Archive | My Novel RSS feed for this section

“The Mirror Project”

5 May

Hello all! I decided to check in today to update you on something very exciting. My newest project. Since my Track & Field season ended yesterday (yeah!) and school will be ending in under 2 weeks, I have decided to release what I will be working on for the summer of 2012.

Ah! I can not even appropriately express my level of excitement for this project! it’s actually gotten to the point at which I am so bottled up with said excitement that I might actually explode. So… I don’t like giving details away, but I can’t help myself  so I’m going to anyway.

To begin I would ask you to press play on the (current) theme song of my novel (the newest remake of “Windmills of Your Mind” by Eva Mendes)CLICK:

 

*shivers* The mood of the above song is so spot on. It’s insane. *clears throat*. As is per-usual I do not have a title yet for the novel, but from now on I am going to be calling it “The Mirror Project”. I’m hoping this doesn’t sound anti-climatic, because I’m so high on ‘new novel’ that I won’t be able to tell.

Anyway, I don’t won’t to give too much away ( you all will have to wait for the teasers for that). So, just to give you a taste I will tell you some of the things The Mirror Project contains:

It contains a desert, and in that desert, there is a girl with one brown eye, and one blue.

 There is a boy in this desert too, a sad broken boy, who may or may not want to kill everyone the girl loves.

 And most importantly… there is a mother. A mother with more blood on her hands then she will ever admit. A mother who believes that her cause is worth every scarlet drop.

And that is all I’m saying.

Now I’m off to go work on plotting. My official start date for this is in two weeks. *bites nails*. Nervous, but excited. This can NOT get screwed up, but it will. That’s what drafting is for.

What have you all been up to as of late? Any new projects (writing or otherwise) for you?

 

Advertisements

Novel Anatomy: Bones

11 Mar

Plotting. Cringe, go ahead, do it and get it over with. I shudder even thinking the word, but it’s a necessary part in building a novel. Up until about … say a year ago I considered myself a pantser (you know no plot, just write). Huh! I was an idiot. I spent so much time wondering why my novel’s were epic fails that I couldn’t see the fact that they had terrible structure. Sure, I could write line to line in a way that sounded pretty good, but having it all come together? Nope, wasn’t working.

So, for those of you who saw the pieces of my novel I’d posted on here last year and made lovely comments about how un-first drafty they were. You are wonderful, but had you seen the big picture you’d sing a different song. Anyway, lately I’ve been working on a new novel, and I started doing a structural outline. It involves what I call “layering”. You start with the bones, then the muscle, and finally the nerves and skin. So we are metaphorically doing novel anatomy.

I’m now going to share with you part one in Novel Anatomy: The bones.

If you all recall I had a post up the first month or so I had this site called “The Golden Ring of Moments” it was an incoherent thing that listed the 7 key moments readers have to have in a novel. If you’d like to interpret that you can see it HERE.

The Bones of novel anatomy is loosely based on that. I really like plotting this way and find it easy and really direct, because you’re giving yourself a specific set of questions that have specific answer. I set this up in a word document (or in OneNote if you have it, OneNote is awesome by the way).

Here it is:

1. You have to ESTABLISH THE WORLD (if your writing contemporary you don’t really need to worry about this, but in fantasy/dystopian/etc. this is key!) You have to do this with in your first chapter or two (depending on their length) so your reader feels like they understand there surroundings.In this bullet, list things you’ll do to establish your world, specific details, situations, time, place, etc.

2. At the same time as bullet one you also have to do bullet two, which is ESTABLISHING YOUR MC’s RELATIONSHIPS with close family, and or important characters. While you are world building we should be seeing how and who your MC relates to. (if anyone) so in this bullet, list key relationships and how your MC feels about them.

3. Finally, with in the first couple of chapters, and this goes along with one and two, you need to establish WHAT YOUR MC WANTS MOST and why they want it, and most importantly (to the plot) why they can’t have it. So for this bullet just list those. What do they want? Why? And why don’t they have it?

These first three bullets can really go together, but I separate them. Otherwise bullet one get’s really lengthy.

4. After the set up you need to establish your TURNING POINT. I’m sure you all have heard this term before, but it’s basically the point in the novel that springs the character into action. Forces them to change, or go somewhere, or do something. Basically just fill in the blank for this bullet: And then everything changed because________________

5. Then, logically of course you have the characters REACTION. How do they respond to the turning point? What do they do?

6. Everything has changed, our character has reacted and is now hurdling head first into solving the issue (whatever it is), so it’s time for a PINCH POINT. This is a moment in the story that ‘ups the stakes’ something needs to happen to make the character realizes how serious the conflict is. Something needs to scare, shock, or hurt them so that they kick it into full gear. Things need to get more dangerous. So answer this question: What happens that makes the conflict more difficult to solve or more scary to face?

7. Now things are dangerous, your character feels like they are deep in the woods of the conflict and then…. A BIG SECRET IS REVEALED. Now, that  the character realizes how bad things are they need to discover something. SOMETHING BIG. Something that will totally turn the novel on its head. In this bullet tell us what changes the conflict for the character, what do they realize/discover/ or are told that makes them think differently about the conflict.

8. Armed with this valuable piece of new information your character once again attempts to solve the conflict and then… ALL SEEMS LOST. The antagonist in one last-ditch effort seems to vanquish your MC. They were so close and then it is swiped away from them. What does this moment look like in you novel? Why does everything seem lost? When does it happen?

9. Finally, we get to the SOLUTION/RESOLUTION. Basically this is how your novel ends. How does you MC get out of bullet 8? How do they solve the conflict? What relationships do they mend? Which do they destroy?You’re briefly wrapping up your novel in point 9.

Yikes! That was a long post… sorry about that! Anyway what do you guys think of outlining this way? Like it? hate it? How do you all outline?

2011 In Review & 2012 What’s New

1 Jan

I guess it’s that time. Time to consider what it is I’ve done this year.

First let me just thank every one of you that is reading this post, and who have read many others (and who I hope will continue to read my ramblings). Without you, I would be mumbling into the empty space that is the internet, and even though talking to yourself isn’t the worst off you can be, it’s nice to know that you all like to check in now and then and see what I’m up to.

Which brings us to accomplishments (which all of you have contributed to). This year has been my first year of blogging and it’s been amazing! I’ve (miraculously) been able to blog once a week for an entire year! And through that I’ve gained you, my lovely subscribers and followers. Over the course of this year I’ve gained 50 word-press subscribers and another 15 email subscribers, which if you can do simple math means Novel Ideas has 65 subscribers! *Squeals like a little girl*. Sure I don’t think I’ll make top subscription numbers or anything, but for a silly blonde girl running around madly with a laptop, a bag of books, and a dream… well, I think I’ve done pretty well.

And for all my invisible followers (I know some of you in person and I’m sure there are others out there in the web) I encourage you to go click that little subscribe button in the right corner or on the control bar! It would mean a lot to me if it’s not too much trouble.

Besides all these things I have also been doing a lot of new stuff on NI that I’m really proud of! I hosted my first give away this year ( the Shatter Me giveaway if you’ll recall) (whose results will be up tomorrow). I also am still hosting a flash fiction contest that you all are very welcome to participate in (you can find that HERE), and win Clock Work Prince by Cassandra Clare.

Plus, I began doing book reviews. I’ve really enjoyed doing those for y’all, and hope to do a lot more of them in 2012!

Along with the blogging goals I’ve achieved I also managed to do a lot writing wise it 2011. I finished the first draft of The Shadows That Fell (my dystopian nightmare of a manuscript), and started a collaboration novel with my fabulous critique partner Carolyn(called ABLAZE). I also managed to work on my novels CARVE, The Light That Shattered, and UNTITLED (still working on that one, obviously…). I critiqued a betas manuscript (which was über fun and amazing by the way!), and learned a lot from that.

Besides all this I feel like I achieved a lot of personal goals in my life this year (but I won’t go into those).

So with all that behind us what is Novel Ideas, and what am I doing in 2012?

For starters I’m really looking forward to doing some blog series. Last year I began the “Story Weaving on Steroids” and the “How Creative People Think” series,but didn’t have much time to devote to them, but this year I’m really going to focus on writing advice and adding onto those series. That’s good news for you writers, because you will get lots of new material to read!

As I mentioned before, I will also be doing a lot more book reviews this year (you readers will be in good too then!).

I’m also going to start a new blogging series ( a slightly less serious one) called “This is What Writing Looks Like”. It’s going to be a photo series, and I’m hoping you all will like it. Be on the look out for that in the coming months.

For my writing goals I’m planning on writing draft two of The Shadows that Fell and then working on CARVE and UNTITLED. (which I’m sure will have a title by the end of the year). I’m going to be taking a beta reading break, and trying to focus on my own writing, I’m still really excited to see what all my writer friends are going to be up to though.

Finally, my reading goal for this year is going to be 50 books! Ten more than 2011. I’m pretty sure I can reach it. I’ll have the updated sidebar badge over there >>>>>

After I post this so, feel free to take a click and see where I’ll be putting all the titles of the books I’ll read this year!

Over all I think 2011 went really well for me (writerly and otherwise) and I hope it went as well for you all!

Have a great 2012 and I hope you keep coming back to Novel Ideas for more posts and ramblings!

Best Wishes,

Ally

NaNo: Reflecting on Collaborating

21 Nov

Yesterday, Carolyn and I had a brainstorm session. For those of you don’t know Carolyn is my fabulous critique partner/friend/co-author of my NaNo novel this year. Any-who, we decided this past week that our NaNo novel (That which we are referring to as ABLAZE) needed some serious back story/plotting help and so we drove over to our local library. Which by the way has awesome coffee seating area on the second floor. With extremely comfy very, java/hipster-esque chairs.

Carolyn & I looking a bit too smiley

And can I just say that writing a novel with one of your best friends is possibly one of the FUNNEST EXPERIENCES I’VE EVER HAD! Seriously, Carolyn and I are very much on the same page. Plotting with another person (one with awesome tastes in books) is a lot like discussing an insanely awesome already written book.

I swear to you there were ideas flying left and right. As soon as I had something to say, she had another thing to add-on or, another way of looking at it that was just as amazing (if not more so). And… yeah I’d like to think it went both ways. Haha!

I was really nervous about doing a collaboration novel, just because I was scared that I would lose control. Or that the novel would turn into something I didn’t like, or I didn’t feel like it was something I would pick myself. And some of the stuff isn’t. It isn’t stuff I would have thought of. But it’s good. It’s damn good! *pardon my french* But, the thing is, is that this novel is my project, it is both of us. Honestly, I think a lot of what has made this work out so far is that Carolyn and I have known each other all our lives, (so we are kind of in sync) and also that we have very similar tastes in books, and music.  I guess you could say that blending our two styles, and ideas was a lot easier because of that.

I really think that collaborating (thus far) has been a really positive experience for me as a writer. I have always liked bouncing my ideas off others, and being able to have constant streams of ideas going in and out, has really allowed me to focus on the structure of my writing, and less on the details.

It seems a lot easier for me to talk through my ideas first, and yesterday at the library we were just ON FIRE. (haha you know what I’m talking about Carolyn 🙂) I’m feeling really good about our novel, even if we are a little behind on word count, I definitely think we’ll finish up this draft and cont’ to work on it in the future.

I just wanted to let you all know what was going on. How is NaNo, or just November treating you all?

NaNo 3 Tips on Day 3

3 Nov

NaNo has begun, and it’s been going great for me 🙂 As you all know I’m doing a collaboration novel with my critique partner Carolyn (something I’ve never even dreamed of attempting) and am loving it!

we’ve set it up so that we each do a chapter/section every other day (meeting the word count) and then send it back to the other via email. It’s working out really well, and having somebody else depending on your pages forces you to write!

Sadly not everybody has that to motivate them to write and so for you single NaNo goers I’ve decided to hand out my top three NaNo tips:

1) Get ahead on your word count. No, seriously, don’t look at me like I have three heads. I realize you already have to write over 1,600 words a day. What I recommend is just writing an extra two or three hundred words. I know that doesn’t seem like much but after a few days those will add up, so if you miss a day you won’t be behind. look at it this way, if you write an extra three hundred words for the first week that gives you an extra 2,100 words! That leaves you getting done a day and hale early, do that every day and you could be done four even five days early!

2) Don’t skip writing. Just because you apply point number one, and happen to have an extra 4,000 words in week two does NOT mean you can skip a day. This is the fastest way to lose NaNo. Believe me, I know. If you decide to take a break one day, you will give yourself a second day. NaNo is all about consistancy. Don’t get yourself out of that mind set, or you will most likely be doomed to fail. (I know what your thinking…. ‘she has to be fun at parties‘)

3)Delete your Internet short cut. I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying ‘there’s many a slip twixt the cup and lip’. Well, during NaNo it is more like, ‘there  is many a web page between You and WORD’. It’s easy to just click on your browser when booting up the computer to start writing. A fleeting whim to Google, or check your email will often pass your mind when things get sticky in Microsoft, and that page is looking awful, or when you just don’t want to write. Deleting your browser shortcut makes it harder to answer that impulse. If you delete  the shortcut you have to go through the start menu and programs just to boot up the internet. It will seem much less appealing then. I SWEAR it will not kill you to do this! It’s a small thing, but you will get a lot more done. And, you can always go back after November.

Those were my tips for the day! How is November (NaNo or not going for you all?)

Revamping Before NaNoWriMo

26 Oct

Hey all!

I was just dropping in to bring you an update on Novel Ideas and the writerly ordeals that will be going on this week.

I realise I haven’t been very active blog wise in the last few weeks… as you’ve noticed the site has become a lot of me going:

Boo..hoo I haven’t written anything, and Oh crud I haven’t posted this week yet so this is me posting!

This is a pathetic excuse for a writing blog. Now as you may also have noticed the ‘winds of change’ are blowing in. As you can see NI has a nice new fall backdrop, a brand new logo (which you can see on the side bar, to the right of this post>>>) and if you were to go and select the ABOUT ME page you’d find an updated bio, and a new fall picture.I’ve also taken down the disastrously neglected “ME CURRENTLY” and “ANNOUNCEMENTS” pages, as they hadn’t been updated in such a long time that it is embarrassing. Hopefully I’ll get a few new useful pages up soon.

Now that the blogs been put up with nice newness, I figured it was time to look at what I’ll be posting. As you all know November is coming up which means one thing NANOWRIMO! *throws glitter around* I will be participating in that yet again this year, but as a collaboration novel with my critique partner Carrie.

I’m kind of mulling over the idea of doing a ‘post a day’ thing with NaNo, but I’m hesitant as Not only will I be doing NaNo, but I’ll be beta reading a manuscript for a WordPress friend in November that is due on the 27th. I’m going to try not to overload myself with stuff, but it may be inevitable.What do you all think?

As far as current writing goes I’ve been working on CARVE, and am extremely excited about the new project, I’ve had the idea for a little over a year, and have been, off and on plotting/experimental drafting since April. I feel like I’m making good progress! I’ve been utterly ignoring the Lighting Shadows series (The Shadows that fell (formerly BTE) and its companion novel) but that is soon to be opened up again and I’m thinking of showing some of that on here and demonstrating to  you how terribly WRONG it is and how you can avoid such horrid mistakes.

That brings us to posting I’m going to be doing a couple of advice posts here soon, and I’m also hoping to do a flash fiction challenge. Along with that I’ve been deciding whether or not to do some video posts (vlogs I’d guess you’d call them).

In other words November is gong to be my revamping month, and it’s going to be super busy around here!

As always guys, thank you for sticking with me!

Anyone else doing NaNo this year? Any big plans for November?

 

A Chat About Religion in Novels

17 Oct

I hesitated to post this. Spent an hour switching between Jango.com and here, mouse hovering over the PUBLISH button. But finally I decided to go through with it. Here goes nothing but blah:

I’m discovering that BTE has a bit to do with religion.

Is it a religious novel? No.

Is its main focus religion/spirituality? Again, No.

I’m finding that BTE is a society  into the future where things have degraded to a level in which no god, or religion any longer exists. The bible, and other books alike have slowly been forgotten or traded away in favor of food or clothing. Most traces of our society as we know it today have been washed away by a utopia that has fallen into desperate disrepair.

You see that was the original idea for BTE. What happens after a utopia falls? I mean we’ve read countless utopian books, MATCHED by Ally Condie, THE GIVER Louis Lowery, etc, etc, etc. But I began to think what happens when our heroes die? What happens after the utopia is gone? Without a government what happens to the people? And that is how BTE has evolved into a sort of steam-punk/adventure type…. thing.

Anyway, back to the “religion” thing.

You see I’ve noticed recently that my MC is in desperate need of some religion, or something to trigger her main character arc. And with the way the society has revealed itself to be I was thinking “religion”. I’m really not trying to make a statement about anything, but I once read somewhere that “religion gives people purpose, and hope. Without purpose and hope there can be no civilized society.” granted that’s not a direct quote but that was the idea behind it.

And I can see that. If people have nothing to work toward, no hope of things getting better if they do so (in this life or the next) What is it that they hold themselves accountable to, especially when there is no really government to enforce any kind of  moral or ethical rules?

Even before I began thinking of this, BTE had little hints of spirituality. The order of the “Guardians” is based upon old testament scripture (though twisted and corroded by time and the order itself) to lay down its laws.

I’m not one to take on controversial subjects, but I think that religion in every form is a very interesting if not touchy subject to use in a novel. What do you all think should I cut it for fear of a turn off to readers? Or keep it and hope for the best?