This blog has moved to Cheryl Murphy Writes: Chronicles of an Ink Slinger. It became too hard to mirror to this site. Lots of glitches and such. I don't do much to maintain this site anymore so if you're wondering why things might look a bit wonky, that would be it.

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An RSS feed of the new site is embedded below.

I hope you'll join me at my new home!

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Making Your Setting a Character

No.  I didn't scrap my wip and start over.  I tried but decided I was going to stick with what I have and keep pushing on.  I like it as is and when it's finished, I'll worry about those details and see what needs to be changed.

My wip is set in L.A. and I want the city to feel like a character in itself.  As I've been doing this, it got me thinking.  What do others do to create a life in the setting?  Sometimes setting aren't that important but sometimes the setting is just as important as the plot.  I especially see that in steampunk and high fantasy.  Without that setting, it falls flat.  Harry Potter would not be the same without Hogwarts.

L.A. obviously has a lot to work with in making it a character but what if you didn't have an L.A.? What do other writers of the world do?  How do you make your setting a distinct character that if you removed it, your work wouldn't work?  What are some of your favorite works that encompass setting in such a way?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back to Square One! Woo Hoo!

Seriously, folks, if you've never rewritten something you're either a complete literary genius or not interested if it doesn't work out the first time around.

I got up to chapter 7 of my WIP and now, well, I've restarted and I'm back on chapter 1. I liked my original version. I haven't deleted it and I haven't totally abandoned it but I'm going to see how my new version goes before I do anything else.

What prompted this? I had a few people tell me that they thought the original was a romance. Ack! So not where I was going. Yes, there's a bit of romance in it but it is far from the main story. And that got me thinking that maybe I'm just taking too long to get to the main story.

So I cut the first 3 chapters and restarted with chapter 4 and changed the POV.  

I already think it's at least a better start. I think it's more likely to garner attention from someone I might be querying since it cuts right into the action.  We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

So I'm not much of a blogger...

I never claimed to be a great blogger.  I guess, by manner of having one, I am claiming to try, though. I have another blog on autism that gets neglected, too.

Since I don't have a particular topic, I just saw some more info on the Google Tablet.  I will admit, I want an iPad. My husband asked me if I wanted to cancel my Nook order in December and get one but I have an iPod so it wasn't a big priority to me.  I also have a MacBook Pro.  Getting an iPad really didn't seem to be offering me much of anything new so I stuck with my order.  Let's face it, my main purpose for it is to read. The rest of the features are just toys.

I'm sure I'll get an iPad at some point but this Tablet sounds interesting, too.  I'm glad I waited so I can see how fierce the competition gets.  But I won't buy either one until there's a built in camera.  Who was the genius that left that off the iPad?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

@#$! Help! I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.  You know that sound.  It's the sound of panic.  The sound of uncertainty.  Self doubt creeping into your mind as you move along with your WIP and you've suddenly found yourself staring at your first page.  Again.  Wondering if it's good enough to attract an agent.  You've read too many agent blogs and now you think your first 250 words are not hooky enough, bold enough, or white-knuckle enough.

Oh my God.  Time to rewrite the first page.  Again.

Okay, so maybe you're over-reacting.  You've read yourself into a mess of insecurity.  So much so that you just can't move on to your next chapter until you've gone back over your first page.  Just one more time.  You promise yourself this will be the last time.  Until you head over to Nathan Bransford's blog on a Monday and find his latest First 250 crit.  Or maybe Author! Author!:: Anne Mini's Blog and found her slashings of first pages.

It's enough to make anyone crumble in fear and run their MS through shredder.

I find myself in constant fear that my first page sucks.  I already never think my writing is good enough but now I'm terrified at the prospect of querying.  I'm too busy being worried about what kind of reaction I'm going to get and wishing I had a literary agent as a friend that would help me to know when I've done enough, when I've gotten it right because I may have already and blew past it on rewrite 20 because I was too frenzied, too caught up in the "first page has to grab me" mantra of agents.  I get so worried that it's just not enough so I rework it and then I think it's trying too hard.  And then I rework it to bring it back down and the cycle just continues.  

Reading agent blogs is enough to shake the confidence right out of you. Sometimes you just have to let it go and be proud of what you have and hope that others will like it, too.

How do you keep from second-guessing yourself right out of something that is perfect the way it is?  Where is the balancing point and where is the tipping point?  How do you know?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

ad hoc at home

Thomas Keller's
family-style goodness!
Yummy! My husband brought home another thing to keep me from writing... We both love to cook.  He likes to cook more than I do, though.  Granted, I have way too much to do than cook (hello, Twitter anyone?) but when I have the time and the inclination, it's on.

And now it's going to be on this weekend as I flip through this book of recipes, searching for the next gourmet family meal to prepare.  Mm-mmm.

Stuff to endlessly distract you...

Time keeps on slippin,
slippin, slippin...
I finished some cleaning up of my first 6 chapters this past weekend and told myself I would finish chapter 7 this week.

It's Tuesday.  I've written maybe 5 sentences in 3 days.  I keep getting distracted by blogs and lets not forget the time-thief, Twitter.

And now I'm here.

What sucks your time away from you before you even notice it's gone? What keeps your WIP from getting finished when you know perfectly well you have the time to do it and it should be further along?

And what do you do about it?