Thursday, December 30, 2010

A fun challenge for the New Year

Something for the New Year:

It's a big one. If I can get 1,000 followers (using the combine totals like before) by February/March, I'll hold a vote to decide the possible title of the sequel-fun, right?!  Spread the good word!

I should mention that if you follow this blog page anonymously, it does not count toward the total-sorry!  I, unfortunately, can't see how many anonymous (private) followers there are.  If you're one of those, thanks for supporting me!  Good news is if you decide to publicly follow this blog, I don't list my followers on the page for your privacy.  If you want to be counted toward the total but still wish to remain anonymous on the follower list, feel free to send me an email at the address to the right.  =)


Thanks for your support and Happy New Year!  I have a feeling 2011 is going to be fabulous...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another Hint in time for the Holidays!

So excited, 10 more followers means another hint for my readers!

-Its in public-

You know the drill-10 more fans to the next hint (if you don't know what this is about, please see my post titled "Bucket List" to fill you in on the fun). 

I appreciate the support so much, especially as I approach what I hope to be the final step before the finish line (which is getting a publishing deal).  Thank you to everyone whose been spreading the word and to my new readers, welcome!  I hope you enjoy what I have to say.

Thanks again and please keep spreading the word.  The more followers, the better!  ;-) 

Happy Holidays everyone!  =)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Another Hint...

Its time for a another hint!

-It involves training.-

10 more followers to the next one.  Remember, I'm using the combine totals from this blog, facebook and twitter so be sure to spread the word-I can use all the support I can get! 

If I don't post again before the holidays, I hope everyone has a safe and joyous holiday season.  =)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bucket list

Per my update last night I’ve completed this round of work on my manuscript.  This is huge for me and I couldn’t be happier.  I’m thrilled with how the tweaks and rewrites came out.  Hopefully I’ll be sending queries soon.

I’m behind on my 10 week deadline but surprisingly I’m okay with it.  I took the time needed to work instead of rushing through it and in the end that helped me craft a better novel.  With any luck I’ll make up that lost time somewhere else.

With the last obstacle I spoke of, I chose to condense 8 pages in to 5 while tweaking some paragraph placement.  Cutting all 8 pages would have taken out some dialogue I felt was relevant and by condensing I still gave a character their chance to show us a different side of him.  Cutting all 8 wouldn't have allowed that.

As for the word diet-I cut just over 12,000 words total.  I didn’t hit the 20,000 I’d hoped for, but as I said in one of my previous posts it’s not so much about the number of words as it is about how they tell the story. 

So now that I’ve sent my manuscript in for critiquing you may be wondering “what next?”, so I’ll tell you.  While I wait for my manuscript critique, I’ll begin work on the first draft of the sequel.  I have one of the major plot twists already set and it’s the kind of twist no one will see coming-my favorite kind.  I’m looking forward to writing it out.

I’m excited and nervous.  When I get this way I start thinking about all the things I’ve always wanted to do.  So I got a crazy idea and made myself a bet…

If I land a publishing deal at the end of this rollercoaster ride, I’m setting myself up for a “bucket list” type challenge.  What is it?  I’m not going to reveal it just yet but trust me, it’s BIG.  My heart pounds thinking about it.  Only two people know what it is and they’re both sworn to secrecy.        
   
A hint:  It’s something I came close to accomplishing in my previous career path before I retired. 

I’m thinking that for every 10 fans that “follow” or “like” me on this blog, Facebook and Twitter (I’ll use the combine totals), I’ll reveal another hint.  Once I reach say, 60 fans, I’ll post what it is.  If you think you’ve figure it out before the big reveal, email me first to confirm it.  If you’re right I’ll give you kudos on the blog.

If I reach the 60, I’ll do another “fan me” item.  Maybe a character bio, maybe a page of the story, who knows…

I only got about an hour’s worth of sleep last night (bringing this week’s total hours of sleep to 8) so I’m taking the rest of today off-I feel I’ve earned it.  

Just an update...

Its finally done!  I'll be posting a new blog tomorrow.  I may even post something crazy to motivate my readers.  ;-) 

Very, very excited!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

So close!

Belated Happy Thanksgiving to my readers!  I hope that your holiday was as wonderful as mine was.  We were surrounded by family and shared a wonderful meal prepared by my Mom (with help from my sister and me).  I had a lot to be thankful for this year and I couldn’t have asked for a better 1st Thanksgiving for my son.

Okay, so I conquered my last dilemma and went with scene C.  Why?  Because it just made sense logistically.  I’ve made the character in question a bigger part of the story, but not by as much as previously thought.  And the best part is it doesn’t weigh the story down, and I’ve opened up opportunities for this character’s expansion in the sequels.  So I’m pretty pleased with myself. 

How’d I do it?  I stopped thinking so much and went to bed.  I barely sleep usually; with a 7 month old, a house, a husband, holidays, friends and family, on top of this manuscript and all the other fun curve balls life throws at you, my brain needed a break.  Once I shut it off, it processed and created the solution on its own.  If only everything in life were that easy.   

Now I’ve come to another wall in my final read through.  I have 8 pages worth of scene and summary that I love, but could be cut or condensed.  I have to figure out which to choose, and if I go with the latter, I have to decide what to cut.  I’m an indecisive person when it comes to creative decisions-it took me days to come to a compromise on the last issue and that only happened after some sleep.  I don’t think this time its going to be so easy.

As for the diet, I’ve trimmed another 2,000 words.  I’d be thrilled if I could cut another 13,000, but realistically I think I’ll be able to cut another 5,000.  And I’ll be happy with that.  In the end it’s not about how many words it is, but if those words convey the story I want to tell and keep the reader turning the pages.  I think I’m accomplishing that.

I’m off now to figure out how to climb this newest wall.  ;-)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Writer’s block couldn’t have picked a better time to rear its ugly head

So I’m a week behind on my self-imposed deadline.  Now, I know with writing it’s a creative process and it shouldn’t be rushed, but I’m an overachiever with a serious need for deadlines (for some reason, I perform much better up against one, hence why I imposed one) and I have to get it done.  Its one of the many anal, O.C.D. type traits I possess.

The reason for being behind?  Stress-partly because of said deadline and partly because I have so much going on in my life.  And what does stress lead to?  Writers block.  I battled the first case of it earlier this month with a night of wine, junk food and TV.  I’m now on the last re-write task before a final read through and submitting my manuscript to be critiqued and here it is again-writers block. 

This time it’s different.  I have to decide how to rewrite a scene and I’m torn between two scenarios.  I’ve played out both in my mind, and both would fit in like the last puzzle piece.  I can’t decide how to pick. 

If I choose scene A, I have to give a character a bigger part in the story, which won’t necessarily be hard, just tedious.  He’ll also add another dimension to the plot, possibly deepening it.  Question is do I need another dimension?  I don’t think I do. 

If I choose scene B, then the same character may not be relevant enough in the story, so I would most likely need to take him out all together, which means I’d have to re-edit areas he’s in and say goodbye to a character I’ve grown to like in my imagination.  I could leave him for a sequel, but I don’t know if he’d make sense anywhere else.  Taking him out also takes away from another character, posing another problem since I’d have to rewrite some of that person’s back story.

Some of you may think “then go with scene A, which sounds like what you want to do K.T.”, but it’s not that easy.  Weaving him in may add too much to the story and instead of helping drive it forward, it may weigh it down.  And after writing all this, I am leaning away from scene B because rewriting another character’s back story and how it’s relevant to my protagonist is going to be much more difficult than I care to attempt.

Maybe I need to come up with a scene C…          

On a related note, I’ve shed 8500 words on my manuscripts diet just on a quick glance.  I plan to fully read through it after I get over this wall.  With any luck, I’ll shed another 8500-11000 words.

I have the house to myself for once, so I'm now going to grapple with my decision.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Updates

I'm now up on twitter and facebook!
@ktcrowley on twitter

K.T. Crowley on facebook (its a page, so instead of a friend request, you simply click the 'like' button).

The official website should be up soon.  http://www.ktcrowley.com/ but for now it will lead you here.

Back to writing!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Music as a muse

I love music.  I was in performing arts for twenty years, so music has always been at my side.  Not only do I love the sounds and rhythms, I also love the lyrics and the meanings behind them.  Music itself can be a story.  If you listen carefully, it can trigger emotions and memories, good or bad, and it can speak to your soul.  So sufficed to say, music inspires me.

A lot of the music I listened to while writing Unnatural came from the same six artists:  The Fray, Paramore, The Bravery, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Flyleaf.  I know, completely random collection here.  I did sprinkle in other artists like Muse, Justin Nozuka and Michael BublĂ©, but these six particular artists I listened to on loop, especially the first three.  When I listened to their music, I would type and type until the music stopped playing, then I would do it all over again, the words just pouring out on to the screen.

One song I listened to over a hundred times in two days was “Say When” by The Fray.  That song helped me write one of the pivotal scenes in my novel, and I don’t think it would have come out the way it did if I hadn’t had listened that song.  It set the tone for the state of mind I needed to be in while writing it, and it helped me evolve the scene in to more than what I had originally planned for.

I’m about to start writing the sequel to Unnatural and I need some new music ideas.  To give you an idea of the vibe I’m leaning toward, I’ve already got Linkin Park, The Killers, Muse, and Flypside lined up.  So what I’m asking for from my readers is what music inspires you?  What artists, songs and albums have helped you through a tough time, played during one of your greatest moments or felt like it should be the track to your life?  Email me at crowleykt@gmail.com with your play lists/suggestions.  Keep in mind, the music does not have to fall in to the same genre as the bands/artists listed above; I’m open to every genre.  Who knows, one just may wind up on the book’s soundtrack (because it’s not just movies that need a soundtrack) that I’m compiling. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I hate you, but I love you too much to give up

Writing makes me vulnerable, and I hate being vulnerable.  I doubt myself and my craft, and because this story is mine, I’m the only one to blame if it’s horrible and a complete failure.  I’m already self-deprecating to begin with so knowing this from the beginning I had to learn to believe in myself somewhat to keep going.  Rewriting intensifies all of this, like, brings it from a 5 to a 10, then from a 10 to a 20.      

Now, I love my creation.  But I also hate it.  I’ve been told that this is normal, that writers almost always hate their own work.  I sit here, listening to Paramore’s albums on shuffle (I need music to write, it helps inspire me), reading comments and notes and I keep asking myself, ‘Why am I doing this?  This is terrible, it sucks, and I hate it’.  I walk away, only to be brought back to my laptop because my mind (and heart) won’t let me stop.  I’m dedicated and I’ve invested myself in this and I'm not a quitter. 

Writing is hard work, some of the hardest work out there.  As a fiction writer, it’s my job to create a world, characters and a plot worth reading.  You grow attached to your creation, nurturing it to the end.  But when that’s done, once I’ve written the last word and finished my creation, it’s not the end; enter the rewriting and revision process.

This week I started that painful process.  I’ve done it before, but I have to do it again.  I have to get down to the bare bones (or studs) of my story and rebuild the body (or house) around it, taking out or changing the parts that don’t belong, don’t fit or are just unnecessary, as well as recreate to get to the perfect end product.

I know what you may be thinking:  That doesn’t sound too hard; just cut the fat.  But cutting sentences, paragraphs or even whole chapters, changing/deleting characters that-to the writer-are real people in their imagination is kind of like building a city.  You fill it with businesses, landmarks and people and then have to take a chunk of it away to make it its best.  How do you choose when you’re the one who put it there to begin with?  It’s hard, especially because as the writer, I don’t see it from a reader’s point of view so I may not recognize what’s not working or is irrelevant.  But its work that needs to be done. 

I kind of relate some of the rewriting/revision process to dieting.  I love pizza and ice cream, but I can’t eat those all the time because if I did, I’d weigh twice as much as I do and be very unhealthy.  In order to stay healthy and feel good about myself, I have to exercise and sometimes eat things I’d rather were pizza or ice cream.  Exercise and eating right, for me, are work but they are things I need to do. 

So basically, my manuscript is on a diet.  And instead of it needing to lose 20 pounds, I need it to lose at least 20,000 words to get to where it’s healthy and feels good.  And as much as I hate making my manuscript do crunches and cardio and cut out junk food, I love how good it feels as I see the results of this hard work and how much more I will love my end product.  I may hate the work to get there, I may hate the way it looks now, but I kept telling myself it’ll all be worth it in the end because underneath the excess weight is an awesome creation ready to be told. 

I just have to keep believing. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

So what’s this manuscript about, anyway?

Good question.  Here’s a teaser I’ve been working on:

Alexa Lawton has good friends, a great family and she's about to start college across the country with her boyfriend and lifelong friend Dell Connery.  She considers herself to be an average teenager - only Alexa’s not average; she has visions of the future.  When she falls in love after meeting the handsome Hayden DeLane by chance, she starts to question everything she knows and soon learns that she possesses more than just the ability to see the future.  Worse, the people around her know she’s something special, and they’re willing to do anything to take advantage of her for their own dangerous motives. 

Unnatural is a powerful and compelling story about a young woman who experiences secrets, lies, betrayal and deception on her journey to discover who and what she is.  All while involved in a supernatural war she didn’t know existed and a love triangle she can't escape.

Now remember, this teaser is a 'work in progress'.  My hope is that it gives you enough insight to peak your interest without giving it all away.

Feel free to comment below to let me know what you think (you can also e-mail me at the address listed to the right) and to pass the word along on my blog; the support is greatly appreciated!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

10 weeks, one manuscript, a 6-month old and a whole lot of pressure to make a dream become reality before it’s too late.

Before I get into the reason behind my 10 week deadline, I’m going to give some history about where this all began…

In late February of 2009, I went with a group of friends to celebrate my 2-year wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband, Bob.  I cut loose - so much so that I got drunk and broke my foot walking to another bar (it wasn’t entirely my fault; my stiletto heel got caught in the ever-so-charming cobblestone sidewalks Boston can be known for). 

Two days and two Doctors later, I was ordered to stay off my feet for 8-10 weeks.  Not much else to do besides read, browse the web, watch TV and listen to music.  That got boring quickly, so I started making stories up in my head.  In the shower one day, a story idea popped in my brain and just stuck.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  So I hobbled back to my computer, starting typing and didn’t stop.  6 weeks later, Unnatural was born.  For a couple of months I edited, revised and read it over and over.  I found out I was pregnant that August, and put my manuscript away, planning to revisit it with fresh eyes 3 months later.  I continued to jot down ideas for a sequel, my mind brimming with thoughts on where else I could go with my protagonist’s story.

Fast-forward to April when my son Jack was born.  Having a child puts many things in perspective.  Not many people know this, but Bob and I tried for almost 2 years to get pregnant. We had thrown in the towel just two months before the stick said positive.  It was a dream come true to have Jack finally and I knew when I heard his little cry, anything was possible. 

I also realized just how unhappy and dissatisfied I was with some parts of my life.  For example, my job – it stifled me creatively and intellectually.  Now I know, work is work and most people dislike their jobs.  But when a job brings you down to a gray, dark place (one where you dread Mondays to the point of tears, and have anxiety and feel sick until Fridays), it’s time to reevaluate.  I had to get back to my passions, like writing, and try to make a career out of something I love instead of working a job with no real future for me.  It wasn’t about me any more; it was about Jack and making him proud.  I didn’t feel like I could do that being miserable professionally.

I did my best to balance motherhood and my manuscript, and I was the happiest I had been in a long time, but my maternity leave from my job quickly ended and it went on the back burner again.  I went back in to that dark place too.  The only time I was happy was when I was with Jack, and I wanted to be with him all the time, to be happy all the time. 

If I had the means to pay my mortgage and give my son everything he needs and wants on just my husband’s salary, then I would have given my notice.  This is real life though, and that was just not possible.  If I could make a career out of writing, I could be with my son more, work my own hours (and when creativity strikes) out of the comfort of my home.  There simply wasn’t the time to make that happen though.  

My manuscript sat, nagging me to finish it.  I’ve had my share of days where I’ve hated it, days where I’ve loved it and days where I’m indifferent.  I’ve had more days where I’ve hated it, but no matter what I always go back, knowing in my heart that Unnatural is meant to be published and I can’t give up.  I had to find the time to perfect it so I could try to make publishing a reality. 

Just before Jack turned 6 months old, I decided to give up and retire my manuscript.  It deserved the time and presence of my creativity, and I couldn’t give it that.  It was a painful decision, but until I had the time, it was the only choice.

That brings us back to the present.  Thanks to the economy, I was laid off from my job last week – 5 days after I decided on retirement.  The first thought was ‘Oh my God, how am I going to support Jack and pay the bills?’.  Soon after, I was elated.  I get to be home with Jack and give him the undivided attention I’ve always wanted to.  The darkness that shrouded my complete happiness is gone.  To me, everything happens for a reason.  This was a sign.  I knew it and so did Bob.  We figured it out and it made sense to go for it.

With my severance package, I have 10 paid weeks.  And in those ten weeks, I am fully committing myself to have my manuscript, my creative heart and soul, ready to query (which is something you send out to agents and publishers asking them to consider your story).  Of course I’ll be browsing the job market too, but my gut feeling leading me to this decision is telling me not so fast, this comes first. 

And this blog is going to document my journey.

I’ll update my progress (especially with where I’m at mentally because I always battle the love/hate relationship I have with my writing) weekly.  I’ll hash out creative decisions, give away tidbits of my story, my characters and their backgrounds, and talk about my writing process in general.  I’ll also use it for my own sanity, to help me clear my head when I need to.  I may even ask for advice or opinions.  My hopes are to gain supporters and fans to cheer me on, because without support, this may be a tough road ahead. 

So with that said, let the countdown begin and stay tuned.