A GIVE AWAY!

So I’ve seen quite a few give aways on other blogs and Twitter and wanted to do one myself. I have no special reason other than I love giving gifts so you get to reap the benefits. I will ask a series of questions. Please answer in the comments section or if you’re secretive of your answers, you may DM on Twitter–seeredwrite. Closest to correct or most creative answers will win prizes! Up for grabs are: A copy of Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat, a cute Unicorno, and a movie. Movie choices will be: The Goonies, Skyfall, Princess Bride, Rise of the Guardians, Wreck-It Ralph, or Brave. I might throw in a few extra goodies in there 😀 So get those creative caps on and give me some fun answers! Give me really fun answers and hey there.

 

https://i0.wp.com/www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/wink.gif

Ok, on to the questions!

1. What color is my hair?

2. What movie(s) have I seen over 50 times?

3. What is my favorite writing place?

4. What is my biggest pet peeve at my writing place?

5. What is my middle name?

6. What is my cat’s name?

7. What is my birthday?

8. What animal would my Patronus be?

9. What is my favorite Disney Princess?

10. What is my favorite candy?

11. How many siblings do I have?

12. Name a show I watch (hint: I’ve probably tweeted about it!)

13. What Kickstarter did I recently give to?

You have until Monday 3/25/13 8pm CST. Remember, creativity counts! Now go forth and have fun! 😀

Editing with the help of my friends…and the whole village.

As this whole writing, editing, publishing (eventually) stuff is all new to me, so are aspects that relate to these that I never even thought about. Take CPs and betas, for instance. Much is discussed on this topic, but no hard and set rules seem to agree on finding these mythological creatures. Critique partners (CPs) are people who read your early drafts and help fix problems and mistakes you may have. They are people you can turn to when you’re unsure of what to do in a story. At least, that’s my early definition of them.

Talking about them is so much easier than finding them. I really just want to tweet, “So, I’ve finished a new draft of YA creepy circus story. Any takers?” but the problem with that is—too many cooks in the kitchen. Letting people read your work can help, but those who truly understand your goals and writing style are the best help of all. I can have 20 people read my story and get 20 different thoughts on every aspect of it. The thought of that gives me hives (and I’ve never had hives).

So many different people who each think you should change something. I’m only mildly nervous about changing things. I know that it’s inevitable so I am prepared that there will be changes, but what happens when no one can agree on anything? I hate the main characters. I love the main characters. Why did you make the monkey so mean? I love that creepy mean monkey. You get the drift.

So far, I haven’t let that many people read my story because I have no clue how to approach people on reading my story. I’ve already had some no shows who said they would do it and then…crickets. Nothing. I get that people have lives so I understand this and it’s not a big deal, but it has made me less likely to try it out with more people. I hate imposing on people. The other thing I’m finding is the difference of opinions–what I write and what people who read it for me may write or their tastes in stories varies enough that it’s not necessarily a good fit. It’s hard to get notes of what to change when you think it is more a difference of opinion rather than a spot that really needs work. How do you know the difference?

Slowly, as I keep fixing this monster, I understand more and more about my writing, about who to turn to in helping me with my writing, and how to get better at all of it. I am still light in the whole CP department and as for beta readers, I think I will save those for when I think I am done or darn close to it. All I can do is keep trying to make the best book possible and ask for help along the way. If there are people willing to give it a look see, I will thank my lucky stars for them. As I get notes and opinions, I will have to decide for myself what I feel is helpful and what isn’t. I always did like the guess and check method!

How about you? How have you found CPs and/or betas? I love hearing how other people do things.

Helpful sites about CPs and finding them:

http://www.cpseek.com/

http://www.ladieswhocritique.com/

http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/12/05/finding-a-critique-partner/

http://writetodone.com/tag/critique-partners/

The Ups and Downs

One night, this is the greatest novel ever. It’s so unique. Everyone will love it. The next, my writing is crap. Maybe I should just shelf this P.O.S.

Ah, the joys of writing and really learning that it is, in fact, hard work. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I never understood how hard it would be. This is my first finished MS. First as in first finished rough draft. The first thing I’ve ever edited and now I know why I avoided. I know, I know, the more I write and edit, the better I will get. It’s still hard. It’s hard looking at the writing and thinking,”Wow, this is really AVERAGE,” when you’re a perfectionist expecting extraordinary.

Then my girls make me laugh or smile and I wonder if maybe it all makes up for it. Those hidden gems that you hope readers will latch onto. Besides, once I get all the plot holes filled, I can nitpick to get exactly the right words. Right?

So even though it’s not perfect (and likely never will be), it’s original and it’s mine. My creepy circus. My spunky 15 year old girls. My dual POV Frankenstein. Mine. And because I had a moment the other night, I think I might put a little excerpt up. It may or may not make it to the finals, but who knows?

Everything about this thing is becoming worse the deeper in I get. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to get over the circus when everything is done or will it stick with me, too? I pull Ella’s barrette out of my pocket where it’s been tucked away. This was in her hair just days ago. The last thing to touch her. My last connection with her. The purple flower looks so innocent. I only want to put it back where it belongs.

My Twitter Journey aka Gushing

For years, I have been working at writing screenplays.  Only recently have I ventured into the novel writing arena.  With this newest venture, a whole new world has been opened up for me.  First came Nanowrimo (aka National Novel Writing Month).  I have met some awesome local writers who have become great friends and who keep me on task.  Next came Twitter and an entire universe unfolded before me.

Here are even more people like me! All writing. All struggling. All in the same boat. Together. People who understand me and what it feels like to write—create.   And the access to people! Not sure what to name a character? Send a tweet out and get tons of answers seconds later.  Curious how long it took someone to write their about-to-be published work? Ask.  There’s a good chance they will answer.

When I first joined Twitter, I had no clue what on earth I was doing.  Thank goodness for @mixeduppainter (you should follow her, she is awesomely sarcastic and just as awesomely talented).  She helped me find some people to follow and gain some followers myself.  As I played around, I came across the hashtag (#) writeclub.  There’s a club on Twitter for us? I asked what this fabulous #writeclub was all about.  @MeganWhitmer and @MeganPasch answered me and I was hooked.  People from all across the country writing together on Twitter on Friday nights.  They also occasionally sneak a quick session on other days, but the main event is on Fridays.

As I continued to meet new people, I also started to follow their journeys.  Namely, the journeys of @MeganWhitmer and @LeighAnnKopans.  I respect these two ladies and was intrigued by the bits of their stories that I was coming to understand.  It was from following these two on Twitter that I found out what CP’s are. That’s critique partners for those of you who didn’t know what that meant either.

The more I got on Twitter, the more I stalked these two for the wealth of knowledge that they are.  Don’t get me wrong, I stalk plenty of people so don’t think I’m leaving you out.  I probably stalk you or will stalk you given the chance.  Anywho, back to my point.  As I followed Megan and Leigh Ann, I found myself cheering them on and praying for them to get published.  Watching their struggles made me want more and more for them to accomplish their dreams.

So, I find myself blogging my gushing pride for two people I’ve never met because 140 Twitter characters cannot describe how excited you can get for someone to accomplish their dreams before your eyes.  These two women are not the only ones I’m rooting for.  There’s a whole slew of writers that I am eagerly awaiting great news for.  One of which is @mixeduppainter who is not quite to querying, but when she is, I will be crying with her through rejections and doing a dance when she gets to that pinnacle of being published.  And @careytorg who is currently querying is another I am rallying for.

If you’re not on Twitter, you really should be.  Not just for the fabulous friends you will make, but for the knowledge you can gain.  And seeing someone succeed is a nice bonus, too.

Lastly, Megan’s and Leigh Ann’s book are not out yet, but they will be soon so you should totally go and read them.  Between will be out in 2014 and One is coming June 11, 2013 with its sequel Two out October 2013.  One and Two will be self-published so stay tuned for more info.  Or check out their blogs to stay informed:

http://meganwhitmer.blogspot.com/

http://leighannkopans.blogspot.com/

Oh, and if you have a sudden urge to get on Twitter, besides all the above, there are numerous others that would take too long to put here that you should follow.  Follow me @seeredwrite and I can suggest writers of all shapes and sizes for you to follow.  Some of my lovely Twitter friends write for this other cool blog:

http://samuraiscribes.wordpress.com/

I Am Me And That’s OK

I’m not good enough, fast enough, determined enough. I’m not…enough. I say: enough of that. I’m not everyone else and the faster this seeps into my thick skull, the better.  I, like half of the human race, compare myself.  I constantly think that if other writers (fill in the blank), then I should, too.  But nothing in life is one size fits all. No, not even the clothing that says that. Have you ever tried that stuff on? No? I thought so.

As I sit here wishing I could will myself to start the next round of edits, I know that forcing it will get me nowhere.  I know me.  I know what are stupid ideas and what is best.  I may question these things from time to time, but deep down, I know what I need to do.  Watching other writers that can find ways to write 365 days a year, I feel like I am not a true writer.  I am doing it wrong.  If I was really dedicated, I would do it.  I’m a slacker.  Screw that.  Just because my methods aren’t in every article about writing, does not mean they are wrong or less productive.  They are just different.

 I have other things in my life that unfortunately help dictate my writing schedule and levels of productivity.  Doesn’t everyone?  Finding a way to work around these is my biggest challenge.  How we deal with those challenges are uniquely our own.

This is true for the general path other writers take.  I see some who write their first drafts and have them edited to shiny perfection in a matter of months.  That so isn’t me–at least not yet.  Who knows for the future, but it sure isn’t my way right now.  And others manage to secure an agent in the time it takes a person to sneeze. This is may not be my experience so I plan to expect for months and months of grueling rejection letters. Should things turn out differently, I can be pleasantly surprised.

No matter what the other “guy” is doing, I need to do what is best for me and so should you.  Everyone should forge their own path.  Well, figuratively since if we all did that literally, we’d kill the forest, but you get the drift.

So when I am feeling sorry for myself and annoyed that I am not doing what I’m “supposed” to be doing, I remember that rest is good.  Frivolous distractions are even better.  Sometimes getting my mind off the frustration that I am not writing or able to write is the best thing.  Letting my mind wander often brings out new story ideas.

Moral of the story: don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing.  Take their advice and use what works for you, but don’t feel like you have to be like anyone else.  No path is ever the same even if they look similar.

2013 And All it Has to Offer

So everyone seems to be making their year-end or resolution posts.  I suppose this is along those lines.  There’s something about putting my goals in writing for others to see terrifying and perfect.  They are out there, and I can’t exactly take them back. Not to mention, the more I say my goals out loud, the more real and doable they seem.

Without further ado, my goals for 2013 (in no particular order):

1. Contests. Enter them. Enter them ALL. Ok, well maybe not ALL of them, but still, I think there are some good benefits to entering contests.  I already have a screenwriting one in my sights, I will have to research more on the novel front.  I’ve seen tons of comments about meeting their CP’s or even finding an agent from a contest. While I’m not sure what to expect, exactly, I feel entering a contest gives me a deadline of sorts and hope to get feedback on what works and what doesn’t with my novel.

2. Finish editing and polish my current work in progress till it shines. I have some great notes to start off with and ideas churning from those notes.  I hope that this novel will be good enough to send out into the world by May.  Yes, I gave it a quasi-date. May.

3. Query. This obviously has to follow #2 as the novel needs to be finished before I move on to this step.  I also need to start working on my query letter since I have an irksome feeling it will take me multiple drafts before that is ready, too.  I have started researching a few agents so I am ready when the time comes. I do like my preparation.

4. Write. I suppose this one should go unsaid, but I have specifics. I have at least 2 novels I want to get through the first drafts. I would also like to get at least 1 screenplay done.

5. Edit the 3 screenplays I finished last year. Work on getting an agent and selling one of these as well.

6. Work on my critiquing skills. While I love other people to read and give feedback on my work, I lack this ability and find it unfair to ask someone something I cannot do.

7. Apply more. That is all I can say on that without getting myself in possible trouble.

8. Go to a convention.

9. Meet peeps from Twitter.  Both 8 and 9 depend on $$ so we shall see if these are possibilities.

While I am sure I can think of more, these are the main ones floating around my brain day after day.  And I think keeping my list small is not only more doable, but easier to focus my attention on rather than splitting my time in too many ways.  What are your goals? Share them here so others can help hold you accountable!

Whatever you hope to achieve, may 2013 be a prosperous and happy year for us all!

Blog Hop!

So I got tagged for a blog hop by the fabulous Katie Teller.  Life decided to make this a day late, but better late than never, right?! Now I get to answer some questions about my WIP.  I’m sure you are dying to see the answers so here we go!

1. What is the working title of your book?

Seeing as I am coming up empty with a title, it is Untitled Circus at the moment.  I keep hoping the right title will jump out and bite me, but it appears to be playing hide and seek.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was writing a screenplay for June Camp Nanowrimo and I kept telling everyone on the Elsewhere in WI FB page for Nano to put a circus in their story. Said enough times, the circus must have gotten stuck in my head! (yes, I like my exclamation points! sue me!)

3. What genre does your book fall under?

I am undecided exactly. It is YA. There is a bit of fantasy or paranormal. Someone else suggested mystery, but I’m not sold on it.  Maybe it’s hiding with the title.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This was tough for me. I imagined original characters.  I never cast my book and imagined any actors for roles.

Both Lizzy and Ella are 15 year olds and I picture them as blondes but hair dye can fix that.  My choices are between: Chloe Moretz, Abigail Breslin, Willow Shields, and Maude Apatow.

Alex– Zac Efron, Robbie Amell, or Chace Crawford

Edmund–Matt Bomer, Chris Pine

Asher–Jeremy Renner, Alex O’Loughlin

Billy–Henry Cavill, Colin Egglesfield, Justin Long

Hep–Eli Wallach

Ophelia(red hair)–Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Jenna Dewan, ideally a young Robin Lively

Ringmaster/Puppeteer–Stuart Townsend

5.What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Well, I tried to get it down to one sentence, but I have two. I still need to work on it, but for now, it works.

The circus where all your nightmares come true.  While 15 year old Ella is trapped performing against her will, her best friend Lizzy bands with former circus captives to free her and bring the circus down.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

While I’m not against self-pubbing, I would like to start out traditionally and take it from there. If the time comes where I believe it is best to publish it myself, I will then go in that direction.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It was my August Camp Nano so it was just over a month to finish the story.  I won my June and August Nano’s 🙂

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m not exactly sure because it is a dual POV. I’m horrible at comparing which I think comes in handy. I don’t look at the other books and wish mine was like them. I do wish I wrote like other writers, though.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.  Not only do I love that book, but she got her idea during a Nano.  She was unable to do much with her story so she sent her characters to a circus.  Although The Night Circus wasn’t technically written during Nano, it was Nano inspired.

10. What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?

It is dual POV switching from 1st person to 3rd person between the two girls’ adventures.  There is snark, mind powers, quirky characters, and what’s not to love about a cursed circus?

Now that I’ve let you know all about my latest baby, here are some other people you should check out in 2 weeks when they dish about their projects.  Heck, check out their awesome blogs while you wait!

Jason Cantrell

Elise Valente

Amanda Kespohl

Sabrina the awesome

This Whole Editing Thing

            Help! A new writer looking at the daunting task of editing here.  And I’m scurrred. Who wouldn’t be?  You’ve just spent one whole month writing your baby (what you didn’t do Camp Nano or Nano? Oh, ok)…You’ve just spent X number of hours, days, months, and even years knocking out the first draft and now you stare at the sucker.  It was perfect and great and now you are starting to see some of its flaws.  They are glaring and ugly and in need of copious amounts of TLC, but where to start? 

            The first obvious place is any errors you catch as you read along.  Spelling errors, typos, and anything that sticks out and makes it hard to keep reading.  That isn’t too hard.  What next?  Then I moved on to big plot holes or anything that did not seem right or interesting enough.  Check.  That brings me to now.  What now?

            I have never edited anything before–probably because I was avoiding it.  The possibility that I would have to cut out huge chunks scared me.  Add that with “what if it just plain sucks” running through my head, and now I’m just psyching myself out.  When writing has been your dream since you can remember, not succeeding is the worst thought running through the back of your mind.  If I don’t finish this, no one can tear it apart.  If I work on it forever, I will never have to face the truth.

            Sucking it up and moving forward is the bravest, scariest thing you can do.  And I am.  And I’m nervous.  Scared.  Confused. Determined. Unsure.  So many things going through my mind.  Like, when do you let other people read your story?  Do you rewrite/edit the crap out of it before letting other people give feedback (if I’m lucky enough to get people to read it and give feedback)?  Do you give it a couple of run-throughs and then get advice so you can incorporate said advice in when you are making more edits? 

            So many questions that I am bumbling through.  I’ve asked other writers and continue to stalk them on Twitter to see how everyone else does this and I’ve come to this conclusion: EVERYONE DOES IT DIFFERENTLY!  I know, a shocker that there isn’t some universal easy way to do this whole process. I knew that would be the answer, but it is nice to see other methods that I did not consider before.  I wondered how people got their beta readers and critique partners so I asked.  Many had found their besties from writing contests.  Note to self: check out contests.  One gave a website for finding them: Note to self, stalk that site. 

            Little by little, I have gleaned information and tucked it into my little mental folder of how to move on.  I’ve read a few books on editing, but I want some manual that instructs you step-by-step on how to go through your pretty first draft and hack it to shreds. I want the best possible story I can have, but how do you know what that is?  I am learning that doing is the only way I will ever know and get over my fears.  Wish me luck as I jump back into the story and hopefully come out the other side with an even better one!

Run, I’m BLOGGING!

            That’s right folks, you might want to run.  Firstly, because I’ve never blogged before (not consistently, at least) so this will most definitely be a work-in-progress as I try to find my voice.  Second, I tend to filter after already saying/writing things that really should have been filtered!  I will most likely edit.  I think.  But in case things slide through, don’t say you weren’t warned.

            I have put off blogging for a very long time.  My first attempts were horrid.  I’m sure most first-time bloggers feel the same.  We’re all excited to blog.  Ready to get our voices out there, but we have no real topic to blog about.  My first two tries had maybe 2-3 posts and then nadda.  I gave up.  Without any real direction to head in, that leaves you bored of your own blog.  I also forgot what name I had given my blog.  Yep, it was that important and great that I forgot my own blog.  I think it was best this way.  Fearing finding it someday, I try to block out the memories.

            My hope here is to write some random thoughts (because I’m told I’m funniest when I’m random) and my thoughts on writing because I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing (what can be funnier than watching other people stumble along?).

            Hmm, now that you know why I’m here, maybe I should give you a little about me.  My name is Trisha, but I’ve been called Red since I was little, something about this mop of curly red hair I suppose.  Being a redhead is a source of pride for me and I like to make sure everyone knows that I am, in fact, a natural, certifiable redhead.  Yes, I am certifiable.  I think it is a requirement to work retail as long as I have.  And being a writer tends to lend itself better to crazy people.  It was either be crazy or drink way too much.  I chose the former.

            I have only recently ditched the “aspiring” before my writer title.  I put in the time, I deserve the title!  I have mostly written screenplays and only recently delved into the novel side of things.  My hope is to have this recent WIP all shiny and pretty by Spring.  Am I crazy? I think not knowing that it might be crazy makes it better for me.  I can’t psyche myself out as much.  We shall see since I’ll write about it here!  Sit back, relax, and shake your head freely as I fumble along in my happy little bubble.