Friday, January 11, 2013

My Blog Has Moved!

Hello all,

I have updated my website to have WordPress, and now my blog is part of my main website.

Please find me there (along with all these Blogger archive blog posts):

Thanks, and hope you enjoy!

Elaine Calloway

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful New Year's Eve celebration. For me, that consisted of picking up some gourmet (and easy to cook) dishes from a local specialty store, and staying in to watch DVDs. There's too much chaos on the roads for my taste, and going out to dinner can often mean a 3-hour wait on a night such as 12/31.

So we had our Chicken Paris, our twice-baked potato salad and creamed spinach, and special key lime tart pies for dessert. The kids joined us, made smores on the grill, and a good time was had by all :)

This morning, I found something in my desk drawer. It was our 2011 Christmas letter, along with my 2012 New Year Resolutions. Since I usually misplace these things, it was fascinating to me to read these and see how many I kept over the 2012 year. To my astonishment, I kept 6 out of 10. That's pretty good. More than half.

I hope for better numbers in 2013, of course, but I would say 60% is my best year yet.

So here we go, with 2013 resolutions:

1. Take a pottery class. Do something different and artistic.
2. Take the plunge into self-publishing my 4-book Elemental series. Book 1 ("Water's Blood") is scheduled for Feb 1 release, with Book 2 out by late summer.
3. Get in better shape/eat healthy.
4. Take the time to write, draw, paint, whatever inspires me.
5. Blog more!

What about you? What are your goals for 2013?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Writer Q&A, Actors Studio Style!

A fellow writer on Twitter contacted me about a week ago, wanting to do a Q&A with me and my writing process. I was (of course) honored, and now the questions/answers have been compiled and published to his blog.

The link is here, and the Q&A covers such things as how to survive when your hard drive crashes, what works for your process, etc.

Check it out!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nov 1 - Happy #NaNoWriMo

Happy November :)

For those who don't hear character voices in your head or hoard Diet Coke at writer conferences, the abbreviation in the title, NaNoWriMo, stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is always the month of November, with many people grasping caffeine in their hands, ready to take the challenge.

The challenge? Write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. That equals to about 1800 words per day, or doing massive catch-up on the weekends. There are website trackers to upload your word count, ways to chart/graph it based on regional area. Oh yes, we writers get into it!

Sometimes it helps to know that others are struggling to get the words down on paper, too. Sometimes it helps to have a network, no matter what activity you are doing.

So for all those starting #NaNoWriMo today, may the muse light upon your shoulder and bring you happy and wonderful words :)

As for me, I do intend to participate, but I need to finish an editing project first. So perhaps I will be one of those types who cranks out the words on the weekend, rather than daily. We shall see :)



Saturday, August 4, 2012

RWA 2012 - Day 4 Updates (belated)

RWA Conference – Day 1 (or Day 4 of Vacation)

There is a direct correlation between free Internet and the ability to blog on a regular basis. This post is belated since I didn't have ongoing access to the Internet, but hopefully it is still a worthwhile read. Enjoy! 

I’m sitting out by the pool, surrounded by palm trees and a summer breeze, as I write this blog. Anaheim has some amazing weather, especially for summer.

Yesterday, my writing buddy CJ and I did some networking, attended a book signing, and went to Downtown Disney using a Mickey pass on a transit bus. CJ was quite happy to get her dosage of Mickey, she practically has Mouse-Covered walls. They *did* have mouse ears for benches, which I thought was quite cool!

Today was the “official” start of the conference. Breakfast was more than I expected – decent food but nowhere to really sit. It was like eating breakfast at a cocktail party. After, we began the seminar panels.

Panel 1 – Raising the Stakes for your Characters – by Virna DePaul
GREAT panel, which made me smile because on opening day, the panels can go either way. She was organized, well-spoken, and knowledgeable. I really liked that she used movie references to make her point. She had obviously attended every workshop and retreat on story structure, screenwriting structure, book structure, etc. because she incorporated all that knowledge into an amazing presentation.

Key points:
1. Ratchet up the stakes for your characters. Think “JAWS” music, how it starts slow and ominous and gets faster and faster. That’s what you want with your book.
2. Raising the stakes means something the character can win OR lose. It doesn’t have to be something he/she can lose only.
3. Readers want to experience all the turning points that the character goes through. The beginning, the need to change, the believable reason for the character to step away from an average day to meet his/her goal, and fighting for it until the end.

Panel 2- Show, Don’t Tell
Next came a panel by Janice Hardy about the ever-repeated writer rule: Show, Don’t Tell.
Another great panel! She brought up several words and phrases to be careful of when writing, because often these words tell emotions rather than let the reader experience them. Words such as “she felt happy” doesn’t SHOW us anything, it tells us. Saying “she grinned so wide, her teeth gleamed in the Texas sun” is better.
One key point I really liked from her speech was: If you can’t “act” it out, then you are telling. For example, if you say, “Anger bubbled from her heart.” She had 3 volunteers come up from the audience and try to act out the sentence. They had no idea what to do. However, if the sentence spoke of a woman’s shoulders slumping, her crawling into the fetal position, etc., this helps us “see” the scene more.
The welcome luncheon was a busy experience, as always, but good food and an inspiring speech by Stephanie Laurens. Her main point was that no matter how the e-book revolution may change the distribution and marketing of books, bottom line – we are writers. We are storytellers. Our job is to get the works of emotion to readers, no matter which channel we accomplish that goal.

Panel 3- “Dialogue: It’s More than What You Say” by Julia Quinn
This was probably the most popular panel of the day! I arrived 15 minutes early and there was standing room only. The host managed to get some extra chairs, but otherwise this was a packed panel!
Lots of interesting info, the difference between dialogue tags (such as “she said”) and action tags (such as “Jane walked into the room. Then the dialogue is listed here)

A great day overall.