Thursday, September 30, 2010

Storyboard 104: Yer mother screwed you up and that's why you don't have a girlfriend

Yay we are on to day 4 of storyboarding, how are you pantsers loving it and how are you plotters resisting the urge to tell us to break out the excel file? It just hit me today I can use Microsoft Access that has to be better than excel right? okay I'll go figure out a way to make it work for u plotters.

See my topic today? Yeah I got that from two and a half men and I thought it was really apt for today's experiment. We are talking about your characters familial relationships and their hobbies.

Ashley an only child was raised by a single mother who frankly seems like a half wit to me, she was a politician's mistress and is now under a serious mafia like-gag not to reveal their liaison. Does this have a bearing on who Ashley grows up to be? does she distrust men? has she become a misfit in the society? has she had to support her mother and put herself through community college? has she learnt to do a lot of odd jobs to make ends meet? does she have a lot of free time on her hands as a result of being a misfit? The answer to all these questions in Ashley's case is yes
Now does this answer your questions as to why most of Ashley's accessories are homemade? you guessed right, she makes them. She is your regular Etsy Queen.

Ah Lambert (this name sounds amazing when u say it in french) If I tell you everything about him I might as well just give my story away. His mother (another single mother) was a druggie(is that a harsh word?) she promised to get clean all the time but never attempted to follow through. The child in him stopped believing and felt nothing when she died; as a result of this plus a combination of other occurrences Lambert has buried himself into his job and really has no hobbies.

Sorry my post is coming late today, its my first day as a temporal single mother am trying to adjust, Its gonna be a long week b4 the husband gets back from Fiji and all i can think about is what a good setting Fiji will make for a book.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Storyboard 103: The Fashionista in me speaks

Aha! this is my favorite subject, when we talk about outfits or designer labels I feel very at home. Okay I admit since I moved here and became a SAHM my dress sense has taking a nose dive, but I still know my stuff.
I have been accused of dressing up even on casual Fridays, the 1st year I lived in Iowa I visited the Mall of America more than ten times, if I had my way I would never own more than 5 pairs of regular jeans at the same time because it encourages me to dress down, should I continue? no, I think I have terrified u enuf with my vanity.

Why are outfits and style important to your characters?
Believe it or not, what you wear says a lot about your thought process, I know there are people who do not believe in saying what their h/h are wearing (and I don't recommend you do it all the time either) but if your heroine is a jeans and t-shirt *shudders* kind of girl and she falls in love with the hero who only wears suits handmade from saville row will she dress up to get his attention or will she be so confident in herself and dress the same as always at the risk of sticking out like a sore thumb in his world?

That said let me describe my characters and their style and then we will see how it reflects on their personality.
He is more of a relaxed dresser but still likes to look good (a remnant from his modelling days and attestation to his vanity)
He typically shops from Express or FCUK, look at the quality of Peter Facinelli's shirt in this picture
Carlisle Cullen <3. - carlisle-cullen photo

when he is not at work then he is just a fitted t shirt kinda guy and jeans that emphasize his really nice bum.

has been described by my CP as lovely and bohemian - need I say this words were not in my head when I started to describe her? I just described her as a girl very into her organic outfits, tie dye maxi dresses, espadrilles, wedges, homemade accesories and boom my CP thinks she is bohemian.
Ashley's original job when I thought of her was an artist, but I had to change her job so she could be a match for my hero but I am glad that my CP still saw the old Ashley shining through my descriptions.

Another example: heroine very like Paris Hilton finally finds an alpha that can tame her, the face day she sees him how does she view him?
Burberry shirt, Dolce & Gabbana Jeans and Bruno Magli shoes.
Is she vain? Yes. Does he have his work cut out for him? heck yeah.
but imagine if she did not catalog men according to outfits or what celebrity they looked like will she ring true to your readers? prolly not.
I hope I have made a convert today, have a nice and well dressed day

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Storyboards 102: Characters and their Personalities

Ah this is where you turn your pretty boys and girls into amazing believable superheroes.Yesterday was fun, I stared at my hero all day but its time to bring him to life with a personality.
As usual I will use my characters to illustrate. This is a list of Questions I have asked myself
  1. What are their strengths?
  2. What are their weaknesses?
  3. What are their Ambitions?
  4. What are their Core beliefs?
  5. What  is their self perception?
  6. How do others see them?
  7. What are their Hobbies?
  8. What are their Moral Values?
  9. What eccentricities do they bring to the table?
  10. What fears are they hiding?
  11. What is their most defining characteristic or trait?

Lambert/Alexander Skarsgard
  • Staunchly Loyal
  • Caring
  • Giving
  • Funny
  • Distrusts all people on sight
  • Emotionally crippled
  • Will railroad you once he eventually makes a decision
  • Does not understand how to love because he has never seen it
  • He does not want to be thanked for all the good he does because he thinks its credit against horrible past.
  • Everyone sees him as giving to a fault
  • Hobbies are pretty much non existent at this point but if he had his way he would play some golf
  • Follows the one partner at a time rule even if he cannot commit to them
  • Decisions with a permanent impact are never made in a hurry, as a result his house is unfurnished.
  • He will go crazy if left alone with his thots, hence his obsession with the ER

Ashley/ Drew Barrymore
  • Very Resourceful
  • Realistic and knows when to cut her losses
  • Puts everyone's needs before hers
  • She can be a pushover
  • She lies to herself all the time and that works just fine for her
  • She is the kid from the wrong side of the tracks
  • She is almost invisible to people but when they see her she might as well be the goth kid at Queen Elizabeth's dinner table
  • She could make a living selling her handmade crafts on
  • As long as she does not repeat her parents mistakes she will be fine
  • Chews her bottom lip when she is worried,  feeling guilty or just thinking hard
  • Her worst fear would be being sued for all she is worth by her dad for violating a contract she signed
  • She has a short fuse

Monday, September 27, 2010

Storyboard 101: Pictures and Physical description

These are the pictures of who or what my H/h look like, I find that sticking pictures in my book helps. I have listed 10 descriptions each, are all of this descriptions going to make it into my story? Probably not but I understand what she is thinking or feeling when he smiles at her or why he thinks she is the way she is. Enjoy and at the end feel free to let us know who your character lookalikes are, or why you chose them, or if this was even remotely helpful
Drew Barrymore                                                              
DEVELOPING TALENT photo | Drew Barrymore
 It took me a long while before I finally decided who my character looked like and even when it hit me that Drew Barrymore was it, I had a difficult time finding the right picture to use. Okay on to physical descriptions that mesh with my heroine Ashley
  1. They are redheads and will sport hairstyles like the one pictured above more than once
  2. Definitely not your classic beauty, but extremely beautiful in her own way
  3.  Height, Ashley is 5'4 The jury is still out on her height but it ranges from 5'1 to 5'3
  4. Tatoos
  5. Full bottom lip
  6. Very deep you can drown in me eyes, I am still undecided about colours but for now Ashley's are green
  7. Check out her accessories exactly the kind of accessories my heroine rocks
  8. Not your average 'B' cup
  9. They both look and act quirky
  10. They have great shy smiles

Alexander Skarsgard (Eric)
This is one tall drink of Swedish water and I am obviously besotted with my hero, so let us move on

  1. Lambert, my hero is blond
  2. He is 6'4 Eric is in that range too
  3. They both have blue eyes, Lambert's changes with the intensity of his thots. I have never been close enough to Eric to be able to tell if his changes, I'll swoon and then let you know if I ever do.
  4. After being on Team Edward for such a long time I decided Lambert would be slim too
  5. Broad shoulders
  6. Very indolent walk and eyes (it actually annoys me but its part of their charm, and Lambert refuses to kowtow to my demands)
  7. Even though they are on the skinny side, they are still fit
  8. their bums look the same in jeans, but at work he dresses more like Carlisle from the twilight series (now that is a yummy doctor) numbers 9&10 are related to the picture below
  9. His face wrinkles prettily when he laughs or smiles
  10. Boyish looks
tumblr_koun0mDKwy1qzjsyfo1_400.jpg Alexander Skarsgard image by EricsFairy

Friday, September 24, 2010

Intro to Storyboards

Hi Lo lovely people

okay just as a quick recap we are going on a storyboard tour to know our characters inside and out and this starts on Monday, for more info check out yesterday's post.

The last time I made a storyboard, it was for a comic book in a french class and it was fun.
I was reading the top tips on the new voices website when the idea hit me, we can make a storyboard! and no not a storyboard for my next comic book (i quit the biz after my one attempt to get an A).
we can do a writers storyboard complete with pictures of what our h/h look like, a lot on their backstory, current situation or dilemma, what they love to wear and all of that stuff.
The more I write the more I am beginning to realize backstory is very important; as a pantster or pantser who runs away with my first idea, I almost never have a backstory at the beginning which is prolly good but not smart because that means when I put pen to paper I dont really know my characters that well, hence a weak beginning (what is that saying about agents judging the quality of your writing from the first 2 pages?).
So on monday we are going storyboarding, think of it as extreme snowboarding in plottersville fun eh!
I will be using a book but you are free to create a file on your nifty laptops and whatnots.

This is what we shall be playing with over the next week

Monday - Pictures of hot guys and girls
Tuesday - Different types of personalities
Wednesday - Outfits (sue me! am a fashionista but h/hs in sweats are allowed too)
Thursday - Types of familial relationships
Friday - Quirks and hobbies
Saturday - Past/ types of emotional obstacles (eesh saturday post)

this is not me teaching you what to do, we are all just going to share our experiences in getting to know our characters better and listen to the wise plotters as they come to help us out, feel free to invite ur friends too.
Hope you all have fun, I am already looking forward to knowing my characters inside and out.
Have a lovely weekend y'all

Thursday, September 23, 2010

StoryBoard: calling all Plotters and Pantsers alike

Are you a Pantser? ever wondered what its like on the plotter's side of the fence?

Well I am a by the seat of my pants(trousers) kind of girl and I for one would like to see what life is like on the other side of the fence, sometimes it just gets boring playing with my ideas and hoping to strike gold. For once I'd like to know where am going.
So here is my plan and I hope some of you will join me - am not trying to convert you to plotterism I am just curious to see what life is on the other side, lets make a storyboard together!
the good thing about this storyboard is that u can make one even if you have not started your manuscript or you are halfway through your manuscript. Apart from this being fun it could be helpful or a lifesaver.
So we shall start on Monday, that is ample time to prepare right? tomorrow I will just do a little post about storyboards for those of us who are so pantserish we dont know what a storyboard is.

I am curious though what advantages do you think pantser or plotters have over each other?

say hello to Jane Fonda's hands at Cannes

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Voices

today is the last day for entering the new voices contest, don't be a scaredy cat like me, you might actually win and fulfill a dream. I just submitted my entry and I feel great like I actually did something scary and I succeded.
The votes do not count at this stage, but am sure all the newbie writers out there would love to hear comments or feedback from you all.
I leave you with this beautiful coastline taken in the morning dew.
Have a nice day

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Women have it better?

Random grumbling for the day: I only got 4 hours of sleep, not fair my son promised me 5

Alright so I just read about how the publishing industry is flooded by women based on the fact that 85% of the people who have less than 3 years experience in the industry are women, the writer also goes ahead to wonder if this causes a gender bias in who gets published. you can read the full story here

While I'd like to say ha! in your face guys, 19th century female writers finally get avenged. I cannot help but get a little judgemental, I would like to believe that editors and agents give a fair shot to both male and female writers, I mean seriously who would pass up a good story in favor of gender bias and still remain afloat.

What the statistics does not rule out for me though is what about the make up of those who have been in the industry for more than 3 years?
Do you think women have an advantage in this industry even if it is flooded by female editors and agents? I am fully aware this is coming right after the Franzen incident, Ironic eh?

How about a picture for the road
taken off of the coastline of Antibes, right by the Musee Picasso

Monday, September 20, 2010

What did this writer do?

I took some time off writing and went to bed early this weekend, I had been so tired from going to bed 3 or 4 a.m. all month, I just had to beg this weekend off from my manus. Now I feel simply refreshed in my brain and was able to do edits and other things for example see what I did saturday night

at his church birthday party

at his birthday dinner

I had to run back to the grocery store 2 more times before they closed at 8 only for colouring and icing sugar only to realize @ 10 my son hid my icing set in a special place, so I iced/frosted this cake with a table knife and injection syringe, it took me hours to fill that syringe with buttercream icing and only seconds to empty it on the cake but I did it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Weekend

Yay its friday

because I am a SAHM I never know if its a Tuesday or a Friday but this week has been a lot to handle, I have written at least four complete chapter 1s for the New Voices Contest. Two of them might be able to make the cut so I am sending them out to my crit group to tell me which is better. I have written so much I think my brain is now suffering from writer's burnout.

I have 2nd guessed myself on my work so many times its annoying, does this happen a lot to you?  people are going to see my work out there and make comments, it has to be perfect.
I was just checking to see if there are other people out there who have these doubts
Have a nice weekend y'all

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another Point of View

I have a very special interview today, I am interviewing my toddler who is 2 years old today. he has graciously agreed I can interview him as long as I don't ask any mummy questions and I can keep it professional. I should warn you however our little man has a limited but bilingual vocabulary and all names have been switched to protect confidentiality.

Me: Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to see what life is like as a writer's child and I also hear its your birthday today
Jelly Bear: merci beaucoup, you are welcome I am TWO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (he shows me how many on his finger for added emphasis)
Me: So what is it like living with a writer
Jelly Bear: its nice as long as you ignore the odd looks, incessant grumbling at the laptop and the permanent mohawk bed head she says you can't pull.
Me: do you ever feel neglected in favor of her books and laptop
Jelly Bear: All the time, I started hiding her novels when I was 1 so it took a while for her to finish any book (it was fun for me), I have also poured Orange juice on her laptop but the thing still works unfortunately.
Me: do you have any favourite book experience with this writer
Jelly Bear: oh yeah we have fun if we are reading my books and then when she first got into twilight I was around 6 months and the two of us would cuddle in her bed and pretend to read together, that was fun

Me: Is she any good as a writer?
Jelly Bear: she has a good imagination, sometimes dad has to yell her name several times to get her attention and she never sleeps till 3 or 4 at night so I let her sleep in till 9 or 9:30 before I wake her up
Me: Can you tell us something personal about you
Jelly Bear: i like to break things like cribs, toddler beds, freezer doors, I don't mind having yoghurt for breakfast, lunch and supper, write now I am trying to become a street dancer and I have a girlfriend
Me: Ooh a girlfriend tell me more
Jelly bear: she's got blond curls and blue eyes and we watch out for each other on the playground, our parents say we are very sweet together.
Me: one last burning question, why do you like to throw food everywhere
Jelly Bear: that is a mum question I'm done with you now (he gets up and stalks away)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Something Personal

Today I have decided to share something a bit personal, no random musings today just a funny story from two years ago.

Two years ago on this day I was pregnant, cranky and overdue by 2 weeks, the source of my anger, my doctor I had been begging her to induce me for the past 3 weeks and she said "no its too dangerous for the baby" only to  to tell me in the final week " i think we might have to operate on you cos ur baby is too big and cannot even descend"

Anyways I promised you funny right? we went to the hospital on the 15th of Sept. at 4p.m. to be induced I had been told not to eat all day so i was starving, I was induced at 4 and i was told it could take up an average of 6 hrs b4 the labour started. If I weirdly did not go into labour in the next one hour they would serve me dinner(this made me very happy). At 4.30 labour started I was not a happy bunny I was starving so I told the husband to take the moms home I was determined to give birth with our parents absent, b4 he got back I lied to the nurse that I was not in labour, wolfed down a 1/2 chicken and called her at 5 to say "yep am in labour" poor student nurse panicked I really could not care less. My doctor said it was a good thing I ate because our little chipmunk did not come until 8.50 pm the next day.

I was forced to get an epidural after 17hrs which was good, it made the remaining 10 hrs feel like a dream in gas mask heaven.
This is me, I am strong and am a fighter, I don't give up easily and I am not going to stop writing because of a couple of road bumps on the way. I've heard seeing your book cover for the first feels like holding your baby for the first time in the hospital, well I cannot wait to get a new baby from publishers heaven hopefully sooner than later.

ciao ciao people

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I met a man

random thot of the day - my son is trying to play the violin with his drumstick and mechanical guitar he is so cute.

Okay, I met him in imaginationland but he is real  je vous jure, well as soon as I bring him to life with my pen. this is how it starts everytime my story always starts around the hero before I dream up his heroine, I refer to this as my boy brain.

When you start constructing a story do you start with the hero or heroine? I am making a very conscious effort my next leisure MS will start with a woman and am thinking Drew Barrymore esque in looks hmm the more I think about it the more I like it

Monday, September 13, 2010

Public Lending Rights

don't worry people I found my inspiration so I am going to stop bugging you with cute boys and inspiration tips.

I read about Public Lending Rights and I thought I would share it here on my blog today. everyone is going through a recession now and having to adjust their pant strings in ways they never thought possible before. In UK this is even more so because of the new government (this is not a pol. rant I promise).

Public Lending Rights is a source of income for authors, I don't know how it works in America and other parts of the world but am sure you all have something similar. it is kind of government compensation for your work being made public free of charge by libraries, apparently in the UK this has been dwindling and may even continue to do so .

This link enables you to read more about it and then take action if you wish.
Thank you for listening to me, I am your host
Joanna St. James
Stay classy people.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Alpha, Beta and Tennis

I have been watching the US open and considering I have the imagination of a 5 year old I bet you can already guess where I am going with this.
Introducing three heroes (sorry I could not load pictures for the visual minded)
lets start with Monfils (pronounced mon fees)
The guy is obviously goodlooking and talented he also loves to have fun on the court and out of it, is he an Alpha? probably not, I don't see that drive in him, he is so easy going (I could not find a website for him) he would make a  perfect Beta.
Rafa Nadal
Definitely Alpha male dominates the court and could not pull of the role of submissive partner in Shakira's gypsy video. This is the kind of guy that would play with a stomach injury to win and then there is that hint of raw savagery in him (he bites his trophies to make sure they are real). The is the kind of savage we all love to tame right?
Roger Federer
Aaah did someone say suave, sophisticated gentleman? what do I love the most about him? is the fact that he never gloats or shows emotions until he wins? or that he wears monogrammed sweaters? or that he has a beautiful head of hair a la McDreamy? or the fact that he makes winning look effortless?

looking back on my writing I am a Federer kind of girl all my heroes fit the Federer model to a T, they may not look like him but they sure act like the public persona of Roger Federer.
Are you a Monfils, Nadal or Federer kind of girl?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Backstory or Conflict

Pictures can say a thousand words, just like a writer can. I take pictures in my spare time because i love it and it helps me get into my stories, imagine if your hero or heroine grew up with this view and falls in love with a city slicker.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Nerve

First of all I want to say a big Thank you to Christine Bell I won a copy of her new ebook Pray a novel about the wolves of Pray out now with Cobblestone Press. There is nothing I love better than winning books, books rock!
If you ask for my publishing story, its not long 2 years ago I wrote something (an unsalvageable novelette) got a standard form R went into hiding and started writing again in June 2010 since then I've churned out 3 novellas (around 25k each) and have 2 other WIPs. I do all my writing at night because I am a SAHM to a boy who hides my books and wants to break my laptop, writing comes pretty easy to me until I have a deadline, once I have to meet a deadline I freeze up and my mind goes blank, I loose my nerve and get plagued with self doubt. Everything sorts itself out in the end it all goes with the being bionic territory :D, but this got me wondering I can't be the only one with this freeze up syndrome, what do you do to get over dry spells? I just write a lot of drivel till I strike gold again.

WIP = work in progress
SAHM = Stay at home Mom
R = Rejection letter

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Marley and Me - Critique Pardners

In my writing journey I am beginning to find out that getting a critique partner(CP) or a beta reader is very crucial. After reading a lot about it, I decided to find me one.
Its pretty much like the dating game, u put your feelers out there and wait for someone or people to show interests and then you get to know each other and commence on a long lasting relationship hopefully!
Okay I know this is not how it always goes, i've read a lot of stories out there that made me really scared to get a CP but I have a good CP story.
I put my feelers out on eHarlequin and I got an email back yay, we started chatting and amazingly we had a lot to say and teach other. Sunday was our 1st exchange, got feedback the next day because she hardly sleeps and I really cannot sleep when I have things to do. I was absolutely surprised at the feedback I got it feels like she was made for me in writing heaven, I can only hope I was that helpful.
Do you have any I love my CP stories? or even the CP from Hades stories I would love to hear them.

Monday, September 6, 2010

For the first time ever

For the 1st time ever I am glad I am an unpublished writer with nary an accolade to my name. This makes it perfect for me to submit my work for the new voices contest. Their site went live today and I am super psyched to start this thing already take this from the girl who once went to Richmond just to stare at the M&B office.
Apart from getting published, you also get to be mentored by editors and writers if you advance in the competition (lets not forget the hamper filled with books - mental carbs are so good for you) and 4 u techie junkies out there a new IPad oooohhhh!!!!!!!!
Am I doing too many things at once? yes, yes I am
Is this going to affect the quality of my work? No way Jose sleep can wait till I ...ahem win (am sincerely wishing all of u the best, did I mention that I like to daydream?)
Today is the last day for the blog bbq and happy labor day everyone

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Blog BBq - lets gain some cyber calories

Its labor day weekend aux Etats-Unis and about a couple thousand bloggers are having a bbq party and a blog hop to get more connected ie more followers, so how does this work?
Follow me and I'll get you all fixed lol but seriously follow me!
I am taking frozen chocolate chip and marshmallow cookies to Karen G's blog and am taking kebabs and cyber ice cream to Liz Fichera's blog.
All you have to do is bring something to the party and leave your comments abt what u are bringing and the kind of blog you have in the comments section and everywhere else possible.
Visit blogs of people that interest you and become a follower if you like it and people will do the same right back.
Enjoy the party and lets gain those cyber calories

Friday, September 3, 2010

TGIF party and a contest

Its friday super whoot! time to let loose and have a fun weekend except if u have to work this saturday then eh! I work on the weekends too yay me!

lets head on over to Christina Phillips blog she has a contest going on to celebrate her new book release with giveaways from Michelle Styles another amazing author and all you have to do is leave a comment.
Happy Friday and I just found an amazing crtique partner, I'll tell you all about her and why this is very important in your journey as a writer next week.

Remember don't drink and drive its posher to get a chauffeur

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Upgrade and blague du jour

I asked my 12 year old cousin what she thought of my blog and in typical fashion she told me it sucked eggs, now since am not into the YA genre I was not too worried. I did tell her to give me ideas on how to make it suck less but my little critic has been silent since, so I am throwing this out to the public my blog is one month old and might need some upgrading any ideas on what to add or what you would like to see? am already putting up a list of websites and books other people might find useful.
Now on to the blague du jour - Joke of the day
This picture was taken in Cannes, it was right by the playground in the film festival building arena. Now as a writer who often has to rely on google translate and its often inaccurate translation I appreciated this sign a lot. The hubby and I cracked up when we saw it and I simply had to share.

should it not just say Forbidden lawn?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A writer's elation

if people like Bono kept quiet about their charitable works they will not be able to get awareness for their cause so am wagging my finger at you Brian Johnson

Okay so I sent off a manuscript to the Harlequin medical Fast track and almost died from high blood pressure while waiting, other people I knew who had submitted got their response in about 2 days imagine my dismay when I had to wait 20 days for mine.
20 days in which I doubted if i sent the manuscript off in the 1st place, I wondered if my bad writing had sent the editor to the hospital and all other stuff.
Now dont get me wrong  Editors have a lot to handle and i'm not complaining about having to wait cos this set of editors were rockstars for giving us this opportunity - the average wait time to hear back from an editor or agent is usually 3 months.

So anyways I got the email from them yesterday, they liked my work especially my Hero they gave me some really helpful feedback and want to see three more chapters. As we speak I am walking on air this is a huge milestone for an aspiring writer and I plan to give it all I've got. I will be bouncing my ideas off of you every once in a while so lets take this journey together (I should shut up now before I start spouting Eminem's lyrics).
Have a lovely day y'all