Thursday, April 28, 2011

#wordmongering A Hashtag To Jumpstart Your Writing......

Yes, word sprints are not new under the sun.  I admit this.  But, this approach is sort of new.  Being someone with a diagnosed issue with ADHD I was having some issues sticking to a writing plan, schedule, or anything else for that matter.  A while ago I'd come across a great site FlyLady.  Her philosophy was that you can do anything for 15 mintues.  This is true!  I'd managed to get my house clean in this manner, it works!!  Well, one day I'm sitting and staring at my work in progress wondering how in holy heck am I going to get the words on the page?  Then it hit me, we writers can sit and do thirty minutes that's all we need is thirty minutes.  So I challanged people to a word war.  So we'd start at :00 or even :30 depending on what time the challenges started that day, and just write like crazy,  after rest for thirty minutes.  *ZING* it hit me.  A sort of FlyLady way of writing.  Thirty minutes on and thirty minutes off.  It excited me......I racked up the wordcount, turned off the editor, and just wrote!  Managed over 12,000 words one day and I felt like I was on top of the world!

So, how to get the word out there?  After all, writing alone is great if you're one of those guys that has a liver that'd seen better days, a hermit, or just a recluse in general.  Twitter!  I have Twitter!  So I went shamelessly to my Twitter feed and started challenging the writers on my TwitterFeed to "word warmongering".  People started taking me up on it.  Once I explained that we were doing a half hour on half hour off system they actually liked it.  What better way to be able to feel like you're writing, but not working on writing?  One of my fun followers @notveryalice and I were talking about it, and I had kept referring to it as word warmongering.  Well, as hashtags go, wordwarmongering was rather long and a little unwieldy.  Now, a conversation never ensued, but @notveryalice just jumped in with the brilliant hashtag #wordmongering kind of a squooshing together of word warmongering.  We started running away with the hashtag.  Like any other "grassTweets" movement it's been a little work.  The constant plugging on our Twitter feeds.  But it's never been work cheering on the mongerers (as I call all of our WONDERFUL participants).

Ultimately #wordmongering has become an awesome way to get words to the paper and let your fellow writers know that even if you have a word count of 15, that's 15 more than you had before the half hour sprint started.  Yes, we call them "word count challenges" we post our word counts at the end of the half hour, but it's not a win or lose thing.  The whole situation is a win!  It's a win because you came together with other writers and all you expected was thirty minutes.  You didn't have to worry about how much  you got done in just that thirty minutes.  There's something freeing with doing things a little at a time.  Just like that old adage of how you're supposed to eat an elephant.  One bite at a time.  Productivity comes when you release HUGE expectations.  Just write, write like Forrest Gump runs (as I'm always telling my mongerers!).  It's amazing what will happen if you jump on the train......there you are, with your fellow Tweeple that have accepted the thrown down gauntlet and you post your word have just managed to get something more out of this little bit than you orginally thought.  "What? I got more than I did last time!" you might think to yourself.  It happens, yes, we all have our up moments and our down moments, but at end of the day it's all about getting those words onto the screen, page, parchement, skywriting, however and whatever it takes for you to work best.

So if you see @MonicaMarieV on your Twitter feed don't think that she's talking crazy talk when she's talking about #wordmongering.  I'm just working on helping out others like me, if I get some word count along the way so be it! *SHRUG*  The bottom line is don't be shy!  Come on over and say "Hi" to me.....participate in a couple of hours of writing where you only actually write for an hour......converse with other authors that are finding this way of working an awesome boost to their word counts and their love of being productive.  We're a real fun and diverse bunch and we don't mind another friendly face!  See you mongering!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Running Down That Hallway.....

I remember when I was much much younger than I am now I read A LOT.  I read everything that I could get my grubby little paws on.  From the time I was two and a half I was nothing but a reading fool.  I realized that there were worlds in them there books!  One day, I'd have to say that I was about seven maybe even eight, I realized that people actually WROTE those books.  There were companies that MADE those books.  A dream started building....I wanted those same companies to make books that "I" wrote.

Let's jump ahead quite a few got in the way....children came along.  The dream dropped back to a forgotten recess of my mind.  After all, how could there be time to entertain a dream when there are noses to wipe and work to do?  Somewhere along the way I'd forgotten.

Jump ahead a quite a few more epiphany hit......I STILL wanted to be one of those writers.  The words Bantam and Scholastic ran through my dreams as I chased them through endless hallways.  I sat down at a computer (that was back from the stone age I think) and started writing.  I became a woman obsessed.  Words flowed out of my fingertips like water.  Granted I had no clue what I was doing, but it felt good.  I was going to be the next Hemingway, the next Shakespeare, heck even the next J K Rowling or something!  It was going to be fabulous!  The bucks were going to start rolling in!

Yeah, I'd only forgotten one small little detail.  Things never come that easily.  All of those wonderful books that I'd fallen in love with before I knew what boy/girl love was, they were written by people that worked on those books.  They worked darned hard too.  I know because I've been working my fingers to the bone writing this stuff. 

Now that I know that there is a process that's involved I've been splitting my focus.  Working out how the process works, trying to keep my creativity spinning so those words still keep flowing.  But, I'll tell you what, it's nice to know that my dream is still alive.  The dreams of me chasing all of those wonderful publishing companies are gone.  They have been replaced by the physical chase.  Only now I know a little more than I did going into it.  But ultimately, I wouldn't have it any other way.

It's a great feeling remembering something about yourself that had so long ago been buried in the recesses of your mind.  It's as if all of the pieces of you are returned.  Especially since for all the time that I wasn't honoring or even remembering that dream I'd felt like I was only half there.  Like I was on some strange auto-pilot.  Now, I'm the captain of my own ship, the flyer of my own destiny.  Will this ride ever stop?  I really hope not.

Monday, April 25, 2011

All agog about vampires.....treatment of vampires--Challenge question--

Since the advent of the Twilight series the entire country as well as some others, have been gaga over vampires.  I have to admit, I've read each and every one of the the books and enjoyed them too.  Interview With a Vampire was a great movie, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt did a great job!  Oh, and how cute was little Kirsten Dunst?  She really did look just like a little doll.  Now there has been an even bigger onslaught of the undead set.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, merely stating facts.  Many publishing houses and agents specify these days NO VAMPIRES....well....this is a good and a bad thing.  Let me explain before I get mean mugging via comments and emails.  Bear (bare-depending on how you see this particular cliche) with me here.

Let's start with the arguement for the banning of vampires being good:

Well, as authors we want to sell books.  Heck, let's admit it outright!  Granted there is a few authors that write for the sheer joy of writing.  There are authors that write both for the sheer joy as well as hoping they can make a living from their craft.  So on and so on.  There are as many breeds of authors as there are varieties of vampire depictions out there.  Publishers and agents are worried about the business end of things.  I'm not ranting and raving about a publisher's or agent's right to make a living, I promise you this.  In fact here I'm defending that right.  They work darned hard to get our works out there, we literally owe them our livings.  Now, having clarified that point, let's get down to the brass tacks.  When a publisher and an agent both say that they can't sell vamp stories, by golly I believe them.  They know....they've been there done that and have seen what's out there for us.  For those of us that aren't the altruistic type, that would love to make some money (even if it's a little bit) it behooves us to believe them as well.  This is an argument for the good.

Now....on the other side the bad (publishers and agents that read this, please don't be offended, I'm merely pointing out something in my opinion):

The reason I think that it's bad that vamp stories have had a moratorium placed on them, is because there are so many more directions that people can take the stories.  How can people make something more out of something that's been done since the fifties and told throughout the generations you might ask?  Well, let's take those examples that I cited above.  Twilight-Stephenie Meyers....she made Edward and company glitter in the sun rather than go up in a puff of smoke.  This I found to be interesting, and brilliant on screen (literally, like a brilliant diamond) when it was portrayed.  Ms. Meyers followed her theme from beginning to end.  She made up the rules for her vamps and she stuck to them like gangbusters.  Her portrayal was one that hadn't truly been done before.  Granted, relationships between mortals/vamps have been done before, but not done the way in which she had done them.  At least not until I read all four of her books on the subject.  Going again to Interview With a Vampire, and Anne Rice's portrayal of vamps.  Opposite ends of the spectrum.  Initially she stuck with much of the tradition they burn in the sun, they live in the underground systems as a group and things like that, but there was that added difference of the one vamp wanting to tell his story to a mortal to get everything off his chest.  Now that was an interesting little twist.  Of course I couldn't resist the fact that she made his choice of cities to spill his story was in San Francisco.  LOVED that little part (hee hee...what can I say, I'm a sucker for the city I adore!)  My point is, these stories have something similar in that they are both about vampires, the vampires pretty much have the same diet--blood of some sort (whether human or animal--which incidentally was portrayed in both), and they are inevitably pretty (who would argue that with me having seen either movie or read either book?).  Ultimately their rules ended up very differently.  These authors took something that could have been classified as blase and turned it into something you'd stop and think about and not confuse the two.  That's the best part about writing fiction, you have the ability to take something that people have been handing down in stories for generations and retelling it in such a way as to catch a new audience's attention.

My point through all of this rambling is that even if there are subjects that SEEM to be overdone, to me they are challenges that are begging me to find a different way to treat them.  Have them do something out of the ordinary that isn't typical.  To cite an example of that is a new web TV series that I've been watching lately Vampire Mob (, the guy is a vampire, but he's a mobster too.  That's something that hasn't really been done before.  Now there is someone that took the time to twist something seemingly familiar and make an audience for it.

 My challenge to you now is to take something you think has been "overdone", research it, write down the ways that you have seen it treated and see if there isn't some way that you could put a clever twist to it.  It's working for how people are portraying vampires....maybe there's some other mythical, horror, or even made up creature that you can do the same thing to.  Who knows, you might have fun and even sell something "new and improved"?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reviewing a book I read....Force of Habit by Alice Loweecy

I have to admit, I won this book purely by accident when I first joined Twitter.  So like any other person that wins a wonderful book I started to do a little research.  Boy did I hit a familiar point when I did that.  Not only had she written a book that actually got published, she was also a fellow AW member.  For those of you that aren't familiar with what AW is it's Absolute Write, a writer's message board.  Fellow writers whether published or hoping like crazy to be published (I fall into the second category by the way) all go there to congregate to commiserate, hob nob, and help each other along.  For good measure agents stop by to give advice along the way.  Good place for good people.  If you'd like to visit you can find it at stay and take a look around who knows you might like it.

Getting back to the book that I won.....well, for one thing the mail that goes from Alice Loweecy's home town must be made of light speed or something, because the next day after I won it, there it was sitting in my mailbox waiting for me to rip into it.  My surprise and joy knew no bounds at that point.  Then.......I opened it........

Now for my thoughts on this piece of literature......I have to say wholeheartedly that I highly recommend anyone and everyone read this book.  Ms. Loweecy's background shone like a sun in this book beckoning me from one page to the next.  I couldn't keep from reading on more and more until I got to the ending.  Needless to say I'm looking forward to Back in the Habit the sequel to this wonderful novel.

If you're thinking that I'm forgetting to tell you what's going on in this little gem, I haven't....but in order to tell you what's going on I thought it best to let the book tell you itself.  Meaning I'll be writing what's on the back of the book....because the last thing I want to do is give anything away, after all, what would be your incentive to read it if I tell you what happens?

All Manner of Sin

Giulia Falcone is convinced she's going to Hell.  First, because she left the convent.  Second, her new job with a private investigator has her sneaking around and lying.  Adjusting to life in the outside world isn't easy.  Makeup, dating, and sex are all new to her.  And despite a crush on her new boss Frank Driscoll--a foul mouthed, soft-hearted ex-cop--Giuilia is sure he'd never fall for an ex-nun.

Her first case involves drop-dead handsome Blake Parker, a man iwth immense wealth and an ego to match.  He and his fiance'e are getting disturbing "gifts" with messages based on biblical verses.  When Giulia is drawn into the stalker's twisted game, salacious photos of her appear, threatening her job and her friendship with Frank.  No one imagines--least of all naive Giulia--the danger ahead, when following the clues turns into a fight for her life.

This is book one of her Falcone & Driscoll Investigation series.

Needless to say as I mentioned above I highly recommend reading this book.  Enjoy the reading adventure offered by this wonderful and friendly writer!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I won a creative blog award! YAY!

I'm honored to display this award!  Thank you for giving me this.  Not only am I proud, but I'm sure that Dad will be happy to hear about this!