Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Preparations Continue

So I was on Charity's blog the other day teasing her about her playlists for her novels.

I have WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL sitting next to me.

What did I do today?


Pam's Playlist:

(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes – Elvis Costello
I Got Money Now – P!nk
Clubland – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
‘Cuz I Can – P!nk
Paralyzer – Finger Eleven
I Need a Man – Eurythmics
How Bizarre – OMC
Bring Me to Life - Evanescence
Lullaby – Shawn Mullins
I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Take Me Out Tonight – Rent
New York – U2
New Lace Sleeves – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Could’ve Had Everything – P!nk
Single – Natasha Bedenfield
Wicked Game – Chris Isaak
There Must Be An Angel – Eurythmics
Grace – U2

And it was damned useful. I really feel like I have a much better grip on both the story line and the characterizations. I still have to put in those conflicts that Darcy was grappling with.

What to write?

For the last month, I was sure I knew what project I wanted to work on during January. I have done lots of pre-writing (plotting, characters sheets, all the stuff I never, ever do when I write a book!) on an idea since the summer because it's a little different from the regular Harlequin Romances (HR) I write, and I've always intended to write the entire manuscript before submitting it. That's called writing on spec for all you non-writers out there. I haven't done that since my very first sale to Harlequin Yours Truly.

Of course, now an idea for an HR is keeping me awake at night. I'd asked my editor about making one of the secondary characters from my recent November release a hero of his own book, and last week she said to develop the idea for her. Granted an idea is far from approval to write a book, but at least this one has a great chance of publication since I owe them another book in the fall of 2009. The other idea is something I really want to write, but I can't say anyone will buy that manuscript.

Still I really don't have much on the new idea. If I write this one for JaNoWriMo, I would be flying into the mist so to speak with a hero, his dog and a setting. Nothing else. I wonder if I'd be writing it too soon since I usually let ideas percolate in my head while I write another book.

So today I have to decide which one will be my JaNoWriMo project. Any suggestions on making that decision?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What a Girl Wants

I plan to work on a Geek Girls book that I've been kicking around for about a year -- The Geek Girls Guide to Dating a Rock Star. I like the premise. I like the characters. For months now I've been trying to figure out why the thing won't move past page 45. Then Writing Partner Extraordinaire, Charity, said, 'Ahem. Maybe your MC doesn't know what she wants ... or needs.'

And, like most things writing-wise, Charity was right. So I'm spending the last hours before JaNo considering wants and needs and the difference between the two. I'm also pondering external v internal goals and conflicts, and how many is too many. What do you guys think? Is there some magic number?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My book is a mistake

Really. It is. I was surfing Amazon one day, looking at books when I stumbled on one called:

Jessica’s Guide for Dating on the Dark Side

Except, that’s not what I saw. For several seconds, I thought it said:

Jessica’s Guide for Dating on the Dork Side

And I was kind of disappointed that it wasn’t called that (although it looks like a fun book). But I couldn’t get the notion of dating on the dork side out of my head. I wondered: How would someone end up dating on the dork side.

Insert light bulb moment here.

So, my work in progress (progress being one of those relative terms) is all due to a mistake. And because I’m all about preparation, I’ve put together the all important playlist. Sure, I could spend my time doing character interviews and storyboards. Or I could mess around for a couple of hours on iTunes. Priorities, people. Priorities.

Dating on the Dork Side

  1. War by Bruce Springsteen
  2. Lysistrata by Utopia
  3. Is She Really Going Out With Him? by Joe Jackson
  4. Hate (I Really Don’t Like You) by Plain White T’s
  5. Stupid Boy by Gear Daddies
  6. She's so High by Tal Bachman
  7. So What by P!nk
  8. Famous Last Words by My Chemical Romance
  9. Read My Mind by The Killers
  10. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
  11. Heroes by The Wallflowers


I'm new to the idea but willing to try. My background has mostly been writing short stories. I, too, had a story idea that was something I had thought about for a while - I even have the first two chapters and the last chapter written. Motivated by this idea, I started to do research on it - but am definitely feeling challenged to put it together.

Hopefully, by the time January comes along - in just a few days, my idea will coalesce.

More fickleness

I was all set to work on my second in a series, but I got this idea, and then it wasn't running, and this morning while I was working out the plot and everything came to me.

So... I *think* I'm now going with magic realism.

OTOH, I may go back to my mystery.

I'm going to start massive interviews and notes on the magic realism piece in any case.

At least I'm actually in the realm of preparation now.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Fickle Mind

Or is it just me?

I thought I had it figured out, what I was going to work on for January, my YA fantasy. I've had it in my head for nearly 2 decades now.

Then I started to think about another WIP that is sitting in a folder waiting patiently for me. Maybe it's my desire to conquer the world that is Harlequin that is causing this indecision. The WIP is a Blaze style book and I have the plot pretty much down pat. The characters are clear in my mind.

But oh, my YA fantasy. How I long to write it. It's waited so long. I hate to put it off.

Does anyone else go through this? Please tell me I'm not the only fickle writer here!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Write or Die

Learned of a great tool for writing during NaNo -- it's free (and diabolical). It's a web site called Write or Die. I'm almost to the point where I can't write without it. It makes me laugh but it also keeps me on track and very productive. Wish there was an offline version.

I'll be using it during JaNoWriMo.

Anne AKA smellshorsey

Dung Shuiing in Preparation

I'm not sure that this is the best preparation (I should be storyboarding but maybe I'll do that after Christmas) but I have spent the last couple of weeks "Dung Shuiing" my office (term from Margie Lawson's Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors Class). (Think feng shui but where you're tossing out all the detritus to make a clear space for thinking, writing and creating.) I'm so much happier coming into an orderly place. Just one more box to file.

I've also been reading a book on organization for writers. One suggestion was to have a clear bookshelf for your project so it was all out in the open and could be tamed into off-the-desk piles. I've got my clear shelf with one pile of notes and the binder for the pages I'll create in JaNoWriMo.

I'm really excited about this. This is all way overdue and I'm so happy I took the time to do it. Now, to clear off the dining table for Christmas Dinner and vacuum.

Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Preparation Pie

If preparing for a writing marathon includes much time in the kitchen baking pies and much time in the music room composing, then Groovy is ready to go. I've already got music worked into novel number two. Now I just need to throw LOTS of baking by a dieting pastry chef into the mix!

I'll be working alternately on three projects:

#1. A YA I started in NaNo 2007 called The Molasses Swamp.

#2. A YA I started for this year's NaNo called Linear Equation.

#3. Something really spectacular (*cough*) for this contest.

In between writing I'll be at the piano composing tunes for the songs that go with Linear Equation and homeschooling my girlies and helping Mulletman keep the driveway clear of snow.

My only actual writing prep is researching mental illness. Other than that I am going to use the week after Christmas to eliminate distractions by finishing up a few naggingly incomplete projects and making sure my house is clean.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm Ready. Are You?

I'm surviving December. That's all I can do. It's snowing like crazy. We've been stuck in the house for ten days. The kids are home. Hubs is home. We're all crazy with so much togetherness.

I've already selected the project I want to work on in January, and it's already prepped. But I didn't finish December's project. So my 50K words will be a combination of both projects.

I'm ready.

Is it January yet?

Prepping? What's That?

Seriously, I've hardly done any and at the rate I'm going I don't know if I'm going to have time to do any. I'll definitely be a true Panster with this challenge.

I have settled on a story to write (a young adult book for once), I just don't know if I'll write in first person, third person or maybe I'll go nuts and try for both. May be risky though. The only prepping I've really done is to "write" scenes in my head, to see if I like the way the POV sounds, to find out how my characters react to each other. It's like watching a tv show in my head. If I had a small recorder it would be easier to get these ideas down.

Does anyone use recorders when they are brainstorming?

Now going out to finish shoveling snow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Prep: Fighting the Urge

Thanks, Marianne for the JaNoWriMo idea! I'm so excited to get started on a brand new sporty tween novel to send to my agent in between SCREWBALL series deadlines.. 

But, I'm probably a little too excited. See, I'm fighting the urge to cheat AGAIN. Except, this time, I promised myself, unlike WriNoNaMo, I won't. Because I don't want to feel yucky when I'm done, like the time when I was six and I bought my dad a pack of Watermelon Bubble Yum (his fave) for his birthday. Then I couldn't resist or wait until his big day. So, I ate a piece and wrapped up the leftover four. 

I will have patience this time is my mantra. 

In the meantime, I'm researching, prepping, interviewing characters, and reading as much as I can in between holiday hoopla and family stuff. :)  Happy Holidays, fellow JaNoWriMoers! 

Preparation Confession

I feel like the kid who hasn't given any thought to what she's going to wear on the first day of school. I suppose I should warn you right now--come January first I'm going to show up in my flannel nightie, I just know I am.


Uh, no...none of that going on here. I hope inspiration will strike on New Year's morning. With my luck, all I'll get hit with is a huge headache, courtesy of the champagne I'll drink to push 2008 into the history books.

But I do have a title! Does that count for anything? Please say it does. I'm telling you, it's all I've got at this point.

Oh? The title? Last First Kiss.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Marianne asked us to post our preparations. My preparations will start Monday... that's the official "D-Day" when I'm off work. I've been doing a lot of incubating, though. I'm not sure if I'm going to work on my second novel in my series or try something completely different or go where the wind takes me. I have a few story ideas stashed away, so I'm going to try to meditate and decide what would be best to work on at this intensity.

What about the rest of you?

I'm also really excited to be doing this! Nano was just NOT going to happen for me in November this year. A huge thanks to Marianne for getting this together.


That snow post was meant for my blog, not this one. It was late and I was sleepy and stressed when I posted it. This blog and my personal one switched places on my list.

The colors were good for my own blog.

*Going back into my corner*

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ten Days and Counting

Well folks... we have at least eleven participants (maybe thirteen, as I just sent out two more invites) and only ten more days! I'd love to hear how everyone is preparing... anyone want to post and let us know? All ideas are welcome.

I'm mostly brainstorming scenes and working through character interviews. I'm fortunate in that the two stories I'll be choosing from are both sequels, so I already know many of the characters. Still, both heroines are new to me, so I'll have to work through those.

I also set up a series of prompts or "dares" to help jumpstart me when I get stuck -- the more absurd the better (and some are quite absurd).