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The New Website

It was time for a big update at  ElizabethBoyle.com.  My site had been up and running for nearly 6 years without very much tinkering and like my office at home (which I am also redoing–pictures coming next week!) it was time for more than just paint and new curtains.  It was time for an entirely new approach. 

So I decided to make my entire website revolve around a blog.  This blog.

A friend emailed me this week and asked a good question.  “Why a blog?  Are you crazy?”  She went on to remind me of the one the thing I’d said in the last few years about blogging:  time spent blogging could be time spent writing.

And she’s right.  Or rather, I was right when I said it.  Time spent blogging is time that could be spent writing.  But in the last year, I’ve sort of found some balance in my writing life and starting reading blogs when I had a chance.  And I was hooked.  So when I decided to redo my website, I decided I wanted to build the new site around the blog.  To make my website more interactive, to give readers a chance to have a voice on my site, as well as for me to have an open and running dialogue with writers, readers, booksellers and anyone else who wanders by.

Other writers are building communities with bulletin boards, and group blogs, but I tend to like coffee with friends.  BBSs are too busy for me and group blogs–well, I tried it once and didn’t like it all that much.  I knew what I wanted to do–chat and yak and gossip with my good friends.  Share the news when I get it, not once a month in a website update, and hear what you all have to say. 

All this, while starting a new book.  And school letting the kids out.  And my office all in boxes as I rearrange the house. 

As I said to my friend who called me crazy, “Of course I am.  But I’ve got a Plan.”

Next up:  The Plan

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Other Beginnings . . . Say, Like a Book

Right now I am starting a new book.  I have the go ahead from the Powers in New York, and I’m itching to start writing again.  I haven’t written a word since the first part of April when I turned my last book in–well other than the proposal for the next one and the blog entries here and on my other blog, Knit the Stash.  Oh, and the content for my new website.  So perhaps I have been writing, just not on a book. 

But anyhoo, I thought I would share the process with you and if you are just starting a book or have thought about starting one, we could have a write-along. 

My process of writing a book works for me (usually) and, like many other writers, is filled with the little rituals and trials and benchmarks that move me from Page 1 to The End.  In a nutshell, I’m going to walk you though the prep work (which I’ll start talking about today), the notebook, the pre-writing I like to do, extra research, working out our writing schedule (or as we call it in our house, THE PLAN), the actual writing, revisions, and then the celebration when it is done in December.  Yes, December.  So if you are game, let’s get started. 

I actually like starting a new book.  I have this entire ritual about getting a book going.  First and foremost, I get a composition notebook out and ready.  Comp NotebookI started using lined composition notebooks a few books back and I love them.  I used to keep all my notes on notecards, but discovered that I like having the notebook for my WIP because it is easier to carry around than a bunch of loose 4×6 cards.  With all your notes in one place, you always know where to look for that idea you had for Chapter 7.

So that is your first assignment.  Get a composition notebook.  You can find these at Staples or even your local RiteAid or Target.  Grab one, and all you have to do for now is put a working title on the front (Mine is When A Star Falls), then write your name and email on the inside cover.

Inside this book will go every bit of notes, research, character ideas, names, pre-writing, plotting, scene notes, dialogue bits, revision notes, and anything else that you need to remember about your story or characters.  So make friends with your composition book.  It will be your new BFF for the next few months.  Inside those pristine pages will go your scattered thoughts, moments of brilliance, and if you are like me, highligher and lots of red pen as I scratch out things that aren’t working and begin brainstorming for a new ideas.  But all that anxiety can wait for the future, say like September, when our Deadline starts looming in the near horizon.  Right now the book is new and shiny and perfect.  And don’t let anyone point out that is because you haven’t written a single word.

Whew!  After all that work, all this anticipation of the words to come, I think I need a latte.  Besides, I need to get geared up for making The Notebook. 

So what is your working title?  How do you like to start planning your writing project?

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Beginnings . . .

When I sat down to write this first post for my new blog, I realized beginning a blog is much like beginning a book.  You sort of sit there and try to think of something brilliant to open with, something to dazzle the reader, then you realize that probably won’t happen right out of the chute.  So you start writing anyway.  That’s when you know you are a writer.  When you grant yourself the hall pass to write something less than brilliant and just get on with the story.  Because if you sat and waited for inspiration, that “Aha!” moment, you’d waste a heck of a lot of time.  Lines that shine like gems, perfect pieces of witty, searing dialogue don’t happen when you haven’t even had a chance to finish your first coffee or your computer is barely booted, they happen after your fingers have been flying over the keyboard and your focus has finally let go of the laundry and shopping and the [insert your own form of nagging here] that follows each of us around.

In other words, when you get down to the business at hand and just write, then the good things start to happen.  That isn’t to say editing isn’t also a huge blessing in disguise.  As is rereading those pages the next day after you’ve had a chance to sleep on your ideas.  But those are discussions for another day. 

So I suppose you want to know what I am going to do here.  My first hope is to entertain, as it always is when I sit down to write.  I know I am not writing the great American novel that will change the face of a generation.  Heavens, I don’t want that responsibility.  It is hard enough to write a book that one hopes will make people laugh, some people cry (because honestly, not everyone is as prone to tears as I am–which is why I have banned myself from taking Debbie Macomber books on the plane) and for anyone who needed a break from life, a few hours to escape.  I write fiction that is meant to be read, enjoyed and then, if you liked it enough, you tell everyone you know to read it, including your mom, aunt, BFF, coworker–oh, you get the point.

So how do I plan on entertaining you here?  That is the big question.  I won’t be able to help  myself, I’m going to talk about writing.  Nuts and bolts advice about getting words together and those pages down.  And I currently plan on doing that at least once a week.  So if you are an aspiring writer, or just curious about “The Process,” make sure you subscribe to my feed. 

So you aren’t a writer.  No worries.  My interests range far and wide outside the writing world.  Luckily for you, you missed my recent American Idol frenzy.  After that, there’s celebrity gossip, which I am a bit of an addict.  And then there is my other notorious addiction:  All My Children.  What was that kiss with Krystal and Derrick?  And this new Greenlee?  I’m not sure yet.  Music, movies, pop culture, movie stars that now seem to be half my age.  Not that I consider that a bad thing.

If you don’t like AMC or any of the above, there’s always whatever I am reading. kissofcrimson150px.jpg Currently on the nightstand:  Mary Reed McCall’s book, The Templar’s Seduction, and after that?  Lara Adrian’s Kiss of Crimson.  I’m not usually a vampire girl, but the first book, Kiss of Midnight really caught me up.  And I’m a sucker for a good series which this promises to be, though I have a hard time reading vampire books after sunset. 

So there you have it.  The beginning of my blog.  Maybe after all these words, the better question would be, what would you like me to blog about?  Burning questions about writing?  How Paris Hilton will ever endure 23 days in jail without her Blackberry?  Did Zach sleep with his ex to give her a baby?  What do you do with too much rhubarb?  Let me know and I’ll be more than happy to put them in queue.  But don’t forget to subscribe over there in the sidebar! 

Best,

Elizabeth

P.S.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

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