Monday, January 30, 2012

The Beautiful Part of Writing--#WIPMADNESS Check-In

“The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, brain surgery."
--Robert Cormier
Could you imagine if you had one shot at getting your novel right? The thought makes me shudder. As I'm plugging away at this current revision, one thing that relieves the pressure is knowing that I'll be able to revise it as many times as needed. Phew!
Now, for some end of the month business:
We need a host for February. If you're interested, let me know in your comment, otherwise I'll be happy to continue. March will be a special month since the originator of the WIPMADNESS, Denise Jaden, will strike again with March Madness. She changed her blog address. Are you following?
Do you remember what your goals were at the beginning of January? Check here
My goal was to work daily on revising the WIP and to remember to eat. Done and done.
Thanks for the encouragement.
This past week I read this scary yet motivating article about how sitting all day is damaging your body. And so I started a new habit: drinking lots of water while revising and using the first floor toity so I get plenty of trips up and down the stairs. So far, so good. 
How was your month? It's time for cheers, high fives, and pats on the back.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing--How Deep Do You Dig?

"Dig until you hit rock. Then take out that jackhammer and go a little deeper."
-- Allison Brennan

This week I've been digging away, searching for the hard rock of my characters' emotional truths.  I'm getting closer, but they're still not being totally honest with me. Some hard layers still stand in the way. I need that jackhammer, an effective tool, but one that shakes the operator to the core. 
Yes. I'm going to dig deep. And it's going to take an emotional toll on me. Am I ready? Am I prepared to blast my way through my rawest emotions? I hope so.
Have you ever been revising a novel and realize you've only scratched the surface? How do you know when you've finally hit bedrock? Do your hands shake? Maybe your stomach sickens? Will you go deeper?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Is Your Story Raining On Your Readers? #WIPMADNESS Week 3

"Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."
--E.L. Doctorow

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the elements of a good story. What makes me remember one novel a year later as opposed to the one I read last month about which I can't recall a thing? Sensory details. The feelings and sensations the story arouses in my heart, mind, and gut.
Have you ever read a story that makes your heart race and your skin crawl? Off the top of my head, I can think of one such novel--DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS by CJ Omololu. 
That's the way I want to write this novel. I want readers to feel like they've experienced life in Occupied Paris. Tasted it. Touched it. Lived it.  Perhaps it will take years to get my story to that point, but I will not be satisfied with anything less.
How has your week been? Are you making it rain on your readers?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Have You Sailed Away From Your Safe Harbor? #WIPMADNESS Check-In

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain

The moment I decided to write historical fiction, I left my safe contemporary harbor and moved into the rough waters of World War II France. From the moment I set sail, the voyage became one of exploration and discovery. But the dream sometimes becomes a nightmare. Like it did last Friday when I thought I'd made one HUGE historical error which would cause the entire story to collapse. 
After I clawed my way out of the pit of despair, I remembered my source and breathed a huge sigh of relief. Having weathered that research storm and many others, I continue to move forward. Saturday I reached the 1/4 of the way mark. Yay!!!

How about you? Have you sailed away from your safe harbor? What have you explored, dreamed, or discovered with your WIP?

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Research--How Much Is Enough?

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
-- Albert Einstein
When the idea for a story set in Occupied Paris first hit me four years ago, I didn't think about research. I only thought about how much fun it would be to write a young adult novel set in that particular place and time.
Before I started writing the first draft, I spent three years reading everything I could get my hands on that had to do with life in Paris during the war. I kept a notebook and jotted down interesting bits and significant dates and other random stuff. While writing the first draft, I did not refer to my research notes. Instead, I worked on crafting the story without worrying too much about the details. But I did make about 100 notes on the draft: RESEARCH THIS!
As a huge fan of historical fiction, it's important to me that an author has done the research. But sometimes an author will include a note to readers in the back of the book that explains where the author has "deviated" for the sake of the story. That doesn't bother me.
Now that I'm revising the novel, I find that I can search for an answer to one of those questions for hours and still come up empty. At that point, I have to change direction and come at it from a different angle. Though I love doing research, sometimes I wonder, how much is enough? When writing historical fiction, must I stick 100% to historical accuracy and check every minute detail?
What are your thoughts on the matter?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Holly Cupala and DON'T BREATHE A WORD

Don't Breathe a Word official site

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to this lovely author whose smile can light up a large room and whose novels will light up your heart.

You can read a sneak preview of Don't Breathe A Word  here and can purchase it at Amazon or IndieBound

Here are some thoughts from Holly on writing and life:
On Writing:
Favorite thing about writing a first draft:
Ideas! I love ideas. The hard part for me is getting them down.
Best thing about writing for teens:
The connection with readers. That part has been an amazing and unforeseen joy.

Favorite word?
Palimpsest. It means something that has been erased and written upon again in layers of history and meaning. It appears in Tell Me a Secret, but I never found a place for it in Don’t Breathe a Word.  
One word that describes your path to publication:
Serendipitous. (That would be after painful, long, and persistent!)
If I could have two dream careers, I’d be an author and:
An artist. I love to paint and make collage and do crafty artsy things.
On Life:
If I could snap my fingers and solve one of the problems here on earth, it would be:
To put more hope and forgiveness into the world.
One question I wish I had a definitive answer to:
How to write a novel without some sort of psychic suffering? :-D
Best thing about being a child:
A clear message of love from my family.
Worst thing about being a child:
Having four “parents”—two actual parents, and two much older siblings who acted like parents. 
Best thing about being a teenager:
Making the best friends of my life, who are still my best friends.
Worst thing about being a teenager:
The horrible gap between longing and actuality.
Most memorable teen moment:
When my brother got into a near-fatal car accident that resulted in the death of another driver.
A quote I live by:
Your heart has been broken, but I will put it together again.
My  dream vacation:
I’m still hoping for that Mediterranean cruise…
In My Perfect World…
Everyone would get a massage and a visit from a good friend at least once a week.
There would be an abundance of food and water.
No one would be deprived of truth.
Every child would have someone to love him or her.
No one would ever abuse their power over others.
Healing would be free for everyone.

Holly's Website

Monday, January 9, 2012

WIPMADNESS Check-In: Do You Want to Enough?

"You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft—then you can add all the genius you like."
--Phyllis A. Whitney
A bit of cheer from my favorite dahlia
How are you doing? I was very encouraged to read all the reasonable goals set last week and am eager to clap my hands or pat you on the back consolingly, whatever the need may be. For me this week was wrought with writing ups and downs. I am a quarter of the way through this particular revision, which puts me exactly where I want to be.  But sometimes I wonder if I'm over my head. I want this novel to be both emotionally riveting and historically accurate. Have I learned my craft well enough to pull this off? I want to see this novel in print. I hope I want to enough.
So how was your week? Do you want to enough?

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Most Intersting Thing--The Joys of Revision

"Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it."

Revision is bliss.
Maybe some of you read that and shake your heads. "Is Angelina crazy?" 
But I love the process.
Love getting feedback.
Love hitting the delete button.
Love ripping apart a story, then piecing it back together. 
Love focusing on every word, every sentence, every paragraph.
Love reading a manuscript out loud, red pen in hand, slashing through the printed pages.

How about you? If you're revising this month, are you enjoying the process? If you're drafting, do you look forward to revision? Any revision wisdom you'd like to share?

Monday, January 2, 2012

A little 2012 WIPMADNESS Anyone?

It's Monday morning and I just realized I volunteered to take the reins for January. Do I have writing goals this month? I'm having so much fun revising the historical, I sometimes forget to eat. Outside of working on it everyday, I don't have any specific goals. Once I start, I have a terrible time tearing myself away, so I guess my goal is to make sure I don't starve to death. ^_^

WIP goals for January anyone?