Tuesday, September 27, 2005

So What Now?

Well, we sure shot through subplots in a hurry. No follow-up questions or nothin’. Y’all are letting me get off easy. When has this BG group ever gone through a topic in one day?

Are you all out there a week post-conference brain dead? Or is it just me? Honestly, I can’t think of one fiction craft issue we haven’t yet covered. Done POV? Yeah. Story structure and plotting? Oh, yeah. Dialogue? Uh-huh. Complete with subtexting. Backstory? Yup. Chapter hooks? Twists? Yup, yup. Character emotion? Uh-huh, check our AS (action scene.) Sentence rhythm, tight writing, strong verbs—done them, too. What’s left for us? Is this blog hitting its natural end? Will the BGs go out dancin’ their Nights on Broadway, vowing they’ll be Stayin’ Alive?

Talk to me, BGs. I’m out of ideas.

Meanwhile, I will tell you what’s up with me. I’m supposed to be plotting book two in the Kanner Lake series. Yeah-supposed, as supposed to start last week. But I’ve had so much conference follow-up to do, plus various volunteer things, plus a bunch of marketing stuff. And Friday I was on a plane again--going up to Idaho for the weekend. (This, I will never complain about.) So, well, I ain’t started yet. But I will. Soon. Really.

Meanwhile my editors out there are reading Violet Dawn. I should be hearing back from them in about two weeks. Ye ol’ editorial letter. Which leads to ye ol’ rewrite. Sigh. I figure I’ll give that a couple weeks. Before then, I really should have a week’s worth of work done on book #2, which means I should start next week. But, hey, how do you start when you don’t know what you’re writing?

I have today and tomorrow to figure out something. Then Thursday I’m off traveling again—this time to the Zondervan novelists’ retreat in Michigan. Be back Sunday. At the retreat we have two days of meetings at the Z headquarters, learning what’s up with the fiction dept., marketing, etc. Hearing from folks in the industry regarding book sales and bookstores and general state of the market. Interesting stuff. Plus, we’re a bunch of crazy novelists, so naturally we’ll have fun. And we're wined and dined--very nicely, I might add--on Z's tab, so, hey, who can complain?

Next week I’m stuck back in my California office. Supposedly writing my new book. The plot I don’t know yet.

We covered plotting on this blog, right? Maybe I better go back and read the stuff. Maybe I’ll learn something about how to plot a book . . .

While I’m at Zondervan, I’ll be talking to the marketing guru about marketing for Web of Lies. Oh, yeah, BGs, that book’s a-comin’. (February pub.) There’s some ideas cooking about the WOL marketing. If we decide to carry through on these ideas, y’all will be the first to know.

My newsletter, Sneak Pique, will be released next week. If you’re an author and had a novel release in August or September, send me a paragraph blurb about it so it can be included. Actually, send it to my assistant at:
gayle@brandilyncollins.com. If you’re not signed up to receive SP through email, you can sign up for it on my Web site. It’s an easy way to keep up with the new Christian novels, as I cover new releases in all genres. Also, my assistant informs me we still need an author question for the newsletter. If you want to ask a question about some Christian novelist—what’s his next series, what happened to so-and-so series that suddenly stopped, whatever—please email the question to me. I’ll contact the author to find the answer.

So there you have it. My news up to date. What shall we talk about tomorrow?


Anonymous said...

Sorry for not commenting yesterday, Brandilyn. I have to admit that I'm a day behind and need to go back and read it. As for the next topic, how about something you touched on in today's blog - marketing.

BTW, very funny on the BeeGee refs. :)

Stuart said...

Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I'll love ya, tomorrow! It's only...a...daaaaay...aaaaaaaawaaaaaay!

*cough* er yes...

Marketing could be a fun topic. :)

Lynette Eason said...

Hm...okay, how about um...what to do when you run into an editor in an airport 1,300 miles away from home and he looks at you and says, "I remember you. You were at the conference in NC. You haven't sent me that manuscript I requested, have you?"

Ugh...gulp, gulp.

Excuse #1: "Uh, sorry, Mr. Whalin, I'm here visiting my 84 year old grandmother. I figure my manuscript can wait for a "visit" longer than she can at this point."

Excuse #2: Um, yes, well, oh! You must mean my twin! She lives in SC, not TX! I'll be sure to get on the phone and let her know you're looking for it!"

Excuse #3: My dog ate my hard drive.

(Hey, I really was visiting my grandmother in Amarillo, TX.)

Ok, moving on.

How about discussing the Self-Published author? Pros and cons of self-publishing?

That could fit in nicely with marketing too...maybe?


Lynette Sowell said...

One of the things I know I need to work on is "kicking it up a notch." In fact, I was told this several times before and during the conference by people whose opinions I respect and trust.

Maybe this is the $1000 question that doesn't have an answer we can learn in this kind of forum. I don't know. But I certainly wonder! How DO we kick it up a notch, those of us who've been at this for a while? :) Reapply everything we've learned at BGU to our WIP?

Of course, marketing is good too, since some of us will/might have books coming out in the next year. :)

Domino said...

Does this blog have a degree plan? Is "University of Brandilyn" on the diploma or is it BGU?

Is there a University Mascot? Please, not the spider.

Will I ever graduate? Or just keep studying for decades after signing my first contract?

Do we have a marching band? No, I guess it would have to be a Rock Band.

Three cheers for Brandilyn!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear thoughts on crit groups, writing groups and mentor groups. What's good about them, what's not so good about them, etc.

Suzan Robertson

C.J. Darlington said...

PLease, no. Tell me it isn't true. You're not actually thinking of stopping this blog?

As far as I remember, we haven't covered setting in stories.

I also enjoy the posts where you talk about your own personal writing (like today), what struggles you face and how you've overcome them.

Anonymous said...

You've taught so much wonderful information that I'm not even sure what to suggest next. Every topic has been a help to me.

One that I particularly learned from was when we took CJ's writing, tore in apart and put it back together. Having the concrete examples with chances to apply ourselves before seeing a master approach it helped take ideas and make them concrete.

Gina Conroy said...

Like Cara I enjoyed the concrete examples. This might even be able to help Lynette "Kick it up a Notch." I know we had the same critiquer at the conference and I was told the similar thing. Sometimes it's hard to know what an agent or editor means until someone points it out to you and then a light bulb goes off and you get it. I have a great critique group, waving at Wayne and Cara, but we're all at the same level and could use an experienced eye telling us what's wrong!

LaShaunda said...

Hi Brandilyn,

I'm in the revision stage. Any advice on making sure the manuscript is ready for submission?

Val said...

I'd love to talk about description. I have a really hard time establishing setting in my stories. I actually just avoid it because it feels so unnatural to me. I can't figure out how to integrate it into the story without pausing in the midst of everything else that's going on.


Anonymous said...

Commenting on description:
How do you find the balance between giving enough description and sliding into telling? My critique said too much telling. Eveyrone else like the little bit I do have. And then the critiquer said but we need to know more about Dani's GMC in the beginning...how do you do that without giving too much backstory?

Pammer said...

There is plenty we haven't discussed! :0)

Marketing, description, setting. Um, especially description in suspense. I once got a chapter back from my crit group, one said I had too much description and another one said I had too little (what's a girl to do in THAT situation?). I like action, and I sometimes forget to show where the action is happening.
Hopefully I won't go braindead because I have requests for two mss. I'm going to be a busy girl, that will probably dredge up questions, hehehe.
Am I procrastinating or just chatty? Who knows. :0)
If, while you are plotting, you feel like going over the finer points of plotting, I am sure we won't mind. I homeschool and I know repetition makes them learn. I'm sure it works on adults as well as teen-agers. ;0)

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

I like all the suggestions for topics. But I do know what could be the mascot for the University. The HAND....but you have to get Randy Ingermanson to relinquish it!

Anonymous said...

Random thoughts on critique groups:

I've had good experiences and not-so-good experiences.

Critique groups may fall into the habit of being a "line edit" group, red-lining your chapter and returning it to you with no discussion, no brainstorming, no creativity. Sometimes that can cause hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

I'd like to be in a writer's group someday in which an author submits a chapter then everyone reads that chapter and comes together to brainstorm and offer suggestions.

Of course each group is different and serves different needs.

Someday I hope to find a mentor to work one-on-one with, but writing mentors are difficult to find.

At the ACFW Conference, an editor who did my paid crit told me to be careful not to slant my writing to please my crit group and stifle my unique voice.

I'm taking a break from critique groups right now. Maybe in a couple of months I'll figure out what type of group would be best.

Suzan Robertson

Camy Tang said...

Marketing would be a neat subject. I'd love your take on it.

In my scoresheets, one judge complained she didn't know what my character looked like until page 7. Since I opened the story in the middle of a kickboxing match, I didn't think the heroine pulling out a mirror to describe herself would be appropriate. :) Any thoughts?