Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday is 4 Dreaming

This Friday's a Fabulous Friday, because I've been throwin' it back all week long. Work's been one of the worst weeks in Work History. The kid's been sick. It's raining as if we Louisiana folk are about to live up to our destiny and become the next Atlantis. As a writer, I don't know about you, but I'm constantly trying to figure out how to recapture that passion I had for the craft as a teenager. Stress, like that of this week, tends to wanna smother that. I mean, let's face it. Adult stress far outweighs teenage stress. At least, for most, it does.

But teenage passion cannot be denied. And for me? I wrote as if my life depended on it back then. Couldn't wait to get home from school, so I could write. Couldn't wait for the weekend, so I could slumber at my BFFs house, so we BOTH could write.

Her mom worried constantly if we were getting enough to eat. And, bless that woman's heart, she took a lot of dismissals with the mere flick of our hands.

So, yeah. Recapturing the passion. As you know, music is a big part of my writing process. It is now, just as it was then. The playlist was different, mind you; I was into a lot of different genres, including popular 90's grunge rock. But when this particular song showed up on my Spotify feed yesterday, I stopped immediately. Leaned back in my chair. Closed my eyes. And allowed myself to be sixteen again, when I wrote about princes and princesses and their wild plot-lines.

Have a great weekend, y'all.



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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Searching For: Time 2 Write

I can't even take credit for this post. As most of you know, I'm a fashion fanatic. Makeup, clothes, shoes, purses... you name it, I'm all over it. I follow a lot of fashion bloggers and vloggers via Blogger, Bloglovin' and YouTube and, today, I stumbled upon a blog post that intrigued me so, I had to share.

Sarah from Venus Trapped in Mars entitled this fabulous post, 7 Tips for Balance a Blog + A Full Time Job.

Sarah's from Dallas, so I instantly connected to the Southern chick attempting to juggle several projects at once -- on top of having a full time job. It's hard, isn't it? I work for a flock of fast-paced lawyers. Like the ship in Spaceballs, they move in three speeds: light, ridiculous, and ludicrous. My BFF? She's a full time mom who juggles multiple manuscripts, at once. No matter who you are, where you are, or what you do, most of us writers have some other force occupying the majority of our time. Writing, unfortunately, takes a back seat more often than not.

If you're like me, though, you dream of seeing your writing income equal or exceed your day job income. Because you know what happens then...

Right.

While Sarah's post is more driven toward professional bloggers, I think she's laid out some great tips for any struggling artist who still works a full time job.

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Reading What She Likes



Hubby's got a special passion for country music. I mean, I do, too; my dad was a country music disc jockey for years upon years upon years, before he moved to television and film. But Hubby? Blasts the stuff all the time. So, it's no surprise that when he was listening to Blake Shelton, crooning in his beautiful alto about doin' what she likes, I sang my own version: "readin' what she liiiiikes."

I know.

It's totally nerdy.

Hubby thought so, too.

But in that same breath, I got to thinking about all the books I read when I'm writing. I kind of have a method to the craziness. Really, doesn't everybody, regardless of what your particular craziness is?

I kick it off with Lisa Kleypas. She's a great go-to for any historical writer. Then I toss in a little Julia Quinn. Sprinkle a dash of Eloisa James. Yeah, yeah... you're thinking: Alyssia, you JUST said in, like, two posts ago that you don't read people who could possibly influence your own writing.

You're right!

But!

In the beginning stages, I possess this weird need to build my confidence. And these girls? Yeah. They're the reason I said years ago, "That's it. I'm writing historical." They're that good. Something about reading what I've already read and LOVE makes me feel like the Little Engine that Could...

I think I can I think I can I think I can...

So, that's what I'm doing right now. Building confidence. And whenever I lose it in the midst of writing, because it WILL happen (always does), I read Janet Mullany. Very carefully, I must add, because, as you all know, she's my favorite and her work will filter into my own. 

What builds your confidence to do what you love most? Do you need a confidence builder? Or are you just naturally awesome? If so, send some awesomeness this way!

By the way, you can check out all of my favorite historical chicks by clicking on the links below:




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Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Moody Weekend

Obviously this is late. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share a wee bit of a throwback to my past. Recently, one of my co-workers and I were discussing music. See, she's a musician, too. And musicians, well, they have this universal love for all music genres. So, we're discussing a few of our tastes, composers, great songwriters, artists with buttercream voices and, out of nowhere, she says, "You know who I've always loved? The Moody Blues."

Get. Out. Of. Town.

Anyone who knows me just said, "Oh, boy. Here we go." 

Because they know the magnitude of the passion this chick has for The Moody Blues. It's endless, OK? Deeper than deep. Wider than wide. Like... double infinity. Times fifty. I wrote to them when I was a teenager. Dreamed up scenes and dialogue and allowed their lyrics to influence nearly everything that flowed from the tip of my pen to that college-ruled sheet of paper.

So, it's no surprise those innocently spoken words--clearly my co-worker and I are musical soul mates--got The Moody Blues back onto my Spotify playlist. 

Enjoy.



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Monday, January 12, 2015

Researching the Novel


Many people have asked how I go about digging up the necessities to a story. Do I research before? During? And what am I looking for? Do I ever decide it's too much and move on to something else?

There's a billion questions, all of which have a different answer, depending upon what I'm writing (novel, short story, article, legal memo, et cetera). 

But, for the most part, for the full length novel, I stick to a basic plan, regardless of what genre I aim to tackle. Now, remember, I'm not saying this is the right way or the only way. It's just, quite simply, my way. And it works for me. So, here we go.

1. Allowing the story to develop in my head. This sits at #1 for a reason, because everything that follows still leads back to #1. Stories usually begin in my head with a little flame, a flicker of an idea. They happen at random. Maybe I'm watching a movie, maybe it's a song (this occurs a lot), or perhaps it's owing to some event happening in someone's real life (yes, I pay attention to what you say... you have been warned). From there, I feed the idea. Give it a little boost. Which leads to...

2. Listening to music that inspires. Interesting enough, some--SOME--music works across the board. Writers, if you use music for inspiration, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's Not Over by Daughtry is one of those songs for me. Makes the cut to every book soundtrack. Otherwise, it just depends on rhythm, harmony, notes, key, and the way all that melds together, and THEN how it leads the story churning around in my head. I keep a working playlist on Spotify that stays on random/repeat wherever I go. For this current WIP, you'll notice what's building characters and plot by what I post each Friday.

3. Scanning for pictures that create... well... the right picture. Yesterday, I spent an hour looking up photos of Berkeley Square in Westminster. Why? A fair bulk of my current story takes place there. I keep a folder within the manuscript folder specifically for pictures. In it, you'll find landscapes, buildings, faces (very important), costumes, and, sometimes, even animals. Whenever I need a refresher, I go to my picture folder. Whenever I need to be reminded of setting, I go to my picture folder. Yes, folks, a large amount of what a writer does is handed over to imagination. But sometimes we need a little help. :)

4. Reading the genre. This is pretty self-explanatory. If I'm writing historical, I'm reading current historicals. It's important to remind yourself what's out there, what's selling, what you're up against. In that same breath, however, I try to stay away from authors whose prose influences mine way too much. For me, Janet Mullany, Julia Quinn, and Julie Anne Long make the top of this list. Any of those marvelous ladies' work will (unintentionally, of course) bleed over into mine, if I'm not careful. 

5. Compiling a research folder on my online bookmarks bar. By the end of a novel, this folder will be full. Latin translator, Google maps, historical accounts and letters, Wikipedia pages (but be careful with these!), recipes, fashion plates, historical indexes, and the list goes on and on. I put it at the forefront and add to throughout the course of the novel. If, for the sake of accuracy, a scene requires me to stop and research, I always, always save that page to the folder. 

For certain. there's more to the process, but these are some of the most important assets to my personal writing process. Hope you enjoyed reading. Have a great day!

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Grammar Lesson

This Friday's a great Friday, because I've discovered London Grammar.

Oh, did you think this was a real grammar lesson? 

Bless your whole heart. 

Let's leave the learnin' behind us for the week, shall we? And maybe do a little fun learning about this great band from Nottingham. They're who's currently inspiring Le Muse.

Have a great weekend, loves.


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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

GMC: What's It To Ya?


I'm not much on self-help manuals, but, like most writers, I do have a few sitting on my Keeper Shelf. Some stand out more than others. Some I reach for more often than others. Some I pick up and read before even daring to start another novel. 

This is the first.

A few years back, I had the extreme honor of participating in a Debra Dixon GMC workshop and, lemme tell ya, folks, it was life-changing. Novel-changing. Her method is extremely simple: the bare bones of every story world holds three crucial elements--Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Without one, there is no other. Each character has a goal, motivation driving them toward that goal, and conflict attempting to stop them from reaching that goal. 

Don't make it complicated, now; it's easy to do. Just think about the stories you love the most. Then, apply those elements. They're there, regardless of the time, setting, genre, story arc, take your pick. GMC is what makes a good story, what drives characters to grow, what makes us satisfied as readers and watchers of exceptional novels, short stories, screenplays... the list goes on and on.

Coolest thing? This is now available on Kindle

You're welcome. 

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Historical Interaction


So, this new novel I've got going on is set in Regency London. Happenin' place in the 19th century, in case you didn't know, and in case you did, well, did you know about this?


Up close and personal INTERACTIVE maps that take you all around this glorious city, its streets and shops and, yes, the famous gentlemen's clubs. Thank you, modern technology. Even if you don't write Regency or anything historical, for that matter, it's a fun time to play around and familiarize yourself with all the historic sites still standing after all these years.

Many thanks to the fabulous folks at janeaustensworld.wordpress.com for keeping us updated and informed on all things Jane Austen and, most especially, for immersing us in her glittery Regency world.

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


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Friday, January 2, 2015

Friday Habits

So, it’s back to the Day Job today, and it’s raining cats and dogs outside, which totally makes me want to stay home and pick up where I left off at word 584. That’s right. You read it. I wrote over 500 words this morning—after staying up to watch the Buckeyes beat Bama ‘til the bitter end, no less. Now, that may not seem like a lot to some, 500+ words, but for a busy mom who has a very demanding job as a paralegal, that’s amazing on so many levels.

So, I’d say Resolution #1 is going well thus far.

Which leads me to Resolution #2: To make every Friday a great Friday by sharing my favorite YouTube video of the week, since… you know… I’m a YouTube junkie. To kick it off, I’ll share the song I’ve had on repeat for I-don’t-know-how-long, the very tune that, for whatever reason, inspires the heck outta Le Muse at present.


Ladies and gents, I give you Tove Lo, performing her current single, Habits

Have a great weekend!


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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!


Did you stay up? Really, now, don't lie. If you're a parent to a wee one, like me, and... like me... well-past your twenties, you probably fell asleep on the couch watching football. I don't even watch the New York City festivities anymore--how sad is that? 

So, this morning I got up, made coffee, checked my email, and immediately perused my YouTube subscriptions. Don't judge. Yes, I'm a YouTube junkie. But what really got me this morning was Bethany Mota -- yes, from Dancing with the Stars -- who made a NYE video chocked full of outfit and DIY ideas. It's the last part that really got me, though.

She said she always gets right on her goals as soon as the New Year begins. She doesn't wait. Doesn't giver herself a breather. There's no better time than the present, right?

Her enthusiasm really resonated with me, though, and I thought, "You need to write, girl. Not only on your manuscript (a given), but also on your webpage. And do both, like, frequently."

So, here's my first goal: write, work, research, something on the manuscript every single day. 

Boom. I said it. Phew. That wasn't so bad. And there's no let's see how well I stick with it. No sir-ee. It's do or die, man. Write every day. 

Write every day.

Every single day.

So, what's your first goal for 2015?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,
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