Sally Bosco

Author of Dark Fiction

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Planning a Halloween Party (in 1911)

This post by Patrick Keller about a Halloween party in 1911 caught my imagination. It’s a fun read about celebrating my favorite holiday in a bygone era. I can picture myself there somehow. I have an urge to spin it off into a horror story.

The Big Séance Podcast

As many of you are no doubt planning themes for Halloween get-togethers next month, I thought maybe Ms. Ruby Ross Goodnow could help you plan. Actually, the party below, held on “Hallowe’en” at “eight o’ clock” in 1911, was also meant to be a housewarming party, for a brand new home, perhaps a bungalow or craftsman like the one pictured below. I found this article, originally published in the October 1911 issue of The Delineator, a few years ago and I just love it! (Note that a yearly subscription was $1. Sweet!) I’m considering planning a Halloween get together myself, and using this retro article as a starting point for a turn of the century theme!

 

 

From the October 1911 issue of The Delineator:

___________________________________

Entertainment in October

Conducted by Ruby Ross Goodnow

Mrs. Goodnow will be glad to help you with any kind of entertainment. Write…

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Binge Writing Reflections

I feel like I had a successful binge. My Day One total was 15,000 words, but I had written the beginning chapters and some of the middle.

My Day Two was the least productive with 5,600 words, but I had some distractions and ended up writing mostly at Starbucks.

Day Three, my day at Tampa Airport, turned out to be very productive. I wrote 7,000 words, but more than that, I had some interesting turns of events in my novel. Some relationships emerged that I didn’t know were there, and one of the characters turned out to be somebody quite different than I thought he was in the beginning.

Though I did follow my outline, I found myself filling in with scenes I hadn’t planned before. I subconsciously knew I had to get in some backstory or add plants for things that will come later on in the book. As these weren’t written down anywhere, they came from my subconscious.

This is the advantage of binge writing. The writing is organic and all one piece. The story doesn’t have time to get cold. It’s all right there in your head.

During my first 3 day writing binge I naively believed that I could complete a novel in 3 days. It’s obvious to me now that that isn’t going to happen, but at close to 30,000 words I now have a damned good start.

I don’t think I drove myself quite as hard this time. I took more care in forming my sentences and paragraphs, and sometimes I’d go back and correct things. Now I know that finishing my novel in that time frame isn’t the point. The point is getting into that white-hot creative state that will propel me to the end of the book.

If any of you are thinking of doing a writing binge, and have the time to do it, I would highly recommend it.

This is the poem, The Thin People. It’s hard to read, but if you click on it, it’s more legible.

Sylvia-Plath-Thin

My interview with writer, Meg Mims

In my continuing quest to find out how authors binge write, I interviewed Meg Mims who is a writer of Western Historical Suspense, Historical Mystery and Contemporary Romance. She’s also a fellow graduate of the MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. I’ll be teaching a workshop in Binge Writing at Seton Hill’s In Your Write Mind workshop which will take place June 21-24, 2012 in Greensburg, PA. Here’s my interview with Meg:

Why does having an intensive writing period work for you? How did you become a binge writer?

Last year, right after Christmas, I realized I *should* have written a novella due to the success of my fellow authors’ novellas for that season. Like, WOW! So on December 27th, I decided to shoot for the January 5th deadline of a Valentine’s Day contemporary romance novella. I had an idea, ran with it without plotting a thing. I’m a TOTAL plotter, so this was a big change for me. I had various “points” in my head, but The Key to Love ended up as the closest thing to being a “total pantsed” novella. By the 5th of January, I had 18K words and took another 3 days to add a bit more in the saggy middle.

What do you do, writing-wise-to prepare for your binge writing sessions? Do you have an already prepared outline?

If I ever do this again, I sure would have a prepared outline!  Normally I set goals per day or the week and stick to my To-Do list, such as characterizations, or plotting, or research, or my non-fiction writing. I’m not usually a binge-writer. I like taking my time.

What other things do you do to prepare? Stock up on food, unplug from Internet, get into a special mind-set, etc.

You definitely have to either cook ahead or plan on sending hubby/wife for pizza, Subway, Arby’s, Panera’s or Lean Cuisine in the freezer. Avoid FB, Twitter, blogging – only check email once a day. Eat, write, think, visit bathroom, sleep. That’s IT. Seriously.

Do you go away or do you write at home?

I totally have the Sheldon spot on my sofa. It keeps me focused, I can see out the front window and I keep the TV off. I also listen to music soundtracks to speed up my writing. I’ve never tried to go away, and I might not be comfy enough to produce.

How do these sessions make you feel? Exhilarated? Tired? Satisfied? Frustrated?

Once I reached 15K words for the novella, I was very happy. I knew I’d make the deadline or close to it. I was exhausted, though. Frustration set in once I went into edits – I was totally rewriting it far more than my content and line editors wanted. I edited up until a few days before the release! Call me a Perfectionist. I wanted to put my name on a better product.

Do you complete a draft of an entire novel during this period?

The novella was finished, yes. And I’ve done this before for rough first drafts. I don’t like it, though. I prefer taking my time.

What’s your process for editing your draft?

Although I “vomited up” the novella, I usually work an “ocean wave” method — going back and surging forward, so I end up with a decent “second draft” instead of a rough first draft. Then I keep revising for various things – subtext, theme, characterization, depth, etc.

Anything else you’d like to say about binge writing? 

I’m planning on doing it again for the Christmas novella later this year. September or October. That’s all I’m giving myself for first draft and the editing before submitting.

Thanks, Meg! I’m looking forward to reading your novella!

Meg Mims is an award-winning author and artist. She loves writing blended genres – like historical, western, adventure, romance, suspense and mystery. Her first book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 WWA Spur Award for Best First Novel.

Double Crossing is currently available from Astraea Press, Amazonand Barnes & Noble in ebook and print. Meg also wrote a contemporary romance novella, The Key to Love, published in February 2012.

Meg is a staff writer for Lake Effect Living, a West Coast of Michigan tourist on-line magazine, and for RE/MAX Platinum of Brighton, Michigan. She earned an M.A. from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program in January 2010.

Follow her on Twitter, visit her on Facebook  or check her Website at http://www.megmims.com/

My binge writing interview with Leslie Davis Guccione

In preparation for teaching a workshop on binge writing at the Seton Hill University “In Your Write Mind” writing conference June 21-24, 2012, I decided to interview several authors who have had binge writing experience.

ImageToday’s interview is with Leslie Davis Guccione, author of The Chick Palace. She was also my mentor while I was going through Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA program. She was an inspiring mentor and believe me, I will never use “floating body parts” or use “like” instead of “as” again.

What do you write?

Women’s fiction but this question applies to my years writing series romances for harlequin/silhouette and mid-grade and YA mostly for Scholastic.

Why does having an intensive writing period work for you? How did you become a binge writer?

Juggling fiction with reality (3 kids and 2 house restorations). One foot always on the starting line.

What do you do, writing-wise-to prepare for your binge writing sessions? Do you have an already prepared outline? Image

Fine tuned my imagination and tried to have much of whatever scene I was going to tackle already in my head. <–took practice but getting the opening in my head first keeps me on track.

Do you outline?

In the days of selling romances via three chapters and synopsis, I’d expand the synopsis to a rough outline, but that often meant I’d outline the immediate chapters ahead of me/go back and flesh it out. Outline the next chapters, etc. (I can’t believe I’m admitting this.) And I used nothing more sophisticated than paper and pencil so I’d have that to look simultaneously.

For my current work I do some of the same but the notebook/pencil is to give my hands a break. I also keep a three ring binder. Since I freelance edit and mentor as many as 7/10 students I need the physical break from the constant pounding on the keyboard and staring at the screen. No carpal tunnel but tendonitis flares up. (and I’m faithful about finger and hand stretching)

All this is done in good old Microsoft Word, btw, but I’ve JUST won a Scrivener package so we’ll see how that goes.

What other things do you do to prepare? Stock up on food, unplug from Internet, get into a special mind-set, etc.

Sad to admit it was more like the opening to Romancing the Stone: no food, no kleenex, no toilet paper. Wrote like a maniac the minute the school bus left.

Do you go away or do you write at home?

Home but in every house, I’ve always had a dedicated office. (for taxes and had to have a space with a door that shut.)

How do these sessions make you feel? Exhilarated? Tired? Satisfied? Frustrated?

<– Every one and often irritated when words finally worked but the clock ran out.

Do you complete a draft of an entire novel during this period?

Yes, plowing forward to get anything at all down. Revision is so much easier when there’s something to work against.

What’s your process for editing your draft?

Post-it notes and using colored fonts within the manuscript to identify places I want to get back to.

Anything else you’d like to say about binge writing?

If you wait for your muse you’ll never get a thing finished. Plus this career is based on deadlines and contracts from selling three chapters and an outline. I’ve never had the luxury of writing a full novel then placing it, rather, I placed the partial and then had to write it.

Would you like to give us a short bio, URL, novels available?

I’ve written 31 novels since 1986. Romance, romantic suspense; Hear No Evil series for Scholastic as Kate Chester. Tell Me How the Wind Sounds, and Come Morning – multiple awards for Kidlit.

I took a ten year break to teach and Dec 26th my agent placed The Chick Palace with B&N “nook first” it hit #1 and stayed in the top 10 for 2 weeks and stayed a bestseller for 4 weeks including “staff choice”. Now it’s also on Amazon.

You can learn more about Leslie at http://lesliedavisguccione.blogspot.com/

Death Undone is now in the works! Yay!

I’m really happy to report that Lynne Hansen and I have started work on the sequel to AltDeath.com. The new book will be titled Death Undone. It picks up where AltDeath left off. We’ll have some new characters and some exciting twists and turns. Now I need to get my brain back into Tori, Dexter, Matt and Veronica mode. It won’t be difficult since I feel like I know these characters so well.

How our collaboration works:  Lynne and I get together and create a detailed outline. It’s so detailed we include dialogue and descriptions. Next we figure out which of us will write which chapters. (Typically Lynne likes the actions scenes and I do best on the introspective ones.) Finally, we put it all together and edit each others’ work. We do a final edit on the finished product and we’re done.

It works well for us to have this detailed plan. If we tried to do–“Well, I’ll write a chapter then you write whatever you feel like, then I’ll write whatever I feel like.”–that would never work. It would never come together into a cohesive whole.

The reason it works for us it that our writing is similar, but we complement each others’ strengths and weaknesses.

So, come on, Lord Ruthven. Bring it on!

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