Tag Archives: writing

How To Thrive in the Month of NaNoWriMo

IMG_20141009_090801_414Tomorrow we start National Novel Writing Month and we have one goal and one goal only: to write 50,000 words before midnight of Nov. 30th. If you want my advice, here it is:

1. Write in the voice that God gave you. Forget about grammatically correct sentences that would please your seventh grade English teacher (it worked for Dalton Trumbo). Forget about writing the Great American Novel (there is no such thing). But how do you know what your own voice sounds like? Well if you had a really juicy bit of gossip, how would you write it in email?

2. Make an appointment to write in your calendar. I use a Google Calendar not only to remind myself when it’s time to write, but also to remind myself where I left off at the end of each session.

3. As I mentioned earlier, I like to goof off. So I also use a timer. I set it in 15 minute increments and when the writing is really going, I don’t even hear the zen bell chimes go off. When the writing is not flowing, it tells me how much longer I have to sit there until I get make a cup of tea!

3. It’s not about writing about what will be good enough to sell; it’s about getting under the skin of your characters and finding out what they’ll do next. Trust me, the cool thing about being an unpublished author is that no one has any expectations. You don’t have to worry about deadlines, what your agent or editor will think, orders and sales numbers. You have complete creative freedom. I’m grateful for my success and all the challenges that come with it. But I’m telling ya, enjoy the freedom while it lasts.

Then again, if you’re Stephen King you can do whatever the hell you want.

4. Do not swat away a new idea that comes out of left field. That’s a sign that your characters are taking over the book and that is when it starts to get juicy. To read my personal experience, go here.

5. TiVo or video tape your favorite shows. You’ll need something to get you through re-runs in December anyway.

6. Give yourself permission to write. Here, write this down: “I give myself permission to write.  It is safe for me to write. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I really want to write a book and this is my time to write it.”

7. If you commute to work, use a recording app or carry a tape recorder to capture those bursts of inspiration. I wrote the revision of Hot Tamara in my reporter’s notebook while working for the LA Times. Do whatever you have to do!

8. Remember NaNoWriMo’s motto: quantity over quality! Just write. Don’t go back and agonize over every word. Tell your inner editor and critic to shut up and let the storyteller in you thrive.

Eeeek! It’s “Frankenbook”! How I cut up my manuscript to create a better story.

IMG_20141009_090801_414Okay, so my last post on the WIP was too scary. Sorry about that!

Lost in Whispers has not been destroyed; it went under the knife for a face lift, new boobs, butt lift and a tummy tuck! Part of my process is taking the raw manuscript and completely rearranging it. I cut up scenes, toss those that don’t work, squish two scenes into one, reorder those that could be much more effective elsewhere and make a glorious mess that will one day emerge as a real book.

It ain’t pretty. But it seems to have worked for all of my books so far!

In Between the Pages with Carol Ann Martin

Looming Murder: A Weaving Mystery is the first book in an ongoing cozy mystery series featuring Della Wright. She’s a likable heroine, who after enduring a public scandal in her corporate job, has put every last cent into her small business, Dream Weavers. One of my favorite aspects of the story were the friendships that Della forms with the women who attend her workshop.  With detailed descriptions of the small town characters, weaving and antique buildings, Author Carol Ann Martin takes her time getting into the action. But its worth the wait as all of the interwoven relationships mislead Della and the reader as to the identity of the killer.

If you like cozy mysteries with a crafty bent and a heroine whose love life has as many twists and turns as the crimes she falls into, then pack this book in your beach bag!

Enjoy the excerpt.

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Looming Murderbefore  July 29 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

Enjoy Carol Ann’s guest blog post:

When I am asked how long I wanted to write before I actually began, my answer is, for as long as I remember. At the age of eight, I remember wanting to be a writer or a ballerina. At ten, I wanted to be a writer or a num. Don’t ask. At twelve I got over the nun thing and decided to be a writer or a figure skater. At fourteen I thought being a famous writer or a famous actress would be glamorous. You get my drift. The truth of the matter is I always wanted to write, but was so afraid to fail that I invariably chose the other option. It wasn’t until a few years ago, in my fifties (This proves that it’s never too late) that I went for it. I dropped everything else and pursued my dreams. Now I wish I’d done it years earlier.

This novel, Looming Murder, is receiving favorable reviews and my publisher has asked for a second in the series. I just delivered the second, Tapestry of Lies, where many of the same characters return. I wanted to write a book that would be pure fun. I know. I know. Murder doesn’t sound much like fun. But when the victim is someone who was really nasty, it isn’t quite so sad. And when the heroine is the number-one suspect and her best friend’s advice keeps getting her into deeper trouble, murder can be really funny.

Apart from writing, I am also the visionary officer for a residential real estate company my husband owns and my son runs. As impressive as that may sound, all it means is that I am in charge of designing the lobbies and apartment renovations in my spare time—as if I had any.

I am so new at this writing game that I’m not certain where I’ll go from here. I love writing comedy. I love writing murder mysteries, and I love writing drama. God only knows wher

e I’ll go from here. All I hope is that my fans will follow. So, I welcome the advice of any of my fans who have read all of my novels written under my true name, Monique Domovitch and this pen name, Carol Ann Martin. Which of my novels did you like best? Which would you like to see more of?

Many of my readers want to know who are my favorite authors. If you ask me this question a hundred times, you will get a hundred different answers. I read one author until I run out of his books and then move on to the next favorite author.

As for my advice for author wannabes, all I can say is keep writing. Just go for it. I once read that a person doesn’t get really good at something until they’ve worked at it for at least

ten thousand hours. That might be just a bit of an exaggeration but the point is, you won’t get anywhere without plugging away at it for a long time. So get plugging.

And don’t tell your stories, write them. Early on, I used to have friends and family read everything I wrote, from the first draft of a novel right up to the last. I didn’t realize until much later that an author is like an entertainer, and that by getting others to read my stories before they were ready, all I did was dilute my need to tell the story. Now I don’t let anyone read my work until it is complete. That’s what works for me. But then, not all writers are the same. You might thrive on readers’ opinions and make you write all the more. Whatever works for you.

Author Bio:

Carol Ann Martin is a pen name. The author lives with her husband and an ever expanding family of dogs. They travel extensively and she is never seen without her laptop. When is not writing or traveling, she bakes and weaves.



eBook Addict: Mary Castillo: On Negative Reviews

“We have to be crazy to publish our writing for the world to see. Readers dont see the years of work, sacrifice, revisions, queries and rejections that a writer undertakes to complete and publish a book. What they know is that they paid some hard-earned cash for the book and it had better be good when they read it during their lunch hour. (I can say this because I’m a reader, too!)”

via eBook Addict: Mary Castillo: On Negative Reviews.

In which stuff happens


When I’m asked how I write novels, the only answer is I stick around long enough to see what happen next. Often the really good stuff comes to light well into the fourth, fifth or even the final draft of the book. For example, my outline for a new series set in Carmel has the following note:

  • She asks if she blew it. They have a very honest conversation.

Compelling, yes? Even I have no idea what this conversation will be about! The only way I’ll find out is going back day after day. Finishing a book requires discipline, faith and patience. From a few random lines, a book can grow and take on a life of its own.

By the way, here’s a line from The Ballad of Aracely Calderon, which I’m editing while simultaneously outlining new books that made me laugh:

“Her mother frantically shook the urn. The sniffling and quiet sobs in the church abruptly cut off, replaced by horrified and delighted whispers that Lario was such a macho, even in death, that women couldn’t stop fondling him.”