Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Faceplant

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Today is the final day of Nanowrimo and unless I can come up with 38000 words by midnight, I think it's safe to say I'm not going to be a "winner" this year.

Entire outlines have been scrapped. New ideas have blossomed only to fizzle under the onslaught of kids, holiday responsibilities and life in general. And I've discovered the logistics of trying to write a novel while meeting the needs of 4 kids, ages 6 and under, is overwhelming. Let's just say tears have been shed.



That being said. I'm still a huge Nano advocate. While it's November timing isn't ideal for a mom of 4 (this is when the school year really ramps up in parental involvement -- especially for room moms), the fact that it's forced me to place my writing higher up my priority ladder is a really good thing. Sure I'm not incredibly thrilled with my results, but at least I've written something instead of talking about writing something.

And isn't that the biggest hurdle? There will always be other responsibilities. Being pulled in several directions at once seems to be the norm for pretty much all of us. But Nanowrimo has taught me that a serious writing career is going to require some difficult choices. Acknowledging that fact is a big hurdle for me. 

For years, I've been waiting to "have time" to write. As if massive blocks of free minutes were going to magically appear once I:
  • finished college
  • got the "right" job
  • had kids
  • became a stay at home mom
The real truth is, it never gets easy. Working writing into a real life with real life responsibilities is hard no matter what age or stage you're in. But if you love it. If the voices in your head won't stop talking to each other and making you giggle to yourself in public, then you have to make the time for something you love. 

It's an exciting journey. But watch out for those first steps. They're kind of tricky.






Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inspiration.

I thought I'd do another post with pictures that I find inspiring. We haven't done one in a while and I kind of enjoy them. :) Hope something in them inspires you to write or create art in some way! I can already imagine a creepy story of a lost girl. What about you?











Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Monday!

Welcome to another installment of the Monday Check-In! Every Monday we'll post small updates on what we've accomplished in the past week with writing. If we've gotten a lot done, or accomplished some of our goals, we cheer each other on. If we've not gotten enough done, or are in writing slump, we still cheer each other on. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you really can do it, right?

Christina: I got some edits done for people and two chapters written over the holiday break. My goal for this week is to work on more crits for people and finish two more chapters!

Patricia: Despite big plans to practically complete all of NaNo over the weekend, I came away with 7,432 words and memories of an extremely fun and relaxing weekend with family and friends. The plan for this week is to keep moving on PLETHORA and lay a little more ground work on CATNA. (Plus, it's her birthday week!!)

Danielle: I left work Wednesday night with a new fire and a goal. From Wednesday to Friday I wrote about 20k, and edited about 17k. And I FINISHED MY WIP! (and won NaNo) It's a very, very exciting thing. Very exciting. I even started doing some edits on my own and plan to finish up that by mid-week so I can send it along to some betas. I also may or may not have watched practically a whole season of Supernatural. I'm almost at the finale of season 4--but I'm going to wait to watch until my editing is done (and it will hurt!).


What are you doing this week? Let us know so we can check in with you and encourage each other. Leave a comment or tweet us about it: @tangledupnwords @PatriciaERiley @DanielleEWrites @cindyiswriting @TheDrunch @christinaferko







Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Meet Jodi

If you could be any item on Mexican restaurant menu, what would you be and why?
Chicken Quesadilla – Because it’s my favorite, and it’s important to like yourself.

If you were an item of clothing what would you be and why?
A gorgeous pashmina, because it can make a humdrum outfit sublime – plus it can keep your shoulders warm in a pinch.

When's your birthday?
June 10

What quote inspires you most?
There is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. – Ernest Hemingway

What's a pet peeve you have?
I make a fierce point not to cultivate “pet” peeves (as if being peevish warranted encouragement) for as soon as I pick a particular action to condemn in someone else, it is the nature of the universe that I find myself guilty of the selfsame sin only moments afterward.

Something about you that no one would know just by looking at you?
I was born an old soul, and like Benjamin Button, am intent on aging it in reverse. My children are going to be VERY embarrassed by me; I can't wait. 

Who's your favorite princess and why?
Princess Kate, of course. She’s beautiful, young, and hasn’t had enough time in the public eye to fall down to mere human status yet.

Why do you want to write within the YA genre?
The honesty, the expectation, the quest for experience, the intensity of feeling – what’s not to love?

Which YA book character are you most like? Explain.
Flip from “And Both Were Young” by Madeleine L’Engle. Flip suffers most because of her own insularity. Growing up for her is largely defined by letting other people – flawed as they might be – into her world. I wish I’d had someone to guide me through the maze of young adulthood as she did.

Plotter or Panster?
I really want to be a plotter. I think you wind up with a stronger story that way. But I also believe you should listen to the character. I do NOT believe you can force a story to happen the way you think it should.

What do you like to do when you get stuck while writing to help work through it?
I take a break. Do something mindless and let my subconscious help out. But man…do I love Twitter. I’m gonna need a 12 step program soon.

Was there a specific book you read that inspired you to start writing?
To Kill A Mockingbird. Every wannabe writer in the entire state of Alabama has, at some point, wanted to be Harper Lee.

What is your single most favorite thing (feel free to be as vague as you like) about you're current WIP?
I love, love, love my flawed Main Character. I want things to work out for her!

What book from childhood do you most wish you had written? What book from the past year?
Where the Sidewalk Ends because I really admire poetry with mass appeal.
There are SO many good ones to choose from but probably Lola and the Boy Next door by Stephanie Perkins or Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols.

Two truths and one lie about yourself.
I am a crochet/knitting savant.
I am the baby of my family and have the self-centeredness to prove it.
I re-started my nanowrimobook on Nov. 18 but am going to win by the end of Nov.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's Not You, It's Me



Before I starting writing I had real life friends. I wanted to go out to dinner and shopping. I wanted to get out of my house and breathe fresh air. I enjoyed their company and looked forward to anything they wanted to do. What happened, you ask?

Writing happened. Imaginary friends happened. Drafting and revising and drafting again happened. Now all I ever want to do is write. I think about my characters all day long and live for the moment I kiss my children good night so that I can perfect their story. I sneak a few paragraphs here and there throughout any day that I can, but most days I can't get anything considerable done until my children are fast asleep. This means the nighttime hours are my writing time. And my writing time is very, very valuable to me. So much so that I get annoyed when I have to leave my house to do something else. (I know it's horrible. I'm ashamed.)


But it's like I'm possessed. I have this undying, unwavering, unending need to finish this book. I absolutely have to do it. And when I'm away from my characters, I'm not even enjoying myself because all I can think about is how much time I'm wasting NOT writing. As I said before, I'm not proud of this. I know it's not fair to the real life friends. So I've decided to write them this letter, this formal apology for my lackluster friendship skills as of late:

Dear Real Life Friends,
It's not you. It's me. Honest. I have a disease, an addiction to something you can't yet see, but is entirely real inside my head. I hear voices. These voices are telling me a story and I can't seem to rest until I've written down every word of what they have to say. I know this must sound ludicrous and maybe even a little nutso, but it's true.

I know that you're wondering what happened to your spontaneous and exciting old friend, and well, I just wanted you to know that I'm still here. Somewhere inside of me is still that same friend that you know and love, she's just a little possessed at the moment. It's not that I don't enjoy your company. I do. Or at least, I did. But I know, just know with all my heart, I'll still love your company once I finish this book. I swear it.

I just need a little space right now. Some time to work things out in my head would really be helpful. I hope you can forgive me. I promise to come back to you someday. Just...not right now. I still have 66 pages to revise. And then I'll probably revise it one more time for good measure. But one day in the future, I'll show my face again. Honest. 

Truly,

Your Dear Old Friend

Do you think that will earn me forgiveness? If not, maybe a little funny from one of the most hilarious shows of all time will help? 




Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Announcements!

Welcome to another installment of the Monday Check-In! Every Monday we'll post small updates on what we've accomplished in the past week with writing. If we've gotten a lot done, or accomplished some of our goals, we cheer each other on. If we've not gotten enough done, or are in writing slump, we still cheer each other on. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you really can do it, right?

Today's going to be a little different than usual. Why? Well, it's almost Thanksgiving!! And with that comes LOTS of last minute things in real life and in between all the crazy, we'll all be writing.

This week: 
Cindy's family all has the stomach flu.  
Patricia is catching up on all the words this week since there's extra time off work.
Christina is hoping to write another chapter this week.  
Danielle is looking forward baking these GREAT strawberry cupcakes for Thanksgiving.

Announcement time!! 

We're sad to tell you that Drea had to leave Tangled because of work and moving issues. We love Drea and we know she will be awesome at whatever she does.

Meanwhile, we're very, very pleased to add Jodi Burrus to Tangled. Jodi has so lovingly and enthusiastically stepped up to be part of the team. We know she'll be excellent and a lot of insight to the materials here. You'll learn more about Jodi this week, and you can check out her info in the About Us page.

We are now offering free critiques! You know how everyone says the first 500 words are important? Well, now you can get some feedback from us. Each week one (or two) of us will post some feedback of your work. We're open for entries now and you can expect the first critique to go up December 2. Check out all the requirements and enter by clicking here.

That's all for this Monday Check-in. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!




Thursday, November 17, 2011

To Listen or Not to Listen? Part Two

Yesterday, Danielle wrote an awesome post about Shiny New Ideas and how hard it is to ignore them (even though it's usually the right thing to do!)

Continuing her topic, I wanted to talk about those times when you should listen to those Shiny New Ideas! Quick disclaimer: Unfortunately, like everything in writing, I can only tell you about my own experiences. Please don't take anything I say here as a promise of a magical solution, only you can truly answer the question about whether or not it is right for you to listen to the Shiny New Ideas that are lurking somewhere between pages 50-100 of your current WIP!

Until recently, I have always subscribed to the idea that right way to handle Shiny New Ideas was to jot them down in their most basic form and then desperately attempt to ignore them while they drive you to distraction with promises of complex, complete plots and deep, multidimensional characters. And when your current WIP is starting to feel stalled out and never-ending like this:


It's just that much harder to ignore an idea that feels like this:

This is exactly where I am this week. 10K into my draft of PLETHORA I had a great idea. A different story, with different characters, and countless ideas for scenes. But I was committed to my current WIP, it was a story I needed to tell and I could see this Shiny New for what it was ... a distraction. It is a good idea and I will definitely add it to my queue for future projects, but it was not something I was willing to let interfere with my long-term relationship with PLETHORA. 

But then it REALLY happened... 25K into my draft and things started to get overly complicated. I found myself sitting on the floor, surrounded by piles of subplots and MIA characters. And then I heard it... a conversation between two characters that were NOT from my current book. But they were interesting, and they were snarky, and most importantly THEY WERE TALKING! So I listened, and they kept talking, and the more I figured out about their story the more I loved it. It is completely different from my current WIP, it was simple and fun and had a complete, linear plot that came to me fully laid-out. It had a bittersweet, heart-wrenching romantic ending that I instantly fell in love with.

So after a few days of SQUEEing to myself about it, I decided to tell one of my CPs and my sisters about the idea. And ALL of the conversations started with them chastising me for letting myself get distracted by ANOTHER Shiny New. But then they heard the SHINY NEW IDEA. All of them loved it. And suddenly I was unsure of what to do next.

My options were:
1) Stay the course. Write it down. Ignore it. Come back to it after finishing current WIP.
2) Drop current WIP like yesterday's jam (bonus points if you get this joke) and run off into the sunset with SHINY NEW IDEA.
...OR...
3) Work on both books at once.

Now I'm going to be honest here, when I first considered this idea, it made me feel a little like this guy:

Writing a book is a LOT like a long-term relationship, you are dedicating a significant chunk of your time on this planet to loving and nurturing it. You will have moments of great joyful happy dancing and moments where you're so frustrated you want just want to cry. You will celebrate milestone and anniversaries with it. You will have fights about the way things are supposed to be and end up not talking for a few days, followed by a make-up session where you write the best scene of the book. It takes up all of your spare time, thoughts, and energy. 

So why, oh, why, would anyone work take on TWO of these book relationships at once?! 
But then I started thinking about my writing process. I love my writing, I love my characters and my stories, and I love the fact that I get so many Shiny New Ideas. But I think the real reason I get them so frequently is because I get bored with focusing all my energy on one story. I pretty much always have many different stories going on in my head at any given time and when I try to block them all but one, my brain gets bored and uncooperative and just shuts down.

Crazy person that I am, I've decided to try it! My hope is that this way I can be thinking about one book and when I get to that point where my brain doesn't want to think about that anymore, I can just switch to the other book and not feel guilty about changing tracks. I'm particularly excited about trying this now because these two particular stories have the main ingredients for being a perfect match: 1) they are different genres, plot styles, and POVs, and 2) I would be happy to finish either of them, so I'm not concerned about one book getting more attention than the other.

I think the moral of the story is this: Until you know what your ideal writing process is, it's important to try new techniques and tricks when you feel like things aren't working. Because if you don't keep trying new things, it's unlikely you'll find the thing that works.

So tell me: Have you ever worked on two projects at once? Any advice? Do you think I'm crazy for trying this? What is the writing process that works best for you?



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

To Listen or Not to Listen? Part One.

I am not a person who gets new ideas very often. Unlike Patricia, who is the Queen of Shiny New Ideas, my ideas come when least expected--and usually after I've complained about not having any. I don't know how many of you get your ideas. But my ideas come to me loudly and they always, always start with a line in a unique voice. Then they haunt me, taunt me and yell at me until I give in. That's how I know it's the story I need to tell. (I apparently like those stubborn characters who harass me. It's telling.) The louder something is the harder it is to ignore.

If you are doing NaNo--or ANY draft--there's a certain point where the Shiny News start attacking.


They find you when you are weak. When you've hit 30-50k and you're halfway between "beginning" and "ending" and lost somewhere in "what was I thinking? I can't do this!" They attack! They try to pull you away with newer, better, shinier characters and plots and fancy words. Here's where the dilemma comes in: To listen or not to listen?

I sadly can't tell you the answer to that. I think it's different for every person, every WIP, every Shiny New. I think some people can manage two drafts at once with equal love and dedication, and some can't. Some stories need a break, so you run away with the Shiny New. There are a hundred scenarios for every single idea. Me, I'm that girl who tries (really hard) to ignore the Shiny New.  I write my idea down somewhere. And then, once I've finished my WIP, I look at them again. It's pretty amazing how "The Best Idea EVER" is totally nonsense when you look at it again.

See, without the regale and fanfare of the Shiny New, without the perfectly placed temptation of new satisfaction in your struggle, Shiny New Ideas are no longer shiny or new. They are just ideas. And an idea without some sparkle and promise is a lot more work--and probably (9 times out of 10) not a very good idea.

I'm here right now. Kind of.

I have a SNI that is so shiny and so new and so exciting! The difference is that I haven't had a new idea that I felt I could REALLY write since I started this WIP over a year and half ago. That's a long time. I've had a few other projects, but none of them are finished because I kept coming back to this story. It wasn't done. It wasn't ready. I wanted to tell it. And this is the first time in 15 months that I feel like i've been telling it the way it needs to be told. It's exciting. It also means: SNI ATTACK.

There was a line in my head for two days. A line in a voice that was (is) so strong and snarky. That's when I gave the "I'm not writing this right now. I'm not even thinking about it" speech. And I didn't.


I kept saying to myself. "I am TOTALLY NOT writing this." Even though I want to. I won't even think about it. I'll ignore it. It will be easy because I most definitely do not have the whole first chapter written out in my head and all the story and three cutesy-banter scenes. Do not. I'm not even thinking even about it. Obviously...

Okay....obviously I have thought about it. I have the whole idea ready! But I will not write it until I've finished my WIP. I will try really hard not to even write a scene, because if I do then I won't want to stop. That would lead into trouble for me, my stories and my CPs. Until that time, I will not listen to my SNI. I will just let it simmer on the backburner. Let it keep developing and write, write, write my WIP so I can get to the SNI.

Not listening to a loud shiny new is hard. It's really hard--especially when you love the idea. It's a constant echo in the back of your mind and it finds ways to slip into your thoughts and I, personally, have to fight it all the time.

But what happens when you don't fight it? What happens when you listen to that Shiny New? You can check out Part Two tomorrow and get the other perspective on listening to it from the queen herself. (Patricia!) Until then, chime in on this.


What's your process?  How often do your SNIs attack? Do you think you listen or don't listen? Are there any steps you take to block it out of your mind?


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Realism in fiction


My favorite thing about writing fiction is that you can create and make-up new places, people, things, all kinds of crazy awesome stuff that's just waiting to come out of your imagination. It's amazing, isn't it? But even with all that, there's always realism built into fiction. Whether it's a description of something already known: like an animal, a place, an object, or if it's an action or reaction, or whatever it may be.

So my question is: How much research or real-life experience do you infuse into your stories?

I'm definitely one of those people that like research when it comes to writing. My last manuscript was about a siren and I remember spending hours in the library or online researching so many things about the ocean and sea-life. Most of it I didn't even use, but I'm still glad that I looked it up. It either helped spark an idea for something else in the book or was just pretty interesting to know anyway. I still have my notebook full of scribbled notes and sketches. I'll probably have notebooks for every manuscript I write.

My current WiP is about space and diseases and scary stuff. And while I certainly have never been to space or contracted a deadly disease, I still have life experiences that I can breathe into this story. In fact, one of the most terrifying of experiences in my life will be used. One of my characters will need CPR at one point in the story and I've recently (within this year) had to perform CPR. I don't relish the idea of rehashing this memory of mine. At all. I'm sure I'll cry while writing that scene even. But even knowing that, I'll still draw upon that memory to help create a realistic experience for anyone who reads my book. (Note: this is *not* me saying I'm glad to have done CPR just so I could use the experience and write about it in a book)


Okay so that last bit was a little depressing. Sorry guys. Your life experiences don't need to be quite so dramatic as that. I also have some much nicer research & experiences to use related to this WiP. Promise. But what I'm trying to get at is that researching and using your own experiences--I believe--can really add another layer to your story and animate it in a whole new way.

So what about you guys? Do any of you ever research things for your book? Ever put something you've personally experienced into your story?



Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Check-in

Welcome to another installment of the Monday Check-In! Every Monday we'll post small updates on what we've accomplished in the past week with writing. If we've gotten a lot done, or accomplished some of our goals, we cheer each other on. If we've not gotten enough done, or are in writing slump, we still cheer each other on. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you really can do it, right?

Plus, today is a really awesome in the YA world because The Hunger Games trailer premiered and we're all pretty excited!! Have you seen it? Look....


Without further adieu, here is our check-in for this week:

Christina: I've been super sick this week (boo!) so I only got one short chapter done. Hopefully I'll stop being sick all the time and be able to start writing again.

Danielle: This past week was a  roller coaster for writing. I was a day ahead in my NaNo word count, so I skipped a night. Then, somehow, I was three days behind! Shows what happens when you get out of habit. I'm all caught up now though and will break 25k tonight or tomorrow. (I'm almost there!) I'm also trying *not* to brainstorm this Shiny New that attacked me out of the blue on Sunday OR to fangirl THG (see above) on Tumblr. Slightly failing in both areas. Anyway, another week of NaNo is ahead---so here goes.

Cindy:  I was able to get a large chunk of pages revised and have just 66 pages left to revise. Hoping to be finished by the end of the week. Yay!

Patricia: NaNo has offically hit week 3! Bringing with it a spectacular shiny new and stress about falling behind. My plan this week is to keep writing at least 1,666 words everyday that I can. I am also keeping my Shiny New at bay by jotting down any notes and scenes that won't get out of my head. If only ALL the words counted (especially since I wrote a 10 pg term paper this weekend and have racked up thousands of words in GChat and emails!)

What about you? We'd love to hear how your last week in writing went. Please leave us a comment to let us know! 




Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tension vs. Pacing

We received the following question in our ask box recently, and I’m going to try to tackle it. 

“What’s the difference between pacing and tension?”

I think this is a really good question, because this is one of the most common rejection reasons from agents and editors, besides the “voice “ of the novel, character motivation, and just not connecting to the novel and/or characters. 

Rejections sucks. It makes you feel like this



But hopefully  this will help you have less days like that.  

Pacing. Think of it this way. See zombie chase? See lady run? See how fast both of them are moving?



Okay. So the pacing of the novel really boils down to the rhythm of the novel: the sentences, chapters, scene breaks, etc. How long it takes to introduce the characters, discover their motivations, reveal the plot and what the characters have to gain/lose by conflict and the resolution. And key point here: Does the reader feel what the writer wants them to feel at any given point of the novel?

Pacing can be sped up or slowed down. Usually, pacing is slowed down when you have a scene that’s important—high emotional impact and so on. Have you noticed how romance books breeze through a lot of scenes, but slow down and go into detail on the conflict between the hero and heroine and the smexy scenes? Pacing can be manipulated.  And narrative almost always slows pacing.  Most of my novels end up with the first 10 pages cut, because there’s a lot of narrative. You pretty much have to find a balance between pacing and narrative, and that is determined by the novel. Flashbacks are another killer of pacing, FYI. 

Got it?

Tension. Think of it this way. Oh noes! Eric is mad! What is he going to do? Kill Bill? Please? I must turn the page to find out!

On to tension in novel writing, which ties into pacing. It’s all about the “sense of urgency” and that every scene has to have a purpose, it ALL has to be moving toward the climax.  This typically is where “tightening the writing” comes into play.  And this is when the dreaded “cutting” of words occurs to pick up tension. Also, surprise the reader by avoiding clich├ęs (yes, harder said than done) and too much prose (the purple people eater kind) can slow down tension, but prose can help slow down pacing if needed. 

Long scenes and too much dialogue can kill tension, also have characters that do not conflict with one another or, I hate to say this, a murky plot that doesn’t work. And come on, we’ve all written a book where the plot was on crack. 

What is pacing and tension? They are like this. Creepy kids that hold hands. 

So there’s pacing vs. tension. As you can see, they pretty much walk hand and hand, french kiss, and do all kinds of things together. Pacing will effect tension and tension will effect pacing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Week 1 in Review

My original plan was to pop in on Wednesdays in November and regale you with how many words I've written since you heard from me last. But then I realized that I'm kind of behind (not by A LOT, but still) and even though it's only been a week I'm already feel the Week 2 blues, so let's talk about something else. (If you're feeling cheated, you can always check my progress here! Just need to remind me to update it! :)

One of the best pieces of advice I heard going into NaNoWriMo was: Have fun! Don't kill yourself over it! Make sure to do non-writing activities! 

And I have followed this advice SPECTACULARLY! In the past week, here are the non-writing fun things I've done:

I watched some fantastic TV (a HUGE cut from the number of shows I usually watch! See? I'm being good!) 
 

Ok, since it's just us friends here, I'll be honest: I also watched some re-runs of these! (But they're SO GOOD! And for those of you about to have a seizure: No I am not putting Felicity on the same level of awesome as Doctor Who, I just happened to watch them both this week...)

 
I went out with the hubby and ate some YUMMY food:

We also went to the movies and saw (which was hilarious and full of Neil Patrick Harris-y goodness!):

I have been to the grocery store three times, the gas station twice, and a lovely, local Christmas bazaar once. The bazaar was my favorite because I got THESE!




How was your week? Are you surviving enjoying NaNoWriMo? Any other writing news to share? Any non-writing adventures to tell us about? Have you seen A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas? How badly do you want a WAFFLE-BOT now!?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To Share or Not?

Everywhere you turn there are sites popping up online to share your writing. For many they build a sense of community and provide support for those who may not otherwise have someone to give feedback on their work. You can share bits and pieces of your story, or even enter your entire story into contests. In fact, some writing communities like InkPop.com have systems that allow members to vote on each others work. The stories that get the most votes may even have the opportunity to be reviewed by an editor at HarperTeen. Several YA authors have been found that way, and I think it's great. 

But when it comes to sharing my own writing online, even little snippets as short as 2-3 sentences makes me want to crawl into a hole and my palms start sweating. I've participated very lightly with our own teaser posts, but it makes me nervous beyond belief.

I don't know if it's because I'm a very nervous person, or if I'm just not wanting to jinx myself when it comes to sharing things online. Maybe I'm overly private or maybe I just don't believe my story is "there" yet, but for whatever reason, I just feel extremely uncomfortable when it comes to sharing my own writing online. 

I recently read a post on another YA author's blog. She was celebrating that she now has an agent and was telling her story of how that came to pass. She'd been very private about the whole querying process and didn't talk much about her writing at all either on twitter or elsewhere online. I find that I share a lot of her viewpoints. 

But then there are also authors who are completely comfortable sharing their work. They have many followers and readers, and that is definitely a bonus. When the time comes to seek an agent, they already have a decent number of people who know who they are and are looking forward to when their book will be available. 

For me though, something about sharing my writing in such a public way just doesn't sit right with me. So I know that going forward, I'll be one of those writers you hear very little about until the magical day I get to announce that I have an agent and/or a publishing contract. And I'm okay with that. I'm much more comfortable holding onto my idea and my characters until then. 

What about you? Do you participate in any online writing groups? Do you feel comfortable sharing your writing online?


Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Check-In

Welcome to another installment of the Monday Check-In! Every Monday we'll post small updates on what we've accomplished in the past week with writing. If we've gotten a lot done, or accomplished some of our goals, we cheer each other on. If we've not gotten enough done, or are in  writing slump, we still cheer each other on. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you really can do it, right? 

So without further adieu, here is our check-in for this week:

Danielle's Check-In: NaNoWriMo is going well! I've written 10K in 5 days. I'm very excited with how everything is moving. I did discover a problem with my timeline in the story, but I'm plotting it out on the wall with post-its and hoping to figure that out so I can move forward without issues. But I'm loving writing so far this month. I missed being in that place where it's all you can think about and the consumption is a great feeling!!

Christina's Check-In: I finished one chapter this week. I was hoping to get two done, but this was a pretty long chapter, so I'm okay with it. I'm not doing NaNoWriMo, but I'm hoping to get lots written this month. This week I plan on fixing my plot outline and writing another chapter or two.

Cindy's Check-In: I'm also not doing NaNoWriMo because I'm trying to finish up revisions to my rewrite. I lost power for a few days due to the crazy October snowstorm that took a million people out of electricity last week. It kind of sucked not having internet or really having a good place to write when our generator could only power up so many things at one time, but it was also kind of nice to have some space from it. I had lots of time to think about where this story really needs to go and have been unable to stop thinking about the things that need fixing. Over the days that I did have power, I got a good amount of revisions done and I'm actually thinking (HOPING!) I'll be done with this round of revisions by Sunday night. 

What about you? We'd love to hear how your last week in writing went. Please leave us a comment to let us know.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh Friday.....you tease.

One thing we like to do on Tangled is share pieces of what we're writing. Teasers are fun! Here are some pieces from us.

Patricia (from current WIP, working title: PLETHORA)

“I’ll get that, you shouldn’t have to clean up my mess,” I reached down, hastily grabbing for a piece of the wreckage but finding myself with a handful of dirt. The boy had already cleared away the pot and was walking toward the back of the greenhouse. 

“It’s my job,” he said simply, turning back to look at me briefly before walking away. My feet followed the boy toward the back of the greenhouse of their own accord.

“What is?” Racking my brain trying to figure out what this boy’s job was. The only things I was coming up with at the moment were fireman or prince, what was wrong with my brain? 

“Cleaning up the greenhouse, I’m Christopher’s assistant gardener. I live in the guest house out back.” He glanced at me with a barely-there smile playing about his lips, “I guess that means I’m allowed to break stuff too.” 

“Of course,” I could feel the brain fog thickening as I started at the boy, “Well I don’t want bother you anymore so here you go.” I deposited the handful of dirt I forgot I was holding on top of his pile of broken pottery, then turned and walked quickly out of the greenhouse before I could properly process that I had just handed an extremely attractive guy (who lived in my house) a bunch of dirt. The realization that I was obviously suffering from some sort of brain aliment hit me just as I reached the door into the residence hall. I headed to Cordilia’s room. Maybe she knew of some magical, natural remedy for sudden idiocy. 

Christina (from current WIP, working title: VERITAS)

My knees buckle and I fall to the ground, right next to Elder Gale. A hollow feeling creeps into my chest. The sound of Declan calling my name and Supervisor Dresden shouting in the doorway reaches my ears like an echo, distorted and distant. Declan tugs on my hand. His warm skin stings against the cold that has taken over my body, and I rip my hand out of his. My fingers tremble as I reach out to Elder Gale. They hang in the air above him, not touching but so close.

His blood crawls across the floor to me, still warm as it leeches into my clothes and covers my skin. A scream sounds in the room, long and piercing. It isn’t until the pain sears my throat that I realize it’s me. I’m screaming and I can’t stop. It pours out of me like the blood that pours out of Elder Gale. The same thought fills my head over and over again: Next to me is the body of a man I killed.  

Danielle (from current WIP, working title: FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS)

I move from the table and bump into a woman. An apple rolls from her bag and I hand it to her from the ground. She doesn’t take it. 

“I’m sure it’s fine. It doesn’t look bruised,” I say. 

She stares back at me. I’m the serpent and she’s the innocent girl in the garden. I’m tempting her, dooming her to lose everything just by taking it from my hand. I think that’s something like how the story went. She looks as it, at me, her hand moves forward before she freezes. Then, she shakes her head and pushes past me. She doesn’t take the apple. I’m standing here in the doorway holding it out to the air. Even the air doesn't take it. 

Maybe this is what it is to be invisible. Around and alive, on the cusp of everything but no one can see you. They look at you and don’t know what they’re looking at or why. 

Cindy (from current WIP, working title: THE BECKONER)

The French fry in my mouth suddenly tasted like dirt and the heat from his touch became a whole new type of warmth under my skin. I opened my mouth to point out that he was lying and that I could see the outline of his cell phone in his jean pocket but what good would it do? He’d obviously done what he came to do. He must have known I hadn’t told Gabby he’d stayed the night. 

Crap. Forget killing Gabby. I was going to kill Eli.
 
Do you want to share a teaser? If so leave a comment or email Christina at christinaferko(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll feature you on a Friday!

We'd love to see and share what you guys have too!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Overload: Day 3

This post is going to be a random assortment of random things. Why? Well, I'm having one of those days. And these are fun for me. This post is called "Overload" for a reason: It's how your brain feels on day 3 of NaNoWriMo. Why? Because you're looking at ALL THE THINGS you have to do and you're slightly freaking out at word counts, at plots, at the number of days that remain and OMG what happens now? Anyone else...?


Let the randomness ensue...

1) This song. I like it and it's stuck in my head and wanted to share it. It really inspires me to write a post about world building. I'll probably do that soon. Stay tuned. (Note: I love/hate world-building.)



2) This morning at work all the things were broken! (and they keep breaking. They're overloaded) ALL THE THINGS. The phone, the internet (someone typed google into google!!*), the scheduling system--and one of the PTs called out sick. It was mass chaos for about ten minutes. And then, it was quiet.

It was quiet and I had nothing I could do. No internet to distract me. No twitter. Only Patricia--who was at work, working. She let me toss out some plot ideas with her. And for two hours, I got to think about plot and about my character and about what is supposed to happen in the next scene. Sometimes those next scenes are killer.

So I started plotting.

I made a list of all the things that need to happen still in the book. The big things. And then I thought about where my characters are and where they are going. How will they get there? I picked two things that could happen first--whether they have an importance now or later--and now there's a scene awaiting when I get home. I'm pretty pumped about. Everything's about hit the fan in my WIP.

3) Here's a line from my WIP.
I’m going to die today.

Everything inside me wants tell Xenith I changed my mind. Wants me to run and hide. But I know I can’t hide from death. Not when I’m putting myself right in its path.
4) Go read this interview with debut author Jennifer Rush (Altered, 2012). It's a character interview--and her boys are HOT. And funny. Everything mine strive to be.


5) I'm very excited to write tonight. I love when I'm excited because it's GREAT motivation to write scenes well. Which is different than just writing scenes, even for Nano. (Be my buddy!! @DanielleEWrites)

I need to go now. I've had a lot of Skittles today and my brain is overloaded by the work I'm not doing and should be.
What about you? What are you doing this week? Are you overloaded by anything? Do you want a Skittle?



*This reference is because of the show The IT Crowd. You should watch it. I love it--and love to quote it more. It's on Netflix and is (seriously) a 24 episode commitment--and they're only 30 minutes each.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 2


Hey guys! Welcome to the craziness that is National Novel Writing Month! (If you love to write, but have no idea what I'm talking about, you can learn all about it here.)

If you missed yesterday's post by Danielle, I highly recommend you take a minute to check it out, it had some fantastic (and hilarious) NaNoWriMo resources!

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/sWGjOD
For the next 29 days, things are going to be pretty much insane for all of us attempting this crazy-fun-exhilarating feat! (emphasis on the crazy...) My posts are pretty much going to consist of a quick update of how I'm doing or whatever else I can figure out in the 30 minutes I have scheduled for a break in the evening. I apologize in advance for their scatter-brain-dead-ness. All available writing brain power has been diverted to my WIP for the month of November.

This year I am going to be attempting to finish a first draft of my current WIP, PLETHORA. Technically, since I've already started it I'm a "rebel". Or not, since it's looking more and more likely that I'll be starting from scratch. Either way, I'm really hoping to get the majority of a first draft out of this month and hope you will all be here to cheer me on. I'm going to need it! 

And if you are going to be NaNo-ing add me on the site (my profile is here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/patriciaeriley) and we'll cheer each other on! 

So without further ado, here is my Day 2 AM Update:

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com
Last night I wrote 1884 words. And they were terrible and wonderful at the same time. I'm still feeling pretty excited about the whole process and the breakthroughs I've made on the plot of my WIP recently. At the same time, I'm already looking forward to editing this mess. The not-editing part is my biggest challenge so far! Also, I found this picture which is almost exactly like the tattoo I envision my character having. So far I've still managed to shower, eat, take care of my family, and do my day job. But then again... it's the morning of Day 2...

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? Any tips or tricks you can share with me? If not, what are your November plans? Do you have any extra coffee/tea/soda/candy/cookies/cake I can borrow? Or some hours for sleep?... I could really use with some of those...


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's November!!!

Our lovely Cindy had today's post....but she's been without power and the things in life (like internet) since Saturday. So, I decided I'd jump in and say hello.

HOLY CRAP FRIENDS---It's NOVEMBER. It means a few things.

We're getting closer to this.... 



 And THIS (One of my favorites)....



 And this.....




And these things, which may not be as fun as the others....



And for some people, November also means NaNoWriMo. Which may be fun or not fun, depending on your view. But something that is fun about NaNo? This silly song.




There's also this great video from John Green. AND this post from Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall) in which she congratulates writers for participating---or not participating---in NaNo. 

The whole point of this random post is to say Welcome to November.   It's a new month. A new time to find something to focus on, to achieve and to look forward to the things that are coming up. The Tangled Girls are excited to spend another month with you talking about writing, goals and all the things in between.

Let us know what you're up to for November!!