Friday, May 30, 2008

Creative Detour: Chasing the Bard - A Podcast Novel

Every now and then you find a treat that both the reader AND the writer in you can enjoy. Today's Creative Detour is one of these rare treasures.

With limited time to both write and read, listening to podcasts has become a wonderful way for me to get a little creative input during the day without compromising my care for my one year old son. Lunchtime is podcast time and while I'm turning spoons into airplanes and he's happily munching with his new baby teeth I get to catch up on the most recent episodes of my favorite shows and podcast novels.

And this one is at the top of my list:

'Chasing the Bard' is a fantastic and intriguing story, both masterfully written and beautifully told
and the sort of story that I get so drawn into it's only after the closing music has faded that I realize I now have cereal decorating my hair!

"Follow Shakespeare into the world of the Fey..."

Want to hear how young Will Shakespeare caught the attention of the Fey*, was shadowed by Puck as he grew and drawn into his own Midsummer nightmare? Want to see how our favorite Bard became a key player in the struggle to save Faerie?

Then you need to listen to award nominated author Philippa Ballantine's book 'Chasing the Bard'. Narrated and performed by Ms. Ballantine and an international cast of voices, this podcast novel is wonderfully told and produced, with subtle music and sound effects to complete the otherworldly atmosphere, drawing you into a world that's affects our own more often than you might think...

You'll meet Sive the Shining - the dark Fey queen caught in a struggle to save her world, Puck the Trickster - to whom there's far more than meets the eye, Mordant - the power-hungry Fey knight to whom Sive finds herself married and held captive by, Brigit - Sive's aunt and the last of the First Fey who Sees what others can't and many more including, of course, William Shakespeare - rogue, writer and the key to saving not only the world of the Fey but his own, if he can survive...

Here's a taste of what you can expect:

'Chasing the Bard' is a dark fantasy for mature audiences, with excellent writing, a well researched world full of fascinating historical nuggets, with adventure, romance, intrigue, a wry sense of humor, mischievous and dangerous Fey and a talented rough diamond named Will Shakespeare. Every chapter brings new twists and turns and keeps you thinking about this world, long after the echoes of Puck's laughter have died away...

If you like fantasy, Shakespeare, and journeying into the lands of the Fey you don't want to miss out on experiencing this wonderful story as it unfolds.

Chapters are added weekly and there's all sorts of goodies available too - PLUS the chance to join the Fey Court of Sive the Shining and get the inside scoop on what's happening beyond the bounds of mortal realms... just as long as you do as Sive bids!

Go to 'CHASING THE BARD' and have a listen to chapter one. I guarantee you'll want to hear more.

Support this wonderful author and keep her writing. We need more stories like these!

I'll see you in The Court...

* Fey - also known as the Fae, fairies, faeries, the Little People, the Sidhe (pronounced 'she') and many others.

NOTE: To read more about the print novel, click on the book cover above to be taken to Dragon Moon Press.

WRITING ROUTES 101: #1 Leaving Out the Boring Parts

It's something I've read more than a few times lately from some of the best pros out there - past and present.

The question:
How do you keep readers turning pages?

The answer:
Leave out the boring parts.

But just when you thought you had a clear view of the road with this refreshing and oh-so-straight-forwardly-simple-advice, suddenly it fogs over to leave you peering through a thick, soupy mess, uncertain of how to proceed. That succinct little five-word sentence you were about to tack up over your writing space is now weighed down with a ton of addendums attached to its end - such as:
  • ... and remember what's interesting to you as a writer may be boring to the reader - it is after all your baby...
  • ... and remember your readers are new to your creation and need touchstones to anchor themselves in reality so they can all the more easily suspend disbelief...
  • ... and remember to use all your senses to enhance your reader's experience, drawing them all the more strongly into your story...
  • ... and remember to give the reader a context so they don't get lost...
  • ... and remember to layer your characters to give them dimensionality and make your readers care...
  • ... and remember to interweave layers into your plot to give the reader a sense of reality because after all, no situation exists in a vacuum...
  • ... and so on...
  • ... and so on...
Yikes! What's a writer to do?

Instead of revving your engines and setting out on your writing journey, you find yourself stuck in one place reading the mechanics manual, with time flying by and not a single word closer to getting your book written.

My way of juggling all the addendums is to do this in a THREE STEP approach.

Just write and leave out the boring parts - for you!
In other words - only write what's interesting to you - not what you think you should write. Holly Lisle calls it the 'candy bar' approach. Only write the scenes you're excited about writing - the ones you can't wait to write - the idea being that you fill in the gaps after. Ideally ALL the scenes you write should be ones you can't wait to write and believe it or not - this is absolutely possible to do without sacrificing the continuity of your story. It's a matter of either finding the right approach to the scene that makes it fun to write or leaving it out all together. The 1st draft is for the writer only and this is where you go to town, have fun, write all the weird and wonderful stuff you've been looking forward to then - once you're done with draft #1 - sitting back to look at the result before you go any further.

Leave out the boring parts for the reader.
This is where you read what you've written as a reader instead of the proud author you can't help being when you see your words on a page. This is where you get rid of:
    • unnecessary description
    • unnecessary dialogue
    • unnecessary flashbacks
    • unnecessary internal monologues
    • unnecessary characters
    • unnecessary action
    • unnecessary anything!
Step one is about what parts of the story you tell and what parts you don't.

Step two is not about the scenes (story parts) so much as what goes into the scenes - the details and how they're told.

Once you've got that down then you can edit and rewrite to your heart's content. This is where you can use a checklist - if you want and/or need to.

The important thing at this stage is to get the story down. Once it's on paper (or saved on your hard drive) then you can push and pull it until it's in the sort of shape you're proud of.

And this is where STEP THREE comes in.

No matter what you add or subtract, expand or summarize, the thing to remember as you edit and re-write is always to:
'Leave out the boring parts!'

Coming up on future Writing Routes 101:
Giving Your Story Roots - How To Use the Right Details
Bringing Your World To Life - Drawing Readers In By Their Senses
Write on!
The Ink Gypsy

WRITING ROUTES 101: Mini-Articles On The Best Strategies I've Found On The Write Road

There are SOOOO many books on writing techniques and craft that it's impossible to read them all. I find it difficult to believe anyone has anything new to say but I'm just as guilty as anyone else for checking out new offerings and I believe this is why:

We all think differently and we all learn differently. Information is easier to digest in some formats than others and, again, it's different for everybody.

For instance, I respond well to books that lay out the information simply and clearly, with tips and quotes and especially a good sense of humor. For me, it just make learning more fun. On a daily or weekly basis, reading a quick blog post, is a whole lot easier than wading through a whole book though, and that's where I come in.

My hope is that this quick and simple format will keep you motivated, inspire and encourage you and help you find information that would have otherwise had you spend hours wading through volumes of books to find.

This new series of mini-articles has a two-fold purpose:

1) Here I can summarize the best writing advice I've come across - both that works for me and seems to get repeated in various ways - all in one place for easy reference for myself and others


2) If you're new to writing then hopefully these posts will help you get a head start on the 'advice-slush pile' so you can spend your time writing instead of reading about writing!

I've had a few inquiries as to whether or not I have a newsletter people can sign up for. At this stage I don't but I'm certainly thinking about it - especially if those requests keep coming in!

If you're interested please contact me through my website HERE and let me know the sorts of things you'd be interested in receiving information about.

In the meantime I'll be posting mini-articles like the one in the post following this one to give those interested something to get their teeth into.

So far, I have three regular types of posts I'm including in the blog:

FOR THE ORGANIC WRITER - Mini-article series specifically to give writers who don't outline some resources and strategies to consider. There is a lot of information available on detailed plotting and outlining but barely any on how to approach your writing if you don't write that way. I'll be looking at the creative process of writers who work 'organically' and look at strategies successful (i.e. 'published') writers use to get their books written, edited and finished - all while managing detailed plots and creating layered & complicated characters.

WRITING ROUTES 101 - Mini-article series on the best writing advice and strategies I've found. What works for one writer may not work for another but the basic principles tend to be the same. This series will give you different ways to approach your writing with an emphasis on explaining things simply and in a straight-forward manner. Any tips and tricks I've discovered will be included in this series too.

CREATIVE DETOURS - Fun! Useful! Inspiring! The purpose of these is to help fill your creative batteries, refresh your tired mind and discover other creative works out there that you can enjoy. Not just about books and writing (though they'll definitely be included as well), you'll find these posts cover a wide spectrum of creativity. I'll link you to websites where possible so you can explore further as the topic interests you.

The Write Road is filled with frustrating detours, confusing directions and overwhelming advice - but you're not alone on this road. I'm here too, and am having my own adventures. My hope is that I can share what I've learned, we can have a few laughs along the way and who knows? Perhaps we'll trade autographs when our next novels get published!
Coming up on future Writing Routes 101:
How To Keep Readers Turning the Pages
Write on!
The Ink Gypsy

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Deadwood Comes Back To Life

It was a struggle but I delivered on my promise - well the writing part anyway. There are now another two new pages in the manuscript of Deadwood and I'm finding my way back into the characters heads.

Tomorrow's task will be to re-read at least some of what I've written, find the pulse again and add that new character that's been sitting on Elizabeth's doorstep, waiting for her to get home.

Yes, I have a new character and he will be key to what happens next. I'll worry about just 'when and how' he appears in the first place on the next go round, but for now, he's there - as if he's been there all along. I can even see his grubby face, skin sticky with orange pulp, dark trails of dirt lining his face so he appears older than he really is...

I kind of want to fast-forward myself to see what I'll write once he moves from the still image I'm holding in my mind's eye to stride onto the set of the movie-in-my-head. This guy could cause some interesting writing hiccups for me but for my novel's eventual readers he should keep things unpredictable and perhaps add a little edge I hadn't foreseen.

If I can surprise myself I will have a good chance of doing the same for the reader. This should be fun!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Drafted Into Writing Lots of 'Non-Writing'

I've been busy again.

I should be taking a break and filling up my creative-juice tanks but noooOO!

Apparently my subconscious decided I should be working on other aspects of this writing-for-a-living thing instead. It'll all be useful in the end of course but right now that means my novel has languished for yet ANOTHER day...

So what's been occupying my time?

The baby has a new nickname: Og. His current favorite toy is a very long wooden stake, about one and a half times his length, and he carries it like a caveman ready to do battle with mastadons. It's both endearing and inspiring so he's been the subject of many Twitters...

Twitters? I hear you ask? Yes. I joined Twitter. In an effort to continue networking with other writers and podcasters as well as potential readers I joined the current new social media buzz and signed up - as 'inkgypsy' (no surprise there!).

It's like mini-blogging - letting hundreds of people know what you're up to in two short sentences or less and seeing what they're doing too - instantly. I gather the average Twitter has a lot about being hungry, needing sleep and being bored but having writers on my list means I get much more entertaining Tweets to skim AND get first notice of any blogs they're posting, any web discoveries they've made and other nicely random and entertaining things.

It's cool.

It's kind of addictive.

And already I now have a new archive of interesting subjects and tangents to mine for weird ideas (did I mention I was cleaning werewolf teeth today?)*

So that's one thing. Then there's the issue of My Space. I had to sign up in order to reach someone who tried to contact me about her writing. Though the sign-up process probably took less than two minutes I didn't realize the next two HOURS would be taken up filling in the About Me sections! Because I had to make it unique for anyone looking for something new of course! Aren't I considerate..?

Whatever. Its done. And I've set it up to email me me should anyone try and contact me. One less site to check at least.

And then there's the returning important/urgent-return-emails-writing and the keeping- you-all-updated-writing... wow. The night just flees!

And I've done no reading and no novel writing.

This was NOT the plan people!

I've been trying to finish a barely-started Tales blog post too but I always leave it to last - because it's more 'serious and literary' than anything else - and falls off the proverbial table. I'm rather bothered I haven't gotten back there in so long and need to rectify that.

In fact I need to rectify the whole not-writing-on-my-novel thing!

The other stuff is good. The emails are good. The feedback is good. The research on Creative Processes is good... BUT it's not writing my novel. Just like writing the non-fiction book was good and productive - it STILL wasn't writing my novel.

As I'm never going to be obligation free. I need to 'just do it' and hope people understand. I always have a sneaking suspicion that working on my own novel is selfish and I should be working on one of those 'other' writing projects for someone else instead... time to change that broken record! In fact I think I need to promise myself that my writing won't get left behind because everyone's else's is more important. (I may have to tattoo this on myself somewhere before it really sinks in!)

Being that it's already tomorrow I'll start today - you are all witnesses:

I, InkGypsy, solemnly promise to not only open my novel file but to add some words (hopefully many words) to the manuscript at least every other day. The days between I promise to work on taking my creative multi-vitamins... and sleeping. Yes - I promise to (attempt to) sleep, as soon as Og does the same!

Non-writing-writing. It's a trap.
And I'm teetering on the edge. Where's my superpowers when I need them?!

* Besides it's pretty funny reading hubbie's tweets even when he's just in the other room! Ukuleles featured prominently today...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The 'Contact Me' Hiccup & Lots of Grumbling On My Part


There's been another little 'fixling' issue but this time I don't think it's GPCs fault.

It turns out AOL is blocking mail from google-based email accounts - which includes the one attached to my website and gmail.

Talk about frustrating!


I got a couple of inquiries via the 'Contact Me' page and the system worked beautifully!

Until I tried to reply...

[FATAL ERRORS.. blah, blah, blah NOT ACCEPTED FROM THIS DOMAIN blah, blah, blah]


GMail has EXCELLENT spam filtering so it makes me suspicious that such a major email provider is being blocked across the board by AOL. Perhaps the competition is getting to them... hmmm?


I'm not a subscriber to the 'Waiting for Google to take over the world' Club or anything but it just seems, well, mean. Shouldn't we all be trying to get along? If you can show me you have superior service then I'll check you out. But I don't like bullies or being discriminated against. You want we like you? Play nice!


I finally figured out a work-around after a day and night of researching the issue but I'm not real happy with it.

Suffice it to say - if you're an AOL user and would like me to email you, please give me an alternative email so I can contact you (if that's at all possible). Otherwise I'm afraid there might be a little reply-delay as I work on my work-around to get back to you.

But never fear - I WILL get back to you! (somehow)


Apparently, this is all part of the challenge to maintain a website and keep in contact with people. I don't remember it being part of the job description! I think homes should come with a personal IT guy (or gal) attached - I'd supply free home-made chocolate chip cookies whenever the chips were down... (Get it? Chips? Never mind...!)

It's my blog and I'll grumble if I want to!

("We now return you to our regularly scheduled smiley-faced program.")

Friday, May 23, 2008

Creative Detour: Will Eisner

Will Eisner: artist and cartoonist extraordinaire!

It's hard to figure out whether his stuff is so inspiring you HAVE to go pick up a pencil straight away
makes you want to throw out every pencil you've ever owned and give up - knowing you'll never approach his skill.

And you know it instantly when you see it - whether you like comics - er, I mean 'SEQUENTIAL ART' - or not.

Yep. He really was THAT good!

Here's a little clip from a documentary to give you some idea:

He even seemed like a nice guy - dammit! (And now I'll never get to meet him...)

Oh yeah - and I think he has (ANOTHER!) book coming out soon (posthumously that is) on
Graphic Storytelling & Visual Narrative.

Being a visual person who has realized using images is a very important part of my writing process I think this book will be an important addition to my writing resources library (right, honey?).

It's a reprint but now we don't have to schlep through 2nd hand bookstores for the rare stained and dog-eared copy, or fight insensitive and extortionist e-bay barbarians to own our very own (nice, clean) copy!

As you've probably decided such a volume will doubtless be indispensable for your own creative thinking and resource library, I'm going to save you some hunting.

Here it is:

Just click on the image above and it'll take you straight to Amazon to pre-order a copy of your very own...

- just like I have already!

Creative Detour: The Dresden Files

Basically, Jim Butcher's series, The Dresden Files is Harry Potter for grown-ups.

Except that mentioning Harry Potter automatically casts a warm-fuzzy and juvenile glow onto the subject and there's very little warm and fuzzy where the series goes.

And it's DEFINITELY NOT for younger readers.

An urban fantasy/noir/mystery series with a whole lot of grit and gore, Jim Butcher's hero - Harry Dresden (named for Houdini - not Ms. Rowling's creation) - is a down-on-his-luck bona-fide wizard who works for the greater good against all odds and gets very little in the way of respite, peace (or monetary compensation) in return.

Juat like we like it.

The more Harry suffers the more we turn pages because we just can't help it. And Jim Butcher has kept me up WAAAAY past my bedtime with -

So far...

You see I'm catching up on my reading, having strictly disciplined (read 'starved') myself for the past few months as far as fiction is concerned. I pulled out my four 'old' Dresden Files books, intending to read them in order this time and realized I wasn't going to be able to stop there. Reading them in order simply made it worse - no, BETTER!

Time for some EAD maneuvers, methinks Captain!
(EAD = Emergency Deployment)

He has just released the tenth book in the series (see the 'super' cover below) but even catching up via my EAD tactics that's not going to whet this appetite at all!

Here's how good Jim is: I look at the back cover and think -

"Oh crap. It's a zombie book (or vampire etc).
Oh well.
I'll just read the first chapter and turn

... two hours later I realize my bloodshot eyes are gritty with lack of sleep but it's only that the sun is coming up soon that makes me put the damn book down so I can catch some shut-eye before my not-quite-a-baby-anymore wakes properly to start his day.

I've reconsidered what I want my super-power to be, should I ever get the choice: I want to be able to s-t-r-e-t-c-h t-i-m-e so while the baby is asleep for half and hour I can read a whole book AND get the equivalent of a good night sleep before he wakes up for a little midnight snack again.

Being that I have yet to be bestowed this ability, I am now turning off the light.... after just one more chapter...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Introducing Creative Detours: Bayou Web Comic

Ever felt like your creative tank was getting close to empty? After the stress and excitement of getting my e-book completed and launched I could definitely use a little refill in my creative reserves.

I knew I'd never get that project done if I allowed myself to be distracted so that meant NO reading apart from what was absolutely necessary for research, NO web surfing beyond the topics I was working on, NO movies, NO TV, NO blog reading except for those associated with my research, NO blogging beyond the basics to stay in touch... and it worked.


...I feel like I'm creatively starving right now!

So it's time for an intensive refill of my creative batteries and some tasty juice for my tired gray matter.

I mentioned I'd be sharing some of the inspiring things I've found in this blog and I've decided I'm calling them 'CREATIVE DETOURS' - stuff that's worth taking a little side-road to see on your daily journey. While not really on the main route it certainly makes the trip a whole lot more fun and who knows? Perhaps it'll kick-start some of those rusty gears into getting moving again.

And, yes, my creative tanks are rattling in exhausted protest at this preamble too. Next time - no intro-blurbing. 'Turn left NOW!':

Today I discovered a web comic called 'BAYOU' by Jeremy Love (writer/artist) & Patrick Morgan (colorist).

(click on image to be taken to the FREE web comic)
I am in awe of these guys!

The drawing,
.......................the writing,
...........................................the coloring,
.................................................................the layout,
...................................................................................the story,
....................................................................................................the tone...'s all AMAZING and ranks with the best graphic novels I've ever seen.

The web comic format is a perfect vehicle for it - keeping the surprises surprising and allowing you to zoom in on the artwork (though you can be certain I'll be snapping up a print copy as soon as it becomes available!). It's a serial comic still in progress - which is already making me impatient for the next update - and wow - do they know how to keep you turning the pages! (Make sure you use the 'view full screen function' for the best experience - you won't be sorry.)

Just a warning - this is not for kids! And you may want to wait till little ones are asleep before viewing. Issues of race from 70 years ago dominate this dark fantasy and it doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of this time period. But that's also refreshing and has a sobering way of making you really think.

Zuda Comics is onto a good thing here. Update your comic in installments, get instant feedback from readers, enable dialogue between writers/artists and readers... It's yet another way this 'social media' explosion is making an impact on the writer and artist community.

But that's not all I get out of reading 'Bayou'. The way it's 'crafted' ALSO makes me wish I could draw - properly! I wish I had the talent to put some of the stories in my head into this wonderful format (and enter their competition). I have a feeling I'll be doodling more than usual in the next few days..!

Oh yeah - and did I mention it's FREE?!! Enjoy while you can!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


My email in-box showed Holly Lisle's weekly writing update had arrived this morning. This was it. This was the one where she told her many subscribers about my new e-book and encouraged them to consider buying it.

I have to admit I scrolled right through the email until the heading of my book's title came up.

And then I had to sit down.

She liked it.


She REALLY liked it!

The recommendation was better than I could have hoped for and used words like 'excellent', 'awesome' and 'cool'.

I'm still in a bit of a daze. All that hard work through the middle of many, many (many, many, MANY!) nights paid off. I can't post the text publicly but if you want to see what she said, contact me through my website HERE and I'll forward you the newsletter.

I may have to pick myself up off the floor to do it because I'm still down here at the moment but don't let that stop you... I could be here for a while yet!

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's Here! It's New! It's Mine! The EBook is LIVE!

Woo hoo!

Two more all-nighters (after the many I've already pulled getting the MS ready) and some interesting issues on the publishing end (let's just say I owe Holly a week's worth of chocolate for figuring out all the issues and still getting it up on time!) and...

'The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Ballet Dancers'

Here is a screenshot of the HollyShop page where it's being sold:
And HERE'S where you can go check it out for yourselves... (and buy a copy if you feel inspired to - only $9! Oops. Sales copy is still dominating my brain sorry!)

In case you missed that it's

And the bonus' are up and ready for download for those people who have the hidden page address and password (ie. those who buy the book!) and the website is all up! - except for the Writing About Ballet Dancers - Additional Resources page... it should be up later today - Jackzilla willing (Jackzilla is one of my many names for my energy-full son!)

You can also bookmark my active Home Page now:

One little note - for some reason all the sales copy at the HollyShop turned all the apostrophes into question marks! It's happened to all of us so not sure what's going on there but it's being looked into. It certainly makes for interesting reading at times!

'Ballet Dancers' Book Cover Sneak Peek!

A few hours ago I got sent a preview of the book cover for 'The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Ballet Dancers'.


I have to say it's pretty exciting!! (I am trying to keep my fingers from pressing the exclamation point on the keyboard too often but for some reason my fingers keep straying toward it...!)

I have a long night ahead of me getting the bonus material covers matched then uploaded to the site, ready for those who buy the book to access (the link and code are contained within the book for those who buy/download it). I'm a big believer of under-promise and over-deliver and hopefully these extras will be a nice (and useful) surprise for my readers! (!!)

Without further ado...
(and because I'd like to get at least a little shut-eye before the sun comes up to bake us all over again - it was over 103 degrees F in our zipcode today! Yikes!!) is the cover for my new book!

(TIP: Click on the image for a closer view)
You can find more information about it HERE and more about the series HERE.

Oh and one more thing - and I think this is THE coolest thing of all: as of tomorrow I am not only a 'writer',
(Can you tell it's my first book? Yeah... but I've heard it never gets old!)

PS: Tomorrow my Home Page will be active too. You can now bookmark my new website's main address:
(Yay!!!!!! - OK enough with the exclamation points already - time to work! I just HAD to sneak one more in...)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Get Your Pith Helmets Ready

The website is almost completely active now, with lots more to discover and very few webpage-phantoms to be stumped by (I promise!...)

(...barring the all-important-GPC-buggy Home Page that is... I have to wait for May 19th for that. Sigh)


(Yes! There's more! And 'no' it's not about steak knives... this time...)

I've added some handy little preview widgets to the sidebar so you can see at a glance if you're missing anything from my other two blogs:

Tales of the Ink Gypsy (my themed writing blog inspired by fairy tales and their study)
Spit the Dummy... Mudsock Style (my personal blog all about my little Jackzilla
- a.k.a the cutest kid EVER! Yes I'm completely biased - and the big events happening in our little family)

Only 1 day to go!

(The excitedly-nervous butterflies in my stomach are already doing loop-the-loops and making themselves green...)

PS: Erm.. (cough) ... it may help if I give you somewhere to start your hunt, huh? Here you go:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


It's bound to happen.

You put up something brand new bright and shiny and the internet gremlins rub their hands together in glee and move the html around enough to make it not quite perfect...

So the links on my blog page ended up all smushed together and not separately clickable (like all these new words I'm making up here?).

So I've fixed the links on the Inklings page (see why I wrote 'fixlings'? Much more concise!)
and now you can get to the other active pages (and get a 'cute' message from google when the page is created but not yet active/published).

I'm sure this is just the first 'fixling' email of many... 'tis a work in progress and continually evolving to boot after all.

Keeps life from being boring I guess.

And I guess I'd better include a 'known bugs that invade your beautiful page creations' section when I put together the GPC (Google Page Creator) Tips page - my to-do list never seems to get any shorter...

Be sure to let me know if you find other bugs (I'm convinced they breed under html adjusting circumstances)! I'll either fix it or let you know I can't... and rant, I mean 'BLOG', about it too.

5 days to go on the EBook countdown...!
(I'm dreading seeing what the gremlins do with that!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Up and Running... Um, Jogging

Less than a week to go until my EBook is available!

I have yet to see the cover and get the files to put a matching one on the bonus material I'm providing for those who buy it but I've been assured that despite time off/holidays it WILL still be going live on MAY 19th.

So I've published SOME of my website to get it going...


Except for the Home Page. Yeah. Seems ridiculous but there's a bug in GooglePageCreator that seems to prevent changes being made to the Home Page after it's published, and I have yet to add the book cover and link to where it's available. Grr. I'm finding a lot of work-arounds in GooglePageCreator and am pleased I've gotten as much together and working as I have... BUT.. it's certainly not ideal.


SO: Here's the 'big' page with the juciest content so far - my 'About Me' page. I thought I'd attack it a little differently than:

"I always wanted to write ever since I could hold a pencil..."


So there are stupid questions (and answers), links to things I love, a little background info (for those who really DO want to learn more about me) and a little section about inspirational and influential authors, people and things... Lots to dig around in and get muddy with!

Here's the link:

From here you can experiment to see which pages are active and which aren't too. The Contact Me page is up too... just in case (yep - I'll even answer your questions personally!)

I have quite a bit of blogging to catch up on - for 'Tales' and 'Spit the Dummy' - now this is mostly under control so will be concentrating on that come midnight and beyond for the next few nights...

Plus I've got more I want to add/change out/spice up the About Me page - just to keep you guessing.

Oh yeah - and the WHOLE website (even the dreaded non-editable Home Page) will be up, live and into full sprint on May 19th.

Woo! (I'll add the 'Hoo' when we're beyond the jog and into the run!)

PS I'm seriously thinking about adding a GooglePageCreator Tips and Tricks page for website newbies like me who haven't got time to figure out website creation and html and don't have the money to pay someone to do it. I've found I can do a lot more than is apparent on signing up and wish I'd figure this out earlier. A little research goes a long way... I might as well share the fruit salad of my labors!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mine Is the Next In Line!

Today (OK yesterday now) #5 in the Write It Right series was released. The topic is 'Hunting' by Tanya Drayton.

The link to the 'about' blurb is HERE. It's always interesting to see how people handle the sales copy. I have to wonder just how different (or similar) it is to what's written inside...

My own EBook is still on schedule to be released on May 19.

12 days to go!

I have yet to buy and download any in the series for fear of finding out really cool approaches that I'm just too dim-witted to have cottoned onto. Since I've sent everything to Holly now, though, I should bite the bullet, boldly download a book or two and start looking at my fellow writers' efforts at this 'assignment'. Once I do you can be sure I'll be blogging about it!

It's a very cool series. I truly hope the mentality for many will be that they'll want to own the complete set (including mine of course!).

So far the topics are:
#1 Horses
#2 Firearms
#3 Courtroom Law
#4 Genealogy
#5 Hunting

I'm building my own collection right now...

THE ORGANIC WRITER: #1 What creature be this?

So I've figured out I'm on 'organic writer' - by that I mean that I am greatly stifled in my writing if I write outlines, notes or plans for my novel (or scenes) before starting the story.

I also realized that although I can get into (and really enjoy) outlining and/or world building when it comes time to write the words that would be read by the reader any 'pre-writing' as fun as it was to do, takes away the urge to write and the freshness of the idea.

For me this includes even notes about scenes as simple as: 'Jane meets John under troll bridge' or even 'meet troll bridge'!

So the question then becomes: "How do I plot without outlining and keep track of all the various elements in my story and my world?"

And what about other non-outliners? Do we have anything in common besides not being able to outline? Are there published authors that write this way and how do they (and therefore 'we') stay on track? Are there commonalities between how we all work? Are there tips and tricks of the trade that work specifically for organic writers?

Sometimes it's easier to figure out what 'is' if you know what 'isn't' and note that first. So here goes:

An organic writer is NOT:
  • someone who plans and plots their book out before writing it
  • someone who only writes when inspiration hits (otherwise organic writers would never get books finished, let alone published and there ARE authors out there who write without a plan - and do it well!)
  • someone who spends a lot of effort on 'world-building'
  • disorganized (well, not necessarily - people will be people though)
  • someone who summarizes their scenes before writing them for fear that the impetus for writing will be taken away and will instead feel chore-like ('writing down' as opposed to simply 'writing')
Organic writers CAN:
  • finish novels
  • get published
  • write complicated/layered stories
  • write unpredictable stories
  • write even when they don't feel like it
  • write both fiction and non-fiction this way
  • plot without outlining!
So what should we do with all that writing advice? Should we get rid of all those books and newsletters that tell us how to outline?

In a word - 'No'. It's my firm belief that we can learn from anyone who's been on the pro writing road before and that includes those that use this dreaded outline business. I don't have it all figured out just yet but I'll share my findings along the way and show you how to make all that advice work for you.

I must say, I find it very ironic that someone so interested in process (me) finds it necessary to write without the step-by-step set-up and planned writing-route in order to get out her (my)
best work!

So in answer to the original question 'What creature be this?' I feel I must answer 'ME!'

"Hi. My name is Gypsy and I'm an organic writer..."

But I'm not the only one. There are many writers who've successfully finished and published novels in this exact manner and continue to use the same method for whatever they're working on right now.

'Organic Writers R Us.'

You are not alone!
I'll take a look at a couple of methods published authors (who write organically) use when they're writing.
Write on!
The Ink Gypsy

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Unexpected Writing Challenge

The EBook is done! The rewrites/additions are complete and I've emailed the manuscript to Holly. The word count came in at just over 31, 000 words. Not too shabby methinks!

So that's a HUGE relief.

But my midnight scratchings were not over yet. I still had the dreaded 'sales copy' to write.

Despite the challenges of writing about eating disorders, racism and promiscuity I think this little assignment was the most difficult yet.

Yeah. The 'you-need-my-book-NOW!' kinda copy that just isn't me.

I had approximately fifteen false starts over a couple of nights before my husband suggested I write it like the despicable salesman-selling-knives at 2am character that irks me so much. Easier said than done. The only voice I could focus on was full of parody and downright sleazy something which I just couldn't put down into pixels. After all I DO think the book is worth a few dollars! It's going to be a great resource for anyone wanting to write about ballet dancers and should be fun to read.

So sleazy-salesman-Sam-speak didn't work.

I tried thinking about writing a sketch but the 'voice' again came out all wrong and sounding incredibly insincere, with the nonetoo-subtle underlying message of 'buy this - you sucker!'

Not good.

I needed to figure out my organic-writer-process and make it work for this job too. Middle-of-the-night.... self-reflection. Question: How do I normally start writing anything? Answer: I have a 'charged image'.

I realized I needed the same thing for the jumping off point for the sales copy to get me writing but it took some digging to find it - not because I couldn't think of wonderful ballet-related things but because I still have (yes, I'm inserting present tense on purpose here) this aversion to promoting myself and my work.

But I found it: little girls all over the world dreaming of being ballerinas, dancing around the house and begging their parents to go to lessons and to wear their tutus and slippers to scool... It occurred to me then that ballet was hard to avoid if you had a little girl! That means a lot of people know just a little bit - enough that if you're writing about a dancer, you'd better be checking your facts!

Once I got my image I tried to write it down. Again - many, many false starts. But eventually the right combination of words got me beyond the first concept and into the body of the text. now I had my entry point I knew why I, for example - if I were writing about dancers - would want this book and out came the rest of my pitch - because that's what it is really.

Not easily - no big writing 'flow' ensued but a certain rhythm eventually emerged and I got it finished in one (long) night. After a little tweaking in the light of day today (and with hubbie's critical eye over it) I was satisfied enough to format it for easier reading with spaces, bolds, and large eye-catching text... and I sharply told myself to stop noodling and sent it into the depths of cyber-space addressed to Holly's inbox.

She should see it in a few hours (I gather she's a morning person - the complete opposite of myself!).

Just the front cover to go now and that, I'm waiting on to proof.

I'll be adding content to my website between now and May 19 to make sure I'm ready for the few who might wish to explore the subject - and possibly my other writings - further. I believe in the whole 'under-promise/over-deliver' philosophy. It's rewarding for all involved and worth it.

I just wish I could download some sleep!

May 19th is getting closer....!