Friday, May 28, 2010

Overview of Romantix Meeting 26 May 2010

Unfortunately, not all of our members were able to attend this month’s meeting. Sami sent her apologises as she was unable to come due to “a sore throat, runny nose, headache and case of the general grumps.” Can’t say I can even imagine Sami with a case of the grumps, but thank you for not sharing your germs. Shame you missed out on the yummy chocolate cookies that Kiss’s younger daughter made us, I ate yours, it’s all good; it didn’t go to waste.

A big welcome Melita, our newest Romantix member. After attending the meeting and seeing us in action, she is still keen to come back again next month and do it all again. It was great to meet you, though a couple of us are a bit wary of a writer who doesn’t drink coffee or tea. Hmmm, hot chocolate? Yeah, that’s close enough I guess.

Our homework for this week was to watch Ladyhawke and fill out the Internal and External Goal, Motivation, Conflict chart for the three main characters, Navarr (Rutger Hauer), Isabeau (Michelle Peeiffer) and Phillippe (Matthew Broderick).


We all struggled with this task. Why? (Please post a comment if I misunderstood our discussion or I’m too critical); but I think, that by being in alternate animal forms, Navarr and Isabeau weren’t able to fully show us themselves and “connect” as a couple - hard to show your GMC when you spend most of the movie as a hawk. (Oh, and none of us liked a blond hero with a bowl haircut.) Was it script? Was it casting? All these options and more were discussed and no real conclusions made. The movie’s saving grace was Phillipe, who provided comic relief and narration, telling the audience the things that Navarr and Isabeau weren’t showing us. Interesting that out of the three characters, his goals, motivations and conflicts were easier to identify.

Sometimes analysing a movie you love can make you develop a greater appreciation for its craft, as with last month and The Fugitive, or unfortunately, it can point out all the short comings you were blind to as a teenager who had a crush on Matthew Broderick. But, despite the plastic swords bending in fights and the overbearing 80’s style background music, we still all agreed that Ladyhawke is a good movie in the context of its target audience and that Rutger Hauer plays a much better tortured knight, than psychotic hitchhiker.

Melita suggested we watch an episode of Charmed, where a similar storyline was done in an hour and the cursed couple were able to show a connection despite their hawk/wolf animal forms. It would be interesting to see if their goal/motivation/conflicts are clear.

Next month’s GMC analysis will be on the movie The Client.

Blog Training Session: A big thank you to Kiss Carson for providing training and excellent supporting notes. Now none of us has an excuse not to contribute. NOTE: For future reference HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, just so you get it right next time Kiss ;)

Thank you to Zoe for her information regarding the Penguin/Varuna Development Scholarship 2010. Nominations close on the 31st May. I’m not sure who is entering, other than Zoe. So good luck Zoe!

Next meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 23rd June, 7pm at Zoe’s Place.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What makes you a REAL Writer?

Okay, it's offical. I've now lost my blog virginity. So, this being my first time, I hope you are gentle with me.

What to blog? What to blog? That was my biggest challenge. I don't have anything interesting to say, or anything valuable to contribute. If you're going to blog, it should be about something profound and wise. Shouldn't it?

I guess I could start with who am I? I'm an average, middle-aged, married woman with two kids about to fly the nest and a nice part-time job, (which is not a career).

I also call myself a writer; but I'm always asking myself, do I have that right? I'm not published, as some of my fellow Romantix members are. In fact, I've never completed a manuscript. A couple of short stories, but never a full, real life, here-see-what-you-think book. Isn't that what it takes to be a writer? Isn't that what you have to do to call yourself a writer? I'm planning to attend the RWA Conference in August; shouldn't I be a REAL writer first? Will they see me as a fraud because I haven't finished anything? (No, I'm not really neurotic.)

All my life I've felt like an observer, never really being apart of the action, just sitting back and watching it. I'd find myself rewriting what I'd observed in my head, creating versions of "what could have happened", using the people as characters and putting them in different situation and even alien worlds, just to see how they would react. The movies in my head were so real, I'd get so caught up I'd become oblivious to the real world around me. I guess that's why mum called me a Daydreamer. (Don't tell, but maybe I still do this a bit.)

A few years ago, I started to write about these marvellous worlds and the characters that lived in my head, trying to recreate them; put them into words. What happened? The characters and places that I found myself escaping to suddenly became flat, grey and lifeless. This isn't it; I can't see them anymore! So, I'd dam the writing as not good enough and start again.

What to do? How to improve? How to revive them and give them back their colour and depth?
Answer: I joined a writer's group.

I love being a part of our group; surrounded by like minded people with so much talent, but who have have enough difference to challenge and inspire me. I'm still learning so much. I'm learning to switch off my critical editor and just let the creativity flow, (that means writing a lot of cr*p, which apparently is okay). I'm learning to try to listen to my heart instead of my head just so I can finish the first dam draft.

I could probably ramble on and on about how self editing before you've even written it down, perfectionist expectations and doubt can totally kill your first draft. But instead, in summary, the best advice I've discovered for myself was something I read on an e-group I used to subscribe to. I've even printed it out and stuck it to my computer screen to keep reminding myself.

I leave you with this quote from the movie Finding Forrester.

"Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head."










Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday!

Today is Friday. Thank goodness says I! I want to have a little chat about world building.

When I critique, I generally say "improve your world building". I'm asked "what's world building?" Well. I think world building means different things to different people. To me, it is the world in which a character lives, what he/she sees and experiences. Not just where the character is currently standing, but the world around him and where he fits within this world.

Being a fantasy writer, world building is quite important. What's a fantasy without a fantastical world of animals, beings and surroundings? Well...it wouldn't be a fantasy, that's for sure!

Close your eyes. Reach deep into your imagination. See what I see. A bubbling brook. Ah, but what else can you see? Reeds dotted alongside the brook. Grass the colour of deep emeralds. Soft. Velvety. Do you feel anything? Cool breeze. It's actually a bit chilly. The water splashing over my feet from the brook is like ice.What's above you? Sky. Hmmm...what else. The sun. Anything else? Birds. What are the birds doing? Flying. Are they making any noise? Yep, they're screeching. Let's go back to the brook. What do yo see there? Water. Obviously. Is there anything in the water? Fish. What kind? Salmon. Ah! Is there anything on the far bank of the brook? A fisherman. Someone you know? No, just a fisherman. What's he wearing? Pants. Colour? Black. He's also wearing a green plaid shirt, and a vest. A floppy hat is on his head. He's wearing gumboots that reach to his knees. Can you smell anything? Fish. What else. Pine. Why pine? There are pine trees behind the fisherman.

There. In a few short sentences, we have described the area and set the scene. We used most of our senses and pulled the reader into the world. My biggest tip when world building, keep it simple. Don't worry about the ants on the rock unless your story is about the ants. Don't worry about what lure the fisherman uses unless it is important to the story. However, worry alot about the unicorn about to push the fisherman into the brook, and worry even more about the Tyrannosaurus Rex about to swallow him whole!

Kiss

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Welcome Wendi Zwaduk!

Let me introduce you all to fellow Wild Rose Press author and much loved critique partner, Wendi Zwaduk. Wendi always dreamed of writing the stories in her head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are her favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line.

She earned a BA in education at Kent State university and currently holds a Masters in Education with Nova Southeastern University. She loves, NASCAR, romance, books in general, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, and her menagery of animals.

Now, tell us a bit about your latest full length release Right Where I Need to Be.
 
She's a shy author. He's a callous Hollywood actor. Boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, girl rebukes boy and sends him into a new orbit because he's head over heels for her. Not to mention the gun wielding ex-husband and the oversexed producer trying to move in on the domestic bliss.
 
Oooh! Sounds good. I have to admit, I've read this book several times and I just loved it. Logan Malone certainly did it for me! By the way, I looove the abs on that cover!
 
Is this the only book you have published?
 
I have a short story pubbed with Total E Bound, called Learning How to Bend. The follow up to that one comes out in June and is called Must Be Doing Something Right. The follow up to Right is currently in the hands of my CP.
 
Are you a plotter or a panster? Give us a little insight into the way you write your books.
 
Both. I tend to write a plan out of what I think the characters will do, but usually it changes when the character get free reign. And the plan NEVER looks like the finished product.
 
Who/what would be your greatest inspiration?
 
Oh, man. Although I'd like to say it was a writer, my greatest inspiration is music. I hear certain songs and come up with the storylines. And you can take the same song and twist it in lots of different directions and come up with multiple stories. Very versatile.
 
Do you only write contemporary romance? Could there be any stories outside your genre down the track?
 
I write contemporary, but I like to add erotica to the mix. Recently I had a paranormal story contracted and am working on the follow-up. Honestly, I just go in the direction the characters take me... if they want something hotter, then I let them go at it.
 
(clears throat) Your stories are so hot they could be erotica, now.
 
I know you’re quite a prolific writer. You always have up to 6 projects running at the same time. How do you keep up with them all?
 
Simple. I don't. There are huge arguements going in my head. I was asked once what I did to relax. Those who know me best say, "You don't know HOW to relax." They aren't kidding. I can't sit still. I have a journal that goes with me everywhere so I can jot down ideas for stories and bits for stories that need something. Is it all good? Nah. Most of the time its crap. But, I keep at it. Once in a while there are gems in the rough. :)
 
What’s next in the world of writing and publishing for Wendi Zwaduk?

I'm currently working on Tangled Up, a m/f/m story with m/m mixed in. It follows Must Be Doing Something Right. I'm also working on Please Remember Me... that's the contemp follow-up to Right. And to keep things fun, I'm working on a follow up to My Immortal, my vampire story. It's not named yet... Sheesh. Reading that makes me tired and it's my stuff.

Where on the web can we find you and your books?
http://www.wendizwaduk.com/
http://www.wildrosepress.com/
http://www.total-e-bound.com/


Blurb:  Sometimes the love of your life isn’t the one you expect, but he’s the one you need.

Cass Jensen needs an actor for her made for TV movie. The previous actor dropped out, leaving her stranded. Her savior shows up looking sinfully sexy and totally right for the part, but what part is she auditioning him for? Her movie or her bed?

Logan Malone needs an acting job and fast. With his string of broken hearts, his professional life lies in shambles. To resurrect his career, he must audition for a television role which could be the job of a lifetime. That is, if he can work with distraction and Cass is a major distraction with a heart of gold. Is their budding relationship enough to survive separation, lies, and a couple zany fans?


Excerpt:  Logan’s hand caressed her shoulder. “Can I help you finish? You and your friend should be sipping margaritas and ordering the lawn boy around, not sweating yourselves to death.”

She raised her brows. “You thought being a movie star meant you were entitled, that’s what.”

A wolfish grin curled his lips. Flecks of gold lit his hazel eyes, sending a fresh rush of lust to her core. He leaned in very close to her ear. “Maybe.”

She took a fortifying breath and fought the urge to taste him. Damn that cologne. Her heart skipped a beat. She donned her best sultry smile. Two could play his game. “Really?”

He nodded. She licked her dry lips. How could one man be so irritating and damn sexy at the same time? She scooted close enough so her bare knee brushed against his denim-clad thigh. Firm muscles without an ounce of fat. Ooh. “Do you want to explore?”

“Uh-huh.”

Cass took his hand, teasing his palm with her fingers and caressing the creases in his skin. His voice went from friendly to sexy in an instant, making her thighs quiver with excitement. “Cass.”

“Yes.” She bit her bottom lip and filled his hand. “Okay. Explore to your little heart’s content.”

His eyes opened wide before he scrunched his brows. “Keys?”

Cass grinned. “Yep.”

His blank expression turned into a frown. “For what?”

She patted his thigh and stood up. “The mower. Tell me when you finish. I’ve got an acre in the back that’s got your name on it.”

Thank you so much, Wendi, for giving us an insight into your world of writing.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's My Turn!

It's my week in charge of the blog. Thanks to Sami for caretaking last week. This week, I have a special guest coming to visit. On Tuesday, erotic romance author Wendi Zwaduk will arrive and entertain us with her story. Thanks, Wendi, for sharing your time with us.

A bit about me. My name is Kiss Carson and I mainly write fantasy romance books, although I've tried my hand at paranormal/romance with little success so far. I am a mother to 3 wonderful children, Miss Seriously Seventeen, Master Eager Eleven and Miss Notoriously Nice Nine, and wife to the most patient man in the universe, Adonis.

A few years ago, I found myself in desperate need to be around other writers, to learn what they knew, to be able to talk "writer's lingo" and not get stared at as though I'd come from another planet. I posted a "help me" sign with the Romance Writers of Australia and the wonderful Zoe Younger came to my rescue. From there on, the group grew. We adopted Letitia and Kay and a year or so later, we embraced Sami-Lee. Five writers. Five completely different personalities. A million different outlooks on writing. Somehow, we all blended to become the Romantix. We've shared good times and bad, rejections, contracts, that silly manuscript that just won't write itself, what's another word for...? As Sami said, sometimes our meetings are two hours of goss. Other times, we get down and dirty and laugh ourselves silly.

However, no matter what, we are there for each other. Thank you girls. At times you are my rocks...




K

Monday, May 3, 2010

This is Us

Okay so I volunteered to be the first to blog on our official Romantix blog, without fully realising that the 3rd of May would arrive so quickly. As per usual I have nothing prepared, which is a very familiar sensation for me. I’m not very good at plotting or preparing for writing books, either.

I guess I should start by introducing The Romantix.

The Romantix is a writer’s group I inserted myself into a little over a year ago. I think I was only invited for one session but they haven’t had the heart to kick me out yet so here I am. We’re based in SE Queensland and we meet once a month to discuss what we’ve accomplished in the writing stakes, where we intend to take our writing and a host of other issues, like editing, grammar, plot problems etc. Sometimes we’re very conscientious about this… sometimes less so. Sometimes the meeting becomes little more than a gossip/steam blowing off session but that’s okay. Writing is a fairly nebulous process, so why not let the writer’s meetings go with the flow? That’s my attitude anyway.

So what do we intend to do with this blog? We’ll post summaries of our meetings and sordid details of our personal lives (okay, not that). You might find movie and book reviews, opinion pieces, detailed discussions on the writing process and how it works for us, or maybe we’ll just post LOL cats. You never know.

Over the next few weeks you’ll meet our members, Kiss, Letitia, Zoe and myself, and watch us struggle on our individual paths to writing success—whatever that means. I hope you join us.

This is me:

I’ve been writing since I was in high school, which was a while ago (let’s not talk about precisely how long ago it was). Currently, I write romance fiction for Samhain Publishing. I’ve written a straight sexy contemporary and three erotic romance title in the past three years. This is certainly not considered prolific, but I’m fairly thrilled if I get any writing done at all. I have an outside job, two daughters (Princess almost 5 and Cherub nearly 2), a husband (and let’s face it, they count as work too), am currently moving house and have the usual raft of other errand girl responsibilities. I maintain a website and another blog, which you can link to from my avatar if you want to find out more. For now, that’s enough about me.
See you soon,
Sami