Saturday, June 12, 2010

Attention Writers!

As a writer, I've never been one for outlining my stories in depth. Nor have I ever been big on character charts or character interviews. Or extensive time lines or lists or charts of any kind. Not in preparation. Not in depth. Instead of spending precious time digging deep and documenting details before I start writing a story, I prefer to brainstorm a brief synopsis, dive in, and learn as I go. It's exciting and inspiring.

At least in the beginning.

More often than not, I hit a wall and have to go back. Dig deep. Document details. Nothing too elaborate. Definitely not all that organized. Probably not the most time and energy efficient.

A few months ago my good friend and writing bud, Cynthia Valero, suggested I check out a writing program. She's writing a fantasy novel. Massive world building. Complicated characters. Tricky plotting. I'd yet to use the program to its fullest potential but found it invaluable for basics. For putting things in order and keeping them straight.

As a lover of all things shiny and new and related to writing and in dire need of organizing my thoughts and writing more efficiently, naturally, I bought the program.

That was several months ago. It wasn't until today that I actually committed to using it. My current project involves world building. The scope is quite large. Up until now I've been freewriting and jotting notes longhand. All great. But if my future plays out like I hope . . . I need to be more organized. More efficient. I need to dig deeper and to document the bazillion ideas crowding my mind. So tonight I opened the program and started using it in earnest.

Holy cow.

Why did I wait so long to take advantage? This program is effective and smart.... for ANY story. If you're a writer you must check this out. You can download a demo for free. Do it. Explore. I can almost bet you'll love it and purchase it. Bonus. It's extremely affordable. I will say no more. I'll just point you to the website.

Click here to explore Write It Now.

Let me know what you think. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Beautiful Sign

Yesterday we had a tornado warning. Odd for New Jersey. Instead we got a rainbow and a magnificent sky. It was really quite amazing. By the time I ran in and got my Flip, the rainbow had faded a bit and the sky muted to a dismal grey. But then I turned around and--Wow! In the opposite direction, another awesome vision. Click my Flip Vid to view 58 seconds of natural beauty.

I have to say, I was mesmerized. It was the first full arc rainbow I've seen since I was a kid. It arced from one end of the sky to the other. Then to turn and see the clouds on fire . . . How glorious!  Somehow I took the magical event as a sign of wondrous things to come. 

Along those lines, I've had an amazingly productive weekend. Not only did I tackle several domestic chores, but I wrote like a madwoman. I am so very pleased with the progress I made on my new story. I'm no longer fretting about being in between contracts. I'm writing with the same conviction and intensity as I did in the past. I'm loving the challenge and the excitement of my 'new world'. And ... I have high hopes. Rainbows promise a new beginning, right? As I stared at that wondrous sight, I couldn't help thinking . . . It's a sign.          

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Free and Not-So-Easy

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before or not, but I am currently deadline free for the first time in, oh... eight or nine years. It feels a little strange not to be stressed out of my noggin. Although I write two books a year, I'm not a particularly fast writer, so it seemed like I was always cramming and sweating. Now I'm writing and musing at leisure. That was great for, oh . . . about a month.

For the past few days, I've had trouble focusing. I worked very hard on a story proposal and I'm waiting to hear about its fate. The longer the wait, the higher my anxiety. Doubts start creeping in. 

Instead of pushing forward on Story #1, maybe I should write up a new and different proposal, just in case it doesn't fly.   

Then ideas spark and flare. I come up with, not one, but two other premises. Not a bad thing except Story #2 and #3 are now distracting me from Story #1. Part of me says, stay the course. The other part says, prepare backup. As I type this, I'm torn. I'm going to sleep on it. Maybe I'll wake up with an epiphany. Or, hear some news that sways me one way or another. 

Meanwhile, I've been reading for entertainment and inspiration. Except I can't seem to focus on that either. Mostly because I'm curious about so many books. Presently, I am part way through five different books. It's not the best way to enjoy a story, but it is a fabulous way to explore and study writing styles and voices. I freely admit that I am intimidated by more than a few of these authors. Which makes me self-conscious about my own word-spinning.

When I was on back-to-back relentless deadlines, I didn't have a lot of free time to read, hence I didn't compare my work to others. I simply trusted my gut. Deadlines were bad for my stress level, but good for my confidence. So, are deadlines heaven or hell? Presently, I am undecided.

Books I am currently reading...

Secrets of Summer by Lisa Kleypas
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Emma by Jane Austen
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Peterson
and a re-read...
Dark Fever by Karen Marie Moning

As a writer and/or reader what books have inspired or intimidated you?