Archive for category nanowrimo

stay with it!

(I know I promised you posts on craft. Consider this a warm-up.)

I can’t remember who coined the phrase, me or one of my critique partners, but we complain about Project ADD. I have this problem where I get super enthusiastic about a new story and can write like a furious beast for two or three weeks—sometimes that’s enough time to churn out a workable first draft, usually it isn’t—and then my interest wanes and something new and shiny comes along. My hard drive is littered with the corpses of abandoned projects, stories that I probably thought had potential at the time but which I have no desire to finish now.

Enter NaNoWriMo. I considered not even participating this year because I’ve got so much else on my plate, but I worked out in October that I could take time out to start this new series I’ve been planning for a while and still meet my other deadlines.

I’ve been splitting November between finishing the as-yet untitled sequel to The Stars that Tremble and starting this new series. And there’s a third book calling to me.

In the sequel’s case, I’m just about done now; I only need to finish formatting the manuscript and come up with a title before I can fling it out of my inbox. It wasn’t a book that was hard to write, but it did take me a long time to work out the ending. That seems like a silly thing to say about a romance novel—they end up together, duh!—but tying up all the loose threads took some time. I’m happy with the results, though. And I’m actually sad to be leaving these characters, especially Sandy, behind, but it’s time.

In the series’s case, I had two weeks of gleeful typing, but now that I’m well into week 3, I kind of want to work on other projects. I’ve got a manuscript that I wrote over the summer but put aside to finish higher priority projects, and now it’s calling to me all, “fiiinish meeee.”

But, no, I want to at least get Book 1 of this series written. I like to let first drafts steep for a little while because the revision process goes better if I go back to them with fresh eyes. So the idea would be to finish this book, then go back to the other manuscript.

But, wow, this one has been hard. Tertiary characters from the series are talking to me. I’ve got the first three books in the series outlined, and the heroes of the other books are telling me stories. It’s been pretty hard to focus on this first book.

But a series is nothing without its first book, and the first book has to be a good one to hook the reader on the series, so I really need to stick with it and not let myself get distracted.

The thing about NaNoWriMo is that it sort of forces you to stick with it. Like, dude, I write year round, I know I can write 50,000 words in a month. That’s cake. (That’s probably actually only slightly more than my average monthly output.) What’s hard is forcing myself to stick with a story.

Like, last NaNo, I actually stopped in the middle of the month and put aside my project—a novel about a young guy who falls for his agoraphobic neighbor—to write Save the Date. I have no regrets, but that novel about the agoraphobic guy never got finished. Someday, right? It’s in the revision queue with, like, six other half-finished projects.

So I keep saying to myself that I have to write AT LEAST 50,000 words of book one of this series. It’s a contemporary series based around an LGBT amateur sports league. The guys in the first book—who have really complementary personalities, in that one is strong where the other is weak—meet when one of them joins a baseball team in this league. Me telling people I’m writing about a bunch of guys in a gay baseball league makes their faces light up, so clearly I’m on to something, even if I’m not totally confident in this first book. Yet. I will edit it later. But in order to get it done, I can’t let myself get distracted by other projects.

So that’s what I’m using NaNo for, to force myself into sticking with a project when I’m getting distracted by other projects. And hopefully, I will have a completely (very) rough draft by the end of the month, and you will see book one of the Rainbow League series on shelves some time in 2015.

five things: whoops, it’s saturday

I was all set to have a wrap-up post up yesterday, but then when I was writing it, the post turned into this screed about how much I dislike how sex is handled in this het erotica novel I’m reading, and probably that one is best left in my brain and not on my website. So besides that weirdness, what else happened this week?

1. Earlier this week I was elected vice president of the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter of Romance Writers of America. I’m excited! I’m nervous! I do think, though, that we’re at a really crucial moment for LGBT romance, just as it’s starting to hit the mainstream. There’s still some work to be done to help LGBT romance writers be taken seriously. This is a really great board that I’ll be working with: President Damon Suede, Secretary Zahra Owens, and Treasurer Lara Brukz.

2. This is not the book I was talking about above, but my book club is reading Fifty Shades of Grey, which I had managed to escape reading to this point. I know, but here’s the thing: The actual content of the book is kind of irrelevant now. The fact that the book took off and that the perception of it is that it’s this hot, spicy book that is capturing imaginations means that a lot more attention has been brought to romance that is, let’s say, not the traditional boy-meets-girl-they-get-married-and-have-babies narrative. This includes more attention paid to erotic romance, BDSM romance, and, yes, LGBT romance. (There’s a subscribers-only article in last week’s Publishers Weekly on this very topic.) So I think, in the grand scheme of things, even if the book itself is terrible (I’m finding it boring) its publication has changed the landscape for romance novels in a mostly positive direction. (Not all of the press has been positive, obviously, but at the same time, how many books by your favorite authors have ended up on “If you liked 50 Shades, you’ll love…” lists? A couple of mine have.)

3. NaNoWriMo is always a two-pronged event for me. I both write a novel and do a lot of the social events. A week ago, I gave that above spiel about how, even if 50 Shades is terrible, it has generally affected positive change in the industry (mostly) to people at a NaNo party and they did not look at me like I was crazy! And last night, I was talking about JR Ward with a woman, and after we had the obligatory “Butch and Vishous should really just fuck already” conversation, she said, “I’ve never seen any other gay romance outside of slash fanfic,” and I said, “Oh, hey, let me give you my card.” I am apparently shameless!

It is kind of nice to answer the, “Oh, you’re published? What do you write?” question with “gay romance” and have people say, “that’s so cool!” instead of “Why would you do that?” See, changing times!

4. Word-count-wise, I’ve written roughly 54,000 words so far this November on two different stories. One is the book I’m not sure works (misanthrope meets colorful, outgoing guy) the other is a romantic comedy about a big gay wedding that is sort of an homage to every romantic comedy movie involving a wedding that you’ve ever seen. I hope to finish a draft of the latter this weekend. Would you like a tiny excerpt? Of course you would:

I knew I was being dramatic.

Okay, I was weeping copiously, my tears spilling on the bar.

“So what I hear you saying,” said Kevin from his perch behind the bar, “is that you want me to pour you a drink.”

“You don’t think he’s had enough?” asked Darren.

“He hasn’t had any.”

“Oh.” Darren shifted on the stool next to me. “That bad, huh? What happened, Tris?”

I was too blubbery to speak, so I pulled the invitation from my coat pocket and handed it to Darren.

He read it aloud. “…request your presence at the wedding of Stuart Harker and Roger Stone…” There was a pause, although I couldn’t see was Darren was doing through my fingers given that they were pressed firmly against my eyes. “Wait, Stuart Harker? As in your ex-boyfriend Stuart?”

“Yes,” I said, the word sounding watery. “His parents request my presence to witness the wedded bliss between their son and the asshole he met less than a year ago.”

“That’s cold, man,” said Darren.

“Ten years of my life! I was with Stuart for ten years! Then we break up and he marries the first stupid twink who comes along.”

When I looked up, Kevin and Darren were exchanging glances.

“Maybe Tristan shouldn’t drink,” Darren said.

5. On the other hand, I just got edits for Show and Tell so that is the next thing on my priority list.

Christmas Story + NaNoWriMo

My Advent Calendar story, “A Walk in the Dark,” is now available for individual download over at Dreamspinner. It’s a very short story. You can read an excerpt here.

NaNoWriMo concluded yesterday, and I now have a mostly-finished first draft weighing in at 83K+ words. Lots of crazy things are happening in my life right now, so I’m gonna have to postpone revisions for a couple of days, but I’m really excited about this manuscript. There are ancient gods and reincarnation and an antique shop and a snarky reality TV host. It’s pretty fun.

And my fridge is still full of leftovers, so I’m gonna go snag a piece of pie.

modern sensibilities

I have a guest post up at the RWANYC blog on having modern sensibilities but wanting to write history, which is sort of how Across the East River Bridge came about.

And right now, I’m twiddling my thumbs until midnight so I can get started on my NaNoWriMo novel, which I have been bravely sitting on for six weeks. (I seem to be writing… fantasy? That can’t be right. But it’s NaNo, so anything goes, I guess. I LOVE this idea, it’s all about New York through the ages and finding lost objects and… it’ll be good, I just know it. I want to start it!)

c’est moi

Why, yes, I am apparently just narcissistic enough to post a photo of myself from GRL! I took hardly any photos, which I’m kind of regretting now, so I’ve been going through all the ones people are posting to the Yahoo group and Facebook and their blogs and all that. (For example, check out Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton’s travel blog.) This photo here I took from the Yahoo group (thanks, Susan!). So here I am, signing autographs on the Creole Queen at the big singing event. It’s almost like I’m a real author or something.

I seem to have brought back the same case of the sniffles that everyone else at the retreat got as a souvenir, but it was totally worth it. My brain is STILL buzzing.

Anyway! Things of interest: I made a post last week to the Loose Id author blog that is basically about how I’m a nerd (in this case, my relative nerdery about history was the inspiration for Across the East River Bridge, so, see, relevant!). I have a few other guest posts and things lined up for the coming weeks, so I’ll let you know about those.

By the way, Across the East River Bridge is now available from Amazon, a little early even.

I went to the first NYC NaNoWriMo event of the year on Tuesday and I, uh, handed out a bunch of the surplus bookmarks from New Orleans (so if you got here from a bookmark, hi!). I have what I think is a cool idea for a novel to write this November. M/M contemporary, but with some fantasy elements tossed in. (Someone at the NaNo meetup said, when I described my plot, “So magical realism.” And, yeah, that seems about right. Sort of a departure for me, but I think it will be fun to write.)

So that’s all the news that’s fit to print right now.

(I look so serious in this photo! Being an author is srs bsns, apparently.)

review, broadway, november

First, thanks to Night Owl Reviews for the great review of Blind Items!

Second, among other things, I went to see the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway this weekend. I have to say, Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe was pretty great! It’s a fun show.

Third, I’m thinking about National Novel Writing Month already, and have this completely crazy idea. I spent some time today writing out several pages of notes. So I hope that works out!

50,000 words under the sea

I passed the 50,000-word mark on this months’ NaNoWriMo novel a few days ago. Due to circumstance and other projects, I haven’t written anything more since that happened. I did learn a few important things this NaNo, however.

Choosing to write historical fiction was both a really good and a really terrible idea. For me, writing something historical is always fraught with terror and frustration. I want to get all of the little details correct. (When I come across things I know to be factually inaccurate in historical novels I’ve read, the mistakes tend to pull me out of the story, for one thing. Also, I’m a tiny bit obsessive.) It means I get bogged down in the research, and writing the story itself is nearly impossible. But giving myself a deadline meant I pounded out that story. I’ll have to go back and edit a lot and fact check and obsess some more, but the skeleton of the novel is in place, which is probably more than I would have been able to say if I had written this novel on my own time. But writing was frustrating in a lot of ways because I found myself getting hung up on the details—”Would a man in 1927 really say that?” “Yes, but what is she wearing?”—and the story didn’t always progress how I intended it. (Which is maybe a weird thing for a writer to say; I have control, after all. Except maybe I don’t because I wanted the novel to be darker, more detailed. I’ll have to go back to fix that.)

Still, it’s hard not to feel good about having a first draft well underway. (I’d guess I still have about 25K words to write to finish the whole draft.)

all that jazz

As of this evening, I’ve written the first 15,000 words of this year’s NaNoWriMo. I made what might be an ill-advised decision to write historical fiction—it’s an m/m romance featuring a vaudeville actor and a mobster in 1927. It’s tough because I’m researching simultaneously. That is, I did a bunch of research in October, but I’m also currently reading two books and have a gazillion tabs open in my browser with info about slang and fashion. But now that I’ve gotten into the meat of the novel, it’s really fun to write, so I have high hopes.

I’ve found a lot of really great photos. The above is a photo of Times Square in 1920. Most of my novel takes place in or around Times Square, which at this time was bustling both with Broadway theaters—more shows opened in 1927 than any year before or since—and nightclubs and speakeasies. And this, of course, is Rudolph Valentino, the epitome of male beauty in the ’20s. Good-looking men were referred to as “sheiks” after Valentino’s best-known character. In my head, my mobster character, looks a bit like Valentino. I’m not really new to the Jazz Age or writing historical fiction (though all of my attempts at the latter are unfinished or otherwise languishing on my hard drive) and I’ve been wanting to write a novel set in that era for a long time. One of the things NaNoWriMo is really great for is forcing oneself to write that thing you’ve always wanted to write.

Anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo? Any strange discoveries or triumphs?

newsy things

I hear there’s a little story about m/m romance in the latest Rolling Stone, but the newsstand I dropped by this evening was all out of copies. Hmph.

In Hot Pursuit got a nice little shout out in today’s All Romance eBooks’ Wildfire newsletter, so that was pretty cool.

I’m gearing up to participate in this month’s National Novel Writing Month and I have what I think is a fairly awesome idea. It’s historical fiction (and m/m romance, of course), which can be tricky when you have to write in a hurry, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m researching now, so hopefully I’ll have what I need by the end of the month.

Oh, and also Kindling Fire with Snow is coming out in two weeks, and when that’s done, I’ve got another novel coming out from Loose Id (although that’s a couple of months away still).

o hai

I should make a resolution to update this blog more often. I’ve been bogged down in the end of NaNoWriMo, then finishing up revisions on my upcoming novel (In Hot Pursuit will be available in February!), and now the holiday season. So that’s why I fail at my once-a-week blog posting goal.

I finished NaNoWriMo with a 92,000-word behemoth that I am nonetheless very excited by. I managed to finish the story during November, writing the epilogue on the 29th. It needs some work, but I’m still excited about the story.

I just bought a book almost entirely for the reasons that it had a pretty cover. I don’t know if this speaks more to the value of good cover artists or my own gullibility. Hopefully this pans out, I’ll let you know.

And now it is very cold, there’s a snowstorm on the way, and I have to finish my Christmas shopping.