Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fictional Characters Help Put Goals into Perspective

I was introduced to T.W. Fendley by Terri Bruce when she was soliciting for her Blog Ring which I teased her into calling the Blog Ring of Power.  Well the name stuck, not that I mind.  So the other blog members have swapped e-mails and such.  Teresa asked if I'd help her do a virtual book tour and I agreed.  Always willing to help.  I am currently reading ZERO TIME, so check back here for a book review later this month. 

Teresa has been a fun person to get to know.  This has been different reading someone’s published work after I’ve talked to them.  I’ve been writing for years, but not ready to publish yet.  So, this is fun to rub shoulders with other writers and learn more about the craft.  So here is Teresa, ready to do a guest post here on The Write Time.  She will tell more about her book tour, ZERO Time and some thoughts on how she handles goals.
Take it away Teresa. 
Fictional Characters Help Put Goals into Perspective

By T.W. Fendley

Things have changed a lot for me since I decided to write fiction more than fifteen years ago. For my first novel, I got up at 4 a.m. and wrote a couple of hours each day before work. Fortunately, it only took a few months to get the first draft done (years of rewriting followed, but that's a topic for another day).

Now I have the luxury of being able to write full time, but I find it more difficult to claim time for writing with so many competing fun activities. After twenty-five years of working a corporate job, I hear a little voice say "Really?" when I try to be too task-oriented. Yet without deadlines and priorities, I'm pretty miserable. What's a girl to do?

So I have a few tricks to keep me moving, in a nice Pavlovian way. When I reach a set writing goal, I can:
  • Get a healthy snack (I keep them in another room)
  • Read a chapter in whatever book I'm reading
  • Call a friend
  • Go on Twitter or check email for ten minutes (I set my Reiki timer)
  • Walk around the block
  • See what my husband's doing (and run back to my office if he's watching the cooking channel)
  • Play the piano (that has the added benefit of being "practice" for my weekly lessons)
  • Have a decaf skim latte
  • Do dishes

No, that wasn't an error. Sometimes when the words aren't flowing, even doing dishes sounds like more fun than writing!

These writing goals are generally small ones, several of which fill the day--such as write for an hour or five hundred words (whichever comes first), edit a chapter or research a specific topic. Daily goals build toward my overall writing goals, which include finishing my next book this year, marketing the one that's published, finding an agent/publisher for my completed YA novel, and entering short story contests.

That certainly keeps me busy, but what if our entire race would become extinct if I failed to reach my goals? (Stay with me here as I go off on a tangent.) Thankfully, those are not stakes I've personally faced (nor have many humans), but that is the motivation for the travelers in my historical fantasy novel, ZERO TIME. They seek to breed a hybrid race to eradicate a genetic flaw that resulted in natural births of only females (males were cloned).

The expedition leader, Xmucane (pronounced Shmoo-kane) and her mate, Xpiyacoc (Shoo-pee-a-cok) must find a way to maximize their chances of success before travel between Omeyocan and Earth through the Serpent Ropes becomes too risky (at Zero Time). Here's how they parsed it down:
  • Split the sixteen travelers into small groups instead of sending everyone to one place and time, as two previous expeditions did
  • Send all the groups to the same general geographic area so their descendants have a greater chance of mating, but far enough apart to avoid limiting the gene pool 
  • Use the greatest timespan possible for the two races to mix genetically before Zero Time
  • Have travelers of different ages and gender (unlike the previous expeditions, which had only adult women)
This intentional scatter-shot through time placed Omeyocan travelers in civilizations from the Age of Light (roughly 4000 B.C.E.) to the founding of Teotihuacan, "the place where gods were created" (circa 150 C.E.). Geographically, they arrived at locations from what is current-day Peru to the Yucatan. They brought Omeyocan culture to these places, including information about astronomical cycles needed to track the time remaining until Zero Time. Those who arrived in later times found family members they'd left on Omeyocan that morning revered as ancestors or gods. They could see if the genetic experiment had results, and make adjustments as needed.

Of course, not everyone had the same agenda.

Which brings me back to my own agenda for today (whew-tangent is now over!). It's always important to keep goals in perspective, and taking a look at what fictional characters face can, surprisingly, help clarify what matters. For me, writing is very important, but family, friends and having fun take top priority. If I don't meet a self-imposed writing deadline, will it cause the extinction of all humans? I think not.
So, having now reached my writing goal, I'm off to take a walk and enjoy the spring sunshine. Thanks, Dean, for being a Party Host in my Virtual Book Tour Party!
The ZERO TIME 2012 Virtual Book Tour Party is here!

To celebrate, T.W. Fendley is giving away a Maya-Aztec astrology report, a Mayan Winds CD, ZERO TIME tote bag and fun buttons. Check out the prizes and other posts on the Party Page.
3 ways to enter  (multiple entries are great!)

1) Leave a comment here or on any of the other PARTY POSTS listed on the Party Page.
2) Tweet about the Virtual Party or any of the PARTY POSTS (with tag #ZEROTIME2012)
Example: Join the Virtual Party for historical #fantasy novel ZERO TIME by @twfendley for a chance to win prizes! #ZEROTIME2012
3) Facebook (tag @T.W. Fendley) about the Virtual Party. (NOTE: tag must have periods to work)
Example: Join the Virtual Party for historical fantasy novel ZERO TIME by @T.W. Fendley for a chance to win prizes!
You can find ZERO TIME at:
Ebook $4.99
Paperback $16.95

Here is her BIO:

T.W. Fendley writes historical fantasy and science fiction with a Mesoamerican twist for adults and young adults. Her debut historical fantasy novel, ZERO TIME, was voted Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel in the 2011 P&E Readers Poll. Her short stories took second place in the 2011 Writers' Digest Horror Competition and won the 9th NASFiC 2007 contest. Teresa belongs to the St. Louis Writer's Guild, the Missouri Writers' Guild, SCBWI and Broad Universe. 

As Zero Time nears, only Keihla Benton can save two worlds from the powers of Darkness. But first she must unlock the secrets of Machu Picchu and her own past.
When Philadelphia science writer Keihla Benton joins an archeological team at Machu Picchu, she learns the Andean prophesies about 2012 have special meaning for her. Only she can end the cycle of Darkness that endangers Earth at the end of the Mayan calendar. As she uncovers secrets from the past, which threaten her life and those she loves, Keihla struggles to keep the powerful Great Crystal from the Lord of Darkness and his consort.

Xmucane leads an expedition to Earth to overcome a genetic flaw that threatens the people of Omeyocan with extinction, but she soon finds herself involved in a very personal battle that pits mother against daughter and sister against sister. With the help of the time-traveling Great Serpent Quetzalcoatl, she leaves the Southern Temples to arrive in present-day Machu Picchu as the expedition’s time-window closes.

Xmucane and Keihla work together as Earth and Omeyocan near alignment with the galaxy’s dark heart for the first time in 26,000 years. They must seize the last chance to restore the cycle of Light to Earth and return to the Pleiades with a cure, no matter what the cost to their hearts.


T.W. Fendley said...

Thanks, Dean, for all your support! You're a great Party Host. It's been lots of fun getting to know you, too, through the Blog Ring of Power and those crazy memes. :)

Dean C. Rich said...

You are very welcome. Hope your book party is rockin'! Good luck with everything.