Sunday, June 25, 2017

I came. I saw. I edited.

Not even about to lie.  I don't much care for editing.  I really don't mind it the third or fourth time. The seventh time.  But when we start tumbling into double digits, I begin to lose my sense of humor.

My creative process looks a little something like this:

1.  Title
2.  Start writing hellbent to leather.  Clear about 7,000 words before I come up for air.
3.  Slow down a bit and ponder the living hell out of the story 24/7.
4.  Jot notes on my phone, in notebooks, on post-its, my hand, and anything else I can write on.
5.  Write until around 30,000.  This is the "sagging middle" for me.
6.  Small break.
7.  15,000 more words.  At this point, it's usually not chronological.  I'll have the ending before I have the last quarter.
8.  Get back in the groove and finish up.
9.  LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS--IF NOT LONGER

Both my books and I need time apart at this point.  We've been each other's everything for months. Most times I'll cleanse my literary palate by working on one or two other stories.
I find that I clean edit better if I haven't had to look at the same work every day for months on end. Because you begin to catch things you might not have before.  Pacing.  Verb tense.  Wrong names for characters.  *shrug*  It happens.

Writers can be too close to their work.  It's incredibly easy to be consumed by the stories.  Honestly, it's quite addictive.
Think about the one thing that fills your soul with happiness.  Do you like to make music?  Knit?  Garden?  Imagine being surrounded by that all the time.  The "real world" is far less attractive then, isn't it?

I'm around 35,000 words on the third Rivers Sisters book.  But then I became distracted by thoughts and ideas for another story.  It's a stand-alone, but it's Paranormal/Fantasy.  And I can't quite give up space in my head for all the thoughts and ideas.  I've also learned never to shut them out.  I jot.  If the jotting turns into something larger, then I go with it.

I've learned to listen to the rhythm of the writing and my place in it.  I've learned to listen for the "click" I mentally have when I'm on the right track.  And, damn it, I've learned to edit when all I want to do is let my stories loose upon the world.

Always writing*

Monday, June 19, 2017

Insouciance

You know.  I hadn't the faintest what that meant.  And honestly, the first time I read it in the romance I was reading, I glossed over it.
Then the author continued to use the word about every third page, and that grew old incredibly quickly.
It means, indifference, by the way.  Which is how I felt every new time I tried to start reading it again after it took me out of the story.

Word usage is key.

Using words like "had" and "very" is frowned upon.  Passive voice is not popular, either.

But...and it's a HUGE BUT...what works for some may not work for others.

There are basic issues in writing that we should avoid.  But there are also so many damn rules that need to be broken.

It's completely up to the author to set those parameters for him or herself.  Does the story flow?  Or does it pitch and roll like a ship in a storm?  Are you using the same adjectives over and over again? Does your pronoun usage become repetitive?

Shake it up, my friends!

One of the best things you will ever do is to listen to that little voice inside telling you all about the story you need to write.  And while you will literally NEVER finish editing, your job is to polish that damn thing up until you can see yourself in it.

"Don't use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do."  Mark Twain, you sly old dog.  You said a mouthful.

Always writing*

Friday, June 16, 2017

Be original

Easier said than done.

Entertainment, as of late, tends to be a rehash of older offerings.  They remade "Dirty Dancing". Didn't watch it.  Probably won't.  They're remaking "Top Gun"?  ugh

Artists of every sort remake songs, movies, and television shows.

Why is it so hard to come up with something new???

New is scary.  New is risky.  New is untried and a bit daunting.

GOOD

If you follow trends, by the time you get a hold of one, the market is flooded.  "Twilight", and vampires in general, would be one example.  Massive outbreak.  Then the flood receded.
Burnout happens quickly.
You need to get ahead of the trend.
Or, wait for it, you IGNITE the trend.
Exciting, isn't it?

Pioneers are not wusses.  They don't give two shits about what others have done before them.  It's all about them and what their wants and needs are.

You write trilogies?  Oh, another Nora Roberts type.
You write Erotic Romance?  Geez.  Another Fifty Shades.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Be bold.  Be original.  Be a Pioneer.

The proof is in the work.  And only you know what you're capable of accomplishing.
So don't rehash some tired old storyline.

"Beauty and the Beast" is my favorite fairytale and has been for as long as I can remember.  "Beastly" turned the old premise on its head.  And now I've found another offshoot, "Beast", that is doing the same.

If being true to yourself means treading where Angels fear to, you're on the right track.  And I couldn't be happier for you.

Always writing*

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Eccentric

Definition:  Unconventional and slightly strange.

These are my people.

It's a pity that children are taught from the moment they are born that there are certain ways, and only these ways, to do things.
Indoctrinated into the "normal".
*shudder*

I love eccentric people.
Hell, I AM eccentric people.

Growing up, I was the epitome of the good child.  (My blessed mother will even back me up on this one."  But deep inside of me?
I wanted to run barefoot through the woods and talk to trees and chat with fairies and be invited to mad tea parties.
I wanted to climb a mountain and scream at the top of my lungs while the wind whipped around me.

But I had my moments.
I remember literally dancing in the rain at my bus stop in junior high.  Humming the song and doing a little kick out with the rhythm while the rain poured over me.
I remember walking in creeks in the woods and wondering what wonderfulness I would stumble across.
I suppose I made my own adventures.

Now that I'm older, I EMBRACE that shit.

When I get lost, and I so do, I love it.  What things will I see that I normally wouldn't?  Where can I go, and what can I do to feed my restless spirit?  And while physically visiting places is incredibly wonderful, the most precious places to me are in my own mind.

Talk about chaos.  Talk about madness.
Talk about eccentric.

The local newspaper interviewed years back, and I explained that I hear voices in my head.  Hell, that may have even been the lead, I can't quite remember.  But it's true.  I hear dialogue and see scenes. I'm there while I'm driving or working or running errands.

Authors are weird.
Of course we are.
And isn't it magnificent?

Always writing*

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Solitary pursuit

I often forget that writing is a solitary pursuit.

You sit in front of a screen and transcribe all the ideas that flow through your cranium.  No one else need even be in the same room.  And, if you're like me, you prefer it that way.

But when you finish a story???
You want to shout it from the rooftops!  You want banners and parades and people.  You want everyone to read those words that you labored over so intensely.  You, at this point, want to share.
But you kind of don't.

Let me explain.

Writing, as well as reading, is subjective.  Not everyone will like everything.  I've given a work to three different review sites.  One loved it.  One liked it.  One thought it was meh.

You must develop a thick skin for any business.  But I will add that it best be EXTREMELY thick in any creative business because that business is basically...YOU.

Whether it's the words or designs or art, it's all part of you.  And when someone looks at part of you and doesn't like it.  Well now.  That sort of stings, doesn't it?

Rise above it.
Sure.  It's easy to say and hard to do.  But it bears repeating.  RISE ABOVE IT.

Because the only person that matters when it comes to expressing what you love is you.  Become your own critic, if you can.  Examine your work with a critical eye.  Is the story too wordy?  Are the colors too dark?  Do the patterns clash?

I find it best to step away from a finished work for at least a month and write on something else.  It clears my palate and allows me to view the work from a distance when I reengage.

Do not let the mortal coil wrap around you and drag you down.
Disengage and rise above.
Your work will be the better for it.

Always writing*

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Indelible

Anything that truly touches me leaves an indelible mark.  I'm not simply referring to a good deed witnessed or practiced.  All those YouTube videos of people reuniting with their important ones.  A dying person's last wish fulfilled.
All of these are truly important.
But indelible, to me, means touching my soul.  It could be a present from my five-year old child from the school Christmas Store.  Or perhaps the memory of laughing so hard in the car with the kids I nearly drove off the road.
Love and laughter.
They stick.

That's the magic.

I find those things at the core of every book I write.  I'll tell anyone who will listen that EVERY story is a Love Story.
Either searching for love or destroying it.  Embracing it.  Lack of it.  Sharing it.  Love of self.  Love of others.  Love how that steak tastes on the grill.
Facetious?
Maybe a bit.

But a truly indelible memory brings all senses into play.  The fuller the experience, the deeper the mark.

A good book will take you there.  You'll live and laugh and love with the characters.  You'll miss them when you finish the story.  You feel as though you've watched a movie instead of simply reading a book.
You were there.
You were a PART of that magic.
That's what I wish for you whether you read my book or anyone else's.
I wish you magic.

Always writing*


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Characters welcome

I write character-driven stories.  Their voices are what I hear first when a story is forming.  Little pieces of dialogue filter through and root.  I jot them down.  
But when I'm working on a book series, I hear all sorts of voices from the characters.  Not only the piece I'm working on at that moment.  
And characters can be impatient literary souls.
They are innately selfish.  Isn't that understandable?  They're aching for their perspective stories to be told.
But the best characters?
The ones that stick with me and find a home in my head and heart?
The damaged ones.

Oh, you KNOW who I'm referring to.  The Doctor and Sherlock.  Christian Wolff in The Accountant. Hell, literally ANY superhero out there, both male and female.    

But my two favorite characters are The Doctor and Lisbeth Salander.
Don't get me wrong.  I have several characters that I absolutely love.  Jo in Little Women.  R. P. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  David Haller in Legion.

But The Doctor and Lisbeth?  They touch my soul.  
They are survivors.  They've been through the unthinkable but still rise.  How can you not cheer for those who not only faced the fire but danced in it?

Who do you love?
The comics?  The love interests?  The heroes?  The anti-heroes?
Let me know.

Always writing*

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Who has the time?

Oh, I feel this one in my SOUL.

Time is a precious commodity.  No one feels like they ever have enough of it.
I can completely relate.

I work forty+ hours a week.  I have a two-hour daily commute.  I fit in at least one visit with my grandson and younger daughter per week.  I try to hit the gym for weights two to three times a week with Zumba/Cardio Dance classes on Saturday/Sunday.

My today looks like this:
5:30 am  Wake up and curse everything.
5:45 am  Roll my ass out of bed and shuffle to the kitchen.
6:00 am  Two pieces of toast and some skim milk.
6:19 am  Shower and dress.
6:39 am  Leave the hacienda.
7:39 am  Arrive at day job.  More cursing.
8:30 am  Start work day.  (I'll spare you the gory details.  Just picture:  The Upside Down.)
5:30 pm  Finish work day.
6:30 pm  Arrive at Mademoiselle for weight training.
8:00 pm  Leave Mademoiselle.
8:15 pm  Home
8:30 pm  Eat something that is quick and easy.  Hello again, toast.  *eye roll*  Or perhaps ice-cream from the carton.  One never knows...
9:00 pm  BED.  SO MUCH BED.
*blink*
It's 5:30 am again.

When do I have time to write?
Well.  I'm writing all the time.  Usually up in my cranium.  I'll jot notes on my phone and incorporate them when I have time which usually coincides with the weekend.  Saturdays and Sundays are my days to sit and immerse myself in the words/stories.  I can bang out anywhere from 3000-6000 words depending on if I'm feeling it, and I tug a thread that stays steady.

But my point, and I do have one, is that time can be maneuvered and manipulated.  I jot down notes on my breaks at work.  I work on advertising and networking on lunch.

You have to keep clicking to make a dent.  So that's my wish for you today.  Bend that time to your will.  Shape and reshape it.  Take time for self.  Take time to do something that your soul requires.
You'll be better for it.

Always writing*