Tuesday, August 20, 2013

10 Things to Remember

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by, especially my regular readers. I'll be on blogging break for about a month due to outside circumstances. Please also excuse the longer response time to emails and updates on FB and Twitter.

But if I could leave you with a few thoughts before I go, it's these:

1) Write because you love to write. Write the stories you wish were out there and that you would love to read.

2) Expect bumps in the road to publication. No one has a magic portal to bypass them. Sometimes the best research and preparation still doesn't smooth the path.

3) Learn all that you can. Share what you've learned with others.

4) Develop relationships with other writers, not just business interactions.

5) Remember that sometimes the ugly snakes of subjectivity and timing will cross your path and even impede it. Don't give up. There is no such thing as a perfect writer or a perfect story. Often people don't know what they want until they come across it.

6) There is no point of arrival. We attain milestones. There is no happily-ever-after, even if that's what we write about.

7) You do have something to contribute to the writing community. We all want it to be a bestselling novel. Usually that's not the case. You may be the best critique partner ever, or a social media guru, or simply a shoulder to cry on.

8) There is no one true pathway to publication. There are guidelines and a plethora of advice out there. But no one has a correct map. Each person's journey is different, and that's okay.

9) Don't give in to despair, depression, bitterness, or hate. You will have flickers or episodes dealing with these emotions. Don't let them take you over. Don't let them drag you down. No matter how impossible or hard it may seem, take one more step forward. And then another. And then another.

10) Reflect upon what you have learned from your writing journey. You may not be where you want to be, but that doesn't mean the time was wasted. What did you get from your research? What relationships did you gain? How much stronger are you as a writer now than when you started? What wisdom is now part of your personal arsenal? Treasure these achievements.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Recaps on Writing

I hope you're all well and enjoying your writing journeys. I had some unexpected, and some overwhelming yet fantastic things hit me this week, so I'm posting a list of recaps on previous writing blogposts. And my question for you this week is: What is your favorite type of character to read about? Do you have a preference for male or female? What type of personality makes you smile and perk up as you read? Or does a character's looks strike a chord with you? A particular occupation or goal? A quirk? Think about it and then share in the comments.

Your Story, Your Spin
A post on voice.

Manuscript Disease Top 10 Symptoms
Some guidelines to help you see if you're done revising or if you have more to do.

Receiving Manuscript Feedback

Adjectives, Adverbs, and Sneaky Profanity
Are you guilty of this faux pas?

The Posting/Critiquing Marathon Part 1: What I've Learned So Far
Those painful beginning chapters.

Obese and Anorexic Novels
Why story should be a key factor in regards to word count.

Opposition is a Good Thing

The Posting/Critiquing Marathon Part 2: In Conclusion, What I've Learned
Those underworked middle chapters.

Over-Editing and Self-Esteem
For compulsive perfectionists.

Cutting Down Character Count or How to Amputate 101

Don't Spend So Much Time Polishing Your Beginning ...

World-building: Think Big, Be Creative, Have Fun!

We Are Onions Not Turnips
A few words on characters.

Enticing Your Readers

What Is Talent?

Fulfilling Your Promises to the Reader
The problem with book series.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Music to Write By #2: The Different World by Peter Schilling

Okay, this one dates me a bit, but that's okay. What I love about a lot of 80s - early 90s music is the ambiguity of the lyrics. They give you a general feeling of what the artist wants you to feel without being blatantly open about exact meaning. The music of "The Different Story" (1989), I think, is classic. This song sets a somewhat ominous yet hopeful tone. Good for world-building, pivotal emotional scenes, or a motivator to remember that conflict is necessary for characters to grow. A story shouldn't be all roses and cake. A writer who pampers their characters doesn't have much of a story to tell.

And, if anything, it's kind of fun to watch the music video. I'd never seen it until recently and I think it captures the tone of the song very well. On the fantasy-esque side, it has a romantic vibe as well.

Performed by German singer Peter Schilling in his third English album, this song also known as "A World of Lust and Crime," here is "The Different Story":

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Gift to Survive

I'm so grateful to have the kind of imagination that takes me far far away from reality. I think I would have gone crazy, become chronically depressed, or worse if I didn't have this ability. Real life is hard, and sometimes it's so bad you want to curl up in a ball and cry.

That's why I love to read books that are not in contemporary settings. Fantastic places, or back in time, anything but a reflection on what real life is like. I have to get away. I can't run away from reality, and truthfully, I don't try, but I do need a respite in order to survive.

That is why I enjoy world building so much when I write. It gives me a sense of control, and being the creator of these unique places makes me feel ... safe.

I'm certainly not going to give a laundry list of my circumstances. Needless to say, we all have rough patches, times when we are pushed beyond what we think we can handle. And it's wonderful when we take that one more step we don't think is possible because we then know we can go further than our expectations. It's growth. Understanding that also helps when writing. We know how to push our characters and we don't baby them because we know they can also take that one more step.

I expect to grow a lot in the next few months. Fortunately, I have soaring vistas, beautiful gardens, fantastic creatures, and irresistible characters to explore. It's a blessing, and it's why I write.

How about you?