Nanowrimo: After November

You wrote your heart out and now you have something shiny and new. Well, I will be honest – I did not win (in the tradition 50K words nano winning!). However, I did start on a new book and shelved it to do edits on a book I started on in February (via a nano like event!).

My goal in December is to finalize my February book. I do not want to send anything out in the world that is not perfect and that I feel is not conveying the story that I want to tell. In regards to my Nanowrimo story – it is shelved. It will not be forgotten because as soon as these edits are done, the November book will see light again.

What are your post nano plans? Share in the comments below:

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Nanowrimo Day 7: Changing the Game

Well, I tried!

I outlined, wrote character summaries, and got a few days into Nanowrimo – but I couldn’t make this story stick. I could not stop thinking about the book I had out with the editor and subsequently the detailed summary of changes needed to be made. When I went to work, drove through town, and even set the dinner table, I thought of Cycles and not my nano work.

Thus, a change has to be made.  I am now putting the nano work on the shelf and going back to Cycles. I really have to tell this story! I love this world and the editing process has just re-energized me. I will still participate in nano (heck I may even add another 50K to Cycles!). I love nano and the kick in the pants it gives authors in November to WRITE!

How is your novel coming? Share in the comments below:

Revisions: Taking a Holiday

I have heard many times that you need to take a step back from your novel before embarking on your revisions. This enables you to look at your work with a fresh pair of eyes.

I want to take this one step further. I say you need to take a holiday with your novel.
Yes, you need to take a break from it. You guys need space! Your mind has been on this great literary masterpiece for a LONG time, and if you don’t take a breather you could go crazy. But, I also believe you need to take a holiday with your novel. If possible take a quick trip out of town, check into a hotel in town, or simply hang out at the airport. I found doing revisions in a totally new environment worked wonders for me.
For example, I had particular coffee shops and restaurants that I drafted in. When doing revisions, I could not go back. I felt like I had drained all of the energy out of those places and needed somewhere new. I also took a vacation day from work simply to write and edit. Let me tell you, it was pure bliss!

Have you taken a holiday with your novel? How did it work for you?

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An Interview with Indie Author Woodrow Wilkins

Journalist. Mentor. Friend.
I met writer and Mississippi journalist Woodrow Wilkins while I was a fresh faced reporter at the Delta Democrat Times in Greenville, Miss. We would always talk about our novel writing ambitions, so I was thrilled when I was informed he had written a book! I couldn’t wait to pick his brain and let the blogosphere know about him. His book synopsis and Q &A follow.

DeltaBlue

Book synopsis:
“Race. Romance. Murder. Mississippi. Set at 400. Bake.” So begins Larry Batts’ review of “Delta Blue,” a contemporary story set in the Mississippi Delta. Ken Wilson, a black police officer in a small town, has a love/hate relationship with his community – love because it’s home, hate because it remains segregated despite changes brought about by the civil rights movement. People’s choices are their own, but when their attitudes attempt to dictate how others live, it’s not healthy. But what to do about it? Ken struggles with the answer when the murder of a young man drives him into a close, working relationship with Brietta, a young prosecutor assigned to the case. She’s smart, friendly, beautiful – and white. The two begin dating despite Ken’s reservations. But when his fears of a backlash are realized, will he go along to get along or stand up to the critics, knowing it could cost him his job and his place in the community? “Delta Blue” is seasoned with a snapshot of the Delta’s landscape and a taste of the music culture.

What is your writing routine?

It varies according to my work schedule and what outside activities I’m involved in. For example, as I type this, tonight is opening night of a musical I’ve been practicing since mid-April, so I haven’t had a lot of personal time at night or on weekends. Under normal circumstances, I spend two to four hours per night at the computer. And on my days off, that number might jump to eight. Anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of that time is spent writing something – if not fiction, then music reviews. But to me, writing isn’t just writing new material for whatever story I’m working on. It’s also looking at what I’ve written, exploring ideas for other projects and maybe reading for research.

How did your career as a journalist influence your novel writing career?

I wanted to write long before I gave any thought to being a journalist. However, being a news reporter and copy editor introduced me to many story ideas. While “Delta Blue” is built around the fictional account of a trial in which I was a juror, I have other stories in mind that are based on true crimes that I have written or edited stories about. And being a journalist also puts a person in position to meet interesting people, learn more about society and the world than might be learned otherwise, and any of these can inspire a plot, a character or a setting.

What is the one thing that you hope readers take away from this book?

“Delta Blue” became an interracial love story by accident. The main idea was to build a story around the trial. But as I built my character list, I wanted some sense of racial balance, which led to the creation of Brietta. From there, the relationship was a no-brainer. Even there, I had a different idea in mind insofar as how I would go about telling this conflict. Not to offend anyone, I was leaning toward going the route of the stereotypical “angry black woman.” For two reasons: I remember when O.J. Simpson got arrested for allegedly killing Nicole and her friend, I was having lunch with some black women, and one of them said, ‘That’s what he gets for marrying a white woman.’ I was like, ‘Are you kidding?’ The man was accused of a murder that most Americans believe he committed or played a role in, but this woman thought his arrest was some kind of divine justice for marrying white. Ridiculous! And I recall once when a white female co-worker and I went to get lunch. She was recently married and pregnant with her first child. We went to the drive-through of a fast food place. The girl inside, black, glared at us as if to say, “How dare you?” I didn’t know this girl and I’m pretty sure we haven’t met since then. So it’s not like she was losing anything even if I had a relationship with my co-worker. But it’s the attitude. Think about it. On any given day, I can have lunch or dinner with a female friend, or several, and nobody bats an eye if they’re black. But let me have a meal, one-on-one, with a woman who’s white, and people jump to concussions (yes, that’s deliberate). So if there’s something I want people to think about, it’s racial peer pressure. Do you choose what movies to watch, what music to listen to or what books to read based on what you like? Or do other people shame you into not liking something because it’s “white folks’ music” or “that’s a black show”?

Do you have any upcoming events? When and where?

Nothing scheduled immediately. But I have requested to be included in a book festival in Nashville this fall. I’ll be contacting educational and arts organizations for possible opportunities. There are a few book sellers on my list as well. And there are several festivals coming up in the late summer and fall, where I may be an exhibitor. I did make an appearance at the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, a guest of Theo Dasbach at the Rock and Blues Museum. Theo has invited me to join him for all the festivals that he’s a part of, including the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival in August and the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas, in October.

woodrowDelta Blue is the debut novel of Woodrow Wilkins. Click on the book above for a direct link to his Amazon page. Also check out the book page via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delta-Blue/428269303913853

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I participate in the “I don’t like Monday’s” blog hop. Please take the time to check out some of the other great blogs featured:)*

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Revisions

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So I finished Campnanowrimo. I am now left with 10 great picture book stories that need to be cleaned up and shown some love. Also, my NA Scifi is back from another round of CP’s (critique partners). It needs to be shown more love as well. May is super busy for me. My plan is to do revisions on both novels during the month of May. I have a tentative date of May 15th- which I recognize is CRAZY!

Clearly, I like crazy:)

Here is my revision process.

1. I will concentrate on 20 pages of the NA SciFi each day

2. I will revise on PB story a day (possibly doubling up some days because these are short stories)

3. Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck (you will be surprised what you miss)

4. Copy and paste each section into speech software so I can hear another voice reading the passage to me. I find this super helpful.

5. Let the hubs go over the completed sections to make sure I addressed issues brought up by CP’s and betas.

I will check back in on May 15th and let you guys know how it went:) Please feel free to leave your revision tips in the comments section. I would love to hear them!

Campnano Day 29: The end

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April has been crazy. In the middle of my day to day family obligations, I have been deciphering items for stats class, dealing with things breaking down in my home, buying a new car, and oh yeah – writing a picture book series!

Tomorrow marks the last day of campnanowrimo. There is special place in my heart for camp because although I had participated in nanowrimo for five years, I had yet to officially meet my goal. That all changed when I participated in Campnano June 2012. Full of focus and encouragement from my cabin mates, I finished my first book. From there I knew I could do this – I could actually focus and write a book.

I am 1482 words away from my goal. By the end of this month I should have 10 picture books complete in my series. I am excited! This was new territory for me and writing a children’s picture book is HARD!

For everyone still trying to make there goal by midnight tomorrow: do not be discouraged. If you do not make your goal, it does not make you a failure. You have already won by committing to step outside the box and write a book – how many people can say that.

For those close to the finish line, don’t stop. Push forward until you reach the end, you’ll be glad you did.

Are you reaching your novel goals? Comment below:)

***Also, I participate in the “I don’t like Monday’s” blog hop. Check out the other awesome writers!*******

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Campnano Day 19: Passion (or what Fantasia taught me)

Emotions

To be honest, I really have not watched American Idol in a long time.

Last night, I was doing homework and flipping channels and decided to stop. I am sort of familiar with the girls in the top five so I figured I would see who was voted off. I am so happy I tuned in. Last night Fantasia sang a song that showed me with passion and artistry is all about. Is you have not seen it, please watch this performance of Fantasia “Lose to Win” on American Idol Thursday night:

Wow. I hit rewind several times just to take in the words to the song and note how she conveyed the emotion behind each and every one. In that moment it hit me – this is what we do as writers – convey passion.

Whenever I read something, I am looking to be moved. I want to laugh, I want to cry – I want to feel SOMETHING. I believe that was the greatest lesson I learned from writing when I first started as a journalist – that my words had power. People would stop me while I was on assignment or when I was in stores to tell me that my pieces encouraged them, enraged them, or gave them hope. There was power in my words. There was power in what I had written.

The best thing that we can do for our stories and for our characters is to let our passion bleed through. Let the readers feel what we feel. Move them. Your stories will be better for it.

Campnano Day 15: Inspiration

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I thought my head would explode this Saturday. I had hoped to write most of the day on my Campnano novels but life, in the form of allergies, got the best of me. I sat at my computer staring blankly waiting for something to happen – other than my sneezing. When I was on the verge of giving up, my five year old daughter runs in to a room with a Minnie Mouse dress on and a sticker over her right eye saying “I’m a pirate – prepare to walk the plank!”

Inspiration hit!

For me, this created another short story for the picture book series I’m writing. I have five more stories to go to reach my 10 book goal. Through the simple act of playing with my child and really getting to know her, she has inspired so much greatness to happen.

I know many people are writing children’s books and my question to you is where are you pulling your inspiration from – your childhood, your children, kids in the neighborhood. What inspires you as you write?

******I’m part of the I don’t like Monday’s Blog Hop. Check it out*********
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Letting Go

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In June of 2012 I wrote a book that was very close to my heart.

It was a story that was outlined the previous year and worked on via Nanowrimo 2011 but the story had been brewing for many years. I knew these characters. They spoke to me and I spoke to them. When I finished the book I was ecstatic and began the process of revisions and letting others read it.

And then I discovered it was a typical first book. Full of mistakes and the story just needed something more. I put it aside in February and began to write something fun while still trying to revise book number one. I would constantly make weekly goals and then monthly goals and then no goals.

Yes, as of April 1st I have officially tabled this project.

What does this mean? Does it mean I don’t love this book anymore. Does it mean that it will wither and day. Quite the contrary. It hit me last month that to make this story better – I need to let it go. I had held on to this story for so long that I never truly let it breathe. And I really need to find a way to give it a new life – thus I am taking a break from it.

I look forward to possibly coming back to my first book during the summer or during the fall. As for now, I have a Science Fiction book that has flowed together perfectly. I also have a picture book idea I’m working on during Campnanowrimo as well as multiple stickies full of book series ideas and outlines on my computer.

I have plenty to do – I just needed to learn what I had to let go of.

Are you ready for camp?

2013-Participant-Campfire-Circle-BadgeA little girl, a unicorn, and a pink blanket comprise my latest project.

This month, I along with many others will embark on Campnanowrimo. Unlike Nanowrimo, which is held in November, you can work on whatever – group of short stories, novellas, scripts. Also, this year you set your own word count.

For the aforementioned children’s book, I am aiming for 30K this month. I feel that should yield some decent Picture Books.

I’m pretty excited. This was an idea that I’ve had since January and put in the idea file. Of course, its something I’ve never done before but I think it’s going to be loads of fun.

I have a soft spot for Campnanowrimo because it’s where I finished my first novel. After participating in Nano for 4 years I never completed anything. Yet, I participated in Campnanowrimo the summer of 2012 and struck gold!

For more info on camp, visit: http://www.campnanowrimo.org

What are you working on for Campnanowrimo? How did you prepare?

 

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