Oct 29, 2011

Recommending Reads

So, at the suggestion of a friend here, I picked up a book by Zoe Archer. I thought it would have paranormal elements. It didn't, so it was basically a Historical... but I still totally loved it. (Thanks Annabeth!)

I light of this lovely exchange, I'm looking for other recommendations! What's your favorite book? Who's your favorite author? Heck, even favorite fictional character? What do you like about them? They needn't be romances, or have romantic elements, though I do like romance I do read outside the genre :) (Total Michael Crichton fan...)

Disclaimer: I really don't like 1st person. It usually makes me want to kick puppies. Thus, though I am a True Blood fan, I dislike the Sookie books or Twilight.

Oct 19, 2011

Dreaming Stories

I dream stories. Always. The stories might be glimpses at my own special brand of insanity, but there's always a plot. There's always a goal, this relates to that(action and consequence), and there are themes. Themes that seem to have nothing to do with my daily life. For years, it's been a running thing with my family and friends, me telling my dreams. Frequently they are answered with: I would watch that or I would read that. A decade ago, when the idea that I could ever write was just a dyslexic fantasy, I ignored it every time someone suggested I write the dream-story down.

My husband, during pre-husband days, harangued me into making a character on the roleplaying game where he played. I didn't want to. I was terrified. Everyone would know I was a bad writer. No one would want to play with me. I made him make the character, and every now and then I would stumble onto the grid, run into someone, type a ridiculously bad sentence, and then flee. I did this until some storyline happened I couldn't bear not being part of, and that one story-arc got me addicted to the whole thing. That's what got me started writing.

Over the next several years, I worked on my writing chops on online text-based RPGs, and didn't consider that I could be a writer. Not until the past 3-4 years did I give it serious thought. Then, my dreams became a way for me to try and build some platform of confidence that I was pursuing an entirely reachable goal. God, the Universe, my subconscious... whatever your moral compass is directed by... wanted me to be a storyteller. It had been giving me stories for years, so I could do this.

The natural progression was to begin writing romance -- that's what I read, after all. But I don't dream romance stories. I dream science fiction, almost entirely. Aliens? Yup. Psychic phenomena? Yep. But I also dream anthropological, alternate-universe, society-based science fiction. If my whateveryoubelieve-spiritual-divining-rod gives me stories, and I use that fact as some kind of guidepost to assure myself I'm finally doing what I am supposed to be doing, shouldn't I be writing that kind of story?

Do you dream stories? Do you ever incorporate real dreams into your plots?

Oct 11, 2011

JUDGMENT DAY... DUN Dun dunnnn

So, the first round at New Voices has ended, and I am relieved(the list in a couple posts below is out of control!). About mid-week last week, I thought the number of entries was going to roughly match last year's, but the entries started pouring in the last three days. It took 3 weeks to get to 466 entries, and the last five days of the contest added a couple more than that total(some uploaded and were taken down just after closing bell).

  • 1090 first chapters uploaded, the rough equivalent of about 109 of the shorter length category romances

Currently, the judges/editors at Harlequin Mills&Boon are trying to cull 20 from the herd, and advance them to round two. The math on this is not pretty.
  • 1.8% of all entries will advance to round 2 -- or --
  • 1 in 55 chapters make round 2 (slightly less scary for some reason)

Those are not good odds. It's better than the lottery or being hit by lightning, but if you had a 1.8% chance of surviving an operation, you wouldn't sign up, yea?

Thankfully, there are other wins to take from the competition:
  • The comments. 
  • The chance to see the competition so you can decide if you're bringing your A-Game when you submit. 
  • The chance to learn from the mistakes of others. 
These are the 'thanks for playing' prizes(which is part of why I've been managing that list -- some folks have gotten a wealth of comments, and some have not gotten any. Granted, most of those without are from the last 3 days of uploads, but still... everyone deserves feedback regardless of when they bellied up to the bar.)

The suspense is killing me. I didn't call any of the semi-finalists last year, and when I read them some of them were actually quite surprising to me... so I'm curious to see if my eye has been honed at all, and also to see what currently is catching the editor's attention.

The list goes live Thursday, and then I will return to this WIP on a more normal schedule, and hopefully to posting regularly. It's about time for the Spiderpocalypse report--the warmer weather has kept them mostly out of sight so far, I think. but around Halloween when it always gets quite cold, they'll be inside. A flipping beetle got into my room the other night and about drove the cat crazy(which was totally fun), so: flipping beetles seek warmer accommodations before spiders do -- bless their little clumsy hearts.

Oct 3, 2011

Genre Mashups

So, I've been gone(ish) for a week or two, constantly updating one post with New Voices information, but doing very little else here.

Today, I'm back(ish). And I have absolutely no insights to give or share, instead I have some big crunchy questions:

Aside from the whole, 'we don't know what to catalog this manuscript as because it crosses genres...' thing(which seems to be more bookstore related and maybe not such a big deal now that there's so much self-pub/epub), is there any reason NOT to storm ahead and from the outset determined to write across a couple-three genres?

Are there any rules for crossing genres? Any you feel are done to death? I know that when they go poorly, they REALLY go poorly... but are there guidelines to doing it well?

I asked Amazon, and they had no craft books to offer me on the subject. Instead they were all... hey look at THAT book over there, isn't it shiny? So I'm askin' you fine people!