Sodaro's Stories

October 28, 2014

Thinking about NaNoWriMo

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 10:29 pm
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Just as the process of getting a book from written to edited to revised to published has gotten more efficient (and will, with each future book, become more seamless) so does my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, or what some people refer to as November) experience become more productive with each year.

My first year (2012) I, as I have mentioned before, forgot to respect my process. I dove in head first and worked ONLY on my NaNoWriMo project of Redeeming Trust. I didn’t edit anything or write anything else, not a poem, not a journal entry, not even a freewrite. I was going to stay focused if it killed me and of course it didn’t kill me, but it did kill my story. I got blocked at the killer chapter 12 and didn’t recover until NaNoWriMo was in my rear view mirror. This put me stuck at about 20k for my word count, which is far short of the goal of 50k in 30d (50,000 words in 30 days).

My second year (2013), I did better. I learned my lesson and while First Down was my primary goal to write on every day, I allowed myself journalling, freewrites, poems, even adding briefly to chapters of other projects …anything to keep the pen flowing across the page (and yes, I write all my novels out in longhand which, yes is a hindrance for NaNoWriMo as my word count can not be officially verified).

This year (2014) I have a writing buddy who will be writing on her story as I am writing on mine, Driven West. This year I plan to blog a bit every other day or so so my readers can accompany me on my journey. I will also allow myself the brief diversions as needed, to keep the writing going.

This year, will be my best NaNoWriMo yet!! 😀

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October 27, 2014

Character Birthdays

So, I don’t know if you know or not, but I’m a Gemini…ha ha, yup an emotional twin and a logical twin who never seem to agree on anything — they never like the same job or same boy which is why teaching and writing work well to appease both twins…and as far as both twins not liking the same boy, well there’s a reason I haven’t gotten married yet…but I digress.

So I was reading about writing (I know, shocker) and they were talking about how their characters had not only birthdays but personalities affected by their sign of the zodiac…and I have to admit was intrigued…and I think it is definitely something I need to contemplate for the characters in my future novels. (Jac and Jyn lived in an alternate universe in Whatever you Make of It and Arianna would not care about zodiac signs or horoscopes and she certainly would not accept the fact that the placement of the stars had any effect on people’s actions or personalities…so not needed for my first 3 novels, but it might fit in well with Broken and Redeeming Trust…it will definitely play a role for my Cupid series, and it may even make an appearance in the Lucky Charms series with all the other superstitions that are already in there.

Hmm…yes, indeed, this is a layer that is needed in some of my stories.

October 26, 2014

Broken Trust…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 11:36 pm
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“Something in you has taken some kind of hold on me. I don’t know why I keep coming back to you.”

“Keep Coming Back” by Richard Marx

It was with true joy that I blog about Broken Trust again since it has been a while…a frustrating and heartbreaking while. It is like not getting to visit friends that you love and you can’t forget about them, but you can’t quite get there. It is so infuriating to have these amazing characters and you really want the world to meet…Benjamin, the architect; Sam, the artist; Ali, the music store owner; and Vincent, the cop. You have these amazing characters and you have their story to tell and it’s…well, there’s something missing.

I have gone back to Broken Trust countless times, wanting to have the magic whispering of what the story is missing, feeling like the answer is right in front of me and 1000 miles away at the same time. Every single time I would look at it, I would just sigh and walk back to another project. I would keep looking back at my finished first draft of Broken Trust and Redeeming Trust; looking back longingly…knowing there was a story that needed to be told.

A couple of weeks ago I grabbed the drafts and a purple pen and a composition book (aren’t those amazing little things, no worry of pages falling out or anything) and I took a deep breath and opened the up my draft…and with slight shaping and tweaking, i am happily now 33 pages into the edit with no evidence of slowing down this time.

Broken Trust and Redeeming Trust are back on the “to be published” pile…they’re back, friends…Stay posted.

October 25, 2014

People Watching

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 10:49 pm
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“It always feels like somebody’s watching me. And I have no privacy.” “Somebody’s Watching Me” Rockwell

Chances are, if I have seen you, I have watched you…studied you.

One of my favorite ways to research characters is to people watch, which sounds so much better than that “stalker” nonsense…although evidently both have a tendency to make people nervous if you “research” them by staring at them and writing in a notebook…so you have to learn to be a bit on the subtle side of things to get it right…but when you manage it — It. Is. Glorious.

the best way how to learn how to distinguish your characters and make them stand out not only from the other characters in your novel, but also from the millions of characters which already exist…is to study people. Why do Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy stand out among all of the characters in all of the love stories? Because they talked and acted like real people.

I find people’s mannerisms to be fascinating. I always have enjoyed studying people and their behavior. I have always been enthralled with, why do people do what they do, why do they say what they say, and interact with others so differently? It’s why I studied psychology; it’s one thing that makes me a good teacher and it’s one thing that helps me as an author as well.

I study people…how they dress, how they carry themselves, their hair, their dress, their smiles (both real and fake)…how they talk…how they wait (so revealing, by the way)…how they check out other people (some REALLY need to learn about subtlety)…how they flirt (or try to) etc. It is an unending source of research and if you see me out in public, or more accurately, if I see you…you can bet I’m taking notes, whether or not I actually have my pen and notebook out.

Consider yourself warned — your actions may end up in a book if I find you interesting enough 😀

October 23, 2014

Ideas: Time

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 10:27 pm
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Okay, I think I have set up the concept of ideas and time as a ratio…if I am mistaken, please correct me. I have no problem admitting it’s been a while since I had to put anything in terms of a ratio…but my idea is this…I have an overabundance of ideas to write about and an underabundance of time (that’s not a word…but I write poetry, so…poetic licence).

I know some of you are saying, “oh you poor poor author, waah, you have too many ideas,” and your mocking would be justified, without a doubt. I don’t say this for pity though (I’m not that far gone for reality) but I actually say it just stating a fact (there is a line from the Friends’ TV show running through my head when Ross can’t decide between Amy and Rachel and Chandler makes fun of his stressful life).

I love that at any given time there are a bounty of ideas bouncing around my head like a bunch of ping-pong balls let loose in a ping-pong ball factory. I love this. I love that I am constantly thinking of what to add to this story or wouldn’t this be a good idea for this article and so on. I am not in the least bit complaining…the part of the ratio (I am just going to continue using or misusing that word) that is pesky is time.

I know that we all get the same 24 hours in a day…we all get the same amount no matter how busy or not busy we choose to make our lives. People don’t understand how I can have so many projects going on at one time; I don’t understand how people allow themselves to be bored, so it’s even.

I don’t mind having too many ideas; I do mind having too little time, so to remedy that unequal proportion to my ratio (did I use either of those remotely close to their intended use???) I am going to start making better use of my time, writing more, finishing more, and coming up with more game plans for such 😀  I tell my students all the time…if you want something badly enough, you find ways to get it done. So I need to do as I tell others 😀

October 22, 2014

Lost…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 10:31 pm
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So as many of you know, my sense of direction is a little, well creative…I could go for a drive and end up in Kentucky. (Thanks to Google Maps, I end up where I mean to be much more frequently and I have even come to terms with this “Big Brother” necessity).

I have realized in recent days, that I approach my author life much like I approach my car trips and while, yes, I do eventually get where I need to go, I think I rack up extra miles unnecessarily. As with everything, it is a process and in writing as in driving, I always make sure I have extra gas in the tank.

I am proud of and happy with the three books I have published. Whatever you Make of It, Arianna’s Honor, and Arianna’s Destiny  are beautiful and worth every step in the journey, every mile in the travel…and with each book, the process has gotten simpler, the route more direct, if I may keep the metaphor going.

Reflecting on the unnecessary detours I have taken, which have still added to my craft as an author and made me more aware of the process as a whole, I can unequivocally say that publishing a book is not for those people who can’t handle every step of the process. It is not for the weak or faint of heart. There are road blocks and u-turns and detours and circling back…you get the picture.

I have learned that I want to publish more of my books and to get more effective in doing so. I have learned that the destination is beautiful and amazing and more than I ever could have dreamed of…I have learned that every turn and step in the process from the idea to writing to editing to revising to publishing…every step is stressful and beautiful at the same time.

It is definitely a road I plan to travel for quite some time to come; I have many many more novels to share with the world. I hope you will stay with me as I travel down this Author road. 😀

October 9, 2014

My own insane asylum

“Being an author is like being in charge of your own insane asylum.” Graycie Harmon

A friend, who has recently discovered the love and addiction of writing, asked me how I could handle having so many ideas in my head at the same time. At current, I have Lucky Charms (a 3-part series), Cupid (a 6-part series, which I promise will get better title), Trust (a 2-part series), Back on Track (a 5-part series), Shades of Blue (a book of poetry), and Driven West (which will be the novel I work on for NaNoWriMo this year). I also have anywhere from 1-15 singles that keep popping up to see if it is their turn yet. (I also have thoughts on turning Whatever you Make of It into a series and if/when Arianna will be back for round three). All of this is in my head in addition to a full-time teaching job that I love.

I have always described the image in my head as a picnic…with a table for each novel and the characters waiting for their next scene, ready for when I call them to the front and center. I like my picnic image. Someday I want this drawn out and made into a poster to hang in my office.

The other night, I had a dream, where a tornado came through my picnic (we were having weird weather, or as we say in Missouri…weather :D) and in my dream, the tornado caused all of my characters to be swept all over the place and no one was at their respective table. So the image became more like the insane asylum mentioned by Ms. Harmon. There were no pills or screaming or strait jackets, but there was definite chaos and panic as we tried to reestablish order at the picnic. Every one is back where he or she belongs now and progress can once again be made…thank goodness no one was seriously injured in the process.

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