ROW80: Final Check-In

ROW80 Logo

Hello gentle reader,

And we’ve come to the end of this 4th round of A Round Of Words in 80 Days (aka ROW80). My goal for this round was to write or edit every day and I’m pleased to say this has been my most productive round so far (this was my third participation). For at least 6 weeks I had a 100% sucess rate and even in the last few weeks, when work really got crazy and I couldn’t find the time to write every day, I did get a lot done.

So this round, I have:

– edited my WIP The Last Queen (thanks to a few awesome CPs and beta readers) and started querying it.

– added a few chapters to my two other WIPs.

– took part in the launch of a new blog along some writerly friends. The blog is called There And Draft Again and you can check it out here.

Here I’d like to thank Juliana Haygert and Lauren Garafalo for cheering me along during the Twitter sprints. You ladies are awesome!

See you all next round!

In the meantime, keep writing…

ROW80 Check-In 9: Marie Lu on dealing with Writer’s Insecurities

ROW80 Logo

Hello gentle reader,

I can’t believe it’s already time for another ROW80 check-in! My goals for this fourth round are as follows: Write or edit every day.

So this week was crazy. I think I wrote every day but I have been doing so many different things I can’t be sure. What I did do was launch a blog alongside some lovely ladies (Raewyn Hewitt, Jessica Montgomery, Mara Valderran, K.L. Schwengel and Rachel Horwitz). Our blog is called There And Draft Again: A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers and I hope you’ll be willing to hop over there and support us. There’s a giveaway for our first blog followers. Alternatively, you can follow us on Twitter.

Now, on to an inspiring story to keep us going this coming week. Today I’m sharing Marie Lu’s take on Insecurities. She published the following post on her blog in February 2011, back when her best-selling dystopian novel Legend was still unpublished. I found this post especially fitting this week because I’m querying The Last Queen and I’m not feeling very confident about my writing at this time…

 Marie Lu-Legend

“Artists and writers tend to be fragile creatures by nature. Our work is a piece of our passion cut out and put on public display for the world to see, and we wait with our hearts in our throats as others analyze that work. Sometimes we achieve the ultimate goal: entertaining our public by making them react in an emotional way (joy, sadness, anger, enlightenment, even disgust–depending on what we’re aiming for). More times than not, we’re greeted with our greatest fear: the public’s disappointment, the public’s accusations that our work is a ripoff of something else, or the worst of them all…..the public’s silence.

I have to admit: I’ve never been a very secure person. I wish I could say that I’m confident in the quality of what I do, that I don’t care what others think as long as I’m happy with what I’ve created. But I can’t. I care very much what others think of both my artwork and my writing, and when I’ve disappointed viewers and/or readers, I feel ashamed that I let them down. And as the clock ticks gradually down to Legend’s November launch, I’ve learned something else: a book deal does not cure insecurity. In some ways, it makes it worse. Am I capable of pulling off three consecutive books all featuring the same characters and the same world? Am I smart enough to create prodigiously intelligent characters? Will I be able to make my readers fall in love with my hero and heroine? Some days I can answer these questions with an upbeat “yes, like Obama, I can!”. Other days, I will re-read my words-in-progress and think, “This is trash. This is drivel. Reviewers are going to eat me alive when this comes out.”

In the end, all I can do is put everything into my writing/art and hope that what comes out is something that the public will like. I do know one thing: Legend is the best story I’ve ever written. Which is nerve-wracking. I remember telling myself as it first went out on submission that if Legend couldn’t make it, then there was a good chance that nothing I write would ever make it. It’s my best effort (up until this point, at least). Whether or not that effort is good enough will remain to be seen.”

How are other ROWers doing? Here is the Linky to support each other!

ROW80 Check-In 8: 5 Writing Tips from Laini Taylor

Hello gentle reader,

It is already time for another ROW80 check-in! My goals for this fourth round are as follows: Write or edit every day

This week I was waiting to hear from my beta readers on The Last Queen after my latest round of edits, so in the meantime I did something which has nothing to do with my Darklands trilogy. I dug up an unfinished first draft and added some 5000 words to it, and it was a lot of fun. I also worked on my query and researched agents. Finally I worked on a Super Secret and Super Exciting Project (code name TADA): you’ll find out all about it on 1st December!

Now, on to an inspiring story to keep us going this coming week. Today I’m sharing Laini Taylor’s writing tips. The following article was published on the Publishers Weekly website on 16 November 2012. In case you’ve missed it, here it is:

Laini Taylor‘s Days of Blood & Starlight (the follow-up to Daughter of Smoke & Bone) is filled with dazzling writing, not to mention fantasy, suspense, and a page-turning story. Take notes, because Taylor’s sharing her 5 writing tips.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a small child, but I was thirty-five before I finished my first novel, because I have issues with perfectionism. It took me a long time to learn to finish what I start, and I’ve developed a lot of tools and tricks for keeping myself moving forward through a story when a big slice of my brain wants nothing so much as to stop and rewrite everything I’ve already written. It can be exhausting, but the upside is that I love to revise. The main thing I’ve learned is that we all have to learn to work with—and appreciate—the brain we’ve been given, and not waste time wishing things were easier.

1. Know what you love. Try imagining the book that would light your heart and mind on fire if you came across it in a bookstore—the one that would quicken your pulse and keep you up all night reading. What would it be? Details, details: when, where, what, who? Think it up, imagine it fully, then bring it forth. That’s the book you should be writing.

2. Never sit staring at a blank page or screen. If you find yourself stuck, write. Write about the scene you’re trying to write. Writing about is easier than writing, and chances are, it will give you your way in. You could try listing ten things that might happen next, or do a timed freewrite—fast, non-precious forward momentum; you don’t even have to read it afterward, but it might give you ideas. Try anything and everything. Never fall still, and don’t be lazy.

3. Eliminate distractions. Eliminate Internet access. Find/create a place and time where you won’t be bothered. Noise-canceling headphones are great. Hotel-writing-sprees are even better if you can make that happen every once and a while: total dedicated writing time. During my second draft pass on my last book I made 20,000 words happen in a week, which is practically supernatural for me, and it would never have been possible without three nights in a hotel in my own city. It’s an incredible splurge, and a huge liberation, and you might just deserve it!

4. Get your characters talking. Dialogue is the place that books are most alive and forge the most direct connection with readers. It is also where we as writers discover our characters and allow them to become real. Get them talking. Don’t be precious. Write dialogues. Cultivate the attitude that every word you write need not end up in the book. Some things are just exercises, part of the process of discovery. Be willing to do more work than will show. The end result is all that matters. Be huge and generous and fearless.

5. Be an unstoppable force. Write with an imaginary machete strapped to your thigh. This is not wishy-washy, polite, drinking-tea-with-your-pinkie-sticking-out stuff. It’s who you want to be, your most powerful self. Write your books. Finish them, then make them better. Find the way. No one will make this dream come true for you but you.”

How are other ROWers doing? Here is the Linky to support each other!