01-24-2007 03:38 PM
All that romance, wine & sun in pompeii would make a lovely setting and a great reason for a trip. I used to read loads of Jean Plaidy as a girl, she accounts for most of my knowledge of history and probably got me through my exams.
01-24-2007 11:39 PM
01-25-2007 12:04 PM
01-25-2007 06:15 PM - edited 01-25-2007 06:15 PM
I checked at my library, they have all three of these books. Maybe check with your library for the one you're missing. If they don't have it, check with interlibrary thing. If your library has that, they can get the book somewhere for you.
An author you might want to read is Colleen McCullough. She has a trilogy on Roman Empire. The books are called: The First Man in Rome
The Grass Crown
I had to edit because I hit the wrong button before I wrote the message. The message was blank.
Message Edited by cariann92 on 01-25-200706:20 PM
01-25-2007 11:07 PM - edited 01-25-2007 11:07 PM
I'm going to duck out before I get to the Christmas tree farm analogy.
Message Edited by ChristineM on 01-25-200711:21 PM
01-25-2007 11:59 PM
I call that stage "chewing the furniture" because I tend to pace the house biting anything that doesn't bite me first. My husband calls it the "I'll never be able to write anything again" phase, and says once I utter that sentence I'm exactly two weeks away from starting the book.
Once I start writing it usually takes about six to eight weeks to finish a first draft. Then I let it sit for as long as I reasonably can before editing. A week or two is good, but deadline pressure doesn't always allow that much leisure.
But everybody's different. The important thing is finding a way that works for you.
01-26-2007 06:56 AM
I have a couple I can 'see' sitting on the steps of a Children's Unit waiting to tell me there story. I don't know what it is yet because they've got to wait till I'm ready. Does anyone else have this type of thing happen to them?
01-26-2007 11:06 AM
That was a couple which had been hovering around the edges of my mind for a long time. I could "see" her running from her wedding, but I couldn't figure out why, or who the hero was. Then one morning, I woke up knowing all about it -- who she was and why she was running; who he was and why he was even there. I wrote a chapter a day -- 20 pages -- for the first five days, and then slowed down to half a chapter a day till I finished. As I recall it, I changed very little in my revision and my editor loved the book as it stood. (A rare thing now, but not so rare back then. Sigh.)
The book was Backwards Honeymoon, and there's a selection from the first chapter in Creating Romantic Characters. The excerpt is an example of how what the author thinks is on the page isn't necessarily there -- because to my surprise many readers dislike Kathryn when they read that excerpt. (In my own defense, it's the last half of the first chapter, so if they started from the beginning they might feel differently...)
01-26-2007 02:55 PM
I'm waiting for your Creating Romantic Characters to be delivered, and your On Writing Romance because your advice is soooo good I want to give myself maximum chance. I reckon anything that helps is an investment, and with your writing I'm sure a good read too! For us UK dwellers it said 3-4 weeks delivery but it was dispatched a day or so after I ordered it so fingers crossed it'll be here soon.
it'd be nice if my new couple tell me their whole story soon, but they'll have to wait till I've sorted this one, I don't want to get in a muddle.
Does anyone write two or more books at once?
01-26-2007 10:59 PM
Backward Honeymoon is actually one of my favorites because of the intense pace. Everything seems to be happening so fast. I guess I know why now. 17 days huh? Sounds like a challenge.
And thanks for the caveat about finding out what works for me. I've read a lot of how to books over the years and honestly some authors hand down advice like Moses coming down from the mountains. These are the commandments and you must do it this way. My favorite bit of bad writing advice came from Stephen King who said to never use a thesaurus. I can understand not using it as a crutch, but gee whiz … After a while I caught on and started taking everything with a grain of salt, but I really appreciate the fact that you pointed out that we've got to develop our own habits.
I have that "chewing the furniture" phase too only I'm usually walking around saying, "I used to know how to do this. What happened?" Then I get back into it. I guess I shouldn't panic when I get that way.
How often and what kinds of things to editors ask you to change? And, more importantly, do these changes make sense?
I have more than one idea waiting to be written too. I refer to it as having ideas circling. There's 7 or 8 right now and a couple of characters without plots yet. The hitchhiker in the blizzard plot has actually been around so long that when I first came up with it cellphones weren't common and the heroine didn't have one.
I've tried writing more than one story at a time and it's generally a disaster. I have a file on my computer titled Starts because they're things I started to write and never finished. Some of them have structural problems, but others are just unfinished. And that's not counting the one I started on vacation in the Philippines, writing longhand in a notebook that never made it to the computer because I decided it needed a change of scene.
01-27-2007 05:23 AM
Since being here I've started to make my own habits, I used to do just what you do Christine and start writing books that would never get finished. Now I'm working on one and have another in the wings and I think I'm just going to jot down paper notes on the new one till I'm ready to work on it further. In the past I've only not finished stuff when more experienced writers point out a major flaw, now I always finish things. I used to wait to learn something before I wrote more, but now I learn quite a bit just by trying, or at least what works and what doesn't work for me.
I'm hoping that I'll be able to finish some of my incomplete stuff when I'm more experienced, but as a newbie I felt if I carried on with something I'd risk being sucked into the same mistakes.
01-27-2007 09:29 AM
Editorial changes-- how often to editors ask for them, what sorts of things they want, and do the changes make the story better... that's a big range.
Some books go through without a hitch -- the author was dead on target, the editor and author work well together so there's clear communication, the story just works right, and everything's slick.
That doesn't happen too often. More likely the editor will have some questions, comments, or suggestions. Most of the time the editor's comments are pretty much spot on and point out problem areas. (Often it's not so much that there's something wrong with the story, but somehow the author's vision didn't come across on the page for the reader, so it's the storytelling that needs fixed, not the story.)
It's always been my philosophy that if the editor sees a problem, then there's a problem. It's up to me how to fix it -- and to decide whether it's really a problem in the story or if I've just failed to make the motivation clear enough or convincing enough for the reader.
However, I have a couple of times run into editors who were frustrated writers, who instead of working with the author's story wanted to make it into something entirely different. (One student had written a time travel romance with a great hook, sent it in to an editor and got back a letter: "We love your first chapter. But could you make it an amnesia story instead of a time travel?" Well, yes... she COULD. But it would be a whole different story.)
Editors are human too. Mostly they're good at their jobs, and good at working with the author to make the story better (not just change it for the sake of change). But sometimes their brains have been known to short circuit. And there are editor/author combinations that just don't work, while either one can work successfully with others.
I think what's important is to approach revisions from the perspective that if the editor has seen a problem then something needs fixing. Think about it long and hard before saying no to the editor's suggestions. In fact, don't ever say "no," offer alternative ways to solve the problem instead, if you feel the editor's way will hurt the integrity of the story.
01-27-2007 10:01 AM
Great advice. When you mentioned editorial changes I started having D&D flashbacks. My husband worked for Dungeons and Dragons as an illustrator for many years and was constantly getting back notes from the editors who were frustrated writers and obviously didn't understand that a quarter page illustration is not a five minute movie. The best one was "We don't know what we want, but this isn't it." (On the other end of the scope, comic book editors just wanted to know if it was on time!) Glad to know the editors are more professional and I'll work on my impromptu brainstorming abilities.
And the change from time travel to amnesia will keep me laughing.
01-27-2007 10:55 AM
If I ever have the opportunity to need to, I'd take your advice Leigh, I do anything for an easy life, I'm not one to argue at all.
Now, I hate to admit it but I am a dimwit at times and just need to check something out. Could I, or should I, be posting more of my own stuff under some of the categories? I don't want to post too much but not too little either! What's right to put next?
01-27-2007 11:35 AM
I have some questions not entirely related to characters. Well one is. I'll start there.
My hero may be getting away from me. He began as a sedate sort of man, but recently started really reacting impulsively, over protective of the sister. Boy, do I sound borderline crazy!
Anyway, his reason is good. In the past she was crucified in the press when she found a body and was blamed for the murder. What are the limits on the hero's protectiveness? I guess this is a general question for the readers in this class. How protective and impulsive is too much for you all? He's being rational, but he really doesn't want this article and cable show to go forward.
I guess I'm trying to brainstorm my character. Any thoughts?
And Leigh, I just got On Writing Romance. It's even more helpful than Romantic Characters. My problem must be plot and planning. When you begin, do you fully plot your story before anything else? I guess chicken or egg, which comes first for you, characters or story?
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
01-27-2007 01:57 PM
What are the limits on the hero's protectiveness? I guess this is a general question for the readers in this class. How protective and impulsive is too much for you all? He's being rational, but he really doesn't want this article and cable show to go forward.
Based on my life experience, if Clay didn't want the article and cable show to go forward then it wouldn't happen. Neither my brother, nor my husband, would ever say no, but they would throw up so many roadblocks that the project would stall. When we first went to Korea my brother reminded me that he still had a current passport so if I had trouble he could come get me in a very subtle "you're going to be far from home, are you sure you want to do this?" ploy. Lucky for me, my mom was all for it eliminating the "how can you do this to mom?" ploy.
From my understanding of your story, Eva doesn't want to do this. She'd rather be painting. I guess I was under the impression that her husband and brother wanted to do it. When you said that she had been blamed for a murder because she found a body I immediately thought Clay had roped her into it because he wanted her to be cleared in the public mind. I think that if Clay was doing all the technical stuff he'd have to be interested because he's in the perfect position to totally screw up the footage. "Ghostly image? Oh no, that's Vasaline on the lens. I have to clean those darn things."
As far as being protective, short of killing someone and as long as his intentions are good, it's a go. I know my brother has done a lot of stupid things in the name of protection. But it's really going to depend on where he's coming from. If he thought the show and the story would hurt Eva, he would stop it. If he thought the show and story would help her, he would be shoving her forward with both hands while trying to make sure she was safe.
01-27-2007 02:32 PM
I think with Clay how protective is right will depend a bit on the other characters. If she wants to be looked after that's great, but if it's not what she wants he's got to be really careful how he goes about it without getting her back up. I try to tihnk myself into that role when I'm in that position and see how it feels from either side.
Hope that helps,
01-27-2007 05:51 PM
I am trying to write two stories at once right now. I am farther along on one than the other because I started it before I started the other one. The reason I started the last one is because I had an inspiritation and I didn't want to lose it. So far the stories are not mengling but if they do then I'll stop and just focus on one story.
01-27-2007 07:43 PM
Thanks for that. I think Clay's big issue isn't the investigation, but the publicity. Eva is a little reluctant, but is doing it for Gerald the guy who runs the team. So far Clay is just begging his sister to reconsider, but I had considered having him make things difficult. And more in Alison's direction. I think he would stop at sabotaging Gerald's show, but Inviting Ally to leave seems doable.
Christine your brother story cracked me up. I am the big sibling, so I have to imagine what the little ones go through. My instinct as a real big sister would be to cut someone off at the knees who tried to hurt my sister, but I was very afraid to make him too aggressive.
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion