Saturday, November 29, 2008

What I did on my Thanksgiving vacation...

Home at last!

The amount of writing I was able to get done this past week was simply astounding. Like I've mentioned before, I don't know if it's because we were in the area where I first dreamed up this novel or just because I had so much extra help taking care of my son, but whatever it was - Wow!

It's not even just the amount of writing that I was able to do that shocks me most, but how emotional the chapters were. I felt so bad for the people around me for a couple days as I worked on depressing portions of the story. I just know that I was moping around, quiet and brooding. I think I had my iPod playing almost every day, repeating a few key songs that really put me in the correct mental "zone" to write all of the emotional roller coaster stuff.

I even made a huge mistake while typing up one scene at around 3 a.m. (Yes, I learned from the night before and drug my exhausted, lifeless body down to the laptop rather than laying on the floor with a notebook and pencils...) While writing a scene from another character's point-of-view, towards the end of the book, I stumbled across one of his memories from a scene that wasn't on my outline. I thought it was a pretty powerful memory and decided that I needed to try writing it up to see if it would fit in well with the rest of the chapters in that section. Well, I wrote it up and loved it... unfortunately I made a mental boo boo. I wrote it as if a pretty major plot point hadn't happened yet... only that plot point happens quite a bit before then. Oops! So I put a yellow text box (my electronic version of a post-it note) with a note on what I need to fix in order to keep this new scene included. This scene just makes everything seem so real to me; it's something that would definitely happen to Casey with how much fate likes picking on her. I'm really lucky that it will be fairly easy to rework the story to fit with the actual story line.

Whew! *wipes the back of my hand across my forehead*

Another day, my husband was using our laptop to check his email and to just kill some time online, so what does my little writing gremlin do? Of course, he perches himself on my shoulder and, in his adorable British accent, begins describing a scene to me. Now this was a scene that I had been thinking about for a day or two, so I was pretty anxious to get started. I paced the living room for a few minutes, peeking over the edge of the laptop every now and then, seeing if my husband was almost done... probably driving him crazy. After a couple of minutes of this, I started feeling that sense of inspiration beginning to fade and panicked. I rushed upstairs to the desktop computer in the office and started typing. Probably five minutes later, my husband came up and told me that he was done with the laptop and I could have it. Unfortunately I already had nearly a page typed up and was "in the zone," so to speak. I quickly told him that I'd just stay in the office so I wouldn't lose my momentum. It was quiet up there and I was comfy... He wished me luck and headed down to play with our toddler. (I'm so lucky he's so supportive and understanding.)

I'm not sure how long I stayed at that computer; time tends to have little meaning when I get writing like that. All I know is that when I came back down 1) I noticed that it was darker outside than I remembered and, 2) I had around 6 more pages of text to add to my rough draft file. The scene is almost done too. There's a small flashback sequence that happens that I need to work on some more, but that shouldn't take long. The problem with writing this sequence is that every time it plays in my head, I tend to get caught up watching it and find myself forgetting to type. Of course, it's all very theatrical in my head, complete with music playing in the background as the scenes fade in and out... If this book were a movie, I'd definitely cry at this scene. It, in a way, makes up for a lot of the depressing things that happen before it.

oh great, I'm tearing up just thinking about it again... moving on...

We were lucky enough to find time to hang out with a bunch of Erich's friends that he's known since high school. Some of the people present were actually inspirations for a few of my minor characters, so I secretly used this evening as a night of research as I have several scenes that need to be written that involve these characters. Hanging out like this is a pretty new experience for me. I've always tended to be a bit of a loner. You know the person who has lots of acquaintances but very few real friends? I've never really had that big group of people that I could just go hang out with, you know? Well, until meeting Erich that is. Luckily his friends don't have a problem having me along when they all hang out together. Of course I have a small circle of good friends that I've been able to keep in touch with, get re-acquainted with, etc. and I'm really glad to have them in my life... but there's just something about this group of people up north that inspires me to write really fun stuff!

Like I said, I was doing a lot of mental research while we all hung out that night- joking, playing board games, etc. Just seeing how friends who have known each other so long interact is really going to help me write this story. My biggest thing in this book is that I want it to be very real- the people, the conversations, the settings- all of it. I want all of this to be believable to lull the reader into accepting that other things, such as Casey's gift, are real too. If I can make someone believe that this story could be happening in their own town, maybe even to someone they know, then I would be ecstatic. I guess I just have to work really hard to make this story the best I possibly can.

This past week I picked up another reviewer who's been eager to read the story for a while. So far I've only sent her one chapter, but I'm really looking forward t her input. As my target audience is women, probably older teenagers and up, her input should be invaluable. It'll be nice having a reviewer who doesn't know the whole story. I'll be able to ask her questions about what she thinks about characters without her knowing which one is the villain; to see if I'm successful at misleading the reader.

I'm still having a hard time figuring out how to give my reviewers chapters to read when I skip around so much while writing though. This would definitely be easier if I could just write chronologically, but sadly that method didn't work too well for me. Should I just send out random scenes for review? Should I, for example, send out a completed chapter 1 followed by a synopsis of chapters 2-4 so they can move on to 5-7 which are done as well? Should I wait until I'm done writing my first draft to send out anything else?

If anyone reading this has any experience in any or all of this or knows someone who does... advice would be awesome. I'm doing this all through trial and error so far, but I'd love to know how other people do this. I love reading about other people's writing processes so I can learn what works for them and decide if it would work for me too.

So, please, leave comments or send emails to
Have a cool website you get advice from? Have your own personal story? Just want to give advice or encouragement? Feel free to contact me. Thanks in advance!

Well, hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! I'm off to play in one of the literary worlds I've created in my head...

Talk 2ya later...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Inspiration can be so emotionally draining...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wow! I had hoped that while we were up visiting my husband's family this week that I would get some good writing in. After all, this is the area where I first dreamed up Instinct and it's characters that I have grown to love so much. Like I said, I hoped I would get at least a little bit of writing done... I had no idea just how much my little gremlin would come through.

For example, the night before last I was up a good 3 hours hand writing a total of 7 pages worth of dialog for two different scenes. It took me all day to type it all in, adding in all the extra descriptive details that my dictation-style dialogue had lacked. When I stay up writing dialogue, I tend to just write down exactly what I hear the characters saying in my head, only adding in descriptions if they come naturally. I never stop to think about the correct way to describe the facial expressions during these settings. This could be because I'm so tired and just want to get the gist of it all down so I can get back to bed- actually... yeah that's probably the main reason.

I really wish that I hadn't been so stubborn that night, refusing to walk downstairs and plop down on the comfy couch and type everything on the laptop. Looking back now, it would have made more sense to do this than to lay there on the floor, hand writing page after page of text by the glow of a little plug-in night light. I'm even a faster at typing than I am at hand writing, but as I said... I'm stubborn.

The scenes that I wrote were so emotionally intense that in between writing them I had to actually walk around the house, get a drink, check my email... (don't even get on to me about why I didn't just stay on the laptop once I was there... it was a crazy night!).

That night I wrote the scene that transitions Casey at her happiest, "life is perfect" time to where the proverbial rug is pulled out from under her. Writing the first half of the first scene was so euphoric for me. Casey was happy, I was absolutely glowing with the joy she felt... it was wonderful! But then by the end of the scene, I was crying and just as depressed as she was beginning to feel, probably even more so because I knew what was coming. This is when I had to take my little walk around the house. Having this scene playing through my head repeatedly while I wrote it left me feeling so empty, like a hollow shell of myself. On the plus side, this is how Casey is supposed to feel, but it was so much more intense then I ever imagined it would be.

At this point, I tried to go back to bed. Surely after writing 4 pages, front and back of deeply emotional text my writing gremlin would be satisfied, right? ... if you answered yes, you obviously don't know my writing gremlin very well... As soon as my head hit the pillow another scene, slightly related to the one I had just poured from my soul onto the page, started playing out in my head. I groaned and then very quietly I made my way out of the bed again, trying desperately not to wake my sleeping husband.

Now, at this point, you would think that I would have been awake enough to realize that going to the laptop would be the best course of action? You obviously underestimate my stubbornness.

I found my comfy spot on the floor and angled the notebook in such a way that my hand wouldn't block the nightlight as I wrote and began again. This time I wrote part of the final chapter, the second half of it to be exact. I can see why my gremlin wanted me to finish with this scene that night though. It was the perfect emotional balance to correct the depression from before. A conversation from the previous scene was a major part of the ending and it was so nice getting to write a different perspective on what was said.

Without even trying, when I finished I noticed that I had used the final sentence that I had dreamed up a while back. I was almost certain that since I changed the point-of-view of the chapter, that it wouldn't work anymore, but it did! Even with the change of perspective on what was said, I found it just as emotional as the original interpretation of it, if not more.

These characters are becoming so real to me. I don't know if it's because I'm spending so much time with them, learning everything about them or if it's because of where I'm at right now, pretty much the birth place of the entire novel. Whatever it is, it's making writing the scenes so easy. For most of the characters I hardly have to take any time to "get into character" before writing dialogue for them anymore. I just hope that I am adequately expressing everything that happens. If I can make a reader feel the connections between the characters half as strong as I do, then it will be something special. I wouldn't expect anyone to understand the characters as much as I do though, I mean, I know things about everyone that will most-likely never be told.

Right now I am deeply inspired to write another emotional scene. It keeps playing itself over and over in my head complete with the music that I had put in my inspirations playlist for it. This scene is huge to the story as it's a major turning point for one of the characters. Being so important, it's a little difficult to express everything properly. I mean, I could easily enough write up a bland chapter explaining exactly that happens right now, but that wouldn't do it justice. I'm spending a day or so to really delve into the emotions that this character is feeling at that moment. It's not an emotion that I have any experience with, well, to be honest I can't imagine anyone having experience with exactly what they are going through. I just want this scene to ooze the emotions and contradictions and deep thoughts that the character is experiencing. So much is going through the person's mind that it pretty much leaves them spinning. I've been playing several songs on my iPod on repeat throughout the day, trying to absorb the emotions from them. I think I'm almost there, the feeling of inspiration that feels like it's about to explode out of me is getting stronger as the day progresses.

Oooh! Oooh! That reminds me, here's something that I wrote during our drive up here this past weekend. I got inspired to write what I think inspiration feels like.

"It's odd, I have this… physical reaction when inspiration hits me suddenly. You'd think, being a writer, that I wouldn't have any problems describing this feeling. It happens without warning, I might see a dead tree, it's silver bark and limbs standing starkly in front of it's lush, green counterparts. It could be in response to an overheard conversation. Even if I don't know exactly what about the tree or the words are inspirational, the feeling is still there. It's a tightening of my stomach, like a knot forming within it's core. It's a sudden dryness in my throat and a catch in my breath. This feeling stays with me until I relent and seek out meaning within the object of my curiosity. I begin digging, peeling through the layers until I find that perfect spark of pure inspiration. Once I find it, I cradle it and nurture it into explaining itself to me fully. Then, once the story enfolds within the confines of my mind, I type up the synopsis and store it away. To save the perfect spark of imagination for a later time when I am able to fully develop it."

I wrote this during our 6 hour drive. Our son had just fallen asleep, so I was free to use the laptop, which had previously been playing cartoons to distract and entertain him so that he wouldn't notice he was strapped into his car seat. I've felt this feeling so much lately, that I decided that writing what it felt like would be a good writing exercise. I have a lot of emotional scenes to write and if I could adequately describe my physical and emotional response to being inspired then I shouldn't have any problems writing like that for my characters. So, whatcha think?

Well, it's time to try and put my son down for his nap, so I'll stop here. Well, that and I don't really have anything else to say right now...

In case I don't post again tomorrow, Happy Turkey Day Everyone!


Writing Gremins have a Wicked Sense of Humor!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Okay, my writing gremlin is just cruel. I swear he read my blog and said, "oh dear, she's having far too much fun right now... time for a curve ball."

And a curve ball is just what he gave me. I woke up an hour earlier than my son this morning all inspired and excited to write when I realized... the crazy gremlin is giving me scenes and dialogue from the second and third installments of my Instinct trilogy... As much as I love this story and how it enfolds in later books...

*prepares toddler tantrum voice*

"I wanna write the first book!"

*end toddler tantrum voice*

He's sneaky, my writing gremlin... instead of his typical, "we're taking a break from Instinct for a day" routine where he gives me some random, new idea to type up and file away until I have time to come back to it, he goes and does this! I can just picture him shrugging and saying, "I never promised that you'd finish one before you started the other two..."

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy spending my free time today organizing my notes and typing up pretty good basic outlines for books 2 and 3. I love watching my character's lives grow and change as the story progresses. I already have good working titles and covers designed for them. I'd just really like to finish the first book before I get too detailed on any future outlines. Is that too much to ask?

Hell, I have reviewers who are still waiting for a new chapter to read who are probably going to end up getting either a cleaned up copy of my outline or a brief synopsis of what happens in chapters 2-4. I'll have to do something like this so they can read the next set of completed chapters without feeling completely lost since chapters 2-4 aren't done yet.

Oh well,

To my reviewers - I'm working on a good way to get you a new chapter without leaving you lost as to what happens in the missing chapters. As soon as I find a good solution, the pdf will be sent out.

And to my writing gremlin - you cheeky little bugger! (Yes he is a British gremlin, don't ask me why. Maybe it's the monocle...) You know I love ya and all the inspirations that you are giving me. But please let me wake up tomorrow with some fresh, new dialogue for the first book... PLEASE!


Does he look like a reasonable type to you?

You know him being a British gremlin could explain the initial time differences we were experiencing. He must have just a arrived over from England and hadn't adjusted to the new time zone yet...

Oh well...enough random babbling for tonight... Cheerio!


P.S. - Writing Gremlin image found at the following address, although my perception of the little bugger is quite a bit different from that author's...

I need more utterly profound thoughts...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Well "one of those days" is here. Something finally clicked in my brain and I honestly believe my outline is complete enough to just write dialogue and prose now. In fact, in the last couple days all I've done is write prose. Yesterday alone I wrote almost 4000 words in just over a couple hours time.

Every morning I've been beginning to wake up at least an hour before my son to write. I'm not setting an alarm or anything, it's just naturally happening. Not that I could set an alarm with my toddler's crazy sleep habits lately... but that's a whole different story. Anyway I wake up, grab my 3-ring binder that I keep by the bed and start hand writing dialogue. I don't even have to think about what I'm going to write anymore, a scene just pops into my head and I struggle to take dictation of what my characters are saying.

Now that I'm focused on just writing out scenes in their entirety, it's amazing how I'm able to jump around between them. With the two scenes I wrote out yesterday I went from writing Casey at one of her most depressed, hopeless points to, five minutes after completing that scene, writing her at one of her happiest times. While I was writing I was completely engrossed in what I was doing, feeling every emotion that she felt; but when it was time to change focus, I found that I could so easily. It was so weird, almost like flipping a switch in my brain. One minute I'm feeling total despair and emptiness and the next I'm feeling exuberant and completely overjoyed. I guess this is a sign of me growing into my own personal writing style. Whatever it is, it's completely exhilarating!

At this rate, this book will be done sooner than I ever expected. I'm easily writing 2000-4000 words a day in a very small amount of time. It looks like so far my preferred writing style is:

1) write a VERY detailed outline of the entire story, writing small scenes and bits of dialogue as I feel inspired to do so. When I say detailed, I mean DETAILED. Before I finished this stage of my writing process my outline + random scenes was already over 30,000 words and the average novel is only 80,000 - 100,000 words.

While doing this I:
- complete any research necessary to fill out the outline. I seek out various pictures and useful resources and compile them into a set of files.
- fill out my in-depth character development documents. I try to really get into the heads of my main characters and learn as much about them as possible so I can write them as accurately as possible. I know things about these characters that will never appear in any of my stories with them, but is important for me to know so I know their motivations. I know how the parent's of one of my main characters met even though they never make an appearance in the story, nor are they ever mentioned. Yeah I'm a little obsessed...

2) When I feel that I know exactly what is supposed to happen in all of the major scenes, I begin writing up chapters with prose and full dialogue. Right now I'm just writing whatever scenes I wake up and feel inspired by. As I continue on this stage of my writing, I'll have to see what method I use from here on out.

I'll definitely keep posting what I'm learning on my journey to writing my first novel. Wouldn't it be funny, when I go to try and publish this story, if publishers end up being more interested in this blog than the story itself? I keep having these crazy thoughts that I'll find a publishing house willing to read my manuscript and, in researching me, they'll stumble across this blog and be more interested in the story of an amateur author's writing style while writing her first book than my work of fiction lol.

Not that I think I'm writing anything utterly profound in these blog entries, but I have a wild imagination and totally bizarre thoughts like that pop into my head all the time. That would probably explain my file folder full of rough synopses and outlines of various stories I've thought up. Topics ranging from stories for young children all the way to more adult books. Then I have my collection of stories that I wrote when I was much younger that I'd like to re-edit someday and see what I could turn them in to. Then part of me wants to research screenplay writing, it's just a fascinating subject to me.

I'm just glad that I've found a positive outlet for all of these bizarre thoughts that come to me. It's also very therapeutic when I can transfer my various stresses over to a character. When I finish writing a scene after doing this, it's almost like I can leave all of my worries on the page with that character and truly move on. I was lucky that I could do this within my Instinct plot line. I recently had a falling out with a friend on an online game I play and, if you take the gaming-related context away and just look at the emotions involved, it pretty much mirrors something that Casey and Heather go through in the book. Casey is pretty much in the same emotional state I am during those scenes, so it's been really easy and therapeutic being able to write those scenes and work through my anger and betrayal. I honestly know, first-hand how she's feeling and since this is from her point-of-view, I think the emotions come across fairly well.

But anyway, I don't want to type too much on that as I'm still writing those scenes and I don't want to leave all my good emotions in a blog when I might need them later.

Well, I need to get packing for our trip up north for the holidays. It's gonna be awesome going back to the area where I first dreamed up these characters and the original plot for their story. I'm hoping, in my free time, to get some good writing done this coming week with us having so many people to help watch the little guy. But if I don't, I know that the story will still be in my head when we get back.

I'll post again next time I have a good writing day or if I come up with something utterly profound... What? I need a back up plan in case this story fails and I need another way to get my foot in the doors at the publishing houses.

Talk 2ya all later...

P.S. - Page Count......126 (1.5x spacing so it's easier to read for edits)
Word Count......37,697 (Outline + Chapters)

Writing, writing, writing... keep that Willow writing...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You know, one of these days I'm going to be inspired to actually write dialogue for my scenes again. Maybe my brain wants to outline everything fully before I start writing everything out in chapter form? Don't get me wrong, I have quite a bit of dialogue written and several chapters done. It just seems like lately all I do is get inspired with ideas for scenes without all of the specifics I'd need to write them up fully. Oh well, maybe this is my writing process...

In the past week or so I have:
- Outlined several new scenes and added to previously outlined scenes
- Spent a great deal of time on character development. Typing up background stories and explanations for each main character and really getting into the characters motivation for doing what they do.
- Found a really cool website that is helping me develop my characters.
- Typing up rough outlines of other story ideas that I dream up. It's the only way I can get the ideas out of my head so I can focus on Instinct.

Outlining New Scenes:
I'm really liking how full my story is becoming. There are very few scenes that aren't fully outlined at this point. I'm pretty sure that once I feel that everything is planned out that the chapter-esque text will just flow out of me like crazy. I'm very much a planner and I know that most of the issues I had before when skipping around writing chapters is because the scenes weren't fully planned out in relation to the story when I started them.

I spent most of this morning typing up outlines to two chapters/scenes that I hadn't put much thought into before. I was able to add a good conversation into an early chapter that opens the door for the emotional changes Casey goes through in the rest of the book. All-in-all, a pretty productive morning, even if I didn't write one line of actual dialogue.

Character Development:
I've really delved into my characters motivations in this story. I've always known what they are supposed to do but never really understood why they do what they do. I made myself sit down and really figure this out. I had a couple variations about how the story would end for my villain and how the main characters would react to each version, but wasn't sure which "fit" the story right.

I ended up looking at each character's reactions and asked myself "Would they naturally react this way?", "Why or Why not?", "What would their most natural reaction be?" I then took all of these answers and typed them up in my character profiles. This actually led to a whole back story on my villain that I never took the time to realize before. Learning more about this character makes me almost want to write a different version of this story from their point of view eventually. It would be an interesting read...

But anyway, thanks to this character development exercise I think that I have the perfect ending for my villain. It's perfect to me because the other characters can react naturally and it still make sense in the grand scheme of things... i.e.- the trilogy...

I've also been trying to create a fairly minor character, they have an important role in the story and are spoken of by a main character fairly frequently. I just can't decide if they are male or female, yeah sounds like a stupid problem to have... but here I am. I'm seriously considering never actually using a specific pronoun for them and giving them a gender neutral name like Sam or something. Let the reader decide who they are because since Casey never actually sees this character to describe them, I could almost get away with it. This character is a boyfriend/girlfriend for a main character, who I have no problem with them being gay or straight. I guess I'll just have to see where the outlining process takes me with them.
This site is so fun. It lets you create 3-D avatars. You get to choose everything from their facial features, skin tone, hair style and color, clothing, background setting, etc... You don't even have to sign in to play with the program, you only have to sign up for free if you want to save your creations and have access to the coding for them.

I've had a blast using it to create 3-D images of my characters. It's amazing how playing dress-up with your characters reveals so much of their personality. I create the base character and then start picking out the types of outfits they would wear in different scenes. I actually learn the most about them based on what types of clothing they would NEVER wear. It makes me think about why they wouldn't wear it. Are they a punk rocker who wouldn't be caught dead in a sweater vest? Are they a socialite fashionista who never wears anything that isn't the epitome of style? Are they trying to dress according to their social status rather than wear what they really like? The questions go on, and on...

Other Stories:
My writing gremlin is a busy little bugger these days. If I try to take one day off from the story, even if it's just to let any changes I've made sink in completely - BAM - there he is... with a new idea.

In the past week or two he's presented me with the following story concepts:
- a high school type of love story that involves misguided time travel. Took about 4 pages single spaced to type out a rough outline and get it to stop playing in my head mixed in with all of my Instinct time lines.

- a story about a young girl who's gypsy heritage doesn't mix well with the relative she is sent to live with and how she has to reconnect with her heritage to end an evil curse on her tribe. The gremlin didn't push this idea too strongly, but it was presented so I typed up a rough synopsis of it in case I become a big time author someday and want to try and write it
- a story written in dual journal formats about a Hollywood manager's niece falling in love with one of her aunt's clients. It's going to be told in journal entries from her and the actor and deals with how they deal with the unique difficulties of having a "Hollywood Romance." Stayed up until 3 a.m. getting this bugger out of my brain so that I could get some sleep one night.

Yeah... In case it isn't perfectly obvious by now, I like stories that center on some sort of romance. The Hollywood journal one is the story that keep popping it's little head into my subconscious anytime I'm not 100% focused on Instinct. I have a feeling that once I'm done writing this trilogy out, even if it's just for my own eyes, that this will be the next story I write... well unless my writing gremlin provides me something more entertaining to write about that is.

Unlike the rest of my story ideas, this journal one seems like it would be better in book form than on film. The rest I think would be told easily enough in either format. I can visualize the story pretty well, but I'm not sure how well the story would translate itself to an audience that can't see exactly what the characters are feeling. The story is kind of "meh" at the moment too, the only real conflict in it so far is how the outside world treats them and how they react. It just feels like there should be something bigger going on. But what do I know, I'm new to this whole writing novels thing...


On a Roll!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It seems like just yesterday that I started working on this first novel writing experience. I guess I'm still riding that "writer's high" that I've read about, but now, about 3 months after the idea for this book came to me, I'm still having a blast!

Looking at my ever-growing collection of files for the book, the earliest one that I have found dated to August 7, 2008. That sounds about right. We were up north visiting family when the idea for this novel came to me, so I guess I'll count that as my start date - give or take a day or two in either direction.

As of what I have written yesterday here's some stats on how the book is progressing:

Number of Pages (1.5x spacing).....108
Total Words for Story..................30,886
Minimum Word Count Goal…….80,000

Total Words Broken Up:

Written Chapters..................10.757
Started Chapters....................8,693
Outlined Chapters................11,436

Yesterday I wrote a scene that I find pretty funny. It's been playing in my head since the very beginning, but for some reason I never got around to typing it up during my writing times. It's a car ride scene that pokes fun at how evil irony and fate can be at times. It's not perfect, but no rough draft is. I'll be able to fine tune it later on when I'm editing the whole thing. I have the main point that I wanted to get across done, but I need some additional descriptions to set the scene. Not a lot more, but it just needs something - oh well that's what the second draft is for.

I've been reading a lot of writing websites. Reading articles by authors on their writing processes and various tips and tricks on how to get the story from your head and onto paper, or the word document in my case.

Hi, I'm Willow... and I'm a techy geek, but I have no plans to change so... :P

Speaking of techy geek, I'm really looking forward to getting my new iPod from the Haunted Bloggy Carnival Contest I had entered. The sponsor said she bought it today and it should arrive in the next few days. The main reason I'm looking forward to getting it is because I've recently started using music as a driving influence on some of my scenes and characters. I have a special MySpace Music profile set up with my inspirational songs and I play them when I'm about to write about a certain character or situation. Surprisingly I have all of the songs in my personal collection already, they're just not all on the computer yet and it was really fast and easy to make the play list. With an MP3 player I'll be able to carry the songs with me wherever I go to help me subconsciously continue working on chapters.

I've been trying to put together a play list of songs that Casey, my main character, would listen to. Since I'm writing from her point-of-view I think this will help me "get into character" when I'm typing. Although this means that I'll have to make up a play list for a second character as well. At one point, at the end of the story, I think I'm going to change perspectives for a chapter or two.

I've come to realize that a lot of the exciting stuff at the end of the story happens when Casey isn't around. I've went back and forth on how to deal with this. I've considered having a character tell her what happened, but then the reader would wonder if that character is telling her everything, or if they even remember it all clearly. Everything happens pretty fast at the end and it would be understandable, given what happens, for this character to not remember things correctly. If I switch to his perspective for a couple chapters I think it will really let the reader see what a good guy he actually is. There's certain scenes that he's the only character present that I'm not sure if he'd tell Casey about them. Not that he'd be hiding stuff from her, but – on their own – these scenes don't seem very important. They only have major importance when you see them in the grand scheme of things.

The regular chapters would end in his perspective and he utters the final sentence that left me in tears when I wrote it. Then the epilogue would be written in Casey's perspective, so the readers leaves the story knowing her take on everything as well.

There's really only one part of the ending that I haven't decided on – how to write the ending of my main villain. I know what happens to them, but I don't know what Casey and the reader should learn about it. I like what I have in my outline right now, but there's that little voice in the back of my head wondering if maybe it would be better to…

But anyway, this whole blogging experience is pretty cool. Even if no one else reads it but me, just typing everything up like this is really freeing. Sometimes just typing the problems I'm having with a scene seems to make the whole situation so much clearer. I know I've worked through several bouts of writer's block just by blogging about it, whether the blog entry was marked public or not. What? There are times that I type too much plot information in a would-be blog entry. Since this is a public blog, if by some miracle, this would get published someday, I'd like to keep some things a secret. (Yeah, I've done the research on how likely it is to get published… *sigh* oh well, even if I just write this for me and a few friends it'll be worth it to me. Oh and to appease the writing gremlin, mustn't forget him…)

So for anyone who actually reads this, thanks for lending me an ear… or I guess it'd be an eyeball in this instance… you are reading this after all…

Oh well, back to writing! Talk 2-ya Later…


Writing a Book is an Emotional Process...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Okay, I have grown too attached to my characters.

I felt inspired to do some major outlining for the last 3-4 chapters today, so I did. I have probably 10 pages of notes, single-spaced covering just before the final climax of the story through the epilogue. I picked Erich's brain for a while, tossing around ideas for how I could write my characters out of the jam that I had let them get into. I was really stressed because I could see them in the scene and everything around them, but couldn't figure out how they could possibly survive. With his help, I have a good ending that wraps up the story in a great place for the next leg of their stories to begin (aka - book 2).

The saddest part is that in my rigorous outlining, my brain stumbled upon the final sentence of the book. I finished typing the outline and then realized what I had just typed. I quickly re-read the block of text with the last line and had an immediate response... I started crying! I won't give the last line away, Erich won't even let me tell him what it is, he just saw me behind the laptop, fanning my eyes, willing the tears not to fall. I haven't even wrote the full chapters and dialogue leading up to this line and I'm crying. What am I going to do once the book is done?

This isn't even the first time that I've cried over part of an outline. As some people know, I've found myself particularly drawn to one of my characters. Ever since they first appeared in a minor role on an outline, I knew they had to have a bigger part in the story. This led to some major outline revisions to showcase their new role.

Have you ever seen the movie, "The Butterfly Effect"? or maybe the "Back to the Future" movies? Well, I learned really quickly how one tiny change on a story's time line opens a can of worms that changes the later chapters drastically. Over the course of about 5 minutes I decided that I liked this character and wanted to give them a bigger part. I started watching the story re-enfold in my mind, watching the movie re-write itself and play the scenes back to me. Then * BAM * my beloved character was dead. Oh cruel fate! Why them? Why not one of the other characters?

Unfortunately when writing such a character-driven story, once they tell you what happens - there's not much you can do about it. I fought it for a good half an hour, desperate to find some other way for it to play out, but to no avail... it was settled and I had to accept it. This was the first moment that I cried over this book, full-on, tears streaming down my face CRYING.

I guess on the plus side, if I can write up the chapters half as emotionally as the outlines are to me, it could increase my shots of getting published. Now I just have to find a way to tell this story well enough that the average reader will feel as emotionally invested in the characters as I am.

Oh well, wish me luck!


Book Update - Going Great!

Friday, November 07, 2008

As the subject line suggests, the book is going great! I went through over a week of writer's block because I kept trying to force myself to write the chapters in order. I was making progress, but it was SLOW. So slow that my writing gremlin started presenting me with ideas for different books; guess he figured I had lost interest in 'Instinct' which I most definitely have not. I've really grown attached to these characters and want to get their story completed.

Well last night the little guy refused to fall asleep so I stayed up and watched him play until around 1:30 a.m. He finally decided to konk out so I put him in bed and tried to fall asleep myself (I had been dozing off and on the entire time he was wearing himself out before). Of course, it being close to 2 a.m. by the time I got the living room cleaned up and into bed, my little writing gremlin decided that since I was still up, he had a few suggestions for me.

I tried to fight it, which only led to me waking up completely. I tried to meet him halfway and pulled out my three-ring binder to take some hand-written notes to jog my memory when I went to type everything later in the day. Apparently that wasn't good enough. After three or four rounds of me pulling out the binder and writing by cell phone light, I gave up (cell phone light because I refused to leave my warm bed and didn't want to wake Erich up with lamplight). I grabbed my glasses and drug myself out to the laptop and proceeded to type up various scenes and conversations from 2 or 3 different chapters, staying up until after 3:30 a.m. in the process.

I spent my writing time today breaking my outline up into individual files for each chapter, marking the 5 chapter ideas that will most likely end up being multiple chapters. My original outline had grown too large for me to handle since it contained notes for over 17 chapters. Once I was done with that I spent some time editing my sleep-deprived work from the night before.

I've come to the conclusion that my writing quality is a lot better if I just write whatever is inspiring me. I've spent over a week trying to finish chapter 2 and while I'm really close, it's still not done. And to be honest, what I have written really isn't my best work. It has it good points, but I have a lot of revisions ahead of me.

Not only is my writing quality better this way, but the quantity is much better too. When I write what inspires me, no matter where it happens to fall in the story line, the words just fall out into the laptop in torrents. Without even realizing it, counting what I wrote in the wee hours this morning, I've probably written 8 or more pages worth of new content today and who knows how much I've added just in edits.

While I know that it will be a little more work in the end, I'm liking this writing style so much more than doing everything chronologically. It makes for a happy writer right now, and a happy writer = book gets written faster.

Oh and for those of you who haven't heard much about the actual plot of this book, here's a rough draft synopsis that I've been working on for a while:

"Casey Parker, a cadet at the Boston Police Academy, has a secret gift, though she might call it a curse at times. She has 'episodes' were she has really good instincts. These instincts drive her to be able to do things she couldn't do otherwise. 'Instinct' is the story of how she comes to terms with her gift while trying to maintain a "normal" life. She must overcome fears from her past in order to control a gift that threatens to overtake her life. Oh, and then there's the challenge of having a roommate who's sole mission in life is to set her up on blind dates. Can she use her gift to save those most important to her from an evil presence, forged from the same powers she possesses, who's very existence is threatening her happiness, as well as the safety of the entire city? Can she overcome all of her fears and challenges so she can live happily ever after with the right guy or will her gift prove to be more curse than she could have ever imagined?"

It's not perfect yet, but as the story grows I'm sure it'll continue to come together. I figure I'll have to come up with a good synopsis if I ever try to publish this book so why not write it when I feel inspired?

Well, that's about it for now. Hopefully my writing gremlin gets adjusted to my time zone and realizes that 2 a.m. isn't a good time for me to get inspired. Oh well, I'm sure everything will all work out in the end.


Remember when I said...

Friday, October 31, 2008



I'm stuck. I've written about half of chapter 2, the one that I had skipped before and now I'm stuck. I know exactly what I want to write, it's all completely outlined. It's just not coming together right when I try to type it up. I need to write up a couple small classroom scenes and a really funny scene at an ice cream shop and it would be done. I don't know why my brain is so anti-chapter 2.

I have chapter 3's rough outline done. I know the gist of what I want to happen, but not specific scenes/dialogue like I do for other chapters. I'm not terribly worried about this chapter though. It's important of course, otherwise I'd scrap it and move on. It's mostly just character development. It's just a chapter that I'm sure will all come together once I start writing it. Since the idea for it is fairly new, compared to the rest of the story, I haven't had quite as long to dwell on it.

Chapters 4, 5, and 6 are done. Probably need minor editing and tweaks as the story grows, but for the most part done.

I have felt so compelled and inspired by later chapters that I am seriously considering scrapping my plans to never skip chapters again. I know, I know... in an earlier post I said that I never ever wanted to skip chapters again, but arrrgggghhhh chapter 2 is being so difficult. Then to make matters worse, I read an interview with an author who said that they felt like they wrote better if they simply wrote whatever scenes inspired them. In the end, they tied everything together and made all the minor changes at once. They rarely dealt with writer's block and had their story done before they knew it. Bah! What to do? What to do?

Today, I spent most of the time making small changes to chapter 1 and expanding the outlines of the scenes that have me inspired. So I guess, technically, I'm not skipping ahead... just taking notes very well on those scenes... All of my outlines are very train-of-thought and, after today, very detailed. It would take very little time to write them up with how detailed they are now.

I just can't decide if I should give myself permission to try jumping around between scenes again, at least for the smaller ones that shouldn't affect other scenes very much... Like one scene I have planned that is simply Casey driving home after an interesting visit with her mother. I've been dying to write that scene since I thought it up, I think it's hilarious. And another scene that takes place in the summer at an amusement park has been jumping up and down in my brain, saying, "write me! write me!"

I'll guess I'll just have to go by trial and error on this one. I can always write up the scenes and if they don't work out once I get that far in the story, I guess I can rewrite them. At least most of the work would be done then, I'd just have to make adjustments based on how the story has changed since I wrote the scene.

Well, the little guy has fallen asleep on my lap and is making it very uncomfortable to type - so I'll stop here for today.
Wish me luck battling my Writing Gremlin!

Happy Halloween!


Book Update and Why I’m Kicking Myself...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hello again!

I'm still having a blast writing the book and I think it's coming out pretty decently too. Right now I have 4 chapters done and ready to have reviewed, am about 40% done writing the fifth and have 2 others outlined to the point that I could probably write them within a day or two.

I am kicking myself though. As I've mentioned before (or at least I think I have...) I decided to skip writing chapter 2 and come back to it later because something minor happens in it that really affects the rest of the book. Well, after I spent a day in a particularly bad mood, I decided that it was time to start writing it. I was in a bad mood because I think I'm mentally connecting with my characters a little too well. I wrote a chapter one morning where Casey was just in a rotten mood and it stuck with me all day.

But back to why I'm kicking myself. I realized that I was just scared to write such a big part of the story, for fear that I wouldn't do it justice. Well, I got over that and started outlining the chapter quickly, before I could change my mind. About halfway through that process it became glaringly obvious that there needed to be another new chapter after chapter 2. No problem, so I have to change the names of a few files, bumping them up a chapter number - easy enough. What isn't so easy is the fact that as I began actually writing chapter 2, I made tiny little plot changes that seemed to fit better... doesn't sound too bad, right? Except, now, after every change I have to go back and read my new chapters 4-6 and make slight alterations. Fun Fun Fun!

I swear once I finish chapter 2 (possibly could be done today) and chapter 3 (shouldn't take too long), that I am not going to skip any more chapters! I'll just write one chapter after the next, after the next, until it's finally done! If I even slightly mention the thought of skipping a chapter, for ANY reason... somebody please send me multiple comments trying to knock some sense into me.

The partial reviews I've gotten so far for chapter 1 have been pretty good, so that makes me happy. I've been told that the dialogue flows well and that it all sounds real and believable. I just hope the plot line lives up to their expectations. We're going over to our friend's house tonight for dinner, and they happen to be 2 of my guinea pi... er reviewers, so maybe I'll get some good constructive criticism. Once I get their opinions and make any changes that they suggest that I think needs fixed, I will be sending a copy of chapter 1 off to my final reviewer. She's going to be a tough audience. She reads books constantly and should be a pretty good judge of the story.

But anyway, 4 chapters down... 38 pages written... 14+ chapters and know knows how many pages remaining. Thanks for all of the support and encouragement as I work on this book. It's always been a secret dream of mine to try and get something published, and who knows... maybe this will be it! If not, at least it will be out of my head and safely stored on the computer and I can start fresh with some new idea.

~Willow and her Writing Gremlin

~ Oh yeah, here's a new copy of a cover that I made for it. At least my graphic design experience comes in handy when I'm experiencing writer's block...


Welcome to the Twilight Zone...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Okay, I think I'm going crazy... no really!

I spent part of this morning doing some research and picture farming for the book. I find pictures of stuff to help me describe it as best as I can and so I can show my reviewers what I'm seeing so I get my point across better. But anyway... I started this morning by searching MySpace for some of my character names in and around the Boston area... and when searching for my main character, Casey - I found one. She has the same hair and eye color it seems and lives in Boston, oh and she's the exact same age as the character in my first book... Her profile was set to private so I coudn't find out more about her, but weird, huh?

But apparently that wasn't enough weirdness for me for one morning so I continued looking for some of the various locations using my good buddy Google! In my mind I kept imagining one chapter taking place in a theme park that is a cross between Six-Flags and Holidayworld (local one in Indiana). It had the traditional rides like Six-Flags but the water park of Holidayworld. I've never been to one of the newer Six-Flags water parks so I didn't know what those were like. A friend of mine had told me that there is, in fact, a Six-Flags in Boston (main city location of story) so I looked it up to see if they had one particular ride that I had imagined.. they did. I've only seen one of these types of rides before, at the St. Louis Six-Flags and they called it Mr. Freeze and it was all shades of blue. I couldn't figure out why the one in my vision of the scene had red bars on it and was designed slightly differently, until I looked up a picture of the Boston version of it. Appropriatetly named 'Scream' and having, you guessed it, dark red bars on it... weird huh?

Oh, and don't even get me started on the layout of this particular theme park. Being the glutton for punishment that I am I looked up a map of it... yeah it's laid out very similarly to how I saw the characters walking through it. I feel the need to remind you that I have NEVER been to Boston and have seen any of these things before. I've been to 2 Six-Flags before and neither of them are set up similar to this one at all...

I'm desperately trying to find a good image of the primary coffeeshop where several big scenes occur, but keep coming up empty. I should google the name I made up for it...wait, maybe I shouldn't. I don't know how much more weirdness I can handle this morning...


Update on the book

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I am having a blast writing my book. I have three chapters written out in rough draft form and summaries for the 16 or 17 others complete. I've sent off my first chapter to a few friends to review and am anxiously awaiting their comments. If they want to keep reviewing for me, as soon as their done with chapter 1, I can send them chapters 3 and 4. No, that isn't a typo... I skipped chapter 2. Something fairly important happens in chapter 2 and I don't know if I'm ready to write it yet. That is, I don't know if I'm capable of writing it well enough right now. I'll probably save it for last and go back to it at the end.

For a while I've known that 'Instinct' isn't the end of Casey Parker's story, on the contrary - it's only the beginning. Well the other day my friendly, neighborhood writing gremlin decided to keep me up way too late yet again. Over the course of an hour, he bombarded me with images and story lines. In about an hour I learned Casey's whole story. All three books of it! I sat down and started typing as soon as the inspiration hit and felt like I was taking dictation more than I was creating. I had known the basic story line for the 2nd book for a while as it was originally part of 'Instinct'. A part that had grown far too long to include in one book. But the way it all turns out really amazed me. I wonder if all writers write this way, or maybe I'm just slowly going crazy... either way, I'm having fun!

In one night I witnessed pretty much her entire life story. I wish there was a way I could show people the exact images that appear in my mind when I think about my characters. I know how she grows and changes over the course of a few years and where I'm meant to stop the series. I have a tentative title for book 2 and a title I really like for book 3. The graphic designer in me has even taken to creating book covers during my occasional bouts of writer's block. I make this okay in my mind by saying that I need something to use as a cover when I send chapters to friends to review...

But anyway, the book is going really well in my opinion... we'll just have to wait and see what my reviewers think. Erich thinks it's started off really well and that the chapter he read flows well. If all goes well I should have chapter 5 done within the next week, it would be sooner but we're going to go visit some friends for a couple days. Their mother recently passed away and we really want to be there for them.


Full Speed Ahead - Warning: Book Writing Zone!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I am having so much fun writing my book! So far I have 1 scene complete and 2 others at least half written. I'm not really separating it all into chapters yet but I know I have 16 major "scenes" to write out and that some of them will easily take multiple chapters to finish.

I found an amazing online resource that teaches a writing technique known as the "Snowflake Method". ( Strangely enough I found myself following most of the steps outlined in this method naturally. The one major thing I have taken from this technique is the extensive character development process. Since reading this website I sat down and have begun really writing out everything about each of my main characters. I took the development of 5 of my characters to the point of finding pictures of actors/actresses who look similar to how I see them. I only found 1 actress who is a dead ringer for Casey and the other 4 I found are only similar looking to their respective characters. After finding doppelgangers for my characters I started finding pictures of the types of clothes each of them would wear so I could really get their personal styles settled in my mind. I found pictures of specific outfits that Casey wears so that I am able to describe them better. In doing all of this I have learned a lot about my characters that I never paid attention to before.

Every morning I'm waking up remembering my dreams so vividly and every dream is another scene from the story, complete with full dialogue. I guess my subconscious worked out an agreement with my writing gremlin so that he wakes me up early from vivid dreams rather than keep me up to ungodly hours. I wake up in the morning, before my toddler, and grab my notebook I keep handy by the bed and write everything I can remember from my dreams. Then, later in the day, when I find a free moment or two, I type up everything from the night before. It's amazing how easily I'm finding it to slip into Casey's personality while I type as the entire story is told from her point-of-view.

I recently added a new character to the storyline, well I guess I should say I upgraded her to main character status. She was always a minor character that Casey was only supposed to talk to once, by chance; but the more I thought about her, the more I found myself liking her. I just couldn't let this awesome character (in my opinion) slip through the cracks so I tweaked the last half of the book to make her a bigger part of it.

I'm getting so attached to these characters that when something emotional happens to one of them, I feel it too. I found myself crying as I tweaked the final part of the book just thinking what was going to happen to my new found friends.

I've gotten so obsessed with making this story seem realistic that I have done a ton of research online. I have looked up the cities that everything takes place in and even have a map of Massachusetts with color-coded stars on it marking where major plot points occur. I've gone so far as to ask a soon to be Ph.D. in Psychology to assist me in writing a scene where Casey is sent to therapy. (Thanks again Jason!)

As some of my close friends know, I was having a major problem visualizing my main villain. I knew there was a "bad guy" but every time I tried to picture them all I saw was a figure hidden in shadows. I am so happy to announce that after making a slight change in the plot, my villain emerged! I really like my villain and find myself almost wanting to write something from their perspective (notice my intentional hiding of their gender... muahahaha). The few people I've told the complete story to seem to really like my "bad guy" description and how I will work them into the story.

In closing, I'd like to apologize to all the friends and family that I have hounded relentlessly for opinions or name ideas for this story. I'm not saying I will stop annoying you with all my new daily revelations, but I'm sure some part of me is sorry if you find it annoying. I only have a few more last names to finalize on main characters and some random names to come up with, so hopefully i can stop bugging you all with..."What would you name a person who..." questions all the time.

Well, that's it for now... I feel inspired to jump ahead a few scenes and write one really funny one that's been playing in my head the past couple days...


Sometimes I love being able to speed read...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Like the title says, and what a lot of people don't know, is that I have a slight knack for speed reading. I'm not great at it and can't apply a photographic memory to what I've read like some people can, but I can speed through pages of a book really fast if the story interests me enough.

I do admit I'm a little rusty as I haven't really read anything of any real substance that caught my interest in quite a while. I started reading a couple different books as a type of research so that I can write mine as well as possible. I had heard from my friend Jason that my story reminded me of the type of books M.R. Sellars writes so I found an excerpt of a few of his chapters online to see for myself. I've only read the first two chapters of Harm None, but I can really see what Jason was talking about. (Due to a printing mishap while borrowing their laptop, Jason and Joel have read more of the early ideas for my book than even Erich! Although I have verbally told Erich everything it's about, especially when I've been stuck on how to write any of it) I hope to continue reading Mr. Sellars books and see just how similar he writing styles and genre are. The main thing that interests me is that his books are written from the first-person perspective of a man who works with the police to solve not-so-normal crimes; my story is from the first-person perspective of a female detective who receives non-traditional assistance from various dieties to help solve her cases and how this "gift" affects her life. Should be interesting the type of insight I get from reading these books.

But now the main part of this blog entry, no I haven't been speed-reading M.R. Sellars books (yet!) but only because I got caught up in a new series by Stephenie Meyer - the Twilight series.

To say that I enjoyed reading this series is an understatement, I managed to read all 4 of her novels in 1 week. If you know my current schedule of taking care of my nearing toddler everyday, you'd see how shocking this is, even to me. It's been years since I've read this fast, I really didn't think it was possible anymore from lack of practice. I'd liken it to a marathon runner winning the Boston Marathon after hardly even jogging for 5 years, crazy, I know! Something in the story caught my attention and I was off. Somehow, I seemed to get almost everything I would normally get done each day finished too. Although I will admit to staying up a couple extra hours on a coupe of nights because bedtime came at such an inconvenient point in the plot.

After reading such a well-written series I am just dying to get to work on my book. Reading Ms. Meyer's books really gave me an excellent perspective on how to write a love story that includes the typical love triangle from the woman in the middle's perspective. Even as I write this blog entry I can see the tone that I want to use in order to bring this world into existance.

Then, when I didn't think I could be inspired enough by these books, I checked out the authors webpage and read the story behind the first book...Wow! The fact that her book was based on characters from a dream is just so familiar. While I came up with a basic one paragraph idea for my story on a long car ride while visiting my in-laws, the entire story came to life in my dreams (...thanks to my writing gremlin and my initial lack of motivation to write up the original couple ideas that he gave me...) The author website is:

Bah, now the hard part... I am feeling pulled to start writing so many parts of the story at once. I'll have to find a good way to get all of this creative energy typed up and saved while it's so strong.

I guess what I'm saying is that by some miracle this book comes out well and by another miracle were to get published... I have an author I have to thank somewhere in the acknowledgments. Also if you like a good book, or 4, I'd definitely suggest the Twilight series to just about anyone.

Happy October!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Well, I finally figured out how I want to start my chapter... now to just find the time to do it. The little guy has been taking shorter naps because he's teething and I don't want to get started writing something good and then be interrupted by a crying little boy who needs his Mommy. I just hate to lose momentum like that. I guess I'll just have to wait until his nap cycle goes back to normal when his molar breaks through or try to find time when Erich has a rare day off of work. At least I've wrote down some stream-of-conscious notes so I'll remember how I want it to go when I find time...

MISSING: Ideal First Sentence... have you seen it?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Well, I finally sat down and started writing the opening scene for my book. The description I have in my notes for it is:

"Opening Scene:
Waking up from a horrible nightmare, sweating, shaking, gasping for breath she looks at the alarm clock and realizes that she is going to be late. She rushes to get ready and runs out the door and receives a phone call from Heather."

I want to open the story describing the horrible dream that she is having and then transition into the rest of the story. Unfortunately I can't get past the dream sequence. I started typing my thoughts today and after I began typing the same tedious, boring monologue again I decided to do a little writing exercise. Once I recognized the same words coming out again I stopped and started a stream-of-consciousness narrative of what I am feeling about this scene and where I'm having my difficulty. I figured I could read over this later and be able to see clearly where my mistakes are so next time I attempt this it will go a lot smoother.

As this dream idea is fairly cliche and I don't give away much about the story's plot in my narrative I figured I would post it and see if anyone comments on it.


"Oh god, what did I do? Why won't they leave me alone?" she thinks to herself as she runs haphazardly through the dark woods….


This is really annoying, I have never had this much trouble describing scenes in stories I've wrote. To be fair I've never had a story play so vividly in my mind before, but what is wrong with me? I really think this could be an amazing story if I could translate it from the visual scenes in my head into words on the computer. I can see the opening dream scene perfectly in my head:

"A dark, windy night, the wind gusting through the trees and causing leaves to fall precariously onto her running form. Who is she? What is she running from? She is dressed casually in a pair of dark blue jeans and a maroon sweater with a pair of maroon running shoes on. Well at least it's not a typical horror story set up with the damsel in distress fleeing for her life in 6 inch stilettos. Her long hair whips behind her as she tears through the trees and shrubs frantically, desperate to get away from her pursuers. The occasional leaf falls into her sweaty, tear-strewn face only to be ripped away and thrown without a second thought onto the hard ground. The dark-haired woman ventures a quick glance behind her, hoping that she has gotten away only to catch her foot on a tree root and fall. She attempts to stand, only to fall back down, grabbing her twisted ankle when she hears it - the footsteps of her pursuers. She desperately looks around her, silently begging for some sort of hiding place and quickly crawls into a nearby bush. She looks out through the branches and leaves and watches their legs rush past her; all the while holding her breath to keep from hyperventilating and willing her heart to beat quieter. She can't gasp for breath like her lungs are pleading her to do, why won't her heart slow down; it's beating so loud they must be able to hear it too. She sits and listens until everything grows quiet around her, no more rustling pant legs or feet crunching leaves and twigs as they run through, no more shouting. The smell of burning wood from their torches lingers everywhere, tainting the once peaceful woods with their evil ways. She lets out a deep breath, and starts to assess her injuries when several sets of hands thrust through the bush and grab her...

Casey sits straight up and screams and struggles with her captors only to realize that hands aren't holding her down, just her tangled, sweaty sheets…"

Now that is no where near the finished scene. I'd like to describe the woods better, how the moon is filtering through the treetops giving her just enough light to navigate. How this light also causes shadows to appear everywhere, enhancing her fear. I'd like to spend more time describing the sounds of them chasing her to build up the terror so that the reader can truly understand how scared Casey is. I know this dream is stereotypical, but a lot of nightmares are; this is just how her subconscious is dealing with the memories of her troubled past. No, she was never actually chased through the woods at night by a torch-wielding mob, but dreams aren't always literal assessments of our thoughts. They have to be interpreted to know what they really mean. As the story continues and the reader gets to know Casey Parker better and learns more about her past, the dream will make more sense. It will be less bad horror movie chase scene and more of a symbolic representation of her damaged psyche and how fears from her childhood still haunt her.

The hardest part is that I want to write this story in the first-person perspective because I think that is the only way I can tell the story correctly, and I have no idea how to write this dream sequence in the first person. I guess I could have it be one of those dreams where you are floating above the scene, watching yourself go through everything. I just don't want it to be confusing if I went from this third-person perspective in the dream to only Casey's point-of-view for the rest of the story. The problem with the third-person perspective is that she wouldn't wake up the way she did if she was just watching a mob grab a girl in the woods; she has to be the one experiencing it in the dream. Every time I try to write the dream from her perspective it sounds so… well lame. It always ends up being just a long, drawn-out monologue of her thoughts. I can't seem to find a good balance of her thoughts and the descriptions of what's going on around her.

I really want to touch on as many of the senses as possible in my description of this scene to really make it seem real and to make it "come alive" for the reader. "The sound of the pants rustling, the leaves and twigs snapping… the sight of the moonlight shining through the thick canopy of trees… the smell of the torches burning… the taste of her own sweat mixed with blood from a gash on her lip from falling… the feel of the wind on her face as she's running and then again as it cools her when she's hiding… " I'm struggling to find a way to have all of that come out of an endless monologue of "who are they? Why are they after me?...blah blah blah".

The trouble I am already having with this scene is enough to make me start questioning and second guessing my decision to make this a first-person story, rather than a third-person perspective. Maybe I should just start writing the rest of the scene after she wakes up and see how that goes. Maybe once I get some momentum with this writing style I can come back and try to re-write this dream sequence. Until I sat down to write this out completely I never realized how important the elements of this dream are to the story. How much they describe who Casey is and why she is the way she is… if that makes any sense at all…

Oh, and I'm still searching for the ideal opening sentence…


Am I probably over thinking this whole thing and putting too much pressure on myself... probably. Do I need to just relax and let the words come to me like I always do... probably. Will I probably be awake all night with my little writing gremlin annoying me because I have to leave this unfinished today as my son woke up from his nap... prob...well you get the idea.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

I am so ready to start writing my book. I can see pretty much the entire story in my head, sort of like a movie... it's so cool. The only problems I'm having starting are:

1. First of all, I'm newly addicted to MySpace and am spending way too much of my free time learning how to do all kinds of cool stuff on it. Even now with my son napping, what am I doing? Blogging on my MySpace blog.

2. Secondly, I can't seem to decide what voice I want to write in. Part of me wants to do this completely from my main character's point-of-view but I'm afraid that if I start it like that now it will come back to bite me in the end. I'm scared that at some point in the story I'm going to need the reader to know the thoughts or feelings of someone else and I'll be pretty much stuck. Then part of me says to combat this fear, I should write it from some omniscient third person point-of-view, someone who knows what everyone is doing and feeling. The main problem with this style is that I don't know how well this story can be told from that point-of-view. I think I'm just afraid to commit to the main character point-of-view writing style because once I start writing that way the only way I could change it would require starting all over again. Deep down I know I've made my decision, but that tiny bit of doubt in the back, far corner of my brain just won't shut up.

3. Finally, I know exactly how I want the first chapter to start and can see the whole scene playing in my head but I can't come up with my first sentence. It's so annoying because I know that once I get that everything else will just start flowing out like it always does when I'm writing. There is so much pressure on that first sentence, the words that set the tone for the entire book. Can someone create a thought-to-text conversion tool for me? It would be amazing if I could just plug my brain in to the computer and download all these "videos" of my main scenes and transcribe them into text. But I guess that would take away a lot of the fun of writing a book. What's sad is that the perfect sentence will probably come to me when I'm just about to fall asleep after a long day of chasing after a teething toddler. I suppose I should put a pad of paper and a pen on my nightstand because I know I will lie in bed for a long time debating whether or not I'll be able to remember the sentence in the morning if I don't get up right then and write it down. Then my writing gremlin will get in on the act and I won't sleep at all..

Hopefully I'll get over my addiction, doubts, and writer's block and actually get a chapter or two done within the next month or two, I guess only time will tell...

You’re writing a book?!?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Now that I finally have my laptop back, I can start writing in my blog again... Yay! I was going through major computer withdrawal while the laptop was sent away to get the LCD screen replaced, took them three weeks longer than was originally expected.

I spent my free time without the computer hand writing ideas for my book. Yes, you read that right, I'm writing a book. It's going to be a supernatural, detective, romance, finding yourself kind of book. I have pretty much the entire plot concept typed up now and just need to do a little bit of research on some of the topics I want to write about and expand what I have. I have pages and pages of stream-of-consciousness style writing that covers all of the major plot points and what I want my main character to go through. Who knows, maybe if it's any good when I'm done I'll look into what's needed to get it published. That's a long way away though anyway as I'm doing all my research and writing during my very limited free time; who would have thought that a 20 month old son could take up so much time? lol

Just an Introduction

Hello! I'm Willow and I'm an aspiring writer. I've been keeping a running blog since around August on my MySpace page chronicling my journey into writing my first book. I've been considering it kind of a "blog-umentary" of the story behind writing my first novel. I've been writing poems, short stories, songs, etc. since high school but never had an idea that I thought was worth expanding into a full-length story... until now!

To start out I'm going to copy over all of my MySpace posts to this blog so I can edit out any posts that don't pertain to the book easier. I'll admit that I get a little side tracked from time to time on that blog, going into more personal things. I want to make this blog so I can have one dedicated solely to the story behind my book.

I'll label each of the copied posts with the date they were originally written and then add in any new ones as I write them.

Hope you enjoy reading the story behind the scenes of an aspiring author writing her first book...