Thursday, May 26, 2011

Just a Thousand More Words Please

Word counts are the bane of many writers. Your first novel is over 100k? You might want to look at some trimming. Under 70k? Only if you're writing middle grade or younger. There are guidelines all over the internet on what constitutes a good word count for just about any genre of fiction. That's not what this post is about though.

One of the greatest things about digital publishing is beyond the "are you insane, even Tolkien was smart enough to make three books!" word counts, digital publishers are embracing all kinds of lengths. In fact, the first piece I had published was Of Course I Try at barely over 5k. Over the course of the next seven months, I released one around 10k, another between 15 and 20k, another at about 33k, and my YA which clocked in at just about 86k. I loved every one of those projects.

Right now, however, I'm working on a contest entry and realized that I've grown so used to the "any word count is a good word count" mentality that I really had a hard time with the 5-7k word limit. Like...really hard time. The first story I started for the contest is already well over that count and isn't close to being done (BTW, TriggerHappy won for band name for that particular story, tentatively titled GunShy). So, I set it aside and tried again. At first I wondered if I could possibly make this new story stretch to 5k. I just didn't think there was enough there (of course it doesn't help matters that it's a brand new genre for me, so a lot of guessing and O.o was involved in the writing). Then, once I crossed 5k, I had an "oh shit, I only have 2000 words left to play with" moment.

I finished it, and it's within the word count requirements. I'm really not sure if the ending was rushed though. I have less than 200 words to play with to make it the best it can be and that scares the crap out of me.

The funny part in all this is I used to do writing challenges with 1000 or 2000 word total limits all the time. Meeting 5-7k should be a breeze. But it's not. Not if you're out of practice at least. So, I'm sitting here tonight, dreading the feedback I'm going to get from my betas. I want them to be hard on me because I want it to be good...but I don't want it to suck because I don't have it in me to make another attempt at this by the deadline.

Oh yeah...there's a deadline. What the hell was I thinking? Oh, I remember. It was an excuse, just like those old challenges, to try something new and push myself out of my comfort zone. Yeah. I think I left that behind well over 7k words ago.

So what about you? What word counts do you write in and do you find it hard to switch it up? Or do limits make you happy since you know exactly what you have to work with and how close you are to done?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Name That Band!

First and foremost, I'm starting a new feature on Mondays. Sometimes it'll be more in depth than others, so please stop by and check it out (Hint: ManCandy).

Anyway, the heroine of Badlands 2 is being obstinate about telling me her tale, so I took a short break to work on (appropriately enough) a short story. It's going pretty well, but the hero is a member of a rock band and I need to give the band a name. Bantering around on FB and Twitter has gotten me several suggestions, but I can't decide. So, I decided to have a nice little poll here. I'm going to list the options that I liked for the band name, and I want you to vote on your favorite. Easy-peasy! (If it helps, think of the band as kind of Shinedown-like in nature. If you don't know them, I'll even provide you a video to help give you a feel of the kind of music they play.)

Band name options are:

Poets & Pornstars (Added after 3 votes and Psynde telling me not to skip it :P)
Taboo Coalition
Targets and Taboos (TnT)
Targets and Triggers (TnT)

Just mention your favorite in your comment, and thanks for voting :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Asking for a Little Help for Badlands, Diabetes, and the South

Today's blog post has a three-fold purpose. I'm here to talk about Badlands 2 and the Brenda Novak Auction for diabetes research and the Help Write Now campaign. Basically, what today boils down to is me asking for your help in a variety of ways.

We'll start with the one that is on my mind right now. I've started work on Badlands 2--Henri's story--for Carina Press, but right now that is the title, and it kind of sucks. So, yeah, I'm begging for title help here. Now those of you who've read Badlands (and if you haven't you should...or you should maybe skip this paragraph, but I'd rather you read the book), know Henrietta. She's a scientist with an attitude, but you also know how Badlands ended. She hasn't lost her fire, but that's kind of messed with her a bit. She's trying to deal with the mess left behind by her father and becomes the unwitting pawn in a game between the United States government and the New York mafia...and somewhere in there, she might just stumble on love, if she lets herself. Contrary to what it sounds like, much of this novella will take place in the Badlands (I have plans for a few scenes that are just Henri and Ever). So...anyone have any brilliant title ideas? (Or series title ideas for that matter?)

Now...onto my more philanthropic requests:

A while back, a bunch of Carina Press authors got together (led by the wonderful Julie Rowe) to donate to the Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes Research. There's a loaded Kindle and a loaded Nook on our auction page as well as an RWA lunch, a mentoring package, and a bunch of critiques (including one from me). We're off in our own little section, so some people are missing the opportunity to bid on crits there. In addition to the Carina Press section, there are a TON of fabulous offerings in the auction. Please, take the time to look around the auction site and see if there's anything there you might want to bid on.

In addition to my critique donation there, I've also donated one to the Help Write Now campaign to benefit southern storm relief. My critique is not up yet (I'm not sure when it will go live as they are doing 14-15 items per day), but again, there are a lot of great donations there. Please check it out, and when I do show up, please bid! LOL