Weekend Writing Warriors – 9/29/13

www_bannerWelcome to Weekend Writing Warriors! For those new to this, fellow writers post eight sentences from one of our works. I’ve been revising my New Adult steampunk romance, STEAM ME UP RAWLEY, so I thought I’d share and give the next eight sentences following last week’s (which was the beginning) where the heroine is at a fancy outdoor party, talking to her pet monkey and a woman catches her.

Adele spun around, Loki deftly remaining on her shoulder. “Claire, how are you? Enjoying your party?” As the Mobile Register’s society reporter, Adele was there to cover Claire Chastang’s tiresome gathering.

Oh, how to describe the party’s hostess? Without sounding scornful? What Adele wanted to write for her society column would not do:

Miss Claire was resplendent (resplendently tacky) in her tailored aerophane silk day dress, sporting lace trim and silk flowers reminiscent of an explosion at a haberdasher’s.

I welcome all comments, even constructive crits. To join in the fun and see the other wonderful writers, go to Weekend Writing Warriors! Thanks for stopping by!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention earlier that I’m looking for Beta readers for this story, so let me know if you’re interested!

Weekend Writing Warriors – 9/22/13

www_bannerEgad, I haven’t done one of these in seven months! I’ve missed it! For those new to this, fellow writers post eight sentences from one of our works. I’ve been revising my New Adult steampunk romance, STEAM ME UP RAWLEY, so I thought I’d just start with the first eight sentences.

Early May, 1890, Mobile, Alabama Second Age of Pax Lincolnia “Put that down, Loki.” Adele darted a glance around the outdoor party at Chastang House and replaced the doily on the lawn table, only a tad wrinkled from her monkey’s fist. She smoothed it out. If she could just get through this affair without her normally well-behaved monkey pulling a stunt, she’d appreciate it, thank you very much. “You need to—” “Talking to your monkey, Adele?” asked a feminine voice behind her. “How quaint.”

To join in the fun and see the other wonderful writers, go to Weekend Writing Warriors! Thanks for stopping by!

Ack! I have a plot hole! Techniques to Solve in an Early Stage

download (5)So, last time I truly posted, I was taking a blogging hiatus to work on the sequel to MUST LOVE BREECHES. I’ve since then finished the first draft and have been working on high-level revisions since. I love plot and am a nerd about finding different ways to tackle looking at it. I definitely needed to find a different way to handle this one, because it had problems, and I knew it.

The biggest problem? I knew the ending before I ever started writing it, so my plot points just before the big Crisis were pushed to make this crisis happen. Result? It lacked believability and motivation. So much so, readers would’ve likely thrown the book at the wall.

Also, some of my major plot points were tied with the specific time period and I wanted to make sure the history was sound.

The first thing I did was make a spreadsheet with my scenes and it helped me a little–I saw gaps and plugged in new rows for scenes that needed to be there. When I thought I had it figured out, I transferred it to a Word Document that I created, where I just gave summaries of what happens in each chapter, a Chapter Outline. This I sent to one Welsh historian and a couple of Beta readers. Because of the possible plot problems, I didn’t want to wait until I had a readable full-length draft. I got great feedback and took that and revised the Outline again and sent it to a couple of other historians who helped me shore up the historical plot points.

But the Crisis? Yep, everyone came back and said it didn’t work–wasn’t believable. But it was the one thing in my whole plot I couldn’t throw out–it was the image I had in my head when I first started noodling this WIP around for possibilities and I also knew it was a strong image. So, it had to stay.

Back to the drawing board. I really worried each time I sat down to try to solve this that I wouldn’t figure it out. I felt like I was so close but couldn’t quite get there.

I could also tell that the Outline, while it helped as an instrument to gain feedback from others in an early stage, wasn’t helpful to me to try to make sense of it; I couldn’t play with it. Then I remembered my plotting board and fondness for stickies that I’ve used on other WIPS, so pulled it out and went to town.

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It helped me a little, some of the smaller plot issues I was able to see and fix by adding new stickies and moving others around. But the Black Moment leading up to the Crisis was still a problem. So I went to my trusty Beta partner Jami Gold and sent her my bulleted list of events leading up to the Crisis and she came back with a wonderful idea for the motivation, but also helped me look at the Black Moment I had and came up with some other suggestions for how to have it play out. This got my mental juices unblocked and at the plotting board I began making stickies, rearranging scenes, and then also saw how I could tie her idea in with the Antagonist and pull it all together. I also then saw that having a change of location helped raise the tension and stakes. I was then able to see how the heroine’s personality could be tweaked to make it even more impactful. Excited, I typed up version 3 of my Chapter Outline and sent it to Jami and some new victims for feedback.

But I can feel it–I can feel the story works now. My gut wasn’t wrong when I finished that first draft, and I’m so glad I listened to it and found a way to get valuable input in such an early stage. I really dreaded revising this WIP with my gut feeling that way, worried that I’d go to all this trouble revising and polishing and then have my gut proved right when Beta feedback came back and pointed out the plot problems. Now I feel much more confident going into actual revisions; the framework for the story is much more solid. Now I can work on all the other fun stuff I like to do during revisions and get this revised and polished. Now, hopefully, my Beta readers will be able to help see smaller issues instead of pointing out big macro issues that should’ve been firmed up before I ever got to that stage.

I also liked working with an outline and fiddling with it, not touching my prose at all. It was much easier to see, without running the risk of overreading the WIP too early.

So, to distill this for others that might be in the same boat (I’m a “plantser” –someone who does some pre-plotting but pantses the rest of the first draft):

  • Take your first draft and make a chapter outline. Mine came out to ten pages.
  • Just like in the Beta stage, get a variety of folks to look at it. I had historians who knew nothing about the writing craft, as well as others who did. Evaluate their comments just like you would on a full manuscript. See a pattern? You have a problem.
  • Fiddle and revise. Go back to any tools you’ve used in the past to help you look at your manuscript differently (for me it was the plotting board)
  • Get someone who is deeply familiar with plotting and structure, and that you trust to be honest with you, to take a look at it

How have you handled plot problems in the past? Have you also pulled in outside eyes at this early stage? Has it helped you? What techniques have you used to look at your plot in a high-level way?

DISCLAIMER: I don’t watch Dr. Who, so I have no idea if the image I used is a fair assessment of that episode, but I thought it seemed appropriate to the post to illustrate a problem common to many writers when working out their plot. Plus, appropriately enough, it deals with time travel ;)

Weekend Writing Warriors – 2/10/13

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, where we post eight sentences from one of our works. I’m picking up exactly where I left off last week with meta fiction romance, NOT ANOTHER DARCY. This was my NaNo project for this past November, and the heroine has to deal with literary characters that come to life at her independent bookstore. Last week was the opening eight sentences and Mr. Darcy from the latter half of Pride & Prejudice showed up. She wasn’t very pleased to see another one.

This is still a rough draft. But here’s the next eight sentences:

But as a Handler in the Literary Reclamation League, it was her duty to take whomever popped into existence, train them, give them new identities and find work for them. The Darcys, she usually shipped off to Jane Austen sites in England as tour guides.

She faced her newest challenge, who gazed around her bookstore with a look of confusion, the poor guy. Thank god her employee Chris wasn’t due to work until noon. “Hang on there one sec, Mr. Darcy, and I’ll be right with you.”

She hustled to the front door of her bookstore and flipped the sign to “Closed,” and threw the bolt lock. From a pocket near the door, she pulled out and hung her pre-made sign for such emergencies: “Closed for twenty minutes. Grabbing coffee.”

To join in the fun and see the other wonderful writers, go to Weekend Writing Warriors! Thanks for stopping by! I’m going to try and be better today with visiting–I had out of town guests for Mardi Gras. It’s the final week, so today’s also a big day, but hopefully I’ll make the rounds this morning before the first parade rolls.

Weekend Writing Warriors – 2/3/13

Welcome! In the aftermath of the demise of Six Sentence Sunday, I’ve signed up for Weekend Writing Warriors, where we post eight sentences from one of our works. Since this is the start of a new venture, I thought it only fitting to kick it off with eight sentences from my brand-spanking new project, my meta fiction romance, NOT ANOTHER DARCY. This was my NaNo project for this past November, and the heroine has to deal with literary characters that come to life at her independent bookstore.

It’s so new, this is still a rough draft. But here’s the opening eight sentences:

“As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit,” declared a masculine, cultured British voice behind Katrina, making her jump in her chair.

After her heart steadied to a normal beat, she rolled her eyes and pushed back her chair. Not another Darcy. And today of all days.

Still, it was a bit refreshing for it to be a Darcy from the latter part of Pride and Prejudice. Usually she was startled with some early Darcy line like, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men,” or some other equally obnoxious Darcy from his haughty phase.

Why most girls fantasizing about Darcy dreamed about that version, she didn’t know.

To join in the fun and see the other wonderful writers, go to Weekend Writing Warriors! Thanks for stopping by!

Six Sentence Sunday – 1/27/13

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Welcome to #SixSunday! I can’t believe this is the last official SixSunday! I want to say how much I’ve enjoyed it, and I really, truly know that I would not be the same writer without having participated with you guys. You gave me confidence when I needed it, some of you have become Beta partners I couldn’t do without, and more have become auto-buys for me, thus enriching my life. I’ve learned much. Thank you.

I did my first post on November 20, 2011 with a snippet from MUST LOVE BREECHES, my time travel romance, and have come to treasure Sundays and my time with you ever since!

I will continue to post these on my own every Sunday, and will keep an eye out on Twitter for others using the same hashtag… UPDATE: Karysa Faire has started a Six Sentence Sunday FB Group!

Today’s Six Sunday I’m continuing with my new release, BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble,  ARe, and Bookstrand!!

This is in the heroine’s POV and they’ve now moved up to her hotel suite. He came back from getting bottles of beer and hovered behind her, and she leaned against him. Their beer bottles came into play. Picking up exactly where we left off last week when she leaps onto him, they thud into the French doors, and they stumble inside:

She fumbled with the buttons on his shirt, jerked the shirttails out of his khakis, and pushed his shirt off his shoulders.

Wow, was he ripped! His arm muscles bunched from holding her. Hoo boy, there might even be an ab or two peeking out. She slid her hands up his smooth chest as he backed her to the king-size bed. He tumbled with her onto the fluffy comforter, and they both laughed.

Official blurb:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

Amazon | B&N | ARe | Bookstrand | trailer | goodreads | shelfari

goodreads-badge-add-plus-8aed1006260a5092a7ebb2a64fe3968c

To see snippets from others who are participating or to sign up yourself, visit here.

Thank you to everyone who comes by and comments each week! 

Six Sentence Sunday – 1/20/13

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Welcome to #SixSunday! I can’t believe this is the second to last official SSS :(

Today’s Six Sunday I’m continuing with my new release, BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble,  ARe, and Bookstrand!!

This is in the heroine’s POV and they’ve now moved up to her hotel suite. He came back from getting bottles of beer and hovered behind her, and she leaned against him. Their beer bottles came into play. Picking up exactly where we left off last week when she leaps onto him and they thud into the French doors:

He tore his mouth from hers. “Could you?”

“Huh?” She freed herself from the lust fog. His head tilted to the door handle. She pushed down with her heel, and he bumped it open with his back, stumbling inside backward.

Latest review:

Short stories and novellas can make me leery of wanting to give them a try because not everyone who writes one understands just how to achieve a good balance of plot, pacing and character development to fit into the page count they have.  Fortunately, this author did a great job so I ended up with an enjoyable reading experience that had me reading with a smile on my face and an ‘ah’ of satisfaction coming from my lips by the end…So, I can heartily recommend this one to those who enjoy a quirky magical contemporary Happy For Now with promise of the future romance with not a lot of time to read. –Sophia Rose at DelightedReader.com

Official blurb:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

Amazon | B&N | ARe | Bookstrand | trailer | goodreads | shelfari

goodreads-badge-add-plus-8aed1006260a5092a7ebb2a64fe3968c

To see snippets from others who are participating or to sign up yourself, visit here.

Thank you to everyone who comes by and comments each week! 

A Little “Beer and Groping in Las Vegas” with Angela Quarles

Today I’m on Sarah Ballance’s blog with a fun interview about BEER and its path to publication, and future projects!

That Publicity Stuff…A New Review and an Interview

The obligatory linkage to the latest with BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS:

First up a review was posted today on Delighted Reader, with an A Rating. Here’s a snippet:

This was a fun quick read involving a quirky romance that was set up by a djinn.  Short stories and novellas can make me leery of wanting to give them a try because not everyone who writes one understands just how to achieve a good balance of plot, pacing and character development to fit into the page count they have.  Fortunately, this author did a great job so I ended up with an enjoyable reading experience that had me reading with a smile on my face and an ‘ah’ of satisfaction coming from my lips by the end….So, I can heartily recommend this one to those who enjoy a quirky magical contemporary Happy For Now with promise of the future romance with not a lot of time to read. – Sophia Rose, Delighted Reader

And then I visited Tara Kingston’s blog with an interview about a guilty pleasure and a little about what I’m working on right now…

Six Sentence Sunday – 1/13/13

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Welcome to #SixSunday!

Today’s Six Sunday I’m continuing with my new release, BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble,  ARe, and Bookstrand!!

This is in the heroine’s POV and they’ve now moved up to her hotel suite. We’re picking up several sentences from where we left off last week. He came back from getting bottles of beer and hovered behind her, and she leaned against him. Their beer bottles came into play. Skipping a paragraph from where we left off last week when Riley has just said he wants her so bad he can’t stand it. What we’re skipping is her boldly replying ‘what are we waiting for’ and then him spinning her around. She sees his vulnerable look in his eyes and reacts:

She vaulted into his arms and twined her legs around his waist. He stumbled back and gripped her butt, pressing her tight against his erection. She moved her hips. Yes, right…there. He captured her mouth in a searing kiss, his tongue skillfully stroking hers, mimicking the rhythm she couldn’t wait to do with him soon.

He backed up until they hit the French doors with a thud.

Also, I’m competing in the preditors & editors poll in the romance short story category, so if you don’t already have a favorite, I’d love your vote! Or some tags on Amazon, especially the ‘romantic comedy’ tag :) Thanks! Mwah!

I got a great review on Penelope’s Romance Reviews this past week! She actually did a beer pairing to sip while reading the story!!

Official blurb:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

Amazon | B&N | ARe | Bookstrand | trailer | goodreads | shelfari

goodreads-badge-add-plus-8aed1006260a5092a7ebb2a64fe3968c

To see snippets from others who are participating or to sign up yourself, visit here.

Thank you to everyone who comes by and comments each week!