Saturday, August 27, 2016

Kill your darlings

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”~~ Stephen King


How I love and loathe this man.  

His book, "On Writing", is the definitive source for the best tips on writing.  I think I'll reread it this week.

I was asked at an Oklahoma Library Conference Author's Panel if I had killed any darlings and what it was like.
The question threw me.  Writing romance, I don't get that question a lot.  But I did, in fact, kill a main character in one of my books.
And it hurt.

Readers invest in your writing.  They've put in time, at the very least.  And when a character dies, they grieve.  
But for a writer?  To create a character and have to kill him/her?
It's fucking devastating.
I'm not talking about the bad guy/obnoxious fuck/no love lost character.  I'm talking about one that has made an impact in the book.  I'm talking about a character who left footprints all over the scenes and in your and the readers' collective hearts.
It hurts like hell.
Because, to a writer, these characters are as alive as you and I.  They live and breathe and love just as much as any other person we know.  Killing them is nearly unbearable, but it's necessary sometimes to move the story forward.

When I first started writing, I blog-hopped quite a bit.  I wanted to know what other writers saw and did and wrote.  I remember there was a blog with Amy Knupp, Maya Banks, and Allison Brennan.  I followed the blog when Allison got her first contract.  I remember helping vote on the cover photo to use.  So I couldn't wait to pick up her book.
Regret.
Regret.
Regret.
She killed a character off about five pages in.  I had only settled in to knowing who the players in the story were.  And suddenly...BOOM.  Gone.  No more.  Murdered.
I shut the book.  I've never read anything else by her.
It was a thriller.  I probably should have known better.  
But the fact of the matter is, it took me completely out of the story, and I couldn't get back into it.
He seemed like a nice young man...alas and alack.  That was several years ago.  I've never forgotten.

I've also never forgotten all the characters that Mr. King has killed throughout the decades.  There's a special place in my heart for each.  Those characters that literally gave their all for friends/family/strangers.  They mattered.  All of them.  So don't dismiss the advice.
Sometimes it's necessary to kill your darlings.
Just bring the tissue.
Always writing*


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

You do you

Every writer has a voice.  Not only the loveliness that comes from your vocal chords but the way in which you tell your stories.
Voice is as individual as a fingerprint and as important.
Some writers are flowy while others are staccato.  Some write lovingly while others liberally use snark.  And even when writing different genres, the underlying voice will always be there.

But a word of caution:
Don't borrow someone else's voice.
Don't grab a favorite author's book to study and dissect it to use the same cadence and word usage. Don't copy what someone else has already done.  It's not flattering.  It's cheap and easy.  You'll only be true to yourself if you write what's inside you that's been given to you.  Dressing yourself in someone else's verbal garb should never happen.

I know some writers who don't read in the genre they write when they're in the middle of a story. They don't want another voice to bleed through in their work.  I'm all for whatever it takes.

Now.

It can sometimes be incredibly frustrating when you've come across a grand idea, but it's similar to someone else's.  It's hard to find something original in this day and age, especially in the Romance genre.  But it can be done.  And even if your story is similar, it'll have YOUR voice and no one else's. That makes a world of difference.

Novel idea.  When you've come across something so brilliant that you nearly weep with joy.  No one else has written anything like it.  Ever.   Excellent.  Carry on.  Don't be intimidated by the lack of offerings like your book.  Revel in them.

Being original is hard.  It's easy to slip into a writing rut.  It's harder to rock that bitch back and forth until you get some traction.
Do it, anyway.

Always writing*

Sunday, August 21, 2016

In the beginning

I enjoy blogging most days.  I suppose that's quite a plus in this endeavor I'm undertaking.

I write books.
That sounds so simple, doesn't it?
I write books.

But anyone that writes books knows it's anything but.

Creativity is not a one-size-fits-all anything.  There are aptitudes and talents that are specialized. Others are broad-based and can encompass a great deal.
For example, I'm creative with words.  That's were my strength lies.  I cannot, however, draw a straight line.  I'm hopeless at picking out curtains/home foofery and the like.  I have friends who can take a piece of wood and create a damn masterpiece.  I end up with splinters.

Play to your strengths.

I've always known I've wanted to tell stories in written form.  Words are my drug.  I ache for them.  I used to open a dictionary to any page and start reading.  It utterly fascinates me.  I become lost in the letters in a way that other creative mediums don't touch.

About me.

I'm forty-four.  Obviously not one of those women who is twenty-and-holding.  I let go of the twenties long ago.  It's served me well.  Mother of three.  Grandmother of one precious grandson.
(This is why you don't harm your teenagers.  Eventually they grow up and produce grandchildren. Believe me, it's worth it.  I had my doubts at the time...)

I've been writing seriously for around eleven years.  First book published in 2005 with Whiskey Creek Press.  It was an ePub.  They were sold to Start Publishing.  Start Publishing was sold to/joined forces with/shit, I don't know Simon & Schuster Digital Services.
I'll be popping up links on the side when I have a chance.

You can Google me, if you like.  I've had a presence online for quite some time.  I have another blog, Chrys's World.  I'll hyperlink that when I have time.

Why should you read my blog?

I think it's a valid question.

If you're a writer, we're related.  Writers "get" each other like no one else can.  We're a different breed.  An odd, twisted, and occasionally manic breed.
I plan on sharing my journey from the beginning up to the present with the hope that you'll find something you can use.
All our journeys are different, but they cross in several places.
And that's where I hope we'll find each other.

Always writing*