Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I'm Back....

...Well at least to a degree. Last Friday marked two weeks since my surgery and my foot is now completely unpacked and I can wear my shoe again. Even better, I can take a bath in the shower, not the sink. ; ) That said, I still have to take it slow to manage the swelling.

While I was laid up, I have been rereading FRIENDLY FIRE as it stands now. Unfortunately I've fallen into two holes caused by an earlier version of the story. I'm happy to report that I've been brainstorming "earth-moving" ideas to fill these holes. And, even better, I've finally crossed over into areas of the manuscript that I've read and worked on earlier this year. That means the road has smoothed out to just bumpy.

FRIENDLY FIRE started out as MOTHER'S DAY and centered tightly on Laura Grace's journey from childlessness to motherhood, but the story was much bigger than that narrow focus. As it branched out and widened in emphasis, it became a story about how widespread abuse is. As this theme was revealed, the front of the story no longer fits. That's what I've got to address. Some really good scenes will have to be ditched, but that's the story of most books as they make their journey from idea to finished (or at least final) draft.

How do you handle old scenes that no longer fit?
Do you struggle with cutting them or do you try to "renovate" them to fit?

And there's something really great to look forward to!
Rachael Harrie and Cally Jackson are planning the Fifth Writers Platform Champaign for September!!!

Check out these posts and get ready to rumble. ; )

Rach Writes    and   Cally Jackson Writes

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Base Jumping

Writing carries a certain element of base-jumping, really. Fling yourself, fly, and only worry about the moment, the simple accuracy needed for a free fall, until your chute deploys and you have the time to focus on the finer details of your direction, speed, altitude and surroundings.
                                          ~~Claire Gregory, Books and Writers Forum

Claire Gregory has forever defined the act of writing a first draft for me with this quote. ; )

We can debate outlining vs. pantsing until our words run dry, but all of us have to commit to begin the process of telling a story, any story, if we intend to write. All of us have felt that utter sense of exhilaration when we write the first idea down and when the first scene forms.

So here's to flinging ourselves into the story, committing our ideas to paper. May we continue to let go and see where the jump takes us. ; )

How about you? What does committing to that first draft feel like?

I'm still recuperating from my foot surgery, but thought this was too good not to share and scheduled it ahead. ; )

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

While I'm Recuperating...

I thought I'd entertain you with a bit of news about what's going on with my favorite's author's books.

And here's a fair warning, I'm going all fan girl here. ; )


If you don't know it, my favorite author is Diana Gabaldon, creator of the OUTLANDER series and incredibly generous author. She is a member of the Books and Writers Forum I rave about all the time where she is open about the writing process and is quick to help other writers. Diana's characters are real people, as three dimensional as flesh and blood. Her stories are earthy, intense, and beautifully written. If you've never read her books, you need to go to the nearest bookstore, real or online, and purchase OUTLANDER. You'll be glad you did next spring when they come to life on TV, because now her award-winning, New York Times best selling series has been tapped for a 16 week STARZ series. The big question that has been raging about the various sites that have a connection to Diana's OUTLANDER books has been--who will play Jamie? It's Scottish actor Sam Heughan. And before you say anything about him being too skinny, too pretty, too anything not Jamie, here's Diana's take after seeing his casting video. (From her Facebook author page)

OK. Now, I got the word about Sam Heughan (it’s pronounced HEW-en, btw, in case you were wondering. He’s Scottish, and it may well originally have been a Gaelic name) while I was driving to Santa Fe with my husband; they thought they’d found Jamie and were sending me the audition videos a little later. Well, naturally, I spent the next hour Googling “Sam Heughan” on my iPhone. <g>

 Now—I think this point may just possibly have escaped a few thousand of you, so let me restate it: Jamie is TWENTY-TWO in OUTLANDER, and a virgin. And as the producers do understand and respect the story very much, they wanted a guy who could believably _be_ a twenty-two-year-old virgin. (Yes, I know half of you are thinking of him as he is in the later books and thus “see” him in his 50’s. That doesn’t mean the producers should cast someone in his late 40’s and ask him to play a 22-year-old virgin. Am I right? Yes, I am. Now that _that’s_ settled...)

 So I’m lookin’ at some of Sam’s photos and sayin’ to my husband, “Yeah, I buy him as a virgin…but I think Claire’s going to get done for statutory rape!” You know, a bit apprehensive. He’s quite big, but a very chiseled face that makes him look a good bit younger than he is, at least in stills.

 So anyway…we get to Santa Fe, let the dogs out, air the house, go have dinner… And _then_, I sit down at my computer, in a lather of trepidation and excitement, to watch the audition tapes.

 First five seconds, I’m interested—he looks totally different than he did in _any_ of the stills—and five seconds later, Sam Heughan’s GONE, and so am I. It’s Jamie Fraser, right _there_ in front of me, moving, talking. One of the biggest thrills ever.

 And that’s what actors do. Good ones. They can “be” someone else, totally.

 Now, I saw him do two scenes: the confrontation between Jamie and Dougal, after Dougal exposes Jamie’s back in a tavern. Ferocious, explosive, a glimpse of the warrior. And he…freakin’ _exploded_.

 And then…the scene in which Jamie explains to Claire exactly why he intends to punish her for disobeying his orders to stay hidden, thus nearly getting them all killed.

 OK. This is arguably _the_ most controversial scene in all the books. And I’m not about to go into the scene itself—not the point here. The point is that that’s one heck of a complex scene, emotionally, and _could_ be read/performed in a lot of different ways. Now, I happen to _know_ <g> exactly how Jamie acted and spoke during that scene…and that’s…exactly what Sam _did_. Thoughtfulness, intimacy, fair-mindedness, annoyance, firmness—and quite a lot of humor. One of Jamie’s hallmarks is the ability to be threatening and funny at the same time—and Sam pulled that off.

 So, yeah. I’ve watched those videos a couple dozen times, just to be sure I wasn’t imagining things. I wasn’t. <g>

 Now, fwiw—the necessary physical aspects are all there. Sam’s big—my head would hit about the middle of his chest (he’s only an inch shorter than my husband)—and _very_ well-built, in terms of what Jamie actually looks like. Tall, lean (not burly), rangy (not bulgy), broad-shouldered, muscular (but a _young_ muscular. Young athletes look way different from gnarly middle-aged ones). Face…chiseled, striking—but looks different in every single role.

So go see for yourself. This is one excellent actor and I see him in the iconic role of Jamie Fraser very well. My question is, do I sign up for STARZ next spring of wait for the DVD's to rent? Yeah, you're probably right--I think I'll add to my cable bill. ; )

Sam Heughan's showreel and a picture spread. And his native Scottish accent HERE.
And for those of you who still can't see this young man with long red hair, try HERE and HERE! ; )

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I'll be back...I promise...

Sometimes we have to admit that Real Life is knocking us down. My left foot needs a bit of surgery and it's scheduled for Friday. Then I'll be off my feet for a minimum of two weeks. That means I won't be in the study at the computer.

But it doesn't mean I won't be working on FRIENDLY FIRE. I've printed out the 365, double-space pages containing 113,446 words to read through, edit, plug holes, and generally tear my hair out over. ; )

I'll be back when my foot will allow me to have it on the floor. So, keep writing, keep reading, and I'll be seeing you later in the month.

P. S. My sweet husband is going to be in charge of the food for the next two weeks and that's usually my job. I've promised to eat what he puts in front of me...and like it. ; )

P.P.S. While I'm off with my foot up, y'all keep reading. Check this link out.

Being a Bookworm Boosts your Brain Power into Old Age

See, I knew there was a reason I keep reading books and more books as fast at I can. ; )

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Continuity is important to novelists. It's jarring for a reader to find that the father is accidentally called by his son's name like I saw in a historical novel recently. Continuity errors creep in so easily, especially if the writer works across the entire manuscript instead of linearly. I've done it and I'm horrified when I catch those types of errors.

I've got a small spiral notebook that records all the names I've used and a brief description of who each character is, but still errors creep in because I can't remember when I've updated it. Sometimes a minor character shows up later in the book and a new, more apt name shows up with them.

What's your techniques for catching this type of error?
How do you keep up with all the people who populate your WIPs?
Do you have any suggestions for the rest of us, other than rereading closely?