Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rising Book 1: Resistance Final Cover, Blog Release Event, and Excerpt

First, my amazing cover artist, Holly Robbins, finished the book cover for Rising Book 1: Resistance today. (In case I haven't clarified before, this isn't a long series; this is the first of two books. I was trying to write one single book, but there ended up being too much story to tell and I had to divide it into two.)




~~~~~~~

The blurb has also been finalized:



All Alphonse wants is a quiet summer at home before his final months at university. What he gets is a half-dead stranger on his doorstep and the task of delivering a package to the leader of his home country. Not long after he boards a train toward the capital, he's attacked by knights, elite soldiers of the neighboring king.

Alphonse is temporarily rescued by Mairwyn, a mechanic with a haunted past and a deep hatred of knights. Together, they attempt to carry out Alphonse's urgent errand, only to learn that if they fail, countless people will die.

And even if they succeed, they may not be able to prevent the war that lurks on the horizon.


~~~~~~~

In anticipation of the book's February 21, 2012 release date, I'm setting up a blog button for anyone who would like to help me spread the word. Then, on February 21*, if you post about the release of the book, you will be entered to win an e-copy of the book. I'll be giving away several e-copies. To find out how to participate, go here: Rising Release & Info

*Note: As some people don't post on their blogs on Tuesdays, if you're unable to do it Tuesday but willing to do this on Monday the 20th or Wednesday the 22nd instead, that would be equally awesome.

~~~~~~~

Finally, if you'd like to read the beginning of the book, you may now do so here:  Rising Excerpt

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Grammar Daze - Try To

I'm done with my final read-through of Rising Book 1! DONNNNNE!!! I'm ridiculously relieved. Right now, my brain is something like this:





Now that I've done all this editing, I'll leave you with this grammar tip:

Do not "try and" do anything in your writing; "try to" do it instead.

I see this all the time in published books, too. "Try and" is common in colloquial speech, and some people use it in informal writing, but it's one of those things shouldn't be in formal writing; it makes me want to take a red pen to paper when I read it.

For example, your mother wants you to check the mail, and you say I will try and check the mail. - This is incorrect. What is said in this sentence is that you will both try and you will check the mail.

I will try to check the mail - This is correct. You're saying you're going to try to do it.

He will try and catch the vampire orangutan. - Again, what is said here is that he will try to catch the orangutan and he will catch it. Essentially, "He's going to try, and he's going to catch it." He's going to try to do it, and he's definitely going to catch it.



What you want is: He will try to catch the vampire orangutan. - In other words, he's going to try to do the task. Whether or not he succeeds is up in the air.


Saying things like: Try, and you will succeed is correct, because you're telling someone that if they try, they will succeed.

Happy writing!

Friday, January 27, 2012

On Editing...and Editing...and Editing....

You know that phase of editing where you're analyzing everything? Yeaaaah. I'm there. I have nine more chapters to edit (out of twenty-nine) for Rising Book 1. I'm editing five chapters at a time, first on paper, then making changes on the computer. It is long and exhausting. It's a good thing I like words as much as I do. (I really, really do like editing. I like making something better. I like grammar. I just have a hard time resting when I'm at the end of an editing project.) When it came time to read to my kids at bedtime yesterday, it was so hard to not analyze every sentence I read. I've been searching for missing words (I've found several), extra words (found that too), and passive sentences (ohhh, way too many to count), and cleaning up text and smoothing out dialogue, etc., etc.

I was joined in my editing by Tonks, one of our cats.

"What is this mess? I can do better than this."


"Forget it, I'm taking over."



"Why are you still here? I've totally got this."



There's only so much editing a person can do on a book. 

Wait, let me rephrase: There's only so much editing a person can do on a book before they have to let it go into other hands. Writers will pick and tweak and edit and revise and set their books aside and then do it all over again...and again...because a book is never really done until it it has to be, until it's time for it to go to the printer. And even then, there's much nail-biting. "What if I missed something? What if people pick out a mistake and that's all they notice? What if I forget something? What if, what if, what if..."

I'm sure I've said this in previous blog posts, but sometimes you really just need to smack those what ifs in the face.

It takes a lot to write a book, a lot more to edit and rewrite, and I think sometimes that (annnd I'm editing while I'm blogging O.O) it takes a backbone of steel to let the book go out of our hands and into someone else's.

A lot of you are in various stages of book writing. Starting the first draft of your first book. Working on your tenth novel. Rewriting. Editing. Putting it through beta-readers and critique partners. Perfecting a query. Looking for an agent. Self-publishing. Signing a contract with a publishing company. Handing out review copies. Marketing. Whatever you're doing right now, it takes a lot of work and a lot of courage, so be proud of yourself that you're doing it.

Now I am going to attempt to get some sleep so I can work on more editing tomorrow. Then I get to move on to final blurb tweaking. Oh, joy. <---*sarcasm*

Hope you all have an awesome weekend! ^_^

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Favorite Character Blogfest Round-Up

Thanks to everyone who participated in the blogfest! I hope you all had a lot of fun and got to meet some awesome people.

 Using random.org, three participants were drawn to win the prizes as follows:


1st Prize goes to Yamile Mendez
*critique of first 15 pages of your manuscript by Melanie Billings, Acquisitions Editor of Whiskey Creek Press; an e-book copy of my book, Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School); and an ARC e-copy of my upcoming book, Rising Book 1: Resistance

2nd Prize goes to Donna K. Weaver
*critique of first 10 pages of your manuscript by Melanie Billings and an e-book copy of Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School)


3rd Prize goes to Tara Tyler
*critique of first 5 pages of your manuscript by Melanie Billings



All of you have been contacted; if you didn't get my email or have any questions, please let me know. :)

Thanks again to everyone for participating! :D

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reminders, Upcoming Events, and Award Thank You

Hope all of you are having a great weekend! My family's apparently still sifting through the two viruses that have been going around our house (a stomach bug and the flu, both with entirely different symptoms). My daughter is sick with headache, chills, and fever right now, so I'm snuggling with her in bed and watching Malcolm in the Middle while I put this post together.

Some reminders and upcoming events and a thank you:


Blogfests:

First, a reminder that the favorite character blogfest starts tomorrow! It runs through Wednesday, so you can sign up and participate anytime between now and then. Sign up here:






There are a couple of blogfests coming up that you might be interested in, too.

On February 13, it's the Origins Blogfest. When did your writing dreams begin?




And running now until February 19th is the "Help a Fellow Blogger" Blogfest.





Award:

Jenna Cooper presented me with the Kreativ Blogger award. (She has an awesome blog--you should check it out!) Thank you, Jenna!













Upcoming Books:

Alex J. Cavanaugh's new book is coming out in February. To help spread the word, visit here:





Rachel Morgan's book is coming out in March, and I'll be participating in her blog tour.

  


They are also both awesome people; if you're not already following their blogs, you should check them out!


Update on my upcoming book, Rising Book 1: Resistance.

I had two books I was freelance editing, and I got both of those finished, so now I can focus all my attention on this. Release date is February 21, 2012.  I'm in the process of final edits/tweaking. I'm going to work on putting together a blog tour and a button and all that fun stuff as soon as I finalize the blurb. Final cover should also be coming at some point soon. :)


I know there are a couple of other blogfests approaching right now, too. Anything you're participating in? Upcoming books by you or someone else?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

At Least It's Not Malaria

Today is my tenth wedding anniversary. And I was throwing up last night. :-/ I think I might have caught one of the bugs going around my family. Last year, I was sick the day after our anniversary, but that was from food poisoning.

I keep telling myself that at least it's not malaria.

There's a story to that.

Hubby and I were really young when we got married (I was eighteen and he had just turned twenty), and we shocked everybody by meeting and getting married super fast. For us, it was God's hand in our lives, and we were both certain we were meant to be together. I know some people who meet and marry super fast, and others who wait years and years--everyone is so different. It worked for us.

A couple of weeks before we got married, Hubby was on a pre-planned mission trip in the Darien Jungle in Panama. When he got back to the States, he didn't feel so great. Three days before our wedding, he was slammed with a headache and a fever of 104 and I think some other things. My mom told me to take him to the ER. I did. And the ER was apparently busy or something (even though they didn't look it), and they left Hubby lying on the floor (because he hurt too much to stand up) for about three hours until they got him back into a room.

The doctor decided that with the symptoms Hubby had, it might be meningitis. We told the doc that Hubby had just been out of the country, but he never bothered to do any blood tests. All he did was a spinal tap, said no, Hubby didn't have meningitis, and didn't bother to look and see if he had anything else. He said Hubby had the flu and told him to go home and alternate taking Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

This was Wednesday. We were getting married Saturday. I have a picture of him from the wedding where he's lying across his brother and sister's laps, because his head hurt so much he couldn't stand up.

But we still got married. Saturday night, Hubby was okay. Sunday night, he woke up at about 2AM with a ton of energy, declaring he wanted shrimp. I was all O_o. Monday morning, however, he was in so much pain and so sick that he couldn't get out of bed. I couldn't open the window blinds because the light hurt him. And he didn't want to go back to the ER (understandably) because of what had happened the last time he tried.

However, about 8PM, Hubby woke up (he'd been sleeping all day) and told me he had figured out how to steal an 18-wheeler truck. I was like "!!!!??????!!!!!! You're hallucinating. I'm taking you to the hospital." If the physical symptoms weren't enough, that did it for me. (For the record, Hubby would never, ever steal a truck, 18-wheeler or otherwise. ;))

I managed to get him out of the house and to the car. I parked in front of the ER and ran inside to tell someone I needed a wheelchair, because he couldn't even get out of the car. Forget getting out of the car, he couldn't even open the door. When I returned to the car, he was still fumbling with the door handle, but didn't have the strength to get it open. (When he remembers this, he swears I was only gone from the car for a few seconds.)

This time, the nurses rushed him right back to a room in the ER. (We saw one of the nurses who had seen us on Wednesday, and she goes, "Please tell me you at least got married!") And the doctor who came in immediately took a blood sample. Turns out Hubby had--you guessed it!--malaria.

Once they started pumping Hubby full of painkillers, things were much better. And then they had two specialists come in, and they were great. They were hilarious, though, because they had never dealt with a malaria case. (I mean, it's Tennessee. Who expects malaria?) So they were like "we're going to find a treatment" and then they left me with Hubby in the room. A short while later, they came back into the room, very confused and telling me they were having trouble finding Panama on a map of South America.

I went, "Um, Panama is in Central America." They brought me out into the hallway, where they had a map of the Americas on the computer screen, because they were looking to find out what kind of malaria was in different parts of the world or something. I showed them where Panama was, and then stood there while they went to the CDC's website to look for treatments. They were scrolling through it, talking to each other and going "no, that's preventative, we need a treatment!" Then they realized I was still standing there and looked at me and said, "We really do know what we're doing!"

I was very, very amused. But, you know, they didn't go to school to study geography; it was probably unimportant in light of all the medical knowledge they had crammed into their brains. They were absolutely awesome doctors. They did know what they were doing.  They got Hubby on the right medications (it took two tries--the first med they gave him made him not be able to hear). However, he had developed pneumonia, so we were in the hospital for a week because of the malaria and pneumonia. I spent numerous hours sitting in the dark hospital room (since Hubby couldn't stand the light), writing and chatting on AIM and staying sane. I ran back and forth between the hospital and apartment to shower/pick things up. It was quite a honeymoon. :p

And here it is, ten years later, and even though I'm not feeling well, I have the most awesome, supportive husband and I am so grateful for him.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And sometimes, you just need to step back.

Maybe way, way, way back.

Today was Day Four of the great Book Blurb Writing/Tweaking. I didn't touch it yesterday, because I felt I needed a day to work on other things and not that. Apparently today was too soon to come back to it. I was just given instructions by my friend to not touch it for two whole days. (Which I needed to hear, seriously.) I have plenty of other things to do, so I am going to try to do this so I don't drive myself (and everyone else) insane.

It's not just book blurbs. Sometimes we need to remember there's a balance between pushing ourselves to do something and giving ourselves a break. Sometimes we need a break from writing, or editing, or rewriting, or book blurbing. Have some chocolate, watch a movie, read a book, work on something else. And sometimes,  if we have trouble getting ourselves to do this, we might need someone to tell us to take a break.

If you're in that place where you need to breathe, give yourself permission to rest.

If you're in that place where you're in the flow of the writing and things are clicking and falling into place, YAY! Go get that writing!

If you feel like you're pulling teeth to get anything written, but you know you need to keep on and that it's not time for a break yet, grab something yummy to munch on or to drink and conquer that sucker. You can do it!

No matter where you're at in the writing/plotting/editing/querying/throttling a blurb process, no matter how you're feeling about it, you're still doing it. (And yes, taking a break is still doing something in the writing process--you're recharging your creative juices!) You're writing a book and that is an incredible thing. Seriously, seriously incredible. You're starting from nothing and ending with a world, and characters, and a story you care about. Even on those days when you can only write ten words and you want to bang your head on your keyboard or throttle your characters--you're sticking with it.

Some people might say that makes us crazy, but I prefer to think it makes us awesome.

Monday, January 16, 2012

48 hours later...

I'm still rewriting and tweaking my book blurb. I have all the pieces, but getting them to fit together is proving extremely difficult. I have passed into the murky realm where words start to look like a jumbled mess no matter what I do with them. I am going to give up for the night, because at this point, I think I'll only make things worse.

While I go in hopes that my brain might sort out some of my blurb woes while I sleep, have a writing video by Maureen Johnson.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rough draft of "Rising 1" blurb and concept cover art.

I think perhaps one of the most hair-pulling, head-desking things that comes with the whole writing/publishing process is writing the short summary. The blurb that would go on the back of the book. The bit of the query letter that hopefully makes someone want to read the story.

Because it's super easy to condense over 100,000 words into three paragraphs. (No, I'm not being sarcastic at all; why would you possibly think that?)

After hours of *head desking* and a dozen or so revisions, I have the basis for the blurb. I'll let it sit for a while and then come back to it to see about tweaking it more. Here is my current draft of the summary for Rising Book 1: Resistance:

EDIT: The first version is being reworked again; I will update it as soon as it's done being revised. Aiming for more specifics...wheeee!

EDIT 2: After even more revisions, I've got the next draft. (Subject to change upon further nitpickiness and tweaking. ;))  I'll get this eventually...

EDIT 3: Updated again. I think this might be it... (Watch me come back in a few hours with more tweaking...)

EDIT 4: HA! Yeah, I was wrong.  More revisions, and more to come as I play with it. I feel like it's a game of tug of war or something. ;) Go this way! No, go the other way!

******


When Alphonse's quiet summer is interrupted by the arrival of a half-dead stranger on his doorstep, he's given an urgent errand. He's sure he's the worst person for the job. He prefers reading over socializing, gets faint at the sight of blood, and the most adventurous thing he ever did was go on archaeological field trip.

Alphonse is tasked with delivering a message to the leader of his home country. He has no idea how he will accomplish this, but he gets on a train to try anyway. Only a few hours into his journey, he's attacked by knights, elite soldiers of a neighboring king. He's rescued by Mairwyn, a talented mechanic with a no-nonsense attitude and a troubled past. Alphonse and Mairwyn attempt to deliver the message, only to discover if they fail, countless people could die.

And even if they do succeed, there may be no stopping a war that's lurking on the horizon.


******

Also, last night my cover artist sent me the first draft of her concept for the cover art, and I LOVE IT. I am so beyond thrilled with it. So here's the first draft of what will become the book cover:


 Art Copyright © Holly Robbins



***

Tell me, dear readers, do you find writing the summary very difficult, or does it depend on the story? What is the hardest part of writing a book for you?

Friday, January 13, 2012

A plethora of writing thoughts and struggles--especially self-doubt.

As I mentioned recently, my next book, Rising Book 1: Resistance is coming out next month. I don't have the cover or the back blurb to show you all yet, as both are in development. I do have artwork for this book that some of you may recognize, because I posted it ages ago on my blog. I'll share that again, as it will give some visual of this book until I have the cover. These are my two narrators, Alphonse and Mairwyn. (Mairwyn is a Welsh name; it's pronounced mire-win.)

Photobucket
Artwork © Holly Robbins


I wanted to use this book to illustrate some thoughts and struggles that I've faced (and am still facing, to some degree). I've found that some books bring different issues and difficulties and insecurities. Rising in particular has given me more trouble than any other book I've ever written.


1. The plot was not only not what was planned, it was the complete opposite. This is fairly common--okay, totally common--in anything I write, but this was to an extreme degree. When I came up with the characters for this book, I planned it to be a super fun, lighthearted story. Instead, it ended up being the darkest, most emotionally exhausting, and intense book I have ever written.

2. It was only supposed to be one book. My co-author and I are writing a twelve book fantasy series. (We have four written. Only eight to go!) I was determined that eleven sequels to a book are enough; I wanted to stick with singular books for a while. 100,000 words in to this book, I realized I still had so much story left to tell, and I had to divide it into two novels.

3. Genre was ridiculously hard to pinpoint. Seriously. I tried to pinpoint the genre for a year. I talked to professionals. I had a friend who talked to professionals on my behalf. In the end, it has been decided that it is simply speculative fiction, as it's sort of in-between a few things. It's not quite sci-fi; it's science based, but not futuristic. It's in a fantasy sort of world, but there's no magic. The closest "feel" is probably steampunk, but there's no steam and no women wearing corsets, which, I hear, might be mandatory in steampunk. ;) (Though there are goggles!)

4. Marketing age was just as tricky to pinpoint at first. I had anticipated writing YA, as I always wrote YA. However, as the book developed, it grew into something that reads as more adult, and all of my main characters are adults. It could possibly have been marketed as YA if not for the development of the second book, which is definitely not YA.

5. The characters and plot gave me trouble unlike any other book. It took ages before I didn't feel like I was pulling teeth to get words out. None of my characters wanted to cooperate. Getting all of the pieces to fit together was a headache and a half. Again, this is normal for a lot of books, but it was to a degree I'd never known before.

6. Self-doubt. This the biggest. Every writer has experienced self-doubt at some point or other, I'm sure, but this was the worst for me. Perhaps because it was so different from anything I'd written before, and perhaps because I was writing it as my first book was approaching publication, and that seemed to raise the stakes for me. I was plagued with nagging self-doubt as I wrote this book. What if it's not good enough? What if the characters are unlikeable? What if everyone hates it? What if the plot doesn't make sense? What if I can't make it make sense? What if it's not publishable? And so on and so forth.

Here's the thing with self-doubt: it lies. It does. Because of course, not everyone is going to like what I write. I don't know about your first drafts, but mine are never going to be publishable--it's going to take a ton of editing and rewriting and critique partners and beta readers ripping it to shreds and helping me find the weak points.

I'll tell you a secret. I'm still tremendously a little nervous about the idea that this book is going to be published soon and available for anyone to read. Part of one of the prizes offered in the Favorite Character Blogfest is an ARC e-copy of this book. I believe in these characters and I'm super excited to share this book with you, but at the same time, I may have felt the need to go breathe into a paper bag. I've never felt quite that way before with my previously published books.  Every book is a new and different learning experience, that's for sure.

I've seen quite a few bloggers talking about the Self-Doubt voice lately. It's a nasty one. For those of you struggling with it, here are a few things it might be whispering, and some of my thoughts in response to those whispers.

This story is never going to be good enough. Nonsense. It's going to get better with everything you write, because practice makes better. You're going to write some crappy things, but don't let that stop you, because the crappy parts are going to get fixed. You're also going to write some amazing things, and only you can write them. You have something to say that only you can say, and I'm sure you've heard this before, but it's true. Maybe there are other books like yours, maybe there are other characters with similar personalities, but this is your story from your mind and your heart, and it is unique. Your story is going to get better with every draft, every rewrite, every bit of polishing.

Everyone is going to hate this. This is very unlikely. Are some people going to hate it? Possibly. Everyone has such wildly different tastes, and what one person loves, another person might loathe. Which means, if some people hate it...you're also going to have some people who love it.

If you're trying to please everyone, you're probably going to have a mediocre story. You need to be happy with your story. You. It is yours. Of course, you need to be open to listening to what your beta readers and critique partners have to say, and work to improve what you have, but if you're unhappy with your story, it's probably going to be evident to reader.

What if the characters are unlikeable/the plot doesn't make sense? This is where beta readers/critique partners are so important. If everyone hates the characters and tells you the plot doesn't make sense, you're going to need to reexamine what you're doing. That's the beauty of drafting stories, though: you can pinpoint what you're doing wrong or what you can do better. And again, there are so many things that are subjective. Some people don't like arrogant characters. Some don't like reluctant heroes, or whiny sidekicks, or damsels in distress. Some people love these. Write the characters as they're meant to be. Your character will grow through your story. Maybe a reader who hated a character in the beginning will love a character in the end. You won't know unless you write it and find out.

That's just it. You won't know what effect your story will have on a person, or lots of people, unless you smack that self-doubt in the face and write your story. And then make it the best you can. And then, when it's ready, open the doors and let people see into the world you created.

In the infamous words of Galaxy Quest (I mentioned the other day how very quotable this movie is), "Never give up, never surrender!"

Are you struggling with anything in your writing process right now?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hosting "Favorite Character Blogfest"

Out of all the characters you've written, who's your favorite?

I'm hosting my first ever blogfest, and I would love for you all to participate and/or share this with others you think might want to participate. This will be a chance to showcase your favorite character. (If you can manage to narrow it down to one! ;)) This will be a blog hop: an excellent chance to get to know other bloggers, check out some great snippets, and share your own.




The blogfest runs from January 23-25.Here's how it works:

1. Decide which of your characters you'd like to introduce everyone to, and choose a snippet about this character (preferably no more than 200 words) to share about this character. (A snippet from your manuscript would be awesome, but if you're not comfortable with that, you can choose to do a character sketch--something to show us your character and writing.)

2. Between January 23-25, tell us who your favorite character you've written is and why and post your snippet.

3. Hop around to other participants to check out their favorite characters and a bit of their story.



The lovely Melanie Billings, Acquisitions Editor at Whiskey Creek Press, has graciously offered to supply critiques as prizes! Winners will be drawn from the list of active participants after midnight on the 25th and announced on my blog on the 26th.

1st Prize: critique of first 15 pages of your manuscript, an e-book copy of my book, Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School) and an ARC e-copy of my next book, Rising Book 1: Resistance (upcoming publication in February 2012)

2nd Prize: critique of first 10 pages of your manuscript and an e-book copy of Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School)

3rd Prize: critique of first 5 pages of your manuscript


If you wish to participate, just add your name to the linky list below, and feel free to grab the blogfest button on the side of my blog. :)



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Those Characters Who Love to Hate You

There's a line in the movie Galaxy Quest that prompted this. If you haven't ever seen Galaxy Quest, this is a travesty that should be remedied immediately. I quote from it from time to time because a) it is so very quotable and b) it is full of good writery things. *adds "writery" to dictionary*

Ahem.

For those who may not have seen Galaxy Quest, the story is based around these burned out actors who are super popular for acting on a Star Trek-like show fifteen years earlier. What they don't know is that these aliens have been watching their old show from outer space and think they are "historical documents," so when they run into trouble, they go to these actors for help fighting their space battle. Anyway, the aliens recreate the ship from the show, down to the last detail.

And that brings me to this scene where two of the characters have to go through this crazy obstacle course thing in the ship and one of them is all like "Why is this here?" and the other one goes, "It was in the show!" and the first character says, "Whoever wrote this episode should die!"
How many times must our characters feel this way? Arguing with us, dealing with all of the crap we throw at them, the trauma and misery. Emotional upheaval, physical pain--and we assure them that it's okay, they'll get through it. Or in the case of a tragedy, maybe we assure them it's okay, they'll be out of their misery before long.

I used to be known as the "nice writer" in my writing group. I'm all for happily-ever-afters and romance and letting characters have hope and all that lovely stuff. It doesn't mean I don't put them through the wringer first, but apparently after I wrote one of my last novels, I became the author who was capable of doing anything to a character. Want some physical trauma? Here you go, character, have that. And that. And then that. And here's your emotional trauma on the side. Yep, you'll be dealing with that for the next twelve years. Oh, look, I found some more problems for you!

It's a wonder some of my characters even speak to me anymore.

I want there to be character conflict. Conflict--inner or outer conflict--propels the story onward. Some of my characters and stories just get more intense conflict than others.

Do you have a character that you're sure must hate you because of everything you put him/her through?

Or do you have trouble giving your characters conflict to work through? Do you want to protect them and keep them in a bubble because you can't bear the thought of doing harm to them? If so, how do you work past that?

What do you do to cause your characters conflict?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

blog catch up and your opinion on fanfiction

It's January 4th! How is it already January 4th? O_O Some quick catch-ups:

First, a very happy (late) New Year to all of you! My crazy busyness is finally normalizing after the holidays, and I'm knee deep in editing (for others) and rereading my in progress novel to tweak it and get back into the swing of things.

Second, I realized I never did mention the age of my character in the Can We Guess Your Character's Age
contest. He was sixteen, and the narrator for my YA fantasy novel, My Kingdom for a Newt. I'll have more on that story later on this year. (Maybe sooner rather than later.)

Third, my kids loved their Christmas kitties. It didn't exactly go as planned. I got up, got everything ready, and tried to get the kittens in boxes for the kids. I'd wrapped boxes the night before, but no matter what I did, the kittens kept poking their heads out of any crack and then escaping. So I found one box that had a lid that fit over the box, and put my son's kitten in that, and tried to find one for the other kitten, and failed, so I finally stuck her in a box (I put this cat in a box like four times and she kept escaping) and tried to tape it shut for a moment, and I called the kids and my hubby into the room, and meanwhile, the second kitten is trying to make another break for it and I tried to hold the box shut so that my daughter could open it. I videotaped it, and that's how the video starts: my urgent voice telling my daughter, "Quick, come open this present now!' because I'd stuck the kitty's head back in the box right before she walked in and was trying to hold it closed with a bit of wrapping paper across the top. ;) Then she opened the box and the kitten jumped and dashed under the couch, and my daughter's squealing, "IT'S A KITTY!" My son then asked, "Is it real!?" because he thought it was a robot kitty or something, and as he was asking, he was flipping his box over, and I'm like, "Ahh, don't flip it!" And then he got to see his kitten. It was fun and crazy and the kids were SO THRILLED. The kitties are a lot of fun.

Now that I'm done playing catch up on my blog, I'd like to ask you all for your opinions on a subject that some really don't think much about--or know much about--and that is controversial to others.

Fanfiction.

Fanfiction, for those who might be unaware, is when someone reads a book, watches a movie, plays a video game, etc., and thinks, Hey, wow, this world is really cool! I really like this character! I think I'll write a story about him/her/it. Then maybe I'll post it online so people can read it. 

There are all sorts of stories: some people try to write a continuation of where you left off. Some people write a "missing scene." Some people are intrigued by a person's past, and will write a childhood story. Some people fall in love with the background characters, and write their idea of that story. There are one-shots (just a short, one-chaptered story), novel-length stories, stories that are only a few chapters.

There are some authors who cannot stand the thought of fanfiction. It makes them very uncomfortable to think of someone writing stories about the characters they created, digging through their sandbox, as it were, and for various other reasons.

There are other authors who welcome the idea of fanfiction, for various reasons. Promotion of their book, involvement of the readers, things like that.

But I'm very curious as to what you all think. Do you hate the idea of someone messing with your characters because you spent so much time with them and it feels wrong for someone else to touch them? Does it not matter to you? Do you like the idea because you know that you'll always have a final say in what really happens to these characters?