Saturday, September 30, 2006

I Love When They Do That!

Okay, I just love when characters solve their own problems. Granted, this doesn't happen to me very often. Usually I'm trying to wrangle them into the right place to move the plot ahead, often getting stuck in various places along the way.

But every once in a while, the characters just write themselves into exactly the right place. And I love that.

Happened this week, with a new revision of an old work. I needed the hero and heroine to have their first big fight. Knew generally when and where it was going to happen. Wasn't exactly sure, yet, the trigger for it. And then there I was, typing along, and the heroine, bless her heart, picked up a notebook and started making a list of all the reasons for and against falling for the hero.

Well, since the hero was scheduled to arrive at any minute, I thought that was pretty smart of her. Because of course now she's going to hide the list, but he's going to find it...and that will lead them straight into the fight I had planned for them all along.

Does that happen to you? Do your characters go off in different directions? (Well, I'm sure they do. Whose don't?) But do you have those moments when they do or say something you hadn't planned and make you think, "Wow, that's exactly right"??

I just wish it happened more often...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How Do You Find The Time?

This is the question my mother asked me last weekend.

"How do you find the time to write novels? I mean, with a full-time job, and a husband, and..."

"No kids," I finished for her. That's my standard answer, anyway. Without children, I'm fully aware that I should have oodles more time in my day than people who are working full time, raising a family, and still finding time to churn out books.

Of course, I'm also a high school English teacher, so I'm spending a decent part of any given night returning students' emails or phone calls, answering questions about their writing, and trying to grade the stacks of papers I take home with me every week.

But still, I do find the time. I tried to get up early, before work, the way a lot of authors do, but 5:45 comes quickly enough. I can't do earlier than that. So I usually write for a couple of hours a night, after dinner. My hubby is wonderfully supportive and doesn't mind too much if I'm holed up in the office. I'm also trying not to watch any new TV shows, other than the 4 I'm already addicted to, because that's a huge drain on my time.

But I'm interested in what other people do. When do you find the time to write? What other commitments do you have to juggle? Do you write at the same time every day, or whenever you can catch some spare minutes?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

To Blog or Not

So today's blog on Romancing the Blog's site is about whether or not it's really worth it.

To blog on a regular basis, I mean. The author talks about the sometimes-hassle of coming up with witty things to say and share day after day, and she questions who really reads blogs and for what purpose. All good points.

I also recently read a blog by a published author that suggested that most new authors don't know the best ways to market their books. He pointed out that everyone seems to say you MUST inhabit the internet, ideally with a website, a blog, and a MySpace account. But do you really? How many people are really stumbling across your virtual presence and, as a result, making a conscious decision to buy your book?

I put together my author website and this blog because I thought I'd better join the e-world. I wanted prospective agents/editors to be able to easily pop online and see who I am. Is it worth it? Don't know. Do I enjoy reading other people's blogs? To be honest, I read 2-3 on a daily basis. With the thousands that are out there, I'd spend way too much time if I tried to visit any more than that. So I don't hold out hope that other people are doing the same thing with mine.

I'm not sure I'll give up my toehold on the Internet world just yet, but I have to admit that on most days, I'd rather spend my keyboard time working on a novel or a story.

On days I have something to say or share, I don't mind blogging. Which reminds me: Kristin Nelson just requested a partial, which made my day. 4 queries to her over the last 5 years, and finally, a positive response. So today, I guess my blog is about celebration. And persistence.

Speaking of which, now it's back to my next WIP.

Anyone else? Thoughts?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Do You Dream About Them?

Do you ever dream about your stories? Do you ever wake up and realize your characters have been hovering there in the night?

Man, I've been doing that a lot lately, and it's freaking me out a little bit. I mean, yeah, I spend a lot of time with them, esp. since I'm polishing two separate works and feeling a little schizophrenic lately, but in my sleep?

Most of the time they're not even doing anything productive for me, either. They're not coming up with brilliant dialogue, or a way to solve that plot problem in chapter fourteen, or anything remotely helpful. They're just going along, living and interacting and generally minding their own business.


I suppose it's kind of cool to realize that, at least in your own mind, you've made them real enough to exist, multi-dimensional enough to show up in your dreams. Still, sometimes I need a little time away.

Do you ever dream about your own characters? Or do they invade your waking moments, too? Do you ever find yourself working through their dilemmas when, really, you should be doing something else altogether?