Saturday, December 25, 2010

This, That or the Other?

Sometime before the holidays, mom asked if I wanted a Nook for Christmas. I emphatically told her, "No!" Now that Christmas is over, I'm browsing Barnes 'n Noble and reading up (again) on the Nook.

Why? Well, I still prefer the physical book, but I'm trying to figure out why so many people love the e-readers. A few friends own them and like the ability to carry more than a couple books at a time. I typically only read one book at a time so the thought of having 50 books in one place doesn't appeal to me.

Aside from that, spending my money on something I can't touch creates a different feeling than buying something physical. I rarely buy digital music for the same reason. I can see buying a song or two if that's all you want, but when it comes to buying a full CD, I want the physical property.

Here's my idea for getting "real book" lovers to try out the e-readers. When you buy a real book, you get a code that will allow you to also download the book to your e-reader (free or at a reduced cost). This way I can leave my hardback copy beside my bed and have the e-reader in the line at the grocery store. There. Problem solved!

So what do you prefer? A physical book, the Nook, the Kindle or something else? The iPad is like carrying around a little computer so I don't give it the same wrinkled up nose looks as the e-readers.

Love to read your comments.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Branching into Cyberspace

I absolutely love the idea of using social networking to post the thoughts of characters from a story. Reaching readers through the programs they use in their everyday lives is genius. Readers can connect with the characters and, in some cases, correspond with them as if they existed. I may have read more as a child if this existed when I was younger.

Using social networking with my novel so far has strictly been for promotional purposes and basically letting others know I have a work in progress (WIP). I want to do more. I want to connect possible readers with my characters before they can even get their hands on the book. I want the reader invested in my characters in ways a novel alone can't do. I have a brilliant idea (so says I), but I'm holding my thoughts until I'm sure. As we all know, once you post something on the internet you can't get it back.

Because I can't exert my idea just yet, the possibilities will drive me nuts. I'll have to buy a new notebook (oh the horror) to use as an outlet for planning and logistics.

In the mean time, enjoy this pic of my writing space which is overrun by one person in particular. This person may or may not cause your eyes to roll up into your head. For that, I apologize in advance.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bleak Beginnings..

"Bleak" - First Draft = 12 chapters and a meager 159 pages.

There are a few holes and a few heavy chapters. Several scenes need more weight to give them space to carry themselves and break off other scenes for new chapters. Big room for improvement but the base is solid.

Presently, I am staring at the wall. The numbered chapters are split with color coded binder clips. I've written on a few pages and stuck sticky notes to a few others. I've written out the events of each chapter through #6. I am sitting still, but my brain is moving faster than I can decipher. The ideas, the changes, the modifications all stream through my mind and out again before I can make complete sense of them. It's only when I stop trying to understand that it all falls together. A-ha! Makes perfect sense now. And off I go again...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sooooo... Now What? And other musings...

There are few people in my life that are supportive of my writing in a way that makes me feel accomplished. One of them is my best friend. I know I can talk to her about my story openly and she will tell me what sounds great, offer ideas or just listen. We were talking about a point in the story and before I knew it I had given her the entire story (in random order). When I realized I'd told her the entire thing, I stopped to think how I felt about throwing my carefully hidden plot into the air. Typically when I give up my ideas, I don't want them anymore and giving up my whole novel could have been tragic. But since I wasn't telling just anyone about my story, I actually felt more excited about completing the process.

I am still super excited to have written this story. Ok, so it's not quite as full as it needs to be and I think I left a rant towards the end about how much I hate the end. However, it's still a complete story. What would have taken me years of writing a little at a time is done. Now what?

Some time ago I bought "Power Structure" to help me with my writing. The program allows you to break your story down into something more than an outline. You can break it down by chapters, plot points, characters, settings, etc... The program lets you get into your story and flesh out what's important and not so important.

I used it last year to help me bring my thoughts together but could only get as far as a few chapters. My story kept changing which meant I had to go back and change other areas in the structure. I felt like I was spending too much time in the program and not enough time writing, so I abandoned it.

Now that my story is written, I'm about to start with Power Structure again. I'm hoping the restraint I felt while trying to use the program and actually write the story won't feel so limiting during editing. My hope is the program will help me find weak points in the already written novel and areas that need more development. I'll let you know how that goes.

On another note, I've changed the title of the novel. About 15 years ago someone gave me a piece of paper with a map of the US on each side. One side displayed a point for every optimistically named city and the other side displayed a point for every pessimistically named city (you can find that here). I live in Virginia so naturally Bleak, Virginia stood out on the map. I've always wanted to go there, but haven't. From the looks of it on Google Maps, I would have to drive about two hours North to ride through a town that's about 10 minutes long. Wanna go with me?

Anyway, it just happens this town has become a part of my story without even trying. Not only has the town invaded my story, but my novel is now aptly titled "Bleak".