To Goal of Not To Goal

July 20, 2010 at 5:32 am (Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , )

Okay I’m undecided as to whether I should be setting goals or not. On the one hand I feel I need something to aim for at the moment, on the other, I know how incredibly busy I’m going to be at work and I can already see any time-line I decide on for writing being utterly destroyed very quickly.

So here is me keeping my goals fairly loose.

1. I am going to read at least 3 novels a month until the end of the year. I will not actually make the 100+ goal I set but at least I will have a read a fair number of books. Having only read 30 this year I think I can say goodbye to the 100+ goal and I’ll just focus on the 3 a month.

2.  I am going to finish the first draft of this WIP I’ve been working on, although the decision to start over writing in first person is going to make this one a bit of a time-crunch. I could probably finish the draft as it is in a few weeks but I would hate it and so I am starting over and will aim to finish the draft by the end of the year. That gives me plenty of time to procrastinate and get caught up in other things and still have a chance to accomplish this goal.

3.  I am going to submit my completed manuscript to various agents until I find one for it. As I have to wait to be rejected from one before I try another (sometimes that is their rule but it is mostly mine) this may take a little while but I’m not going to shelve the project again.

4. I am going to try to set up a blog tour for September. I’ve been wanting to do one and just haven’t found the time and now I’ve decided it is definitely something I want to do, the only question is how to go about organising it. To that end I am asking anyone who could stand hosting me sometime in September on their blog to let me know either in the comments or by email – cassandra (dot) jade (dot) author (at) gmail (dot) com – and I can start to think about a schedule for that.

That’s probably more than enough goals to keep me busy until the end of this year. Now I just have to work on not feeling guilty for falling behind or away from any of these.

What are your goals at the moment?

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More From Twitter

July 19, 2010 at 5:29 am (Death's Daughter, Weekly Review) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Another round up of exciting links that I have found in the last little bit. I do post these on twitter as I find them and I hope that people are finding them useful. Yes, my links are scattered through them.

My must-read recommendations go to the following:

Very cool book trailer for CassaStar – check it out: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/2010/07/book-trailer-for-cassastar.html

Cat Woods sharing seven deadly sins for writers: http://catwoods.wordpress.com/

If you have the time check out this review of Death’s Daughter:

The Rhapsodist reviews Death’s Daughter: http://alexwillging.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/cassandra_jade/

Here are the other great reads I’ve found recently:

Sybil Nelson – 8 steps to a great book trailer: http://journeysinink.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/eight-steps-to-a-great-book-trailer/

Lua Fowles – writer in a mask: http://abrokenlaptop.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/be-mysterious-writers-in-masks-features-lua-fowles/

Helen Ginger – on using Networked Blogs: http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com/2010/07/giant-head.html

An award for my blog: https://cassandrajade.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/resolution/

Susan Whitfield – Interview with Tim Marquitz: http://susanwhitfield.blogspot.com/2010/07/tim-marquitz.html

Sylvia Dickey Smith – http://sylviadickeysmithbooks.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/guidelines-for-a-writers-critique-group/

Janice Hardy – trends in writing: http://storyflip.blogspot.com/2010/07/being-trendy.html

What women write – finding your writing rhythm: http://whatwomenwritetx.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-do-you-need.html

Eric – The importance of the little things (character) http://workingmymuse.blogspot.com/2010/07/little-things.html

Robert Liparulo: making fantasy feel real: http://noveljourney.blogspot.com/2010/06/5-elements-that-make-fantasy-fiction.html

Elspeth Antonelli – ten things to do before you write: http://elspeth-itsamystery.blogspot.com/2010/06/before-you-write.html

Madison Woods – getting answers from twitter: http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/another-reason-i-love-twitter/

Some interesting tips of spelling: http://manuscriptedit.wordpress.com/

Elizabeth Spann Craig – excellent list of links for writers: http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/2010/07/top-retweets.html

Stephen Tremp – moving along on his writer’s journey: http://stephentremp.blogspot.com/

Mason Canyon – A question for authors and soon to be authors: http://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/2010/07/do-i-ask-or-not.html

Jeaniene Frost – Why women find vampires hot: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/06/30/why.women.love.vampires/index.html?fbid=oF8F5aXpTib

Bibliophile Stalker – Some great links for writers: http://charles-tan.blogspot.com/2010/07/july-14-2010-links-and-plugs.html

Cat Woods – Sentence variation http://catwoods.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/improve-flow-with-sentence-variation/

Carol Kilgore – Try something new: http://underthetikihut.blogspot.com/2010/07/lab-experiment.html Must read for #writers.

Lee Robertson – Murky Middles: http://writerleerobertson.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/murky-middles/ Got lost in the middle of your story?

Vivienne Tuffnell – Would you write full time? http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/guest-post-vivienne-tuffnell/

Lua shares her thoughts on World Building: http://likeabowloforanges.wordpress.com/

Fantasy e-book Death’s Daughter: http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_19&products_id=227

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Fear and Avoidance

June 17, 2010 at 5:43 am (Death's Daughter, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , )

Cat Woods recently shared a post called Strap On Your Writing Helmet and she related the story of her son who is too afraid to try riding his bike. She then linked this to her own fear of sharing her writing with the world for fear of rejection or even fear of success.

I could definitely relate to this feeling.

Other than my close friends, I don’t tend to share my writing with many people. Even my friends have to wait until I’ve tidied the draft sufficiently that I don’t want to dig a hole and hide in it while they read. Making the decision to try to get Death’s Daughter published was absolutely terrifying. Knowing that the worst thing that could happen would be rejection didn’t really help. In the end, it was up to me to decide that I wanted to share this story and if that was what I wanted then I needed to push the fear aside and try to make it happen.

Amazingly, rejection didn’t kill me. It didn’t even metaphorically kill me. A form rejection letter has limited sting because it isn’t a personalised attack. A more complete rejection with reasons why my manuscript was returned became a valuable tool for improvement and could have been considered a fairly positive step.

Then the book was picked up and I was terrified again. What if I couldn’t finish the edits and rewrites? What if I stuffed it all up?

Then it was released. What if no one likes it?

I could panic and moan and fall apart thinking of all the what if’s in the world but at the end of the day I have to be pretty happy with how things are going. I finished the novel, which was a huge achievement. I refined the novel, which probably took way too long and I really need to work on that. I found a publisher and I had my novel published.

I’m not going to lie and say that I am fearless and everything will be all breezy and easy from here on in. That is a complete lie. I’ll continue to worry and second guess myself forever. It is part of who I am. But I’m not going to stop writing and I’m not going to avoid rejection. The only way forward is to move forward.

Thanks Cat for this very inspiring post.

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Twitter Links

June 14, 2010 at 5:53 am (Death's Daughter, Weekly Review) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I haven’t done a review of writer links in awhile – I used to do them weekly but now find myself just not having the time to put them all together. Here is a recap of some of the links I’ve been sharing on Twitter recently. Sorry if some of the links don’t work – I tried to test most of them and they seem to be up and functioning.

My Links:

Excellent and interesting writing links:

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Is This Annoying You Yet?

June 11, 2010 at 5:20 am (Planning, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , )

Lua Fowles on Bowl of Oranges wrote a post about how to annoy a rookie writer which was an excellent read. I particularly like her second point where someone suggests to her that she should write about their friend who is cool. I love her response to that.

A couple of days ago I was ‘offered’ a kind story suggestion from someone. They’d made a comment about time travel, or gaps in time, or something that I hadn’t particularly listened to. Anyway, the next thing I know they are telling me I can use this for an idea in my next story.

Why?

They thought they were being helpful but I considered it this way. If I go to a restaurant with a mixed bag of groceries, march into the kitchen and drop them on the work bench before announcing, “You can use these to make a meal”, am I being helpful or annoying?

At the time I simply pointed out that time travel wasn’t really my thing because it leant itself far more to science fiction than to fantasy (though it is used in fantasy and quite well but I don’t really want to deal with overcoming paradoxes and the like so I’ll leave time travel to others for now). I additionally pointed out that I’m in the middle of a project at the moment and won’t be thinking about a next story for several months at least with the project I’m working on and projects I already have written but need to do some serious editing work on.

I didn’t get annoyed by this. They thought it was a great idea and maybe it had been a great idea (I probably should listen better to people). They weren’t being condescending or rude or anything like that. They just weren’t very helpful.

I’m the cook and I already went out and found my ingredients after pouring through all the recipes I might have considered. I’ve already done the prep work and cut up all the ingredients and half of them are in the pot cooking. And having gone through the bag that I was delivered I don’t even know a recipe I can cook with that particular combination of food stuffs so I’m really unlikely to use them.

The problem here was that as a non-writer this person didn’t really get the time and dedication required to work on an idea. To them, here is an idea, write the story, done. The thought that I wasn’t looking for new ideas and didn’t really want that idea hadn’t really occurred to him.

Do people do this to you? How do you deal with ‘helpful’ suggestions?

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Critical, critical

June 2, 2010 at 10:14 am (Editing, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m going to admit it. I’m becoming very critical.

I’ve always been critical – particularly of myself – but lately I’ve been really critical of a lot of things.

Today I was given a short story to read. The purpose of the story was to demonstrate how to use descriptive language to create an emotional affect in the reader. Possibly it succeeded in that but the only emotional affect it had on me was the desire to grab a red pen and have at it – I managed to resist the urge but barely.

So what was wrong with the story?

Every single person or thing in the story was described by at least two adjectives in almost every single instance. Every single time. I’m sorry. The person is whistling. Sure, you can tell us how they are whistling and what it sounds like but the next time you feel the need to mention it you could just say whistling. You don’t then need to come up with two new adjectives (or an adverb and an adjective) to describe how the whistling is happening.

Objects were appearing ‘out of nowhere’. Umm, no. Unless they were tearing through interdimensional portals I’m pretty sure they came from somewhere. Maybe it wasn’t an important somewhere but to explicitly state they came from out of nowhere just leads the reader to wonder how that is even possible.

Characters were behaving out of character – which in a short story is really distracting because you don’t even have the benefit of later explaining the out of characterness (I know that isn’t a word).

I’ll admit it. I’m awful and I’m tearing this story to threads. And it lead me to realise some of the weaknesses I still have in my own writing. I like adjectives (not to this extent but I over use them to be sure). I may not have things appearing out of nowhere but I’m sure I suddenly have people in scenes where they shouldn’t be and have no logical reason to be and I’m sure I need to work on it. I need to turn this critical eye away from things I’m reading and apply it to things I’m writing and I need to look at what I could be doing instead.

Plenty of areas here for me to work on. What are you working on improving?

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Off and Away

May 30, 2010 at 6:08 am (Death's Daughter, fantasy) (, , , , , , , , , )

Not for long though. I’m getting sent out of town for a week for some professional development and I don’t know what my internet access is going to be like.  I’m hoping to post a few times during the week but if not, I’ll be back in a few days.

Until I get back, I’d like to leave you with the trailer to Death’s Daughter – it is a little rough but it is a start. If you can’t hear the sound, you may need to turn up the volume a bit.

Have a great week.

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New Book Trailer from Sherrilyn Kenyon

May 28, 2010 at 5:34 am (Feature, New Release) (, , , , , , , , , , )

While I seem to be stuck on vampires I was emailed this trailer about Sherrilyn Kenyon’s new young adult series “Chronicles of Nick” and I’m happy to share this video with you all because it looks kind of amazing (as did Sherrilyn’s last trailer).

And isn’t the cover really something? Sorry – I have this thing about lighting effects on covers and this one is kind of incredible. What do you think?

Oh and before you get dazzled watching the trailer below, if you have a book coming out or already released that you like for me to feature, please just send me the details.  I’ve been reading a few blogs recently where people have been announcing good news with their writing.

Have fun watching.

In addition to the very cool trailer you can click here to read more about the book.

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Love Triangle

May 27, 2010 at 6:05 am (fantasy, Work In Progress) (, , , , , , , , , )

I wasn’t supposed to have a love triangle in my current WIP. I’ve gone back through all my ideas and plans and nowhere in it does it suggest that character B likes the protagonist. Yet while I’ve been writing, certain things have been developing.

Character A and the protagonist are getting along swimmingly and things are right on schedule for them but Character B is just so rugged and wild and tempting that I’ve definitely been seeing some sparkage between him and the protagonist. The question becomes do I figure out what this means for the story, develop the relationship properly and then have a full love triangle, or do I try to steer the story back to its original course? Given that the original romance was really just a side plot to a quest story with a little bit of horror thrown in for fun.

It is a question I’ll have to answer soon because otherwise I’ll be too far along one path to easily change without a lot of rewrites and I try not to rewrite until after I’ve finished the first draft. Otherwise I just keep rewriting and the draft never finishes.

So – advantages of going with the love triangle scenario:

1. It is going to add tension between the characters and it will help flesh out character B’s role which in the original plan was clearly not well defined.

2.  It will help slow down Character A and protagonists relationship which is going a bit too well at the moment.

3.  It makes sense. It wouldn’t make sense for the protagonist to utterly ignore the fact that there are sparks between her and Character B, even if she only acknowledges it long enough to end it.

4.  It will be easier to edit out a subplot that doesn’t work later than it will be to add it in after the fact.

Disadvantages:

1. I don’t like love triangles. I find them a little cliché.

You’re opinion? Are you for or against love triangles? Have you ever created one in a story?

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Bit of Excitement

May 26, 2010 at 6:13 am (Death's Daughter) (, , , , , , , )

I posted this on Twitter when it happened but here I am sharing it on my blog.

Death’s Daughter made the top ten – BooksOnBoard announces this week’s bestselling eBooks and authors.

This was the list as released on May 19:

1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
2. The Secret of Excalibur – Andy McDermott
3. I am Nujood, Aged 10 and Divorced – Nujood Ali
4. Indemnity Only – Sara Paretsky
5. The Covenant of Genesis – Andy McDermott
6. The Summons – John Grisham
7. The Final Detail – Harlan Coben
8. Death’s Daughter – Cassandra Jade
9. The Killing Edge – Heather Graham
10. The Bone Conjurer – Alex Archer

I wonder if people who have published multiple books still feel the need to jump up and down with joy?

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