Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Plus January Movie Preview, American Hustle Movie Review, and Ninja News


It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

My awesome co-hosts today are Bob Milne, River Fairchild, Julie Dao, and Sarah Foster! Please be sure to thank them for their time and effort to make all IWSG members feel welcome.

I’m about seven thousand words into the new manuscript and it’s starting to come together. There will be rewrites of the first several pages, but I’ve hit a good spot now.

The most difficult thing is creating everything new from scratch. My last two books were easier because I knew the universe and I knew the main character. But for this story, it’s a brand new part of the galaxy, a more complex world and political scene, and a new character.

The last one is probably the most difficult. I’m still not a hundred percent sure of Aden’s voice. I found some character exercises online and the one that was the most helpful was writing what the characters thought of one another. At first it was odd, as I don’t write in first person, but it helped to see what the characters were like based on how they viewed everyone else.

Still hope I can pull it off. The whole story came from one song, and expanding it to fill a whole novel has proved to be a challenge!

Anyone else work on a story that wasn’t part of your previous work? What helped you get into that world?

Be sure to visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group site and other members on the list!

Ninja News

Don’t forget our Online Marketing Symposium is on January 20! Sign up and let us know what has worked (or didn’t) with your online promotions. Open to everyone, not just authors.

Hart Johnson released episodes 6 and 7 of Shot in the Light today!

SA Larson posted the Writer’s Creed for 2014 – sign up at her site.

Charity Bradford is now in charge of blogfests at the Unicorn Bell, and she announced their first one this year - Love is in the Air Blogfest, which runs January 20-24.


Movie Reviews

American Hustle
A fictional retelling of the real life Abscam, which took place in the late 70s. A con man and his partner are forced to work for an FBI agent who wants to take down politicians and the mob.
It had a slow beginning, but once it got going, it was a game of who is hustling who. Similar in tone to Silver Linings Playbook, all of the characters are very odd but likeable. (Typical for a David O Russell film.) The leads were all amazing – Bale, Adams, Renner, Lawrence, and Cooper. Lawrence’s character in particular was just plain crazy but brilliant.
The theme was reinventing yourself if you don’t like who you are and doing whatever it takes to survive.
Definitely an Oscar contender – highly recommended!

Escape From Planet Earth
Had no idea what to expect from this small 2013 release, but it was actually entertaining.
Scorch is the daring hero brother and Gary the nerdy, smart brother who always gets him out of trouble. When Scorch is held captive at Area 51, Gary comes to free him. The animation was good and the characters funny. It’s a simple story that’s just a step below the top animated films out today.
If you liked films like Megamind, you’ll enjoy this one.

January Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming movies for January! Such a sad offering that I included some DVD releases as well. As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

14 – DVD – Riddick

17 –
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh
Excellent cast and director – this one has potential.



21 – DVD - Captain Phillips

24 –
I, Frankenstein
Frankenstein's creature finds himself caught in an all-out, centuries old war between two immortal clans.
Director: Stuart Beattie
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Miranda Otto, Virginie Le Brun
It’s either going to be really cool or really bad, not sure which…


28 – DVD – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs II

Some awesome things coming next week!

Monday, I have a special guest with a wit that can’t be beat!
Wednesday is huge – another awesome guest, I have a guest post about space opera, and the IWSG is hosting its very first guest!
And coming soon – one epic contest!

Signed up for the Online Marketing Symposium? Taken the Writer’s Creed? Seen American Hustle? Any movies look good to you this month? And what are your writer insecurities…?

208 comments:

1 – 200 of 208   Newer›   Newest»
ilima said...

Am I first????

ilima said...

Yay, I can cross that off my bucket list...commenting first on Alex's blog, haha.

7K is great. I think writing sequels is harder than writing an original story, but I think you'll do great!

Annalisa Crawford said...

As I don't write either series or fantasy/science fiction that needs world building, I can only imagine how difficult it is. And the reason I've never thought to write is it because I think it must be extremely difficult. But, you done it once, you know the pitfalls, so you can definitely do it! Good luck :-)

Empty Nest Insider said...

It sounds like you're off to a great start with your new story, Alex! Fantastic review of American Hustle! It was one of my favorite movies this year, and if Christian Bale doesn't win an award, his hairpiece should!

Julie

Lynda R Young said...

I'm so looking forward to your next book. It's been great hearing about your progress. I personally LOVE world building. My latest story is a challenge because it's contemporary. Eek! ;)

Loved Escape from Planet Earth!

mooderino said...

Great to hear you're writing the new book. Another trilogy?

mood
Moody Writing

Sean McLachlan said...

Aha, so you ARE getting back into writing! I knew you would!

Quanie Miller said...

Sounds like you're off to a great start. If I start writing something I haven't tried before I close my eyes and visualize the world of the story. If I can't see it, can't write it. Good luck on the new manuscript.

Lexa Cain said...

Because agents/editors say never to write Book 2 until Book 1 has sold well, I always write totally new worlds and characters. (I'd desperately love to do a sequel to Soul Cutter though...)

Congrats to Hart for her new book, and to Sheri and Charity for their new endeavors. Great work ladies!

Cathy Keaton said...

I seem to recall you mentioning that you weren't going to write another book after your trilogy was finished. I'd say it's a triumph that you have another book in you when you didn't think you did. Good luck with it! :D

farawayeyes said...

Plagued by computer problems, I'm posting and commenting while I can.

I enjoyed 'American Hustle' some excellent acting and incredible film making. Everyone says it started out slow, but you couldn't prove that by me.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Writing something new is definitely more difficult, but it can often times be more exciting too! Thanks for the reviews and ninja updates! Going to watch American Hustle with the hubs this week.

Donna Shields said...

My son wants to see I, Frankenstein. And usually he has good taste when it comes to movie picking.

I'm working on a novella that is not part of my paranormal series. It was spawned from a writing exercise within my writers group.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hey, Alex,
It can indeed be difficult to connect with the characters and their situation and surroundings on that third book. Glad you're getting through it.

Thanks for the reminders. Coming back later to digest slowly. Knew I had something on the 20th, but couldn't remember what, other than a guest post I have scheduled. :)

Cindy said...

Glad to hear you're writing another book. I feel the same as you about now. Good ideas and situations..that need a plot and more world building.
I'm sure you will finish yours.

Kyra Lennon said...

Good luck with the new MS!

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

Sometimes it's easier for me to write a page about what the characters are feeling or seeing inside. All in first person in other words. Some really weird and cool stuff has emerged doing that.

Kudos to Charity for her work on the bloghop!

Melanie Schulz said...

I have started another series, but I seem to keep coming back to Newstead; something about sticking to what's familiar, I guess. Strong characters are your specialty- it's no wonder your feeling the pressure in that area.

Kirsten said...

Thanks for the reminder about the Online Marketing Symposium!
As for getting into my story world, I usually just starting writing the character(s) in their everyday lives, as well as writing out the scenes of the events in their past that made them who they are today. I just let my fingers take me where they will and the world comes to together in fits and starts. Let me warn you, this is a terrible inefficient way to write--it takes at least 10k words to start feeling comfortable in the story world, but it is fun!
Good luck with your new story. I'm looking forward to checking it out when it's done. :)

Chemist Ken said...

My first story was fan fiction, which I spent five years on as I was learning how to write fiction, but now that I'm moving on to my own world with all new characters, I'm finding it much more difficult to get into a new main character. To tell the truth, I'm still undecided as to whether my MC should be a teen or fresh out of college.

Laura Pauling said...

Been there and totally understand. I'm releasing the start of a new series this spring and while writing it was exhilarating because it was new it also took a little longer to figure out the voice and things like that. I just pushed through! :) Have fun with it.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

Jack Ryan, plus! I, Frank... gar? Wife wants to see both, I will be seeing them. I watched the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I thought it was better than what critics and fans gave it... if you are in that sort of film. Have a great day and this is my last day helping my mother move, very little details coming in next day's post. Thank you for all the support!

Lisa said...

Thanks for the news! Great way to start the new year. I'm happy for you on the progress you've made on your new project. Yes, I've had to start a few of my novels from scratch, as in new people, places and events. Sometimes it takes a bit to find out who the new folks are, but usually by the end of the first draft I'm getting a good idea. Off to check out some other IWSG blogs! Happy New Year Alex!

Sandra Almazan said...

Glad to hear the new novel is going well. Can't wait to see what's in store for next week!

Brian Miller said...

oo cant wait to see jack ryan...

i would think there would be more freedom in a spin off as some of your world building is done, even if just for the background...

getting the voice right and being consistent across books would def be hard....

Stina Lindenblatt said...

My worlds aren't so difficult to deal with because I write contemporaries. And that's why I write them. :)

I want to see American Hustle but hasn't had a chance yet.

Ellie Garratt said...

Oh, wow. So, so happy to read you're writing another book!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ilima, you are first! And you want to write this story for me then?

Annalisa, you're right - I can do it again.

Julie, that made me laugh!

Lynda, it was a fun movie, wasn't it?

Moody, not if I can help it...

Sean, I bowed to the pressure.

Cathy, I'm a glutton for punishment.

Joy, don't forget!

Carol, first person is still so weird...

Melanie, it's difficult.

Kristen, I'm just doing that with my first few chapters, which means a lot of editing later I'm afraid.

Ken, the new characters are tough.

Jeremy, can't wait to hear about it!

Lisa, Happy New Year!

Brian, almost too much freedom...

Natalie Aguirre said...

I can totally relate to the slow writing. This is only my second novel I've written and the blank page has been hard to deal with. The draft of my first book was so much faster, but then I had years of editing because I didn't know what I was doing.

I have about 18,000 words and 80 pages done. I do know where my next 4 chapter go as I head to the midpoint crisis, so that is helping. I don't outline like you, but did note the scenes I needed and that helped. I know you can do it too.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

That sounds like a great approach--writing down what the other characters think of each other.

Yes, it takes a while. There is one series that I can hop into with no hesitation at all. The other two are a struggle. It's okay if nothing really gels or comes alive until the end of the book...can always tweak in the edits!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

A couple of other ideas re getting to know your characters - interview them and/or have them write a journal or diary from their POV.

My husband is really looking forward to the Jack Ryan movie, and I've already got Captain Phillips on hold at the library.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Can't wait to see American Hustle and I am very intrigued by the new Jack Ryan movie!!

Donna K. Weaver said...

I'm in a book in with new characters and location too. My challenge is liking the beginning and knowing where they will end but struggling with getting from here to there.

Kirk as Jack Ryan? I may have to work to get my mind around that one. But I'm glad they are keeping the Jack Ryan stories alive with younger actors, so I hope they do well with it. The Ben Affleck version didn't go anywhere.

Brandon Ax said...

I am working one something new as well and for me finding the character voice helped once I knew who he was I felt the words start to flow that much easier. Good luck on the book man.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Hi, Alex, sounds like you're off to a good beginning for a new book. I've never stepped into space or into a new world with my writing. My world building comes from what I know and have seen with my eyes. Writer's like you amaze me with your talent in creating a written world that I can imagine in my head. Keep it up! I am looking forward to the new Jack Ryan Movie with Chris Pine. I have not signed up for the marketing symposium because I have nothing exceptional to offer. I'm definitely hoping to learn a few things, though.

J. A. Bennett said...

Somehow I missed that you're writing new book. That's awesome!! I'm sure it'll be fantastic :)

Jen Chandler said...

Yes, as a matter of fact, a story I'm toying with now has no bearing whatsoever to any worlds I've created before. It's scary... but it's also liberating. Anything goes! There are no rules except the ones you make as you go and no one has any preconceived notions about what you're writing (if you're already published as you are!) Good luck to you!

Looking forward to your guests! They are always wonderful! Cheers!

M.L. Swift said...

Congrats on 7K into your new book! Crafting new worlds, whether spacely or earthly, physical or emotional, and finding the correct voice, is difficult. You must share that character development link, I'd love to check it out.

Without a doubt, I know you'll find and build a perfect world for your story. Continued luck and well-wishes on its success!

M.L. Swift, Writer

J Q Rose said...

You're getting a good start on your book. You can do it! I don't write a series, but I'm beginning to believe a series is the way to go because readers, if they like the book, will come back for more of the characters. All 3 of my mysteries are different characters, different locations. Is it easier to write a series and keep track of everything throughout the books--eye colors, character's quirks, etc or easier to make up a stand alone book and have only 40000-50000 words to check for consistency? Happy New Year!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Natalie, knowing where you are going is half the battle!

Madeline, thanks!

Cathrina, I wish I could amaze myself...

Mike, thanks for the vote of confidence!

Sarah Foster said...

I'm excited to be co-hosting! Thanks for letting me be a part of it. :)

I may or may not be going to see American Hustle tonight. I only got 4 hours of sleep so we'll see how much coffee I can drink to stay awake. Crafting a new character's voice is always tricky. My current narrator has been with me for so long that it's like second nature, but when I was working on my NaNo book, the MC's voice felt forced because I hadn't figured it out yet.

S.K. Anthony said...

Love of music can just inspire a whole book, which you will surely expand to now that you've found that good writing spot. Interesting character exercise, I might like to try it as well, I have my character's voice in my head but I'm not sure I'm succeeding in showing it very clearly yet.

Best of luck with the writing, Alex ;)

An epic contest, ooooh! Can't wait to find out and read those guest posts!

Terri Rochenski said...

Sheesh! What a post. Ok...where to start.

Starting a new manuscript in a new world is always tough. ESP those first few thousand words. Best of luck! I've pulled out my very 1st manuscript and I've begun some serious revisions. Fingers crossed on getting it subbed by the end of March.

I'm definitely going to check out the Online Marketing Symposium. Sounds great! Thanks for telling us about it.

American Hustle - Dying to see it!

Riddick - Vin. Sigh.

Shadow Recruit - LOVE Jack Ryan. LOVE Chris Pine. This is a win-win for me even if the movie sucks for the critics.

I, Frankenstein - haven't even heard of it. I'll wait for your thoughts before adding it to my crazy-long to-see movie list!

Tonja said...

That's wonderful that you decided to write another book! Yay.

Nicki Elson said...

Oh gosh, I bet you'll get flowing and then you'll have enough to fill a whole THREE new novels.

I don't write serieses so all of my stories are from scratch. I like it that way though---I'm ADD and fickle.

rolandclarke said...

Glad you got a reasonable start to the year. It's always tougher after the 'break' to build up speed.

Revisiting a world I started creating in 2000 (while sick in bed). Lot of ideas but time running out... and must finish my IWSG post.

rolandclarke said...

Glad you got a reasonable start to the year. It's always tougher after the 'break' to build up speed.

Revisiting a world I started creating in 2000 (while sick in bed). Lot of ideas but time running out... and must finish my IWSG post.

David P. King said...

Yep, I've been there before! It is an awkward shift from one world to another, but do it enough and you may end up writing two projects at once that are completely different genres and perspectives. :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I believe you're up to the challenge, noble captain. Hope you're doing well, Alex.

Bish Denham said...

For someone who didn't know if he'd write anything more after your first trilogy... well, obviously you were wrong. You've got the bug now, Alex!

Liz Blocker said...

Wow, Alex - you write FAST. 7,000 words in sounds fantastic. I use long, involved character profiles to get to know my characters, but VOICE is different. It's hard to put a finger on it, and can take a lot of time. The exercise you did sounds fun, though :)

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

Well, I can't imagine tackling something that complex. More power to you Alex with your third book in the series! Writing in different voices and 1st person as opposed to 3rd are very good writing practicing skills. I'm sure it'll benefit you greatly.

It's nice to come back and read your encouraging and sharing about other bloggers and your reviews. Writer’s Mark

Jennifer Lane said...

Congrats on your new project!

I thought American Hustle was hilarious. :-) That scene with Bradley Cooper in the perm curlers? Priceless!

Julie Luek said...

Alex, thanks for sharing some thoughts and insights about your writing process. For those of us who haven't tackled a book yet, it's such a helpful insight on how the process evolves. Somehow it's easy to think of the books-- poof-- just being written, but of course, the process is much more labor-intensive. Congratulations on pushing yourself to new writing levels.

Stephen Tremp said...

I'm signed up for the Online Marketing Symposium. Looking forward to that.

Escape From Planet Earth was a fun movie. Buying more Amazon Instant Videos these days rather than buying DVD. Might buy this one sometime soon for the kids.

Its fun to write new books with new characters. I have a couple stand alones with new people outlined that I can't wait to get in to. Good luck!

Murees Dupé said...

Writing science fiction to me is hard in general, so you are doing amazing. Starting a world from scratch is tough, but I know you will do great. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

Isis Rushdan said...

I'm sure you'll pull it off and your next book will be great. My husband thinks the Frankenstein flick will be good. I'm not as hopeful, lol.

Julie Flanders said...

Wow, you're really moving along on the new manuscript! Congrats and I'm sure it will all continue to come together into another great book. So amazing to think the idea came from one song, that's awesome.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I spent so long with my series that diving into a new fictional piece has been difficult. You'll manage though.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

That's great that you're getting into another story. Those exercises sound really helpful! All my stories have had different characters, but more or less the same setting. (Contemporary.) I would imagine building a whole new world for SciFi would be challenging! But you've done it before and you can do it again. :)

Heather M. Gardner said...

I don't know how you pack so much awesomeness in one blog post!

I'm so happy a new story is taking over your life! My fingers are crossed for you!

I'm in for Jack Ryan, even though they took a million liberties with it, but Frankenstein? Going to suck.

Have a great IWSG Wednesday!

Heather

Laura Marcella said...

Good luck with writing your new book! I love the idea of it being based on a song. You'll overcome the challenge and be an even better writer for it!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

M. J. Joachim said...

Glad your story is coming along so well, Alex. Challenges almost always seem to bring out the best in our writing, so kudos to you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

JQ, thanks, and I'm starting to think a series is easier...

Sarah, hope you go, because it's a great movie.

Terri, good luck with that first manuscript.

Nicki, I think that idea scares me!

Bish, I've been wrong before...

Liz, fast? At 350 words per hour?

Jennifer, it had some awesome moments.

Julie, I wish it was just POOF!

Rachel, that's true.

Heather, you might be right about the suck. (Wow, that sounds bad, doesn't it?)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I'm impressed with your productivity,Alex. I can't wait to hear more details of the new story.

S. L. Hennessy said...

You amazed us with the first Cassa story, and I have NO doubt that you'll do it again with a new one. It's hard starting from scratch again, but it's also a great opportunity. I can't wait to see what's coming!!!

Leovi said...

Creating characters is really hard, but also fascinating when achieved!

Diane Burton said...

Thanks again for starting this group & keeping it going. Yes, I've started a new series in a new universe when I went from my Switched series to the Outer Rim book (soon to be books). Difficult but do-able. The longer you're in that universe the more comfortable you'll feel. As for your new character, a trick I've tried when stuck is interviewing the character--ask questions (as the interviewer) then answer as the character. Amazing what comes up. Best wishes.

cleemckenzie said...

Congrats on the 7,000 words. That's great. I've already signed on for the Marketing Symposium. Want to glean what I can and share what I can. Signed the Writer's Creed last year, but not yet in 2014.


Mary Aalgaard said...

Your new writing project sounds like a fun challenge. January can be a schlumpy month for movies. Time to rent some that I've missed.
Play off the Page

Tina said...

Is there a new creed this year? I did last year's.
Your new project sounds great, and that writing exercise fun!
Riddick on DVD is one I've been waiting for!
Tina @ Life is Good

Tara Tyler said...

i am comfortably working on sequels in both my series, but i know how difficult it can be to create a new world! so glad to hear your progress!

great fests and announcements! i'm going to check out the marketing dealio! thanks!

happy new year, oh great leader (hee hee)

Decadent Kane said...

Good luck with your new writing project.

Checking out the blogfest.

the Frankenstein one looks interesting but I think you are right it will either rock or suck.
Have a great day!

River Fairchild said...

I, Frankenstein looks really interesting! I hope it can pull it off...
I write different characters/worlds all the time. I have the opposite problem from you - I can't seem to stay in series mode. :)

Juliana Haygert said...

I'm so glad you decided to keep writing!

Am I the only one who really doesn't feel like watching American Hustle? I don't know. It looks so ... odd. *shrugs*

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats on the 7000 words! That's awesome! I always find beginnings the hardest, and I've recently learned to almost consider my beginnings as a draft 0, so I can find the characters' voices and then go back through what I've written and onward to the end. New books and worlds are always exciting and intimidating! Good luck!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Wow, seven thousand words into your new book, Alex that is fast. I remember you telling us sometime back that you were outlining and now you have started writing. I am happy that you are writing more books.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, SL!

Diane, glad you enjoy it, and thanks. I will continue to immerse.

Kane, that's my fear.

Juliana, it was odd...

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I'm afraid I, FRANKENSTEIN will be awful -- and I really like the lead actor. He deserves a win.

I won't watch AMERICAN HUSTLE, for I know in real life, Jennifer Lawrence's character had such a miserable ordeal that she later hung herself. Takes all the fun out of it for me. I usually watch totally fiction movies for that reason.

Like Juliana, I am very glad you decided to keep writing. :-)

I have decided to be the Emily Dickinson of writing: to keep writing though no one reads! LOL.

Laura said...

That sounds like a useful character exercise - I'll have to use it for my NaNo novel. I find songs so inspiring; I come up with so many new story ideas when listening to music.

Morgan said...

I hadn't heard the news that you were writing a NEW book, Alex. Too wonderful! I'm also a bit out of my comfort zone---my new book is in 3rd where I've written in 1st in the past and it's also for a different audience... but it's interesting how trying something new strengthens us. :)

Morgan said...

I hadn't heard the news that you were writing a NEW book, Alex. Too wonderful! I'm also a bit out of my comfort zone---my new book is in 3rd where I've written in 1st in the past and it's also for a different audience... but it's interesting how trying something new strengthens us. :)

Mina Burrows said...

I was keeping my fingers crossed about your continuing writing. YAY!

I want to see American Hustle so bad.

Not sure about Frankenstein. Hmmm...

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Sounds like an exciting new project for you, Alex. Keep challenging yourself. If you can't do it, nobody can.

The Planet Earth movie sounds good to me.

xoRobyn

Pat Hatt said...

It can be a pain in the rump to start anew and get the world built and voices right. But you'll get there I'm sure. I think the Frankenstein one may end up on the later side, but you never know.

Crystal Collier said...

I was just looking at my calendar and trying to remind myself what the Online Marketing Symposium was. It's going to be great. Truly amazing.

I too am looking forward to I, Frankenstein, and hoping it will be amazing.

Chrys Fey said...

Congrats on reaching 7,000 words! I am super happy that you've hit a good spot and wish you even more luck that this continues. :)

The character exercise you mentioned sounds very interesting. And fun.

Karen Walker said...

Hmm, what's the writer's creed? Did I miss that. Alex, sounds like you are making great progress with your new book. Glad you found a way to do both writing and music, since they are both passions and both are something you have talent for.

Deborah Osborne said...

Hi Alex,

I hate creating new worlds too, although I do enjoy interviewing characters to find out what's making them tick. Good luck with the manuscript.

Thanks for the tip for American Hustle too. Hoping to see it with a friend next week.

Suze said...

Alex, I loved reading what you have to say about your current project. Well begun. I understand the daunting nature of crafting another world from scratch after spending so much time in one that, by the end of the run, was fully-realized and felt like second skin. What you're doing is a feat of imagination and creative strength. I am so supportive of you!

Christine Rains said...

Great news for today! And glad to hear you've hit a good spot in your WIP. Sometimes a voice is hard to grasp, but it's funny the strange places we can find them. I'm signed up for the Symposium!

Nancy Thompson said...

You are an accomplished author & know exactly what you're doing. I have no doubt your next book will be awesome. Are you keeping it in first person or was that just exercise? I love first person. Either way, you know I'll be reading it! I've missed coming around here & hope to get back to blogging soon once I'm done with my CP/beta phase. Don't suppose you have time to beta?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Roland, I can see her doing that.

Crystal, hope you will participate!

Suze, it's a feat of something!

Nancy, I have you fooled! I'm pressed for time with my current work, the IWSG site, and looming A to Z, but You know I do want to read it at some point. And soon!

Jo said...

I'm having problems keeping my hands warm. Can't type with cold hands.

Just to let you know, I was here again.

Elephant's Child said...

I have always been in awe at the talent of writers. And you (and others) have reminded me of the sheer hard work involved. Determination. And I love reading about (and reading) so many triumphs.

Rusty Carl said...

There are a lot of 'no's' from me regarding your questions. Great job and already being so fat into your story. So, it's in the Cassan universe? I almost asked you that before but decided that it wasn't important so I didn't. But is it?

Rusty Carl said...

I meant *far* into your story.

Beverly Fox said...

7k words? Go Alex!

I want to see the new Jack Ryan, Chris Pine does action really well. And America Hustle is a must-see for me, once it comes out on DVD.

I'm off to take the writer's creed!

Lan said...

Isn't it incredible where story ideas come from? Often at the beginning you have this surge of inspiration and then you have to fill in the minor details and end up getting stuck. Push through it Alex! The end result will be something incredible!

writing for pleasure said...

Hope all goes according to plan with your new manuscript, I wish you well.

Thanks for your comment on my problem with "Friends Connect" I am a member of Google+ though I don't understand it, but my clicking on the widget still don't work.
I have been trying to get many of my old followers back without success.
Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elephant's Child, thank you!

Rusty, I am fat into the story! And no, it's not set in the Cassan universe.

Yvonne, I hope something works!

Kelley Lynn said...

Congrats on getting to 7K!

I saw American Hustle and I was underwhelmed. I think I just thought it was going to be so good and it was meh...Oh well.

Happy New Year!

Robin said...

When you mentioned that you interviewed the other characters to get a handle on each character it made me think of this...

When I was in high school I was very involved in the drama department. To prepare for a play, the director would have us draw lines on a paper creating three columns. The columns were labeled What Other Characters Say About Me, What I Say About Myself, What The Writer's Notes Say About My Character.

Your exercise was very much like What Other Characters Say About Me. Maybe to get a more complete grasp on Aden you can compare that to What I Think/Say About Myself. It is interesting when those two things are not the same. And... really... when are they ever the same????

Andrew Leon said...

There's not a single January movie I'm interested in. We're waiting for the Lego movie.

Belle Wong said...

American Hustle sounds good. And it's great that you're working on your new manuscript!

Cate Masters said...

LOVE the idea of the Writer's Creed. My post is going up tomorrow.
I'm looking forward to those movies too!

Emma Adams said...

Good luck with the new project! It's cool that a song inspired you. Ideas can really come from anywhere!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I am looking forward to the Marketing Symposium. No real movies I want to see but there are a few books coming out later this month I want to read.

Patricia Lynne said...

It's always daunting yet exciting to get into a new story's universe. It's all shiny and new and you want to touch it, but aren't quite sure what to touch. Good luck, Alex. You'll get this new 'verse sorted.

Jai Joshi said...

I've worked on projects that weren't part of my previous work, even though at the moment everything is connected.

What was most difficult for me was trying to remember that this wasn't the last book, and to stop trying to make it into the last book. This was a new plot, with new characters, and a new world. Once I got my head wrapped around that things became much easier.

Congrats on getting 7,000 words in! The beginning is always the most difficult for me.

Jai

Suzanne Furness said...

Sounds like you have made a good start with the new ms. I like the sound of the online writing exercises I can see that it would help you get inside the character's heads. Thanks for the tip.

L.G. Keltner said...

Some of those character exercises you find online can be really useful. One that I use (and I didn't find it online, I just pulled it out of my strange imagination)is taking my main character and putting them face to face with a past version of themselves and a future version and seeing how they interact with one another. It's an odd sort of time travel exercise, but it helps me get to know them better. I can see where they came from, where they currently are in the story timeline, and where they're going. You can learn a lot about a character when you see how they feel about their past selves and where they're heading in their lives.

Then again, maybe I've just read too much science fiction. Wait. What am I talking about? That isn't even possible!

Cynthia said...

It's interesting that you mention Kenneth Branagh and the new Frankenstein movie in one post. I wonder what Branagh would think of this new movie, considering that he directed the Frankenstein movie that came out in the 90s, and this new movie appears to deviate quite dramatically from the novel.

Johanna Garth said...

My husband and I just saw American Hustle and LOVED it. Good luck with getting a clear handle on Aden's voice. I'm sure it'll come to you in between *ahem* all that multi-tasking! ;)

Julie Sondra Decker said...

I love getting into a brand new manuscript and carefully presenting a person with all their past drama and future desires converging in the present. It's fun to not be stuck with the same world all the time. Being an author who writes series as well as stand-alones, I have stuff I love about both, but I feel like in subsequent books you don't have the freshness of an invented world to carry you on the novelty factor anymore, so you really have to dig in and blossom in that world to keep it interesting.

Cindy said...

I'll definitely be reading the marketing posts..whether I join or not. Hope to get the time. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Love the idea of writing a whole novel from a song! My main character is currently writing a song in this scene and it's fun to emulate the process! :)

Tracy Jo said...

Glad you are finding the groove with your new book. So cool it came from a song. I loved American Hustle!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Robin - I'll try that.

Jai, and that's the key - remembering it is new.

LG, that's a good one!

Cynthia, the real question is will this version be any better, but Branagh's was disappointing.

Julie, this is my first venture outside of the Cassan universe and it's a little odd right now.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I think getting into a new character is the hardest thing about starting a new novel

Sarah Ahiers said...

I think getting into a new character is the hardest thing about starting a new novel

Patricia Stoltey said...

Alex, I made the shift to stand alone novels after two books in a series. I love the ability to work with new ideas and new characters without having to keep all that character history and personality in my head from book to book.

Patsy said...

I'm refusing to be insecure this early in the year.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Internet and home are acting a bit odd - after five tries, I can comment!
Congrats on your word count on your new book!!! What song inspired you?

Tessa Conte said...

Wow, you get a lot of comments! ALL HAIL CAPTAIN ALEX!!

I'm so glad you're writing is going well. I actually like writing in first person best. It's when I try third person that I tend to get stuck. I like the feeling of being in someone else's head...LOL maybe I should have studied psychology instead of law...

I like the look of the Jack Ryan movie, and ditto on Frankenstein either being very cool or very bad...I fear it will be the latter. Ah, well.

M Pax said...

I'll be getting back to that new project shortly... I hope. I just keep writing and usually about 1/2 way I figure out who my mc's are. Which is why new stuff requires a heavier revision than sequels...

Cherie Colyer said...

That's an interesting character exercise. I'll have to give it a try the next time I'm struggling with my characters. Good luck with your story. (Sorry, I don't have any great advice on jumping into a new world, but I'm sure you'll pull it off.)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sarah, glad someone understands!

Patricia, I'm just a creature of habit...

Tyrean, once I have finished, I will reveal the song.

Tessa, wish first person was easier for me.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

American Hustle just came to Jamaica today. I plan to see it over the weekend or early next week. Definitely excited and glad you enjoyed it Alex.

My crazy writer brain keeps coming up with new stuff. If I don't immerse myself into the new world I will go nuts. So my reasons are no choice, love of writing and hatred of nuthouses (shivers). Best of luck and your novel will be ready as soon as you are.

J E Oneil said...

I love hitting the spot where the writing gets good. I create new worlds all the time, so you shouldn't have a problem with it.

Frankenstein is going to be really bad. That's what I think.

Kimberly said...

I signed up for the Marketing Symposium - not sure I have a lot to offer but I have a couple of things to share and I'm looking forward to learning a lot. :)

Well done on your word count! I'm about at that spot with my sequel and it is a lot easier to write in the same series. It is a pleasant surprise. :)

Kim Lajevardi said...

I can imagine continuing on with a separate but related story would be difficult. I haven't tried a sequel, but my current WIP is in first person. First and third are so very different. Good luck with the character exercise.

Brinda said...

I'm dying to see the Jack Ryan movie. :) I'll check out some other participants.

E.J. Wesley said...

I use the same old "tricks" to get into new characters. Music, watch movies outside of my comfort zone, etc. And I also try to make subtle changes to previous characters I've used by blending qualities from several I've used to make one new one.

Never got a chance to see Riddick at the theater, so I'm looking forward to seeing it at home. (I got a 1080p projector and 100" screen for Christmas for movie and sports watching at the house. The theaters in our new area aren't as awesome, and we have a big blue ray collection so it made sense.)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sheena-kay, no one likes the nut house.

JE, you're probably right.

Kimberly, glad you joined us!

EJ, it's not a great movie, but you will enjoy the experience on that new screen!

jamieayres.com said...

I want to see American Hustle! Saw Frost, Saving Mr. Banks, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Loved all, but the last one was my fav. We'd read the short story of Walter in my Language Arts class, and the movie expanded upon it beautifully.

Mason T. Matchak said...

First, I wholly understand writing your first few pages and knowing you'll have to redo them. I think I've done that with every book I've ever considered querying. It's good to know I'm not the only one. ^_^

Second, I've joined IWSG. Yay.

Shell Flower said...

A new world might pose challenges, but at least you aren't going to be bored with the new draft. Look at it as a way to turn over a new leaf. You have a whole new personality to try out. I have yet to write a sequel, but I hear they are harder. Obviously you don't agree.

DMS said...

I really want to see American Hustle! I hope to see it this weekend. :)

Thanks for sharing your process for writing your latest book. It is always helpful to know that other authors have a hard time getting a character's voice down. Your exercises soon helpful! Best of luck!
~Jess

Nicole said...

It always takes me a while to get into a new character's head and voice, too. You'll hit your stride as you keep going and become familiar with this new part of your galaxy!

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

I'm so happy to hear you are writing your next story, Alex!

Thank you for such a great review of American Hustle. I am probably one of a very few people who actually haven't seen it yet. But this movie is on my to-see-very-soon list for sure!

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

I'm so happy to hear you are writing your next story, Alex!

Thank you for such a great review of American Hustle. I am probably one of a very few people who actually haven't seen it yet. But this movie is on my to-see-very-soon list for sure!

Carrie-Anne said...

Writing short pieces in first-person, or even short stories set before the book began, can do a lot of good for getting to know characters better. It's been so long since I've worked with all-new characters that I might have to do that when my queue is finally empty and I have time to create some new worlds and characters, like those Japanese historicals I'm hoping to write.

Tammy Theriault said...

starting a new MS can be scary, but heck...at least you got the experience and the huge "bra" of a support group here encouraging you!

Trisha F said...

Oooh, Alex is writing something new! Exciting times. :) Glad to hear you hit a good spot with the flow of the story. No doubt the voice will be honed over time as well.

I saw American Hustle and loved it, but my aunty saw it and thought it was a really great film, but didn't love it.

We're going to see The Wolf of Wall Street a little later in the month, which I'm looking forward to.

Helena said...

I'm so glad you're new book is coming along, but I know just what you mean about trying to find a character's voice. For me,I've learned to let a character take over the narration, and that's when he or she starts to really come alive and the story flows. It's like being a little crazy 'cause I'm letting the voice in my head be in charge

Donna Hole said...

I'm sure you'll get into the new novel as you progress in the world. It will be as good as the others, now that you have the knack for writing. the first books are the hardest.

........dhole

Misha Gericke said...

Yeah, when I started seriously writing outside my Fantasy universe, things felt odd to me too.

But it does get better.

I also create stories out of single songs I hear, but if I can give you a word of advice, find more songs that fit the story. It helps with nailing the feel you're going for. :-)

Elise Fallson said...

That's an interesting exercise to do with your characters and sounds like a good way to help flesh them out. Good luck writing the rest of the story, sounds like you are well on your way!

T.F. Walsh said...

I have to agree... writing that first draft of a new world is a bit like pulling teeth... but strangely fun.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mason, welcome!!

Shell, the second two books in my series were both very easy to write.

Angela, sounds like many haven't seen it. Good film!

Trisha, I still want to catch that one.

Helena, I don't have voices in my head...

Misha, I am working on a playlist!

Heather Musk said...

I'm working on short stories at the moment so I'm meeting new characters each time. It's hard to get to know them at first but it's all good practice.

Miranda Hardy said...

I'm looking forward to seeing American Hustle. So glad to read your working on a new project.

Leovi said...

Very interesting American Hustle!

Candilynn Fite said...

As for new characters, I like to do a character profile sheet. I have several I've downloaded. It also helps me to slip into a 1st person position and write a letter from the character to me (the writer). She / he tells me about themselves. It's then, their personality really comes to light. Best of luck to you on this new journey.

Ms. CrankyPants said...

My insecurities as a writer are too many to list! If only I didn't keep stumbling upon really well-written blogs. That would help... :)

Bryan Russell said...

I'm looking forward to seeing American Hustle at some point. And I'm curious about I, Frankenstein, too... and agree about the odds: 50/50.

Gossip_Grl said...

Great post and wishing you the best and all the success with your new book you are working on. My Insecurities lately is with blogging in general and not really pertain to writing. Have a great rest of the week and weekend.

Samantha May said...

This new story of mine is set in the same universe and the main character is distantly related to a character from another story. That's where the similarities end though. Even still, it's a challenge. Best of luck to you!

American Hustle was fantastic! Wolf of Wall Street is next on my list for sure.

Marta Szemik said...

It sounds like you're on your way in the story. For me finding the characters voice can vary from them jumping right out on the page, to slowly developing to find who they are and what they want to do.
I just saw The Hobbit with the kids last week (part 2) and absolutely loved it. At the end I remembered what you said about your wife screaming "No!" and she was totally right to do so. The theater was silent waiting for what's next, and the credits rolled. Can't wait for the last one.

Liesel Hill said...

Thanks for the review of American Hustle. I wasn't ever sure what to think about this film. The trailers made it look bizarre. But I really enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook, so I'll totally see it now. :D Can't wait to see the new Jack Ryan film, too. I've been so buys lately, I'm way behind on my movies. ;D

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

I like Branagh as a Director. Should be good.

Watched Ninja II last night. Action from beginning to end. Real action - no wires or cgi.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Candilynn, I have a character sheet. Might need to add more to it.

Ms Crankypants, fortunately this isn't one of those...

Marta, that was a heck of a cliffhanger, wasn't it?

Liesel, it's still odd, but fun.

Wendy, haven't seen it.

msmariah said...

Alex-- Welcome back! I will say that I'm a little concerned for 'Shadow Recruit.' Why is it being released in January? January is a dead zone for movies. I'm curious about the marketing symposium. I should go read the link!

Birgit said...

What can I say???? You rock Ninja! 7,000words!!?? You should be damm proud and happy with what you have accomplished..let's see what this year will bring. The jack Ryan film sounds great and Kenneth Branagh is one of the best. I wonder if the Frankenstein movie will be actually campy but fun...with Bill Nighy you never know but I love this guy

Chris Fries said...

Hey Alex!

Sorry I missed the IWSG yesterday, but I've made a belated post.

Sounds like you're kicking it hard on the new novel -- awesome! Congratulations! I know you can do it and that it will be another wonderful book!

Loved Sheri Larsen's Writer's Creed and have signed up for it -- if I occasionally combine it with a IWSG post, that's still copacetic, right?

And I have my doubts that I, Frankenstein will be as good as I, Robot...

Happy writings, my friend!

LD Masterson said...

I don't normally do IWSG posts but there's nothing like looking at all the unfinished (or unstarted) goals from last year to fire up the old insecurities. Oh well - on to 2014.

The Happy Whisk said...

I haven't been to the movies in awhile but I am finishing up a few series on NetFlix.

Happy Almost Weekend.

Joshua said...

I didn't do IWSG this month. Time already slipping by.

I want "I, Frankenstein" to be good, but I'm not hopeful based on what little I've seen.

Sherry Ellis said...

That's great that you've gotten 7,000 words into your new manuscript! Best of luck writing it!

Michelle Wallace said...

7 000 words into the story! Wow! Sounds like it's taking shape. Good luck with that!
I think that sci-fi/fantasy requires amazing world-building skillz, which you have plenty of, so it shouldn't be a problem.
I'm sure there'll be lots to learn from The Marketing Symposium.

Jamie Gibbs said...

Good luck on the new story, Alex! It'll be interesting to see the galaxy through a new pair of eyes :)

Liza said...

Alex, so glad you are writing a new story! Hooray for you.

Toinette Thomas said...

I'm currently trying to write a new series while just really getting into another. Creating two completely different world with so many characters is hard, but I'm being very organized and optomistic about it. I haven't seen American Hustle, but I'd like to. I like the idea of the writer's creed and will probably join up.

I'm liking the updates on your writing process. Another great post. As always, thanks for hosting.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Happy New Year, Alex! I am dying to see American Hustle. I did see the Wolf of Wall Street last Saturday and really enjoyed it (even though it was about 45 minutes too long).

I still can't believe it's 2014...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Birgit, I just need to move past that number tonight.

Chris, it's copacetic. No worries on late. And that means I Frankenstein will be awful then.

Joshua, no worries.

Michelle, thanks for the vote of confidence.

Jennifer, I still want to see it.

Al Diaz said...

I have some good questionnaires for character developing. I can share if you are interested. Sorry I didn't post for IWSG. Dragon is MIA from Xmas mission. This is Tassin delivering a telepathical message via IPad.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Although it is challenging, I love the first draft. It's a time when you feel like a super hero because no one has read the draft and pointed out all the flaws.

My girl wants to see Frankenstein, but it looks kind of scary to me.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Those sort of writing exercises are actually good. I don't write first person either but when I hit a sticky place or get stuck I use first person as a tool to move me forward. I'm looking forward to reading this one, Alex.

Riddick for sure and I do like what I've seen on Jack Ryan.

Happy New year!

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Emilyann Girdner said...

It seems like the first in a series is usually the hardest to finish for me. I'm still getting to know the characters and feeling out the mood and world. But that's part of the fun of it too, it's just different than when I get further in to the series (I say this like I'm an expert, but I'm not. I've only written two firsts in a series, and one sequel, lol). I know you'll get the character to shape up for you though. Wishing you luck =-)

Medeia Sharif said...

I really want to see American Hustle.

You're great at world-building, so this new project will come together.

klahanie said...

Hey Alex,

Seven thousand words into your new manuscript. Well done, my friend. Must be quite something counting each word. Often, I lose track of my word count and have to start counting all over again.

I'm sure you new part of the galaxy will meet with um universal approval. Let that one song continue to inspire.

Be sure to visit all the rest in the IWSG aka....

Enjoy your weekend. Looks like an awesome week ahead.

I don't have any writing insecurities. No pressure, no problem.

Gary

Simon Kewin said...

Always good to challenge yourself! Voice is tricky isn't it? I find it tends to emerge as I go along. It would be nice if it was there from word 1 though...

Angela Brown said...

I seem to always be extremely late to the Ninja Captain parties but got to make it here if I don't get to make it anywhere...which is sometimes the case with my schedule. Sheesh lol!!

Just a note about Escape from Planet Earth. My Chipmunk LOVED that movie. We made a couple of great movie nights on that one.

As for writing something new, it is a difficult thing to do. Voices of the characters, their reactions, all of it can be intimidating, but by trying some exercises, you've gotten on the path to really gathering a stride in writing this new piece. Can't wait to see what you turn out :-)

Melissa Bradley said...

Writing a new story?! Yay!! That is the best news. I write in different worlds all the time. You just have to pace yourself and think about things that would be found there, the culture, the speech rhythm. It gets easier as you go.

So much good stuff happening, I missed being here.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tassin is talented! Please, send questionnaires, Al.

Jenn, that is one way to look at it!

Sia, probably more than I'm looking forward to writing it...

Gary, I visited at least two thirds of the list. Did my best!

Angela, thank you! And it was a fun movie.

Melissa, would you like to write it instead?

Debra McKellan said...

I'm just now branching out into a new world again in my other projects. It is hard to figure out. You'll make it!

TS Hendrik said...

I've been circling around Escape From Planet Earth, unsure whether to give it a try. On your recommendation I will have to give it its due.

Catherine Stine said...

Best of luck with the continued clarity of your WIP. And yes, writing exercises can be incredibly helpful!

Maurice Mitchell said...

January is a slow month for movies but Cloudy 2 is on my buy list for my son.

John Wiswell said...

I just passed 8,000 words on my new novel today! Godspeed, Alex. Glad you feel the new puppy is coming together.

And I'm on board with your American Hustle love. That movie has more good acting than it knows what to do with.

Sarah Allen said...

Inspiring and motivational, as always. And Captain Philips definitely deserves to be on this list. If anybody hasn't seen it, FIX THAT.

Sarah Allen
(From Sarah, with Joy)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tim, stop circling and land. It's worth a rental.

Maurice, didn't see it in the theater but will definitely watch on video.'

John, yes it does. Now, on to writing!

Sarah, I will soon!

Al Penwasser said...

I saw American Hustle last weekend and I really enjoyed it. Since I was 20 in 1978, I recognized everything about it. My kids were amazed when I told them that the movie got it right about the culture. Although the music (which was fantastic) was not from the late 70s. More like the early 70s. But, I really liked it.

Leovi said...

I have to say that my son did not like Escape From Planet Earth!

Ella said...

Very cool Captain! I am cheering for you and that is all it takes for an artist to find inspiration, one song, one photo, one glance and off we run into the unknown! YOU can do it~ Cheers to 2014 and I dare you to continue your quest, be bold and always rock!

LynNerdKelley said...

Happy New Year, Alex! Yay for you starting a new novel, and based on a song! That does sound challenging. I agree that it's much easier to write another book in a series. Sounds like a good exercise that you found online. Best of luck to you!

nutschell said...

Hi Alex! thanks for looking for our spot on page cravings. I couldn't find our post either! I even checked the email and it did say January 11th, so I don't know what happened. oh well, maybe the web author will just post the interview next.
Anyway, thanks for always dropping by my blog. You are just awesome!!!

hugs,
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Al, I noticed that about the music. The American and ELO songs were both early 79's.

Thanks, Ella.

Lynn, it would be easier, although I think Byron is getting too old for more adventures.

Nutschell, sorry it didn't appear.

Milo James Fowler said...

And the Oscar goes to...Bale's comb-over! Fun movie; we enjoyed it. Good luck with your draft -- the voice will crystallize during revisions.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 208   Newer› Newest»