Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rethink & Research

I've finished my WIP three times. And I hate every ending.

How did I lose my path? Where exactly did Ezra take over and spin out of control? I could just move on, leaving my three endings and begin the edit. I could do that. I should do that. When I finish a story I like to let it sit for a month or two and marinate, but I can't leave poor Ezra with her swollen belly hanging out.

I backed up a few chapters to where the climax first begins to peak. In this case, it's during her survival exercises when she's forced to make a big choice. Keep the baby and die or skewer the baby and die. Yeah, her options her grim. Reading over these chapters, I realized I didn't like the scene setting.

It's not that I didn't do my homework, I did. Truly, I did. The setting is Post-Apocalyptic Baton Rouge, LA. And I've visited Baton Rouge, granted it's been years and I've never actually been since the bomb, but I googled the fancy out of it. So, I was ready, right? Wrong!

Our memory plays tricks on us, especially Chardonnay tinted ones, and cities change. I told my wonderful husband, yep the one I stabbed, (It wasn't even a flesh wound, relax.) that I absolutely had to go... immediately. He agreed, maybe he's a little afraid of me, suppose he has reason to. Since he didn't make a fuss, I insisted on a private guide for a predawn swamp tour. He agreed to that too, probably hoping I'd be eaten by an alligator.

But my fairy godmother was by my side. The guide was a no show and the two hours waiting on the bank of the bayou was enough for me. (I've got mosquito bites where no mosquito should go.)

To make a long winded blog a wee less windy, the walking tour through Baton Rouge, AKA Red Stick, was wonderful. It was everything I imagined the Mississippi River would be in July. Hot, stick, and fragant. I found a dozen flaws in my manuscript, drank only coffee, and dusted off the cobwebs of my memory. Ezra's survival exercises will be so much better for it, although the Belle Casino may not feel the same.

Well, I drank only coffee anyway, can't say that about my dearest...

Drop me a note on how you research your WIPs...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pantsing Vs Plotting

This is a dilemma I face each time I start a new book. My brain says, “Sit down, plot it out.” But my heart says, “Just go with it, you'll be fine.”

As, I'm not known for my reasonable approach, I inevitably start typing away. About halfway into chapter 3 I no longer recognize my MC and have no idea who this cast of hoodlums are that are following his/her every move. Then I'm stuck....

Do I go back and start over? Or do I incorporate these ballsy bullies who've butted their way in? Well, you've probably already guessed, I write them in. After all, what fairy story doesn't need a one-eyed psychopathic demon-eater with morning breath and a hankering for milkshakes?

And all is fine for a few more chapters.... But once I'm forced to start tying everything altogether, I run into massive roadblock. Boulders are dropped from cliffs, cars crushed beneath and my fairy has sprouted demon horns and developed a madness for poltergeist sherbet. Don't ask...

When all this happens I can't even remember where the story was supposed to go in the first place. Sigh :( Which is where I find myself now. My current WIP, a YA Dystopian is running amok on me. I've tried spanking her back on track, but she'll just have none of it. While this one, I made a flimsy outline of the plot, (spent nights obsessing right before falling asleep and tucking it safely into one corner of my manic brain) I seem to have taken a wrong turn or six.

It's not that I don't like where I am, I absolutely love the story. But I'm on the down slope and the climax is growing instead of diminishing. Is that a good thing? Will my Ezra blow up One Globe or will her rapidly expanding love for both the baby in her belly and the gun-boned ghost from her past slow her down? I don't know! I just don't know...

Drop me your dilemma. Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Still looking for a good match on a YA critique partner, help!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Comments, Cookies, and Kooks

I've been pulling my hair out for weeks due to an internal “third-party cookie filtering error”. Sounds like a personal problem, right? Apparently, I am such a wiz at computer security, (coughs into kerchief-I've only blown three laptops in the past two years.) that I made it impossible for myself to leave comments on other blogs.

As we all know, if you don't seek out other bloggers and leave comments, then no one will reciprocate the love. Well, for the most of us anyway. There are those of you, and you know who are, who can insult the pope himself and still gain thirty followers a day. But alas, I'm not one of you.

Even as I was going through my emotional meltdown of the past month, I continued to read and search writer's blogs. But without the ability to say anything, I slowly oozed off the planet.

So, I posted a question on blogger's site asking why I could no longer post comments. Right direction, right? Wrong! I got an answer by a mean spirited, condescending techno geek. He told me all about my cookie sickness and suggested I go to his blog site to get the fix.

Well, I read page after page of insults aimed at us poor schleps that are so pathetic that we purchase our laptops and computers at places like Best Buy and Target, but are too stupid to do more than open the box. I found post after post telling me what my problem is, but advice on fixing it? Not hardly.

Then I Googled my question and lo and behold, got an answer. And I quote... “The fix is simple...Just unclick the “remain logged in” button and enter your username and password.” Posted by the remarkable Level 1, Mikhail Borgin on June 19, 2011. All hail, Mikhail!

And it WORKS! Yay! Back to reading and blogging!

My writing partner and I are still looking for a third or fourth, so if anyone wants to join in, we need ya! We'll read and answer your stuff pronto.