April 10, 2018

Blog Update: Going Dark

Life things be happening!

In order not to lose my mind and juggle too many things at once, the blog will be going dark for a time.
Thank you all for sticking with me. I really appreciate it and can't wait to share with you all of my adventures when I get back.

March 30, 2018

How To Write a 1-Page Synopsis

You guys, Heroes of the Dorm is happening!
Also amazeballs to see my own college in the running--Go Titans! But man, oh man, when the team wins and they've just earned their tuitions. The feels. As someone with student loans, I die every time the players get choked up, thanking their parents, that they no longer have to pay for their higher education.
And of course, Taj is not impressed with my emotions.
Can you, like, not? That'd be great, thanks.
Anyway, while HOTD is going on, there's also writing. Of course, there's also writing. There will always be writing because this is what my life is. Don't know whether to be elated or depressed. If you'd asked me earlier this week--depressed. But today, I'm elated and want to share with all of you this handy dandy post I found on pub(lishing) crawl to write a 1-page synopsis.

Previously on the blog, I mentioned synopsis writing as one of the things writers hate to do, but must do. For those wanting to know the other items, you can read that post here.

I've changed my mind on synopsis length as well, especially since I've been compiling my list of agents to submit to and reviewing their submission guidelines. On this blog, a synopsis has been defined as a 1-3 page overview of the ms. BUT! After reading the pub(lishing) crawl post and reviewing the submission guidelines, drafting a 1-page synopsis is going to be an excellent weapon in my ms proposal arsenal. Because this is war people. Arm yourselves appropriately.
Too violent, huh? Discoballs, I have to tone it down, one day. Not today! Because we're talking about a 1-page synopsis. Can it even be done?! Are the people at pub(lishing) crawl out of their ever lovin' minds?

No, actually. I recommend looking at all that excellent site has to offer with a notepad, pen, and bowl of popcorn.

I tried out their instructions and came away with a 1-page synopsis that correctly hits on the meat and potatoes of my ms. Don't get me wrong, I agonized. I chomped on my own arm. I slathered myself in peanut butter and rolled over fire ants.

Do fire ants even like peanut butter?

The point is drafting a 1-page synopsis was painful, but I'm so glad I did because all those submission guidelines I've been reviewing ask for either a one page or two page double-spaced. Guess what happens to your single page after removing spaces between paragraphs and double-spacing?

Two pages writer peeps. Two pages.
Check out the instructions and try it for yourself. If you're not at the submission stage yet, try it anyway as a helpful exercise to identify any weak spots in your WIP. You'll be glad you did. After all, if we don't know how to squeeze out the gist of our stories into a synopsis, no one else will. This great responsibility falls to us. Be your ms's monstrous of a beast with killer abs champion.

Again, with the violent war stuff. I've got to tone it down.

Keep reading and writing!

March 22, 2018

Current Mood: Nope Nope Nope

It's not that I'm lazy and I'm just sitting around doing nothing...
I'm focusing on a WIP for the rest of the week and should have it wrapped by next week. But that means not doing as much as I usually do, knowing when to say "No" and take a step back to spend my time on what I've prioritized.

I'd like to repeat that. Knowing when to say "No." For my fellow doormats, it's incredibly uncomfortable to not agree to a friend, family member, or loved one when they ask for help, even at your expense. But if your time is already stretched thin and you made a goal to finish or make progress on a specific project, you HAVE to say no. You have to put your writing first and that will mean sacrifices.

Maybe you don't get to go see that newly released film that everyone is raving about.

Maybe you have to pass on going out with coworkers for happy hour this time.

Maybe you tell your household that between these hours you and your writing area are off-limits and they must fend for themselves.

Everyone will survive. It's OK to put your writing first, even if it's just an hour everyday, that will add up, week by week.

Now, granted, for those that reply to your polite decline that you can "do writing" later...
This is usually being said from a place of ignorance and is not meant to be the cutting dismissal it is. Usually. Unless you have one of *those* people in your life. You know what I'm talking about. Then please say no to them all of the time and change your phone number and address and get thee the heck away.
So yep, doing WIP has been my reason for passing on other things. I can perfectly picture my mother's face when she demands I go to the Indian grocery store with her.
I'm going nowhere.
It's just me and the WIP.

Staring at each other.

Until someone breaks.

It won't be me.


March 14, 2018

How to Tell When it's the Last Revision

The biggest mistake I've done myself and have seen writers continue to make is submitting their mss too soon. It's so hard to resist. We've spent countless hours on the darn thing and have made sure there aren't any embarrassing typos.
After all that, why wouldn't it be ready for submission to agents?

Ask yourself this about your ms:

Are you submitting the first draft?
Are you submitting the second draft?
Are you submitting the third draft?
Are you submitting the fourth draft?
Are you submitting the fifth draft? 

If yes to any of these questions...
Depending on how cleanly you write, I would only send the most polished, perfected, twinkle in Santa Claus' eye of a ms to an agent. If that means ten rounds of edits, so be it.

Are you getting feedback on your opening page?
Are you getting feedback on your opening chapter?
Are you in a writing group?
Do you have beta readers for the finished ms?

Constructive criticism from others is key to exposing your ms to the harsh light of day. If only you are working on the ms and only you are providing critical feedback...
There's truth to being too close to a project and losing objectivity. Others can see faults or gaps in a plot, in a character arc, in reader satisfaction that you can't. Don't cheat yourself out of perspective. Feedback is a good indicator of what's working and what's not, and you will come away with a stronger ms if you do the work to address those issues.

Now that you've done more than you ever thought possible on the ms...

Are you making multiple efforts to draft a query, revising, revising, revising until it's a lean-muscled beauty of an enticing read?
Are you making multiple efforts to draft a 1-2 page synopsis, revising, revising, revising until it highlights the main character arc and plot of your ms?

If you're taking your time to hone your ms, why wouldn't you do the same for your query and synopsis? We talked about queries and synopses here as two items writers don't want to do, so if you're thinking of not applying the same effort, and sending a half-baked query and synopsis...
 What are the chances of an agent requesting pages on a half-baked query and synopsis? Slim. Very slim. Don't shoot yourself in the font. Don't give an agent any reason, outside of subjective taste, to reject your ms.

After all of that, do one last revision of the ms, query, synopsis, and if you're tweaking words here and there, cutting sentences, and leaving the plot alone, it's time to submit. It's time to put yourself out there. It's time to be dangerous.

March 7, 2018

Binge Alert: Descendants of the Sun

If you're right in the middle of a draft or revision or taking a breather between drafts or revisions, one of the best ways to decompress is to pleasure read, play video games, paint, cook, clean, catch up on your tv or movies, etc.

If you're between edits, you must re-charge your batteries for the next round to be fresh and buzzing with good ideas.

If you're in the middle, the work can go well or it can stall when you hit a roadblock.

Many writers, myself included, can easily over-think our mss to the point of spinning our brains into a knot. It can make us lose sleep, miss meals, stay seated for too long, and induce migraines or headaches. Sometimes the best thing to do when trying to work out a problem is to take a step back.

Don't believe me? Let's remember the last time you had a problem with your ms and you sat there, staring at your word program, willing your brain synapses to click. But then you got up and maybe did the dishes or took the dog for a walk, and suddenly, out of nowhere...
Yep, you figured it out, and you were nowhere near your computer/notebook/whathaveyou. It's important to take breaks. Here in California, it's the law to take breaks, with good reason. Unfortunately, writing is a DIY and you are the boss of your writing schedule so please be kind to yourself. Take breaks.

And if you're looking for a good decompressor, check out DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN on Netflix.
Oh my squee. This will appeal to those who like reading subtitles, obviously, romance that straddles the right balance of frustrating, addictive, swoon-worthy, and tearjerking. Also, very nicely choreographed action. And heck YAAASSSS, men and women in uniform.
The main couple, btw there are lots of ships in this series, are fun and flirty.
And ahem, eye candy. Lots and lots of eye candy in this one.
And the heroine is completely aware of it, allowing the female gaze to shine through.
It also has one of my favorite displays of friendships between characters, spot on eye sex, witty dialogue, and poses an interesting dilemma. Is completely sweet, hot guy worth getting into a relationship when he has a job that continually puts his life at risk and sends him away for long periods of time?

At 16 episodes long and a season two in the works, binge watch it and find out for yourself. Then come back and post in the comments because I'm dying to talk to anyone about this gem. And if you have other K-drama recommendations. I'm in withdrawal people. I finished DOTS last night and I'm twitchy for another hit.