - In Name Only. It's a great story!

Congrats Carol!!

So, do you like stories that blend genres the way Carol's do?