Row80 Sunday Edition #4

It’s that time again.

Row80

This week was much better than last week.  I had two days off this week, that allowed me to get a few things done.

Writing: new novella.  25,000 words.  6,689 words!  In all honesty, some of that was already written, but I’m still counting it for this week.

Editing:  Edit my NaNoWriMo project, first 50 pages.  Nope.  I’ll work on this later.

Submissions: Submit to one editor/agent a week.  Yes, one query letter sent out.

Health: One exercise session a week.  No.

The Great Purge: Taking one room at a time. Still working on my room.  I cleaned out my massive sock drawer and matched them all up.  My sweet hubby wanted to take a photo, claiming in 15 years he’s never seen me match my socks.

W&*(^t :  Goal 3 healthy snacks a week. The King Cake was great.  I did have fish for lunch and yogurt for a snack.  Of course then people gave us doughnuts and chili dogs at work.  Excuse me, my Monkey bread king cake is ready.

I only have 3 days left at work and then the place shuts down for good.  I will soon find lots of time on my hands, hopefully I will use it wisely.  I feel pretty good about the week.  I hope this week will be even better.

How are your goals going?

CK

 

 

 

To Have a Gun or Not….

Taking a different direction for a blog post today.  As you may know, I live in the Deep South.  Guns are fairly common.  Most men, and some women, hunt on a regular  basis.  It really cuts down on the grocery bill! I grew up around riffles and shotguns, I was taught from a very young age not to touch them, they were kept looked up and away.  When I was in middle school my father took me to my grandfather’s house and taught me to shoot his first rifle.  More than anything from that day, beyond hanging with my Dad, I remember the nasty kick it had and the painful bruise it left.

I’ve never felt the need or desire to hunt and I really don’t like the taste of wild game.  For the most part, rifles and shotguns were the weapons I grew up around and there were very few accidents caused by guns.  For the most part…. but then there’s always that one person who thinks rules and safe practices don’t apply to them.

My best friend through most of my childhood was shooting fireworks New Years Eve.  Her older brother decided to shoot straight into the air in celebration of the new year.  That’s bad.  To make it more fun, he had a few beers first.  That is also bad.  My poor friend ended up in the emergency room with a bullet in her buttocks.  Needless to say, as 12 year olds, we had a lot of fun with that.  I’m sure that tale will end up in a story one day.

My friends brother broke 4 rules:

  1. Only idiots shot straight up in the air.  Gravity does still work.
  2. Drinking and guns never mix.
  3. Shooting at night is bad, I think in most areas it’s even illegal.
  4. Shooting in residential areas is illegal.

The older I get the more I hear about hand guns.  I never saw a hand gun until I was almost 30, no one I knew had one.  Except cops.  I’m not a fan of hand guns, you don’t use them to hunt so what’s the point.  For the most part, I associate hand guns with thugs and paranoid city slickers.  Not too long ago, I was at a Guild meeting.  I was the youngest woman there by 15 – 20 years.  We were sitting around talking and some how the conversation switched to guns.  I was shocked to learn that the majority of blue hairs sitting around that table were packing heat.  I made a mental note to call before I show up at their house at night.

Why am I bringing this up?  Good question, it sounded better in the car.

My protagonist in Dead in the Water and part 2 that I’m writing for NaNoWriMo, her name is Coco, must decide on if she will have a gun. These are mystery novels and being the protagonist, Coco finds herself in sticky situations.  She has mixed feelings about guns, and does worry that it will be used against her.  To add to the uncertainty, she questions whether or not she would actually shot someone.  So that’s where I am.  As I write for NaNo, my character must decide if she will have a gun or not.  We shall see…

CK

Row80 Wednesday

Time for the Wednesday update.  Be sure to visit all of the Row80 blogs.  I’ve accomplished a little.

  • Writing: I am toying with the idea of NaNoWriMo.  Even though I know I can’t reach the 50,000 word goal.  I enjoy the fun and sprints.  Summer camp with NaNo was lots of fun.  Anyway, I’m almost finished editing my WIP, that will leave me more time to write.  Knowing how much time I have, I’m starting small, 3,000 words a week.  This starts after I finish editing.  Look me up at NaNoWriMo I go by Writechik.   I pulled out the rough outline I made 4 years ago.  Read through and froze in my tracks.  I wrote the outline  when I finished the first draft of Dead in the water.  After looking at it again, it sounds too much like  Breaking Bad.  There was a nasty teacher who was the mastermind behind a meth ring.  What’s funny is, I don’t have cable and have never seen a single episode of Breaking Bad.  Now, I have to go back and come up with something else.
  • Editing: Finish editing my WIP, Dead in the Water. Finish edits by October 21.  On track.  I have about 30 pages left. Then I need to print it out and reread it.
    Just finished edits.  Yippie.  Now, I have to go to work.  Bummer.
  • Submissions: Start submissions October 22  Nov.1, send out 2 a week the rest of the round.  Stop laughing….think positive.  Pushing the Submissions back to Nov. 1.  I’ve got the WIP printed out. This morning I’ll be making a list of agents and publishers to send it to.  Yikes!  That’s scarey.
  • Social networking: This is the hardest.  I am bad at just liking a post or a tweet and leaving.  So my goal for this is to respond more to blog posts, even reblogging, and be more involved on twitter. That’s not measurable.  Comment on 3 blogs a week. I’ve commented on 2 just this morning.
  • Blogging: Have 2 nonRow80 blog posts a week. I’ve only posted once this week, should have one up tomorrow.
  • Coffee: Master my new coffee pot.  Apparently there is a learning curve.  Done

I’m on track.  Makes me happy, I think I will celebrate with chocolate 🙂

CK

A Look At Editing

I am currently editing/revising my WIP, Dead in the Water.  I ditched the prologue, I had hoped to salvage it and make it the first chapter, but it wasn’t possible.  I do think the book is stronger without it.

Rue, helping me edit.

Roux, helping me edit.

Editing– (according to Wiki.) is the act of preparing material (all kinds) to convey information.

Now, that’s vague.

Revising– (according to the free dictionary) is preparing an edited text.

Lovely.  I know there are different forms of editing.  I’m not going through that, but if you are interested here’s some good info:

Novel Publicity

Knite writes     has been writing a series on how editing will drive you insane.  I have fallen into several of these.  Grab a cuppa and read through her blog, it’s a hoot.

A Writer’s Life for Me has a blog post on how to survive the meatgrinder at Smashwords.  That’s more about formatting than actual editing, but I thought I would add that as well.

Editing:

I’ve edited about 2/3 of my WIP.  Some days it’s quick and easy, others it’s like growing tulips in the South.  It just ain’t happening.  I don’t know how other writer’s do it, but for me it can look like this:

pages 1-12: delete and add info in other places

pages 13-15: a few typos and grammar errors

page 16: too much description, get rid of 3 paragraphs, tighten to make it less passive (show don’t tell)

page 17-21: no changes

pages 22-25: change dialogue of this character, he’s bland and sounds like someone else. Make a note to check his voice throughout the book

page: 25-29: no changes

chapter 12- POV just changed to someone new, rewrite entire chapter!

Drink coffee, eat cake, and pass out.

Obviously, this scenario is an exaggeration, but not by much.  I don’t enjoy editing as much as planning and writing.  After a while, I tend to over think grammar and question every use of punctuation.  At the same time, it’s interesting to see your manuscript change and evolve into a better piece of writing.

How do you edit?

CK

Row80 Goals, Round 4

It’s time for Round 4, the last Round, of Row80.  This is only my 2nd round.  I hope that this one is a little better.  One highlight to note: Since finishing round 3 I actually reached my goal of editing the first 100 pages of my WIP.  Funny the way goals work!  I’m not sure when this round ends, but this is my busiest time of year with work.  I work at a Christmas  store (AKA warehouse 13), which is currently going out of business-last day Dec 27.  Business really picks up after Halloween.  I barely have time to breath much less write, edit, or blog.  So this round will be a challenge for me.

On with the goals:

  • Writing: I am toying with the idea of NaNoWriMo.  Even though I know I can’t reach the 60,000 word goal.  I enjoy the fun and sprints.  Summer camp with NaNo was lots of fun.  Anyway, I’m almost finished editing my WIP, that will leave me more time to write.  Knowing how much time I have, I’m starting small, 3,000 words a week.  This starts after I finish editing.
  • Editing: Finish editing my WIP, Dead in the Water. Finish edits by October 21.
  • Submissions: Start submissions October 22, send out 2 a week the rest of the round.  Stop laughing….think positive.
  • Social networking: This is the hardest.  I am bad at just liking a post or a tweet and leaving.  So my goal for this is to respond more to blog posts, even reblogging, and be more involved on twitter. That’s not measurable.  Comment on 3 blogs a week.
  • Blogging: Have 2 nonRow80 blog posts a week.
  • Coffee: Master my new coffee pot.  Apparently there is a learning curve.

I think just about does it.  Can’t wait to see how this round goes.

What goals do you have?

CK

 

A word on revisions, critiques, and Row80

Work isn’t as crazy at the moment, giving me a few moments to breathe and plan.

Revisions:

As stated in an earlier post, I finished reading my WIP, “Dead in the Water”.  I had several issues to think about, beyond grammar.

  • Drop the prologue and write a new first chapter that includes the prologue and expands it into a real chapter.
  • Keep the name of the town. I placed the fictional story in the actual small town I grew up in.  I changed the landscape a little and added street names, but the landmarks and feel are the same.
  • Keep the religious references.  It was not written as a faith book, but faith is a huge part of many in small towns in the South.  Churches fulfill vital roles in these towns, and without them, the towns would slowly die.  I know it may turn off some readers, but it is a large part of my protagonists life…and mine.
  • Seek and destroy all uses of the word: inability.  A full reading of my WIP showed severe overuse.
  • Trim the fat.  My descriptions tend to run toward epic fantasy and must be pared down.  Granted in some areas a detailed description is necessary, but I don’t think we need to know ever inch of detail.  Maybe it’s a gender thing, but I noticed I describe what my main characters are wearing.  Not sure if all of that is needed.
  • Kill my darlings.  That sounds illegal, but I will do it…maybe.

Critiques:

I just had a story critiqued in CC.  I had the best critiques ever.  Not to say they loved it and went starry eyed, no they gave very helpful and detailed critiques.  So a shout out to everyone at CC, I now know how it is done!  I knew my story had a problem with the ending, but they found several issues that I had not even noticed.  So Thursday, on my day off I printed all of my critiques out, read through them, and sent my grades and a thank you to all of the wonderful writers who took their time to read my short.  Editing this is also now on my to-do list.

Row80:

Reading:  I am reading another indie book, at least I think it is an indie sometimes it’s hard to tell.  I like it, but don’t love it.  I’m not sure if I will finish it.  Since I bought my Kindle, I’ve been going through my list of indie writer’s that I have met online.  The problem I will have is, what to do if I don’ t like it. A few years ago, I had a book review blog.  I made an effort not to review books I didn’t like, meaning I didn’t leave nasty reviews.  Not everyone will like a book.  I can only remember one book I read and really didn’t like and wrote a review.  All the reviews weren’t starry eyed, but honest and helpful.  But I also live by the motto: there are too many books to finish reading a book you don’t like.  If I don’t like it by the end of the first few chapters I chunk it.  Back to my problem, Do I tell them I don’t like their book or just grin and lie? I have 6 books on my Kindle only 1 is a traditionally published book (To Kill A Mockingbird).  2 books I’m not sure how they were published.  I have finished 1 short indie and loved it, left a nice review on Amazon, and another indie book I didn’t finish because I didn’t care for it.  It wasn’t by an author I knew, I just liked the cover 🙂

Revisions:  read the first paragraph, I have a little time this morning 🙂

Writing:  It was on the back burner.  Then my husband made a comment and it opened up an idea for a new book.  I might start planning that a little.

Submissions:  Still spinning my wheels over Wattpad.  I think it’s the fear of taking that first leap and looking foolish.

 

So how are your goals going this week?

CK

 

Character Flaws- Pride

Sitting in church Sunday I had a great idea.  I get lots of ideas at church.  Don’t go to another post, this is not a sermon.  Keep reading.  The sermon mentioned pride.  WOW.  That is a great character flaw.  It reminded me of a couple of characters in my WIP, Dead in the Water.

The characters we create should be 3 D, that means they must have flaws.  Don’t over do it and cross into melodrama, but they can not be perfect.  No one likes perfect.

Let’s look at pride.  (I promise not to hold up actual people as example)  According to the 1985 edition of Mr. Webster’s dictionary, pride is as follows:

(n) 1.  state of being proud  a. conceit    b. reasonable self-respect   c. delight from an act, possession, relationship

2. proud or disdainful behavior/treatment

3. ostentatious display

4.  a source of pride/best in class

5.  company of lions

6. a showy or impressive group

By the time I made it to #6 I had a vision of prancing peacocks.  For this post, I will ignore the last few definitions and concentrate on those related to characters.

Peacock Spreads Its Tail 5

Photo by  WEYENBERGH JACKY

Small amounts of pride are evident and even necessary for characters.  It’s called positive self-esteem.  Unless, your character is suffering low self-esteem, they will have some level of pride. Small amounts of pride are OK.  Left unchecked by humility, it causes problems.   The clique is easy, the husband that refuses to ask for directions and wanders aimlessly around the countryside waiting for some magic hand to point him in the right direction, or the mother who thinks her child is perfect and never does anything wrong.

Having gone to Sunday school my whole life, pride comes before the fall, has been drilled into my brain.  Unless you work in Washington DC and then you are rewarded for it.

What does this mean for our characters?

Pride usually starts small, being rewarded for good work.   Constant praise morphs into blind pride.  It can be based on achievement.  Here in the South it tends to be based more on gender rolls and college football.  Pride also comes from personal image, or their perceived image.  It doesn’t have to be how others actually see them.  A character who sees themselves as a pillar of the community and likes to show off his/her “perfect” life will take drastic measures to keep that image.

My MC is named Coco.  She was created out of frustration.  I was tired of reading cozy novels where the protagonist was tall, thin, gorgeous, and financially stable.  I wanted one to be more realistic.  Coco is a little short, and curvy.  She looks like I imagine most American women look.  She’s working on her second career after she failed at being a reporter.  She’s not visually perfect, but she does have a positive self-image.  Her problem with pride shows up in an unlikely place.  She get’s mixed up in a murder investigation and everyone tells her she needs to stop and let the police handle it.  This is where most Southerners have a problem with pride.  Now that people think she can’t do it she has to prove them wrong.  Her pride is wrapped up in her abilities, it also makes it hard to ask for help when you’re in over your head.  Of course, things don’t work out and she ends up in a dangerous situation.  I’m not telling any more, I hope the book will be out before I die.

Pride causes people to become arrogant, can put them in dangerous situations, and can alienate others.  It’s an easy flaw to give a character, because so many people actually have it.  Go ahead and tell me my biscuits are not as good as yours!   The fun is finding new ways to make that flaw evident.

What’s your favorite character flaw?

CK