A conversation with a character

I keep trying to write a conversation with one of my characters from my first book, Project Torture. I can’t do it. For whatever reason I am an omnipresent God-like character in my novels and to have an actual conversation with my characters is Just. Plain. Weird. I’m sure one day I’ll develop a crazy enough prophet that will be able to sit and chat with me, and perhaps even carry messages on paper back to the other misbehaving gremlins. I haven’t developed such a character as of yet.

It’s a shame too, because the character I wanted to chat with on this blog had a lot to say. He’s one of my main characters of Project Torture, Nate. His character underwent the biggest transformation in my last edit. My beta readers identified him as “wimpy” and I had to take action. Nate had already blossomed in my eyes through the sequel and he and I agreed that “wimpy” was sadly a just description. He perched on my shoulder and cheered as lines were changed.

To be honest, if he could he’d go back and change quite a few more lines, and plot points. I’m fearful if I let him I’d end up with a completely new plot. So instead we compromised. I removed anything that was no longer a good match for his character, and he agreed to swallow the rest.

My beta readers have yet to see the new and improved Nate. I’m hoping they’ll like him, or at least find him to be less wimpy. Nate’s not holding his breath. He’s already making notes for me on the rest of the changes he hopes to see.

Well, what do you know; perhaps I can have a conversation with my characters! I knew I didn’t have a God complex. Or maybe Nate is a prophet after all. Best not to give him too much power, or I’ll wake up with a different plot…

A Day in the Life of a Two-Year-Old: Part Two

Click here for Part One. This did happen the following day from my last Day in the Life of a Two-Year-Old post, and we have him on film as proof!

I was still really upset that James wasn’t at home anymore. As soon as I woke up I begged Daddy for James. I saw Mommy and asked her for James. They wouldn’t give me him. I thought I had made myself perfectly clear the other day! I decided to compromise for Action Chugger but only got the same lackluster results.

Then, instead of being a good Daddy and taking me back to Target he brought me to daycare! Don’t get me wrong, I like the place, they have an ample selection of trains to play with, but I didn’t want to be there today, I wanted to get James!

So I cried, and I cried, and I cried. My nice teacher tried to calm me down but I didn’t want hugs, I wanted JAMES! Why don’t these adults understand the basic necessities of being a 2 year old? Eventually I was too tired to cry anymore so I decided to play with my friends and plot my evening exploitation of my parents.

When Mommy came to pick me up I was excited, finally I would get James. We got in the car and I could already envision the apple on the front of Target. Mommy had the nerve to go home instead! The nerve! Daddy was home and I told them both that I wanted James. I was clear. Then I remembered Action Chugger… He’s a train but also a super hero! Really cool. I quickly changed my mind. I NEEDED Action Chugger. James was now chopped liver to me.

Finally Mommy and Daddy wised up and took me out to Target, FINALLY! We pulled in and I knew exactly what I wanted: Koko. He’s green and white, he’s cool. We go into the store and I get Koko in my hot little hands. But wait, there was Action Chugger! And train sets! And… James? No, Daddy, please, stop showing me James. I’m over him, he was so thirty minutes ago, sheesh!

I was very happy with Koko, I was, but then I saw another green little train, Percy. And he came with a bouncy ball and a clown car! SOLD! Where is the check out? My parents insisted on offering me James, and Action Chugger, and Koko, they must think I change my mind frequently. They said something about never getting anything else for the rest of my life but eh, I’m cute, I’m not worried.

Finally I’m home with Percy. And I’m happy. For now.

50,000 Words In A Month

For the entire month of July I will be switching streams and writing something new and fresh. I am doing Camp NaNoWriMo (campnanowrimo.org), a site that encourages writers to write! No editing, just writing, getting 50,000 words out in a month. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been able to free flow write, I have no idea what my success will be. I am looking forward to trying.

Project Torture is currently going through a “final” round of edits, before being shipped off to my beta readers and my editor. Her grand debut is getting close and I’m happy that she’ll be in the hands of someone else soon. I’ll use July as a chance to take a break, so that I can tackle any lingering problems with a fresh mind come August. It might delay my publication date but that’s a small price to pay to keep my inner muse humming.

NaNoWriMo is usually done in November. Since my son was born in November it’s a bad month for me. Last November I was busy making Thomas the Train decorations for his party, and then throwing myself into holiday preparation. This year I’ll be in an Angry Bird decoration frenzy, unless my son develops a new addiction before then. When I discovered NaNo did camps I knew it was right for me!

Since I’ve been bogged down by editing it’s perfect to let loose. The problem came in that I couldn’t decide what project to work on. Should I work on my fantasy love story? My horror? The third book in the Project Series that against my better judgment is starting to write itself? I went back and forth on these ideas for weeks. Only to have a fourth option jump up and push the others aside. The bully is a genre romance novel.

I’ve never written a genre romance book before. Until now I’ve been sticking with Women’s Fiction, concentrating on building strong supporting characters. Suddenly I am hit with a different kind of novel, though it could be a result of all the genre romance novels I’ve been reading! Whatever the reason I have a fun idea in mind and will be interested to see what spits out on the page. With any luck it will be half decent.

All in all, I’m excited. I love the thrill of free flow writing. Of figuring out where my story is going to go. My characters are already forming themselves in my mind, which is the hardest part of starting a new project for me. I’ve wisely chosen environments that I am familiar with and comfortable. So I can concentrate on the plot itself and where it takes me.

This will only be a month reprieve and then I will be right back to working on Project Torture. In fact, I’m sure there will be some overlap as I write the new romance. Wish me luck! And if you are up to a challenge, come join me at camp.

A Day in the Life of a Two-Year-Old

Here’s a little something this exhausted Mommy wrote in 2012, taking on the voice of my then two-year-old son who was not very verbal:

Today was a pretty interesting day. It started off with Mommy trying to give me my sippy from yesterday. Grandma and Grandpa had put water in that yesterday, no way was I touching it; I wanted my milk! Mommy eventually wised up and got me a new cup to put my milk into.

Then a nice lady came to play with me. She was nice but signed “vagina” in the middle of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I guess I’m supposed to look up to women? But she made up for it by having the coolest pig and cow toy! I was obsessed with trying to get the cow’s tail into the pig’s tail loop. I knew it could be done but they didn’t let me figure it out. The lady took my new farm animals with her when she left. I was not happy, those were MY toys!

I then remembered that Daddy had a lot of figurines likes these, so I went looking for my own pig and cow but couldn’t find any. Mommy took pity on me and took me out to buy my very own; I was so excited! We went to my favorite place, Target, there is a picture of an apple on the front of the store! It’s so cool! Mommy couldn’t find a pig or a cow but she did find a lion that roared. That was okay but not perfect.

Then I saw HIM. THOMAS! I need more Thomas toys! After hemming and hawing over which one would be the perfect addition to my growing collection I decided on James. Talking Trackmaster James. Because he’s cool and red. Happily Mommy wheeled me to the check out where I put James up on the belt. Once in the car I demanded he be opened. James and I had some fun but after my nap I was thinking more clearly and realized that James wasn’t what I wanted, Henry was. He’s green, he’s the bomb.

I picked up my shoes and took them to Mommy to put them on. Then I handed her her shoes, and her phone, and her purse and her keys (why does she need so many things?). I put James back into his box, said “bye bye” and was ready to go get Henry.

So Mommy and I went back to Target (the apples, they kill me!). She brought me into the Thomas aisle and I was going to get Henry, I swear, but there was Chuggington with Koko and Action Chugger! And there were more Thomas trains, and Toby, and Percy… And Thomas that comes with train tracks. And Oh My God there were green train tracks! I had to have them. I kept putting the other items in the cart but they kept disappearing on me, weird.

So we go to the check out and I put my train tracks up, ready to buy them. Mommy starts talking to the lady and takes out a bag. The next thing I know James is being given to the lady! That wasn’t right, that was MY James! Mommy reminded me of my green train tracks and I got distracted, so I’m not quite sure what happened.

We get home and I was playing happily with my train tracks when I remember – wait, where’s James?! Mommy was telling me something about James being traded in for the tracks but that was NOT what I wanted. I got my shoes. I tried to give Mommy her purse and keys. I stood by the door crying my heart out and that cold bitch just stared at me and talked quietly. I wanted JAMES! I wanted HENRY! I took the green tracks and put them away.

Then I waited at the door, well, cried at the door for James and Henry. Eventually I realized I was freakin hungry, I barely ate anything today. So I ate dinner and watched my videos on YouTube. Life was good again. But once dinner was over and Daddy was home I had to tell Daddy: JAMES! Henry! They were mine and I needed them. I waited patiently, I sat on Daddy’s lap while he ate. I was going to get James. No Henry. Maybe James. Eventually Daddy and Mommy took pity on my poor confused self and brought me back to Target (Apples!). This time I had told them I wanted Henry, so I got Henry. And I’m happy. But I’m still really confused as to why the hell James is no longer here.

Aspiring Writer to Published Writer – 2013

This year WILL be the year I become a published writer. I’ve journeyed through varying thoughts about self-publishing. The rules of the game have changed greatly in the past decade. My time is NOW.

I began writing Project Torture in 2002. I was a recent college graduate and decided to channel my writing desires into a full-length novel. It took me a year or two to get a completed draft. Then I edited while life happened around me.

Over the years I have contact agents, not as many as I should have, but I have. There are several feelers out right now and I fully intend on sending more. But an agent is not the only way to become published, and a self-published author can still get an agent.

Bottom line. We write to tell a story, to share a story. I am down to my last few edits on Project Torture. She’s almost ready for her grand debut.

I’m giddy. Perhaps it’s only the sneaking suspicion that my decaf caramel latte is a full caf caramel latte. Or maybe it’s the sheer excitement that I’ve done this. I’m doing this. There will be a book out there with my name. My words. My thoughts. My characters. My world. Other people will read it. Ambush it. Shake their heads that I even thought this was publishable. Or maybe they will enjoy it like I have.

This year is my year. I can feel it. I can reach it. I can taste it: it has a chocolate coating over a rich and creamy filling. It’s success.

My first book is preparing to be published. My second book, against my original reservations, has gone through her first full round of edits. A third book for the series is fighting to be set free and developed. My other projects are patiently waiting their turn to shine.

I am a writer. Stay tuned for more information on Project Torture. I hope you will join me on this journey and help me have a successful start. Ultimately I hope you will read and enjoy.

Slow Beginnings

How long does it take you to get into a book? At what point do you stop reading and give up? In the past few months I have taken a lovely nosedive back into reading. I always love the feeling of curling up with a good book. The problem for me came when I seemed to always pick the wrong book off the shelf. The book that didn’t grab me the way a good book should. The book that didn’t make my heart sing. The book that made each page turn painful.

That is what originally led me to write. If I couldn’t find what I wanted to read maybe I could write it? And I did. Now I can look back on those difficult to get into books with different eyes. Each book is a learning process for me. If it’s good or bad, why? I can learn from my own likes and dislikes to strengthen my own work.

I have found that an average book takes about one hundred pages for me to become hooked. The last book I read it was two hundred. This particular book was over four hundred pages long, so it was still less then halfway through. Since I’m in editing mode I have the itch to write down a long list of edits and get the book reworked to my liking. I don’t think this best selling author will care much for that.

With my own first novel I have a slow start. I know when the book picks up in plot, and I know when a few of my beta readers became hooked. I’m currently working on fixing that beginning to get the hook in earlier. I’m an unknown author; I need every trick up my sleeve to get my readers to give me a chance!

Yet it puzzles me. So many successful books out there have sometimes painful beginnings. Why not I? Why didn’t someone tell THEM to rework their beginning? Okay, enough of having a hissy fit. I’ll leave that to my three-year-old. He’s in the terrible threes and Mommy wants a turn!

How long does an average book take to hook you? How long do you give a story before throwing in the towel? Inquiring writers want to know.