Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My approach to working out

For those of you who don't know me in real life, I'm about a hundred pounds heavier than I'd like to be. I'm attacking this head on, and I'm now exercising twice a week with a friend of mine (the goal is to go two more times in the week on my own, but....let's face it, that doesn't usually happen.)

This morning I got to the gym and hopped on the elliptical, because to me it's the most fun machine in there. That doesn't mean it's not hard for me, though.

I've discovered that for me, I need to count down the minutes. Not just "I've done x amount of minutes" but breaking them into percentages and fractions. So if I'm exercising 30 minutes, after two minutes I think, "I'm 1/15 of the way done." After three I think, "I'm 1/10 of the way done." And so on.

All I focus on is the next minute. Because I can do one more minute.

When we write, sometimes people look way beyond where they're at. They're writing the first draft, but they're already looking for a final draft. They're doing their first revision, but they want to be on their last. It is critically important that you focus on the step you're on right now, or you're setting yourself up for failure. Can you not imagine doing five more revisions? That's fine. Find the strength to do one more, then let it sit for a while.

If you take this approach to writing, you will be published someday. It might not be with your current WIP, but some idea will come along that only you can write about. And if you take it one step at a time, you will be unstoppable.

At least I'm hoping this is all true, because that's what I'm counting on.... :D

The second thought I had in the gym was that if the characters from my epic fantasy walked in, they would think it was a torture chamber.

What motivates you to keep going even when it's hard? Do you have any tricks you'd like to share?


Friday, January 27, 2012

Falling in love all over again ♥

"Hello, Tiffany! We've missed you!" Awe, I've missed you too :)

I'm referring to my characters here.

Over the past few months, I took a break from working on the second book in my series because I just couldn't focus on it. I had too many other things to do, and too many other ideas in my head. The best thing to do, I decided, would be to set aside writing altogether and focus on school.

In the past couple weeks, I've felt that familiar pull, the urge, the need to write. I started working on two of my other ideas, and loved where they were going, but my mind kept wandering back to my epic fantasy series.

Earlier this week, I finally gave in and opened up the daunting, huge document that needs a lot of work. The first book in the series ended on a cliffhanger, and I was torn between skipping ahead in time and starting right where it left off. I've spent so many hours on the first two pages that the words are almost permanently etched in my mind.

It wasn't a ton of fun--until I got past that. At the beginning of book one, you meet some amazing characters that I absolutely love, but then the MC gets separated from them. They appear occasionally throughout the rest of the novel, but the focus shifts to where she is and who she's living with at that particular moment.

At the beginning of the second book, she's going back to those characters, characters I haven't written about in what seems like ages. Just yesterday I wrote a new scene with one of my favorites--Gideon. I felt my heart start to flutter and that excited, almost nervous feeling in my stomach.

I fell in love with him all over again.

I didn't realize how much I missed him. The words seemed to flow effortlessly from my fingertips, something I hadn't felt when working on the opening scene. Something about this character just inspires me and drives me to continue writing all through the night. You could say Gideon's my muse.

Yes, a fictional character is my muse.

I think you should love your characters. You should miss them when the scenes your writing don't include them. You should be excited when they reappear, just like your readers. If you're not, why are you writing about them?

I love Gideon. I just wish he were real.

What do you love about your characters? Do you have some characters that are just easier and funner to write than others?


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Heads Up!

My lovely book club friend, Kayla Beck, sent me a link this morning that literally had me squealing!

Between April 16th and 30th, Angry Robot Books is accepting submissions from unagented novelists with an completed epic fantasy novel! Their sister company, Strange Chemistry, is accepting all subgenres of YA SF/F.

Keep in mind, this isn't until April, but if you're interested polish up those novels! Personally, I've been having trouble finding someone that actually wants epic fantasy, so this had me jumping out of my chair!

Good luck in all your endeavors!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

So, as you might have noticed, I've been really bad at keeping up with the blog. There have been personal issues and challenges in my life that I was dealing with, in addition to being a full time college student.

Yesterday, I turned a corner, and today I feel amazing.

So this has become a bit more of a personal blog than I initially intended, but I'll be back to the writing soon :)

I'm so grateful for all of you and I look forward to getting back in the swing of things, online and in my own life!

Have a fantastic day!


PS: I like the redesign. It makes me happy :D I'll make a new banner (probably just edit the coloring of this one) when I get home tonight.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The importance of a support system

Last night was a bad night. A really bad night. One of those nights where you wonder if anything you do is worth it. Where you just want to give up and delete your entire novel off of your computer.

Yeah. That bad.

So I sulked in my room with the door locked, listening to sad music and munching on chocolate. I was idly staring at the computer screen, feeling like there was nothing to do.

Then my amazing cousin, Katrina, came online. I didn't intend to bring up all my emotional problems while we chatted, but those things just come out when you trust someone. She let me rant, giving me advice but not forcing me to take it. I left the conversation feeling only slightly better, thinking there was at least one person in the world that cared about me. But I still felt like this whole trying-to-get-published thing was a waste of my time.

When I woke up this morning, I saw two messages from Amazon in my inbox, each saying I'd received a gift from Katrina. She sent me a couple of songs, and I downloaded and listened to them, still in a sour attitude. They were nice songs, but the fact that she cared meant so much more than the lyrics to the songs.

So I sucked it up and went on querytracker. I wrote a completely new query, revised it, scrapped it, wrote another one--you know the drill. I edited the first three chapters of my book for the bazillionth time. And then *gasp* I sent out my first query in over two months.

Am I really expecting anything out of this query? To be honest, my hopes aren't high. But I sent one.

We'll see what happens, but that's not the point. The point is that I needed a kick in the pants. It was a soft kick in the pants, but that's exactly what I needed to get started. No one else can force us to write, or query, or edit. We have to make the decision to do our own work, but having someone support us is definitely a huge help.

So just so you know, I'm always available for a kick in the pants. I'm really good at that at least :)

When has your support system helped you?


Saturday, January 7, 2012

A sneak preview at my next project

What I did this morning:

  • Watched a ton of vampire documentaries, including a documentary on Bram Stoker's Dracula, Discovery Channel's "Monsterquest" series, and National Geographic's "Is It Real?" series.
  • Watched a few episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" 
  • Started watching Dracula the movie. Decided to wait till I had other people to watch it with me. (Yes, I am a wimp!)

  • Researched the Irish Potato Famine
  • Looked into how they lived here in the United States, particularly in Boston
  • Researched what kind of jobs they might have and where they might live
  • Looked into what diseases were common among the Irish Americans

  • Watched a documentary about the civil war
  • Researched timelines of the civil war
  • Watched a documentary specifically about the Battle of Shiloh, including reenactments of the battle
  • Did more reading on the Battle of Shiloh, particularly the battle strategy on the confederate side

What in the world do all these things have in common?

Immortal Scorn, my current WIP!

And no, it doesn't take place during the civil war (though there are chapters told during that time period...)

Anyway, there's just a little peak on what I'm working on! I'm excited to someday have this available for other people to look at!

What have you been working on in the new year?

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