a writers group in Oshkosh, WI that is so lame WE ARE AWESOME

OMG A POST

I just got back from a fun SCUBA diving trip and feel refreshed and sun burnt.  I don’t know why but it got me in the mood to write.  I’be been wanting to for awhile but kept back tracking.  Now thought, now it is full steam ahead. Maybe it is from the excitement of the dive, finding thy barried treasure, okay lost fishing poles.  Maybe it was the relaxation that I experience under the water.

I don’t know but I sure feel back, the stress of life not anchoring me down.  Yeah, you see that, I said anchoring because I dove off a boat.  I know so lame, that is why I belong to SoLame Writers group, (its on facebook).   So just remember find something to get rid of that stress, which sometimes includes writing and do it.  Don’t let anything hold you back, unless of course it is against the law.  Then don’t do it, and call for help.  Thanks again for reading Gone Rogue, available on lulu.com/spotlight/robyerges and on the kindle.   Also alaivale at Apple Blossom bookstore in Oshkosh.

Four hours and counting…

Until Camp NaNoWriMo…

Pen is at the ready!!

There was a meeting!!

Stacy, Ann and I made it to Apple Blossom and had a reasonably productive meeting. 🙂

We discussed our respective worlds –

Stacy confessed she has detailed maps of hers (I’m so jealous). Pages and pages of them she puts together like a puzzle and which she would like to eventually put together on a whole wall.

I discussed my difficulties in designing buildings in my new world. I did find a free online program called Floorplanner <http://www.floorplanner.com&gt; which I am playing with right now. It is pretty cool and reasonably user friendly.

Discussed the merits of computer versus notebook and pen/pencil writing.

Goals obtained:

Stacy came close – she only fell half a chapter short, but did do one mammoth chapter so we decided it should count as 1.5.

Ann got Stacy to the meeting, which is her standing goal (since she is not a writer but “writer support” person)

Michele wrote every day and since no one posted the official goals, I’m not sure if I had any others. Didn’t do them if I did!

Goals set:

Same as last time – hey, we’re Solame… what can we say. Our only other goal was to NOT have goals. <BSG>

We ended the night with about half an hour of writing. Woo hoo!!

That is all… not too bad for not having an agenda.

Meeting 04/17/12

 

Agenda 04/17/12

 

 

 

  • Goals

 

  • One of your most powerful tools as a writer is not your vocabulary, your mastery of grammar or even your fancy computer — it’s your voice.  Your unique blend of description, character and style allows you to talk to the reader through the printed word.  Without a voice, a manuscript may have an exciting plot, interesting characters and a surprise ending, but it might not get published.  The voice is what beckons the reader to curl up with a book and whispers, “Pay attention.  I’m going to tell you a story.”

 

Editors are always searching for new voices.  Yet, when pressed, most editors find it hard to describe exactly what a voice is.  Which is why the writer’s voice isn’t something that can be taught, but it is something you can acquire with practice.  Your voice is already there, inside your writing, but it may be covered up with ideas of what you think writing is all about.  Many beginners work very hard at trying to sound like a writer.  They pore through the thesaurus looking for fancy substitutions for ordinary words; they create complex sentences bursting with flowery descriptions.  They’ve forgotten that their goal is to communicate (…with a child…) and instead are in love with the way their words look on the page.

 

 

CLICHÉ’S

 

  • This process of showing, not telling, can be broken down into four essential steps.  They are: Selection of, and adherence to, a single character’s viewpoint Imagining the crucial sense or thought impressions that character is experiencing at any given moment Presenting those impressions as vividly and briefly as possible Giving those impressions to readers in a logical order Getting into the viewpoint of your central story character — and staying there — helps enormously in showing instead of telling.  If you’re solidly in viewpoint, you won’t be tempted to lecture readers because you will be revealing that character’s experiences rather than reviewing some abstract, objectively written data.  If you’re well inside the viewpoint, for example, you can’t dump a lot of author-intrusive information on readers because viewpoint characters, like real people, experience things rather than tell about them.

 

 

 

  • MORNING-ROUTINE CLICHÉ Clichés come in all shapes and sizes.  There are just as many clichéd scenes as phrases and words.  For instance, how many times have you seen a book begin with a main character being “rudely awakened” from a “sound sleep” by a “clanging” alarm clock?  Have you written an opening like this yourself?  Wondering where to start, you opt for first thing in the morning.  Speaking of clichés, been there, done that.  We all have.  Don’t ever do it again.  Compounding that cliché is having the “bleary-eyed” character drag himself from his bed, squinting against the intruding sunlight.  And compounding that is telling the reader everything the character sees in the room.  What comes next?  He’ll pass by or stand before a full-length mirror, and we’ll get the full rundown of what the poor guy looks like.  Are you cringing?  I’ve done the same kind of clichéd scene.  Resolve to leave that whole morning-routine cliché to the millions of writers who’ll follow in your footsteps.  I know you want me to suggest alternatives to those hackneyed constructs, but inventing fresh ways to start a story and describe a character is your job.  If an early morning routine is endemic to your plot — say your character is wound tight and sleepless because of a crucial morning meeting — put him on the commuter train with an unsupervised child darting about.  He doesn’t know what she’s doing amidst all the businesspeople, with their noses stuck in newspapers or laptop screens, but she points at him and says, “Don’t you comb your hair?”  Mortal dread.  Is it possible that, in his hurry to catch the last train that would get him to his job interview on time, our hero actually skipped a step in his personal routine?  Now he has to find his reflection in the train window or the aluminum back of the seat in front of him.  And then what does he do?
  • Routine
    • We all get dressed, walk out to the car, open the door, slide in, turn the key, and back out of the driveway.  If your character backs into the garbage truck, that’s a story.  Just say it: That morning, as Bill backed out of the driveway, his mind was on the tongue-lashing he had endured the day before from his boss.  Only when he heard the ugly crunch and scrape and his head snapped back did he realize he had not bothered to check his rearview mirror.  He had plowed into a garbage truck that looked half as big as his house.

 

SPELL IT OUT One of the clichés of conversation is feeling the need to explain more than once what’s going on, as if the reader can’t figure it out on his own.  I actually read a novel in which, when a character said something quirky like “promptly, punctually, and prissily” (which was actually funny and fit the personality), the author felt the need to add, “He said alliteratively.”  Other writers have a character respond to a diatribe from another with “Yep,” or “Nope,” or a shrug.  Perfect.  I love to learn about personalities this way.  The character is a man of few words.  Too often, the author intrudes, adding, “He said, eschewing small talk.”  If you create a character who backs into a conversation with tentative phrases like, “Oh, I was just wondering,” or, “I don’t know how to say this, but if I, well, let me say it this way,” we get it.  We understand this is a timid, nervous person, afraid of saying something wrong, sensitive to others’ feelings.  Avoid the temptation to explain.  Don’t follow that with, “she began nervously, unsure how to broach the subject.”  Maybe the responder to that speaker says, “Is there a question in there somewhere?  What are you saying?”  That tells us all we need to know.  You don’t have to explain with, “the insensitive jerk said.”

 

  • SETTING THE SCENE Because of the proliferation of all sorts of visual media these days, it’s more important than ever that novelists write with the eye in mind.  Fortunately, just as in the days of radio, what can be produced in the theater of the mind (in our case, the reader’s mind) is infinitely more creative than what a filmmaker can put on the screen.  Be visual in your approach.  People buy tickets to the movies or subscribe to cable channels hoping to see something they’ve never seen before.  A good novel can provide the same, only — because of the theater of the mind — millions of readers can see your story a million different ways.  Although I’m encouraging you to be visual, I eschew too much description.  I loved it when great potboiler writer John D. MacDonald de-scribed a character simply as “knuckly.”  A purist might have demanded hair length and color; eye size, shape, and color; height; weight; build; gait.  Not me.  “Knuckly” gave me all I needed to picture the man.  And if I saw him thinner, taller, older than you did, so much the better.  MacDonald offered a suggestion that allowed his readers to populate their own scenes.  I recall an editor asking me to expound on my “oily geek” computer techie in one of my books in the Left Behind series.  I argued: (1) he was an orbital character, and while I didn’t want him to be a cliché from central casting, neither did I feel the need to give him more characteristics than he deserved, and (2) he was there to serve a purpose, not to take over the scene, and certainly not to take over the book.  The editor countered, “But the reader will want to see him, and you haven’t told us enough.  Like, I see him in his twenties, plump, pale, with longish, greasy hair and thick glasses.”

 

What could I say?  “Eureka!  You just proved my point!  All I wrote was that he was an oily geek, and look what you brought to the table.”  Every reader has his own personal vision of a computer techie, so why not let each mental creation have its fifteen seconds of fame on the theater screen of the mind?

 

 

 

Writer’s Digest Books, Editors of (2012-01-01).  The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need to Know About Creating & Selling Your Work (Kindle Locations 589-590).  F+W Media, Inc…  Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

  • Discuss and then write

 

still honing my writing techniques

I am still honing my writing techniques.  I have changed it yet again, this time though I am not focusing on so much as how.  Before if, you recall it was just pen and paper.  This proved two things to me.  One is it is great to feel the writing flow in pen, and two it transcribes into a first edit.

So why the change, well because I like many before me am an amateur still finding what works for me.  I don’t care what books you read, what you were taught, by teachers, and other professional writers, if you want to write figure a routine that works for you.  You can still learn a lot of the others, but you need to blend it in your own way.

I have learned so much in the last year, of getting my novel published.  First of all, writing as fast as you can is GOLD.  Do it, don’t hesitate, those voices that are talking to you won’t wait forever, and when they leave they don’t like to come back.  Second of all, when you have a story idea, jot it down.

Look at it this way, you have this idea, this voice, this man in your head saying screw the book you are on, write me.  Feed that voice a little jot it down, I don’t start the story, and I write a summary or notes about the story.  It can be a page long to a sentence.   I then continue the story I am on.  Once I finish writing my story, I take a week or so and look at the new story ideas, talk to friends that are beta readers or just plain old friends.  I bounce around story ideas that I took notes on, than BAM , a story takes a hold of me or several.  A hurricane forms, tornadoes touch down and ideas are flowing through my head at unbelievable rates.  I still only jot down notes, get pictures of the characters.  Then the storm calms and I go back to the story I just written with, tears and blood and tear it a new one.  I edit the crap out of it.

At this point, I am so sick of it I usually send it to a beta reader to get the first insights on it.  They give it back, saying good story but what the hell happened here; it looks like you had a heart attack writing it or a stroke.  I usually say fuck off, and then go back to the book and work on it more.  They attacked my birth, my joy, why did I let them do it.

I will tell you why, because their expression, their gratitude, the joy of entertaining their most in-depth part of their mind was exuberating.  I made them feel the story, I made them part of the story as much as I was writing it.  The characters spoke through them, and really isn’t that why we write.

Then more edits come, and more corrections, if it sounds good to me, I let more beta readers read it.  Then when it finally passes the last approval, it is time to have it published for all.

So anyways, I will be writing one story at a time averaging 4 hours if possible a day.  I know Nora Roberts spends a minimum of 8hrs a day but for me that would be very hard.  I just don’t have the time for I have another job outside of writing.  Maybe if writing was my full time job I could do the 8 hrs but right now I will treat it like a part time job.

Agenda 03/04/12

Agenda 04/02/12

 

 

  1. Nora Robert  (how does she do it)
    1. Start
    2. Typical day
    3. Husband
    4. Writing

                                                              i.      scenes of passion

  1. Does you husband read them

                                                            ii.      General

    1. Readinghabits
    2. World Creations
    3. Classes
    4. Traveling
    5. Challenges

                                                              i.      Everyday life

                                                            ii.      Plagiarism episode

    1. The business of writing
    2. Goals
    3. Preparing to write

                                                              i.      Mentally

  1. inspirations

                                                            ii.      Physically

  1. working environment

                                                          iii.      keeping it fresh

    1. Stress of deadlines
    2. How long does it take to write each book

                                                              i.      Drafts

    1. JD Robb

                                                              i.      Why

    1. Favorites (best)
    2. Romantic evening for Nora

 

 

  1. Goals
    1. Robert

                                                              i.      Agenda

                                                            ii.      5k 6 scenes (updated goal with be on my blog soon)

    1. Tammy

                                                              i.      Minutes

                                                            ii.      Calendar

    1. Jaci

                                                              i.      7 page (2100 words)

    1. Michelle

                                                              i.      14 of 14 days

    1. Shawna

                                                              i.      Blend to worlds

                                                            ii.      Learn Latin

    1. SoLamer’s goal

                                                              i.      Write at least 2k of words

 

 

  1. Discussion

Meeting Agenda for 03/20/12

MEETING 03/20/12

 

 

  1. Pitching
    1. Perfect the Pitch
    2. Have an anomaly for your protagonist
    3. Writing Series, Pitch First Book
    4. Don’t be a Secret Keeper
    5. Say Something about Character
    6. Book Goal

 

  1. Dialogue
    1. Cut the first few words
    2. Avoid telephone dialogue
    3. Write small actions and/or gestures
    4. Body language (Writing exercise)

 

  1. Characters
    1. Inner conflict in the protagonist
    2. Be more dimensional
    3. Larger than life
    4. Different character (Money, class, color, speech, & ETC)
    5. Sacrifices

 

  1. Scenes
    1. What is the immediate goal
    2. What gets in the way
    3. Action

 

  1. DESCRIPTION AND SETTING (Painting a scene)
    1. Use setting to develop atmosphere
    2. Use weather.
    3. Consider the quality of light in a scene.
    4. Use all five senses
    5. Sprinkle description throughout
    6. Vary the way you approach a similar setting.
    7. Words

                                                               i.      Use active verbs

                                                             ii.      Replace words you overuse.

                                                            iii.      Use specific and concrete language

 

  1. Goals
    1. Robert

                                                               i.      Agenda

                                                             ii.      6 Scenes or (refigured it) 5 k of words

  1. NEW GOAL?

 

    1. Tammy

                                                               i.      Minutes

                                                             ii.      Calendar

                                                            iii.      Start an outline

  1. NEW GOAL?

 

    1. Jaci

                                                               i.      7 pages (2100 words)

  1. NEW GOAL?

 

    1. Michele

                                                               i.      Write 14 days out of the 14 days

  1. (Robert’s take on this goal) 1k of words a day
    1. NEW GOAL?

 

    1. Shawna

                                                               i.      Making a schedule to attend at least one meeting a week due to volleyball

                                                             ii.      Blend two worlds (create) for her story

  1. NEW GOAL?

 

    1. Other Members

                                                               i.      For members not physically able to attend, will need to write at least 2K. 

                                                             ii.      Also if you need the lesson plan of what we talked about please comment below or show up at the meeting starting at 06:00 PM and ending at 07:30 at Apple Blossom inOshkosh,WI

  1. Talk about what we wrote about and other important information as long as it is not 12 shades of grey.  Also in this meeting we will try to avoid on which version of D&D we have played.  (Yes that just geeked us out.)