Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cover time

I just received some photo options from photographer, Paul Pluskwik, to adorn the cover of book #2, which will be ready to preview in the very near future. Paul has an amazing eye for capturing images that tell a story all by themselves. I love that! I'm sticking with the northern Minnesota theme because I think nature shots leave a lot to the imagination. For Missing Maggie, I considered staging a whole scene of people. I even went to another friend who is a photographer with the idea. I ended up changing my mind because ultimately I'd rather let the reader conjure up his or her own images. I generally don't like reading books with pictures of people on them. I want to be the one who develops the character. I want to pick the characteristics of the man or woman that is leading me through a story. Don't you?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Status update

Book #2:
I've chosen a title. The cover is in the works. I hope to have a preview of the cover, along with the book description, on my website by mid August.

I printed the manuscript one more time this weekend so that I can read it AGAIN for grammatical errors. I hope not to find any, but I doubt that will be the case. I have a feeling no matter how many times I read it, there will always be something I can improve.

Book #3:
The summary is pretty much complete. I'm currently working on the outline. I like to map out the chapters before I start writing. I tend to stray from the summary and outline, but a writer always needs something to start with. My approach with Missing Maggie was different, but it took me about three years to complete. I don't intend to spend that much time on this book or any other book in the future. My goal is to publish book #3 next March. That's a very ambitious goal and only time will tell if I'm able to stay on schedule.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The best place to find interesting characters

They aren't main character material by any means, but some of the people that attend small town street dances deserve a mention. I went to one over the 4th of July and had a blast. The music was decent and the beer was cheap. From afar, I met tambourine lady and balding mullet man. They stood out from the crowd, what can I say. Tambourine lady danced alone for two hours before the firehouse garage filled up with patrons. Balding mullet man was running the sound board for the band so the back of his head was directly in front of us for hours. Tonight we're heading out again and I can't wait to see who shows up. Will the anorexic woman come with her five children in tow? Will the guy wearing rainbow suspenders make an appearance? What a great subplot for Kody and Kendall. Yes, they will be attending a street dance in an upcoming book!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Feeling scattered

Ever get the feeling that you're running around with your head cut off? There are plenty of things I need to do, but it seems none of them are getting accomplished. I've been sleeping in, which is bad business for a person like me, forgetting to make to-do lists on my never-ending supply of sticky notes, and wandering around aimlessly worrying about everything that needs to get done. As with the rest of the world, there's always something else that comes before that other something, and then there's the offspring with their demands. What's up with that? Back in my day kids found things to do on their own. Just kidding. I'm sure I followed my mom around the house asking for food and telling her how bored I was. With that in mind, today I'll walk a little faster so they can't catch me and make a list of things that won't get done.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A woman raised by apes?

I tried several times to get interested in Origin, a book that has been on my shelf for years. The book's description sounded interesting enough and it's by an author I'm not familiar with so I thought I'd finally open it up. I tried and tried and tried. Here's what got me every time: the main character was raised by apes. I'm not even joking. There's no way I could pull that off. My main focus in my writing is believability, and asking my readers to engage in a woman that was raised in the rain forest doesn't seem possible. Before deciding to quit the book, I went to Goodreads to read some reviews and was surprised to see that many people enjoyed the story. There were some, like myself, who questioned what the author was thinking. Needless to say, I won't be recommending this book. Apes? Really?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

In with the new, out with the old?

I love creating new characters. I love creating a ficticious life for them to be a part of. It gets my creativity flowing and life is good. However, my husband insists that readers want to hear how characters from the previous books turn out. He is suggesting that I continue to tell their stories. For me, that isn't always easy. First off, I'm about sick of some of the characters I've created after reading the book for the eight hundredth time. Second, I find it difficult to continue a character's story after a certain point. Does everything work out for them and they live happily ever after? Is that what the reader is looking for, some sort of closure? Does the character suffer from more sadness and betrayal and need to be talked off the ledge once again? At some point, if a character can't buck up, I'd want to just push them over that ledge and be done with her or him. Is that too cruel?

I will say that I did extend a few characters from book #1 to book #2 - Nancy being one of them. I'm struggling with the idea of pushing some characters from #2 to #3. I have some new characters already formed and if I string along the old ones that might make for a confusing book with too many characters to keep track of. Maybe I'll take a poll once book #2 is published to see if anyone is interested in hearing more about a particular character's story.

If you're reading this, who do you want to hear more about from Missing Maggie?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The beginning of a new novel

It's hard to know where to begin a story. Do I start by telling the reader something quirky about a character? Do I start in the middle of an action scene? Do I set the scene first and then dive in from there? Books I've read about writing typically say to start with some sort of rising action. They say you only have a few pages, maybe even a few paragraphs, to hook your reader. It makes sense. A reader can download a sample of a book and know within a few pages whether they want to spend money on the piece of literature. So, the beginning is crucial. It is your first impression and it better be good. Hence, starting a new book takes a lot of consideration. I don't know how many times I rewrote the first chapters of my other two books until I felt satisfied. Each word had to be scrutinized. Each character description had to be just right. Each line of dialogue needed to reach out and grab the reader. Now, I just need to do that again. I need the reader to hang on and enjoy the ride with me.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Well deserved break

I'm taking a break from taking a break during this hot 4th of July week. The sun is a beautiful sight, but this chick has had enough. While gathered with family and friends, we've camped, swam, and laughed until we had nothing left in us. Today, we'll take time to recover in the air conditioning until the fun starts all over again. Is it possible to have too much fun?

As for writing, my printed copy of book #2 sits in a pile on the counter waiting to be edited. It's been moved several times, never out of sight though. I keep it out in plain view as a reminder that there is still more work to be done. There is always more work to be done.