Tag Archives: writing preparation

Batten down the hatches, NaNoWriMo 2011 quickly approaches.

28 Oct

Since January of 2007, I’ve toiled away at a project called Fireflies, making sure every interconnecting detail was just right. I did lots of free writing to develop the characters and the world around them. I tried to start writing it a few times. See also every NaNoWriMo/Camp WriMo between 2008 and today. There are a pile of chapter ones saved on my computer as proof. I did write other novels not related to the project and even managed to get one published, but it kills me that I can’t seem to write the story I’ve wanted to share with the world for over four years.

Not anymore, folks! I made it past the dreaded chapter one mark and am proud to report that I’m well into chapter three. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but for me this is a big deal. I found the POV (point of view), the tense, the voice, and more importantly I accumulated enough writing experience to do it some justice.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, the time has come for me to batten down the hatches and attack NaNoWriMo 2011. Consider this post my declaration to the world and promise to myself to grab my white whale by throat and tell it who is boss. (It’s me, in case you were wondering.)

I had to do something while more coffee brewed.

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Brought to you by the letter ‘F’

2 Aug

Need a writing prompt to get those juices flowing? I’m here to help! Use these words in your scene:

fiddle, fingernail, fire hydrant, fish sticks, fudge.

Have an itch to do more writing exercises? You can find past Prompty Tuesdays here. Happy writing!

21 questions with author L.Carroll

10 Jul

Welcome to part two of the ‘400 DAYS’ book tour. Today, I am interviewing the author of the Lor Mandela series, L. Carroll. Welcome to Adventures in Writerland, Carroll!

Thanks, Jacquline, for having me on your blog and for helping out with the “Four Hundred Hours to Four Hundred Days” blog tour. It’s an honor to be here!

I’m thrilled you’re here today too. And while we’re talking about awesome things, everyone take a look at the cover of  ‘400 Days’. Isn’t it beautiful?

Check out the newly release book cover!

1. Some people head over to a local coffee house and sip on lattes while they scribble away in a notepad, while others use a home office and prefer to type while sucking down copious amounts of Colombian coffee. Everyone has their own routine when it comes to writing. What is yours?

I’ve always been a bit of an odd nut. While I enjoy excessive amounts of caffeine (and who doesn’t?), my routine really has little to do with my poison of choice, (which happens to be Diet Dr. Pepper, by the way). My “author’s lair” is in an office in our garage, where I lock myself away and start each writing session by reading the last chapter I wrote. Then I actually act out the scene I intend to write next. I’m sure it looks ridiculous, but I find that it helps the continuity and believability of the book.

2. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I can’t write when I’m in a bad mood.

Knowing this, my kids bought me these awful, white, plastic, pointy-rimmed “crazy lady glasses”. If my mood isn’t what it ought to be, I pop on my glasses and laughter generally ensues… mood fixed…writing resumes!

3. The great outline debate: Do you prefer to write from a detailed outline, by the seat of your pants, or some combination thereof?

Wow! This is a debate I’ve had with myself in the past. Here’s what I’ve found works best for me. I construct a detailed outline, and then write by the seat of my pants.

I didn’t have an outline (or a clue) when I started writing “Destruction from Twins”, but about half way through I found I was struggling with making all of the pieces of the story come together. It wasn’t until I outlined the rest of the book that everything clicked into place.

I learned my lesson, and drew up a thorough outline for “Four Hundred Days” BEFORE I started writing. This helped get the story going, but as the book progressed, that outline went through several modifications. For me, this was far more effective than having no outline at all, and I finished 400 in one fifth the time it took to write DFT.

4. What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel?

The biggest challenge with these novels was making sure the timeline was accurate. In both books, there is a “speed of time” variable between the two worlds. (One year on Lor Mandela = thirteen years on Earth). My daughter and I spent HOURS time-lining everything to make sure there were no major discrepancies.

If I had to pick a more generic challenge, I’d say that ensuring all of the loose ends are properly tied up is the hardest, most mentally draining aspect of creating a novel.

5. Have you ever had writers block? If so, what do you do about it?

I’ve had one or two occasions where writer’s block has taken me down. Usually it’s been when I’ve been fatigued or stressed. Sometimes I nap it off, or I soak in a hot tub — anything relaxing. Other times I barrel through and try to at least write something. (I can always tweak it later.) I try not to get too worked up about it, though, ’cause that seems to make it worse.

6. What project are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on the third and final installment of the Lor Mandela Series.

7. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I enjoy hanging out with my family, designing landscapes, and reading (of course).

8. Do you have a day job in addition to writing?

I don’t…anymore. I used to work in retail management and as a professional landscape designer. Now, I’m just a homebody author.

9. Did Lor Mandela start out as a standalone novel and spin wildly out of control or did you always know it would span many books?

Yes…definitely…the wildly out of control thing! It became a series when I did that first outline and realized that thirteen hundred pages for a single book would be a bit much.

10. With 400 Days releasing July 15th and book number three already announced on your webpage, how many books can we look forward too?

In the Lor Mandela Series, book #3 will be the finale. However, I have two other books waiting in the wings; “The Sleeper’s Secret” which is a paranormal / romance / thriller that I’ve already started, (and which may end up being two books), and “Ellsabet”, a book about an ancient water fairy who wakes from what was supposed to be one season of hibernation, into the chaos of modern day Los Angeles.

11. Lor Mandela takes place in such a beautifully, well developed word. Are there other characters waiting on the sidelines for you to tell their story?

Absolutely! In “Four Hundred Days”, you’ll meet Teedee Venilworth, a wonderfully, wildly, eccentric, old lady who’s engaged to her “imaginary” butler; and Mikil, a beautiful, yet fierce warrior who can alter her appearance to look like someone else.

And…in the third Lor Mandela book, I will be introducing a race of people that I’m VERY excited about…the Akiri. I don’t want to give too much away, but they might make the Shadow Dwellers seem a little boring.

12. If Hollywood came knocking on your door and wanted to make your series into a movie franchise, which actors would you want to play the main characters?

Funny story…my daughter is actually going to school to become a film producer/director, so we’ve cast these books thoroughly. (A big budget is definitely in order). Maggie is the only part we’ve left open for a new-comer (although Selena Gomez may be a possibility). Nathan would have to be played by Johnny Depp, (yeah), Ultara, by Cate Blanchett. I’d love to have Helena Bonham-Carter play Anika, Taylor Lautner (maybe) as Ryannon, Jason Isaacs as Darian, and Anne Hathaway as Gracielle. There are more, but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Selena Gomez as Maggie Baker? Yes, please!

13. Picking a favorite child is faux pas, but I’m going to ask anyway. Which character do you love writing the most?

I LOVE writing about Lortu of the Shadows. He’s a lot of fun because he’s mysterious and is the feared leader of a nearly lawless clan of Shadow Dwellers. Not only that, but you’re never quite sure whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy.

14. If you could be any character in fiction for a day, who would you be?

I think I’d like to be Ginny Weasley. She’s sweet and adorable, but she can kick some major trash when it all comes down to it!

15. What was the last book you read?

I just finished reading “Persuasion” by Jane Austen. I love the classics almost as much as I love epic fantasy!

16. What are you reading now?

I started reading “Stay” by fellow Indie author, CC Jackson just prior to starting the “Four Hundred Hours to Four Hundred Days” book tour. I haven’t been able to get very far into it yet, but as soon as 400 is released I plan to get back to it.

Stay by CC Jackson

17. What is your favorite Young Adult novel? (No counting your own, of course.)

I’d have to say “The Prisoner of Azkaban”. I love the story with the dementors, the time-turner, and the twists with Sirius Black and Professor Lupin.

18. Who is your author crush? One of mine is Diana Wynne Jones. I love her world building and sense of whimsy.

I hate to sound like I have a one-track mind, but I’m a huge J.K. Rowling fan. Her ability to paint such vivid pictures, and the way she draws readers in — it’s just plain sexy!

19. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always loved to write and tell stories, but I never considered writing as a profession until about eight years ago, when a cool dream made me wonder if I could actually write a whole book. Flash forward to now, and I’ve written two, with a few more on the way. I’m having a blast and I’m so glad I had that dream. (Just FYI, the contents of that cool dream can be found in chapter sixteen, “The Journal of Kahlie”, in “Destruction from Twins”.)

20. Do you have any advice to give aspiring authors?

It’s worth it! No matter what challenges you face as an author, when you hold your own published book in your hands for the first time, it is ALL worth it! (I know it sounds like I’m comparing publishing a book to giving birth, but what else do you put more of your heart and soul into, outside of having children?) Keep on writing, don’t give up, you’ll see…it’s ALL worth it!

21. Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for your support and encouragement! I sincerely hope you enjoy “Four Hundred Days” as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you. Thank you. Oh…and did I mention, thank you?

Music Monday: Just a Girl

20 Jun

My plan for this afternoon involves copious amounts of tea and fleshing out my outline in preparation for JulNoWriMo.  Luckily, I have Ellie to bounce ideas off and help me maintain a shred of sanity. Act II always gives me trouble; I never know if I’m adding too much plot or not enough!

To get myself in the mood, I want to share a song off No Doubt’s old album, Tragic Kingdom, called “Just a Girl.” The lyrics express the main character’s frustrations to the T.