Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What you don't . . . know!

There's a saying out there write what you know! Yeah, it's a simple enough saying, straight forward, and pretty self explanatory. But . . .

What if I want to write about a margarita drinking gladiator named Tyrone? I don't know crap about gladiators, though I do know a thing or two about margaritas! Ay-yi-yi-yi, I am the Frito bandito!! Ooops, flashback to childhood - hate it when that happens.

What if I want to write about Elves, Dragons, Wizards, Hobgoblins or . . . Trolls??? I don't know crap about those things either . . . no matter what Robyn might say on the Troll issue!

What's an aspiring writer to do when he/she is supposed to write about what they know . . . and that know is limited to the mundane (well, sometimes, but after a few margaritas . . . ) world they live in?

Ah, dear followers, we do this neat little weaving thing . . . we take what we know and what we don't know and we toss them in a bowl, add a bit of lime juice, a splash . . . sorry, margarita recipe . . . mix them up and, well, write.

Yes, it's that simple. We write. We take the familiar (what we know) and add the unfamiliar (what we don't know, just in case any one is keeping track, because I know I'm not) and do the absolute best we can.

I mean, what did Stephanie Meyer know about vampires? J.K. Rowlings about boy wizards? Tolkien about Elves and Orcs and Dragons and one ring to rule them all? They knew the basics found in books, movies, mythology, and used their talents to make the unfamiliar familiar! Geesh, try saying that one a few times!

So, why am I writing this post? Well, I went off to the Enchanted Forest the other day . . . okay, that's what I posted on Facebook, but in actuality I was in organization mode in the house, cleaning my desk, closets, drawers, and just getting everything in tip top shape. Anyhow, I was thinking about a new story idea and was trying to figure out how to make it work, since I really didn't know that much about some of the characters that can be found in the Enchanted Forest. Yeah, I know the basics, I know what I've read, but how do I put that brief snippet of knowledge into a workable format?? Well, I take what I know - perhaps some margaritas, modern day - and work in what I don't know and just see what happens.

Yes, it's as simple as that. I can google trolls (hey, Robyn's blog came up, imagine that - ha!!) and find out all sorts of information. I can then add that information to what I already know and suddenly Tyrone (he's the margarita drinking gladiator, just in case you forgot) is having margaritas with a few trolls, and an elf at the local Mexican restaurant. Yes, it's an odd grouping, but they're getting along quite well, and there is the fact that the Troll Queen was kidnapped and if not returned to her throne by Midnight on March 12, 2015, the world as they know it will end . . .

Yes, it sounds like a strange concept, but . . . it's really not. It's all in taking the familiar and unfamiliar and merging them into something . . . brilliant. Yes, it's been done before, time and time again, there are no new ideas, just old ideas reimagined in a brilliant fashion. We can write about vampires that walk during the day in 2010 or an Elf that becomes President of the United States in 2012 or a witch that ascends the throne of Ireland in 1999 because we just take what we don't know (witches, elves, trolls, vampires, whatever) and add it to what we know, and pretty soon, the fingers are flying across the keyboard and the words are filling up the screen.

So, even if you don't know crap about vampires, witches, elves, trolls, dragons, or whatever, it doesn't meant you can't write about them. Put those characters in places you do know - today, here, now - and then, maybe during the revision stage, change up the today, here, now to something different and see what happens.


p.s. For those not in the know, Robyn and I had a comment-conversation yesterday about Trolls. She actually had the nerve to accuse me of being a Troll. I mean, seriously . . . Yeah, we had a bit of fun with each other yesterday, and thus she earned a place in Troll History! Ha!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Reminder and Updates

I'm pretty much unplugged until January 1, 2010! OMG, it's almost 2010! Where in the heck did 2009 go?? I mean, it was just yesterday when I was raising my glass of champagne to 2009! Wasn't it? Wasn't it? How in the heck did the year fly past so quickly? Oh, double crapola, if it's almost 2010, that means another birthday is lurking around the corner before Spring returns to the world. Le Sigh!

I hope everyone had a safe and Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate, and may your New Year be safe and happy as well.

Since, I'm typing this post . . . I'll do the little update thingy.

My goal for 2010 - begin querying once again. Hey, I made a rhyme. Woo-hoo, double time. Sorry! I'm going to work on the letter in January and then start the process February 1 to give those beleaguered agents time to go through all the queries people submitted during the holiday season, and in the first few weeks of 2010. Yes, there is a method to my madness!

Right now . . . I have three potential next brilliant novels in the idea and (gasp, the horrors) outline stage - well, two of the projects, not the third. I'm just not sure what I want to work on next. I may just have to flip a coin or number the projects, write the numbers on a piece of paper, stick them in a hat, and let my cat Squeaky pick the lucky project.

Also . . . I have another project in revision stage that will, at some point, be the next project I query, so this project gets more importance than starting a new project.

And . . . I think that's it for right now. Have a great day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twas The Night Before Christmas - Scott's Version

First, I'm not a poet! Second, this is the best I could do. Third . . . well, there is no third.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
The only creatures stirring, were the dratted cat and her toy mouse,
She raced through the house, like a bat out of hell,
Knowing that she should be sleeping, good and well
Did any of that matter?
Hell no, which explained all the clatter

Scott leapt from the bed, madder than Comet
And lo and behold, he stepped in cat vomit
That little Squeaky cat, the one he loved so dear,
Had better be able to fly like Santa’s reindeer!
For when Scott finally catchers her, that sweet little louse,
His tossing her butt, right out of the house!

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even the dratted toy mouse
Scott was snuggled all snug in his bed,
With visions of sugar plums dancing in his head.
When all of a sudden, there arose such a clatter,
Scott leapt from the bed to see what was the matter!

Lo and behold, that tricky black cat,
Had snuck back in the house, and was wearing a shiny black hat,
She grinned at me evilly, the little louse,
And just for spite, she batted at the toy mouse

No sleeping for you, she seemed to say,
I’m a cat, and nighttime is the time I play,
You can crawl back in bed,
And put a pillow over your head,
But I’ll yowl and howl, and dash through the house,
Making as much noise as I can with this lovely little mouse

Santa might come, down the chimney, with a shout,
But there’s no way in hell you’re putting me back out

I’m here for the night, and I’ll sleep all through the day,
Dash away, dash away, night time is for play!

Scott knew that the dratted little cat was right,
He wasn’t about to get any sleep this night.
With a sigh and a yawn, he knew it would be a dang long time until dawn.

So, with that thought in mind, he picked up the cat’s ball,
He tossed it through the air, and said Merry Christmas to All!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Books Go Digital

In an interesting article on cnn.com . . .

Sick of lugging hefty books with you on vacation? Portable, electronic readers -- with their easy-on-the-eyes displays and ability to carry hundreds of titles without gaining weight -- started to make inroads on their hardback cousins in 2009.

E-book sales brought in $13.9 million in revenue in the third quarter of last year, according to International Digital Publishing Forum, a trade organization. The same time period this year saw $46.5 million in e-book revenue -- a 235 percent spike.

The Amazon Kindle, originally released in November 2007, found some competition this year with the release of the Sony Reader and Barnes & Noble's Nook. Meanwhile, libraries, authors, publishers and Google continued to haggle out the details of a settlement that could give the Internet giant permission to create the world's largest library -- online only.

So, obviously, EBooks are kicking butt and yet, some publishers are choosing to delay EBook releases, rather than simultaneously release the hardback and eback (sorry, couldn't resist that one!). Hmmmm, have they checked out the above article?? Perhaps they should. I'm just saying . . .


Monday, December 21, 2009


Greetings from the North Pole!! Yes, I decided that this year I would explore the North Pole in search of Santa's Workshop, and cell phone coverage isn't the best!

Seriously, I'm unplugging, pretty much for the rest of the year. Oh, don't worry, I'm still lurking around, reading blogs here, there, and everywhere, and maybe leaving a comment or two or twelve, but just not as frequently as normal.

Today is December 21, Winter Solstice, and the shortest day of the year. Perhaps this pivotal seasonal moment is a good time to unplug, and reflect on the past year.

This year has been one of loss for me. Both Jordy and Tasmyn journeyed across the Rainbow Bridge in the span of less than a year. Tasmyn just didn't listen to me when, after Jordy passed, I told her she had to wait a few years. Stubborn to the very end. As I write this, the emotions of that loss still overwhelm me. Jordy and Tasmyn were my first pets, just me, nobody else to share them with. Jordy was a pound cat, and Tasmyn was from a stray cats litter. They both represented my independence - I had moved away, well only 2 hours, but still, from pretty much everyone I knew, quit my job, and didn't have a job in sight. Luckily, things worked out for the best. Still, when Tasmyn made that final journey, it was as if a piece of my past died with her, the lest vestige of that time in my life when I set out on my own . . . without a clue what I was doing.

This year hasn't been all about loss, because it was about finding things as well.

This year has increased the followers of this blog from a few to 91! Yes, 91!

This year brought about cyber friendships through blogging, and even Facebook. I treasure those friendships, the comments on the blog, the free advertising some people think it's okay to do on this blog (ha), the comments on Facebook, and the emails (regular and Facebook) I've exchanged with some of the bloggers I've met over this past year.

This year was about finding people struggling right alongside me in this crazy writing adventure we've embarked on.

This year was about following more and more blogs and learning as much as I can about writing, while still doing things in my crazy fashion.

This year was about tightening up Margarita Nights so that, after the craziness of the Christmas season, I can brave the shark infested waters of the Query Sea.

This year was about realizing what project is next for the revision stage and, ultimately, the query stage as well.

These past few weeks have been about ideas popping in my mind and me braving the perils of outlining, at least on one or two of those ideas, and seeing what happens. I have brightly colored folders filled with notes about these projects, and sometime next year I hope to sit down and begin typing away at something new.

This year has been about my growth as a writer as I take all that I have learned from my fellow bloggers and make it my own. It's all about that perfect blend of ornaments - past, present, and future - on the Christmas tree. Everything I read on the blogs doesn't always apply to me, but there's always a tidbit or two that does, and I take those tidbits and incorporate (blend) them into my life.

So, as I - somewhat - unplug, I hope whatever holiday people celebrate at this time of year is great, and safe, and provides endless memories, or inspiration, for many writing projects yet to come.


Thursday, December 17, 2009


Since it's that time of year . . . I'm going to write about gifts today. No, not the Kindle or the Wii or the DSi or the latest Harry Potter movie or a visit from Nathan Fillion or any such material thing. I'm talking about the gifts our characters give (or should give) our readers!

No, I haven't lost my mind and I haven't dosed my coffee with Bailey's, though that is a thought. Okay, I've only had 1/2 a cup of coffee so far, so that might explain things.

Every writer knows (or should know) that characters require action and must learn something, or what's the point of the novel??? If a character begins/ends the same way, what was the point of years of toiling over the laptop? A character must grow, must learn, must accomplish something, or there truly isn't a point to the brilliance of the 1,456,798 page book a writer just wrote.

We all know this, but I think the reader should be given (i.e., learn) something from the characters we create.

For example . . .

Jared - I'd like to think he gives the gift of knowing that, sometimes, love just isn't enough to make a relationship work, and that, sometimes, the greatest thing a person can do is walk away from the comfortable to the unknown.

Sorcha - I'd like to think she gives the gift of knowing that forgiveness won't truly happen, but that acceptance of her regret will happen. She can move forward, as can the others hurt by her actions, and they will survive, perhaps a bit changed, perhaps a bit more jaded and cynical then when they first started out in life.

Alexander - I'd like to think he gives the gift of fully understanding the consequences of the choices people make in life, and knowing it is never too late to change one's mind and do what a person really wants to do.

The Man with a Gun (sorry, never have named this character) - I'd like to think he gives the gift of hope. When everything a person loves is taken from them, when all their dreams are destroyed, when their family is gone and there is truly nothing, nothing to live for, and only vengeance exists, sometimes, hope is found in the unlikeliest of places. This is the gift the man with a gun provides.

Okay, I could keep listing characters and gifts, but then I'd never accomplish anything else today. I could also list characters we all know - Bilbo Baggins, Frodo, Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables. Each of these characters taught me something about life. Each of these characters provided a nice gift, not always neatly wrapped, that I treasure every time I open up one of the Harry Potter books, The Hobbit, and of The Lord of the Rings, Anne of Green Gables or any other book I've ever read, or ever will read. Every single book, to me at least, is a treasure chest of gifts, perhaps a journey of self discovery as well.

What will readers discover when they read your books? What gifts will your characters give? Are your characters giftless? Has the Grinch on top of Mt. Crumpet stolen all the gifts during that time when his shoes were too small, and his heart was three sizes too small? Have the Whos down in Whoville not started singing their Christmas song, bereft of gifts and decorations, but not of love? If so, perhaps a close reexamination of your characters might be in order!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Perfect Blend

No, I'm not talking about the perfect cup of coffee, though I do love Starbuck's Christmas Blend. Yummy! What I'm talking about is . . . well, wait, let me go back to the inspiration for this post . . .

Sunday morning, early, early, and I'm wide awake. So, get out of bed, flip the Christmas tree lights on, get some coffee, turn on some Christmas music, and sit with Jesse and James. As I'm sitting there, I'm looking at the Christmas tree and noticing the various ornaments on the tree. Some of them were Frank's before he met me, some of them mine before I met him, a few are from my childhood, some were gifts from friends, and many were purchased throughout our years together. They're all on the tree . . . the perfect blend of both our pasts and our present.

So, Christmas music in the background, lights glimmering on the tree, and my mind gets stuck on the concept of the perfect blend and I realize that our writing should also be a perfect blend.

Our writing should contain . . .
  • Narrative
  • Showing versus Telling
  • Dialogue - snappy, snarky, realistic
  • A few margaritas for our characters, and perhaps the author, to drink along the way.
  • Action
  • Very little passive voice
  • Voice - however you define it
  • Believable characters (flaws must exist)
  • And so much other stuff

Writing is just not putting the words onto a piece of paper. Heck, if it was that easy, everybody would be a writer. Writing is about blending everything we ever learned in High School English, tossing a bit of it away (just for good measure), everything we've learned in the blogsphere (again, toss some of it away, rules were made to be broken after all), and pouring our passion and energy into the writing. We need to mix it well, but not too much, because sometimes, overmixing can create a very stiff, practically inedible, dough! Yuck.

Blend everything just write (yes, did that on purpose) so that our readers can enjoy the perfect blend of our knowledge, talent, and a few things we've gleaned along the way.

So, when you edit your book - objectively, after much distance - do you have the perfect blend? Is there a bit of your past in there? Are your characters realistic? Is there more telling than showing? Ooops, was that a passive voice passage?? Is there a distinct voice? A mild voice? No voice at all? Is your dialogue realistic? Stilted? Would someone that age say that??? Are your characters too perfect? Does everything go right for them? Does there cat not hack up a hairball at 2 AM? If not, I want that cat. I'm just saying . . .

So, do you have the perfect blend in your writing that will compel readers to keep turning the page and demand you write another, and another, and another, and another, and another . . . book???


Friday, December 11, 2009

And the answer is . . .

Ric over at My Daley Rant was tagged in a question and answer game, and I thought, why not play along. The questions and my answers are:

What's the last thing you wrote?
Well, if we're counting blog posts . . . this. If not, Chapter Seven of the current rough draft project I'm working on right now.

What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
The stunning sequel to . . . sorry, can't mention it, but my first writing effort was a follow up to a massive best selling fantasy series where I wanted to know more about the characters after The End!

Write poetry?

Angsty poetry?

Favorite genre of writing?
Mainstream literary fiction . . . at least right now. Fantasy was once my genre of choice, and might be again someday.

Most annoying character you've ever created?
I'm not sure if I've achieved this landmark yet.

Best Plot you've ever created?
Well, if I told you that I'd have to send the secret Ninja assassins out to hunt you down.

Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?
Hmmm, do I have those Ninjas on speed dial? Even though the twist occurs very early, I think the twist in the currently titled Wicked Games counts as the coolest plot twist EVER!

How often do you get writer's block?
Every now and then, not very often.

Write fan fiction?

Do you type or write by hand?
Both. I used to write every thing out and then type it up. Now the main stuff is typed, and notes, etc. are written out by hand.

Do you save everything you write?

Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?
Yes. Not very often. But Wicked Games is something I wrote many years ago and did a revamp on last Spring. I'm very impressed with how I took this discarded idea and made it into something I'd definitely want to read.

What's your favorite thing you've ever written?
Everything. Okay, I know, I have to choose an answer, so . . . Margarita Nights because it was something I wrote just for me, no audience in mind, and just let the words flow. I had the absolute best time writing the book.

What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?
Well, according to Jon and Suzi . . . Margarita Nights.

Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

What's your favorite setting for your characters?
A galaxy far, far away . . . sorry, couldn't resist. Lately, Nashville, TN - right here, now, where I know the streets and what happens in the dark of the night! Ha!

How many writing projects are you working on right now?
One. There are others lurking in the background, mainly editing and revision projects, but I am working on a rough draft, currently no title, but I do have an outline . . . of sorts. Woo-hoo!

Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Does winning NaNo one year count? If so, yes. If not, no!

What are your five favorite words?
Would you like another margarita?

What character have you created that is most like yourself?
There's something of me in all of my characters, so I'm not sure how to answer this one.

Where do you get ideas for your characters?
From the depths of my depraved imagination . . . and sometimes the world around me. Sometimes.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Do you favor happy endings?
Yes and no. I don't think true happy endings exist in this life, so I sort of write a more semi-happy ending, and sometimes, not a happy ending at all.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Does music help you write?
Yes. Margarita Nights was written completely with me listening to dance music. I often pick a certain type of music for a certain scene. Music is often my Muse.

Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.
Well, great! I mean, half the time I can't remember why I stood up from my desk, and now I'm supposed to pull a quote from the trillion or more words I've written?? Not gonna happen, dear readers, not gonna happen!

So, those are the answers to these writerly questions. I hope you dropped over to Ric's site and read his anwers, and I hope you post your own as well. A little insight into the lives of writers is a nice thing every now and then.


Thursday, December 10, 2009


Go here to Betsy Lerner's blog The Forest for the Trees for a great post about voice. I love it and think she hit the proverbial nail squarely on the head! Oh, and one note, she does use a bad word - but you'll get over it! : )

What do you think? Is she spot on? Totally insane?

Personally, I think she's spot on and asks a bunch of great questions.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chasing the Dream

I'm sure everyone has already ready this post by Myra McEntire, because I know every single one of you reads Janet Reid's posts on a daily basis.

Still, when something this good comes along, I feel a duty to share.

Writing is a solitary life . . . for the most part. For me, writing is when I withdraw deeply into myself and attempt - with little success more often than not - to push away the outside world and cavort in the depths of my very warped imagination.

But, as Myra so eloquently points out in her blog post . . . I'm also writing with my beloved partner, who worships the quicksand I walk upon, right by my side. Okay, he's not technically by my side, because every few minutes he'd ask what I was doing. I-R-R-I-T-A-T-I-N-G! So, while I write he's normally upstairs in his office playing hearts. His win ratio is at 35%. He was at 34% for the longest time and swore, absolutely swore, the game was rigged so his percent would never, ever, go up. I guess he was wrong about that! Ha!

So, while I might say the writer's life is solitary, I must admit that Frank is right along beside me as I chase this crazy dream of publication. He supports me silently, for the most part. That, for me, is enough.

He doesn't have to rub my shoulders, pat me on the head, say good job, or bring me coffee and/or wine as I'm typing furiously away and trying to ignore him, the dogs, the cat, and the outside world as I struggle with that one, all important scene that will make or break the brilliant book I am writing. He doesn't have to say hey, I'm right here with you . . . oh, and I'm hungry, when's dinner because I know he's right there with me, and dinner will be ready in a few (possibly hours, but normally minutes). Ha! I just know, without a doubt that he's there for me, no matter my moods, the looks I give him when he asks me a question at the most inappropriate time, or even if I blog about the fact that he wore white socks with dress pants and shoes when we went to the theater one time. Oh, the horrors, when he crossed his legs and exposed . . . his white socks. Feet on the floor, sweetie, thanks bunches! Yes, he puts up with such snarkiness, often on a daily basis, and yet he's still there for me.

But this post isn't necessarily about thanking him, though I do. This post - yeah, long way through the woods, huh? - is about all of us recognizing that we don't chase our dreams alone, no matter how solitary we imagine our lives at times when we're immersed in the writing process. We have lives outside of writing that often intrude - cue the cat hacking up a hairball - when we are at the most delicate and intense moments of the writing process.

We chase our dreams, racing, racing, always racing toward the finish line of publication, and we are not alone in that chase. We have husbands, wives, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, brothers, sisters, children, friends, dogs, cats, horses, and perhaps a Horton who hears a Who along with us, every step of the way, even when we push them aside - not now, in a minute, just a sec, one more sentence, paragraph, chapter, can somebody let the dog out?? do i have to do everything?? geesh, what do you expect of me? - in so many different ways.

As Robyn put it we can't be everything to everyone all the time or something to that effect. There are times when we just need to be Scott, Tess, Elana, Lady Glamis, Jody, Davin, Scott (the other one), Traci, Angie, Rebecca, Marybeth, Charlie, Robyn, and so many other people whose blogs I follow - the writer. There are times when we must have our selfish moments, our 5, 10, 15, 60 minutes of time just to write, to distance ourselves from life, and know that those people who are so important in our lives, who are right there with us every step of the way on this crazy writing adventure, will be there when we come back to the real world, a little bit dazed, our eyes a bit glassy, and our language a bit different then when we first entered the realms of our imaginations.

So, take time to read Myra's post, cry a bit at the end if you want - yes, the post is that good, and that emotional - and then go tell your whoever thanks!


Monday, December 7, 2009

The Power of Outlining

Okay, Lady Glamis, pick yourself up off the floor!!

There is a power in outlining. Now, as anyone who reads this blog knows: I normally don't outline. Okay, I do, but I don't, so what I do, really doesn't count.

Or rather . . . what I did really doesn't count.

You see . . . gasp, the horrors . . . I outlined last week. Totally. I had this idea for a new project, broke the book into three sections, and actually wrote down events that need to happen in each section. I even went so far as to note what emotions the MC should experience in a few of the chapters.


I hate to admit this, but . . . this whole outlining (still very loose, nothing as detailed as Lady Glamis or Scott Bailey might do) thingy has made the writing process easier. I mean, I actually, for the most part, know what I'm going to write about each time I sit down at the computer.

Okay, I have the basics of what I'm going to write about, a series of events I want to happen, but this does make the process a wee bit easier. There are still many blanks to fill in between the events I know I want to write about, so there are stages of the process that are a complete mystery to me . . . and that's not a bad thing.

I'm not all into this structure thing, knowing what's going to happen next, and all that jazz. Sometimes, I like to be surprised. So, yeah, I did a fairly detailed (well, at least in my little world) outline, but nothing so detailed as Lady Glamis and Scott B.

So, for the unenlightened, here's a brief snippet of my outline process . . .

Section 1
* Event 1
* Event 2
* conversation that goes w/event 2
* this chapter should convey MC anger/disappointment, etc.
*Event 3
*Unknown Event

Section 2
*Event 1
* conversation that goes w/event 1
* Event 2
* this chapter should convey . . .

Section 3

The End

Okay, this is a really simplistic view of the outline. Mine keeps growing and growing. It's really quite frightening. I have written out some conversations that need to take place in certain events and bullet-pointed them into the outline. I'm keeping the chapters fairly short and sweet - direct, to the point, and no excess baggage.

As you can probably see, this is a loose outlining process that provides the stepping stones for the various chapters, but only the first few stones. The rest of the stones I have to put in place as I go . . . and I happen to like that style of writing. I don't want a detailed map, because, at least for me, half the fun of writing any story is the unknown adventure my characters take me on. Sometimes, in the middle of a chapter, a character does something so unexpected, so not on the outline, that it makes the writing fun and exciting.

So, I outlined this future project, but I'm not sure if I'll stick to his scheme on the next project, or the next one, or the next one. I guess I - and you, dear readers - will just have to wait and see.

Now, for the questions that should (at least in my opinion, be the part of any writer's blog): How about you? Do you wing it? Outline it? A combination of both? Are there benefits to your method? Disadvantages?


Friday, December 4, 2009

Writing for Yourself

We all know, at least we should, that audience is important. Without an audience, well, no sales. So, we write, in many ways, for the audience - real or imagined - that will read our brilliant writing. We write our queries in mind of that audience, knowing full well an agent is going to ask us about our audience.

I sometimes think this audience - real or imagined - is detrimental to the writing process.

Case in point - I was reading an interview with Claire Labine who has written for the soap (Days of Our Lives, not Dial) industry for years. She stressed one very important point . . . you have to write for yourself. You have to believe in what you’re writing if it’s going to have any resonance with the audience at all - full interview here.

Amen, Sister!!

The best writing I've ever done is when I wrote solely for me and not for an audience, not for my mother, not for my potential agent, editor, publisher, just little ol' me!

That's not to say the audience wasn't at the back of my mind. That's not to say that audience wasn't at the back of Claire Labine's mind, because it was.

I think what she's saying, what I've said before on this blog, is that we have to believe in every single word we write, and we have to write for ourselves first and foremost.

Yes, there are trends - vampires, boy wizards, elves, and whatever. Trends come and go. Remember bell bottom jeans??? Tie-dye????

The fact is, good writing often trumps the current trend. Making an old idea shine in a brilliant new way, often trumps the current trend.

So, write for you, believe in you, but also be aware of current trends as well. Be willing to defend your brilliance to an agent, editor, publisher or whoever.

Case in Point - I love Project Runway. One designer made a gorgeous dress, but . . . she didn't have faith in her design. Her lack of faith showed forth on the runway and . . . she didn't win. The judges all agreed if the designer had believed in her design and defended her design . . . well, she would have won.

If we fail to write for ourselves, if we do not believe in every word we are writing, than, in Claire's words, what we write will not resonate with the audience at all.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Switching POV

I'm currently reading The Year of the Flood: A Novel by Margaret Atwood.

First - I love the book. I downloaded the first chapter, for free, on my Kindle, and only made it part way through before I decided to buy the complete book. The only other book I ever read by her is A Handmaid's Tale - excellent read, if you haven't already read the book.

The book takes place from two perspectives so far. Fine. Dandy. Good.

The book takes place from two different points of view: first person and third person.


Okay, this is jarring for me. I don't know why, it just is. So, my question: do you switch from different points of views in your projects?

If yes - why??

If no - why??

I know, I'm not making it easy on my followers and lurkers this close to Christmas, or whatever holiday they might celebrate.

Personally, I don't think this switch in points of view takes anything away from the novel. It's still good, gripping, and makes me want to keep reading. The switch just always makes me pause and go huh before I start reading again.

I'm just wondering why an author would do the multiple point of view thingy, especially since the transition is always a bit bumpy. Any thoughts?