Friday, October 30, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - To NaNo or Not To NaNo

I've got just one day left to make up my mind. Should I do this or not? This, of course, is National Novel Writing Month. If you've been living under a rock for the past 15 plus years, here is a link for more information.

I signed up. I have an idea. How about a list of pros and cons.

It's a good way to get words on paper. Even if they're not very good words.
There is a sense of achievement when you get your daily word count.
I may never have a finished novel if it wasn't for this.
I enjoy participating with crazy people like me from all over the world.
What else have I got to do?

First, it's hard. Much harder than you can imagine. The brain refuses to cooperate after a while.
It's depressing and demoralizing when you fall behind in word count.
I really should finish my current WIP instead of starting another.
To achieve word count, I have to get up early and write. Use my lunch hour to write. And, write after a long day of work. That's stretching my lazy ass to it's limits.  
I have a baby quilt to finish.

Well, it looks like we have a tie. Anybody up for rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock? 

Stay tuned and you'll learn my decision next week.

Friday, October 23, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Where Do Your Ideas Come From?

Writers are often asked this question. And there are many different answers.

For myself, I don't really know. No, really. A fellow writer told me I should tell our group where I get my blog ideas. Hmmm, let's see ... I sit down on Friday morning after one or two cups of coffee, and stare at the blank screen until something comes into my head. I know, not very professional or helpful. But honestly, that's how it goes most Fridays. It could be a headline I saw, or a question somebody asked, but more often than not, I can't actually explain it.

I also can't really say where my book ideas come from. A conversation with a friend can spark something or my brain goes on a "what if" tangent. Beyond The Horizon came from me wanting to understand my daughter's abusive situation better. Although, the story is nothing like her life. It actually took on a life of it's own once I started with the premise of somebody attempting to escape that situation. And the "what ifs" kicked in.

My second book started out with me wanting to explore how I felt about putting my mom in a nursing home. It also doesn't reflect my situation or what happened and has taken on a life of it's own. After all, I write novels, not memoirs. The characters take over and there I go.

Where do you get your ideas? Please share.

Friday, October 16, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Jack Of All Trades

For the next meeting of one of my writer groups, they asked that we all bring a short presentation on something about writing or marketing that we are an expert about. In other words, our vice president couldn't get a speaker.

I don't consider myself an expert at anything. I know a little about a few things. Like my father-n-law used to say: "I know just enough to be dangerous."

I don't have an English degree. Heck, I didn't even attend college. So, I don't know all the grammar rules. I get lost when people talk about adverbs, prepositions, and dangling modifiers. My eyes actually glaze over. I know just enough to muddle through with the help of a dictionary and spell/grammar check. And thank goodness for editors.

I'm a pantser, so I don't do outlines. I know a little about story structure and arc but, not all the specifics. I mostly feel my way through a story. It's needs a beginning, a middle, and an end.

I know a little about marketing - how to use Twitter, Facebook and blog interviews. But, certainly not enough to teach any of it.

I wrote a good book, found a publisher, lost that publisher, and self published. But, there's nothing I can teach about any of that. A good number of members have written and published a lot more than me.

I would just skip this meeting, but writer meetings are kind of the only social contact I get on the weekends. And since I'm chairman of a committee, I need to give a report.

Maybe, I'll just ignore the request. Sorry, I forgot. That's something I'm pretty good at, especially as I grow older.

Friday, October 9, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - What Happens If . . .

As writers, we often ask ourselves "what happens if ..." Our characters need challenges or there is no story. It can be internal or external, but something needs to happen to them to keep the story moving. Of course, we must limit the challenges so the pacing is smooth and the story line is believable. Otherwise our readers will say "Really?' and throw our book across the room or remove it from their reading device.

This week I did a "what happens if". I put my book Beyond The Horizon on Amazon free for two days. Just to see what happens. I wasn't selling that many copies anyway. It's been out over a year, so that's understandable. Here are the results:

  • Almost 900 downloads.
  • Pages read - close to 400 (I don't know how Amazon knows this and to tell you the truth it kind of creeps me out)
  • 2 new reviews. Yippee
Reviews were actually what I was hoping for. And I hope many more are on the way. I was stuck at 22 forever. Reviews are like Amazon gold for an author.

Remember that next time you read a book. It doesn't have to be long and drawn out synopsis of the whole story. Just a simple "I really enjoyed this book" will do.

Friday, October 2, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Social Media

I spend a lot of time online - probably more than I should. I rationalize it with the fact I live alone and it makes me feel less lonely. Plus, I don't do much traveling or fun stuff, so I get to visit interesting places vicariously through other people's posts. And once in a while, I see something that inspires my writing. Also, it's a place to promote my books. Although, I really try to limit that to just a few posts now and then.

I'm mainly on Facebook and Twitter. I do have a Pinterest account, but for some reason, I don't visit often. I haven't ventured to Instagram or other places yet. I like the slowness of Facebook over the wham bam of Twitter. I use Hootsuite as a filter, but it's still too fast. I know, I know, I'm getting old. You youngin's are just too fast for me.

And, yes, I'm one of those people who play the games on book face. But, at least I filter them so I'm not bugging people who aren't wasting their time playing.

How much time to you spend online and what sites do you prefer? I would love to know. Maybe I'll discover a new place to waste away the day.