Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2: Sequel Goodness

Yesterday I went to see Kung Fu Panda 2 and was surprised at how good it was.

Normally sequels are a dicey proposition. Sometimes the writers don't understand exactly why the first movie did so well, so when they create a sequel they try to just redo the first movie, only slightly different. They replay the same gags, and the characters never seem to know what they are doing.

Happily, this did not happen in Kung Fu Panda 2. They took the characters you saw in the last movie, and expanded on them. Po is now the Dragon Warrior, and fighting together with the Furious Five to protect the Valley of Peace from bandits.

The villain comes in the form of a peacock, Lord Shen, who is not playing with a full deck. He plans to rule China not with Kung Fu, but with a powerful new weapon using gunpowder. If that sounds awesome, that's because it is. 

In addition to an interesting new villain, we get an amazing origin story for Po. I can't really say more than that without giving away part of the movie, but Po and Lord Shen have some history together that instead of revealing right away, the writers instead chose to drag it out for a satisfying conclusion, since we the viewer know the answers that Po is seeking from Lord Shen. 

The writing is good, they develop Po in a satisfying character arc, and once again, the music is simply beautiful. Somehow they balance all of that with Po screwing things up and laughing while he's doing it. Instead of making him seem like an idiot, to me it just makes him more human. Or more panda if you prefer. 

There were several scenes in the later part of the movie, where Po is working through his personal demons to reach inner peace that had me tearing up. I can't remember the last time I saw such a poignant scene where the character searches inside themselves, through a haze of misery and pain, to find what they are truly made of.

In short, if you want to write a great sequel, be it book or a movie, you have to maintain the character you developed in the first part, but continue to develop him in new and interesting ways.  You want to bring the viewer/reader back to the world they loved in the first part, without acting like nothing has changed and you're just going to repeat what happened previously. This cheapens the first part, because then it feels like the first movie or book was for nothing and now you're sitting through more events that have no impact on the character. Instead, find new ways that you can test your character.

You're all creative. I am sure you can come up with something. 

What about you? What makes a great sequel for you?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Writing As a Job

Yesterday I was talking to Liz, and congratulating myself. I'd made a lot of progress on my rewrite on Saturday, enough to hit the 20K milestone. Of course, yesterday I was tapped out and having shiny new ideas distracting me.

I made like a good writer, jotted the new ideas down, and went back to work on my rewrite. But during the conversation Liz had an excellent suggestion that I've pondered ever since.

Treat your writing like a job.

Not just in the "butt in chair every day" way, but with the benefits as well. Give yourself holidays off. Keep track of your hours worked and let that accrue into sick days and vacation. Keep a set schedule of hours and work on your main project during those hours, every work day you set, just like you go to your day job.

I think this is a fabulous idea. Not just how it keeps you accountable, but how it also keeps you sane. I have issues with guilt. I have a day job, but aside from that I have a fair bit of free time. Since writing is my joy, it's what I do during most of my time off.

Normally this works out fine. But sometimes, having "work on book" scheduled in every single hour of your free time sucks. Because if I am tired when I come home and opt to veg in front of the TV instead, I feel guilty. If I am sick, more guilt. If I just don't feel like it, because I've been working on the book for hours every single day with no end in sight, I feel guilty for not working on my book.

If instead I give myself a set schedule to follow, complete with sick days and vacation time, suddenly there's structure. I spend less time flailing around for an hour, and just get right to work. I know when I need to start and when I can stop without feeling like I am slacking off.

Of course, there will probably be days where I exceed my set number of hours, but Liz has a back up for that too. When you go into overtime, you keep track of the amount of over time you spend. This accrues into time you can spend however you want. You can give yourself the day off, or use it to work on a shiny new idea.

I think writing is so hard sometimes because you can't see the end. Writing a book seems like it takes forever, and you know when you're finished you're not really done. Rewriting is hard for the same reason. There's an obvious end to the book, but the road just seems to go on and on without an end in sight. It gets hard to measure your success and progress.

If like me, you work much better when you have a set structure in place, consider doing what I will be doing today and making yourself a writing schedule. 

Sometimes it's the rules that set us free.

What about you? How to you manage your writing time? How do you find the balance between your real life and your writing? 

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Ouroboros of a Blog Post

He's just having a snack. On himself.
Yesterday I was in a minor car accident. I am fine and so is my car, but most of the day was spend in the ER. 

I had a cool post planned for today, but I just don't have the energy to type it up. I am really sore and having trouble focusing on one thing for a long period of time. So if somewhere in this post I start talking about kittens, well, you'll know why.

But! I really want to stick to my blog schedule. Really really. I want to grow my audience and give my regular readers posts they can expect on a regular basis. So just not posting today wasn't an option. 

So I decided to post today, telling you all why there wasn't going to be a real post. I know. Don't think about it too hard, or your head will explode.

Even though life has conspired against me sticking to my self imposed schedule, I've still found a way to make a compromise. It's a good trait to have, especially in writing. Because life will always get in the way. There will always be something that pops up, demanding your attention. Sometimes you will have to abandon your previous goals, but sometimes you can find a way to make sure you get something done.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Do Book Reviews Help or Hurt?

This is something I've wondered for a long time. I've heard lots of compelling arguments from both points of view. The question is, does book reviews help or hurt a book?

I'm not saying that we should stop reviewing books, of course. I've reviewed books on this blog before, I just wonder how effective they are. If you were planning on reading a book, and you found a bunch of bad reviews on Amazon, does that stop you from reading the book?

Obviously there are factors to be considered. If the reviewer is someone you trust, or someone who presents clear, logical reasons why they disliked the book, then the review seems more reliable. I am sure, however, that even the misspelled, poorly thought out reviews keep some people from reading a book they might have otherwise enjoyed. 

On the other hand, even if a ton of people dislike the book, you still might enjoy it. I've loved books that the rest of my friends weren't impressed with. Many people only use reviews as a gauge for the book and make the final decision for themselves. And reviews can help introduce people to a book that they might not have noticed in the store.

I think ultimately book reviews help inform people about book, despite the plethora of poorly written reviews in places like Amazon. So what do you think? It's obviously an aspect of writing with a lot of different variables.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not Enough of a Good Thing

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary. They weren't kidding when they said time would fly, because it feels like yesterday we were planning the wedding.

We decided to watch a movie, and I picked out The Brothers Grimm. I'd bought it used a long time ago, but hadn't gotten around to watching it yet. The movie was called things like a "gothic fantasy" and a "Monty Python-esque dark comedy".

This sounded very promising. I LOVE fairy tales, gothic fantasy, and dark comedies. I figured this movie was right up my alley, but I was sorely mistaken.

All of the right elements were there. It was very visually stunning, great actors (Health Ledger (RIP) and Matt Damon), and decent script. But halfway through the movie, I couldn't take it anymore, and shut it off. I've only shut off a few movies in my life, mostly because I need to know what happens. When I realized I could just look up the synopsis on Wikipedia, I shut off the movie. There was literally nothing that made me want to finish the movie. 

So here then is a list, of how avoid some of the problem I saw in The Brothers Grimm and other movies like it.

1. You must bring balance to the force.

Your book, just like a movie, is comprised of many different elements. The characters, the plot, your actual prose. But more than that you have the elements that make up your genre. Even if you're writing regular fantasy, you still have various elements to juggle. Elves or not? Low magic or high? Medieval setting, or something more progressive? Even within the broad expanse of your genre there is plenty of room for error. The trick is to balance all of these elements so they complement each other.  

With the Brothers Grimm, there was too much of slapstick silliness. There was a French torture scene that bordered on ridiculous, and not in a good way. You can't just throw in a bunch of humor and not support it in the characters and the design. The end result just made the characters look really stupid. There was too many elements out of balance in the movie to make it enjoyable.

2. You must represent accurately what the book is about.

Some of this is out of your control (cover art being an example). But most marketing departments are right on par with how to properly market your book. A summer beach read's cover looks completely different than a dark fantasy cover. We can look at the book, read the blurb, and know what to expect. Is the book going to be funny, or serious? Witty or plain? Action packed or a slow methodical journey?

You signal this to potential agents and later on, reader, through your word choice. "The Fantastic Tale of Mr. Gregory Hatchshell" as a title reads totally different than "Dark Moors". Both of them conjure different images in your mind. Match sure the image you are projecting with your book matches the actual content.

3. All the parts must fight together.

Not only do you need to ensure that you've balanced each element of your genre, you need to make sure they fit together. They must compliment each other, like an outfit.

This is tricky. Because there are such things as "dark comedy" that still work. You would think "funny" and "dark" wouldn't fit well together, but there are some instances where it works. Gallows humor comes to mind. It's not just a simple question of "do yetis fit with my alien spacecrafts?". You have to look at the entire book as a whole.

Using The Brothers Grimm as an example, most of the action and characterization was comedic. The characters acted like a bunch of buffoons. They were constantly tripping and stumbling over branches. The French general and guard were similarly acting in a comedic fashion. But most of the other characters acted more serious, which led to a disconnect with the characters. 

Likewise with the setting. The setting was beautiful, and the costumes and props all complemented each other, but not the cast and plot. The setting was "gothic fantasy" and the characters and plot was "slapstick comedy". It was as though they existed as two separate parts. 

The key is blending them together. If you really want your yetis in space, there should be reasons outside of the alien spacecraft that the yetis belong there. It's like a stew of elements, all mixed together. 

Obviously my opinion on the movie is just that: an opinion. But I think it's a good idea to analyze what exactly about a movie we didn't like, so we might avoid it in our own work.

What do you guys think? Did you love the movie? Think it was stupid?

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Top Ten Guilty Pleasures

In no particular order:

1. Pop music. I may or may not have gone through a "boy band" phase in high school. 

2. Music from the 80's. I have a deep love of "hair bands". Especially those 80's power ballads like Reo Speedwagon, Poison, Foreigner, Journey, and Whitesnake.

3. Licking the batter from the bowl. Yes, I know I am an adult now. I don't care.

4. Trashy romance novels. The ones that are really badly written. Feeling sad? Read one of those, and you're guaranteed to start laughing (for the record, I love well written romance novels, but for different reasons (wow, that sounds wrong. I meant that I like the stories in them, not parts. Although that's nice too. Okay, I am just digging myself a bigger hole here, I am going to shut up now.))

5. Anything sweet. Chocolate cake. Cookies. Chocolate. I have a huge sweet tooth. It's a good thing I am as fond of fruit and veggies as I am sugar, or I would be huge. I also don't have a huge appetite, so I usually eat a few bites and I am full, so that's also a waist saver.  

6. Scratching a mosquito bite. I know, I am weird. I can't explain it, I just love scratching the red circles until they get big. Don't judge me. 

7. Laying in bed while watching TV and eating sweet potato chips. I know. The bed is for sleeping, but if I want to stretch out I have to do it on the bed, because of the position of the couch. 

8. Having a chocolate milkshake for dinner. I don't make a habit of this, but here in Georgia it gets pretty hot. Sometimes you just don't feel like eating a meal. That's where ice cream comes in.

9. Sleeping in. I try to get up at a decent hour, so I can get some writing in before I have to go to work in the afternoon, but sometimes the lure of rolling over and going back to sleep is too strong to be resisted.

10. Working on another project while editing/writing another book. Sometimes I need a mental break away from my current work in progress. Sometimes I take a little time to indulge in whatever ideas on the back burner before getting back to work on the main project.   

Okay guys. Time to spill. Go forth and write your own guilty pleasures and then link to your posts here. It's true confession time.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Blogging Schedule (Also, Plans for World Domination)

From this day forth, I will be blogging three times a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

I've noticed that I have been irregular with my updates lately, which is a Cardinal Sin of blogging, right after posting all of your vacation pictures of the Grand Canyon. So I have decreed on this here blog that posts will be tri-weekly. I may blog on Tuesday or Thursday about shorter, more random things. 

Since I am on my soapbox, and feel like decreeing more things (it just has a nice ring to it) I also decree the following:

1. Chocolate shall be moved to the bottom of the food pyramid.

2. Every Friday will be casual Friday. Pants are optional. 

3. You shall read in class. 

4. People driving ten miles UNDER the speed limit must stay in the right hand lane.

5. There will be a mandatory nap/rest time starting from 3 in the afternoon and ending at 4:30. 

6. You shall get off of work at 4:30 every day to spend more time writing and seeing your family/spouse/kids/dog/pet hamstar.

7. Likewise, you shall sleep in and get to work at 11:00. 

8. Lunch time is from 11:00 until 12:00.

9. There shall be a relaxation area for my blog followers. Area shall include pool, sauna, hot tub, refreshments stand, and a napping couch. Also a few computers with internet access for your writing. Here on "Myself without the Shell" we take care of our followers. 

10. Followers shall rise up and overthrow the world governments. We shall remake the world under our image, "Booknation".

That is all for now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Mom is on Facebook and This Scares Me

I'm not going to lie. It's still weird for me to think about my mom and extended family members being on Facebook. I technically have a Facebook account, but since all of my relatives are connected to that account as well, I don't use it for writing. 

It's not that I think my family is going to embarrass me (I *know* they will). I feel like there should be some separation between my writer self and the rest of my private life. But I think that's getting harder and harder to maintain in this connected age where your email account connects to all of your social media and everyone can see where you are all the time.

I am exaggerating, but only by a little. 

It's not that I expect all of you to think I don't have an extended family, but well, I feel like there's a certain level of professionalism to maintain. As laid back as I try to keep my blog, because I want other people to feel like they can approach me (approach me for what, I still don't know. Chocolate?), I still think there's a certain amount of my personal life that needs to be kept separate from my social media.

I am the same way at my day job. I work at a spa, and while I am glad my mom likes to go there to get her nails done, I still feel a little weird that my mom is frequenting my place of work (this isn't a real problem, considering that we don't usually see each other when she goes up there because her appointments don't often mesh with my schedule). 

I think there should be *some* overlap. I did a Saint Patrick's Day post two years ago because I thought it would be funny for you guys to see how my crazy family celebrates it. But I also don't think my blog is the place for me to plaster every single family photo I have, and I think common wisdom agrees with me.

So there's that line of being personal, but not too personal. That line is at a different place for everyone. I prefer to be more personal with you guys because I want you to know who I am. I am not just a quacking voice here to dispense dubious writing advice. I am a person, and I think it would be mostly boring if I just talked about writing, all the time. 

On the other hand, it would be boring if I did nothing but talk about my personal life all the time too. Again, it's a very careful balance, one that I am striving to maintain. 

I think social media will work itself out. I can use Facebook for family and Twitter for writing. It's just a matter of paying attention to your personal comfort level and sticking to it.

Besides, we all know that Twitter is better Facebook. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Write the Book that is Awesome!

"There is no charge for awesomeness."
                                                             Po, Kung Fu Panda

Last week I talked about writing a book, even if it sucks. Today we're going to start the week off by talking about writing a book that is awesome.

Not just a decent novel. Not just a good novel. No, my friends, we're going to be writing awesome novels over here.

Today, we're going to talk about how (this is where my inner sarcasm wants to just type 'write an awesome book' :D).

What makes something awesome will vary from person to person. I happen to think zombie elves with pet dragons are awesome, but you might not. You also might think elements specific to the book you're writing right now are awesome, like the country you've made up, or the new form of magic you're using. 

This is why it's important to keep a running tally of awesomeness. Some people might what to keep a list, and others might want an entire folder on their computer, dedicated to the awesomeness of their book. You can add anything to this running list or folder. It can be quotes that remind you of the book, pictures that move you, a blog post from someone that helped work out some plot kinks, anything. 

I also like to add what I hope the book will be. Not just a vague "really great book" but something specific. "A heart-wrenching, gut-moving, brain-twisting thriller about zombie space elves with dragons."

Finally, I like to keep notes on what I need to work on with this book. Each book you write will give you different problems. Maybe the POV rotates and you're not used to that. Maybe the plot is super layered and complex. Maybe the MC is a zombie elf, and you're not sure how to show an zombified elf's emotions properly. What ever the issue is, I like to add that to the "Make it Awesome" list/folder. It reminds me what possible problems I'll need to look out for. 

A lot of these suggestions sound pretty simple, and they are. That's the beauty of making a book awesome. It's easier to work towards a place you've defined. Simply by sitting down and thinking about what will make this book awesome, you're a step of the way there. 

So any suggestions? What do you do to make your book awesome?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Character Therapist

So I was going to post today about writing the book that is awesome, but that's going to have to wait for tomorrow (you're on the edge of your seats, aren't you? That's right you are.).

Today on Elizabeth Spann Craig's blog she has a guest post. Jeannie Campbell, LMFT, talks about how to use a character as a red herring in a mystery plot. This post itself is fantastic, but I checked out Jeannie's blog and it's chock full of writing goodness.

She's a licensed marriage and family therapist, so she looks at fictional characters from a psychological bent. The results are amazing, especially if you're writing something really character driven. Considering how messed up I usually make my characters, this is a treasure trove of information for me. 

Even if you're writing something less character oriented, I think having a good idea of your character's emotional state as you push him through the gauntlet of your plot helps the reader connect with your character better. 

As Jeannie says on her blog, "Understanding the character’s driving goals and motivation in relation to their emotional state will help you figure out what plot points need to occur to maximize the character’s arc to its fullest potential." 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Write the Book that Sucks

"But I’d finally reached a point where the prospect of not writing a book was more awful than the one of writing a book that sucked."
                                                                        Sugar, from the Dear Sugar column

Revision is hard.

But you already knew that. I've revised three books before this one, and for some reason I keep thinking it's going to get easier. "Oh yeah, I'll just tighten up some scenes and do a copy edit and BOOM! Masterpiece."

Rewriting is somehow worse. Maybe it's just the perfectionist in me. I really like for things to be perfect. Like, almost to the point where it's a psychological disorder. If I really allowed myself to wait until "everything is perfect" I would never start anything.

Some people plan novels as a way of preparation, only it takes so long it becomes procrastination. For me, it's more like I want to "fix" the stuff I did "wrong" with the last novel so I don't make the same mistake again.

That's not the right way of looking at writing, I know. There is no right and wrong, there is no mistakes. It's all just a process of learning what works for you and for the book you're writing right now. The status quo changes with each book you write. Letting each book require it's own demands and needs will produce a better book overall, than trying to force some sort of uniform system on every single book you write.

You can image then, what the perfectionist part of my brain keeps telling me while I go through the rewrite. "You messed up so badly last time you're writing the book over. Don't mess up this time OR ELSE". Or, "Even your best isn't going to be good enough. You need to re-plot this book from scratch with an intricate diagram showing each plot and character arc. Get to work!" *cracks the whip*

Obviously this isn't a great place to work from. I've had to do mental exercises to keep thoughts like that from entering my head. I didn't mess up. It's just part of the process. My book is not doomed. I am making it better, and I can SEE the difference.

And my perfectionism has it's place. It makes sure I don't send things out that aren't my best. (with the possible exception of my blog. I proofread each post a few times, but this blog is in part a way to help me put words out there and Get Stuff Done without taking weeks to proof read every single post. Even though when I find typos, it kills me inside.)

Earlier last week though, my mental defenses crumbled and I felt horrible. My book was awful. I am going to rewrite the pants off this book, and then send it out to beta readers, and then revise it again before I query agents. And even though I feel like this is the best book I've ever written, that the characters and plot will just knock your socks off, I've felt that way before. Each book that I've finished felt like the best book ever. And it was for me at the time.

Looking back now, not so much. My first novel sucked, as most first novels do. The second one wasn't much better. I could see myself improving with each try, but that knowledge didn't help me now, looking at my current book. There was stuff wrong with it, stuff I just couldn't see yet because I haven't reached that level of writing yet.

Cheery thoughts to have in your head while rewriting, let me tell you.

But after combination of helpful friends giving me words of encouragement, and reading the online advice column "Dear Sugar" and I am feeling ready to tackle the world again. One of "Dear Sugar"'s articles really resonated with me. There's a lot of good stuff in there, but the line that stuck with me the most was the one I quoted above.

I realized that I had to write this book. I love it too much. It's too awesome and interesting. I have definitely come to the place where NOT writing this book is worse than writing a book that sucked. 

This also reminds me of a great video by Maureen Johnson about allowing yourself to suck. Go forth now, and allow yourself to write. Dare to write no matter what, even if it sucks.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Write the Book that Terrifies You

And I don't mean write a horror novel (unless that's your preferred genre).

Sometimes a book idea scares us. This fear centers on our feelings that we won't be able to write the book "right." Maybe it requires a lot of research, or the subject is controversial and you're afraid of stepping on toes. Maybe you just don't know how to get the idea across. 

It's just "too hard" you tell yourself. You're not good enough to write that book yet, and you pick a safer idea. 

Today I propose to you that instead of putting that idea away, you write it anyway. Write it despite thinking you're not a good enough writer to do it justice yet, or you don't know how to get the ideas across, or you feel yourself bumping up against your own weaknesses as a writer. 

Do you normally write plot centered books, but you have a killer idea that you would love to write but it requires you to be able to write deep, complex, nuanced characters?

Write the book anyway. Even if you write the book and it sucks, you still learned something from the experience. You can still go back and fix your mistakes. You can make it suck less.

Or who knows. Maybe you write the book and it turns out to be the best thing you've ever written. 

Pretend you're an old man/woman looking back on your life. You're sitting on your front porch, looking at your collection of published novels. You only have two days left to live. Is there a book you regret not writing? Is there an idea that keeps you up at night, but you tell yourself you're not ready to write it yet?

Don't let the fear of failure hold you back from writing the books of your heart.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Who Are You?

Suddenly The Who is stuck in my head...

Anyway, I don't mean in an existential sense of the word. That could take days to properly talk about and I doubt any of you want to hear my ramblings on the nature of life, the universe, and everything.

I mean your blog. What sort of blog do you want to have? I've given this a lot of thought. 

Because I really enjoy blogging, but sometimes I feel like I am spinning my blog wheels. So many different things to talk about! Who I am to talk about writing all the time? I still have a lot of stuff to figure out. I like to present things I've figured out, and ideas I have, but I am by no means an expert (that would be Janice Hardy).

I analyzed why I follow the blogs I do. Some of them are out of my norm, like Tawna Fenske. She writes romantic comedy, and dang, every one of her posts is funny. I will be buying her book as soon as it comes out.

I read the Rejectionist and Chuck Wendig because they are funny and empowering at the same time. I read Liz's blog and Rena's blog because they are honest and real and helpful. Joe's blog is interesting because it's like a slice of his life. He posts about writing, and life, and movies, and all kinds of other stuff. Mia's blog, in addition to being helpful and mentioning zombies a ton, has pretty pretty pictures.

In short, yes most of these blogs are writing related, but they do more than that. I am entertained. Touched. I get an experience out of reading their blogs. 

This is something important to take away, something to ask yourself. What are you trying to say with your book (zombies are totes amazing), but also, what are you trying to say with your blog? Do you want to relate the minute by minute experience of a writer? Do you want to make people laugh? Do you want to provide a place where you can talk about the secrets of writing you've crowbared out of your manuscript? 

You should be yourself, of course. Don't try to write humor if it's not your style. Find not just your writing voice, but your blogging voice as well. Blogging should feel more relaxed than novel writing (I think so at least), but think about your blog as an extension as your writing.

Now is a good time to pimp your own blogs in the comments section. Comment away and tell us what you think your blog does for your readers. 

The person with the blog that will "give us all the secrets to immortal life via chocolate" gets extra brownie points.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How (Not) to Prepare for a Rewrite

There's a bunch of writers I know right now (including myself) that are facing rewrites. It's a veritable epidemic, one that I am not sure we've prepared for properly (it figures I have my zombie gear all ready to go, but no Hazmat suits for The Rewritocalypse).

So I thought I would compose a list of things not to do to while rewriting most or all of your book. You can thank me with praise and chocolate.

1. Decide that the reason why you need to rewrite this book in the first place is because malicious gnomes are hiding in your office and tear it apart looking for them.

2. Blame your family/friends/pets/random animals outside for the state of your manuscript and throw things at them. 

3. Decide you suck as a writer and just give up. 

4. Decide to let your hamstar rewrite the book for you, using a complex code of hamster wheel rotations, amount of licks at the water bottle, and hamster pellets dropped per day. You're not Dan Brown, after all.

5. Bury your book and all traces of it in the backyard at night next to those bodies that totally aren't there. Hope that the fertilizer makes your words suck less.

6. Watch hours and hours of TV, to "exercise your mind".

7. Surf the Internet constantly, in search of better locations for your plot.

8. Decide now is the time to turn your historical romance into a space western with pirates. And a sidekick monkey. And a cute monkey tambourine.

9.  Spiral into a manic depression and eat nothing but cheetos dipped in nutella, convinced you're never going to finish this stupid book. 

10. Take up Extreme Wrestling in order to wrestle out your plot demons.

11. Dig up the book you buried in the backyard under the cover of night to check and see if the pages have rewritten themselves. Nope. Bury the book again.

12. Decide that rewrite means "re-right" as in, you're right again, and this book is perfect the way it is. Agents and editors simply LOVE half finished novels with missing characters and a plot that goes nowhere. It's the new vampire.

13. Decide you need to move to a foreign country in order to really connect with your inner writer, but the funds required means you have to sell your soul and all the books you're ever going to write to an evil wish genie. 

14. Regret trusting the evil wish genie, even though "evil" was in his name and you probably should have known better, since now you're on a teeny tropical island with only coconut juice and sand to write with.

15. Experiment with brain surgery and electroshock as a way of getting the creative juices to flow. 

16. Barter away malicious plot gnomes to the evil wish genie for your soul and book ideas, and return home. 

17. Dig up novel in your backyard, still under the cover of night, to check the fermentation process. No best-selling Pulitzer prize winning masterpiece yet. Best let it compost a little more.

18. There is no number 18, just like there's no rewrite. It's all in your head.

19. Same goes for 19, only twice.

20. Decide to just sit at your desk and just rewrite the darned thing, one word at a time. Give yourself the time you need to make this book the special snowflake you know it can be.

Okay, so maybe there's something to number 20. But then again, some people are still holding out for number 17.

By all means, toss your suggestions into the comments section. If I get enough suggestions from you peeps, I'll do a post dedicated to your helpful hints of how (not) to prepare for a rewrite.