Monday, February 22, 2010

Planning - it's so worth it.

I have just received a really valuable critique for my current WIP. It is three pages worth of awesome suggestions for how to change, rearrange and rewrite my story to make it so much better.
Well - I've just done it. I've just spent the last three hours trying to re-work my first three chapters so I can send them off for the Chapter One Promotions competition... and now my unsure self wants yet another critique.
I don't know how everybody else feels, but I find it really hard to re-work material. I think my problem with this manuscript is that I started writing with gusto and then realized my planning was total crap. I am now having to work backwards to try and give this story punch and it's really hard!
So - what is the point of this particular blog. It is an encouragement to all you over enthusiastic writers like me to slow down, take your time and really plan out your story.
My goal over this month is to really nut out what I want in this WIP. I'm sure it will save me hours of frustration later on down the track. I am waving goodbye to my feeble two pages of bullet point notes and starting afresh with new, meaty planning that will keep my story on track.
In the meantime I will make my deadline by sending off my three first chapters and hoping with crossed fingers, toes and other appendages that I will get a look in :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Middle Grade and Young Adult

I try to read the blogs I follow daily. Sometimes I don't always fit it in, but when I do it is completely worthwhile.
Today I noticed a "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest is being run through Guide to Literary Agents. This blog is AWESOME and always has really helpful stuff.
Anyway the competition is running for about two weeks. It's really easy to enter and the prize is a critique of some of your work. You should check it out.
Here's the link...

Happy writing everyone :)

I WON!!! Addition

I forgot to mention...

I entered this competition as Melissa Guyan.

I WON!!!

Call my ridiculously slow, but I just realized today that I should have made this post ages ago. I guess I didn't want to show off, but this is a writing blog and I should be willing to share.
I won the Manukau Libraries Short Story Competition! I totally didn't expect to and nearly didn't send a story in, but knew I'd regret my laziness later.
The competition was to write a prequel or sequel to a short story that was written in the late 80s called, "The Watermelon."

I wrote a sequel. Now short stories aren't really my forte and I ended up deleting most of my first draft and starting again, but here is the finished version.
All the finalist entries have been published on the website. Here is the link.
I hope you like it :)'Watermelon'shortstorycompetition.aspx

(It's listed on the right side of the page.)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What to include...

I think it's fair to say that most people live by a certain set of values. How you were raised, what you were taught to believe, what you've chosen for yourself over the years have shaped you into the person you are today.
So my question is, if your writing contradicts your values and beliefs, do you still write it anyway?
My current WIP has a a couple of characters that behave in a way I never would. I have to stay true to who they are, but how do I do that in a way that doesn't make other people think I'm promoting this kind of behavior?
I'm not a huge swearer, just the odd expletive when I hurt myself or am really mad. My WIP antagonist is a complete potty mouth. I'm finding it hard to portray this without including the odd cuss in his scenes. I feel I can't change that attribute in him, that's just who he is!
I'm also not a huge fan of people sleeping together really quickly. I don't like the idea of promoting one night stands. I'm about to write a scene for one of my central protagonists and I just know that he wants to sleep with this girl and totally would if I'd let him. But I really don't want to promote that so I'm thinking I'll make the girl shy away from it - that way my character can still stay true to form.
I'm find this tricky. I really want my characters to be realistic. I want this book to be a tad grittier than other things I've written. It suits the plot. But I also don't want to compromise my beliefs and values.
Does any one else out there ever face this problem? How do you deal with it?