Friday, August 31, 2012

Novel Rewriting Workshop Roundup

I've been attending David Farland/ Wolverton's Novel Rewriting Workshop in St. George, Utah this week. According to Dave, "[i]n this intensive five-day workshop, you'll learn how to revise your plot, rewrite and strengthen the prose in your chapters, and how to pitch your novel to agents and editors." It's all that and more.

A bit about how the workshop is set up. Before you can attend the seminar, you need to send Dave the first 100 pages and an outline of your novel. If you are accepted, you are then sent the first 20 pages and the outlines from the attendees' novels, and a list of writing books you need to have read before the seminar to get the most out of it. You need to read and comment on ways the other stories and outlines can improve from good to excellent. Daily sessions starts at 9am and run until 3pm. During the time, we share our comments on the stories, and Dave talks about an aspect of editing, rewriting or the business. He gives us homework which was designed to make us use the concepts discussed in that day's session.

You can't have a thin skin. While no one is mean, they do give their opinions about what worked or didn't work for them in your story.

I brought the manuscript for The King's Falcon. It's a fantasy story I've been irregularly working on for a long time. I knew I had what I called a "pacing" problem, but couldn't figure out how to resolve it. What do I mean by a pacing problem? The first third of the novel is very character driven. This means that while things happen, there isn't a giant battle scene in the first half of the novel. I wasn't meeting my audience's expectation of what and when action occurs. The threat of war doesn't appear until page 100.

In addition to feedback from the 10 other attendees, Dave gave me detailed suggestions on how to improve the story generally, and editing notes on the 100 pages and outline. While it wasn't surprising how insightful many of the comments (made equally by attendees and Dave) were, the suggested fixes were often not all that complex. We all have weaknesses in out writing. It hurts to have them pointed out, but once they are, we can being to heal and improve our writing. One suggested change will take a lot of time to implement because it added a new level to the story. The rest of them were as simple (and complex) as set the scene up better, and provide more detail when describing a character.

The nightly writing exercises allowed me to immediately implement the suggestions and get feedback on the revised sections. One exercises was to describe a static item like a building in active terms. Now, we've all heard about the writing exercise where aspiring writers are told to spend 5 pages describing a brick wall. We did none of that. Dave had several ways of bringing life to an immobile object. Once these techniques were pointed out to me, I knew what to do to enrich my storytelling, and how to find these weak spots in my manuscript.

On Wednesday, we had movie night. We watched a popular movie and dissected the story-telling elements. Again, it was amazing to see the complexity layered onto a story that, at first blush, didn't appear to reference other movies. Yet, over the course of the fantasy genre film, we found references to Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Roman Circus and Colosseum, the Bible, reality TV shows, the fay and other fairy legends, and politics. So much for the movie telling a "simple" story.

Attending the workshop will turn out to be one of the turning points in my writing career. The sections I've already rewritten are much stronger. The friends I've made are already dear. If you're looking to take your writing to the next level, I whole-heartedly recommend Dave's Novel Rewritng Workshop.

Now it's time to get back to revising.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dave Wolverton/ Farland's Novel Rewriting Workshop

This week I'm attending David Farland/ Wolverton's Novel Writing Workshop in St. George, Utah. During the week, I'll take my WIP - The King's Falcon - and try to iron out the last bugs. King's Falcon features an older version of Falcon from Lightning Strikes  in  Paths Less Traveled. Now working as Queen Sabryna's agent, Falcon's latest mission runs her afoul of a mage king, and thrusts Falcon ever closer to her own unwanted and abandoned throne. 

The workshop is intensive, and even had homework. The ten of us had certain books on editing, story craft and outlining to read before we arrived. We also had to review the first 20 pages and 10 page outline of the other writer's books. We'll spend the morning in "class" and discussing the stories, and the afternoon working on our homework assignments. This week is likely to be exhausting, fun, and hugely helpful. 

I also turned in the edits for Apollo's Rising, which releases from Musa on September 10, and I'll post a bit more on that later this week.

That's it for now. I'm off to class.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I have a cover - Apollo Rising

Apollo Rising, a novella in three acts, releases on September 9, 2012 from Musa Publishing. I've talked a number of times on this blog about how wonderful Musa is. Fair warning, I'm going to do it again. For those who don't know, Musa gives its writers some fairly amazing input into the cover design process. Once you sign a contract with Musa, you need to fill out a Marketing Details Worksheet. Relevant to this discussion, the worksheet asks for input on the cover design.
Apollo Rising is a Greek Myth retelling of the Daphne/Apollo myth from the points of view of Daphne (Act I), Alex (Act II), and Apollo (Act III). Needless to say, some classic elements for the cover are Daphne transformed into the laurel tree, Apollo's chariot and Cupid's arrows - one gold, the other lead. These were all suggestions in my marketing details.

Kelly Shorten the lead artistic muse over at Musa, took those details and ran with them. I made comments on the cover and Kelly worked her magic. The result? Well,  I think it's fabulous, but you judge.

So what do you think? Please leave a comment and let me know.

My sincere thanks to all the muses at Musa. I couldn't do this without you.

Apollo Rising - To restore Daphne to her nymph form, Apollo must bargain with treacherous Hades, but Death may demand too high a price.

More details and a chance to win a free copy of Apollo's Rising will be coming over the next two weeks.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Long and Short Reviews 5th Anniversary Blogfest

The ever wonderful Long and Short Reviews is turning 5 years old. In celebration of its anniversary, LASR is hosting a huge anniversary party starting tomorrow and running through August 26. And the best news? The presents all go to you! You can find the party at this this link.

I'll be joining the party tomorrow - August 18.

If you've never check out LASR, you really should they are a wonderful review site. I'll be updating my blog with information about the Blog Hop and Giveaway throughout the party.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The One Reason I'll Never Run Out Of Inspiration

I have children.

Need I say more?

Okay, I probably do. I also have a husband.

I'm never sure which of the three boys starts the mayhem, but they always find it.

This past weekend we escaped for an impromptu and quick family vacation or "vaca" as my youngest says. We spent most of our time at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. Saturday afternoon was on and off raining. Now, we have season tickets to all the Busch parks, so leaving "early" isn't a big deal to us. After the last deluge, we decided to call it quits and head back to the hotel for hot showers. When we got back, Matt took the kids to the arcade so I could get a few moments of quiet. Or at least, that's what I thought the plan was.

They arrived at the arcade only to realize that Matt didn't have any cash. A quick side trip to the ATM solved the money issue. A light rain had started again by the time they were walking back to the arcade. My lovely children then spied the resort's miniature golf course. Suddenly, the arcade wasn't the plan.

No, put-put in the rain was. At least until the lightning flashed.

Then, my very brave teen and tween sons (ages 13 and 11) shrieked like little girls, abandoned their father (who was now holding all 3 golf clubs in a lightning storm), bolted out of the course and ran, not to the arcade directly across from the golf course but across the property to our room. Sigh.

I get out of my nice warm shower to the sounds of my youngest screaming "HELP! Oh God, Help us!" and pounding on the front door. A moment later, my eldest's voice joined the panicked symphony.

They dashed into the house as soon as the door was open. After confirming that they were all right and the Lords of Hell weren't actually pursing them, I asked where their father was.

They responded, "Oh, we ditched him." With a shrug they clicked on the TV and computer, and the conversation was over.

I poked my head back outside the unit to see my husband strolling down the street. Soaked to the skin and wearing a bemused expression, he waited until he reached the house before saying, "Your children . . ." and relating the story.

At some point, this little snippet of family life will make it into a story. But until then, it'll make me smile and shake my head about living in a house full of boys.

Inspiration is all around you. Listen and watch. It will find you.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Work in Progress - July 2012 update

So, it's that time of the month again; time to reflect on the month passed and set goals for the present month.

Last month was one of the greatest periods of upheaval I've had in my life. Not only was I changing law firms but I was in court 2-3 times a week during that same time. All my stuff, other than critical case files, are still at the old firm. We're scheduled to move them on Wednesday.

Work demands limited my family and writing time. My July goals were:

(1) revamp my law practice;
(2) get feedback to another writer;
(3) edit New Bohemia; and
(4) write another 30K words on Flashes of Life.

How did I do? Fair.

I'm still working on integration at the new firm. A large part of this traces back to my limited time in the office. I think I already have more working hours in the office this month than I did all last month. Law firm transition is still a work in progress.

I have my notes typed up and should be sending out the e-mail to the other writer tonight. A few days late, but still - done.

New Bohemia needed a revamp because I realized my main character isn't who I thought it was. I have a love/hate relationship with characters who rebel. Anyway, the revised story is back up to 35,000 words, and still likely to be a novella. My goal is 750 words a day, 5 days a week, which should let me finish it before the writing seminar this month (more on this in a second).

I didn't touch Flashes other than to have a few more scenes play out in my head. I need to get them down, but I have to finish NB first.
At the end of August, I'll be attending David Farland's novel rewriting workshop. The novel I'm taking with me, The King's Falcon, which features Falcon from Paths Less Traveled. I have something off on the pacing and for the life of me, I can't quite nail it down., so instead of making changes that  might actually harm the story, I'm seeking professional help, ah, I mean, workshopping it. I'm planning to submit the novel to Musa Publishing after the seminar. Anyway, the workshop has "homework." I need to  read the synopsis and first 20 pages of novels of the other attendees. We'll spend part of the seminar discussing the material so I need to comment on the materials. The seminar is limited to 12 students, as of right now, there are 8 of us. I've read through the material from 3 writers. Four more to go. My plan is to read two sets per week. If you click on the link you can see that the workshop is fairly intense, but I'm hoping to blog from it at least once that week.

Apollo Rising, releases on September 10, 2012 from Musa Publishing. I'm waiting for comments back from my editor so I can start the final editing process. Since my due date is August 10, I expect to spend most of this week in edits.

So, that's how I plan to spend the dog days of summer. How about you?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Musa Publishing: KARMA IS A BITCH, - Jack Gorman Post

I'm blogging today over at Musa Publishing about Jack Gorman Got Cut by a Girl. The Women of Jack (Doesn't he wish) are getting together to talk about thier adventure with him. Please check it out.

Musa Publishing: KARMA IS A BITCH,: and Jack Gorman is about to find out just how much. 

Friday, August 3, 2012


If you want a really good look at the editing process, check out Sloane Taylor's Sweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell: EDITING IN THE REAL WORLD: post.

Sloane's process is a lot like mine. We tend to forget that writing the first draft is the easier part. It's certainly more fun than editing. But editing is where we take the unpolished diamond and turn it into a work that shines.