Before You Start Writing that Historical Novel…

When I snagged an advanced review copy of a novel someone had written about one of my favorite historical people, I was really excited. Then I read a review made by someone I know who is very knowledgeable about this person’s life and the historical era she lived in, and I was surprised to discover that the novel is full of errors. I’m not going to say what the novel is — though I promise my review of it will show up here  — but it got me thinking about how much goes into writing a historical novel. I’ve learned a lot of things on my own, but I’ve also received a lot of tips on writing that historical novel. For the sake of all of you who are aspiring writers, I am more than willing to share so you don’t end up with a scathing review listing the errors in your novel. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2013 — Fourth Check In

“When asked, ‘How do you write?’ I invariably answer, ‘One word at a time,’ and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time. But I’ve read you can see that motherfucker from space without a telescope.” – Stephen King Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2013 — Third Check In

So here we are ending week two and moving into week three. Statistically (and realistically) many NaNo’ers have dropped out of the program at this point — that may include some of you, but I hope it doesn’t. Life happens or work happens or you get sick or maybe you’re just sick of your story — there’s a bazillion and one reasons people legitimately don’t have time to complete NaNo. But the big issue we always dance around admitting is that writing is hard work. Continue reading

Saturday Writing: Simple Plotting for Smart Writers!

In the excellent movie The Last Days of Disco, Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny play book editors at a New York publishing house. In one scene, they read over a formula for a best-seller, which has something to do with creating a really appealing character, putting him or her through hell, and having the person triumph in the end. The proto-hipster guy sneers, “It’s completely formulaic,” to which Beckinsdale’s character replies, “Of course it’s formulaic. It’s a formula.” Continue reading

The Insanity Defense

Two weeks ago I brought Mary Sues, and before that I discussed antagonists. So with that said, I want to talk about something that is very personal and near and dear to my heart: I want to talk about the problems with having “crazy” villains. Now, I might have made a caveat back in “Motivate Me,” in which I said you should avoid making “crazy” villains, now I am going to explain it deeper on why “crazy” shouldn’t be used as a flaw or a negative and explaining some of my childhood with mental illness and having a developmental disability.  Continue reading

What is Mary Sue to Do?

This topic is way overdue for discussion, and I thought today is a good day to bring it up. So, let’s talk about a topic that most geeky ladies (and gents) know about. Let’s talk about Mary Sues. More importantly, the criteria for a Sue and how really subjective these labels are in regards to female characters (and sometimes male characters). Continue reading

Camp NaNoWriMo — When November is Too Far Away

Remember November? Back when we were all very excited about banging out our NaNoWriMo first drafts and giddily* updating each other every week on our progress? Or were you on the outside, with your nose pressed up to the window going, “Seriously? November? November is really busy! When am I supposed to find time to write 1600 words a day and get an early start on my Christmas shopping? This turkey isn’t going to eat itself!” Continue reading