Wednesday, April 27, 2011

RUE and Conflict

I've been in the midst of judging contests since November and I'm starting to see a pattern with entries, enabling me to see what I need to work on in my own writing.

RUE
Resist the Urge to Explain
This manifests as telling most of the time. Good showing needs no explanation. A grin says more than "she was happy." RUE doesn't just occur in telling though. Sometimes the sneaky bugger pops into narrative (and there's a fine line, imo, between internal narrative and telling). For example, something will be said in dialogue or shown in action, and then we like to jump in and drop a few lines explaining what just happened.

Just like in life, sometimes it's better to RUE.

Another weakness I'm coming across is lack of conflict.

I think many writers (including myself) make the mistake of thinking that bad things happening to our main character equals conflict. I've been pondering it though, and I'm beginning to realize that conflict cannot exist without goal. (GMC, anyone?)

A true conflict means two opposing forces, not one force battering our main character. This means our main character must be a force as well. Our main character must begin the story with a deep desire which translates into a goal he or she vigorously pursues.

And then, WHAM.

An opposing force gets in the way of that goal and suddenly our MC must deal with that conflict.

So true conflict requires a proactive MC rather than a reactive one.

What do you think? Is there enough conflict in your plot or is your MC just reacting to what happens to her or him? And anyone here struggle with RUE?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Knew Them When

I'm busy in revision land, so I just wanted to throw out some encouraging shout-outs. I started reading the blogs of most of the bloggers below Pre-Agents/Pre-Publication, and now they all have contracts and/or books released.
You never know when it'll happen to you!

So here they are: Proof that writers CAN get pubbed. :-)


Jody Hedlund I started reading her blog before she had an agent. Now she's on the bestseller list!











Katie GanshertI started reading her blog pre-Agent too, back when it was called Brain Throw-up (which I still think is genius! lol)



Anita HowardBeen reading her blog since before I had any commenters on my blog!




Elana JohnsonYep, before she had an agent or a contract. Now look what she has coming out!




















Julie JarnaginI met her after she'd received her contract but have to do a shout-out because her debut just released!






















Kristen PainterWas reading her pre-contract; now she has books coming out everywhere!



I feel like I'm missing someone, so if it's you, send me a message and I'll get a link up. Can I blame my forgetfulness on too much chocolate and not enough sleep?

Have you known anyone who got the call? Does getting published feel impossible or do you see that it can be done?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It Takes Time

When I first started writing, I did a lot of research. One of the things I began to notice was how long it took for authors to get published. The average, if I remember right, was 3-5 years from the point of starting to the point of contract.

The numbers boggled me.

Could I write for that long? With no guarantee?

Of course, I could. It helped to think of the first few years as college. Still, I was overwhelmed by the thought of how long it took so I decided to stop thinking about it and just write, query, etc.

About a year ago, I suddenly realized I'd been writing for three years. Somehow the time had flown by.

How?

Well, the best thing about publishing is that while there's a wait, there's also always things changing. For example, after I finished my first manuscript it took time to write the query. Then time to figure out who to send it to. And then I started a new story as I waited for responses. Between all that was editing and critiquing and contests.

Basically, I've been writing, editing and submitting for four years now. Time slipped by and I didn't even know it. Now I'm moving toward the five year mark and I have to wonder, will this be it?

How do you feel about the wait? How long have you been writing?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rooting for the Bad Guy

So I watched Tangled with my kids the other night. As the movie started, my six year old son couldn't help but give me a running dialogue about everything (he's seen it before).

The movie introduced the hero, who happened to be stealing. I asked my son, is the thief the guy Rapunzel falls in love with?

He turned to me, eyes round. "He's not a thief, mom."

"But he's stealing," I pointed out.

No, no, no, he's not stealing. There are bad guys with him, but he's not stealing at all. My son shook his head and absolutely refused to believe that the good guy was doing a bad thing.

I smiled and dropped the subject. Let him root for the bad guy. I knew that by the end of the story, the thief would be the prince.

Have you ever rooted for someone, knowing they were doing bad things but seeing their potential for change? Have you ever been like my son and completely blind to a character's/person's faults? What do you think about starting a character arc so completely down on the morality pole?