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Monday, December 13, 2010

Waiting is Not Always a Bad Thing.......

For those of you who have been following me on my journey, the first part is complete.

That is, I have completed my first draft.

That is, I have written a book.

*deep breath* *collapses*

Granted, said draft is no where near being ready to be sent out into the world, but it is finished.

I have taken the advice of other wise authors who are in varying stages of publication and have let the story sit, mesh, gel, morph, congeal in my head. I haven't touched it in a while.

And boy do I miss it! I miss my characters and my villains and the kissing (especially the kissing). I miss the magic and the world.

But I can see that I needed the space from it.

I'm so glad that I listened because now I am able to go back through my printed manuscript, cross out a paragraph (or several pages), and write, "Really, Janelle? Really?" (Tamy laughs whenever I do this around her. I can't imagine why.)

I've been able to really flesh out aspects of the world that are missing from the story and see things that just don't make sense.

At the same time, I am also able to go back and see a part that I really like and draw a heart next to it. Or a smiley face. There is a certain scene that I feel in my stomach whenever I read it. I know what Skye is going through in that moment. And I feel it. Every. Time. (Yes, Di. You know which scene I'm talking about.)

Now I'm ready to jump back in. I'm ready to polish this baby up and send it out in to the world. I'm ready to cut what needs to be cut, even if it's something I adore, for the good of the story.

And it's gonna be a lot of work!!! But I'm ready for it!

The question is are you??? ;o)


Do you let your writing sit before you revise??

Monday, July 19, 2010

If You Write, It Will Come

Hello, all!!!

I know it's been a while since my last post (man! it sounds like I'm in confession!), and I'd like to say that's because I've been writing up a storm and not procrastinating, but no such luck........

However, I have gotten back into the groove of things, and the last few weeks have been remarkably productive!! (We'll, I've been productive... the weeks themselves are just as productive as they've ever been.) I finished the chapter-that-took-me-months-to-write and am more than halfway through the next one! For those of you keeping track, that means that I have a little less than a chapter and a half of my first draft. *squee*

While things are chugging along just fine for me, there are still a few little things that I need to figure out. I know how this is going to end. I know certain events that need to happen. I know how certain characters are going to react to those certain events. But I don't know this: how am I going to get there? I know Steps 2 and 3, but Step 1 still eludes me!

So why am I so hung up on figuring out Step 1?

I know of some writers who have everything outlined and planned out ahead of time, and that's awesome, but that's not me. I used to call it "pantsing" but that reminded me of 5th grade, so I was glad when Jeffe sent me an article by Jo Beverly called "Once More into the Mist"*. In it, Beverly describes her writing process as "going into the mist", meaning she has a general idea of where she's going, but is not quite sure how she's going to get there.

That is so me! I know something's going to happen**, but when it actually works itself in, it often takes me by surprise! And watching it unfold is often like reading it in a book (that I haven't written).

Which leads me to the point of this blog: I've been stressing about Step 1 so much, I forgot one important Janelle Writer Rule: If You Write, It Will Come.

I realized this rule a few minutes ago when I saw the blank page. My fingers were poised over the keyboard, but I wanted to know Step 1. So badly. I really, really want to know!! But I wanted to know so badly that I couldn't write!!

Then it hit me--it will work itself out. When I get there, Step 1 will be waiting for me. Just like it always is. When it starts happening, I will think, Oh. That's why Forr---(oops! You can't know that!). It will finally make sense! And all will be right with the world. Well, sort of. ;o)

So I just need to write and trust in myself as a writer. If I write, it will come.

Now to actually go write so Tamy, Jessica, and Adri will stop whipping me into shape!! (Which I totally appreciate, by the way!!)

What about you? What do you do when you don't know what to do? ;o)



*I wish I had a link to the article for you because it is absolutely amazing, but I only have a scanned pdf of it. If you would like to read it, let me know, and I'll e-mail it to you.

**This, of course, does not include the things and characters that come out of nowhere, refuse to listen to me the All-Knowing Writer (yeah, right), and surprise the hell out of me! You know, the stuff I talked about in this blog or this blog.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Are you jealous? You should be!!! :o)

So today was amazingly incredibly stupendously made of awesome! (And thank you to @AudryT for telling me about it and encouraging me to go!)

Why, you ask?

This is why...

















Why, yes. You are absolutely correct. This is a picture of Margie Stohl and Kami Garcia!!!




And where did I get this picture, you ask?

I took it. 'Cause I was sitting right there. In front of Margie and Kami. *falls on floor* *dies*

I can hear the jealousy now. ;o)

So anyway... Margie and Kami were at the Borders in Glendale today for the new YA Book Club they (the fine people at Borders Glendale) are now hosting. They (Margie and Kami) answered questions and discussed Beautiful Creatures. We also discussed libraries, books, food, family, books, teenagers, fencing, books, squirrels, bacon-wrapped donuts (well, that was later with Kami's really cool husband! Although, Kami did talk about a certain bacon wallet), and (did I mention?) books.

And... LOOK WHAT WE SAW!!!



















Yes. That is an ARC of Beautiful Darkness Margie is holding in her hot little hands. Now move back from your computer before you get drool on the keys! Margie brought that (and some really cool foreign release versions of Beautiful Creatures) to show us.

And then she read the ENTIRE book (Beautiful Darkness) to us! (Okay, that last part was a lie... They weren't there that long! We didn't get to see or hear anything... :o( We didn't even get to touch it... Or hear about the top secret nuclear defense codes... Hehe! (If you had been there, you would understand that, but you weren't, and I was!!! *blinks* Oops! Sorry! That was mean. I'm not trying to rub it in. I know your tears are competing with your drool to see who can ruin your keyboard first...))

So as an aspiring (published) author, I now have two, count that - TWO, more writers to emulate. Two more favorite authors! (and I haven't even finished Beautiful Creatures!)

How can they be among my favorite authors if I haven't finished their book yet, you ask? Well, mostly because I have read enough of the story to be hooked, and I just know I'm gonna love it. But also because they are accessible. And aside from writing an amazingly incredible book, I want to be the kind of author they are: accessible to people who love the world that exists in their/my head. (Accessible author alert!! If you are on Twitter, follow them: @mstohl and @kamigarcia Website: http://www.beautifulcreaturesthebook.com/)

I also learned something that I can apply to my own writing: Rules were made to broken.
  1. BC is really long. I mean really long (which, as a reader ('cause we all know I am), is exactly my kind of book. And Tamy's). I have been struggling to keep my word count down because I've heard over and over that (especially for first time authors) the word count needs to be X. And my word count is probably going to be somewhere around X and a half... (BC is about 2X)
  2. BC was sold as a series. I've also heard over and over that debut authors should never write a series. Unfortunately (or not), I didn't hear this until after I was more than halfway through my ms. And there is not a snowball's chance in hell this book will work without any more following it. Granted, the story itself is self-contained, but if I were reading my book as a reader and I found out that there was not going to be a sequel, I would come to my house and throw rocks at my windows. (BC was sold in a two book deal, and they are working on Book 3 with another one to follow!)
  3. Not that this really applies to my current wip, but BC opens with a prologue followed by a dream sequence followed by a mention of the weather. A strict no-no on all counts! But guess what? It totally works! (I've read that much of it...)
Anyway, I just wanted to share my amazing experience with you guys! I hope you guys get the chance to meet Margie and Kami because they are really incredible, down-to-earth people!

I can't wait for the next YA Book Club! They are hoping to get Heidi R. Kling in July. That would be awesome because I want wait to read Sea and I would love to meet Heidi!

So... Thank you Borders Glendale!

And thank you Margie Stohl and Kami Garcia!!!

*sighs* Today was made of awesome... Now off to write!

Some final pics for you guys...



















Margie sitting in front of a signed stack of Beautiful Creatures. Go to Borders in Glendale to pick one up!



















So this is the copy of Beautiful Creatures that I am reading. My bff got it from the library and is sharing the love! It was already signed my Kami, but Margie added her awesomeness to it (along with a stamp for the Gatlin County Library! Now where am I supposed to return it?? Hehe).

Oh! And I also got some really cool swag!!

Ending thought... I can't wait to be in the author's seat at one of these... *sighs again and really runs off to write this time* *stops and considers finishing Beautiful Creatures* GAH!! What to do?!?!?


So, question for you... Have you ever had a squealy, amazing, fan-girly experience? With whom?

:o) Thanks for dropping by! See you next time you pull into the station!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

So Sarah Wylie (@Sarah_Why on Twitter) has this A-M-A-Z-I-N-G giveaway on her blog to celebrate the face that her book All These Lives is going to be PUBLISHED!! Congrats!! You can visit  Sarah's blog to win a bunch of really cool prizes, including lunch with either Janet Reid or Suzie Townsend!!! I SO wish I lived closer to NY so I could win that!!!

Anyway, check out her blog, and enter her contest!!

Have a great day!!

Janelle

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Win Maggie Stiefvater's Ballad!!! Autographed!! :o)

Remember how I told you guys about Maggie Stiefvater the other day?? You know... the one who wrote about the swoon-worthy werewolves?? Yup! That one!

Well... Waste Paper Prose is giving away an autographed copy of one of her other books, Ballad!!! *squeals*

I loved her writing so much, I can't wait to read these books (Lament & Ballad)!!!

So visit Waste Paper Prose here and enter their contest!!!

Thanks!!

Janelle

Author Appreciation Week - Part Five!!!

Before I start, I would like to thank Heidi R. Kling for conceiving and organizing Author Appreciation Week! Heidi, Thank you! I can't wait until SEA is released on June 10, 2010 (just in time for my birthday)!!! Unless you want to give me an ARC... ;o)


My last author is someone I recently discovered through the recommendation of a friend. I think her exact words were, "Once you read these books, nothing else will compare. Ever."

Well, goodness gracious!! How do you pass up a recommendation like that?? So I downloaded Hunger Games.

Oh. My. GOD!!!

THANK YOU, Suzanne Collins!!!

Thank you for Katniss. She is such an amazing character! Smart, strong, independent, fiercely protective, and the ultimate survivor. If I had to live in a dystopian future, I would want to be Katniss. I'm supposed to be a writer, yet I am out of words when it comes to Katniss. There is so much to say. She is so complex in so many ways.

Thank you for Peeta. I love Peeta. He is just as fiercely protective of Katniss as she is of Prim. And he loves her. And he gave her bread. And he wants to defy The Capitol. And he makes me swoon while lives are on the line!

Thank you for Gale. I love Gale. I think he is a better match for Katniss (from what I've seen thus far). He knows Katniss, knows how she works and how she thinks. They have been through many of the same hardships (obviously except for the Games) and have overcome long-term hardships together. And he is honest with her.

Thank you for Cinna. What can I say? He created the Girl on Fire. He turned Katniss into the Mockingjay. He just, well, I love him too.

Thank you for Rue. *sighs*

And those are just some of the characters...

Then there's the story...

Despite the dark topic, I found myself laughing throughout the story, often just as I was wiping tears away. These books are so beautifully crafted.

And the whole Katniss/Peeta/Gale thing just gets me. See, in Twilight (excuse the comparison here), it is so obvious that Bella belongs with Edward. While I love Jacob (more than Edward in some ways), there was never any doubt in my mind who Bella should end up with. The story would have seemed incongruous had she ended up with Jacob, so the whole Team Edward/Team Jacob thing is ridiculous to me. And in Mortal Instruments, from the day Jace finds Clary at the poetry reading, there was no doubt in my mind that they belong together. Whether they would actually be able to be together was the question. But, as much as I love Simon, I could never see him with Clary...

But Katniss. I can see her choosing either one of them. Or neither of them. All three of those choices make perfect sense to me. I personally think that she is more suited to Gale, and I think his love for her is more "true" seeing as how they actually knew each other before the Games, but I cannot disregard all that she went through with Peeta.

I am anxiously awaiting the release of Mockingjay in August!!!

So again, thank you, Suzanne Collins!!

By the way, after reading The Hunger Games Series, I realized that my dystopian short story, "A Few Dollars", was begging to be turned into book. And it will, as soon as I am done with this one!!


Thank you all for joining me this week!! It has been fun to document the five authors who have had the most influence on my writing!

Speaking of which... I'd better get back to it before Tamy has a heart attack waiting for the resolution to the cliffhanger I left her with!!! ;o)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Author Appreciation Week - Part Four!!!

Author Appreciation Week has been a lot of fun!!! Thank you, Heidi R. Kling! (And Happy Birthday!!)

Today on #AAW... WEREWOLVES!!! All three of my other authors had werewolves. Some we hate, well, one we hate--Fenrir Greyback, and some we love--Jacob (*sighs* too young), Lupin (love him), and Luke (really love him! and he's closer to my age!).

Well, today's author wrote an amazing (and completely swoon-worthy) book about werewolves! (And the second one's coming out soon!! *squeals*)

Thank you, Maggie Stiefvater!!!

Shiver (that's the name of the book by the way) was one of the first books I read on my ereader (on my phone! how cool is that!). At this point, I had started reading more paranormal YA, trying to get a more full taste of the genre. But after Mortal Instruments, nothing seemed to measure up. The books were too short (I'm a sucker for a really long book!), and the characters were not that well developed.

This is where my love for the ereader developed. I figured out that I can download the first chapter of a book and buy it later if I like it!

Well. I downloaded the free sample of Shiver (and about 10 other books). I was hooked!

Shiver is told in first person, alternating between Grace's POV and Sam's POV. It is the story of a young girl who has a rather unusual attraction to the wolves, one in particular, that live in the woods behind her house. When the temperature drops below 32 (eek! Is it 32 or 38???) degrees, Sam will turn back into a wolf.

Let me just say I spent pretty much the entire story swooning. And in the words of Maggie, "Swooning is good!"

That's right! I said in the words of Maggie! I found another author who is accessible!! *wants to swoon over accessible authors* When I finished Shiver, I sent Maggie a tweet ('cause I follow @mstiefvater), and she replied!

Maggie also has a facebook page that she keeps up with, responding to all of the comments, and a really cool blog with some great short stories!!

And, on top of all that, she is an amazing artist, musician, and songwriter! (I would say she's a great singer too, but I've never actually heard her sing!)

All around, Maggie is an amazingly talented artist. I highly recommend Shiver to anyone who has not read it (and even to those who have), and I know where I'll be in a few months when Linger, the sequel to Shiver, is released. ;o)

Again, thank you, Maggie Stiefvater!!

PS - Thanks for the steamy, swoony... um... you know!!!

Join me tomorrow when I wrap up Author Appreciation Week!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Author Appreciation Week - Part Three!!!

Today on Author Appreciation Week I am going to thank my favorite YA author!!! So without further ado...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Cassandra Clare!!!

When I was a child and even when I was in high school, I would go to bookstores (usually with my mom) and browse around. Usually there were certain books that someone recommended, or we got the latest Newberry Winner (pretty much a sure thing that it would be a good book). But sometimes, I just browsed. I found some of my favorite books that way, like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and The Westing Game.

But as I got older, there were just too many books! I found myself gravitating towards authors I knew or books that had been recommended. Sure, I picked up the occasional random book, read the back and thought, huh, looks good, and put it back, forgetting all about it.

Then came Autumn 2009...

I went to the movies (My Sister's Keeper) with some friends from work (fellow Twi-hards), and once we were done crying (man that movie is S-A-D), we went to Barnes & Noble across the way to get something to fill the void left by Bella & Edward. I tried a few other YA books here and there and was mostly disappointed. (Also, I must admit, before Twilight, I didn't realize there was a whole genre for young adults! Who knew?? I read adult books when I was that age...)

So, we went to the YA section to browse around.

A beautiful cover caught my eye... And the title was pretty cool too!

The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes

Oops! I thought. This is Book Two! And being the must-read-everything-in-the-order-in-which-it-was-intended girl that I am, I quickly put it back and grabbed City of Bones. Oooo. Even the title was intriguing. And who was the hot (albeit too young for me) guy on the cover??? And why was he covered in swirly tattoos??? And who was the red-head on the second cover??? She looked like a spitfire...

And that was before I even opened the book!! I read the blurb, and I was hooked!! (I guess this should be thanks to @cassieclare's amazing marketing people, but without the story...)

Being broke college students, we had no money to actually buy any books that day, but I made my friend write down the titles so she could get them from the library. (I would've done it myself, but I am sorta banned from borrowing books from libraries... Another day, another post!)

Anyway, she quickly finished them and gave them to me.

I read one a day. Of course. (How someone can put down a book like that in the middle is beyond my meager powers of comprehension!!!)

I read the books at work (when I had downtime). Another friend, who is not as much of a reader, was working with me. It proved quite embarrassing to read there because I would just start laughing. She would look at me like I was insane, and I would try to explain what was so funny. I mean, how do you explain that a sparkly gay warlock just froze a cute (yet extremely creepy) guy and tried to keep him as a coat rack?!?! Yeah. I couldn't either. I just knew that I had to keep reading.

And I saw what really, really good YA writing looked like. This was the kind of writer that I wanted to be. This is the kind of story that I wanted to weave. The love, the action, the amazing characters and all of their strengths and flaws, the Shadowhunter world... All of it!! I forgot all about Team Edward/Team Jacob and joined TEAM JACE!!! 'Cause I LOVE Jace!! And the family dynamics were so beautifully written! All I can say is I am anxiously counting down the days until The Infernal Devices and City of Fallen Angels are released!

I have recommended The Mortal Instruments to numerous friends, acquaintances, random people on the street... Two of my friends already finished (and love them as much as I do). A third friend was so upset she refused to read past the first book. I had to tell her that I wouldn't recommend a book that sucked and coerced her into continuing. (She is and has already thanked me!!)

Wow. I can't believe I talked this long... And I can't believe you are still reading this!!! :o) You must love Cassandra Clare as much as I do!!!

I'll wrap up by saying that Cassandra Clare's amazingly awesome series is not the main reason why she is my favorite author.

She is my favorite author because she is accessible. She has an amazing website and blog. She gives fantastic advice to writers. But the cool part? She gives out her e-mail address! I know other authors do as well, but Cassandra Clare was the first author who I was able to contact via e-mail!

And she wrote me back! Me! (Ironically, she wrote me back as I was rereading City of Ashes)

So, not only do I want to be an author like Cassandra Clare. I want to be an accessible author like Cassandra Clare!!

Thank you for showing me that authors are real people too! They actually exist! :o)

Thank you, Cassandra Clare!!!

PS Thank you for Jace!!! *sighs and wishes she hadn't loaned out The Mortal Instruments*

PPS For those of you wondering if The Mortal Instruments filled my Twilight void, the answer is... more than yes!! Overflowing filling of the void here!! :o)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Author Appreciation Week - Part Two!!!

I know it is late, but I just finished working! Phew! What a lllooonnnnggg day! Anyway, I'm gonna get right to the point here...

So, this author had the most direct impact on my decision to write, specifically to write young adult.

About a year and a half ago, I decided that I wanted to try writing a novel. I sat down and started. I had a character that I liked, and I wanted to show how difficult her life was even though it looked like she had it made. But I had no story. I wrote a few pages here and there, but nothing really.

Cue my addiction to the Twilight Saga.

Oh. My. God.

I read all four books in four days. Needless to say, Twilight was my own personal brand of heroin.

I asked for them for Christmas.

I read them again. And again. I have no idea how many times I read them.

Then I realized what was wrong with my story--it wanted to be a young adult supernatural (as I so lovingly called it back then)!! Duh! Hello, McFly!! I love fantasy/paranormal stories, so why the hell wouldn't I write one!

I sat down that day and started planning it out.

Oh. Wait. This should be a different blog... I need to get back to Author Appreciation Week!

So, my second author (in case you haven't figured it out by now) is none other than Stephenie Meyer!!

Stephenie Meyer, thank you!!!

If it weren't for you, I would probably still be floundering around for something to write... Your stories, which I love, inspired me to breathe life into my characters.

(And inspired me to attempt to show what a healthy relationship looks like. Tamy? Am I successful here?)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

As soon as I am done writing this book, I get to read your books again!!! I have banned myself from them while writing so I don't get all obsessed again... ;o)


So I must ask you fine people swinging by the station... What are your thoughts on Twilight???

Thanks for dropping by, and tune in tomorrow when I reveal my favorite young adult author!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Author Appreciation Week - Part One!!!

Wow. This is going to be tough! I could write about authors I read when I was young (like CS Lewis, LM Montgomery, Avi, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ellen Raskin, Judy Blume, RL Stine, and oh so many others) or authors I read as a young adult (like Michael Crichton, VC Andrews, Jean M. Auel, Stephen King, Lilian Jackson Braun, and Agatha Christie), but I am going to focus on the authors I have read since I began seriously writing (ie they actually write in my genre).

There are a few authors that have been instrumental in my desire to become an author and my molding as an author. I picked five to talk to you about this week and will give you one a day in the order that I originally read their books.

So here goes:


JK Rowling, I salute you!!

I remember hearing about Harry Potter after I graduated from high school. It was all the rage in the book stores, and I saw that lightning bolt all over! But I was a bit of a book snob back then, and I didn't want to read something just because it was popular. Then the movie was advertised. I saw the world Rowling created come to life in bits and pieces (the movie trailer), and I was hooked! (And I always have to read the book before I see the movie...) I asked for the books and got 1-4 for Christmas. I think it took me 5 days to devour all four books.

Then I had to wait some ungodly amount of time (six months?) for Book Five!! Oh, the agony!! How did you people who started with Sorcerer's Stone do it!?!? I insisted that my mom (and other friends) read them. And they did. And they loved them too!

I must say, The Deathly Hallows is one of my favorite books of all time! I loved everything about it! Rowling is absolutely brilliant. Every question, every little clue, it's all right there. There was a moment in GoF that I noticed (a gleam in Dumbledore's eye) and could never figure out. Until the end of DH. Genius.

I am in no way claiming or striving to be "The Next JK Rowling", but her world building and story connections are something I strive for in my stories. I have little comments here and there that when (if) the book is reread after the entire series is complete, the reader will (hopefully) say, "Oh my god! Look! Look right here! That's because of such and such!"

Plus she was a single mother when she wrote the series, and I am inspired by her tenacity and perseverance. It is NOT easy being a single parent. And as I am a struggling single parent, she is definitely my inspiration in that category!

Thank you, JK Rowling!! I appreciate you!!!

PS - For all my Twitter friends, are you following @jk_rowling?


Tomorrow... The author whose books inspired me to actually write. Yup. To sit down and write.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jumping the Tracks EEK!

So here I am. Back in the station. I have been paragraphs away from finishing TDC (This Damn Chapter for those of you playing along at home) for almost two weeks, yet I still haven't finished!

I realized today that my new character is holding me up. A few months ago, I took all of the notes that previously existed only in my head (yes, not the best place for them) and wrote them down, outlining the remaining chapters of my WIP. This was extremely helpful for many reasons, including protecting my work from my sometimes forgetful brain.

Seriously though, this helped me in two huge ways. First, it solidified the story in my mind. I realized early on where this book was going to end, but the actual act of writing it down helped me figure out how to break down the remaining events into chapters.

But the second way my outline helped me was a complete surprise: it gave me a new character! I squealed (not waking the sleeping child) in joy!! I was so excited and couldn't wait to meet the new character! For the sake of this blog, let's say it's a guy, and his name is... um... George. So, I wrote away, anxiously awaiting the day Skye (my protag) would meet George and find out all kinds of cool things.

Then she met George. *crickets chirping* What just happened?!?!? The words, which up to this point, had been flowing at a fairly consistent rate, slowed to a trickle. And I couldn't figure out why. Which led to frustration! I may be a fan of many things, but I assure you frustration is not one of them.

After writing and chopping the same pages over and over, I realized something: I never sat down and really figured out George. I have been living and breathing Skye and Forrest for so long, I know them well, very very well. I know what they would say and do. I know how they would react in any given situation. But George is a mystery. So I had to back up and figure out George. It's put me behind schedule (my schedule is kinda like the Pirate Code--more like a guideline), but I think I finally figured it out. Phew! So now I can (and should) go back and finish TDC already before Tamy has withdrawals. ;o)

On a side note, I had a similar experience in my last chapter, but that one was with a character I thoroughly knew and understood. What I didn't know was what that character would say and do in a given situation. So I wrote it first from that character's POV and then changed it to Skye's POV! It was so much fun getting in that character's head and seeing what runs through that character's mind. I'm glad I don't have to always write from that POV though, because that character's mind is a dark and spooky place!

Anyway, do your characters give you hassles? If so, how do you handle it?

Just remember this: killing aggravating characters off is all fun and games until someone loses an eye! ;o)

See you next time!!

Janelle

Monday, February 15, 2010

Surprise!!! The train is pulling into the station...

ALL ABOARD!!!

So since I can't seem to stay off the internet while I should be writing, I decided to pull into the station and do something (semi) productive.

Can I just say I love writing*? Just as much as I love reading. Seriously. And I love reading. I mean, I really, REALLY love reading. Really.

What is it that I love about writing? Oh, so many things, but here's what inspired me to make that statement to you fine people: I love watching the story unfold. I mean, I know what's going to happen. I know who's gonna show up and try to kill whom. I know who's gonna save whom. I know what happened in the past to make two characters feel a certain way. I know how the story is going to end. I know all this stuff.

But I LOVE surprises. I just finished writing a flashback-type scene that shows what happened when the two main characters met. Now I've had this scene in my head for a while, but when my fingers started moving across the keys and having a life of their own, I found out that a semi-minor (recurring pain-in-the-rear) character was there!! No way!! I had NO idea!! So I wrote him in, and the scene flows beautifully with the rest of the story. It is so fitting that that character is the one in that scene! (This would probably make a LOT more sense if I just told you what happened, but you'll just have to wait until the book is published! ;o) Ask me again after you read it, and I'll tell you which scene I'm talking about...)

Anyway, my mom is fascinated whenever I tell her that something has surprised me. I guess many people (myself included before this journey) just assume that writers know what they are doing. Wait, that came out wrong... They assume that writers know what is going to happen. And to a certain extent, I do. But then my characters jump out from pages they were never supposed to be on and wave their little fictional hands as if to say, "Hey! What are you doing? Don't you know this is how the story goes? DUH!" And being the obedient little writer that I am (yes, mom, that was for you), I acquiesce, knowing that they are right.

For me, surprises make writing a book/novel/manuscript just like reading a book (you know, a published book, by another author, with a story that doesn't already exist in my head)! And we all know how I feel about reading. :o)

What about you? Have your characters ever waved at you from the page and decimated your carefully constructed chapter outline? Or am I just crazy?

Drop me a comment! And I'll see you the next time the train pulls into the station!



*Yes, I know. I hear you now. "Why are you procrastinating if you love writing so much?" you ask. Because my characters just decimated the next part of my carefully constructed (okay, sloppily handwritten) chapter outline and then left me to figure out what they're supposed to do next, and I have no fricken' clue!!!