I’m happy to announce that Masks: A Novella is now available in print!
Coversis with a beta editor, who will hopefully, get on with it already! I want to start rewriting as soon as possible. While this is on hold, I have not been wasting time waiting. I’ve started writing book 4.
The main story will go something like this:
By the end of her summer, Rohini will fulfill a promise she made to her grandmother by following Indian traditional marriage customs. But when she discovers her brother in her fiancé’s arms, she flees her grandmother’s city of Mumbai for home, Montreal, Canada. Betrayed and angry, she seeks refuge among friends, but she can’t find the words to tell them what really happened in India. Thankfully, her friend’s big brother gives her a place to heal and regroup. There’s only one problem: everything she does becomes his problem.
By the end of his summer, Ryan will be in the best shape of his life. He’ll blow the competition away at hockey camp in September and earn a spot on a NHL team. He was well on his way to making his childhood dream come true when he let his little sister’s friend move in for a few weeks until he finds a more permanent roommate. He had expected a quite incense burning yoga-loving vegetarian. He got an undisciplined overly dramatic Netflix binger.
His life is like boot camp. Her life is like a Bollywood movie. To call this summer a success, they would have to survive each other.
Definitely a lighter and more romantic plot than my usual trauma surviving dysfunctional family stories.
So how does Book 4 sound? Let me know because you’re the reader.
Before I get to the topic of the day, I have a couple of announcements. First, I finished revising Covers and sent it to an editor. I’m looking forward to reading that professional opinion because I’m tapped out. I gave everything I had and now it’s time for new eyes to look at the story.
Second is a surprise I’ve been working on for a bit. The first story in the True Hearts Series, Masks: A Novella, has been freshened up with new editing and a new cover. I’m also making it available in print format for the first time ever. I’ll keep you updated as these changes are implemented.
Although it has been observed since 1911, there are way too many people who are unaware that March 8 is International Women’s Day. So take a moment today to call, Tweet, post or email the women in your lives and remind them that they are valued.
This was my first year attempting NaNoWriMo. I didn’t officially register since I hadn’t decided to participate until November had started. Surrounded and inspired by participants in my online writing group, W.A.N.A. Tribe, I thought I’d give it a try and bumped Word Count up to the top of my priority list.
The Unexpected Challenge
Everything was going well until the last ten days. I was having a terrible writing day. Zero ideas, zero inspiration. When I had decided to join in the fun, I had an outline and half the story had been plotted. It was easy to write since I always knew what came next. I had done the thinking and the planning ahead of time. But I had stopped to focus on that 50,000 words word count.
As the days went by, it seemed to me like the words flowed less and less until the day nothing flowed. I realized that I only had ten days left when at the end of one day I had written something absurd like 163 words. That’s barely a paragraph! I was so discouraged. I announced to my online writing group that I was giving up on NaNo. There were only a couple of people in the chat room at that time but one of them was Kristen Lamb, W.A.N.A. founder. She challenged me to write 500 words in 40 minutes. If I met the challenge, she would give me a free class. I won that challenge by writing 518 words. That made me feel so much better about my abilities. I would go to bed that night knowing that I had made a splash in the bucket instead of a drop.
How did I end up writing so much in so little time without a jumping point? Two things:
I’d been offered an incentive – the class with Kristen Lamb
Kristen told me to get out of my own way and just write: follow the muse
I want to elaborate on the latter. Her words really struck me because I was trying so hard to stay within the frame that I’d made it too narrow in my mind. When in fact, any kind of art is always in mutation. Until the paint is dried, until the song is recorded, until the poem is read to an audience, until the clay has hardened, the artist always has the ability to add, remove, or change with their own imagination being the only restriction.
I’ve always scene my outlines as guides through the story. I never felt that I had to write a scene exactly like I had planned it. I always felt like I could add scenes, change the plot direction, do whatever I wanted as long as the story made sense. For whatever reason, I thought I was stuck and I needed someone to point out that I wasn’t actually stuck.
I, more or less, pantsered my way through the second half of the story. I did get lost once as I wrote some scenes out of sequence and had to update my outline but I didn’t let it get me down because I needed to hit that 50,000 words word count. And why? Because there was another incentive.
While I felt better about myself after completing Kristen’s initial challenge, I doubt I would have hit the NaNoWriMo word count on November 30 without more motivation. I suspect Kristen knew it too. After I wrote the 518 words in 40 minutes, she offered me a second incentive: a free consultation with her on my story if I hit the magic number. I wrote like a maniac for ten days and by 6 pm last Friday, I was done. 50,086 words! I sent her my story and relaxed for the entire weekend. I didn’t want to do, read, hear about writing for 48 hours.
It is a first draft and I would say an unfinished first draft. While the beginning, middle and end are all there, I want to add another 10,000 words. I have some ideas for a few more scenes that I didn’t have time to write. This week, I’ve happily been reviewing my work, pleased with its current state and updating my outline. So it’s not finished, but it will be done soon. The incentive this time: being able to hand off a completed novel to an editor so I can get it to my readers early next year.
In passing, if you become a True Hearts Insider by subscribing to my monthly newsletter, you’ll receive monthly updates, go behind the scenes, and automatically be entered to win prizes exclusive to True Hearts Insiders (This month: One pair of super cozy faux fur trimmed reading socks). Subscribe to my True Hearts Insider Newsletter. Fill out the form at the top of sidebar on this page!
What incentives have motivated you? Or how do you motivate others? I love hearing from you. Leave a comment.
Yesterday, my critique partner and I had a chat about a romantic scene I wrote in Covers, the next book in the True Hearts series, and we concluded that it needs to change.
About My Critique Partner
First, let me say that I use the term critique partner loosely. She critics my work, I do nothing for her except acknowledge her in my publications. Let me tell you that she deserves more than that because her comments take my work to another level. Having said that, Christmas might be a good time to show more gratitude.
My Comfort Zone
Secondly, while the scenes in Covers are not the first romantic scenes I have ever written or published, they are the most intense and explicit. I decided to include this type of scene a little more because I’m more comfortable writing it now and the genre, which is New Adult, can totally handle it. Time to stretch that comfort zone.
The Right Fit
Back to the chat with my critique partner. The tone of the romantic scene was wrong. It suddenly switched like it was written a different author or it was a different story. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I was not surprised either. I felt it when I was writing it. So how do I fix it? I’m not sure but I’ve started reading a few articles which might be of interest to you too:
Now that I’ve done some research, I need to mash up what is comparable to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Suck My Kiss” with something along the lines of Kings Of Leon’s “Sex On Fire”. A little humor, a little heat, and a whole lot of intimacy. Wish me luck!
What are some romantic movie or novel scenes that you love? What are some songs that would convey the right mood? I love to hear from you. Leave me a comment.