Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 5 - What I Don't Like

Taking the weekend off from writing (mostly), was a good plan. Yesterday, my husband and I "rocked our faces off" at our local rock station's rock fest. Madam Adam, Haelstorm, Skillet, Theory of a Deadman, and Stone Sour were all phenomenal. I didn't really care for The Art of Dying. The lead singer kinda scared me, not in a good way.

I head banged, was clobbered a good two or three times by crowd surfers, and have a bruise to sport on my left foot. I was fierce! I didn't yield my ground; those little teeny-boppers had to say "Excuse me" before this Mom was willing to let them go in front of her! (It's only fair, I'm 5'8''). And the punk kid in the flannel shirt that didn't say excuse me? Yeah, he got the stink eye every time he came and went and I talked total smack about him the entire time. He turned a few times, but didn't say anything. Yeah that's right, I've given BIRTH kid, 27 hours with two failed epidurals. Whachu gotta say???? 

So what's going on in the writing department?

I wrote two scenes this weekend, one a little forced. Okay, a lot forced. My dialogue stinks in it. But rather than freak out about it, I saved it to my RAW folder and am moving on. I think part of the problem is I have only outlined, not written the relationship between these two characters so far, and I don't know how much hate there will be in the scene until I feel it. I know that sounds vague.

I am reading the book on dialogue I have and tried the trick this weekend of capturing people's conversations. I have come to the conclusion people speak incomprehensibly to anyone OUTSIDE of the conversation. Seriously. This isn't a worthless conclusion, but I need to make sure in making my dialogue believable, my readers are *in* on the conversation. 

Going back to that scene I'm having trouble with? I needed to get an idea of what my male character would say to the other female lead, not the one having his baby, when everything falls apart. So, I looked up "rants on ex-girlfriend" on YouTube. Turns out, a man's man DOESN'T rant about their ex-girlfriend, but nerd men do. Since my main character isn't a nerd man, it didn't help me. I did find Project Rant pretty funny and distracting. It'll come to me. Worst case scenario I'll ask my husband since many of that character's mannerisms come from my observation of him.

Hat Switch: Publisher

I found a fantastically affordable way to make my book trailer when it's time. That's a relief. And they look fantastic! I also am looking and looking, but it seems like self-published women's fiction is a novelty. I don't that my book is a true romance, it's from a male point-of-view, and the ending isn't the two main characters getting together. That doesn't mean that it ends unhappily, but it ends satisfying the reader that the characters did what they would have done in real life. I think this is more important than fitting a formula. Women's fiction from a male point-of-view is not completely unique, but I'm not using that aspect of my novel to play up a comedic theme.

Publisher's Weekly is finally joining the self-publishing group hug, with a fee. Their PW Select features self-published works that pay $149 per title to be listed in a quarterly listing, with 25 of the books reviewed on a merit basis. Reading through their one-line sales pitch, I cringe. I'm going through the list and highlighting ones I would be interested in reading and why, and more importantly critiquing the one-liners I have no desire to read and why. For example:

Beaufort 1849: A Novel of Antebellum South Carolina.
Karen Lynn Allen. Cabbages and Kings Press. $13.95 paper (306p), ISBN 978-0-9671784-1-7
After years abroad, Jasper Wainwright tries to persuade the planters of Beaufort, S.C., to change their economy to avert the coming war.

Here's why this interests me: I know who the characters are, I know the motivation, and I know the conflict. I don't often read historical fiction without a romantic bent to it, but I'm intrigued by Jasper's conflict. Living in South Carolina currently might play into it, but I don't think so. The author has me hooked with the story from the get-go.

Altamont Augie.
Richard Barager. Interloper Press. $15.95 paper (308p), ISBN 978-0-9830661-0-1
A novel of the late 1960s about the meaning of national honor and a free society’s choice between nihilism and tradition.

Nope. First, this sounds awfully preachy. If I want to read something straight about the choice between nihilism and tradition I'll read a non-fiction collection of essays or the like. The political scientist in me calls this a mixed metaphor, nihilism is not the opposite of tradition, it's an absence of value. There are PLENTY of traditions I could argue people fulfill with a nihilist attitude. Mostly, I don't get why this is a fiction piece. Who are the characters? What is the storyline? The meaning of national honor is rather broad, and not overly exciting.

Now here's something funny. This is the first line in Amazon's product description :A startlingly vivid portrayal of one of the most colorful and turbulent periods in recent American history: the 1960s, as seen through the eyes of two ill-fated college lovers at odds over Vietnam.

That I would read! There are some characters and a story line. The "1960s" is where it should be, the background. It's the setting, not the story.

I was dismayed to look some of the titles up on Amazon and take the "Peek Inside." I still spotted typing errors, the bane of every self-published book's existence! While I am going to do everything I possibly can to prevent this from happening with my book, I know we are all human. However, I can guarantee my promotional material will be spotless. If someone is going to look up my book's skirt, they will find clean underwear!

Alright, it's that time to be about it, not talk about it. 

"Imperfect Timing" arriving Fall 2011. Johnathan Michaels, a robotics engineer, jeopardizes his engagement with his business partner when a previous one-night stand surfaces, carrying his child.

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