Friday, August 31, 2012

Poll Results: see if you fit the "Daisy Poll Writer Mold"

     Okay, Freshies!  Here I am, back with your results!  This was a really fun poll for me to work on, and I hope you all had fun playing along.  PLEASE keep in mind that this is a highly UNscientific poll.  I have no mad math skills and no quality control – basically, I’m a writer with some pretty pie charts. 

But, for those of you who want to see if you fit the “Daisy Poll Writer Mold” or break free from it, here is what the average Fresh As A Daisy Reader looks like:

You write YA, and just about every genre within it.
(Click on a chart to enlarge)

You have critique partners. 

You consider yourself a plotter-pantster hybrid.  You think about your ideas of 1-3 months then outline with milestone markers or chapter notes, but you don’t expect to stick to that outline when you write your first draft.  The pantster in you only needs a few characters and some plot points to get started, and she fully expects to stray far from her plotter roots.

You always write your stories chronologically when you write, which is 5-6 times a week for 1-2 hours in the afternoon/evening hours.  You write 1000-2000 words per session.

 You don’t have an agent yet, but you are actively looking for one via query letters – you’ve sent over 17.  

You attend online conferences and enter online contests, which you don’t always win (but you sometimes do).

You don’t send unsolicited work to editors, but you are definitely going the traditional publishing route.  You prefer to read paper copy, not E-books, but you want your books published in hard copy AND in E-form.  If you were to self-pub, you’d design your own cover, but that’s a moot point since it’s traditional publishing for you, all the way.

All of you thought this poll was fun! 

     So, do you measure up?  Or do you break the mold?  I think it's really interesting that so many of you both plot AND pants at some point.  I also noticed that there are MANY popular ways to outline.  

     What did I learn from this poll?  I learned that there is no one right way to be a writer.  We are outliners and pantsters who write for long stretches and short stretches, many days or just a few.  This was fun, and I LOVED doing it.  I got several questions this month from you all asking how I do this, or how I plan that.  How do I outline, how do I balance my time, how do I choose a project, and on and on.  

     I can answer.  I try to when I feel comfortable with the question.  But in the end, how I write or how I choose a project isn't the be-all, end all of it.  The real question is, how do you write?  What process works for you?  It doesn't matter if your habits line up with the majority's.  What matters is that you're writing.  You're trying to reach your goal. 

     Keep writing!

     Until next time, keep it Fresh As A...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekly Writing Poll 4

     We've made it, Freshies!  It's the last week of the very scientific poll!  Please play along.  Next week, I'll reveal all of the answers in a very VERY scientific manner.

     I haven't been around the blog-o-sphere at all this week.  What have I missed?  Any juicy tidbits?  Did an agent or writer rant about something?  Cute kittens sleeping on keyboards?  Have any of you made big announcements?

     Catch me up!  My hope is, beginning Monday I'll have more time to commit to reading blogs again. I've SO missed it.  Until then, know that I'm here in spirit!

     Until next week, keep it Fresh As A...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekly Writing Poll 3

curtesy of wiki commons, because finding an agent
 feels like trying to squeeze through this key hole.
This week concerns all things agents!  Well, not all things, but you know what I mean!

It's been so much fun doing this poll!  I think next week will round up the last of my questions, so if you have any burning ones, please let me know!

I do have a list of questions you've already asked to try to get into next week's potpourri, no worries.

Also, I've not gotten around to everyone's blogs as much as usual, and I apologize for that.  Life continues to be insanely busy in my neck of the woods.  My hope is that next week, a lot of that craziness will calm down, and life will resume it's slower pace.  I hope that's the case.

If I haven't been around to your blog in a while, know that it's not because I don't want to be there - I just haven't found the time.  I'd cut my posting schedule to once a week in hopes that it would free up time for me to travel the sphere and spend time with you all.  As it turns out, posting once a week is barely manageable right now.

Have no fear, Freshy-Freshes!  I'll be back with a vengeance soon!

Until next week, keep it Fresh As A...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Weekly Writing Poll 2

Pro "Pants" or No Pants?
     Time for a new set of poll questions!  This week, I've focused on plotter v. pantster questions because several of you requested it.  So, are you a plotter or a pantster?  Do you outline and stick to it, or do you let your perfectly planned outline be simply a jumping off point for that first draft?

     I've saved the data from last week's poll and will post all of the results in a couple of weeks when the poll ends.  It should be interesting to see how this highly scientific poll stacks up!

     On that note, I'd like to know (in the comments) what methods of plotting you plotters use.  I asked this question to the right, but it's hard to get much info from a multiple choice question.  So, do you outline pen on paper?  Do you write detailed summaries of each chapter or plot point?  Do you use index cards to map out scenes on a cork board?  Or do you have another method?

     Pantsters, tell us how you work with an idea.  How much thought goes into a story idea before you get to it?  Does it depend on whether you're in the middle of another project?  Do you only need a fleeting glimpse of a character or scene to get to work, or do you let things sit on the back burner until they've thickened?  Does it depend on the project?

Apparently, there was a "No Pants Day"
on subways across the US back in January
     I think there's no right way to write.  But it's interesting to see how other people work.  Maybe pantsters can learn something from you about plotting.  Maybe plotters can implement some pantster ideology into their routine.  Or maybe, like me, you just want to see how the rest of us write.

     I'll get the ball rolling by saying my method varies.  I have two stories mapped out completely on index cards.  One has very detailed notes for many of its scenes.  One only has vague notes, like, "Hero must meet Bad Guy by this point."

     For my pantster projects, I almost always know how my story is going to end (or, at least, where I think it's going to end).  Sometimes, I have a beginning in mind.  The middle is usually pretty vague, although I might have a scene or two in mind.  I write chronologically (usually), and only plan so far as to know what I need to work on the next time I sit down to write.

     How about you?  Are your methods as varied as mine?

Have a great weekend!  Until next weekend, keep it Fresh As A...

p.s. I lifted these pics off of wiki commons, where free domain pics are available.  I did NOT take these photos!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

...Or do you write like an Olympian?

     You can read the first half of this post over at Jeff Hargett's blog, Strands of Pattern, where I'm guest-posting today!  Thanks to Jeff for asking me to be a part of his Awesome August Posts!

     I'm working on a first draft, and it's taking ForEveR!  At first, I thought this was just how my process worked and that I had to deal, because I'm a pantster.  But then I started thinking that maybe 4 months to write a first draft is really too long for me.  I want to cut that time in half.  I want to write first drafts in 2 months.

     So, I took stock of myself and my writing this week.  I got brutally honest.  And I found these are the reasons my first drafts takes so long:*
  1. I go back and re-read what I wrote during my last session.
  2. Then I edit it.
  3. I only write a couple of days a week when I'm drafting.
  4. I stare into outer space.  A lot.
  5. I spend half my writing time wondering if the story I'm working on is the best one to work on.  Should I be working on that YA time travel instead?  Or the romantic mystery?  Or the contemp?  Maybe if I write a page of each, really quickly, then go with the one that works best...
  6. I need caffeine.  BRB.
  7. Ooh, email.
  8. Ooh, blogger.
     Yeah.  Two days a week, and the majority of my writing time, I'm not writing.  No wonder it takes me so long.  It has nothing to do with being a pantster.  Plotters don't finish more quickly because they've plotted (well, maybe a little).  They finish faster because when it's time to write, they write.

     So.  For the rest of my draft (which is about 2/3 of a manuscript, or 50,000 words, I'm going to try a few things.  I've scoured a few writer magazines and read some blogs (including Beth Revis').  Here's what I've come up with, based on tried and tested methods.  I've chosen the ones that will be most beneficial to me.  
  1. WRITING IS LIKE EXERCISE.  To see major results, you have to do it consistently, for a set period of time.  I'd love to write, oh, 30 hours a week.  Not possible at this time in my life, though.  So, my goal is 12.  That should get my writing in excellent shape!  12 hours a week, I am going to write.
  2. KEEP RECORDS.  This came from several sources.  From now on, I'm treating my writing time like work - I'm punching a time card.  Every day, I'll jot down these 6 things in my brand spankin' new Tracker Journal.  That way, I know what times of day I am most productive, I will keep myself accountable, and I will have a record of my work.
    1. Date and time
    2. What I worked on
    3. What time I stopped working
    4. Word count (just so I know)
    5. What I need to work on tomorrow, and for how long
    6. What time I will sit down to work tomorrow
  3. NO EXCUSES.  I will write 5 days a week, no matter what.  Have you seen those commercials where the athletes talk about all the TV shows they don't watch and the books they don't read?  "Take a day off?  I don't even take a morning off," says one guy.  That's going to be me.  No days off.  Because my goal is only 12 hours a week, I plan to write 3 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 2 hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  No excuses.
I want to be like Lochte...well, except for the shoulders.  Don't want his shoulders.

Do you have any tips for me?  Any methods you've used and then seen a rise in productivity?  Tell me about it!  

Until next time, keep it Fresh As A...

*I've known some of this for a while, honestly.  Now, I'm going to do something about it!  Wish me luck!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Weekly Writing Poll 1

     Before I get to the fun stuff, let me tell you about a post I read over at Jaime Morrow's blog, about how important it is to not only cite the photographer of the photos you use on your blog, but to make sure you have permission.  Apparently, You Can Get SUED - Big Time.  Definitely worth a read, if you haven't already (I'm terribly behind, so you've probably seen this).  You may also notice that I have taken down almost all of my photos from past posts.  Paranoia?  Possibly.  But still, seemed like the right thing to do.  I hope to insert new, free-to-use pics back into those old posts over time.  We'll see how long it takes.
     I didn't take down pics of book covers because, like Jaime, I can't imagine that an author would have a problem with my showcasing their book.  A cover artist, either, for that matter.  It's not like I'm slamming books on my blog. ;)
     I didn't take down any YouTube vids, either.  Seems like YouTube does a pretty good job of shutting down vids they don't want posted.  But maybe I'm naive.  Anyone know what the 411 is on YouTube videos and vlogs?  Is it share and share alike if YouTube has enabled/allowed sharing?

     Now, the fun stuff.  I've wanted to do a poll for quite a while.  This is just for fun, just for me and readers to compare their results/habits/goals to.  IOW, it's a procrastinator's poll.
     I'm working on a first draft right now.  I have been for a Loooong time.  I just can't seem to get anywhere with it.  Probably because I'm not spending enough time WRITING.  I'll be addressing that next week, along with how I plan to improve my writing quantity and quality.  And it's made me wonder about you - how do I stack up to "average?"  Let's find out!

My first set of questions begins with How Often Do You Write? over there on the right, underneath my "About Me" box.  Answer as many of the questions as you want!  If you'd like to elaborate in the comments, please do!

I've found my writing schedule varies week to week.  If yours does too, just guesstimate an average.

I'll be asking lots of writerly questions over the next few weeks.  Is there anything YOU'D like to know?  How many are in face-to-face critique groups, for example, or how many cups of coffee we drink?  :)  If you have a question you'd like answered, leave it in the comments.  I'll do what I can to squeeze it in!

Until next week, keep it Fresh As A...