Friday, November 16, 2018

Buying Other People's Plots

Okay, I admit it. I don't get people who can't come up with new ideas. I'm not trying to judge or preach. I simply can't comprehend it because I literally cannot shut off my own mind.

My husband can tell you when my story hamster is in her wheel.

But I meet or hear of so many other writers who can't seem to come up with story ideas. Maybe they are putting too much pressure on their hamster. Maybe they expect their hamsters to find the perfect story for them. Maybe they accidently killed their hamster.

So they turn to others to come up with story ideas for them. Maybe they turn to a critique partner. Maybe they buy an app like the Story Plot Generator from the Microsoft Store. Maybe they take a writing course on plotting or buy a how-to book.

But then there are the underground places where someone will sell you an outline for a novel.

Is this a good plan?

It really depends. Why are you doing it? Are you trying to jump start your hamster? Or is your hamster perfectly fine, but you don't trust it to win the race?

Here's the bigger problem, as I see it. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but if you're buying an idea from someone else, I can guarantee you'll pay more than ten cents for even one story idea/outline. Would that money be better spent on cover art, editing or formatting?

But the core of if the problem is something most writers don't consider. It's not the idea itself that gets people to buy your books. It's the execution.

Are you making your reader feel the feels? Or are you doing some paint by number schtick?

What made Harry Potter work when there are thousands of orphan books and boarding school books and magic books?

If you say it's that particular combination of subject matter, I'd say think again. Siegel and Shuster did it with Superman decades before J.K. Rowling. The creators made both Clark and Harry relatable while giving them fantastic powers.

So why would  a reader care about characters that you didn't care enough to invent them?

Or are you using someone else's ideas to insulate yourself from disappointment?

I get how rejection feels. The bad reviews. The low sales. If the idea you bought fails, well, it isn't you fault, is it? It had to be the fault of the person who sold you the outline.

Whether or not you use an plot outline you bought from someone else is totally your decision. But please know yourself well enough to figure out why you're doing it instead of coming up with your own ideas. In the end, I think you best bet as a writer is trusting your own hamster.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Let It Snow!

I'm a little late today, and I didn't write too many posts last week, because I'm trying to finish reviewing the print proof of Sacrificed. That's in addition to working on my NaNo project.

Tomorrow should be a good writing day. We're expecting more snow.

Yep, more snow. It's one reason DH and I love working from home. No more commutes. Not through heavy traffic. Not through inclement weather.

The storm has just reached the outskirts of Cincinnati in its roll north. We should be getting flakes around three in the morning.

So tonight, I'll make sure everything's charged and ready to go in the morning. We have plenty of coffee and tea. And I'll charge ahead on my wip!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Monday Movie Mania - Bohemian Rhapsody

If you love Queen, you'll probably love this docudrama. If you're a nitpicky fact Nazi, you won't. The writers rearranged the timeline a bit for dramatic effect. And the rearrangement was with Brian May and Roger Taylor's blessing since they were executive producers of the flick, so part of me wonders how much was truly changed. The band was incredibly private about their personal affairs. It's entirely possible Freddie knew he was HIV positive prior to the Live Aid concert and had told the rest of the band.

But any rearrangement of the timeline doesn't take away from the band's, or Freddie Mercury's, history. It gives equitable treatment of the four members' contributions to their musical legacy.

This movie really doesn't qualify for a SPOILERS warning any more than Titanic does. (Hint: The ship sank.) The guys obviously wanted a tribute to their friend at the height of his career, so the movie ends with Queen's performance at Live Aid in 1985. But I will give you a list of my favorite parts:

1) Rami Malik owned the part of Freddie Mercury. I'll be very upset of he doesn't get an Oscar nod in a couple of months.

2) Gylim Lee captured Brian May's bemusement with his friend's antics perfectly.

3) The story doesn't shy away from the infighting that occurred between the four guys, especially between Roger and Freddie.

4) The best line? "This band only needs one hysterical queen."

5) The new tidbit I learned? John Deacon has an electrical engineering degree.

6) The recreation of some of Freddie's most iconic stage outfits.

7) Dexter Fletcher, who actually directed the film after Bryan Singer's firing, and the actors did a marvelous job of acknowledging the faults of the men without glorifying them.

8) Second best line? "If you think six minutes is long, I pity your wife."

9) They acknowledge of the importance of Mary Austin and Jim Hutton in Freddie's life.


This is one of those rare movies I want to see again in the theater before it's run is finished. Overall, I give it 11 stars out of 10!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

This One Makes Me Hungry

Want some mashed potatoes and gravy with that fried chicken?

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Ah, Memories!

November will be Queen month in honor of the release of the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. This was the first Queen song I heard. We chanted it on the school bus at the top of our lungs.

Friday, November 2, 2018

NaNoWriMo Has Started!

National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo or NaNo if you need to go even shorter, started yesterday.

I stocked up on chocolate and caffeine. I had my fun project ready to go. And I hit the ground...

...kind of crawling. I overslept thanks to the dark, rainy day. I had to do some transferring of funds because GK found his dream car at the dealership down the road. There was paperwork to do, and we still need to contact our insurance agent this morning.

However, I did get words down in the midst of the chaos. And I'm going to keep ploughing through. I have to admit this is the first book I've started since all the testing and treatment for cancer, and I'm not sure how it will change my voice.

But for now, I'm going to have some fun!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Samhain!

The Celtic new year starts tomorrow! Everybody scream!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Catching Up on the Backlog

I received the print proofs of Sacrificed and A Modicum of Truth shortly before the Easter holidays. In fact, I took them with me on the road trip to Nashville and started going through them while GK drove.

Unfortunately, I didn't get them finished before everything hit the fan the following week. So guess what I'm trying to finish before NaNoWriMo starts on Thursday?

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my formatter can fix the few typos I found, and I can get these two volumes ordered before our library's Local Author Book Signing on November 10th. If I can't, well, there's always next year!

* * *

Something else to keep in mind, the Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Trust will be discontinuing both print and e-book edition of volumes 22 thru 27 of the Sword and Sorceress anthologies, according to their most recent newsletter.

If you want copies before they disappear, you'll want to order them well before December 28th!