Sunday, January 27, 2008

Popping From the Ground, or, Friends In Low Places

Hey, guys, Ink here. First of all: I got finished with the 2nd draft, and it's mostly because of Dwight's amazing pep talk. Thank you so much--words can't even express my gratitude, and if you know me, I'm rarely at a loss for words.


As most writers know, some characters have a disconcerting habit of materializing out of nowhere and hopelessly confusing our beta readers. You know the one I mean. The ones that show up halfway through the story and throw the climax out of whack in ways you never imagined possible. Those little mavericks who never quite follow the plan. And probably the most interesting and fun characters in your book.

I don't have any brilliant tips for taming them. I pretty much let them do what they want and sort the rest out later. They usually seem to know what they're doing, even when I don't. So I trust them. They make things interesting. Especially during the rewrite stage.

Anyway, I have more fun with these guys than with all the other characters in the book. So how do you have one of these oddballs as your main character? I know it can be done. The Bartimaeus Trilogy is living proof. It's time to bring the smart-mouth sidekick type into the spotlight. Any suggestions as to how?

(Of course, there ARE the characters who pop out of the ground not because they weren't planned as part of the plot, but because you skipped their introductory scene. I know that all too well... O, November, month of highest triumphs... and forgetting to write the scene where the MC meets the love interest.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Blogs: Are We Having Fun Yet?

Miri is procrastinating. So what else is new, right? But for once, Miri is not procrastinating on writing her NaNo (which is careening toward its conclusion with the speed of a striking snail!).

No, Miri is procrastinating on the actually rather obscene amounts of homework she has due Monday and Wednesday.

Therefore: Agent blogs Miri and/or Ink find helpful and/or entertaining. Because we care.

Seriously, Miri didn't read nearly enough blogs at first, and Ink still doesn't read all that many. But there's a lot of good information out there, and we'd hate for anyone to miss out.

Pub Rants - Run by Kristin Nelson, a very nice agent from Somewhere-That-Isn't-New York (ahem, I mean Denver). Filled with very solid advice on all stages of the publishing process and usually funny to boot. You really can't go wrong with this one.

Nathan Bransford - Another one from S-T-I-NY, this time to the tune of San Francisco, CA. "This Week in Publishing" segments, fun and torturous (for us and him, respectively) contests (in fact, the next one is coming up soon!), and an astonishing number of insights on space monkeys.

The Rejecter - She doesn't hate you, she just hates your query letter. An assistant at a literary agency, Rejecter is full of insight, tips, and examples of career suicide to be avoided at all costs. Oh, and she's got a nice post up about certain e-readers.

Agent in the Middle - Reading this blog in its online form makes Miri's eyes bleed (sorry, Agent in the Middle, but pink text on a black background just isn't all that easy to take) but the content itself merits the extra five seconds to copy-paste it into the word processor of your choice.

Lit Agent X - She hasn't updated in awhile, but we certainly can't fault her for that. -innocent whistling- In any case, her archives are worth a look - she's hosted several query pitch contests on the blog and gives examples of problems with queries she's received through normal means. Informative, funny, occasionally headdesk-inducing. Miri, at least, hope she comes back soon.

And a bonus: this has nothing to do with agents, but Miri thinks that writers are the only people who can truly understand the lethality of a term paper written with no punctuation or spaces.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Other Kind of Home Stretch

This is Miri, and may I be the first to commend Ink for being SO. DANG. CLOSE. to finishing her rewrite!

*round of applause*

Great job. Now finish.

(Like I can even talk. Ink, readers, please smack me over the head via comments.)

As a status report from my end, I am inching nearer and nearer to the end of the rough draft of my NaNoWriMo novel from this year. I'm probably 7-10k out. That's not that much. I put that much away in six days during NaNo. Thus illustrating another way the real world should be like NaNo, but for still-developing-discipline cases like myself, it's hard to make it happen.

Once again, commentary headsmacks are greatly appreciated.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Home Stretch

Hey, y'all, it's Ink, and she's not happy.

I'm roughly two chapters from being done editing my first novel. This edit was highly productive: I got rid of (most of) the crap and filler, added more fun stuff, cleaned up the prose, and had a blast doing it. But now that I'm 30 pages away from the end, I can't seem to let go.

Yeah, I've been crazy-busy. I've been writing other stuff. I've had the end-of-quarter bedlam. But should that be an excuse?

Really, I'm a bit lost. So what do you guys do when you lose some of your writing discipline?