Sunday, December 25, 2011

Promotional Videos

So, on my old computer, I took the time to learn how to make videos with Windows Live Movie Maker.  I have the same program on my new laptop, the only exception being that it's an updated version.  So last night, I decided to make myself familiar with the updated version of the program.  I made a video that was alright, but I ended up deleting it and today I started work on another video.

The video is going to be a Promotional Video for the entire Bloody Lovely series that will give a (very VERY) brief overview of the books, mostly just giving the mood of things and a very small hint as to some of the plot points.  I'm mostly just making it for fun, but I'm hoping that it'll be a good-looking video when it's all done.

At this point I can't finish it.  Me and LJ need to pick a font to use for the third book (I'll address this issue below) as well as make a final decision on the title of the fourth book and pick a font for that book, as well.  Once that's done, though, I can finish up the video and I'll be publishing it (unlisted) on YouTube if LJ approves of it.  After that I'll send it to a few writer friends and get their opinions and then I might make the link accessible on my Facebook Page.  We'll see, though.  First me and LJ need to make the final decisions for the texts.

Now, approaching that issue.  This is something that we've been told off for in the past but that we can't seem to change our minds on.  With our Bloody Lovely series, we've selected a different font to go with each book of the series.  The covers will all probably have very similar designs, but all of the fonts on the covers will be different.  People have told us that this isn't a good idea; that it will confuse our readers.  I don't think so.  I think our readers will look at the books, see Bloody Lovely and be able to work out that that book is part of that series.  Plus, I think we'll probably end up putting the numbers on the bind of the books so that people can tell which books go in which order (that's something that's always bugged me, is picking up a book from a series and not knowing which order they go in).

If you'd like to leave your opinion on the issue of different fonts for different books, please do so in a comment below!  I'd love to hear what you have to say on the matter.  Would it confuse you?  Would you think it looked funny?  Let us know!

And of course IT'S CHRISTMAS!  I know you all probably think it's weird that I'm typing up a non-Christmas related blog post ON Christmas, and I'm sorry for any of you that are disappointed by that in some way.  We do celebrate the holiday at my house, but we're the type of family that believes that the celebrating can wait until the afternoon when we have everyone over.  So until then, I'm on and off of the computer, going between this and helping my dad with the cooking and cleaning (my mom's at work; bummer, eh?).

Anyway, I hope you're all having a great Christmas!!! (Or had, depending on when you read this.)  Happy Christmas to all of you!

~Maddi J.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

ALRIGHT!

So I got my Christmas present early this year: a brand new laptop.  It's beautiful.  I love it.  -teary eyed-

ANYWAY!

I don't have a lot to say except that I should be doing a lot of writing, because I seriously, like, love typing on this thing; it's amazing.  rofl!  So I'll probably be doing a lot of that.  XD  I've still got all my files, before anyone worries.  So no losses there.  <3

So, yeah...  Winner for shortest post of the year?!  ME!

~MaddiJ

Friday, November 25, 2011

The "Manuscript" Form /// Update

I don't know about the rest of you, but when I print off chapters, I get so excited!  Even if the chapters are really bad and need a TON of editing, I love having a hard copy of my book.  It's such an amazing feeling for me!

Does anybody else get that way?  Just sort of freaking out over a pile of papers?  I do; all the time.

Anyway, I've been working on the edits for ItC.  I've got 29 chapters updated and need to type up 24 of those (rofl).  Lots of work to be done, but I have a lot of time to do this.

For those of you that haven't realized, I gave up on my NaNoWriMo novel, mainly because of the "big" realization I came up (read the last post to figure that out more).  I think I'm going to try and work this whole book out before I try more projects, and even then I've still got five more books on the way for this series.  We'll see where that goes.

There's not really a lot to say.  I just wanted to bring you guys up to speed.  Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday, even if you didn't celebrate the holiday.

~Maddi J

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Great Realization

One would think that, having written for as long as I have (despite my youthfulness), I'd have a very deep understanding of how my writing works.  For those of you who are not privy to such amazing information, I'll let you in on my age-old secret (and by age-old, I mean my age, which is 17).

The vast majority of the time, my stories begin with one of two things: a character, or a singular plot point.  These are my "first stitches" as I heard another writer (whose name I can't remember and, I apologize, I can't give credit to).  From there, I work out more stitches, or details to the story until I have a vague idea of what's going to happen.  From there, I start where many others begin: the beginning.  I always try to start my books in a way that either gives information (such as about the M.C. or the general plot) or catches the attention of my readers (maybe by throwing them straight into the action of the story or by giving a very cool first line).

From there, I just try to work from point A to point B, which is to say, I go step by step.  "This much has happened so far...now what's next?"  I always work in chronological order, except for those moments when I feel the urge to write a certain scene.  Even when I do write out of order, I always re-write the scene I'd previously written (referencing the original piece) so that I don't break flow with the rest of the book/chapter.

The other day (yesterday, in fact) I came to realize something that I'd been misunderstanding about my work.

In an interview I'd written for my Facebook Page (the interview can be found in my notes) I wrote the following to a question on challenge I face while writing:


"My writing challenge is not having a writing challenge.  And in that, I mean this: when I love a story - really and truly love a story - I become so attached that I can't do another project until the first is complete.  I have to see stories through until the end."

Since I wrote that line, something's been nagging at my mind, and becoming evermore vocal.  "If I can only ever stick to projects I really and truly love, does that mean that I don't really and truly love many of my stories?"
This couldn't possibly be the case, I decided.  I love a vast majority of the stories I've come up with, or I wouldn't have come up with them and I wouldn't think about them anymore (strange fact: I can completely forget ever coming up with an idea if I don't like it, and am sometimes reminded later, by people I was talking about it with, that I ever thought of it at all).

So then I had to figure it out: what is it that stops me writing?  I turned my attention to the two novels I'd completed and the one I'm focused on now: Bloodlines, Glamor, and Bloody Lovely.  What did they all have in common, beyond the fact that I truly love them?

BUT WAIT!

I started to realize that Glamor, while it was fun to write, wasn't something I could actually describe as a book I "really and truly loved."  It was a fun book to write, and I enjoyed myself, don't get me wrong.  But Glamor was a play off of the classic Beauty & the Beast story, not something purely of my own creation.  The characters were brand new and I'd never worked with them before.  As it were, the fact that I was so disattached to this book threw me for a moment.  That's when it came to me: planning.

Despite the fact that I hadn't put a lot of thought or heart into Glamor, I knew where it was going to go because I knew what had happened in the original story.  I thought about the other two books.

In Bloodlines, I'd gotten very in-depth with the planning of the book.  I'd written out plans, I'd spoken with trusted writing friends about what the best twists would be in the book and I had a sheet of paper with me at all times that had a basic layout of what would happen in ever chapter of the book.  I knew what I was going to do next, because I'd figured out before I'd even begun writing.

With Bloody Lovely, Rory (LJ/Lorelai) have been working on the books' plotlines in RP form for years.  In the beginning, there's nothing that we haven't planned, unless we've chosen to change them while writing.  It's all there: it's all ready to be taken from our minds and put on paper.

And then I had it: I wasn't focused on books because I really and truly loved them; I was focused on books because I knew what I wanted to do with them.  Which, of course, isn't to say I didn't really and truly love them.  I still do truly loved Bloody Lovely, and I'm quite fond of Bloodlines and Glamor.  But that love lead to thought, and that thought lead to planning, and that planning is why I was able to write them.  It's also why I can't write any other projects.

So now I have a starting point.  Now I know what I have to do to write out stories.  I have to plan them a little more.  I have to know what I'm going to do next.  Because that gives me a place to begin, and my mind isn't wandering to the next part of another book where I know what I'm going to write.

I'm sorry to unload that on all of you guys.  I've just been a little excited that I've realized this and had to sort of vent about it and let the world know that I've finally realized my biggest problem with writing.  I hope that this unearthing will lead to the writing of a lot more novels in the future.

So, writing question:  What do you guys believe are your biggest problems with writing?

~Maddi J

Monday, October 31, 2011

On the Eve of NaNoWriMo

I saw a link to a friend's blog and realized that I'd fallen behind on my own blog, despite promising that I would try and keep up on it now.  After racking my brain for a moment, I realized that I hadn't written anything (or not much, at least) on NaNoWriMo.

After my success last year (I'd given myself a goal of 25,000, which I passed by over 5,000) I'd determined myself that I would do it again this year, raise my goal, and really push myself to hit a higher word count with year.  The only down-side is that the edits on the first Bloody Lovely book have just recently begun, and this means that they'll have to be put on hold another month.  But I've given my co-author, who isn't doing NaNoWriMo, a good bit to work on while I do my own writing.  I hope to get back to my writing, soon.

My project for this year is something that I thought up following a dream I had the other night.  Slowly, the work's changed and no longer resembles the original dream.  However.  I've decided to do another classic fantasy story re-make.  Last year's was Beauty & the Beast, in my own, personal re-telling, Glamor.  This year, however, I ended up with a different story and a different twist.  I'm going to be re-doing Alice in Wonderland, pulling characters out of Wonderland and placing them in the real world, on the dingy streets of a large city very reminiscent of New York (though I haven't quite decided that this is where I want to place them, as of yet). 

I've got very little of the details of the book planned, though I've got a fairly classic and slightly cliche - though I still love it, anyway - twist at the end, along with a few character designs and personalities.  All I need, now, is for the clock to strike midnight and I can start on this little journey of mine.

Is anyone else doing NaNoWriMo this year?  If so, gimme a little taste of what you're doing, either a couple sentences on what you're writing or, if you're feeling up to it, a little clip (assuming you're two hours ahead of me and you've already started).  I'd love to see what some of my buddies are up to.

Hope this has interested you guys.  Wish my luck on my venture, and I wish all of you the very best of luck, as well, whether you're striving to meet your NaNoWriMo goal this year or you're just writing the way you always do. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Freedom Writers and Emotional Writing

So, I've been reading a book called Freedom Writers Diary, which many of you may have heard of.  It was, not long ago, made into a movie, starring Hillary Swank.  It's the story of a teacher that goes into teaching in Long Beach and leads a group of "problem children" out of the dark.

You can see my personal, emotional reactions to the book on my blog, Live, Love, Laveer, but here I want to tell you about the thoughts it gave me on writing.

Freedom Writers Diary is a collection of entries from Journals that Ms. Gruwell (the teacher in the book) had her children writing in the book where they're encouraged to write about their day, their life, and their thoughts and emotions.  These are off-hand writing, not meant to sounds poetic or deep.  They're the words of normal teenagers that actually tended to have very poor education because of what their teachers thought of them.  Yet the emotions in the posts made the writing feel better than good, in my eyes.

So that got me thinking: if my writing is good now, how good would it be if I started getting more emotional with my writing?

Now, I'm not saying I'm going to poor my heard out into the books I write.  But my characters should, shouldn't they?  I should find a way to relay from the pages into the reader how things are for my characters, whether they're happy, sad, enraged or silly.  If the writings of a fourteen year old with a sub-par education can jump off the page and make me want to laugh and cry and be angry, then why can't my writing do the same?

But then I asked myself another question.  How can I relay emotions if I can't understand situations?

In one of my short stories, Alyssa A's Sister, a young girl gets raped at a party.  But do I really reflect the emotions that are going through her mind when she's being forced into bed?  Do I accurately display how a young girl would feel as people whisper about her on her "walk of shame" as she leaves the party?  I, myself, have never been raped; I've never been put in a situation where I've had to walk through a room where everybody's whispering about me. 

A writer's job is difficult in this way.  It's difficult for someone to write about something they've never experienced.  This should not - can not - stop us from doing what we love to do.  But it should encourage us to try and live life and be involved in what's going on around us.

Research can be a daunting word.  Research is a word that makes me think of long hours pouring over old newspapers and computer screens, reading uninteresting facts that probably won't do me any good.  But it can be so different from that; it can be so much better and so much more.  Reading The Freedom Writers Diary in and of itself has been a form of research for me.  It's given me insight into the minds of teenagers who are going through difficult things.  I can read their emotions and use them to reflect on how some of my characters may react to similar situation.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that reading books about things that actually happened can do amazing things for your writing.  The Freedom Writers Diary was the book that turned me onto this, but after I'm done with it, I intend to go on a hunt for more books that can give me further insight into the human heart and mind.  Because an understanding of how people think and feel will help me do amazing things with my writing.

I seriously recommend The Freedom Writers Diary to all people, writers and non-writers.  I also encourage all of the writers out there to do their best to reflect emotion in their writing.  Emotion can be the difference between an good piece and an amazing piece.

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Been a While...

I love that song...it's really good in my opinion.  Anyway.

I've been doing a bit of writing, lately.  Mostly, it's been clips from later book in the Bloody Lovely series.  I've been focusing on books three and four for these little clips.  It feels good to be working on them.  I haven't been able to do a lot of Bloody Lovely in a while due to some issues.

Unfortunately, being clips from later books, I can't post anything here for you guys to read, as it would give away things from the first book.  Sucks, yeah?  Some day, though, the books may be published and you all will finally get to see what it is I've been working on all this time.  Some day...  We can dream, yes?

Other than doing clip writing, I've also been working on trying to read more; mostly things outside of my genre.  And I've found that, when I'm not reading modern, urban fantasy, I get drawn toward classics and romances, like Pride & Prejudice and The Portrait of Dorian Grey, the former I've finished and the latter I have not.  Soon, though.  I hope, at least. 

So, this was just my (very) little update about how things are going with me.  I really haven't had a lot to write, and for, I think, obvious reasons, given that this update is so short.  School's started and it's proving more stressful than ever before (I think I mentioned this already, but I'm a Senior, which, for my foreign readers, means that I'm in my very last year of school before I start college/uni).  Hopefully things will pick up.

Well, here's to me writing again, yeah?  Hopefully I'll have more to share with you from now on.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

More Tips to Beat Writers Black

So I'm doing another blog post on beating writers block for you guys.  So a few tips that I have...

1.  I'm going to repeat the one I had before: select a picture and describe it in as much detail as you possibly can.  It may inspire something new, or it may just put you in the swing of writing again.

2.  Write ANYTHING that's on your mind.  Write about the missing pair to your sock.  Write about how much your little brother is bothering you.  Write about that crush of yours at school that you think looked at you.  Whatever it is that's on your mind, put it on paper.  The majority of time, the thing keeping you from writing is a lack of knowing what to write.  So write about whatever you do know.

3.  Get creative.  When the cause of your writers block isn't not know what to write, it very possibly may be that you're bored with what/how you're writing.  Use new words or a different style.  Try writing from first person instead of third person, or if you're really up for a challenge, try second person.  You might just find a new favorite way of writing.

4.  Enhance your vocabulary.  Go through dictionaries or thesauruses and find words that you can use instead of the old words that you usually use.  Maybe one of them will inspire a plot or title.

5.  Edit.  I know that a big rule is that you're not supposed to edit until you're done writing, but sometimes showing yourself that you can improve your writing can help you write, because you have more confidence in whatever it is you're writing at the time.

6.  Never give up on it.  When you STOP writing, you will NOT get over your writer's block.  You must keep trying.

So there you go.  A few more pieces of advice on getting over Writers Block.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Few Simple Things You Should Know About ALL Your Characters

Quite the title, isn't it?  lol.  But anyway...

This post is about getting to know your characters.  And by that, I means ALL of your characters, from your MC to the little girl that ran down the street that you never even considered naming.

When I'm writing a story, I often find that characters seem to resurface themselves.  It's like being on TV: once you get a taste of it, you kinda want it to happen again.  Well, your characters are the same way: they want to show up again, and without even realizing it, you may accidentally reintroduce someone to your story.  And when that happens, you want to know a few things about them to give them depth.  Because the only thing worse than a flat main character is a 3D MC surrounded by flat minors.  Trust me.

Now, I know what you're thinking:  "Maddi, if I give backgrounds to all of my characters then it's going to take up all my time and I won't have any time to actually write my story!"

Well, this is partially true, so I will admit that I did over-dramatize it a bit: you only need the background on characters that reoccur within the book or that play an important role at the point in the story that they're present for.  But it really is key that you know something about each and every one of the characters. 

So these are a list of the top five things you want to know about ALL OF YOUR CHARACTERS!!!

1.  This is the simplest and probably goes without saying, but in needs to be said, simply because it is the most important.  You absolutely must know your characters Name!!!  First name, last name, and middle name, if they have one.  This doesn't have to be something extremely intriguing; it's just a name.  I often find myself giving completely insignificant characters very common names, likes Bob, Tom, Roger, Susan, Mary, etc.  If they're not an important character, they don't need an important name, especially if we don't say it. 

2.  The Basic Features of your character plus One Major Detail that stands out from all the others.  For example: your character is African American with black hair, amber eyes and a slim figure.  These are the basic features of your character.  However, you also notice that this character has a slight tilt to her nose, that makes you think she must have had her nose broken at one point.  This is a single detail that, though it's small, it's something that your characters will associate with that character that makes her stand out from the other African Americans with black hair and amber eyes.  By giving these basic details and this one major detail, you can give a description of the character that gives the reader a detailed enough description about the character that they can picture him/her without going into so much depth that it bores them.  (This rule mostly applies to minor characters; the major characters should be FAR more in-depth than this.)

3.  Your character has a home, don't they?  So you need to know Where Your Character Lives.  This can be something vague like "I live in the country, in a small, brick house," or something more detailed like "I live at 418 Westburry Ave. in Plainsville, Kentucky."  (I totally made that address up, in case you hadn't guessed.)  But you want to know at least a bit about where they live.  The location of your character can often have an impact on their personality and how they react to situations. 

4.  I always like to have One Interesting Fact about my character.  For example:  "Sarah has read the Harry Potter series through over 100 times."  It can really be anything.  But something that you can bring up in a conversation that makes the reader go "Oh!"  It's a lot like the one major detail thing: it's something that the reader can associate with your character that makes them stand out from all the other characters.

5.  Everyone has a Family, right?  Well, at least everyone has a set of biological parents.  You should know who your characters' parents are (even if they don't) and the relationship that they have with them (if one even exists).  If they have sisters or brothers, you want to know that, too, as well as anyone in the family that they're extremely close to.  Along with the family, you also want to know who their Friends are.  Anyone that plays or has played a key role in your character's life.

So there you have: Maddi's list of the Top Five Things You Should Know About Your Characters.  Again with the mouthful titles.  -sigh-

Well, that's all I have.  Know I haven't been posting a lot lately, but I hope this makes up for it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Support

So this blog post is going to be all about support, and not just for me.  I have the privilege of knowing so many wonderful writers through the internet, and I want to help promote them, because it means a lot to me to not only know that I'm not alone out there, but to also have this wonderful support group to help me get through my own journey as a writer.  So here goes...

The first promotions is about a Facebook group called Pen to Paper.  The group's admin. is Dominique Weldon and she prides herself on having such a cozy little group where members know each other so well and are so comfortable with one another.  It's truly a wonderful group, and through it I met most of my fellow writers.

The next promotion is for the owner of P2P, Dominique.  Dominique is a rare find: she's a passionate writer that's serious about what she does, but more rare than that, as a person she's genuinely kind and modest.  She's just a gem.  Not only does Dom have a Facebook Page, she also has her own Blog.  You should all check them out; she's a wonderful friend and loves what she does (writing) so very much.

The End of Her Life is the next promotion I'd like to make.  It's a book being written by a young writer named Savannah.  It's a Dystopian fantasy and, though I haven't read the book, personally, I have heard good things, and I can clearly see the effort that's been put into making it a creative and original piece.

Rue Volley's Bloody & Light series has recently gotten enough attention as to be published.  Yes, that's right, Miss Volley has accomplished what many of us think is only a dream: she's become a published author.  Check out her stunning cover art and links to her book on her Facebook Page, as well as the company that published her, Vamptasy Publishing.

A truly wonderful woman, Sinead MacDoughlas is a mystery writer.  She's incredibly supportive and has an eye for detail that is far beyond what I've seen before.  Check out here Facebook Page, as well as the group for her novel, Learn To Love Me.

And finally, the promotion you've all been waiting for: ME!  I'm not going to give myself any kind words; if those are going to be said, they'll be said by others.  Instead, I shall just direct you to my pages.  Facebook | WattPad | Twitter.

A big THANK YOU to all of you that have been a part of my support group; you mean the world to me.  You're what drive me to keep writing, showing me every day that I can improve and showing me the potential in my own work.  And to those of you that aren't writers, yet still drive me forward (Bri & Krys particularly) you get a big <3 from me.

The biggest thank you of all, though, goes to my co-author, LJ, who's been there through the highs and the lows and with whom I've created a world and a cast of characters that will always be a part of my heart no matter what.  

~Maddi J

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Last Minute Prologue /// Update

Is it weird that, at the last minute, I've decided to write a Prologue for Bloody Lovely: In the Clutches?  I don't know what exactly brought it on; I was outside, talking on the phone with a friend that's following the books, and I got the sudden urge to write a Prologue, and even a pretty clear idea of what I was going to make it about. 

When the writing on the book started, I intentionally avoided writing out a Prologue; I didn't think it would be necessary.  I still don't think it's necessary actually, but I do like the idea of the scene that came to mind, and I think that it would add something good to the book itself. 

I think another reason the idea came to mind was so that it gave me something to write.  At the point that we're at in the story, me and LJ have 14 chapters left, plus the Epilogue.  We split them up about half, me taking 7 chapters and LJ taken 7 chapters, plus the Epilogue.  Unfortunately, because they're so mixed in, I got done the first two chapters assigned to me, and now I have to wait for three of LJ's chapters before I can continue with my own.  Not that I mind waiting for her; I want her to take her time and do the chapters to the best of her abilities, the same as I do.  It can just be a little frustrating me for me because I actually want to write out something now, and I don't have anything to write.

So I'm going to be starting on a Prologue today (I have, like, a sentence written right now) and if it turns out good, then I'll send it to LJ and see if she likes it.  If she does, we'll put it in the book at the beginning. 

I guess I've already sort of covered what's going on with my writing right now, but just as a bit more of an in depth update:

The rest of the first Bloody Lovely book is planned out, and me and there are going to be 52 total chapters, plus and epilogue and, potentially, a prologue.  We're both working on the chapters together, and hopefully things will be done soon and we can get into editing (I'm breaking the rules and I'm going to begin editing almost immediately after finishing the book).  About halfway through the editing, me and LJ will also probably start work on the second book: Dancing with Danger, which takes us away from the original characters from the first book and shows us new characters, one of whom we introduced toward the end of the first book.  I'm really looking forward to writing the second book, because the setting gives us a lot more room to move around with.  There's going to be a lot more drama and romance in this book, and I think I can speak for both myself and LJ when I say we're going to have a lot of fun writing it!  (Which, of course, isn't to say we didn't have fun with In the Clutches.  We certainly did.)

Along with the progress being made on the Bloody Lovely book, I've also made a tiny, itty bitty dent into Phantasm, though at this point I'm not sure where I'm going to be taking that book.  I'd had an idea originally, but I scrapped it due to a lack of originality.  Hoping that I have somewhere to go, not only with that book, but also with the others I'd planned to put in that series.  If not, I can certainly figure something else out with them, maybe do a bunch of individual books that aren't related.

That's what's going on with my writing, though; a lack of something to do, even though I've finally got the will to do it.  I'm also re-reading the Harry Potter series.  Just finished HPSS today, and am going to start HPCS later. 

Well, that's all that I have to say for now.  Hope you all found this...interesting? lol.

~Maddi J.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Body Language

I remembered this little aspect of writing just a moment ago while commenting on someone else's blog and thought that I'd share this with you.

To me, one of the most important aspects of a story is your character's body language; the things they say simply with their body. I'll give you an example.

"Oh yes; you're very cute," Nicole said, smiling broadly.

"Oh yes; you're very cute," Nicole said, rolling her eyes.

The words said did not change in either example and there was not description as to the character's tone when she spoke. However, simply from the body language described at the end of each post, you can tell that, in the first example, Nicole was being genuine, if not polite, while in the second example she was being rude and sarcastic.

And of course, giving tone to dialogue isn't the only use for body language. It can also relate the reactions of other characters. If someone is talking and you simply say that your character is listening, then the reader doesn't know their reaction to what is being said. However, if you describe them as having their head resting lazily on their hand or their eyes being averted out the window rather than at the speaker, the reader knows that your character is bored. Alternately, if the character is leaning forward with a light smile and bright eyes, it gives the impression that your character is interested and listening intently.


So that's my two cents on character body language.  In my opinion, the things your character is doing with their body is as important as what they say as far as voicing their thoughts and moods in the book, and personally, I believe that they should be described to the fullest.

~Maddi J.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Little Update

So I haven't posted in the last few days, and I thought I'd bring you guys up to speed on what's going on.

The truth of the matter is, I haven't been writing, and it's killing me inside.  I've been so pumped to get to this part of the book: the part where the action really begins and readers are going to be totally enticed by everything that's happening.  And now I just can't write!  The saddest thing is, this is the part I thought would be the easiest to write, and it's proving to be the absolute opposite. 

I've written out the first part of Chapter 35 (in fact, I'd even say I wrote out the majority of it) but I can't get any further than where I'm at.  I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Meanwhile, my co-author has written chapter 20, and members of our IMVU Fan Group are now able to continue the story from where they left off a month or so ago when I posted Chapter 17.  I'm hoping they're all enjoying the story finally being updated.  I know I've been waiting anxiously, myself.

Along with all that, me and LJ have decided that, once we're done with this draft of the book, we'll need to write out some more fluff for it; some of this is for volume purposes, others is to draw out LJ"s characters in the book, because, honestly, I'm not very good with her characters and they haven't gotten the light that they deserve.  So LJ is planning on doing a few more chapters for the mid-section of the book so that we can get more in depth with Ash and Lily.

I guess my question for all of the writers reading this today is: Have you ever been really, truly looking forward to writing about a certain part of your book, only to get there and not be able to write it?

Well, that's all I have to write.  Hope all of the writers are having fun with their books and the readers have something interesting to read.  Happy days to you all,
~Maddi J.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fail...

Well, I know I've already said that I've given up on the writing goal for this week and I'm going to be trying to do some editing and such and maybe try writing a different story (so far not working for me) but I'd like to let you know that I did do poorly on it.

I'm not sure exactly what my numbers are on this, but it's something along the lines of 8,000 words short.  Yes, I did get that lazy at the end of the week (or maybe I should say the middle).

So we'll see about this break I'm talking from Bloody Lovely.  I don't know if it's going to do me any good, or even if I will be able to pull away from it.  I really do love the story, so for all I know I might just end up going back to it.  Frankly, as long as my writing lull is gone, it doesn't make a difference to me if I only write another sentence from another story.

If I am able to get into another story and get writing done on it, than I'm going to probably post a bit of it up here, so be on the lookout for more writing clips.  I hope you enjoy them if/when I post them up for you.

Anyway, I'm going to go try and write some now.  Happy writing,
~Maddi J.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

When All Else Fails...Edit

So, despite all of my hardest efforts, I haven't been able to beat this writing lull I'm in.  I've tried prompts and short breaks and all of it and it's not working for me.  The only thing I've been left with is that I've been focusing too much on a single project for too long.

Despite the writing on Bloody Lovely having only just started, LJ and I have been working on it for a very long time (the better part of three years) and my mind's been kind of revolving around it, even when I was writing my own projects. 

So I think my mind needs a break from Bloody Lovely for a while.  But I don't have the inspiration to pick a new project to work on.  Instead, I'm going to go back through my older projects.  Some of these projects are complete (actually, only two XP) and some (about 90% +) are not.  I'm hoping that I'm going to be able to scrap some old ideas that aren't going to work anymore (things I came up with when I was little that lack originality anymore) and also maybe get to work on some old projects that I never finished.

As a result of this, I'm not going to be doing the word count goal (I did fail this week, by the by).  To be honest, I don't have the capacity to do it right now.  And I think that this goal is what it took for me to realize that I needed a break from this particular project.

That's really all I had to say.  Here's to hoping I get some distance from BL and am able to refresh myself enough to work on it again later.

Happy writing to you all,
~Maddi J.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Writing Clip

I thought I'd post this up for you guys to read: it's a clip from my co-authored book, Bloody Lovely: In the Clutches.  Hope you enjoy.  (The clips is from Chapter 3 - A New Playmate)

----

    Jerking up out of his sleep, Dean’s attention was drawn to the door where, clearly, someone was trying to catch his attention.  A raucous of battering made itself audible, as well as a chorus of shouts and screams.
    Behind him, the prisoners were beginning to wake up, their attentions drawn, too, toward the door.  A few looked hopeful, as though this were their savior, come to take them away at last.  Others looked apprehensive, frightened that, whatever it was could only be bad news for them.
    “HELP!” someone screamed from behind the door.  “Damnit, Dean!  Open this door!”
    The thickly-accented voice of his commander pulled Dean out of his frightened daze and over to the door which, after pulling a gun from his belt, he pulled open violently.
    A troop of guards stumbled into the room, all of them, it seemed, struggling with the same thing: a young woman held in the air vertically as her body arched, struggling against their grips on her.  A flash of platinum hair caught Dean’s eye as the girl thrashed about.
    “Well get your asses moving and grab hold, you incompetent-” the commander shouted.  But exactly what they were was lost as the girl let out a shriek and threw all her weight toward the smallest of the guards.  He shouted and let go of her, freeing her arm, which she used to grab at the commander. 
    “Simmons, I swear to god, I will beat you black and blue if you don’t grab hold of this bitch immediately!” the commander shouted as he grappled with the young woman.
    Now closer up, his arms wrapped around one of the thrashing legs, Dean saw that there was a blindfold covering half the girl’s face, making only her mouth visible.  He’d seen this before with other captees.  It prevented them from making eye contact, which many of them needed to do…  Well, whatever it was they did.  In all honesty, Dean wasn’t sure exactly what it was these Workers, as his mother had deemed them, did.  All his life he’d grown up with stories of humans doing amazing things like you wouldn’t believe.  And while working in this strange place, he’d seen some of these amazing things with his own eyes.  He’d come to learn that amazing didn’t necessarily mean good; it could be very, very bad.
    “Damnit, Simmons!” the commander shouted as the small guard lost his grip yet again.
    “I’ve got it,” Dean said, dodging under the girl’s flailing limbs and taking hold of her arm after a moment’s struggle.
    It took five minutes to carry the girl across the room to the cell where Simmons, apparently trying to compensate for his earlier shortcomings, rushed to the door in order to open it.  He then pulled out his gun and pointed it at the gap in the cell wall.
    “Don’t any of you try nothin’!” he shouted.  “Or I’ll put one between your eyes.”
    Just about everyone in the cell was tense, staring at the open door and struggling guards.  Scales tipped in each of their minds, and they asked themselves if it was worth trying.  What would they lose?  Some of them might be severely injured, or die.
    After a moment, the guards heaved the girl forward and tossed her into the cell.  As she flew through the air, her body twisted peculiarly and she landed on her hands and knees.  The door slammed shut behind her and the throng of guards left, Dean and his partners being replaced by three new guards. 
    There was a crowd around the young woman and a loud murmur going through the crowd; people asking after her well-being or wondering who she was.
    “Just.  Get.  Away.”  The people closest to her quieted and looked at her almost in shock.  “I said: Get AWAY!”
    The crowd dispersed almost immediately, backing away from her.  She was still on her hands and knees, her eyes still covered by the thick black blindfold wrapped around her head.  Long, shallow breaths issued from her mouth and her body was tense, every muscle pulled taut.  The inmates kept their distances from her, though nothing could stop their curious stares.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Buckle Down: Writing Goals

So, I've decided that I'm going to make a goal of writing a certain amount every week.  Yes, every week.  I'm not able to write every day; I know I'm not.  However, I think that, within a couple days, I should be able to pull through, and I want to not only pull through, but also do a catch-up day and try to work to fill in/make up for the days that I missed.

My goal is going to be to right 21,000 words every week.  This isn't much; just 3,000 words a day; about three and a half pages on a normal-sized word document.  I'm going to keep working until I can make this goal and then surpass it.  Then I'm going to raise the count.

To help keep me on track, I'm hoping you guys will help.  Yell at me every week that I don't meet the goal and give me a big pat on the back on days that I do reach it. 

I've never been much of a fan of forcing myself to write or giving myself a goal to write to, because I've always felt like, if I do that, it'll take some of the enjoyment out of writing, and I'm still a little worried about that being a problem.  However, I think it's worth effort to get me out of this lazy little slum I'm in and get some real writing done.

The way I'm going to work this...  Every Monday I'm going to post up what I wrote for that week and see if I reached the goal.  After that, I start fresh: 0/21,000 words.  I'm really hoping you guys will be able to help me do this.  A big advanced thank you for anyone that tries to help me stay on track.

So, that's all I had to say; my late night post for something I just decided to do.

Gave a nice evening/early morning to all of you.

~Maddi J.

A Picture's Worth 1,000 Words

This saying is truer than you know.  But, in fact, a picture can be worth so many more than just 1,000. 

When facing a writing lull (also known as writer's block) one of the best things that I've found a writer can do is find a picture.  Do a google image search to find a picture that reminds of your story.  This can be a place in the story (my personal favorite), or a picture of a person or really anything that make you think of your story.

Now for the fun part...

Give the picture a nice long look.  Examine it; try to get a good feel for what's going on in the picture and try to take in every detail.  Then, describe it.  Go back and forth between the picture and your writing and do your best to capture the scene in the most vivid way possible.  What color is the sand on the beach?  Just how tall are the castle's towers?  How bright are the eyes of that girl?  Every little detail needs to be captured as well as you can capture it.

So now you're done, and where has this left you?  Well, to begin with, you now have an in-depth description of a scene or character in your book.  You can plug this in anywhere you like.  You're also now in the swing of writing again, having just written that beautiful description.  And finally, you have a starting point.  Don't stop at the description's end.  Keep going; write what happened to your characters int his place.  Imagine that the picture is now moving and the girl is doing something.  From this point, you have free reign over what happens next.

Well, that's my big "how to beat writer's block" post.  And, of course, you can use this simply as a warm up to get in the swing of writing for the day, or to start a scene that you weren't sure how to begin before. 

If you guys decide to give this a try, I'd love to know how it works out for you.  It's one of my favorite methods, even if it doesn't really work for the book I'm writing now (there's, literally, one setting in this damn thing).

Hope you all are well,

~Maddi J.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Skipping Around

How do you guys feel about skipping around during writing?

As it is, this is something I'm considering doing right now.  I've gotten to a point in the book where I want to add a couple more chapters (two or three) before I get to the BIG scene that I've been looking forward to, probably above all the others, save for one.  And I'm sure I can write them, and it wouldn't necessarily be a problem.  I just feel like writing something that sounds legitimately fun to write would be what I need to get myself out of this little writing lull I'm in.

So, good or bad idea, in your opinion?  I doubt that getting back in the swing of that point in the story would be a hard task to accomplish once I'm done with the part that I'm looking forward to writing.  But I've never done a lot of jumping while writing, so I really wouldn't know for sure.  Have any of you had experience?  Is it hard?

Well, that's really all I had to say.  I write most of the dreaded scene today.  And guess what?  I'm posting a clip of the following chapter so you guys can get a taste of my writing.  HERE WE GO:

---

Clip From Chapter 31 of Bloody Lovely: In the Clutches

    Lily was at a loss for words.  Tears were running freely down her face and she almost seemed to be having troubles breathing as the sobs rocked her body.
    “It’s alright,” Ash said, putting a hand awkwardly onto her shoulder and squeezing lightly.
    Looking up at the rest of the cell, Ash made eye contact with a girl across the room.  She gave him an apologetic look and shook her head.
    “I’ll be right back,” he said softly to Lily.
    Turning away from her, he walked across the cell to the girl and sat down next to her.  She had ebony skin and long, black hair that fell around her face in a stiff, bushy manner.  Deep brown eyes glinted back at him and full lips tightened a little.
    “Hey,” Ash said.  “I’m Ashley.”
    “I know who you are,” the girl said.  “I’m Monique.”
    “Monique, could you maybe tell me what happened to Lottie?” Ash asked.
    “Your blonde friend?  Not really sure,” she said.
    “Well, did anything else happen after the guards got called in that you know of?”
    ‘They were in there for a while and then some came back out,” Monique said.  “Some of them stayed in the shower room.  Then I heard the worst screaming.  You couldn’t imagine how terrible it was.”  Looking straight into Ash’s eyes, Monique shook her head.  “I don’t know what they’re doing to your friend, but I will be praying for her.”
    Ash stood stiffly, biting the inside of his lip.  “Thank you,” he said to Monique, bowing his head in direction before turning from her.
    “Are you alright?” Lily asked as Ash returned.  She herself looked worse off than him, her eyes rimmed in red and her chest jumping every now and then as she hiccupped.
    “No,” Ash said plainly.
    “What’d she say?”
    “The same thing as you,” Ash said.  “Plus the bit on the end that you couldn’t quite get out.  I’m not sure if I want to know what they’re doing to her.  I’m just going to kill them when they get back.”
    Lily walked up and wrapped her arms around Ash’s broad shoulders and pulled him into a hug.  He let her, putting an arm lightly around her middle, but stayed mostly stiff in her arms.
    “It’ll be alright,” she said.
    “You don’t know that,” Ash said.  “They could be doing something truly horrible to her.  For all we know they could be killing her.  They-”
    “Ash, I’d really rather not think about that,” Lily said, looking suddenly panicked.  “Please, I’m begging you: just…just don’t talk about it right now.  I want to hope for the best.  Even if it’s horrible, it’s better than that.”
 ---

So that's a little clip from Chapter 31, which I just started today.  I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out.

I actually haven't finished Chapter 30, but that one's not a question: I just can't write that whole thing in one sitting.  It's too horrible.  Ugh...

So, if you could please tell me how you feel about the skipping around and also what you think of the clip.  Much appreciated.

~Maddi J.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Writing Lull

I almost called this post Writers' Block.  However, I know better than to do that, for two reasons:

A.  I am a strong believer that there really is no such thing as Writer's Block. 
B.  Joe will yell at me if I use it.  XP

The truth is, it really is just a lull.  Thus why I would be a terrible author: I would never be able to work with deadlines, because I have to be in a mood to write. 

I went to the lake today to watch some fireworks and we were out there for about four hours, during which time I was supposed to get SOMETHING done, whether I typed it on my iPad or wrote it out in my notebook.  How far did I get?  About three sentences from Chapter 30.  *mumblegrumble*

This leads me to an important topic, though; something that I've learned in the time I've been writing:

Do not force yourself to write!

Obviously, for some of you authors that are working with a deadline you don't have much of a choice sometimes.  You need to get your work in, so you need to make yourself write it and take care of it during the editing.  However, for those of you that don't have a set deadline, please, please follow the rule.

The truth of the matter is, nine out of ten times, when you force your writing, it comes out sounding forced.  I've read over friends' pieces to critique for them and I've noticed changes in style where things are less flowy and they sound more like a textbook style of writing.  I'll point this out to them and they'll say "Oh, yeah, I wasn't having an easy time writing that.  I had to force myself."  I've found it with my own work as well: it just doesn't come out the same if you're trying to force the words out of you.

I know a lot of you like to stick with the idea that you should write every single day and there's nothing really wrong with that perspective.  But my own advice is: if it's having trouble coming out, then let it stay in until it's ready.  Your writing is a little baby in your belly: it will come out when it's ready.  You don't try to force it out on due date.

So, that's my writing tip for the day: do not force your writing!

I keep trying, I really do.  I'll get a few sentences in and then I'll say "This just isn't working..."  I won't even save what I wrote unless there's something that I know is good.  Other wise, I scrap it and I wait a while before I try again.

Anyway, there's that.  I don't feel like typing anymore, so I'm going to stop there.  Night, everyone.

~Maddi J.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I Actually Like It

So, in the course of one day, I not only personalized my blog (doesn't it look pretty? ^.^) but I ALSO got back into Twitter and personalized THAT page as well.  My Twitter  <---Check it out.

I actually think I like the Twitter page better, because it's a lot more stream line and simple.  However, I still like my blog page.  Can you tell what my favorite color combo is right now?  XD

So as you can tell from my blog and my Twitter, I am Madlen Hawthorne: YA Writer.

In the future, I want to try doing more in-depth posts.  It seems like the ones I'm doing now are just silly little things about nothing, and I don't like that.  I want to make posts that people are actually going to want to read and comment on.  I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to accomplish this massive task, but I'm going to figure it out.

Anyway, it's a short post, but this is really all I had to say.  Hope you guys like the new page designs.

~Maddi J.

-sigh-

So, as it happens, I didn't end up writing a JulNoWriMo book this year (I know we're only two days in, but I'm really at a loss for an idea to write about). How depressing. But I got a couple people to do it themselves this year (Jooooe!).

Right now I'm trying to figure out how many pages my book will be. Right now it looks like I can make it a little over 200 pages. But, if I'm lucky and me and LJ can get some serious writing done once she's out of school (damn the long school years in England) then we might be able to get it up to 300, which I'd be very comfortable with. But 200 isn't a bad length, either. XP

I'm also working on writing Chapter 28 of ItC. It's been long enough that I need to include a chapter about a major character (not a MAIN character, mind you, a MAJOR character). I like to add in a chapter every now and then that's about characters that are important to the story but aren't main characters. For example, the chapter I'm writing now is from one of the bad guy's POV. I think doing character jumping like this, at least in the first book, is adding a lot of volume to the book, as well as giving it a little more depth. There are so many people that are constant in the book right now, and it just helps things go along if I talk about them all.

So 28 chapters in...working on a major character chapter... After this one (or maybe for chapter 30; I'm not sure) I'm finally going to be at the scene that I'm looking forward to least. In fact, I'm dreading it. It's a big scene where I have something horrible happen to one of my main characters and it's just... -shivers- I can't imagine writing it. I did it before and it was really terrible because I just rushed through it, and I didn't even finish it. I'm hoping that I'll be able to pull through it.

Have you ever decided to do something truly horrible to one of your characters and felt almost like putting off writing, or even considered removing it from the story, just so you wouldn't have to write it?

Anyway; I know I'm going to write it. And I want to do it right. It's like I've been telling people: if I'm going to make my character go through something like this, than I'm going to do it right and not do a half-assed job of it.

So that's where I'm at now: writing chapter 28 and dreading writing the next (or second to next) chapter of the book. But I think that, with this chapter, at least, I'll be able to add a lot of volume, because this chapter deserves description and effort. So...wish me luck!

~MaddiJ

Thursday, June 30, 2011

JULNOWRIMO!

So, tomorrow being the first day of July, JulNoWriMo begins TOMORROW!  And I have absolutely no idea what I'm writing for it.  I did have an idea, but there was an...issue, and I'm no longer going to be working on that particular story.

All I have right now are two character names: Leslie & Reese.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, but I'm going to try my hardest to think of something by the end of tonight.  Hopefully it's good enough to get me started, and then my imagination will drag me on as I go.  I'm just not totally sure, yet.  >.>

So, everyone wish me luck.  I hope that I'm going to have something to write and show you later.  <3

~Maddi J

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Progress Report

I've never been good about keeping up on blogs, so I suppose what I'm going to do is, when I fall behind on posting, I'll do a Progress Report, like this one.  This'll just be a random entry about what I've done so far, since the last time I posted.  Since this is my first ever post (other than the Joe one XP) I suppose I'll just start from the beginning.

Approximately three years ago, I started working on a storyline with my best friend, LJ.  The storyline quickly developed and, finally, we had our story: Bloody Lovely.  However, we spent so much of our time working out plot ideas and history and facts that we never actually started writing the book until a few months ago.  Progress was fast: within a week or two we had the first three chapters written.  A bit of a lull occurred during chapters 4 and 5, but after that, things really picked up again.

I just finished Chapter 14 today, and I'm currently working on Chapter 15.  I'm really looking forward to the upcoming chapters, because they're probably going to be the most interesting to write.  It's where all the drama and action starts, and I'm really pumped about writing them all out on paper after waiting so long to get to them.

Anyway...there's not much more for me to say on the matter; just bringing this little thing up to date on where I am with the book.  <3

~Maddi J

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Kill You, Joe.

Yes, Joe, I'm talking to you.  Prepare to DIE a slow and very painful death. 

Anyway...

This is my BLOGSPOT blog.  For anyone that wants to go on my pretty LIVEJOURNAL blog, go hither >>>>>http://wickedfury.livejournal.com/

Anyway, on with the show...