Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer Vacation for Writing

Today was the last day of school for my kids and I realized that even as an adult (who is not a teacher), I could still feel that excitement for the end of the year and the start of summer too. My excitement is for different reasons though.

Summer is a more productive time for me in terms of my writing. With my husband (who is a teacher) home more, I have more child care. More child care allows for more writing and that is awesome.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome!! *happy dance*

Ahem. I've been waiting all day to do that.

Not only do I hope to make significant progress on the WIP, I want to use this summer to plan my writing time better for the next school year.

I am at a different place than I thought I'd be a year ago, which is both good and bad. Let's start with the bad--the frustrating, the guilt-inducing--because I want to end this on a positive note.

The bad: tomorrow is the deadline I'd set several weeks ago for the rough draft of my WIP. And, I'm not even close.

There. That felt good to rip off that bandaid. Okay.

Other bad stuff? Well, I'd hoped I would have photos to go along with blog-posts by now. And I don't. I'm figuring out the whole Creative Commons thing because I believe in giving credit and I'd rather not get sued. If you haven't read this post by Roni Loren, now's a good time. BTW: she has LOTS of fab advice for writers on her website too. :)

And, I missed a blog post. (But am doing it now.)

Huh. Not so terrible, particularly as my writing goal was set by me and, at this point, for me. I have a renewed appreciation for the difficulty of cranking out a story, a long story, AT ALL, much less when you have a day job. For any beloved author whom I've whined (to myself) wasn't churning out books more often, I totally apologize. Do what you do so freaking well and I'll be there to auto-buy happily.

Good stuff? I'm blogging! WTF?! I am loving writing and tweeting, and I even have a domain name. (Creating a website is on my to-do list, but not necessary at this point.) I bought a writing program, am working through more books on writing, etc, etc. Plenty of good stuff.

Some days I'm more confused and guilt-ridden about how to balance my life with writing than I'd like. And the insecurity about it is totally annoying. I'll spare you. But, I know I can learn from what worked and what didn't in this past year. It's humbling to realize how far I need to go, to see how deliberately I need to stay focused on making time to write in order to make the progress I want to see. But I will.

What are your writing plans for the summer? Any tips for clearing time to write?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Family Time

Just a brief post tonight. I'm going to stay off the internet--even twitter (sob!)--tomorrow to spend more time with my family. So, Happy Mother's Day tomorrow! Hopefully the sun will be shining and the weather will be warm enough to be outside most of the day. I plan to get back to my WIP tomorrow night, once the kids are in bed. Time goes so fast and they are only little for so long.

Hugs to all!

ICYMI: Lots of buzz about the decline of historical romance, including ideas related to marketing. Dear Author had two separate posts, links are here and here. Talk amongst yourselves. I'm still pondering my favorite subgenre's changes as well, but appreciated the fabulous lists of non-Regency historicals. (Judith Ivory, I heart you!) Regencies, IMO, deserve love too. Certainly include other related posts in the comments if you wish. :)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Little Note of Hygiene

I admit that I can be a bit fastidious about certain things, particularly teeth brushing. I won't interact in the morning without brushing my teeth first. I'm trying to be polite. Inflicting morning breath on anyone is something I find to be rude. I realize not everyone thinks this way, certainly not fictional characters. But I think they should. Colgate or Crest all around! Who's with me?

Part of the problem with this teeth-brushing thing is that it takes me out of a story, whether I'm reading or watching something. For instance, I was watching Castle, one of my favorite tv shows, and the latest episode has Castle bringing coffee to Beckett in bed. It was so sweet. He'd made hearts out of the foam. Adorbs. Beckett wakes up, looking disheveled and yet glamorous, and takes a sip of coffee. When I watched it my teeth clenched and I started tapping my foot. It was sweet, but I kept thinking, "Go brush!" The scene continued with them talking, at close range, and then she even sat on his lap, facing him. The shipper in my was dying at the sweet scene of them together, but I had to work to follow what they were saying due to the supposed blasts of close-range morning breath. Argh and ew.

This is clearly my issue, but it got me thinking about similar concerns of what to show versus what not to show. As a viewer/reader, I don't want to see characters brush their teeth or read in-depth descriptions either. Although, their not having nasty morning breath helps to keep me in an early-morning scene. Because if I were in that situation--unless the house was burning down around me--that's what I'd be thinking of.

In romance, I have come across many early morning scenes. Sometimes the author has them brush (or whatever means one can clean their mouths), sometimes it is not mentioned (and I mentally add that in myself). There's a scene that stands out though--a kissing scene even--where the heroine had morning breath and horribly chapped lips. Robin Schone's Awaken, My Love, which also has a trail-blazing opening scene, has a strangely sexy kissing scene that mentions the heroine's unfresh breath. As I recall, the heroine is uncomfortable with it, but the hero, clearly, is not. The scene serves to show how into her he is. Something she was totally missing in her previous life. Of course I squirmed when I read it, but I turned the pages too and kept going because it worked.

Of course there's the whole world of paranormal romance filled with blood-kisses, weres (with doggy breath?), demons, etc. Somehow that doesn't bother me. Maybe I assume that immortals have immortally fresh breath? Go figure.

But it doesn't make sense to include every bodily thing a character does. I'm leaving it at that.

So for you, readers and writers, are there certain behaviors (or lack of behaviors) that take you out of a story? How do you find a balance of showing enough of what is happening while keeping characters' actions plot-centered?

I welcome your comments to what has been a more earthy post than I normally write.