Thursday, September 30, 2010

What is a writer?

When I first came up with the idea I wanted to be a writer, I had no clue what that really meant.  Write a story, get it published, that’s it.  Ha!

Those are only two SMALL elements of being a writer.  What I am finding is that it takes much, much more.  Here I detail what I think I writer is.

First and foremost, yes, writers WRITE!!  How can you call yourself a writer when you haven’t written anything?  Or you don’t write anymore.  I know I was there for a few years.  My writing wasn’t going anywhere, so I think I gave up trying.  I wouldn’t even write for fun, which I love to do.  From here on out, I will always write SOMETHING!  Even if it is only for my eyes.

Next, we must learn to be our own EDITORS.  Some writers loathe this element.  I don’t mind it so much.  It can get more time consuming that the actual writing.  You’ve poured your heart out telling this story, now you must nit-pick over it, cutting out unnecessary parts or adding scenes to help tell the story.  Heck, I have even had to cut out characters that were not helping the story along.  It can get rough.

Writers must be good RESEARCHERS as well.  For some ideas, fiction or nonfiction, very little research is needed if you are writing what you know.  But even then, research is a key element.  If I want my characters to travel to New Orleans and I have never been, I am going to need a glimpse of what that city looks like.  We can find everything on the Internet now.  I actually like to have actually gone were my characters go.  So if I have never been to NOLA, I can’t really write it (but that’s just me).  Even if my characters go to restaurants around town, I need to “feel” it myself.  Just an excuse for me to tour around my city for “research” purposes.

Writers need to be their own agents, so to speak.  Even after securing one, don’t think you sit back and let them do all the work.  You are still pushing for your novel/project to succeed.  Stay on your agent and make sure they are getting your project read by the right people.  It’s hard to really be your own agent and get a publishing deal, but it can happen.  If you go with a small publisher of self-publisher, and you are business minded, I think it could be done.   

Once we land a publishing deal, NOW the hard work begins.  You become a marketer.  You must begin, even before your work is printed, begin to market it.  There are infinite ways of marketing your work.  I’m not sure of them all and I am a marketing person!!  Social media right now is leading the pack.  Back when I studied marketing, mailing out fliers and promotional items was the bug thing.  Geesh!  I need a refresher marketing class.

I think then we can call ourselves an author.  We can go on author tours, sign autographs, have adoring fans, build a reputation with other authors.  We’re doing all these jobs, but first and foremost, writers WRITE!  We don’t stop writing once we land an agent.  We don’t stop writing after that first book has been published.

This is not a glamorous thing, being a writer.  Only few of us really meet that successful level were we have the name recognition of a Terry McMillan or Eric Jerome Dickey.  It's about more that that.  Just know that you have completed your main job, you wrote.

Read about my many types of writing: Creative Writing

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Screenwriting versus fiction writing

I started writing my screenplay because I could not wait.  First scene I need to describe more.  It’s an action scene, and I just wrote the jist, but I read that if it is going to be a minute of action, that description should cover a page.  UGH!!  Tough, but I can detail out the scene, not to the minute I’m sure, but at least give it a page and a half or more.

This could be a very easy or hard project, depending on how you look at it.  The movie I am basing it off has a long 10 minute action scene (the sequel’s opening was about 8 minutes).  So my dilemma is how much of that action do I need to describe?  Sure not every little detail.

Other than that, writing went smoothly.  The first 4-5 scenes run pretty smooth.  I’m keeping dialogue short, clean and to the point.  I so freaking love screenwriting for this! No need to belabor a point.  And if any dialogue does not move the story forward, it has to go!

I was in the habit of adding quotation marks to the dialogue, LOL!  That was funny to me.  I have been writing screenplays before I wrote my first novel, but the last five years, it’s been about novel writing.  So I guess it is difficult transitioning between the two.

What do I most want to be known for, movies or novels?  Hmmmm, tough choice for me, but I think I will go with movies.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE movies!  I mean, I love reading books as well, but movies really get me going.  And I’d like to think that 4 years of college is not totally wasted if I can break into the film world.  Sitting in all those classes watching those classic movies (that I mostly slept through).  Learning to direct, produce, edit and write films.

Hey, it wasn’t film school, but it might as well been.  Lots of people don’t even know what I majored in at college.  Or, like others in classes with me, think my goal was to produce television news or go into radio.  Very few people pick a small Midwestern college to study film. 

I think my screenplay form could use a little help.  I had a book that taught me how, but can’t find it, so I think I will check some out from the library.  Of course, if I buy one of the software packages, I wouldn’t have to worry about tabbing over, centering this, (v.o.), (o.s), CAPS for names, etc.   But there is something about doing it old school as well.

INT. BEDROOM-DAY

LOL, love those scene headers!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Writers eat, sleep and live their characters

This is really so true!  I read this from an accomplished writer’s blog.  When I read those words, I was like, DUH!  I know I have repeated this time after time again, but it bears repeating.  For writers reading my blog, you already know.  But for nonwriters, imagine these scenarios:

Hearing voices in your head from your characters talking to you.

“Day dreaming” about characters and scenes. 

Noticing what type of car your character drives. 

Wondering what your characters eat.  Are they vegetarian (many of my characters are), are they into junk food, do they hardly eat and eat lot!

Going to places that your characters would go to.

Jotting down little notes on whatever paper near you (I have oodles of sticky notes floating in my purse, car and around the house) 

Picturing what types of clothes they would wear.

All these things are running through my head now with my new project.  It seemed as if soon as one was ending, this one took over in my brain.  All I think about is what are they doing, why, who can I get it all out of my head and onto some pages that are interesting enough for someone to say, “Hey, that’s a great idea!  Let’s make that movie.”

The writer basically gives “birth” to these characters that would not otherwise come to life without them.  My characters are constantly evolving too.  When I first thought of this idea, pitched the story to my sister, my main character was nothing like she is now.  And that was only 2 weeks ago. 

All my supporting characters will be strong on their own, as if it is their story to tell, well, without them overshadowing my lead.  In a movie, the audience has to constantly be in the action.  Every little second has to be spent on moving the story along.  No extra fluff!

There are no long dialogues.  There is no sulking in a corner.  There is no, contemplating or thinking on the characters behalf (unless it is cut over a collage of other stuff).  I am so ready to do this!!  This is more my style.

MY CHARACTERS ARE SCREAMING AT ME TO TELL THEIR STORY!!

Guess I better listen.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm going to do what a writer does, and WRITE!

How many of us, in whatever it is we want to do: write, sing, act, dance, study law, start our own business, travel the world, or whatever… never actually do what it is we crave to do?

Not me anymore.  I think part of me was afraid others would not like my work.  I don’t think my writing is like anyone else.  I used to send it off to competitions, but really, I never thought anyone would care for my work.

I went into it with NEGATIVE feelings, so of course I got NEGATIVE results.  I probably did not put enough work into each piece.  Clearly I am the queen at cranking out work (I finished “Millionaire playboy” story this weekend), but the editing process will be long and hard.

I have been stalling sending All That It Seems out too.  No more!!  It will see the light of day soon.  I don’t know how much more editing I need to do on that thing!  My computer is on the fritz, which is the main reason I had to put a pause on that.  BUT THAT’S AN EXCUSE!!  I need to take to computer to get fixed because sending out my work is TOP PRIORITY.  Just like I put myself on a schedule to write, I need to put myself on a schedule to send this out.

Writing out a schedule now….

Oh, and I will start my screenplay soon.  I need to work out my characters a bit more.  I have a general outline of the plot, but it needs work.  I’m actually nervous writing my first screenplay in over a decade.  Fingers crossed I write to the best of my ability and someone reads this and actually thinks it makes a great movie.

Friday, September 24, 2010

So what's success as a writer

I answered this question on someone else’s blog.  My answer: Success is when I have a book on the best seller list and/or have written a blockbuster screenplay.  Of course, I will consider myself a success simply being published, but I dream BIG!  And why not?

I’m not going to be modest about what I want.  I’ve wanted it since I first put pen to paper.  I don’t want a one-hit book.  I want a LONG career in the business.  I want my name to be synonymous with other famous writers in my genre.  Why freaking not?  Did Terry McMillan aim just to become published?  Was Eric Jerome Dickey happy with only one book becoming published?  Jackie Collins only puts out one every few years, and everyone knows her name and what she does as a writer. 

They all have longevity.  That’s all I really want.  It can start off slow, my first few novels don’t have to hit that mainstream success like Waiting to Exhale did.  It might take a couple of tries to get that book on a best seller list.  But trust and believe, I will continue to strive for my goals, and I allow for no setbacks.

Many writers on that blog commented that they would feel successful simply if others read their work and appreciated it.  Okay.  But I want you to read it, buy it, pass it along, help me promote it with positive feedback, encourage me to write that next big book, support me in any other work I do, and simply help me toward my goal to get a best seller.  Do I ask for much?

Maybe.  I write for the joy of it.  I will always write, that’s just what I do.  If I won a lottery and never had to worry about money, I would still write and push to get my novels and screenplays out there and in the mainstream.  I’ll have more $$ to market it, but hey, I want to be KNOWN for something, and my writing is just it.

I’m a little frustrated that other writers settle for little accomplishments.  Are we ashamed to what great monetary success, fame and fortune?  Are we afraid of aiming too high and never reaching that goal and feeling like a failure?  Or are most of us simply happy at publishing one or two pieces of their work and living happily ever after at that? 

Believe me, when my first novel is published, I will think I am the best thing coming!  But for me to measure myself as a writer, that next book has to be even hotter.  And the next and the next.  I’ll take a flop here and there, but I want to have SEVERAL published books as well as at least ONE of my screenplays on the big screen.

Guess what, I am going to make it happen!1

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I am not crazy!

I was researching writing screenplays since I have not done one in awhile and I can’t seem to find any of my old screenwriting books.  Well, I came across some lessons on character development, and it stated that the characters should come alive in your mind and tell you their story.

YES!!  I have been saying this forever, but I was also thinking I was nuts!   I thought I would have to call a shrink to help me with the voices in my head.  So all writers go through this and it’s not just me?   Someone, please tell me it’s not just me!!

Sometimes I hear them very clear, other times, it’s me the writer directing them where I want to go.  Most times, I’m creative enough to put them in a situation and the character just tells me how it all works out.  Those are some of my best scenes I hate to edit down!

In my current WIP, I am going through making “Millionaire Playboy” really the bad boy at the beginning.  He’s dating several women, all while trying to get the attention of my heroine.  I think at first I was rushing them to get together, but this guy would not do that.  He would want to still hold on to all his women.  And that just makes it interesting anyway.

Last night, I decided to add a scene where he is “sexting” with girl friend #4.  I was literally typing it and thinking, “This is too much!” But it is what he would do, and girl friend #4 would do.  I couldn’t hold back.  I read over it several times, and still could not delete a thing, even though the scene played put like a porno.  Now, some of it may meet the cutting room floor, but why hold back now?

See how his cellphones will get him in trouble?  I hope he deletes those texts, LOL!

The male lead is taking over this story big time.  The female lead hasn’t said much to me, and it reflects in her story.  Also, part of it is her character is very secretive, and she’s even holding out on me!  It’s like pulling teeth with her.  So I then go in and write what I think she would do and say.  This makes her all over the place, and not a very strong character IMO.  But hey, this is the first draft, and I will tweak her a bit later.

Some of the side characters speak to me more than the female lead.  “MP’s” mother I adore.  His assistant is great!  I like girlfriend #2 the best, as far as her story.  The story is evolving, that’s for sure.  It’s not the same story I envisioned in my head a month ago.  I thought it would be the female lead that would tell most of the story.

I like surprises!  I just hope “Millionaire Playboy” gets his happily ever after so I don’t have to revisit him again, hmmmm….

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Writer overload: I WRITE TOO MUCH!!

As I am nearing the end of my “Millionaire Playboy” story (and I am liking that as the title or part of it), I am gearing up for the next project.  

I am so wrapped up in writing my first screenplay in over a decade!  Even though I can’t officially start it yet till November 1, I can do preliminary research and jot down character developments.  I have several “scenes” I see in my head, but no characters yet.  But it will come.  My characters always seem to “talk” to me, I just have too many of them talking to me right now to hear the ones I need.

I have researched the directors, producers and production company that put out the movie.  Woohoo!  I need to get this in their hands ASAP, so my goal is to write it fast, edit it even quicker, get some friends of mine to workshop it for me, because with scripts, I have learned, you MUST hear it out loud.  That’ll be fun.

I also am going to dig out my old screenplays.  My very first screenplay is very relevant to my new idea actually.  I don’t want to use it as a base, but I do want to make sure they don’t conflict.  I think my very first screenplay deserves to shine on the big screen, so if I ever have time, I will work on sending that out as well.  It was awarded a prize back in college, so I guess it was pretty good.

One, my second screenplay, I LOVE the most.  It’s called “FRESHMAN YEAR” and as the title states, it’s about freshman year in college.   It actually was submitted for a reading workshop a few years ago, and I loved having it cast and read by actors.  In fact, one of the characters that read a part, I incorporated his look into my character.  I would love to get all my screenplays read by actors.  Wonder if there is a group around that does that?  Okay, off to research and find out!

My third screenplay was based off a one-act play I wrote for class, called “SISTERHOOD.”  It started off in my head as a “Boys in the Hood” for girls, but it’s NOTHING like that movie, I promise!  I have a one-act and screenplay with the same name and characters.    

Actually, it’s been so long, I don’t remember which came first.  Basically I had these characters, I wanted to tell their stories, and I was in a one-act playwriting class, so I used them for that, but their whole story could not be told in a single act.  So later I fleshed it out to a screenplay on my own.  Okay, wait, ignore what I just said!  NOW I remember.  I had a screenwriting class were we were not required to finish the complete screenplay, but I did anyway during the semester long class.  Later I took the one-act play class and based it off the same characters, but it was pretty different.

My fourth novel, wow!  I don’t even recall the title, it was that bad (and I actually changed it a few times).  No, it was not BAD, but to me, it was too “fairy tale” like.  I wrote it for another screenwriting class, so it was work-shopped and others read it and approved, but I never was sold on the idea.  It was based off a story I wrote as a teenager, and all my writing was sappy then.  Something about a big time singing super star meeting a regular girl.  Yeah, like that happens.

I have tried to salvage that screenplay over the years to make it work, with no luck.  It’s one of my works I have invested lots of time in, but won’t try and market it to the public.  Hey, if I can’t get into it, no one else can.

Okay, yes, I am a little off my rocker!  Is this writer nuts?  I write too much!!  How do other writers work out the kinks in their work?  Am I the only one with boxes of written stories, screenplays, plays, etc?  Please tell me I am not the only one filtering at the brim in the madness of the unsold script?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I AM A WRITER!

Well, the very first time I remember writing, or wanting to be a writer, I was in the 7th grade.  My essay was entered in a writing contest for Dr. Martin Luther King.  I didn’t win, but it sparked the fire.  I quickly wrote my first story.

I wish I could remember it.  Something about teens in high school, and it was a romance.  I remember clipping a picture from Essence, Ebony or Jet that was a Sprite ad with a boy and girl leaned against school lockers, one holding a Sprite in their hand.  Well, they were my main characters, and of course that became a scene in the story somehow.  I glued it down on the cover of my notebook and that was my cover.   LOL!

I had a friend at the time that loved to read those types of books (we both did) so I let her read it.  I think she liked it, but it didn’t matter.  I quickly wrote more. I actually remember my second story.  It became part of a series about one girl who aspired to be a model/actress.  Well, I redid those stories recently and hope to really revamp them for the Young Adult market one day.

Anyway, before high school started, I began what I can only describe as my “fantasy-world journal.”  It was me, but not really me.  It was me doing everything great while starting high school, meeting the perfect boy and dating him for four years.  Never happened!  But I started it before I began school, and I continued writing in this “journal” to college. (I stopped sometime after they got married.) I still adore that series!!

My next series is my FAVORITE!  It’s basically a television show I wrote about two white teens moving into a Black neighborhood in St. Louis.  The show would have been great back in the late eighties, early nineties when I started it, but now it may not be that big of a deal.  I still love the idea and would love to rework it and try and get it out there.

It evolved from being about that to just a teen soap opera (think Beverly Hills 90210 or Gossip Girl) and this is BEFORE any of them!!  It dealt with issues I dealt with in high school and even some made up stuff.  And it had an ever-changing cast.  Like if someone’s story line just got boring, I could write them off.  Each school year, new students would join the cast.  I currently still work on this a bit, but no time to really write it like I like.  I think if I had to count seasons of this show, I have about seven or eight.

So the main characters started as sophomores, but after they graduated, new characters were already taking over as leads.  Sometimes I wrote about the college crowd or even the junior high crowd if the characters were relevant.  Like three of the female characters started on the show in 8th grade, because they were all connected to other main characters.  Well, they started a female singing group and by their junior year in high school, they had hit the big time and were super celebrities.  Love them!!

And in between writing all those series, I wrote about 100+ other stories.  I had themes with it all.  I had two different series going on where the main characters’ names started where in alphabetical order.  So one story the female lead name began with an “A” and all the way down to “Z.”  So there were 26 stories in one series with a female lead in the alphabet series, and then I did the same for a male series, which included another 26 stories.  In each of those alphabetical series, the love interest had to be more than ordinary.

For instance, the female lead falls in love with a blind guy, or a celebrity, or her boss, of her best friend, or met on the Internet (and this is BEFORE Internet).  None of these in this series were dealing with high school issues.  I still had my television show and “journal” for that.

Sometime in college, I really stopped writing like I used to.  I was too busy writing for classes.  I went to college to study film and television with the hopes of working behind the scenes directing and/or producing.  Well, I decided that I would love to write movies.  So I took a bunch of classes, and by the time I graduated, I had four completed scripts.  I basically turned my back on writing novels.  I only wrote screenplays and continued on with the television series, actually revamping it around that time.

Post-college, I really tried to get my screenplays out there.  I spent a year or more trying to get them out there.  I few interested, but I never followed through.  So I went on with my life.  I didn’t turn my back on writing, but I didn’t think it would ever pay my bills.  I did revamp my series on the aspiring actress, which in turned inspired a spin-off series about a high school filled with basically, very talented teens.  That will see the light of day, that’s all I have to say about that!!

This brings me to recent years.  About five years ago, I decided I would give novel writing a try.  Mind you, I NEVER took a class on how to write a novel.  I had a book, read it thoroughly, and then just went for it.  My first novel “All That It Seems” was written over a four-day weekend.  I spent another couple of months editing it.  I quit my job to pursue writing, attended a Writer’s Conference and was all gung ho about it.

Nothing happened and I went back to the working world.  Shelved my writing, only dabbling in it for fun, and here I am today.  I have been re-inspired to finally do this and not have any more setbacks!!  I am gung ho and this is my destiny!!  Whether it is novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts, or whatever, I AM A WRITER!

I have lived and breathed it for years.  There is really nothing else I EVER wanted to do.  Writing is my PASSION! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Money can't buy love....but it can buy me a lot of goodies

“Millionaire playboy” does not believe in love. 


“Love is for suckers!” is his motto.

But just in case he was trying to get someone to fall for him, his way of showing love is to shower them with trinkets.

The basic flowers, candy and stuffed animals are always nice.  But when money is not an issue, flowers every day becomes the norm!

His main conquest is an animal lover, so crystal animal figurines should win her over right?

If that fails, a cute little puppy is something she can’t refuse!

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, so shower her with many of them!  Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, even “bling” out the puppy with a diamond collar.

Trips around the world maybe?  Bahamas, Paris, Milan all flown in a private jet.

To be seen with the most “Eligible Bachelor” a woman has to have the best designer gowns.

Surprise her with a day at the spa to get pampered from head to toe.

Give her access to the platinum Discover card for shopping sprees.

And if all that fails, a brand new car.

Hey, if she’s not in love by then, there’s always the 8.1-carat pink diamond ring.

If money can’t buy love, it sure can keep a girl very happy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Don't touch my cell phone!!

The situation:
"Millionaire playboy" did not get rich by being dumb, yet, he falls for the oldest trick.  He leaves his cell phone out so someone can happen upon it and possibly find damaging information.  Not only does my boy have one cell phone, he has two.  One strictly business iPhone he uses as his lifeline for all business matters.  Million dollar deals are made on that phone.  In the wrong hands, millions dollars could be lost as well.  It's his office in his pocket.  Never leave home without it. 

And then there is the Blackberry, better known as the "Booty Line."  This is for his personal pleasure.  He stores his multitude of women and various "other" info on them (i.e. pics you don't want your mom to see).  Both phones should be guarded at all times...but one he happens to leave out on more than one occasion.

Now if you're one of his multitude of women, you see the "booty line" phone, what do you do?  Do you click through it, see the names and faces of all the competition?  Do you delete texts and email messages?  Do you scan through all those dirty pics wondering "WTF?"

Or worse--download it all to your phone for future uh, let's just say....blackmail?

Never ever leave your cellphone out if anything on it can be incriminating!  I'm just saying....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Millionaire playboy meets Top Model

Yesterday was my birthday, and oh what a day.  I didn't do a darn thing, and for me, that is a great day!!  I did not fuss at my kids, I did not cook dinner, I just sat and enjoyed my favorite show, America's Next Top Model.

And lately, everything I do is related to the work I am writing.  Even ANTM!  One of the "millionaire playboy" ex-girl friends (in her mind they are still together) was a contestant on the show.  So I like to watch and get characteristics of these models for my character.  Yes, she is a bit over the top.

Last night was interesting.  First shoots are always bizarre.  You see who will lead the pack, but also, I take note of the bottom people.  Sometimes, they go on to lead the pack.  Eva Pigford was one.  She nearly went home that first week, but she won.  I think there was another that started at the bottom and rode up.  Never, ever underestimate the competition.

I am so glad they sent home who went home.  The model that was not only too thin (because they all are) but basically starved herself to be so thin.  Not even that, but her whole attitude of being superior than all irked me.  So good riddance!  I really like the 6'2" girl.  The "quirky" girls always seem to shine.

For my character, let's just say she is the "b****."  Yes, of course I want the most colorful character I can find.  And even though she did not win, big things has happened to her, so of course she has a huge ego and thinks she's a diva.  What does "millionaire playboy" see in her?  She's pretty, check!  She's rich, check!  They come from the same background, check!  And she's great to be seen with in public, check!

But his favorite quote is, "Love is for suckers!"  Too bad "Top Model" has fallen deep in love with him, and she would do anything, ANYTHING, to keep her man.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My first new screenplay idea in a decade

I would love to blog about my great idea, but it's a secret.  Shhhh!  Well, least till I start getting it written.  Then I know I will want to share with all.  I can say that it is based off a movie (and sequel) already out there.  My hope is that I can write a script and send it in for consideration for the next sequel.  Yeah, I'm a big dreamer.

But why not!

Crazier things have happened to very successful people.  I will keep at my writing: novels, screenplays, short stories and even plays, till I reach the level of success I want.  Well, if that's a little vain, so be it.  I tell my kids never give up on what it is they want to be or do, not even if I am the one saying they can't be it. (My daughter wants to be the next Beyonce but she lacks a lot of that talent, singing, uh dancing, overall performance ability.  But I still tell her to go for it if that is what she REALLY wants.  Just don't embarrass me on American Idol.)

I have flip flopped between wanting to be an author of novels, to a screenwriter.  Heck, why can't I be both!  I was formerly trained in college to write screenplays, and only took one story writing class (but a boatload of screenwriting and playwriting classes).  I basically self-taught myself how to write a novel through books and researching online.  I wished I would have taken a class in college, but I got bored with the intro level story writing class and dropped that as my minor.

I won't start this screenplay till November.  I have to finish this current wip, then I plan on doing editing of ATIS and sending that out in October.  So busy, busy me!

Monday, September 13, 2010

So when does good writing go bad

When you belabor a point, in my opinion.  I am trying not to do that with my current wip.  I felt like I had an ending, and it was nice and sweet.  Now the story itself, did kind of go by quickly, so I'm going back and adding more detail, a couple of important scenes and a bit more drama.  But at some point, I am adding more just to get the word count where I think it should be.

This is good and bad.  I like to edit down, so having more than enough filler is fine in the first draft, because I go back and take it out anyway.  And sometimes, just writing an extra scene, even though it gets the cut in one of the edits, a couple of lines or two from that scene actually stay and moves the story on, adds some depth to it.  The bad side is, sometimes it's hard to get rid of a great scene that adds nothing to the story line, but was still a great scene.  Oh boy, did I ever have those with All That It Seems.  I cut a whole chapter that really was not needed, but it was an extra storyline that got covered in other scenes and did not need a whole chapter.

But I lost some great dialogue, some great growth with a character.  I'd put that chapter back if an agent or publisher said it was needed.  So far with the current wip, I don't see any particular scene/storyline hitting the cutting room floor, but I know it will happen.  The good thing here is there are only two main characters, versus ATIS had three points of view (Shae, Mykayla and Amari) as well as the men in their lives (Trenton, Quinton, Calvin).  Oooo, I need to do some character developments on those hot men of theirs!!

ATIS is on the back burner for now.  I can't do any thing on that, while my focus is on the new wip, especially since it is kind of a spin off from it.  I don't want one to influence the other, they are two separate entities.  Well, I have 18 more days of this current challenge, and I am on 57,670 words!!  I hope I can get to 70,000 by this weekend.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Stop editing and just write!

Yesterday I did no writing!  For the first time this month, I did not even crack the laptop open.  Well, even though my challenge is to write 80,000 words this month, it wasn't so much that I had to write everyday, but reach that word goal.

I'm still on track and it's all good!  I just have come to a fork in the road with the story.  Do I go down this path or the other path.  I have to stop second guessing myself and writing what I think will SELL, and write what I ENJOY writing.  I should worry about things like that later, if at all.  I'm not going to try and fit the mold anymore.

My story is a romance story, just not like the cookie cutter ones.  Or maybe it's just me and I don't read enough of a variety.  Some of my fave authors include Tery McMillan (can't wait for her new one!), Eric Jerome Dickey (he is the man!), E. Lynn Harris (miss him), BebeMoore Campbell (miss her), James Patterson (especially the Alex Cross series), Patricia Cornwell, Mary Clark Higgins, Sue Grafton, Victoria Christopher Murray (my soror), and maybe a few others.  These are writers I will read ALL their work, no questions asked.

I wouldn't say I write like any of them (although I continue to compare All That It Seems to Waiting to Exhale).  I like E. Lynn's style, maybe I am more like him.  But I know for sure I am in a category all to myself, and that's what a writer should do.  My voice is very different from all those listed above, as well it should be! 

So I need to stop editing an changing my voice because I think peoiple won't understand what I am saying.  If my writning is really HORRIBLE I will find out about it soon enough when I send it to agents.  Right now, I can't worry about that, I have to just write like me and continue on doing what it is I do!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Stop trying to fit the mold!!

I realized just now that I was doing something gravely wrong with my new writing project.  I was trying to fit a mold.  I wanted so badly to write a romance novel because hey, I'm a romantic at heart.  But fitting my style of writing into a romance structure--boy meet girl, girl falls in love with boy, they live happily ever after--was just not me!  With the exception of having happy endings, I can't write typical romances!!

Though I grew up reading and writing them I just CAN'T get into it now.  When I attempted to do it, I was essentially done with the novel at about 45,000 words.  Soooo, I started added extra scenes, which did not make it dramatic enough for me, just more sappiness.  I like CRAZY characters doing PSYCHO things.  I even want to throw in a little action and danger to it.  I always liked a good thriller, so I really want to try that with this project.

So I will be going through it, fine-tuning it to what my voice says.  Not what I THINK I should be writing about.  It will either fit in some mold, some genre out there, or it will stand on its own.  I'm so worried about sticking to "mainstream" worried no one would get my writing, but that only affects my writing!!

ATIS flowed well to me, either love it or hate it (I compare it to Waiting to Exhale).  But I want this one to be a bit more dangerous, risque, like an Eric Jerome Dickey book.  Love him!  I really loved "Chasing Destiny" and "Genevieve."  Really, I haven't read an EJD that I don't like.

So, I'll stop calling this a romance and just call it what it is.  My little crazy story created by my little crazy, DRAMA QUEEN mind.

Like it or love it peeps, whatever!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

54,200 words in...

And I am falling in love with this story.  Aaw, who doesn't like a great romance.  And since this is one of my first times focusing just on one couple, and not going the "girl friends" route, it gives me time to really focus on building their relationship. 

Every day like clockwork, I sit at my laptop and just get to writing.  Have yet to miss a day and don't plan on it.  Even when I reach 80,000 before the end of the month, I can start editing it.  Nothing too big, because I want to sit on it for awhile before I do any serious editing.  I still have to work on getting my first novel out there, and I will work harder now, because this new WIP cannot even be released without the first one getting out there and being successful.

No, it's not written as a sequel, but the "millionaire playboy" shows up in my first novel, and reading and understanding his actions in that, would help to understand his behaviors in the new one.  It could stand on its own, because I give enough back story, but it's just the order of things.  This WIP was not supposed to be my second novel I wanted to push out there, and it still probably won't.  Sister Circle is technically still my second novel, and that is how I will proceed with pushing it out there (if I ever finish it).  This current WIP (yet to be titled) would be third.

And that's saying a lot, because my unofficial third novel, I started but hit writer's block with it.  Too much going on I couldn't pull it off.  Guess I will come back to that at a later date.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fine tuning the small detail

Long weekend, and lots of writing done.  Doing well in my 30 day writing challenge.  I'm at 46,000 out of 80,000 words.  It's only Day 7!  I thought I had ended the novel, but then I upped the drama level.  It's always, "what can go wrong WILL go wrong."  And as always, half the time I don't even know what will happen to my characters, I just let it flow.

It is so weird sometimes.  I may write a small detail about the character, then later, it comes up in a BIG way.  Something just snowballs.  It's all about those small details.  I like to read mystery novels, though I think they are pretty tough to write.  It is that attention to detail that is needed to make the perfect crime.  Who done it?  How'd they do it? How'd they get away with it?  Can I hide the guilty party easily throughout the novel to the very end? 

Half the time I don't know what character is doing what, so then at the end, I can make the psycho anybody I want.  Okay, this was supposed to be a romance? Psycho? 

My dilemma with this wip "romance" is I have my characters fall in love too quickly!  I mean, "millionaire playboy" puts in work to win her over, and I don't know how much am I supposed to drag out the courtship.  In my eye, once you fall in love, stop procrastinating those feelings.  Sure, they have other obstacles to face (many ex-girl friends, a psycho on the loose, and a whole lot of emotional baggage), but there WILL be a happy ending.

Or maybe not...

What I am finding interesting is this "millionaire playboy" character, and his relationship with Shae.  He was just a side character in ATIS, and he fit the bill for this story idea I had.  Who knew he would be so great at it!!  Even though I have written it as a book on it's own, it's a "spinoff" so to say, of ATIS.  Someone asked me if I would do a sequel to ATIS.  I replied that none was needed, it wrapped up with a happy ending.  But this is as good as a sequel.  You get to see at least one of the main characters after story. 

It was that fine detail I took from ATIS, used in this current one, and it just worked!!  And I was not going to change ATIS to fit this novel either.  I thought that would make it tough, but it made it pretty easy.  Now I'm wondering if I can continue to just spin off all my characters with additional novel ideas.  Didn't E. Lynn Harris write like that?  I know he had several characters that appeared in more than one, if not all his novels, Basil for instance.

So the issue now becomes, I MUST get ATIS published first.  I think without that, this new novel would not be as interesting.  So I will work my blood, sweat and tears to make this happen!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Here's to another fairy tale ending

Last night I did another 6,300 words bringing my wip total to 12,600.  I actually see a lot of edits for this one.  And a LOT of research.  I did a bit yesterday.  Like the "millionaire playboy" lives in a penthouse, but I needed to know what those were like for the area, so I did some research.  He wears designer labels I have no clue about.  He's up on his diamond lingo, really I had to find out what VVS was all about I hear rappers rap out.  Oh, now I know!

Really, the only thing I know about the rich and famous lifestyle is what I hear singers and rappers talk about.  Maybe from a few movies, maybe.  Soap operas have millionaires as well.  They have their own drivers, a maid, even a butler at times.  Well, in developing this character, I didn't want him to be over the top with his riches, though he does like to throw it around.

I decided to make him as normal as any 27 year old millionaire could be.  He has a hip hop edge to him.  He's not all stuffy, though every day he wears suits and ties.  he would have to be more laid back, or else how would he fall for a pet groomer?  She doesn't own a car, rides her bike everywhere or take public transit, and shops at the Goodwill.  Perfect match right.

I always like when total opposites meet.  Isn't that always the case with romantic stories.  Can two opposites really fall in love?  Of course they can, it works out all the time in fairy tale land.  So what makes my story so different from ever other romance story?

I guess it would be my voice.  The way I weave the story together that makes it exciting.  Even though I thought it was story driven, the characters seem to be taking the lead again.  And even though I started with painting the "millionaire playboy" as a total jerk that used women, he still pulls at your heart strings.  You want him to fall in love with this normal girl.  You want her to fall in love with him.  You hope he doesn't do anything to mess up the relationship (he'll have to do a 360 to change his bad habits of collecting women).   

I guess this will be another happy, fairy tale ending.  Or will it?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Once again, computers are stupid...or maybe it's the people operating them

Yesterday I started my writing challenge and it's off with a bang.  I'm not the fastest typist ever, but when things are flowing I'm, sure my speed goes up 10 words per minute.  Well, feels like it.  So I get to where I want to stop and then check my word count.  6,700 words in a matter of a few hours.

Cool!  Then I did it.  I accidentally hit close and did not click "yes" for save.  What the heck is wrong with me?  It was one o'clock in the morning and I wanted to get to bed, but there was no way I could go to sleep that upset.  I was hitting save every few problems...not often enough I guess.  I was down to 4,900 words.  It seemed like what deleted was all the good meat of it too.

So I recreated it as best I could, and now it is at 6,300 words.  Hey, could have been worse.  I could have deleted the whole thing and had no saves.  We live and learn.  Now I save every half page or so.

My "millionaire playboy" I think I have him way over the top right now.  But this is the "I hate him stage."  I want readers to think this guy does not deserve to fall in love with a great, normal girl.  He's not necessarily arrogant or conceited (just a little) but the way he collects women, it's like a game to him.  He's been hurt bad, that's his take on it, so why fall for another woman that will only hurt him. 

Of course, when he meets my heroine, he's not thinking "Oh, love at first sight." but he really is taken in by her.  She has no idea he is the richest, most eligible bachelor in the city.  I have a cute scene when she finds this out with her roommate.  It still doesn't impress her.  Besides, he has been spotted all around town with his current girl friend, a super model.  Right!!

Let the drama unfold.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Computers are stupid!

Yikes, computer down at home.  I mean, it's really down and I need to take it in and have someone check it out.  It powers up, but totally locks me out.  First I was at least getting the Internet, now nothing.

Well, that is my desktop.  I have a laptop I do my writing on, so everything is safe.  Which makes me really remember to back up my work on a flash drive or something.  I couldn't even imagine if all my files were to disappear.  I'd cry like a baby!

Anyway, today starts the 30-day challenge I have started for myself.  Write every day for 30 days and finish a complete novel (75,000-80,000 words).  Last night I worked on developing the characters and that always helps me to develop more of the story line.  I really didn't want to give much out about this novel, but I know my loose lips will want to tell everything, LOL!

I'm toying with it not being a romance per se, but just a chick lit type of book, well, from a male's perspective.  Even though there is a female and male lead, the male is a bigger character than the female.  The way I have it in my head, he starts off the novel, being the "millionaire playboy" that he is, and we learn to hate him...but also in awe of him.  Young, intelligent, RICH, handsome (okay, he's FINE!) Black man running loose in the city?  Sure, he has everything at the palm of his hands, but he's out there looking for love in all the wrong places.

In ATIS, he's in there briefly, as an ex of Shae.  He "tried" to get back with her, so basically he is still in the dumps about losing her.  That's basically where the novel starts.  But of course, it will be written in a way that you don't need to read ATIS to follow.  Of course, Shae may make an appearance (WILL make an appearance!)

I'm posting this blog at work, which I don't like to do.  Ugh!  Hopefully I get my computer up and going in the next couple of days.