Thursday, December 3, 2009

Deep Breath

Soooo..... November is over!!! Did you make it? Did you set your goal at the normal 50,000 or did you reach higher?

I had to put my nano aside because theres this thing called school (I know, who does that anymore?. Apparently it takes precedence over Nanowrimo.. ah well. I really enjoyed my story, especially this part:

Xan struggled against the mud's pull, it was closing fast. She didn't have time to get her bearings. Shifting her weight forwards she tumbled head first. Raidin caught her, like he promised, but he didn't need to, her foot was caught in the closed entry. He tugged once, then twice.

"Ow," Xan pulled his hand from her ankle. "Okay that's obviously not working. Just let go."

He hesitated for a moment. "Okay." He stepped back and let her hang upside down.

"What are you," She sighed in exasperation. "I meant of my ankle not me!" She looked around, but all she saw was darkness. "Can someone please help?"

She heard an unfamiliar voice mutter words in a language she didn't understand. It grew quiet. She blinked twice, thinking she must be going crazy. She wasn't seeing things, the muddy walls of the tunnels were slowly illuminating. They glowed softly at first, then grew just bright enough to make out facial expressions. Mihail's was one of accomplishment. Everyone else was staring at her amused.

"Great, now you turn the lights on." She glared at him. "Kaloc?"

He reached up and yanked the mud open enough for her foot to fall through. Unfortunately, Raidin was not holding onto her anymore. Her body landed in the, as Teia called it, slimy mud, once made slick by the now extinct worms. Mihail lended her a hand, and helped her scrap off the thick lairs of mud. Like the opening, the mud was mixed with worm slime, and stuck to her like a leech on a new host. Xan thought about taking her gloves off, but then decided it would be better to wait until she got our of the tunnels. She looked up and down the tunnel they were in. She tilted her head up to see the opening trying to remember which way they were facing. She didn't think about how disoriented the fall would make her.

"You seriously brought us down here and got us lost?" Teia shifted on her feet, back and forth, back and forth. Her feet pulled against the sticky film. Xan shuddered. She had not thought about that sound until now. Ten feet sticking to the ground with every step.

She pointed ahead of her. Well, what she hoped was ahead of her. “This way.” She yanked her feet off the base and began walking. The group filed into place silently. Feet pulling off the slime, then squishing into the mud. Stick, squish. Stick, squish. Xan repeated the rhythm in her head. Stick, squish. Stick, squish. It made the annoying sounds almost amusing. Stick, squish. Stick, squish. As the continued to walk she tried to play with the pattern by reversing it. Squish, stick. Squish, stick. It didn't quite have the same ring to it that way. She went back to her original. Stick, squish. Stick, squish.

Okay, so yes, I was playing with my word count here, but it was rather fun to write. I also posted it here, because I wanted to talk about something. (You thought it was just to show off didn't you?).

We all know different writers of different "zones." What does that mean? We all have different points where we can say "Here, I was in it, I was in the zone, I was in my element. I was there with my characters." My Fiction teacher called it utterance. When people look at it and think: that sentence was amazing. Granted, I'm not sure I'd call what I just posted utterance, it's nanowrimo after all, it's not supposed to be any good. However, This is my zone.

I love, love, love tactile descriptions. They are so much fun, and I love to feel things. Recently I was shopping with a friend and she laughed at me because I had to touch every single piece of clothing. When I'm asked to describe food in class, I focus on how if feels in my mouth instead of what it tastes like.

So what's your element? When are you in the zone? Some people are great with visuals, tastes, dialogue. So if you participated in Nanowrimo, post your favorite exerpt. One that you experienced while you wrote. Tell me why you love it. If you didn't do Nano this year, you can still post something.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

America's Next Top..... Novel

Yes, yes that's what I said. Here's the official press release! Register and join in the fun!

Marcher Lord Press Announces Marcher Lord Select

(Colorado Springs, CO)--Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, today announces the debut of a revolution in fiction acquisitions.

"Marcher Lord Select is American Idol meets book acquisitions," says publisher Jeff Gerke. "We're presenting upwards of 40 completed manuscripts and letting 'the people' decide which one should be published."

The contest will proceed in phases, Gerke explains, in each subsequent round of which the voters will receive larger glimpses of the competing manuscripts.

The first phase will consist of no more than the book's title, genre, length, a 20-word premise, and a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb. Voters will cut the entries from 40 to 20 based on these items alone.

"We want to show authors that getting published involves more than simply writing a great novel," Gerke says. "There are marketing skills to be developed--and you've got to hook the reader with a good premise."

Following rounds will provide voters with a 1-page synopsis, the first 500 words of the book, the first 30 pages of the book, and, in the final round, the first 60 pages of the book.

The manuscript receiving the most votes in the final round will be published by Marcher Lord Press in its Spring 2010 release list.

No portion of any contestant's mss. will be posted online, as MLP works to preserve the non-publication status of all contestants and entries.

Participating entrants have been contacted personally by Marcher Lord Press and are included in Marcher Lord Select by invitation only.

"We're also running a secondary contest," Gerke says. "The 'premise contest' is for those authors who have completed a Christian speculative fiction manuscript that fits within MLP guidelines and who have submitted their proposals to me through the Marcher Lord Press acquisitions portal before October 29, 2009."

The premise contest will allow voters to select the books that sound the best based on a 20-word premise, a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb, and (possibly) the first 500 words of the book.

The premise contest entrants receiving the top three vote totals will receive priority acquisitions reading by MLP publisher Jeff Gerke.

"It's a way for virtually everyone to play, even those folks who didn't receive an invitation to compete in the primary Marcher Lord Select contest."

The premise contest is open to anyone with a completed Christian speculative fiction manuscript that meets MLP guidelines for length, content, genre, worldview, audience, etc. To enter, authors must complete the acquisitions form found at the Marcher Lord Press site and supply all the components listed below on or before October 29, 2009.

Marcher Lord Select officially begins on November 1, 2009, and runs until completion in January or February 2010. All voting and discussions and Marcher Lord Select activities will take place at The Anomaly forums in the Marcher Lord Select subforum. Free registration is required.

"In order for this to work as we're envisioning," Gerke says, "we need lots and lots of voters. So even if you're not a fan of Christian science fiction or fantasy, I'm sure you love letting your voice be heard about what constitutes good Christian fiction. So come on out and join the fun!"

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaNo Update!

Xan looked behind her and saw Raidin. “Didn’t I tell you to leave me alone?”

“I came for bread.” He took a basket and began filling it.

“You just had to pick the basket with a pink lace didn’t you?” Xan asked, laughing at the frilly basket.

He looked down at the basket then leaned towards her, speaking in a low voice. “Don’t you think it compliments my eyes?”

Xan’s mouth dropped. Was that... A sense of humor? Yes, yes it was.

A wonderful scene inside a bakery shop. I just love making fun of the manly, emotion deprived knight. Currently keeping up with my 2,000 words a day word count, I'm quite motivated. Though I spent way too much time playing and not enough writing at Panera Bread, so my back is rather sore. Plus my wonderful brother knew I was next door at Panera and didn't come visit me on his break! What is that? Though he did wave to me through the window at one point.

I am still plotless, though I am starting to see some details. So far so good! I will keep you guys posted throughout the month! How is your NaNo coming? Any fun tidbits to share?

Writerly Gadgets and Gizmos: Organization

Every November I scour the NaNoWriMo forums for new websites, computer programs, and gadgets for writers. Throughout my searches I have discovered some great Writerly Gadgets I use to help me in my writing. The first gadgets I want to talk about are organizational gadgets.


One such gadget is Technically Mind42 is not a writing website, nor is it in anyway creative. It is a mind mapping site that can also be collaborative. Originally designed for businesses, I find it a helpful tool for organizing. Last years Nano, I had a very large space ship, and I could not keep track of what was on which decks, halls, ect. The mind mapping set-up makes it easy to organize website articles and pictures as well, allowing you to make notes on each ‘node.’

For fantasy novels, I love Mind42 to keep track of each character’s possessions, weapons, and keep events. I have an entire tree filled out for races, classes, culture, geography, and government in the world my fantasy novels are set in. You can close the nodes or open them depending on what you want to look at.

Index Cards:

Okay, so they aren’t really a gadget, or a gizmo for that matter, but they are helpful for organization. Once again, I use these for fleshing out worlds, ranks, characters. A lot like Mind 42 but you don’t have to have a computer or internet access. I work better on things that don’t have internet access, personally, because there’s less distraction. I carry an index card box in my car just in case I get an idea while driving, and I drive a lot. Though I use mine to organize individual projects, index card files can also be used as plot closets. When needing a plot you can easily access one you didn’t have a chance to tackle before.


Most people are familiar with WikiPedia, a collaborative encyclopedia. Now you can create a Wiki of your own. Sites such as tiddlywiki, pbwiki, MindTouch, and WikiSpaces allow you to create an organized digital notebook, or encyclopedia completely customize to your writing. This can even include research materials. Like Mind42 you can use your Wiki on the web as a collaborative effort if you so choose.

How about you? What do you use to organize your novel? Do you write an outline? Or do you just let it go and hope you don’t kill a character you need later on (guilty!)?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Top Tools for Creative (and Working) Writers

Top Tools for Creative (and Working) Writers

Posted using ShareThis

Slightly outdated, I'll be doing a series of writer gadgets soon, but I thought this had some good pointers. What are some of your favorite writing toys?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Look it, Feel it, Be it!

Almost two weeks ago I was with some friends at youth church. After a discussion about my hair, a dear friend of mine informed me that I "need to invest more in myself." Running through my various excuses about having more important things to do, not really caring, ect. I myself wasn't even really convinced.

I have always prided myself in being able to get out the door in five minutes. Not a bad thing, mind you, just not great. Last week I was utterly sick, and missed my usual Sunday activities. I called in sick, which is not something I do lightly. I sat around the house with no motivation to do anything, much less anything productive.

What does this have to do with writing? Many times we don't bother to get ready for the day until we have something to get ready for. Which can be very detrimental if you work in the afternoon like I do. When you get up and don't do your hair, make-up, put on something other than sweats, your mind doesn't kick in to gear either.

This morning I decided my friend was right. Not because I need to look good for the sake of people around me, but for myself. When you get ready for the day physically, you feel ready mentally and emotionally. So I challenge you, even if you aren't going anywhere all day: get ready like you have somewhere to be. You will feel more energetic and put together, which makes for a more productive day all around.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The History Channel

Most people don't watch the history channel, myself included. What was I thinking? I was completely rejecting this amazing resource! Today on the history channel they explored vampire origins, dragon mythology around the world (a two hour special), Greek mythological creatures based on prehistoric animals, and modern mummifying technology. Later tonight they're (literaly) exploring the unerground caves of Romania, home of the real Prince Vlad Dracula.

This onset vampire and mythological documentaries is, no doubt, because of Halloween. Personally, vampires bug me. So I really don't care about Dracula, I already know enough history to know he was evil. But the Dragon stuff is pretty interesting. For example: in Babylonian mythology tells the story of Daniel, who gets throne in the lions den for slaying the dragon, a false god. Not bad eh?

The history channel has information on almost every legend, era, major event. I don't care what genre you're writing you can find good information collected on the history channel. Even science fiction writers can find idea provoking technology and stories.

Next time you need to do some research, look up the history channel, you may be pleasantly surprised!

But I'm a PC!!

Now I know all you PC users were sadly disappointed when Scrivener went on sale in honor of Nanowrimo and it was only for Macs. Non-writers, or writers still trying to figure out how to use Microsoft word: Scrivener is an extensive writing software that allows you to keep tabs on all your ideas, research, and writing in one clean cut program. However, it currently only runs on macs, so a lot of us are unable to take advantage of this opportunity. Pout no longer!!

Liquid story binder, is again going on sale this November 1st! One day only, it will be available. How do I know this? We all know Black Obelisk doesn't advertise this offer ever year. Well, I did some research and Nano moderator and author, Dragonchilde , announced it for us in her blog: A Dragon Writes. You may be thinking: But what if it's on giveawayoftheday again? Do you really want to risk missing out on this? Trust me, the answer is no! This software is worth it! I used the trial version until I ran out of hours, and it is the best I have found in three years.

I for one will be downloading it first thing Nov. 1st! Who's with me?

Happy Noveling!
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