The Year of The Writer…

2016 will mark my year as a Writer.

Well, that’s my goal at least.  After finishing NaNoWriMo a “winner” with my latest manuscript, I decided that if I can do that, I can do anything I put my mind to.  Maybe not anything.  But I’m going to try, nonetheless.

So this year, I’ve thrown myself into the writing community and made myself believe that this year…will be my year.

After revitalizing my writing website, joining Romance Writers of America again, finally signing up for my closest Chapter (GSRWA) and obtaining my first critique partner – I’ve taken it a step further.  I’ve joined the Rose City Romance Writing chapter as a Golden Rose Contest Judge.  I’m excited to judge a writing contest and learn myself what others are doing in the same genre as me (aside from published novels).

I’ve also reached out to my chapter and offered my volunteering services as well as getting ready for the WOTS conference in October.  Aside from all of that, I’m opening myself up and letting some friends read my finished story now, which was always hard for me to try and do.  The fun part is I’m getting a lot of positive feedback.

Hopefully, that will be enough to get me through any bad feedback that comes my way 😉

So February will be rather busy, there are multiple contests coming up besides the one I’ve decided to judge.  I’ve entered the 2016 Great Expectations Contest with my “first draft” which I now wish I’d waited to polish before sending in, but I literally found the contest the day entries closed 🙂  Would be happy with just a little feedback though!

My family has been amazing through January.  I can’t thank my husband enough for all of his help and patience while I’ve submerged myself in writing.

My friends and coworkers, I owe my gratitude as well, since they end up sort of forced to hear me talk about writing 40+ hours a week!

It’s the people that surround you that lift you as a writer, thankfully, I’m surrounded by the best!

Now moving onto working on my synopsis – if anyone has some great advice on how to do these, feel free to contact me!  I’m researching and studied the best I can and so far, I’ve come across a REALLY great site that I think has helped me more than anything so far:

Kathy Carmichael: USA Today Best Selling Author – check out all of her workshops and printable worksheets on synopsis!

I’ll be examining her website today to learn as much as I can!

Alright, off to write I go…thanks for reading today!

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Write on the Sound – 2016

Write on the Sound is a conference in Edmonds, WA that I had the pleasure of attending in 2014, but missed out on last year due to personal reasons.  But as of yesterday, I’ve decided that I’ll return for 2016!  I’m extremely excited for the chance to attend through the first weekend of October.

As some of you may already know, the WOTS conference “is one of the premier conferences in the Pacific Northwest. Presented the first weekend in October each year, WOTS offers a unique and affordable opportunity for writers of all levels to build on their knowledge of the craft, learn about a new genre, and explore the writing industry. Its limited size makes the conference an intimate experience, perfect for sparking creativity, sharing ideas and networking with other writers.”

It’s a wonderful place to network and learn something new with every class, no matter what genre you live in.  I found one of my most exciting lectures to be on World Building.  Obviously in writing a novel, you’re spinning tales and weaving together at least a “basic” world around your characters.  But to listen to a father and daughter team that write in fantasy worlds describe their process was extremely fascinating.  They touched on stories such as Avatar and Star Wars and to look at it from a writers POV is entirely different than a reader or watcher.

Unfortunately, there are negatives that go along with it, too.  One of the most “logical” lecture for me to attend (or so I thought), revolved around romance writing.  The presenters were three romance (& erotica) authors and instead of offering advice or having an outline of what they wanted to discuss with us, they sat down and did a Q&A the entire 45 minutes.

This may have been something some of the other guests were interested in, but I found it lacked little information that benefited me.  I’d have liked to have more of their process or suggestions for writing, editing or publishing involved.  Maybe some sort of detail on how romance writing differs from others.  Or perhaps some experiences they’d had while publishing that maybe would be new information for amateur writers.  I suspect not everyone would agree with me, I mean I could have asked them to tell us about these things, but none of the other presentations had been laid out like this, so I wasn’t at all ready for such a “round table” discussion.  And to be honest, when they decided to spend half their time bashing Nicholas Sparks…I shut down.

Now as you may or may not know, I very recently wrote a post about meeting Mr. Sparks and how I looked up to him.  So it may sound like I’m a “stalking fan” or something along those lines, but the reality is, he’s a highly distinguished author and has a pretty great resume in the writing department.  I simply like to give kudos where it’s due.  Is there anything wrong with a “new” writer looking up to another that’s made such a name for themselves?

I don’t have any problem whatsoever with someone else having their own opinion, I’m as “open minded” as anyone.  I just don’t feel spending my hard earned money and taking time away from my kids to listen to these folks…should include half an hour of someone telling me why another successful writer is “beneath them” or isn’t good enough because their style of writing is “wrong” or is “only successful” because of some distorted reason.

It’s not very classy in my humble opinion.  It’s not an issue to me that these ladies don’t like NS, it’s my issue that writing is a difficult form of expression.  Especially if you stick with it, make a living or finished an entire novel.  It’s a lot of hard work.  There isn’t anyone “good enough” to speak so lowly of another person.

Aside from this negative experience, the rest of the conference left a positive lasting impression and I’m looking forward to the next one.  I just may skip the romance writing section of it 🙂

The town of Edmonds is gorgeous.  There are various antique shops, galleries and distinctive eateries in the area – all within walking distant of the conference.  If you stroll down to the waterfront, you’ll be in one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever found in the area.  While on break or lunch or after hours of the conference, Edmonds is a magical place to write.

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Feel free to join me and say hi this year!

Editing & Drinking Starts Now…

NaNoWriMo is over.  The Holiday’s are over.  It’s the start of a New Year.  The Seahawks are on their way, thanks to the mishaps in yesterday’s below freezing game against the Vikings.  And I’ve made a resolution.  A promise to myself that THIS is the year.  I’ll do everything I can to become published this year.

The first thing I did, literally Jan 1st was re-join Romance Writers of America.  Whether you write romance or not, this association will boost your skills and desire!  The next thing I was determined to do is find a great critiquing partner, again I was able to find her from RWA’s critique partner matchup program.

The next thing I did was join my local RWA chapter, Greater Seattle RWA and put their February writing workshop on my calendar!  Done!

Finally, we got a new kitten yesterday.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with writing.  But she’s adorable and I wanted a photo other than a writing one for this post 😉  Meet Miss Scarlett Overkill (From Minions…how can you say no to the cutest twins in the world when they are excited to name their first kitten?)!

But back to my resolution.  The last and final step to obtaining my goal this year?  Edit and write.  Edit and drink.  Edit and write and drink and cry…

Obviously, I can’t reach my goal without ACTUALLY writing.  All the classes and workshops and partners in the world, won’t help if I don’t WRITE.

So I started this weekend.  I read through the manuscript I’d finished in November and …it’s not horrible.  It’s not GREAT, but it’s not trash.  It gave me three big concerns, but now I know where to start with editing.  Flow is a big issue for me, I think I shove too many “big words” in there and it causes the flow to slow to molasses.

The second thing I worry about is that I haven’t made my characters likable enough at the beginning.

The third concern I have is that I seem to “dump” info in the beginning chapter.  And whether it’s too much info or just not a smooth flow, I can’t be sure.  But it will be something I want to work on over the next few weeks.

That being said, I have to start.  Editing is one of the scariest things to do for me, but if I don’t jump in head first, I won’t reach my resolution this year.

Go Hawks!

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The Man Himself

2016 UPDATE:

I originally started this post early last year when I was able to meet Nicholas Sparks in person.  As with about everything else in my life, things got in the way and it remained a draft.  Never to be read by others.  Until today.

Working around the house on my day off, cleaning and taking the tree down…I decided to start a movie to listen to “in the background” and thought I’d try The Longest Ride  (novel can be found here: The Longest Ride).  Needless to say, halfway through, I stopped everything I was doing and sat …crying of course, through the second half of the movie.  In TRUE Sparks form, he made me laugh, cry my eyes out and feel my heart bloom with love.

Dare I say…this one was better than even The Notebook.  If you know me at all, you may have just fallen to the floor in shock.  Just remembering the story is bringing tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.

For those of you that have not had the chance to see it yet, the premise is basically this:  The lives of a young couple intertwine with a much older man, as he reflects back on a past love.  The young couple brought together, then torn apart and finally realizing they couldn’t be complete without each other.  The elderly gentleman pulls at your heart strings as he tells his past through love letters to his dearly departed soulmate.

It’s nothing short of absolutely beautiful.

I realized I had this original post and decided now was the time to finalize it and publish.

Nicholas Sparks, you may be the greatest love story teller I’ve ever read, watched and idolized.  You deserve all the happiness in the world.  Thank you for making me want to improve my writing with every single word I put down on paper.

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ORIGINAL POST:

Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Nicholas Sparks.  As some of you know (or damn near all of you), Nicholas has written 18 novels, most known – The Notebook.  A good friend and I got to sit in on an interview with him, after the interview, we got to meet him.  He’s an amazing person.

I’m always curious how a writer is in person.  I mean, I know who I am and how introverted I can be.  I tend to assume some of the great authors were quiet, introverted, shy people.  Nicholas is exactly what I would have expected him to be.  A real storyteller, even during his interview and random questions from the audience.

He was asked how he decides the endings of his stories.  His answer was he tries to think about what we would expect…and do the opposite.  Bittersweet, that’s how he described his “type” of writing.  Being interested in romance writing, a bittersweet ending is exciting to read.  But it’s too difficult for me to write.  My stories will probably always have that happy ending, the couple has to end up together.  Perhaps one of these days I’ll attempt a sad ending.  I don’t mind killing off my darlings 😉

Nicholas was asked what was that defining moment in his life that had started him into writing.

Some of his other notable mentions would be:

Safe Haven

The Lucky One

 

A Walk to Remember

The Longest Ride

Most recently:  See Me

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Blushingwriter: Updated Website

I made friends with a lovely new critiquing partner this week. Her author site was so appealing, it made me want to recreate mine from the ground up.

Blushing Writer now offers much more and is only the beginning!

I’m starting several pages for various subjects, including contests, relevant links and fun facts!  I know I’m putting too much time into it, and ignoring my manuscript I should be editing.  But I’m just so excited about how clean it looks now!  If there’s another page of information you can suggest, I’m happy to add it!

Would you like your own author website linked?  Just contact me through the site and I can add it for you!

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