Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Observing life as an author.

 Did you step up for the Nanowrimo challenge? Fifty thousand words in one month?

This year I let the glove lie. With edits for book six in the Chronicles of Caleath, edits for Museitup Publishing, and taking on the responsibility of going through submissions I left forcing myself to write in a rush till another quieter year.

Still... I have been tinkering with ideas. The Muse is never quiet for too long.

So, what inspires you to write?

Asked to take a workshop for a writers' group I have spent some time wondering how I could adapt my Fantasy writing workshops for writers who focus on poetry, short stories, and memoirs.

An over all look at writing leads me to think authors are in the most part voyeurs. We need to be observers, not always involved, but able to take some information from any situation. Everyday life is where we gather material for later use.

Sitting around a table drinking coffee and chatting with a few new faces my writer's instinct kicked in.

There was the elderly gentleman with the glasses with one arm missing, facing life through a warped perspective as though nothing was amiss.

The woman who arrived with paint still in her hair. A feeble streak of grey in a head of dark brown. Of course my imagination takes flight.

There was the young woman, attractive and open, writing a journal. Eager to capture her own material?
The poets, pouring forth their emotions. What need does poetry meet? The enthusiasm for creating verse showed in the writers' stance, gestures, expression and breathless hesitation as they waited for reaction.

Another short story writer, sharing a moment of her past. A fleeting glimpse into 'the good old days'?
I didn't take notes then, but I came away with memories to call on when writing a crowd scene. The intensity of gazes, the habitual tics, the quietly spoken, the loud opinionated, those who watched, those who participated.

North wall...where the waves are bigger than the  dogs.
Everyday life offers us so many moments. Walking the dogs, meeting strangers, enjoying the sunshine, the breeze, getting surprised by a wave, finding the dogs bowled off their feet and dumped among the rocks. All moments of drama we can survive and archive for the right moment in our writing.

Writing what you know... writing from experience... makes us keen observers of all that takes place around us. What a wonderful way to go through life. :)

Rosalie Skinner author of The Chronicles of Caleath. 
 Science Fiction /Fantasy.
 Eight ebooks in the series.
'Hold my hand...and I will take you into my dreams."

Monday, November 19, 2012

60 Amazing Links for Writers

I found this amazing list at Galleycat, one of my favorite writing sites and just had to pass it along. Even if you’re NOT do Nanowrimo, the links here are terrifically useful and fun.

30 National Novel Writing Month Tips from 2012

Rebecca Ryals Russell

Monday, November 12, 2012

Writing Craft and NaNoWriMo

I was contemplating my NaNoWriMo efforts of the past 3 years and what I have planned this year and it struck me that although I’ve ‘writing’ since childhood, have had things ‘published’ over the years and now make this a full-time endeavor, I still know so little about the craft of writing.

That’s really what writing is all about—learning the craft. And that is what takes so long—because you must practice and read other examples of good writing from which to role model.

I’ve been doing a lot of both lately. I’ve read several really awesome YA books, like The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch (amazing writing)  and, of course, any of Cassandra Clare’s books. I’m currently rereading Divergent by Veronica Roth and Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke.

All of this reading slapped me in the face with how these authors handled many of the obvious mistakes my own work contains and why I haven’t been pleased with any of it. But recognizing this fact and fixing it are two different issues.

When I wrote Odessa and several of the others in my two early series, I just sat down and let the story pour out of me then said, “Done.” But as I reread these books I’m disappointed in myself for the lackluster writing and poor flow. Does that mean I could write it any better now? Maybe somewhat better, but not as well as I’d like, yet.

So I went shopping on Amazon and found several books on craft that have made a WORLD of difference in my thought process and organizing the ideas I had but couldn’t get together. These books were: Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland and Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks.
What does all of this have to do with NaNo? I spent last month plotting and planning, revising characters and plotline for the manuscript I’ve struggled with over for the past 3 NaNos. And I must say, I’m excited to get started writing. I like this plot and character much better and I think I may have nailed it. We’ll see by the end of the month.

I also decided to start over with a brand new manuscript, rather than trying to piece the old with the new like a worn-out quilt.

Here’s the premise for Sunshine Colony:2525

In the year 2525 the world has collapsed and rebuilt itself into linked, self-governed villages called Colonies. 13-year-old Rayna Darwin was born into Seaside Village, Sunshine Colony the usual way--for those times. But her circumstances were far from usual--a red-haired twin was the most taboo birth possible. Her twin sold to Slavers and birth mother exiled, Rayna was rescued and given away to be raised in the Underground Black Market by loving Barren parents who dyed her hair brown and hid her true identity. She played with other kids when their parents came to shop, fell in love with one of them and never knew danger. That is, until a woman so jealous of Rayna's mother's good fortune and loving life she could no longer control herself turned Rayna over to the Peacers. 

Taken away to live with the other 12-20 year old girls in the government-run population control center called the Gestortium, Rayna's life takes a turn for the dangerous when she is recognized by a sadistic previous playmate who is so jealous of Rayna's loving home and life she formulates a plan to kill her. After all, she's done it before...   
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Since writing this posting I have begun writing and am about 7 chapters into the new story. I read the opening chapter to my college-aged son and his highschool girlfriend—both picky readers…They were impressed and wanted to know the rest of the story. SUCCESS! Now to keep up that level of tension.

Rebecca Ryals Russell, a fourth-generation Floridian, was born in Gainesville, grew up in Ft Lauderdale then lived in Orlando and Jacksonville with her Irish husband and four children. Due to the sudden death of Rebecca's mother, they moved to Wellborn, near Lake City, to care for her father, moving into his Victorian home built in 1909. After teaching Middle Graders for fourteen years she retired and began writing the story idea which had been brewing for thirty years.  Within six months she wrote the first three books of each series, YA Seraphym Wars and MG Stardust Warriors. The world she created has generated numerous other story ideas including two current works in progress, SageBorn Chronicles based on various mythologies of the world and aimed at the lower Middle Grade reader and Saving Innocence, another MG series set on Dracwald and involving dragons and Majikals. She is finishing a YA Dystopian Romance which has been a NaNoWriMo project for three years. She loves reading YA Fantasy, Horror and Sci Fi as well as watching movies.  Read more about Rebecca and her WIPs as well as how to buy books in her various series at http://rryalsrussell.com  You may email her at vigorios7@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

School Visits

By Author Andrea Buginsky

One way to introduce yourself and your book to new readers is to do a school visit. School visits consist of you visiting a class or an entire school of children at the appropriate age level for your books, whether they be in elementary, middle, or high school. If you're planning a school visit, you'll want to make sure you are prepared.

First, be sure you know the exact date, time, and location of your visit. Show up early enough so you're all set up and ready to go when the assembly starts. Wear comfortable, but professional-looking clothes.

Decide on some activities you can do that relate to your book and the school or class curriculum. You can read a portion of your book, of course, but make sure you have a fun activity set up, too. Then, you can hold a Q&A session with the students. Check with the teacher or principal for any other activities they may want you to cover.

Practice your session before your visit to make sure you have enough time to cover everything. You don't want to suddenly have to change your curriculum in the middle or towards the end of your visit because you went over your allotted time.

Bring some copies of your book(s) with you for the students to purchase. Make sure to tell the teacher in advance, and get permission to do this if necessary. You can hold an autograph session at the end of your visit for students who already have or are purchasing the book at the time of your visit. You may also give away as many copies as you wish during the visit. It's up to you.

If you can't bring books for the students, have bookmarks printed for the occasion to give away.

Follow up your visit with a thank-you note to the teacher or principal, as well as one to the students.

Relax, enjoy, and listen to what the students have to say. Remember, they are your audience and your readers, so pay attention. Have fun!

Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer and author. “The Chosen” was her first book, and was followed by “My Open Heart,” an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. “Nature’s Unbalance” is the second story in THE CHOSEN series. Andrea plans to write more in the series. She’s already done with the first draft of book 3 and has a concept for book 4. You can find Andrea on her website, Andi’s Realm. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Remember to sign up for Andrea's newsletter to stay up-to-date on all of her exciting events.