Monday, February 28, 2011

I decided to try something new...

Hi all! Just want to remind you all about the competition for Treasures of Carmelidrium. You have until next week Wednesday to enter.

Now I feel free to continue with my blog post.

I have finally touched my toe to the water again. After many distractions (main one being a charming book called The Sword in the Stone), I decided that today is D-Day.

But... I have decided to give another strategy a try.

Usually, I write and write and write for hours on end. Sometimes I write around 5000 words a day. But then I started to think. At about 2500 words I get tired and the last words come out much more slowly. I mean... I take roughly 2 hours to write the first 2500 words. I take about 4 to get the second half done. Then I stop because my mind struggles with more.

It's kind of like sprinting over a long distance. Yes, I get a lot done fast. But past a certain point, I am forced to stop by the burn in my lungs and the fatigue in my muscles.

On the other hand... I also know that I can run a lot further by running full speed for a shorter distance, taking a restful walk, sprinting walking etc.

So I was wondering if I can't apply that to my writing. I mean. It took me just over 40 minutes to finish 1100 words. So... if I spend 20 on something else, will I be able to get the other 1000 done in more or less the same time?

And if I do, will I be able to get the same word count done in the next session?

Most importantly, will I be able to maintain the flow in my writing?

So... I decided to test my writing this week. I want to see if I can maintain high daily word counts without burning out.

What do you think are the odds?

How do you write? Long sprints like me? Or do you write shorter bits with regular breaks?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Brainstorming Character Development

Hi all! Please give a warm welcome to Shannon. Her blog, On Writing: Voyeuristic Explorers Unite, has a bit of everything from reviews to some insights on what to ponder when writing. I am particularly enjoying her posts about brainstorming her new novel.

Which is why I am so thrilled that she sent me this post...

Brainstorming Character Development

How well do we know our characters, really?

That’s the question I ask myself whenever I sit down to write or edit my work. There are many techniques you can use to find out the superficial details and basic opinions, but it’s a lot of work to really understand the characters better than they understand themselves. What do they want? I mean, really want? And more importantly, why?

The biggest trouble with diving down into the core of the character is that it’s easy to get sidetracked by our own schemas (structured clusters of pre-conceived ideas). Schemas can lead us to apply stereotypical responses to our characters and make basic assumptions that make them more stereotypical at a base level. I could design a focused and career driven woman, let’s call her Bridget, who wants to make it in a man’s world and shrugs off the trappings of femininity. She’s strong, calm, collected, late middle-aged, works as a CEO of a large corporation, loves to golf, is happily married, and has three children. She doesn’t mind getting dirty and prefers rough and tumble to anything else. In and of herself, she isn’t a stereotype although her dislike of all things feminine is a fairly common trope for characters working in a Man’s World.

But if I turn around and say ‘Oh, she resents reminders of her femininity because her parents always wanted a son and ignored her’ or ‘because her parents always wanted a son and so they pretended she was their son’, you’re taking the easy option. True, it happens, and it might be the right answer for this character, but can you be sure if you don’t brainstorm other possibilities?

What if she was a very feminine child but realised that trappings of femininity really reduced your chances of business success and just made a very prudent decision? What if she always gravitated toward so-called masculine hobbies, had more male friends, and therefore just happened to be more comfortable surrounded by masculine trappings? You could even have the whole ‘raised in a big family of brothers’ though that’s still a more common trope for tomboy women. Perhaps she’s actually very power-hungry and originally tried to coerce people as an ultra-feminine girl but found that no one took her seriously so she adapted her behavior? Or maybe her mother was just the same as her and it’s just a family tradition?

Some of you may be wondering if it even matters why she’s more masculine and whether you should mention it. The answer to the first part is that it never hurts to know the reasons behind why your character does what she does. The answer to the second part is: perhaps not. However, the reasons driving your character’s actions will manifest in subtle ways and even if it’s not overtly stated, you can change a lot about how a character behaves and talks just by changing the fundamental driving mechanisms behind key character traits.

So give it a go. Brainstorm. Question. Wonder just what might have made your character into the person they are today. Clues can be found at any point of their lifespan or even in the lifespans of the generations who came before them.

What do you have to lose?
Thank you again for you're insightful post, Shannon!
Before I go, I want to remind you that I have Friday spots open from June. Drop me a line if you want to take part. My e-mail address it (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com).
Also, remember to enter the competition for Treasures of Carmelidrium!
And finally, I have been interviewed for the first time! Click here if you want to read it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where the timezone difference ruined my plans.

Remember where I mentioned that I'm posting elsewhere today?

Well... no. It seems that it will happen in your today and my tomorrow. Living at least 9 hours ahead can suck like that.

Stupid of me not to think about it - given that I work with foreigners all day.

Anyway... I haven't planned to post anything today, but -

Darrion: (Clears throat) No... You spent all day reading other people's blogs. And... shopping.
Me: Yes. I am very well aware-
Him: When you should have been writing. 
Me: What was I supposed to do? Tell my mother no to shopping?
Him: Shopping... Me... Shopping... Me... Is this question rhetorical?
Me: But it's my mom. And shopping.
Him: Your point?
Me: Believe it or not, I do have a life that doesn't involve you.
Him: (Smirks) Not much of one. You're always thinking of the story. The one you're not busy writing.
Me: Yes but -
Him: And you're not writing it now either. Are you?
Me: No.
Him: Haul it. We're getting you writing tonight.

Sigh... This is what I put up with.

Talk to you again soon! Don't forget to enter the competition to win Treasures of Carmelidrium.

UPDATE: My real post is on Jenna Quentin's blog. As it happens, it expands on the influence that characters have on my writing....  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

N.R. Williams: Treasures of Carmelidrium (and a competition)

Hi all! It is my huge pleasure to welcome N.R. Williams to my blog. She's dropped by to tell us more about her book, Treasures of Carmelidrium. She is a wonderful person and a great blogger, so don't hesitate to go over there and say hi. Give her lots of love. ;-)
But before I give over to her, I want to say thanks to all 300 of my bloggy friends. I feel very honored and humbled to know that my posts are reaching so many people. I hope that you all find some value in what I have to say.

To say thank you, I will host my first ever giveaway!

Nancy has been kind enough to let me give Treasures of Carmelidrium to one lucky bloggy friend.

For 1 entry, all you need to do is leave a comment.
For 1 bonus point: Answer this question: If you could go to another world, what would you take with you and why?
Then: 1 bonus point each if you link me to your tweet/blog/wherever else where you spread the word.

Closing date is 9 March.

OK... Take it away Nancy!

Thank you, Misha, for letting me grace your blog to talk about my newly released e-book, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

My book is an epic fantasy. It begins here in the state of Colorado, U.S.A., when my heroine, Missie, performs her flute in the University auditorium for a mid-term grade. Her professor is unusually fond of her and delays her departure. Afterwards, she accompanies her friend to the student union, a campus hang-out with food.

This scene is designed to do three things. Introduce Missie to the readers as an unusually talented musician. It gives a foreshadow of things to come when her professor grabs her arm to stall her departure and it shows how Missie feels about the opposite sex when her friend tries to set her up with a blind date.

Missie is so focused on her goals that everything else in her life is on hold. The last thing she wants is to be side tracked into a medieval world with a dashing and charismatic prince. In the beginning, she doesn't accept any of it as real, but soon learns that it is as real as anything in her life.

She is attacked by the symberveen, a monster with psychic powers to send nightmares and disable their victims. Ravens have a habit of dive bombing her and to peck away. Nasty little birdies. Unicorns visit to give a little help now and then. Giant eagles decide, Missie, looks yummy. (That may not be totally accurate, hehe). The elves are mysterious and show up unexpectedly. The villain is an obsessive, jealous guy with lots of darkness creeping about the corners of his mind. So, what's a girl to do? The flute holds many answers for, Missie.

If I have succeeded to make you curious, you can read the first chapter on my blog. You'll see it in the pages section. I've also posted all the reviews I've found so far.

I'll stop by all day to read your comments and respond.

N. R. Williams (Nancy)

Thank you for stopping by, Nancy.

So, ladies and gents, I know I am very interested to see what happens to Missie. Aren't you? So get creative and maximise your entries! I can't wait to see what you all come up with. ^_^

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What's happening from tomorrow?

Hi all! To all of my old friends, thanks and welcome back. To all my new friends, welcome.

I am trying very hard to get around to everyone's blogs, but it gets a little hairy, considering that I am following in excess of 400 of them.

In short... I need a system. Sooo... Any of you have any suggestions? I have one in mind, but I'm not sure if it will work. What works for you?

Then, I just want to give you guys a heads-up on how  things will work from now until Saturday...

Tomorrow, I have a surprise guest post and a competition.

On Thursday, I have my first ever guest post, so please please go support me.
Promise? OK!

Finally, We have yet another installment of Friday Guest Posts.

So... Lots to see and do. I hope that you all enjoy it.

While we are still moderately close to the GPF posts, please go check in the toolbar and sign up. I have 27 March and every Friday after that open. For those that are new to the blog, the topics are open, as long as it is related to writing and/or the literary world. I ask only that you click to follow my blog.

No wait... one more thing. Probably the most important.

I just want to say: To all of you with friends and family in Christchurch, I keep all of you in my prayers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm getting there.

Despite all my efforts, all my pep talks and all attempts, I have been stalled in my writing for some time.

At first it was fear.

I was paralyzed by the scope of the story I'm writing. But I slowly talked myself out of the frenzy. While my story is terrifying, I am the writer. As such, I am the one that gets the story told. So the Beast may snarl at me all it wants. I am its boss. I own it.

It is my pet.

But just as I settled into this new perception of my relationship with my writing, my muse upped and left me high and dry. I think there is a very good reason for this. Namely: Apple season. I get so bogged down in my job that I haven't any consecutive hours available. Those I have are spent on other commitments.

Of course, my muse returned after she realized that her little tantrum was going largely unnoticed.

This means that I feel it stirring. That desire to sit down with my characters and just talk. I want to know more about them. What makes them happy? What makes them angry? What made them what they are today?

I am becoming painfully aware that I let up right after the start of the adventure. The knowledge that my one storyline is largely unexplored is niggling at me.

In short... it is a matter of time before I open my word processor and start writing.

In fact... I can feel the coming of a flood.

Anyone else expecting the dam to burst after a while spent not writing? Do you see this as a good or a bad thing?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I feel so loved!

I really feel loved this week. Not only did this blog cross the 250 person mark, but I got not one, but TWO Stylish Blogger awards!

So, thanks to all of my new Bloggy Friends. I hope you feel welcome and that you will enjoy your visits here.

Then, I want to thank E.C. and Cher for giving me the awards.

So, for the award, I need to:

  1. Link back to the award givers.
  2. State Seven things about myself.
  3. Pass on the award to 15 recently discovered bloggers.
But I was thinking. Yesterday, I stated some facts about myself, so... Today I will clarify which one was the untruth.

Bonus Fact: I am descended from Paul Kruger. If you want to know why this is awesome, google Paul Kruger and Anglo-Boer War. Those were the days when we were a nation of badasses. ^_^

Now, on to the Crusade Challenge...

1) I do tribute the Three Musketeers by wearing my foil at my side. (For the non-fencers out there, foils are the thin-light stabbing swords used in fencing.) If I am at competitions, I never put my sword down. It goes through the eyelet used to attach the electrics in bouts. As a point of interest, both my swords have names.

2) I am fiercely loyal when it comes to friends. People that try to hurt me usually go away worse off. People that try to hurt my friends might not leave at all. Kidding! I draw a line at things that would land me in jail. ;-P

3) My most precious material possession is a gold ring with a fresh water pearl. And yes, it was smelted out of my Grandfather's wedding ring. If you are wondering how, let me mention that his fingers were so thick that two rings came out of it. The other one went to my cousin.

4) Yes, I am a constant fidgiter. So I tap all the time. Right now, I am tapping away at the keyboard while jerking my knees from side to side.

5) I was twelve when I started to treat my hair. At that time my hair was starting to darken, so I started to use treatments to keep it light. By the time I was thirteen, I had progressed to dye. If you are wondering why, the colour that runs in our family is a sort of ash blond that is more ash than blond. An awful color that I didn't want to risk. At sixteen, I grew tired of the blond and went auburn. Never looked back. :-D

6) So.... Number six was the untruth. Yes, I do love the Three Musketeers, but I loved the story before I could read. I came to love it passionately when I read the unabridged version at the tender age of eight. By the time it was prescribed in high school, I was annoyed because they cut out some very important scenes.   And yes.

I read it by myself.

In a week.

It was my first book written for adults.

My librarian was flabbergasted when I took out Dickens after that. 

To make this more unbelievable, I read the unabridged Death of King Arthur when I was ten.

But that is a story for another day.

Now... On to my recently discovered bloggers...

Project Fraeya

So... what book was the first book that you read that was aimed at adults?  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Crusader Challenge 1

Anyone still don't know what this is about? Go check out Rach's blog... In the mean time, I am required to post more about me...

In less than 300 words. *Gulp*

  • If I carry my foil loose, I always carry it at my side - a tribute to the Three Musketeers.
  • I am fiercely loyal when it comes to friends.
  • We I turned eighteen, my mother gave me a ring, that was given to her on her eighteenth and was made out of my Grandfather's wedding ring.
  • I tend to tap body-parts and things in my hands.
  • I was twelve the last time I saw my natural hair color.
  • I loved the Three Musketeers since I read it in High School.
And.... Just because: Bloviate, Fuliguline, Rabbit, Blade...

Hahaha how was that for out of the box?

Anyway, I have revealed something about me that isn't strictly true. Can you guess what it is?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Strong Female Protagonists

Another installment of GPF. I think that this lady needs no introduction. Golden is one of the first blogs that I started to follow when I started to hang around here. Her blog: The Eagle's Aerial Perspective features some very interesting posts, so if you have never been there, start clicking over. :-)

Strong Female Protagonists:

Many times I’ve come across books with an interesting concept, a strong plot, and a weak female protagonist, or some other mix. Usually it is because she is too dependent on the other character(s), is too weak emotionally and/or physically, or just doesn’t have the determination to really tackle the challenges she faces. If there’s a weak protagonist who could have been stronger and more of person who stands on her own two feet, I often wonder why wasn’t she that way?

Why are there so few strong, independent protagonists out there? I don’t know—but I’m here to give you a few things to think about if your Main Character happens to be female.

Often, Kristin Cashore’s Graceling is brought up as having a strong protagonist—and for very good reason. Two other notables are Diana Ladris from Michael Grant’s Gone Series and Deryn Sharp from Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series.

What makes them such great characters?

I consider it to be two things: determination and independence.

For example, Katsa (from Cashore’s Graceling) is a young woman who can stand on her own. Not only does she know how to fight and survive, she has friends, she falls in love, and she keeps those people close—but she can still be independent. I’m not a champion of her almost anti-marriage ideas (most people don’t live in that kind of strict society, anyway) but it does show how she doesn’t overly depend—physically and emotionally—on the people around her.

Diana Ladris (from Grant’s Gone Series) is another kind of strong female character. She’s not on the good side, but that doesn’t change the fact she’s a determined, independent character—she knows what she wants, and she does everything she can (even shaving her head and going into enemy territory) to get it. She doesn’t let people push her around, either; if they do, then there are consequences. Diana isn’t the noble, lovable hero like Katsa, but she is a strong female character.

Deryn Sharp (from Westerfeld’s Leviathan Trilogy) is another kind of protagonist. Forced to disguise herself as boy to join the British Air Service, she goes through the training and the tests to pursue her dream; she doesn’t let even her gender get in the way of what she wants to do. She has to keep up her disguise and hide the fact she’s a girl aboard an almost completely-male airship—and she continues to hold her own throughout the story, tackling the challenges of being in the Air Service as her country faces war and even making friends among the crew, passengers, and other people she meets along the way.

These three are only a few examples of strong female protagonists. There are many more out there, and I’ll probably find another one soon after this post is published, in some book I hadn’t reached before. But even though they’re all different characters, they still have two defining characteristics: determination and independence. Those two factors are very important if your female character is to be strong and able to take on the problems that come her way.

Have you ever felt that a female character could have been stronger? Do you have any female protagonists in your story(ies)? Do you agree with the characters I highlighted? Got any examples of female characters you think fit the bill?
Thanks again, Golden!
Remember that I have open slots from May onwards, so if you want to book a Friday, drop me a line at (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com).

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Hi all! Remember to drop by tomorrow for another exciting installment of GPF! If you want to join in the fun, please mail me at (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com) to book a post.

So, let's get back to today's post, where I am doing something very different....

I am looking for a bit of advice today....

As you know, I have now started with crit partners. I have found it very enlightening and enjoyed critting other's ms's. But now I have received my crits and have to wonder.

Do I rework my ms to fix the errors pointed out? Or do I continue writing the story to get my rewrite done?

What, in your opinion, are the pros and cons to each?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why I will not review a book on my blog. Ever.

Today, I met with a dilemma that clearly showed me how easy it could be for me to go down a blogging road that isn't heading where I want to be.

I have received my first request to review a book.

Let there be no doubt that I was immensely flattered. After all, someone asked me to review a book for them. I was about to say yes when wisdom (for once) stayed my hands.

Here is why I wanted to do it:

I love helping others in the writing community and this person asked me to help their cause of getting the book out there. One day, I will need people to review my books too... So it should count as karmic brownie points, right? 

Here's why I said no without even opening the ARC:

The one thing that sticks with me on this blogging experience is that the voice in the writing (or what gets posted on Fridays) is me. All of me. 

Even the not so nice bits.

Those not so nice bits of me do make it onto my blog, but in small amounts (I hope) and as such should never damage my image as a person beyond a point that I can tolerate. Sorry if this seems very calculating, but it is a truth that anyone should consider before they post something. 

Yes, I have apologized once or twice for making people uncomfortable with my opinion, but not FOR my opinion, which stays constant unless someone or something gives me a valid reason to change my mind. 

If I were to agree to review a book, I would run a very real risk of not liking it. And the Author would (blindly?) be taking the worst-case-scenario risk that I will hate it and tear every aspect of the book apart.

(And I would. Oh I would.) 

Even then, the person that would get hurt most in this scenario would be me. The writer will get positive reviews from hundreds of other members of the community. Who will be the one stuck looking unprofessional (even if I was the accurate one)? 

That's right.  

Yours truly. 

Who will be seen as difficult and will therefore fail miserably to get an agent?

Correct again.

Still, I do want to help others in my community. That is why I started GPF and, since I never stated this clearly before:

I am willing to host blog tours, interview authors, interview characters and will do almost anything for my writing friends as long as it will not rise up from the past and bite me at the worst possible time.

Calculating again, but dead honest.

So, if you do want me to help getting your book out there, please don't hesitate to drop me a line. (My address is in the sidebars.) Just don't ask me to review your book.

Anyone else ever meet with this dilemma? How did you deal with it? Anyone needing help to get their stories out there? I'm just dying to know.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crit Partners: What I have Learned so Far

It's amazing how much I have learned after only one session with my crit partners and crit group.

1) Critting is harder work than it looks. It is always tricky  to tell someone that something is wrong. Particularly if it is done using Track Errors and comments. The secret is in the wording.

2) Critting is good for writers in that they learn from other people's mistakes. Nothing like writing that someone should avoid a certain mistake only to realize that you're doing exactly the same.

3) Getting Critted is good in that it highlights my most atrocious writing habits. No one is immune to this one, but these are some of the ones that get picked out most often...

  • Characters appearing with zero introduction. I have this way of assuming that people already know who is who. I got one crit partner lost completely because of this and my next habit.
  • Too few (believe it or not) tags. Attributing the actions of one party while the other was the one who was speaking... Yeah... Lots of work in dialogue here...
  • Word and phrase repetitions. While I have no love for one particular word or phrase, some of them pop up in the same paragraph or close enough to each other that the reader is annoyed.
There are many more that have been pointed out, but I decided to only include the ones that all of my CPs agreed on.

So... what nasty habits have you picked up in your writing?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Note: Regular Posing Will Continue Tomorrow.

Hi all!

Just quickly wanted to say welcome to all of the new followers. I hope that you find some worth in reading what I have on my mind.

I also want to apologize for my absence today. My mother returned from Germany today, brining a lot of work with her... Needless to say, I am now bushed. So, I will post again tomorrow morning at around 06h00 my time. I'm thinking of writing about my experiences in crit partnerships thus far. It might just make for some interesting reading...

Finally, I just want to wish everyone a happy Valentines Day!

Lots of love,


Friday, February 11, 2011

Pitfalls of Plotter Research

Hi all, firstly, I want to say welcome to all of the new ladies and gents the followed the blog. Thanks very much and I hope you all enjoy the view into my life as a writer.

In the mean time, let me introduce you to our second brave soul: SM Schmidt.

She's also one of my newer followers, but her blog, The Non Sequitur Ramblings, has been around since 2009.

In the short time that I have followed her blog, I have come to love her weekly posts. So I hope you all go check it out.

Then, just a quick reminder to book your Fridays if you want to guest post. The list of open Fridays and my e-mail address is to your right. ;-)

OK... enough about me. Here's SM Schmidt.

Pitfalls of Plotter Research

Pretend you’re a plotter. Armed with a beautiful outline you’ll begin researching every last detail. We aren’t our characters and getting the details wrong are what make people throw books at walls. Or maybe that’s just me. Back to our scenario: research found the perfect injury for the scene where you vaguely put “Protag gets cast.” An exotic sounding Hamate Fracture is not the vanilla sprained wrist lesser authors would use. But here is where all that research can bog down the writing. Don’t see it yet? Let’s run with the Hamate Fracture some more.

The main character can’t insist on a CT scan the moment they are treated in the ER. That’s peeking too much behind the curtain where Author knows traditional x-rays miss this exotic injury. The triage resident can’t have an Ah Ha moment because it’s exotic injury. Specialists are required to diagnose it. We’re stuck following the system. Triage Resident will misdiagnose (as 80% of doctors do in this case) and our protagonist is stalled in this cycle of hospital, treatment, continued pain, repeat. So much for our plot located outside of a hospital.

Details and Facts are biting the hand that found them! That vanilla broken wrist is looking rather tempting now. So does Author go for the easy out because the whole point of this injury was getting our protagonist in a cast, not explore the medical underworld. Or bend real life (which are guidelines in fiction) and let our character get off easy? Only doctors would scoff at this bending. Doctors don’t have time to read! Problem solved!

No. Editor will smack your wrists with a ruler. Use what research dumped in Author’s lap to build a stronger bond between two of the characters. The downside? I know I’d have to keep a sharper eye on myself to avoid letting things go too conveniently. So how do we fix this scenario so it doesn’t read off a shampoo bottle? Maybe the protagonist exercises their right to a second opinion (which isn’t that common in real life). I sent protag to a hand specialist, who corrects the misdiagnosis, and my plot moves forward doctor free. At least for two months. That cast had to come off sometime.
Thanks again, SM! I really enjoyed this view of a plotter's life.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My internal editor was right for once....

Hi all! Just want to remind you to drop by tomorrow for our second visitor. Also, if you look to your right, you will see all the months that are available for other writers. So please contact me if you want to book a Friday. :-)

So after blogging myself into a fervor, I opened my story and dared my internal editor to say something.

And he did.

With the smoothness of an executioner's blow, he said:

"Well... congrats... But remember you changed the story?"

Yes. So?

"So where are you headed?"


And there it was.

The bastard had a point.

As a card-carrying pantser, I can get very lost very easily.

That is why I have one plotterish rule that I don't deviate from for as long as I am writing Doorways.

Always. I repeat. ALWAYS know where you're going.

I decided to change the order of events in James's side of the story, not realizing how far it would change things.

When the I.E. spoke, I realized that I had been getting myself lost. Badly lost.

No wonder I've been stalling.

Now I'm just glad that I stall rather than write nonsense.

If I didn't there would have been a lot of time wasted.

So here I will say something that I never thought I'd say.

Thanks Ed.

Anyone else get saved by your internal editor?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How does one eat an elephant?

The answer: One bite at a time.

That is the way that I feel about most things that seem huge and impossible to do. I just chip away at it until it's more my size.

It's exactly how I will get to finishing Doorways.

How do I slay the Beast? One word at a time.

I will not stay frozen in fear, wondering why I thought up the story in the first place. (Not for longer than a day, in any case.)

I will not disguise that fear by finding some other things to do instead...

And this draft will be finished at the end of April.

I will not be sitting with the rewrite for another year.

I must say that everything feels better now that I have done something to allay the uncertainty. Now, it's time for me to go face the beast for a bit.

In the mean time... Anyone else feel overwhelmed by their WiP's? What do you do to deal with it?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I've gone and taken the plunge...

I have told many of you before that I have killed my internal editor in the first draft. It was a wonderful time. I could write with wild abandon and just not care about the quality, or gaping plot holes. Or characterization issues.

Or whether my story makes sense to anyone else.

Except, like the Mummy, the bastard just won't stay dead.

He came back with a vengeance that would make Imhotep himself proud.

Remember that sand storm scene?

That as about the scale of the force of the self doubt that hit me last week. It ground my writing to a complete halt.

Fact is, I get scared terrified of the scope of the story that I'm telling.

Wouldn't you?

I have five Main Characters, currently three stories (of which one remains unmentioned but vital), and hundreds of strings that have to remain firmly in my grasp until the end of the fourth (perhaps fifth) book.

It's so bad that I can't even put down a specific plan for what's going on. I have to leave myself general reminders.

Oh yes... I forgot to mention that the story has to make sense to someone with no concept of the back story that stretches back more than a few thousand years...

Not to mention....

I think you get the point and I'm winding myself up again. Suffice it to say that never once have I referred to the story as the Beast lightly.

Anyway... The realization also hit me that I had no idea. As in, I have no idea if my story even made any sense. I had spent so much time working on it that I lost any objectivity that I might have had.

So, I have officially started my search for crit partners... I have even e-mailed a few people who are looking as well. Still, I think that it will be most unfair to go looking elsewhere only when I have you guys.

Therefore, I ask: Any of you looking for a crit partner? Willing to step into my scary convoluted mind? If so, please contact me at (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Planning for April

Today, I want to do something I've been avoiding my whole life...

I'm going to plan a whole month's worth of blogs.

See... the A-Z blogging challenge is coming in April and leaves me in an interesting situation.

I am close enough now that the posts I do now might be recalled if they're repeated in April. And let's face it. Some topics are just too good to leave out...

It would just suck if some of you (my loyal visitors) drop by in April and notice that something I said sounds really familiar...

It would also suck if I had to improvise a random topic because I couldn't think of something starting with a D...

I must warn you though. Some of the topics might have been mentioned in some of my older posts. As I said. Too good to leave out. Still... I will do my best to give my old followers something new.

So... I want to know... Who else is doing the A-Z challenge? How are you approaching it?

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Hi all! I'm so glad that you enjoyed Marjorie's post. This Friday will bring more awesomeness...

I am still taking bookings, so if you want to contribute, please e-mail me at (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com).

In the mean time, here is a short post (for once) where I ask very nicely for you guys to support these awesome blogfests.

So... I was wondering...

What are you doing from February to 30 April?

Well... I'm still going to be rewriting.

You know? To get the rewrite done by 30 April.


I'm signed up to Rach's Second Platform Building Crusade and Lee's A-Z Blogging Challenge.

I would say more, but I believe in letting people speak for themselves, so feel free to go check out both and sign up. It would be wonderful if  I could see some of you there.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Being a Writer and Owning It

Hi all, welcome to the first guest post on this blog ever. I know that I need a better name for it, so please feel free to shoot with the suggestions.

Anyway, everyone, please give Marjorie Rivera, our first brave soul. Her blog, Upwards Over the Mountain, is still really new, but I really enjoy my visits there. So go click on over and say hi.

Without further ado, here's her post....

Hello. My name is Marjorie, and I am a writer.

*sits down*

I’m pretty new to this game, but in my (negligible) experience, writing is much more personal than joining the ranks of a profession or industry: it is a permanent state of existence. On most days, though, being a writer feels like a condition. A condition that must be treated with books, pizza, and Luna Bars.

I’m in the embryonic stage of writerhood. So far, this phase has involved admitting to anyone who will listen that I am a writer, reading blogs about writing to distract myself from actually writing, and wondering if I’ve lost my mind. Two and a half years ago, I was copying down law school statistics in my notebook and stacking myself up against the competition. So this would be something of a career change.

Saying those three little words--I’m a writer--automatically removes any hope I have of ever achieving any kind of normalcy. But at least I can stop worrying about being normal. Or rather, I can stop worrying about pretending to be normal and hoping no one will find out that I’m really not. I’m a lot less anxious about this than I was six months ago.

I’m currently studying abroad in Taipei, Taiwan. I’ve been told I speak good Chinese (by very kind and supportive people). But almost every day, the locals I talk to look at me with an expression of bemused pity: Ah. She’s a foreigner. That’s why she said something about a bumblebee when she meant to ask for the check. I’m getting used to that look now, because I’m going to see it for a long, long time. (Ah. She’s a writer. That’s why she appears to be in desperate need of a hug/pizza/alcohol.) Being a writer does not entail endless dreaming of million-dollar book deals. (Okay, maybe sometimes.) It does mean walking around speaking aloud dialogues of characters in a book you want to write and looking like a crazy person who’s talking to herself.

It means checking the page views on your blog when you should be doing homework.

It means wondering if your mom is the only one who likes your writing.

It means watching people younger than you getting published and wondering if that will ever happen to you.

It means looking at short story you wrote last year and realizing it needs a fifth draft. Probably a sixth and a seventh, too.

It means wondering if your writing will ever be good enough.

And yet, there is a tiny part of you, no bigger than a mote, that believes you can do it. Maybe you can pull off this whole writing thing. Somehow.

For some reason, I’ve chosen to listen to the mote.

I wrote in my notebook for two hours tonight in a diner. (Yes, I have found a diner in Taiwan. It is duly called “The Diner”.) The same notebook in which I wrote down those scary law school statistics and tried to budget my meager funds and pined over boys. I paused to eat apple pie and ice cream and look out at the rain and passersby. The act of taking a page and filling it with words was exactly what I needed to have the world make sense again. It was a moment of Peace and Happiness, and it is one of many other similar moments that have helped me understand why I write: because doing anything else is simply lying to myself.

So, yeah. That novel I’ve been thinking about writing for a year? Totally going to write it. After I finish the Chinese homework I’ve been neglecting for the past week.

Thanks so much for contributing, Marjorie.

Anyone who is still interested can contact me at (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com). I have half of March and all of the rest of the year open...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

These are a few of my favorite peeves... (when I read)

Hi all! I now have the entire February booked. Remember to drop by tomorrow to meet the first brave soul. :-)

I still have all the Fridays after the 4th of March open, so if you are following the blog and want to post, please contact me at (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com).  

On to the post...

I can forgive a writer anything if he does it well, but if he/she doesn't, I am not responsible for my words and actions. 

If you do number one, rather stay very far away from me.

And no, number one cannot be done well. Trust me.

5) Changing perspective in the course of a book.

This one should be easy. If you start in first person past tense, don't switch to third person past (or worse present) tense unless (maybe) if the view point characters differ.

I understand the logic behind going to third person if the view point character isn't the MC, but there is also a massive flaw to this logic:

Yes, the MC is technically telling us what the other guy or gal experienced. But who died and made the MC omniscient? 

In my opinion, the writer's skill did.

4) Popping a surprise on me from nowhere.

Everyone loves a twist, right?

Oh yes. I adore twists. I love to have picked up on the clues and that I was right about the ending. What I love more is when the twist happens and I can see that the clues were there and I missed them.

What I don't love is when there's a twist and there was no clue whatsoever that this was even possible.

A particular pet peeve: Deus Ex Machina.

If you want to throw in an unpredictable twist, please be so kind as to explain how it happened.

I think the writers think that writers think that they can do anything without the reader noticing. I now advise those writers to see number 1e.

3) Character growth issues. 

As in: There isn't any. 

Call me selfish, but I don't want to spend hours reading about how perfect a character is. 

I want flaws. Many of them.

And don't make things easy for the character. Make him fight for what he wants or believes in. 

I want to be assured that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. 

So no tripping over the switch that turns off the nuke unless it's a comedy please.

2) Unnecessary cruelty to characters.

Ah yes... This almost made number one.

I know that I said that I want to see characters in difficult situations, but there is a line. Pure out torture does not a developed character make.

So... no killing of families and/or friends unless it is what is driving the story forward... And even then, be very careful.

If you do decide to kill families and friends, don't kill his pet gerbil too.

Seriously. There is a line. Don't go there.

1) If the writer underestimates my intelligence.

This had to be number one. After all, it happens in so many situations and in so many forms.

But reading wise, these are a few of my favorite peeves...

a) Dumbing down the dialogue. If your character is supposed to be smart, don't make him/her say something stupid. Because no character will look remotely as stupid as the writer will.
b) This is especially for MG and YA writers. Don't write down to readers, now! You will one day learn that patronizing children is a very silly thing to do. After all, you do want them to buy your book, right? And what would you be if they don't?
c) Connected to the above, don't beat people over the head with the moral of the story. If people don't figure the moral out on their own, they won't care.
d) Narrators that have to explain every. single. thing. It's OK... I think I can keep up.
e) Doing things that you think no one will notice. Guess what. We do.

In fact I can say that e goes above the term peeve straight into something that will make me spit on the writer's name...  

So what makes your blood pressure rise when you read?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chop... chop... chop...

Hi all! I'm still waiting for that special brave soul who wants to contribute on the third Friday in January. But any other Fridays in March except for the first one is open. So, if you follow me (or have just clicked follow) and want to get you blog a bit further out there, please contact me at (mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com) to book a Friday or to submit posts.

I cannot wait for Friday. :-)

So... During the course of my rewrite, a new character has made her appearance despite my efforts to prevent this.

I have planned. I have outlined. I have sworn to myself that I would keep the cast from the first draft.

But... None of it worked. Quinlan, who appeared in the first draft has been growing in stature in my mind and his sister has pitched up as well.

Both are really quirky and completely unplanned.

I knew by the time I finished the rough draft that I would like to expand Quinn's role, but as I started the rewrite, I realized that I couldn't have him and another of my favorites (Eoin). After a lot of wondering, I decided that Eoin filled a place in the book that could be redistributed to Quinn, Darrion and Gawain. Which made him much too expendable. To my sadness, I decided to give him the chop in the rewrites.

Still, it makes me a little worried, because I always thought that he would be more interesting in the sequels. But that does not blunt the point that he is frankly taking up too much space. Between him and Quinlan, he is just that little (fatal) bit duller.

Then... in my rewrite, I required someone to bring Callan some clothes. In walked one of the most intriguing supporting characters that I have ever written. But I knew that she would take up too much place. Sigh...

But  wants her. *cries*

On the other hand, I realized that if Eoin had to go, his sister had no reason to stay, except to be Gawain's love interest. Oh wait... He had his own thoughts on that... So... Eoin's sister is now redundant. 

Chop chop.

At this point, I feel the need to mention that the new character was Quinlan's sister before I even knew about her. So no... I didn't just replace one brother and sister pair. I removed two characters and replaced them with others.

I still think that Eoin and Faye will find their way back though... Can't wait to see what happens.

What about you? Have you ever had to make harsh choices about your characters? How did you come to your decision? How did it work out?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Hi all!

Firstly, a big welcome and thank you to all of the new faces that have joined up recently. I hope that you enjoy it here.

Just want to remind you all to contact me for a GPF slot. And remember, you need to please be a follower before you can post. I need one more blogger for the third week of February. If you are interested , please contact me at (mishagericke(AT)gmail(dot)com).

Thanks to everyone who have shown interest so far. This is going to be awesome.

Then, I have finally joined twitter. So if you want to see my convoluted ramblings, go follow me @MishaMFB. I will follow you in return.

Finally, I am sorry for my absence yesterday, my Internet went fuzzy because it was the end of the month.

Back to the blog.

When I opened this post, I realized to my horror that I have no idea about a topic.

Luckily, it didn't take that long for me to realize that I have mentioned almost nothing about my progress.

So how am I doing?


My rewrite and first draft coincide only on the first chapter. The rest have been shifted, deleted and added to within an inch of their lives. In fact, I am finding very little of my original work that is falling into the pacing and structure as I envisaged it.

Good side to this is that I haven't been this excited about the story in a long time. The cleaning up has done wonders for the book and the plot holes are slowly being filled or removed.

So far I am absolutely loving the rewriting experience, although it doesn't really offer the same sort of exhilaration as creating something from scratch. Yes, things are substantially changed, but it still comes from a story already written. But it is especially gratifying to know that the story is getting better now.

I must say that there are some issues with the structure, but it has already been improved this time around. Hopefully I will sort out the rest when I start to edit.
Will I make my 30 April goal? At this rate, I'll make it by the end of February. On the other hand, I'm not sure if I can maintain the rate at this time though, since we have guests again. Still, in exchange for seeing these wonderful three people, I am willing to finish a little later.

What about you? Any of you rewriting? How are things going for you? And for those who are editing, querying and creating?