04.26.15

Huggable books

Posted in Journal at 9:00 am by Natalie

I just finished reading another Eoin Colfer book. I can’t tell you how much I love reading them. I did hug it just before I sat down for what I knew would be my last session of reading before I finished. I hugged Half Moon Investigations when I read that one too. I don’t often hug books and yet I’ve now hugged two of Eoin’s.

I would love to write a huggable book. As much as I do occasionally dabble in adult horror and some hard sci fi, I think humour and junior is where the hugs are at. Scaring people is okay, but making them feel good is, for me, the ultimate prize for a writer. Unless the scaring helps make people aware, I plan on scaring people about the state of the environment until the day I stop writing. But I think you can still do that in a huggable book.

So if you haven’t read an Eoin Colfer book, please do. And please buy Half Moon Investigations, he’s only written one of those and I would love to see it as a series. I need some more books to hug.

04.19.15

By the seat of my pants

Posted in Writing at 9:00 am by Natalie

I started writing the pantser novel; the one with no plan, no real end and only vague plot points for me to aim at. I’m up to chapter 5, the dreaded chapter 5. For me, this is the chapter where a novel normally stalls. This one feels like it is stalling.

I’ve spoken before about how chapter 5 is my insurmountable hill. If I can get past that I can probably write the book. In fact, two of the three novels that I wrote beyond chapter 5 are actually finished. The third is really close to finished.

So what is it about chapter 5 that chills me? I think it is because this is where the novel is really starting to take shape. You feel like you know the characters, you have a pretty good idea about what type of book it is going to be, and you start making your characters go in directions that are going to have massive ramifications on the book.

It is that last point that worries me with this one. It is a true pantser book, I don’t know where it is going and it has most certainly started going somewhere. What if that somewhere is bad, or wrong, or worse; nowhere?

The only thing I can think of to get past this is total immersion. I’m cutting myself off from the outside world this weekend and I’m writing chapter 5 and 6 in one hit. As far as I can see it is my only option. I have to break this chapter 5 curse, and I have to find out where this book is going to end up.

Wish me luck!

04.12.15

Synchronicity

Posted in Journal, Writing at 9:00 am by Natalie

Forgive me if I’ve told this story before. But I’ve been thinking a lot about synchronicity and how we do or don’t shape our lives with it. Synchronicity is when a single or series of coincidences come together to make something happen that you want to happen. I’ll give you an example.

For a long time I wanted a blue cat, but I also didn’t want to buy a cat, I wanted to re-home one. Out of the blue when at dinner with friends I mentioned this. My friend got a funny look on her face and said that she happened to hear that her husband’s mothers’ cleaner’s mother needed to re-home a British Blue cat. That is synchronicity. That’s also how my cat came to live with me.

The thing that worries me about synchronicity is that if we can harness its power to do good, what in us makes us not use it all the time? Why does my rom-com-zombie-romance-action –thriller story not fall onto the right publisher’s desk at the time they are looking for it? Does that mean I actually don’t want it to be published?

I think it is like the old story about the poor man who begs God to let him win the lottery, but he never wins. When he dies and goes to Heaven he asks God why He never delivered the winnings and God replies that the man needed to buy a ticket.

If the rom-com-zombie-romance-action-thriller is stuck in my desk drawer, the only way the publisher is going to see it is if he/she is robbing my house. Even then I doubt they would make an offer of publication, no matter how much they like it.

So I think synchronicity is out there waiting to help us, but we need to help it help us. If I had never mentioned aloud my desire for a blue cat, my little fluffy muse would never have come to live with me. Synchronicity requires some proactive-activity on our behalves first.

04.05.15

Priorities

Posted in Writing at 9:00 am by Natalie

Four days off work is a gift for any writer. You get to spend one day fulfilling all your family requirements, one day tending to your home and two whole, splendid days dedicated to what it is you keep telling everyone you want to do; writing.

But even with these four days you need to set your priorities, do the high priority tasks first. I know this might sound crazy to some of you, but on the days that I’ve got ‘booked in’ for writing, I get up at 6:30am to start writing. Experience has taught me that the day rarely goes as planned, and invariably someone will drop by, or call from out of the blue for a chat. If you start at 6:30 there is a good chance you’ve been able to get in some solid hours of work before you get side-tracked.

I know many of you are thinking you just tell those people to go away, but I can’t and in all honesty, don’t want to do that. These people are my support network and support is a two-way street. I know it might slow me down in my quest to get some novels finished, but it also means that when the world comes crashing down I always have friends and family to turn to. That is also a priority.

So sacrificing a few hours of sleep-in to spend some one-on-one time with my characters is an easy choice to make for something that is a priority. When the sleep-in wins, then I know that there is something wrong.