Monthly Archives: October 2011

Researching Villains

Disney Villain Swap

Part of my revisions for my manuscript involve doing more research on villains. Yes, apparently the villain in my novel isn’t developed enough, according to my critique partners, and they’re right.

So I’ve dug around on the internet to find info on the inner minds and psyche’s of our nation’s more recent sicko’s, including reading their personal blogs and websites. (I will leave the specific names of my research subjects out so I don’t get myself into too much trouble on here, but they’ve been plastered all over the national news).

Let me tell ya, if you ever need to do some research to find out how these villains’ minds work, just read their blogs or bio pages. Extremely warped!

Most of them try to excuse their ‘not that bad’ behavior on child hood nightmares, such as bad parents, abusive siblings, traumatic toddler stories, and even violent spouses, and on, and on, and on. There’s always an excuse, never accepting responsibility for their actions and blaming the entire scenario on someone else. And on every single page, they always show how great they are and how much people love them (and so should you, why don’t you love them? You must be crazy, because everyone else does). And the entire situation isn’t as bad as you think.

Really enlightening and scary at the same time!

These aren’t your serial killers, rapists, or sociopaths that you see depicted on old Law & Order episodes. These were supposedly normal, everyday people who ‘snapped.’ Some of them were parents, some of them were spouses, most of them were well-educated. Yet they were able to perform the most heinous acts, and still (to this very day) think there was nothing wrong with how they reacted. If their scenarios were played out again, they wouldn’t have changed their actions. The entire thing is freakin’ scary!

Be careful with your research, because you may not want to leave the house afterwards!

 

Thick Skin For Hire

Every writer, particularly published authors, know that the publishing industry requires a thick skin for anyone who dares enter their dominion.

I thought I had a fairly thick skin before I even started querying my first manuscript.

*insert cackle laughter here*

Now, I know I don’t have nearly as thick of skin as I should, but I definitely have grown a few dragon scales to protect my vulnerable side over the last two years.

I think joining a kick-as* critique group has definitely helped. Also following editors and agents blogs/twitter/facebook and reading their responses to people’s queries also has helped.

I received my first round of major revision suggestions from my critique partners this past weekend and have let their thoughts percolate in my brain. I’m so glad I’ve grown thicker skin. Because now, I actually want that kind of advice. I need to know where they got lost in the story, what didn’t work for them, and realize its not that I suck and should give up writing. They are not flaws in my personality and I’ve dared exposed the weak points in my inner psyche. It’s areas of the story and characters in which I need to fix.

Or perhaps we’re thinking of it backwards. It’s not that people need to grow thicker skin, or regenerate thicker bone. It’s that we need to shed the vulnerable self-conscious layer of invisible shields we humans use as a self-defense mechanisms.

Get rid of your insecurities. Get rid of ridiculous thoughts that whatever suggestions others say is a ding in your personality, or interpretation of ‘they don’t like me.’

Shed everything down the most base level, where we can actually improve on the inconsistencies in our writing. That’s when we’ll notice the biggest difference on our writing style/skills.

So throw your skin out the window and let the air rejuvenate your writing. Completely open yourself up to improvement.

All right, manuscript. Get ready for rejuvenation. Dive in!

Writer’s Block? More Like Writer’s Verbal Diarrhea

I started my third manuscript the other week, the one I’m supposed to be saving for NaNoWriMo in November, and have been flying through the first chapters. I’m so excited to be seeing these characters develop on the page and their querky habits come to life.

Frying Pan? Maybe a Pen is the best weapon

Too much fun!

I figured since NaNoWriMo aims for 50,000 words in a month, that leaves me an additional 25,000-30,000 words to finish my manuscript. So that means I could get started on it ahead of time. But now I’m almost half-way to that word count threshold and we’re not even halfway through October.

In comparison to the other problems I’ve had in writing over the last few years, I think this is a dilemma I’ll love having. Writers block sucks the big one. So Writers Diarrhea is a gift (forgive the image).

I have no idea how I’ll respond if I’m ever a published author with deadlines looming ahead of me from a prized book contract. But if that were the case right now, I’d be one of the most treasured authors of any agent or editor’s lineup!

Life Means Adapting to the Birds

I drove down the road with my family the other week and saw something that I found so fitting to life.

Two ladies in a convertible stopped at a light, while the power lines overhead were swarming with birds. The women used the sunshield over their heads to protect them from falling poop. I was so tickled I took a picture with my iPhone.

License plate# removed for their privacy

Life can throw you bird poop at any moment, even when it’s already raining. But it’s still important to enjoy the wind in your hair and feel the sun on your face. Just bring along something to protect yourself. Adapt. Use what you have to thwart the poop. And keep enjoying the sunshine and wind until you can move to the next light.

Fall Season Means Reviewing My Goals

For many people, fall season means taking kids back to school, football games, World Series, changing out your wardrobe, and winterizing your lawn. For me, it means reviewing the goals I made in January. Writing goals, specifically. And determining how I’ve done so far, and if I’m on track to complete those goals in the last 3 months of the year.

My most challenging goal for the year is participating in NaNoWriMo. This starts in November, but I’m definitely prepared. Everything is plotted, the characters are completely mapped out. The word count per week goal is lofty, and makes me nervous.

But I finished the first draft of my last manuscript, I’ve averaged 2 blog posts per week, and I’m on track to have revisions completed by the end of the year.  Hopefully to start submissions by January.

Overall, it was a great year of learning and getting used to a lifestyle change. For the first time since I was 16, I don’t have a paycheck in my name. All so I can focus on writing and trying to make my first published debut. Reading blogs, receiving critiques, and reading a bajillion books all helped me improve my style. All necessary to help find your own voice.

So for the start of fall season for me, yes it means taking my son to school and enjoying college football with my hubby, it also means the continuation of a very fun and challenging time in my life.