Tag Archives: Black Moon

Metacognition: Taking my own advice

The beginning of Black Moon has been action packed, twisty and fun to write, until I got to the end of Chapter One. I did what I wanted and started with a bang that was natural and unforced. Got my characters going, but also started establishing the “New World” for this book. I was so excited. Then the action stopped and my characters, who did not end well from the last book, had to interact. It was awkward and tough for the characters, and I thought it was going to kill me.

My thinking shoes

Running shoes, how could you forsake me!

Trying to get through this, I cycled through my usual activities to get my mind to expand and be inspired on what should happen. Exercise left me just as confused as to how to try and push them through this stage. Walking let me figure out stuff for the next chapters, but nada on the troubled Chapter One. Visualizing it while driving with the windows down and in the shower left me refreshed and clean, respectively, but no closer to a solution.  My usual suspects had let me down. I was ready to give up, skip the ending of the chapter and pick up again with Chapter Two.

Then I taught my class about Multiple Intelligences, metacognition, in other words, “knowing about knowing”. In class they were taking two of the tests that would pinpoint each of their specific learning styles. Letting them know how useful it is in and out of school, I shared that I am a kinesthetic learner and gave some examples of tactics and strategies I use to think clearer and remember more (see some from the above paragraph). But I warned them, don’t get locked into only your specific strategy, all of us have each of the different styles within us, and can use some from each category. You are not only one branch that is just your strongest. There are choices.

Then it hit me. That’s exactly what I was doing. I was so reliant upon my kinesthetic tactics working for me, I was only thinking about them. There was a whole world of other ideas out there I was neglecting. So at lunch I sat down with my “Secret Weapon” ™ and used a different tactic. I talked through where I was, where I wanted to go, and the problem with my characters at this time. During the course of the conversation and explanation, things clicked into place. Auditory learning to the rescue!

Now, Chapter One of Black Moon is completed with action and character growth. New problems are already peeking around corners and the characters are trying to figure out how to treat each other after the ending of the first book. Chapter Two is underway and moving along swimmingly. Here’s to using all the tools in our basket, not just our favorites.

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Mother Nature: Poet, Artist, Author?

This week is owned by Mother Nature. She is showing us we can’t get too comfortable in our “hurricane free” or “earthquake free” areas. With the earthquake from the Northeast starting in Virginia (it was fun teaching a class and missing a step as everything fell about a foot from where it was) and Hurricane Irene heading toward the Jersey Shore, people are having to adapt and learn new ways to prepare to survive.

Beautiful, but what if you added some lightning, crashing waves and a fire?

Right now, Mother Nature is the author of our current story. As authors, we create new circumstances, hardships and disasters for our characters to grow and learn from. A common critique note to young authors is “you made this too easy for your characters”. An easy story is often one that bores the reader and the hero/heroine doesn’t grow to his/her full potential. So, in order to love our characters and make them the people we know they can be, we have to throw horrible, horrible situations at them and let them learn on their own, or with a mentor and crew, what they have buried deep within. They have to learn what they can accomplish when pushed to the worst place they can possibly imagine, often a hairs breath from death. That’s why the Dark/Black Moment of the book is so important. It must be dire, because our hero/heroine must learn, the world be damned. He/she is stronger and better than this and will find a way to survive.

And to survive, they rarely ever have to be a “superman” with “deus ex superpower” that comes from nowhere. Often even with superpowers in play, in order for characters to grow, the ability to move beyond the Black Moment into Victory comes from a very mundane place. That way the readers can identify and grow from it with the characters.

So make those journeys tough and deadly. Let your characters fall down and feel pain. We as humans adapt and grow and learn. That’s what makes a compelling story. The growth. The learning. The survival of things that are out of the ordinary, but happen anyway.

As Mother Nature writes our story this week, I am continuing my work on Black Moon, as well as sending Black Sun to two more Beta Readers. Black Moon is almost a chapter in now, and Mother Nature has inspired some new hardships for my characters. *grin*


Happy Puppy Dance!

Everybody join in!

Jumping for joy with your head up in the air. Eyes closed in contentment as your feet tap out a happy jig. That’s what I’m doing today.

Got the report from the first of my Beta Readers. She stayed up until 4am finishing it because she couldn’t put it down. There is almost no higher praise than that.  As this is not her normal genre, it also lets me know Black Sun has the ability to reach beyond the normal “sci-fi” “horror” crowd. She gave me about six lines needing work, but out of 436 pages and 90k works, not too shabby and already fixed. This is exciting, and I can’t wait to hear from my other readers. Come on, big money, no whammys. (Does anyone get that reference anymore? Oh well, back to happy dance.)

On other fronts, the first few lines of Black Moon are written. They came to me with a great image, even if that image involved pain and panic. Being able to write again is making me so happy. Editing and polishing is fun, but I missed this creation part. I shared the first two lines with JP and his reaction was “Starting with a bang, huh?” Absolutely. Black Moon is shaping nicely in character and scene sheets. Now the words are allowed a license of their own to show me where all these well laid plans of humans and vampires are actually going to lead us this time. Plus, there will be the introduction of another entire paranormal group in this book. I can’t wait. *smile*

I look at how twisted and complicated my characters lives become when left in my hands. Murphy’s Law happens, but doesn’t cover half the messes that find them. Then I remember a favorite quote by alien buff Duane Alan Hahn:

“We’ve all heard of Murphy’s Law. There should also be Rube Goldberg’s Law (a result is often caused by a complicated chain reaction of seemingly unrelated events). Both of those laws seem to be best buddies and they’ll often knock Occam’s Razor to the floor and kick its whiny little [butt].”

Until then, I will have to wait and write those complications into existence until the other readers get back to me on Black Sun.


Celebration Time! Come On!

Huzzah!   Hurrah!   Booyah!   Oh Yay!

Not only is Black Sun as done as I can make it, it is off to the waiting hands of my first round Beta Readers. My dark story about vampires in the blackness of deep space stations and the people they “interact” with is out there to entertain others. Exciting and terrifying at the same time. But after two years of work on this project, I have to let it go. So, until I get feedback, Black Sun is officially going into the drawer. I am going to force myself to leave it alone, until I hear what others have to say.

Next weekend I’ll continue working on Black Moon, but this weekend is for me and celebrating getting this far in the process. Drinks all around. Tonight is date night for me and my husband. I think playing pool and Greek sauces are in order. Just the thought makes me smile. And to continue with the good vibes weekend of rest, J.P. is sending me to the spa tomorrow.

Thus I should return relaxed, refreshed and ready to get back to dangers of the paranormal world in deep space.

Prost!

Until then, let’s raise a glass. Sláinte!


Cleaning House

I will admit, today I am not doing a lot of writing work. Tomorrow we’re having my son’s four year old birthday party. He’s excited beyond words. Me, I’m cleaning house like a madwoman to have it spic-and-span for guests tomorrow. Of course, a bunch of four year olds will probably be undoing all my work real soon.

Cleaning

My writing tools

While moving around and dancing to music, it seems my mind won’t take a day off. Planning evil evil things for my characters in Black Moon is becoming stronger. Full scenes are making more sense now. Poor Alex has so much to learn. *evil grin*

And I still have exercise to do. Great ideas always come as my feet move. Bring on the hour planning session.


Lost in the Woods

There’s not much to report. I am on the edge of my seat waiting on the feedback from my first beta reader. And from the requests showing up in my inbox, so are the other beta readers. New eyes are always a scary feature to writing. I learned this clearly in my critique group. Will they get the nuance and meaning you were trying to lace into the description and dialogue? Will they follow the action or get lost in the fight? Did you beat them over the head with the message or was it subtly woven into the story? Are there too many characters, not enough? Was the story too complex, or not complex enough? Having done editing for a while now, I explain over and over, “I know it’s perfectly clear in your head, but that clarity never reached the paper”. Is this where I will be, or does the story have a complete linear thrust without being too obvious?

Well, there’s nothing I can do on it now, until it comes back full of markups and comments. So on to the next feat. I have finished the first draft of “Waiting for Tomorrow” and am letting it breathe a bit of its own life. Letting it grow some legs, if you will. In the meantime, it’s time to do what I’ve wanted to since April. It is time to get underway on Black Moon. The world is established, some of the characters are established, now it is time to establish the scenes. I will be sitting down with my scene and character worksheets and blocking out each major scene and the reasons it belongs in the story.

 

Black Moon

A whole new adventure

I know once I start drafting, I may venture away like Red Riding Hood from the path, but sometimes the Big Bad Wolf is the best part of the story. So, here’s to getting lost in the woods and the adventure to find my way back. Black Moon it’s your turn.


Beta, Beta, bo Beta

The first of my Beta Readers has Black Sun. He is also double checking my continuity and copy editing. I am excited to have someone else’s eyes reading my work in full. A giant step forward. Every step is making this more real, and I can’t describe how that makes me feel deep down. Dreams are enticing and amorphous ghosts that chase us through life. It’s fun to do the chasing for once, and to feel that I am almost a hand’s reach away.

Problems in the food chain affect everyone

On other fronts, I did a lot of work today on “Waiting for Tomorrow”. This is set between Black Moon (Book 2) and Black Planet (Book 3). A glimpse into the future the characters will have to deal with. It’s nice to be writing from another perspective and on planet again, even if the ending is not quite “and they all lived happily ever after”.


The Impossible Dream

Piece by piece, bit by bit, it’s all coming together. Two years in the making, and by the end of this week, Black Sun should be fully written, revised, edited and ready for Beta Readers. Writing this has been an exciting adventure in its own right, but I must say, I’m looking forward to getting back to the writing process with all my notes on book two, Black Moon. The scenes are haunting my thoughts and dreams, begging to come out onto paper. I must oblige.

Holy Grail

As opposed to my current Holy Grail

While I get to start off in this new adventure, I must continue the next obstacles on this original one. In order to try and find the Holy Grail of an Agent and Publisher, I must draft a series of topnotch query letters and synopsis of my work. About eighty-five thousand words and four hundred pages whittled down to a few paragraphs for the query. Plus, it needs to be done in such a way to catch the Agent’s attention in the multitude of letters he/she will have received that day alone. No small task.

So, I am trying to remove all hubris and do this the same way we do most things for the first time: learn. We don’t know innately how to tie our shoe, until someone teaches us. We can’t make chicken ala king for the first time, without a recipe to guide us. Thus, I am looking to the experts for techniques, tips and tricks to all these parts and pieces of the publishing process itself.

Right now I am doing research for what authors and the agents themselves are saying about it. Sample letters, the good, the bad and the horrible, are all over the internet, so I am devouring them. Last but not least, I am signing up for a course on publishing done by a respected author in her field, Meredith Bond. Anyone can check her out from my Blogroll or at

http://www.meredithbond.com/

But I am lucky enough to have her teaching at the same school where I teach. Thus, I will be putting on my student hat and soaking up all the knowledge I can from her about the current state of the industry and publishing. Can’t tell you all how much I am looking forward to it.


The Scenes I’ve Seen

I know when my stories are taking life, because I can see them in their full technicolor glory. They play out in front of my eyes. I can see, smell, taste what is going on. I feel the emotions. They invade all parts of my day. I’ll lose my train of thought on other tasks as my mind gets distracted by the movie screen behind my eyes. This has been happening a lot lately.

A few changes

A few changes

All the revisions I’ve been doing on Black Sun are productive, but more story has been buzzing in my head. Black Moon has been coming out in my daydreams and nightmares. Full scenes are playing out. My fingers are aching to write and continue to turn the galaxy upside down. But I have set the requirement that I need to finish Black Sun’s revisions and have it in the hands of Beta readers before I start full out drafting. So I am relegated to jotting down these scenes, so I don’t lose them. At least my characters seem ready to jump to the next disaster.

To help with the need to write something, I’ve started several drafts of my pitch, query and synopsis for Black Sun to give to agents. This is really fun. What would my backcover read like? What to set up and what to leave in question? Who am I aiming for and how do I hit that target?

When I’ve finished my query, I’ll post them here to wet of your whistles.