Saturday, March 30, 2013

Free downloads

As part of selling Sincerely, sad dad exclusively through Amazon, I am given five promotional days every 90 days to flaunt my stuff. I am choosing to have the book available for free for five days, two of which I scheduled for this weekend. So far, I have just over 203 downloads. Add that to the 193 from one day of "sales" a few weeks ago and you get 396. Sure, I get nothing in return, monetarily. But, 396 people thought my book was worth the look. That's something to be happy about!

Missing Maggie is still available at other online locations besides Amazon. I'm giving Sincerely, sad dad a 90-day trial to see how I like the setup. This little experiment will help me make a decision when book #3 is ready this fall. We shall see!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 2 of creative writing class

Day 2, or week 2, of class focused on a story's setting and creating unique, well-rounded characters. Some parts turned out better than others. For writing examples, I whipped out selections from my college anthology, which I thought was a good idea on my part. Well, my son told me he had no idea what we were reading and didn't understand why we were reading them. Okay, so the selections were a bit advanced. I will do better next time.

The time we spent talking about character traits went well, but it wasn't how I had written it on my agenda. I had planned for us to create characters on the spot and then share our work. Instead, the students went around the room verbalizing their character and plot ideas, making it a free for all. A small part of me was bothered that we weren't sticking to my plan, but then I told that part of me to cool it. These students were thinking creatively, sharing their thoughts, and smiling and laughing at the same time. They worked hard all day, and why not end the day on a positive note by surrounding yourself with others who share your passion. So, I have since declared our class to be more of a support group than anything. I'll still work to improve their writing by going more in-depth with the various aspects of writing. I'll still demand that we stay positive and respect the ideas of others. But, I'll also allow the students to have fun and help guide the class for better learning.

Looking forward to Day 3 when we'll talk about plot.

Monday, March 25, 2013

What to do after you write a first draft

There is a ton to do after writing the first draft of a manuscript. First, you must quietly congratulate yourself. I say quietly because no one else around you will really understand the exact feeling of euphoria you feel for having completed such an exhausting task. Second, you must get back to work! Here's my to-do list:

  • Choose a title
  • Write a draft synopsis
  • Send emails to my pre-readers who will read my second draft and supply comments
  • Print first draft and re-rewrite on paper (This will take a while, but it is essential.)
  • When happy with the second draft, send it to pre-readers for their input
  • Take a break and write summary of book #4 (The longer you can distance yourself from your work, the better. You'll be able to see more mistakes this way.)
These are just the basic steps toward finishing a manuscript. You must also doubt yourself, get angry, be proud, and go through at least one new red pen during this endeavor. But, hey, the upside is that you have something to work with. You aren't just starting at word one.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dear Mother Nature,

I don't mean to be rude, but today's snowstorm cancelled my creative writing class for the second week in a row. My son said he was actually going to show up this time! I was completely prepared to have fabulous conversations about audience, settings, and characters. Sure, it can wait until next week -- I suppose. The real dilemma is that the students won't have time to write and then submit a story for the library's writing contest. I had such high hopes.

On another note, if you're so desiring to prolong winter, then how about telling the stores to cool it with their plethora of shorts and tank tops. How is my daughter ever going to wear the cute spring dresses we bought yesterday if the ground is still covered in a foot of snow? Oh, and can we get rid of the commercials with the people bouncing around in their backyards getting their gardens ready? Enough already!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Writing class in Zumbrota

It has been at least three years since I participated in a writing class, but that is all about to change tomorrow, if one more person signs up that is. The class tomorrow is supposed to help me clean up my first draft by showing me where to cut down scenes to make them more clear, less wordy. Sometimes authors, including myself at times, think that their words are so magnificent that each one is too important to delete. This oftentimes clutters the page, leaving a boring, unfulfilled mess for the reader. The thing is, authors have a hard time seeing the mess right away. It's important for them to distance themselves from their work so that when they get back to it, they'll see the flaws more easily.

I'm not taking my own advice at the moment. Since proclaiming my first draft complete, I started reading it at about the halfway mark. I wrote several comments to myself and am filling in some of the areas that had me confused. Once that is complete, I'll try to take two weeks off before rewriting it from the beginning. It's hard though because I'm anxious to get it in the hands of my pre-readers as I like to call them. I need their eyes to point out my mistakes and weak spots. For some reason, I have no patience!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Another first draft complete

Wow! And to think I doubted my abilities to write just one novel, let alone three. This third book certainly had its ups and downs though. I went through my typical mood swings while writing it. One month I was feeling the characters, while the next I didn't know where the plot was headed. I essentially took off the month of December because my thoughts were so convoluted with obtaining material possessions for the holiday season that an office job entered my mind AGAIN. I belittled myself, picked myself back up, scolded the sad, demeaning me, and cheered on the woman that wanted to continue fighting the battle. Today, a Monday, a snow day for the kids, I will rejoice in my accomplishment and play games with the kids until they beg me to go away. Tomorrow, I will begin the grueling process of rewriting and go through the roller coaster of emotions all over again. Sometime it is so hard being me!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Word count is right on target

Oddly enough, book #3 is on target for being completed with approximately the same number of words as my past two books. I can't figure it out. I don't mean for it to happen. I don't start out with any particular goal in mind. It just happens. I surpassed 71,000 words yesterday and have one or two more chapters to write. Ideally, I wanted this book to be longer with the goal of getting the page count into the 300's. Most books I read have 300-some pages. With rewrites, I should be able to accomplish this goal. If not, well then, I won't be too heartbroken. It is what it is, as my husband says. As long as the story is captivating, I've done my job.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 1 of creative writing class

It was amazing! I only ended up with three eighth-grade girls (my son accidentally took the bus home because he can't remember anything), but these girls were serious about writing. I mean serious. They shared with me that they already had notebooks filled with story ideas and that they usually wrote on a daily basis. I wasn't expecting that. When I was in eighth grade, being a writer was the farthest thing from my mind. I still wanted to be a marine biologist, which was a big stretch for a ND girl.

My goal for the first day was to get to know the students and then help them brainstorm some story ideas so that they'd be ready for next week's class. Well, we skipped the brainstorming part since that clearly wasn't necessary, and instead had a conversation about where our ideas came from, whether it was from looking out the window, listening to music, reading, or just sitting alone. I was really impressed with the care and thought the girls put into their work, and the passion they demonstrated. I look forward to seeing them again next week so that we can discuss setting and characters. The only problem I foresee is not having enough material to go over with them. I'll need to delve much deeper into the art of writing to make the class worthwhile for them. Oh, the other dilemma is to stop my son from automatically getting on the bus so that he can learn a few things from these girls.