Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday #3

Thanks to everyone who donated and/or spread the word about last week's book giveaway to benefit Doctors Without Borders. Because of your generosity, we raised $600 plus 10 pounds sterling! I'll be sending out books ASAP.

I have a couple news items this week. I'm psyched to report that Christopher Pike's second Last Vampire compendium, Thirst 2, hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for children's paperbacks! Being a selfish person, the reason I'm psyched is because the volume has a sample chapter of Shade at the end.

Of course, my immediate thought when I saw the list wasn't, "How wonderful! Loads of readers will be introduced to Aura and her friends."

My immediate thought was, "Oh no! People will be coming by the website, and it's a mess!" Actually, the site itself is lovely (thanks, honey!), but some of the information was out of date. So I spent Sunday making it "company ready" so as not to embarrass myself in front of the two or three new visitors. Not that my loyal readers aren't worth a clean website. But you know how you don't clean your house as well for your mom and your best friend as you do for first-time visitors? It's kinda like that.

For instance, the home page and news page no longer say that my next appearance is Windycon, November 13-15. That is SO last year! (Literally.) The news page now even has my complete panel schedule for the RT Booklovers Convention in Columbus, Ohio, April 28-May 2.

The other news item can be found subtly listed on the books page. Book Four of the WVMP Radio series (tentatively titled Lust for Life) is now firmly scheduled for August 2011. Since the sequel to Shade, titled Shift, will be out in May 2011, that means I'll have the exact same release schedule two years in a row. Makes it easy for me to remember.

Speaking of Lust for Life, I'm not sure if that's going to be the title. I might save it for Book Five (if there ever is a Book Five--that's up to my publisher, or more precisely, up to readers to buy Bring on the Night in sufficiently large quantities this August). But it doesn't really fit Book Four anymore, now that I'm figuring out what the story is all about.

A couple weeks ago I wrote that I was going to try this new work scheme where I write 3,000 words a day five days a week and then took weekends off. It went swimmingly for about ten days, then I realized that I'd reached the point where I didn't really know what was going to happen next, I was just coughing up words like so many hairballs. The story was careening out of control.

I also realized I had one too many antagonists. In the process of yanking out the antagonist who belongs in the final book and not this one, I extracted more than 8,000 words. Clearly I was not going to make my word count goal ("-8,138" looks really bad on the spreadsheet.)

So I decided to take a step back, do some scene-by scene outlining for the first quarter of the book, and now I'm writing one scene a day (or two, if they're short simple scenes). That way I don't bloat up the book with endless dialogue just to make my word count.

I'll use this method until it stops working, and then I'll try something else. I envy writers who are able to follow the same process every time. Heck, I can't even sit in the same place in my house more than a week or two at a time before I need a change of scenery.

That's all for this week. I'm still grumpy from the Ravens game, so we're lucky I've gotten through this entire post without profanity.

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I am the same way with writing. I move all over the house. What works with one book never works for another. Sometimes, I just have to write like a fiend. Then, there are times, I have to carefully write each chapter, taking time to review everything, every day and the word count rises so slowly.
I am a cappy who has to have some kind of order, so I do plot, but for the most part, I find something that works and go with it.

Posted by: Blogger Melissa Schroeder at 1/20/2010 9:04 AM

Melissa, I'm glad I'm not the only one. I read a lot about writers needing to have a special place (the writer's cave?) and to find the process (singular) that works for them. That just doesn't fit my brain. :-)

I had this book loosely plotted from the proposal I turned in last year, and I'm basically keeping to it (except for kicking out that one antagonist). But I'm trying to do a little scene-by-scene outlining each day, so I know what's ahead. I find it comforting.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 1/20/2010 9:20 AM

Great job with Doctor's Without Borders. I added Bring On The Night to my calendar, doing my best to make sure we get book 5! Good luck with the writing,

Posted by: Blogger Greytfriend at 1/20/2010 9:21 AM

Thanks, Greytfriend! I hope you enjoy the next installment. :-)

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 1/20/2010 9:25 AM

I am trying to keep myself at the amazingly slow pace of 1K per day in an effort to fill in description sometime before the final edit (ha!) So far I've been doing pretty well with this approach, but it may just be that by the second book I know my characters so now I'm seeing their surroundings more clearly (unlike Book #1).

You know, maybe it is time to go portable again. I used to write at the coffee shop a lot. A change o'venue wouldn't hurt except my inky dinky laptop has the world's smallest screen. But there is latte to consider..

Posted by: Blogger Jana Oliver at 1/20/2010 9:49 AM

Oh, heavens. I never use the same method twice in a row. I've learned that the project defines the method. Sometimes it's detailed outlining, sometimes it's seat of the pants.

No worries - follow the flow.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/20/2010 11:19 AM

I'm doing final edits on novel #3 (with 5 NF books in the mix, too) and I haven't written any of them in the same way.
This latest one had a 25 page outline, detailed worldbuilding and character sketches before I ever sat down to write. And then I did the 1st 50k during NANOWRIMO, which screwed things up even more :-)
I'm putting together a "books my friends have coming out in the next year" entry for my blog and website. I know that Shade is coming in May, what about the next vamp book?

Posted by: Blogger Deborah Blake at 1/20/2010 2:10 PM

Jana: I spend one day a week at a coffee shop with some local writers. It's a nice break, especially since the shop's Wi-Fi doesn't work. ;-) We have to be careful about not chatting too much, though. But when I go alone, it's sort of lonely, and feels weird when I'm the only customer. You know?

Pati: Yay, it's good to know that a lot of people feel their way through each manuscript, searching for the best method.

Deborah: Wow, a 25-page outline? Go you! Mine is currently about 2 pages.

Shade comes out May 4, and Bring on the Night is August 1. Both, luckily, just in time for RT and RWA! :-)

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 1/21/2010 10:22 AM

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