Posted on November 1st, 2012

NaNoWriMo badge
Today starts National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). While I’ve heard of NaNoWriMo before, this year will be my first time in participating in the event. Basically, for those unaware, it’s a month long event in November where participants are encouraged to write about1,600 words a day, every day, toward a goal of 50,000 by the end of the month. The idea is that (starting from scratch) one will have a complete or near complete novel by the end—minus edits and such as all participants are asked to send their internal editor on vacation and just write like mad.

Seeing as I started my steampunk novel several months ago and hit a brick wall, I’m deciding to be a NaNo “rebel” and use the month to do some re-writes and push on from where I left off. I need this and hopefully when the dust settles I will have a large chunk of my story written in hope the momentum will carry over after November so I can finish.  I’ll be honest, I’m both excited and nervous as I’m not sure what this month will look like as far as writing every day, but I think I’m up for the challenge.

Wish me luck everyone!

Posted on November 1st, 2012

Last weekend my wife and I had the privilege of attending Coyote Con, an online writer’s and reader’s convention hosted by author, Joely Sue Burkhart. The convention was originally started by Drollerie Press back in 2010, but after the press closed Burkhart kindly and wonderfully took over the reins of the convention.

I think one of the coolest parts of the whole thing was that it was completely free and all online through scheduled chat sessions with various authors and publishers with each session set up just like a real life, in person panel. Topics from the convention included; self-publishing, diversity and multi-culturalism in writing, and focus on various romance and non-romance writing in genres like Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Steampunk, along with other great writing topics.

While a majority of the authors and attendees were focused more on the romance aspects within the various genres, there was a lot to be learned, even from the genres I was less familiar with and may never tackle. While I was definitely in the gender minority, the atmosphere was very welcoming and I could tell there was a desire to bring unity and collaboration between genres and genders. In fact, one of the main reoccurring topics throughout the weekend was the ever evolving and blending world of genres. How do we label our work to appeal to the widest audience, how can certain labeling make or break an author, and how do we bring readers together when genres do blend? This especially true when that blend involves romance and/or erotica with the more “non-romantic” genres such as Sci-Fi, Horror or Fantasy. Though, in truth even the more “manly” of genres involves some level of “romance”, even if it’s two-dimensional.

Overall, one of the coolest things was being able to do this with my wife. While not exactly the swoon-inducing romantic weekend some of the convention writers would write about in their stories, we both had fun lounging around and camping out with our laptops all weekend – yes, we’re nerds like that. Sometimes we’d hit up a panel together and other times we’d attend different ones and swap notes afterwards. At the end of the day, male or female, romance (and/or erotica) focused or not, it was well beyond my expectations. Not to mention, the ability to attend an event like this in my pajamas was a major plus.

Oh, and special thanks to Cindy Spencer Pape and Ciara Knight for the eBook freebies I won for being a part of their panels. Who knows, maybe a romance story will be in my writing future… or at the very least some valuable insight in writing for a female audience.

Posted on October 12th, 2012

...or a TARDIS.

Not to go off into too much of a tangent, I know I haven’t posted in a while and all I can do is apologize and move on. Long story short, I hit a snag in my writing and instead of putting on my big boy pants I kind of just sat in it for a while. After that, I got up, dusted myself off and have been sort of dancing around my steampunk series adding new notes and expanding plot-lines here and there feeling pretty good about it, but no actual writing has taken place.

In the name of transparency, one of my main problems was ‘voice’. Given my story begins in England and then moves to the U.S. during the late 1800s and involves English characters I think I was trying too hard to embody that world in my voice as the author and narrator. I will agree that some authenticity needs to exist, but I’m no Jules Verne or H.G. Wells and I think I was trying to embody someone like them and then write while having my own personal voice leak in from time to time. What resulted was something not entirely me and a bit obviously forced. The funny thing is that those portions of the story were usually the hardest to write whereas the areas that were me flowed more freely and felt more fun to write. I still like the story and its direction, but I’m trying to feel out how 21st century J.R. approaches writing a story about 19th century characters in a fictional steampunk world.

On top of all of that, I realized that one of my secondary characters whose story drives a majority of the journey of main characters was sort of dragging the whole thing down. If I wasn’t trying to force the character into the scene, this character was just fading out in the background. Long story short, this character had to go, but being so tied into the story I had to figure out how to merge her story, background and quest into one of the main characters. So either way, rewrites were and are in order.

With NaNoWriMo coming up and seeing as I will be a “rebel” according to them, as I won’t be starting from scratch if I do decide to join in on the fun, it just might be the kick in the pants I need to go back to the beginning, do some re-writes, and charge forward. Plus, come January, I will be going back to school and I’d like to tackle as much as I can between now and then before my free time becomes scarce.

So that’s what’s been going on… along with a lot of ‘Doctor Who’ watching which I like to call “research”.

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