Thursday, April 3, 2008

Writing News

Well, entries to Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner's writing contest are closed. She mentioned on her blog that she received 47 entries. Not a bad number to be entered in with. I have a 1 in 47 chance of winning. Those are good odds.

Her contest was two parts. The first part allowed us to send in up to 5 opening lines for a novel. The second part allowed us to pick one of the winner/runner's up first lines and write a first page for it. It was quite hard to take someone else's words and come up with a story/character from them. I think I did decent but could have done better if the entire concept from opening line on, was mine. It was also hard because I was writing about characters that I hadn't developed. Usually I do a very intricate character sketch for every main character before I ever write a word on the story. It was still a good challenge.

Brenda (my fellow pregnant blogger) over at does a weekly writing exercise. Last week's is actually still up because us pregnant ladies are in our first trimester and haven't been blogging faithfully. She asks what setting you would like to set a story in.

For me, I don't have a particular setting that I dream about writing on. But I do notice that I prefer country settings over city/metro settings. I like woods, country farms and little towns. I tend to pick Pacific Northwest locals as I grew up there. I also have fallen in love with Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and like to develop stories about these locations too. I have a work in progress in current day Australia. It takes place both in the "bush" and in Sydney. I also would love to set stories in the English and Irish country side. I'm a travel buff so anywhere I fall in love with is likely to be a story setting. I find Europe fascinating.

Lastly, Dana over at asked me, quite a long time ago (I confess) if I have ever used writing software to organize my thoughts and my writings.

I don't use software, currently. I tend to brainstorm and jot my ideas down in notebooks. After years of doing this, it still works for me. I have a knack for knowing what ideas/writings are in what notebook. I don't know how I remember this... I just do. My articles I have written (for newsletters/organizations and potential freelance) are all saved in the word section of my computer. Same with my works-in-progress.

When I start having many queries and submissions out in the market, I plan to have a computer spread sheet (excel) that will keep track of them. But so far I haven't submit to enough places to need such a thing.

I haven't needed a program for brainstorming. The Lord keeps me fresh with ideas. Developing characters come naturally to me too. I do use many sources to come up with names: The phone book, reading movie and television credits, looking up old documents on the web, visiting graveyards (yes, it's creepy) and just paying attention to people's names that I come in contact with. If I spy a good name, I'll jot it down in my current notebook.

Dana, does that answer your question? Or spur on more? Let me know and I'll do my best to answer.


Dana said...

Hi, Cyndi!
Yes, that answers my question! I think it's very interesting how fiction writers minds' work! How do you come up with everything in your head??? Amazing to me. It's an area of creativity that I certainly don't possess.

By the way, we love going to graveyards also. In my single days, I used to walk in a HUGH cemetary in Indianapolis almost daily. It was interesting to look at the stones and see the names, how old they were, the time period in which they lived, imagine why or how they passed, etc. Have you ever been to the website Iteresting place also.


Jendi said...

I'm curious as to why you didn't do a character sketch for the contest entry. Lack of time?

I'd love to see you post your entry on your blog even if you don't beat those 1 to 47 odds.

Billie said...

Wow! how do you find time to write with all you do? I really, really struggle with finding time for everything and I'm NOT pregnant and homeschooling.

I am defintitely not a fiction writer although I truely admire the gift!

Cyndi Lewis said...

I didn't do character sketches for the contest entry because I didn't want to take the time. It is an intensive process. I didn't feel it was a proper use of time for something that wasn't going to become a work in progress any time soon. I feel I need to spend the bulk of my writing time on publishable works. (Specifically the two I already have in progress.) I may develop this story in the future but not currently. I will publish my entry on my blog after the outcome of the contest is made known.

I don't write as often as I'd like. I'd love to be able to make time to write everyday but most of the time it doesn't happen. Some things happen some days, some on others. The only thing I am really consistant on is school and keeping the house mess down to a dull roar. During the summer the kids spend a lot of time in our little above ground pool, which means I spend a lot of time as life guard. I hope to use this time to write. I also need to talk with the DH and ask him how he feels about me scheduling writing time each day.

Kara S. said...

A program that some might be interested in is called "Free Mind." It's a free download and gives all sorts options for brainstorming and organization maps. A Google search will probably give you the link, but I'll post it on my blog later today when I find the link again. :) Good to see you back in the blogging world, Cyndi! :) Sorry if this comment appears twice - sometimes I post a comment and it disappears.