Monday, December 27, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
One of the best things about starting Go Teen Writers is talking to you guys about your writing projects, so I'm always thrilled when you e-mail me about what you're working on.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I'm pretty sure we've established this on here, but I like lists. You might say, I loooove lists.
On Saturday, I got together with some writer friends of mine for breakfast. We were all supposed to bring a list of our goals for 2011 and I ... well, didn't. I thought about making my list, and then ... you know, went to change a diaper or something.
Usually setting my goals is fun for me, but at the moment I'm in weird author's limbo. I'm waiting to see how my editor feels about the project I turned in, and then even if she likes it, we'll be waiting to see how the board feels. While this is a time I'm normally anxious to evaluate how I did and plan out while I hope to accomplish, it's been tougher this year.
But after Saturday's meeting, I once again grew excited about setting some goals. So now I'll pass on the opportunity to you guys. Especially since many of you are gung-ho about the Write Now curriculum we're doing next year where I'll spend the year detailing the steps to writing a novel. (Again, I'm sorry about having to use that curriculum word. It sounds like no fun, and it will be!)
A couple guidelines on making goals: (See, I even love lists that precede lists!)
1. Your goal should be something that pushes you, but isn't ridiculous.
2. It should be something that only YOU can do. It's dumb for me to say, "My goal for this year is to be on the New York Times Best Seller list." That's something I have very little influence over.
3. You should know what steps you plan to take to achieve it. Like if your goal is to learn how to write better characters, some good steps might be checking out books where the author did a good job with characterization, studying how to craft characters, etc.
Ralene, our leader, had us choose a daily, weekly, and monthly goal.
Normally my daily goal might be something like, "Write 1,000 words." But that's tough for me to predict these days. It's a goal that would only frustrate me. So I decided my daily goal would be to pray over my writing and to pray for my audience. It's something I used to do consistently and now I'm pretty spontaneous.
My weekly goal is to write 2,000 words if I'm in a writing place, or to edit 5 chapters if I'm in an editing place.
My monthly goal is to read two books, guest post on one additional blog, and e-mail other authors about what I enjoyed in their books. Which will be helped out by my plan to read two books a month. I can pick one of those authors, get on their web site, and send them an e-mail saying what I enjoyed. Authors never get tired of this, and it encourages them.
Then Ralene asked us to come up with goals we wanted to achieve by March, June, and December 31st, 2011.
Here's where I had to make mine fuzzier because of things being up in the air for me at the moment.
My March goal is to finish and polish my current project, and prepare a book proposal for either my new idea, or the sequel to my current project, depending on the feedback from my publisher.
My June goal is to finish the first draft of my new idea or the sequel to my current project. Again, just depends.
And by the end of the year, I hope to have polished the manuscript for my new idea (or the sequel) and to have a proposal ready for an idea yet to be determined.
It's okay if your goals get fuzzier. They're not etched in stone anywhere. Mine are scribbled on the back of my page-a-day The Office quote calendar. They can be changed, tweaked, rewritten. But having them serves a purpose. It means when I sit down at my desk, I don't have to think, "Okay ... what's the best way to spend this time?" I can look at my goals and know, "It's Thursday, and I've yet to write a word. Better get going on my weekly 2k."
What are some of your goals?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
- What do they hear?
- What do they smell?
- What do they taste?
- And what do they feel with their hands, and in their soul?
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
One of the best things about being a writer is that you can classify great activities like travel, movie-viewing, and reading as research.
And so the hunt is on for a blue-blood who can stand the sight of her. Every man who lays eyes on Penelope takes flight at first sight, except for our wonderful hero, Max Campion (James McAvoy). And you’ll just have to watch to see how it all unfolds. I don't want to give stuff away.
As I viewed this movie, I was reminded of a couple things:
The need for a change to take place within the main character
What makes this movie, in my opinion, is the change that happens within Penelope as she comes to accept herself for who she is. Your main character has to change. Otherwise, there's no point. Like if the main character had been Penelope's mother (played by the fabulous Catherine O'Hara), the movie would've felt pointless, because she doesn't change. Not for real, anyway.
In a romance, the satisfaction of a heroine and hero who can do things on their own ... but are better together
We all need a little help sometimes, but it's important that your characters are also capable of standing on their own two feet. Penelope and Max sort out their lives apart from each other. You see how they could live independently just fine. But they also bring out the best in each other.
The satisfaction of REAL conflict
Not just one of those conflicts where if Penelope and Max would just talk to each other, they could work things out. There’s a moment where Max is going to be misinterpreted. I thought to myself, "Oh man, here it is. Here's where he should go explain himself to Penelope, but he's going to hang back." No. instead he RUNS TO PENELOPE TO EXPLAIN. Three cheers for whomever made that decision. And because he goes to her, the conflict is bigger and so much better.
The movie is 90 minutes long and completely worth your time.