Tuesday, 31 December 2013

How to survive waiting for submission responses with sanity intact

6 Rules of survival whilst waiting

1. Do not think about project. Remove all traces of project from work vicinity. Write something else. (50% success - wrote another novel. But then it was finished and started thinking again)
2. See people who still seem to like you since you turned into half-reclusive half-boring writer (100% success - Easy. I've missed them)
3. Read some engrossing novels that aren't for research purposes (70% success. Reading makes me think about writing makes me think about submissions)
4. Exercise. Bottom has grown to size of small bungalow in this year of writing (1% success. Went for first jog in 6 months today. Well it has been raining a lot)
5. Watch TV - when drafting I go weeks without it. 3 seasons of Sons of Anarchy since November. Great distraction (80% success. Jax reminds me a little of my lead character Smith)
6. Most importantly:

Saturday, 21 December 2013

A few of my favorite things in YA fiction.

A few of my favourite things they crop up in different forms (hopefully)

1. Girl heroes - feisty, with heart and who spend more time rescuing than being rescued.
2. Boy heroes - flawed but never misogynistic. I'll stop myself from making them all blond.
3. Prisons or being held captive.
4. Sacrifice.
5. Physical injury. I like it visceral.
6. All enduring friendship. Tested but comes out stronger.
7. Love. The slow burn that takes its time and lingers and hurts.
8. Love that ends. Most teenagers don't marry their first love.
9.Pledges and promises even if just to oneself.
10.Death. No-one believes the danger unless they've seen its consequences.

Things I pledge to avoid in my writing:

1. Insta-love. No. Not love at first sight. Attracted to at first sight. Love comes later.
2. Love triangles where it is obvious who the girl will end up with. Just let the other guy go already.
3.Wimpy girls waiting for boys to rescue them.
4. Excessive sarcasm or whining.
5. Boredom of any description.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Multiple writer's projects - a very good thing

So this is the way I do it.

1. Think it. In the car, in bed, whilst cooking (ie burning organic matter), whilst watching TV, driving.
2. Note it. Open sparkly new notebook but scribble on post-it's, receipts and lots of e-mails to self.
3. Research it. Internet. Books. Library. Read fiction in the genre. Make pinterest boards. More notes.
4. Plan it Test ideas against 3 act structure, Heroes journey. Construct character arcs. Chapter plan events.
5. First draft it. Head down, fingers blur, ideally five hours per day for a month.
6. Rest it. Go back and do some of the other steps for another unrelated project.
7. Write it readable. Structural quick edit. Smarten it up for first readers.
8. Listen and note. Detailed notes from readers. Compile them.
9. Rest it. Time to digest readers notes. No rushing. Work on something else.
10. Revision/ Rewrite Cycle begins with further readers and rests in between
i)Big stuff  - cut (plot/ story/ structure/ pace)
ii)Medium stuff - add (Character voice perfection/ relationships/ setting/ atmosphere)
iii) Small stuff (Line edits - polish it up and make it pretty)
11. Submit

What has made me so much more relaxed this year is that I have three projects on the go, all at different stages, so I can take a break when I reach a sticky patch or get fatigued - and work on something else.

But - some rules apply
a) Once first draft begins, no working on anything else until it is finished. And no cheating.
b) Read widely - always. Usually an hour a day. Inside and outside of genre.
c) Don't be too soft on myself. Sometimes those sticky bits can only be solved by writing them over and over.
d) Don't be too hard on self. Sometimes sticky bits can be solved by forgetting all about them and watching 3 episodes of Sons of Anarchy back to back with half a bottle of wine.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Which one next? Becoming an author might be all about the strategy.

I've a feeling I need to become a strategist, because I don't know what to write next.
Just finished second draft of my second novel, YA ghost story, The Journal of Apolline Durand. Out with my wonderful first readers, Kathryn, Sally, Helen and Lyann. So she's out of the loop for a few weeks.

A windy summer
Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia May 1999
Apolline! Play nice with the first readers like a good girl.

My firstborn manuscript Clamour is out with agents, full manuscript waiting on a response. Have lots of new revision idea for this, but makes no sense to do anything until I hear back from *the* agent.
Go Aster, wow those agents, get under their skin like you got under mine - I know you can do it
So I have two choices:
1. Start on new project The Red Edge. This is spanky new and exciting. Lead character is a boy, Hector. Already feel like I know him (and of course, love him). Story plotted vaguely, but I have a strong sense of premise, themes and place and a cracking good opening chapter. Scenes pop into my mind continuously for this one.
The view of the red dwarf sun Rutilus from Rutilus 2
The Red Edge - Space adventure that mainly takes place on the planet Rutilus 2 in the Scorpios Constellation.
2. Start on Scatter, second book in Clamour trilogy. This is SO ripe for the picking. These characters have voices already and they nag, nag, nag. Been thinking this for over a year. Could be good to write this before revising Clamour? Like my optimism. Could be a waste of precious time if Clamour never gets picked up? No, can't think that way. *The* agent could suggest revisions to Clamour that impact on the story.
Bản Giốc fall, Cao Bằng
Khone Falls in Laos. Setting of the tribal summit in Scatter - sequel to Clamour
So which should it be? Completely new manuscript meaning I have 3 separate projects on the go? And may get a mental overload? Vote Red.
Or second book in trilogy. Focus on the one I already love - and that would be easy as pie to write? Could probably knock out a first draft for this in a month or so. Vote Green.

Best thing of all? Love both these ideas and can't wait to get started....

Monday, 2 December 2013

pinterest for writers - an insight into my chaotic mind

So now I have a new distraction from my day job. http://www.pinterest.com/antonialindsay3/boards/
Something to fill all that time I have on my hands.....

Ever since I started my first novel I have always kept a folder of images that capture moments, mood, characters and setting. And now they are on pinterest.
I was a little afraid at first to pin, I want my readers to form their own images, but can't see too much harm in sharing mine.
And there's some tantalising tasters of future projects that if (when) I'm published, readers might find interesting.