“We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.”
~Neil Gaiman — The Graveyard Book
** I am a such a Neil Gaiman fan if you guys haven’t noticed.
- Put One Word After Another: Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing (aerogrammestudio.com)
- Neil Gaiman Drops Knowledge (mentalfloss.com)
June 4, 2013 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writer, Writing | Tags: American Gods, Arts, Author, Coraline, Fiction, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Neil Gaiman, novel writing, Online Writing, Sandman, Twitter, Writers Resources, Writing Advice, writing quotes | 3 Comments »
“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”
~ Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book)
- We Who Make Stories … (laneymcmann.com)
March 29, 2013 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writer, Writing | Tags: American Gods, Arts, books, Coraline, Graveyard Book, laney mcmann, Literature, Neil Gaiman, Quotes, Writing Advice | Leave A Comment »
There is a moment now and then when writers may catch themselves and think … wait, should I write that?
I think her words are both honest and true. There is a fine line writers walk between fiction and fact. Fantasy and reality. So much of who we are is embedded in our stories. Our words, our voices, our hearts … our sometimes crazed imaginations. Elena writes, ”Just because you write about an axe murderer, doesn’t mean you are slightly unhinged and could lose it and carry out your protagonists actions in the middle of the night – just because you think it, doesn’t mean you would do it.”
People judge you as a person when you put your stories out there. And we can judge ourselves as words fly from our fingertips in a flurry of ideas. Whether you write horror or paranormal romance, people will either love your work and sing your praises, or wonder if you are indeed unhinged.
Does it matter? As a writer who has chosen to share their work with the world–it probably shouldn’t. It’s the risk you take when you decide to go public. It’s the reason every writer hears those few words of caution, “Grow a thick skin. You’re going to need it.”
Not everyone will praise or even like your work. Some people may hate your genre, your ideas–your imagination. And they will judge you. But we can’t please everyone and we can only write what moves us and hope our words resonate with readers.
So I leave you with this to ponder:
“Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.” ~E.L. Doctorow
So the question is, Are you willing to put yourself out there? It’s the risk all writers have to take. The difference between owning what you love and hiding it. The difference between being public or private. Published or tucked away in a drawer.
SO WRITE ON WRITERS. Take your best shot.
*** Re-posted from April 2012 ***
February 1, 2013 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Novel Writing, Thoughts, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: art, Fiction, laney mcmann, novel writing, The Fire Born Novels, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 15 Comments »
Aspire: to long, aim, or seek for.
Aspire is one of those words with an embedded escape clause.
“If I really suck at this, or if I just give up, it won’t matter because I’m only aspiring.”
Do you love to write? Does it speak to you?
Aspiring isn’t goal setting. It’s an escape hatch. It is scribble, scribble, blah, blah … What was I talking about?
If you want to write then write. If you want to become an author work your ass off at it. It’s hard and it will make you want to scream one second and cry the next. But writers write. It’s what we do. Don’t be afraid to put a label on it.
December 8, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Writer, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, art, Arts, Author, Author of The Fire Born Novels, Chats and Forums, FAQs Help and Tutorials, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Goal setting, laney mcmann, Mailing Lists, Publishing, Word count, Writer, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author, Young Writers, Young-adult fiction | 6 Comments »
Like many writers, I have spent the last few years trying to ‘do it all.’ Whether I’m drafting another blog post, tinkering with Twitter, shouting out to writers on Triberr, checking my Facebook profile, posting on my Facebook author page, pinning on Pinterest, reading the dozens of emails I receive daily, or finishing my novel revisions, everyday is filled to the rim. In my mind, the most important of these is my novel. It’s the reason for everything else. Yet everything else seems to overwhelm it most of the time.
I read all day long, in one form or another. In order to write well, you must read. A lot. Preferably in your genre, although reading in general is the point. I try to stay current with the latest books, all the advice on book marketing, social media reach, blog hits, and on and on. It’s endless.
Yesterday I read an article that stated people aren’t reading less in the digital age, instead people are actually reading more. Wanting more. More to download. More, more, more. Readers want books NOW. How are they reading them all? Who knows.
What it means for writers is what concerns me. Many authors are now attempting to hammer out three….four, five books a year to stay in the game.
The industry standard has forever been…one book per year.
But with the introduction, and popularity, of ereaders the standard is changing. Rapidly.
For me, and many others, that’s an issue. Besides the fact that I write at turtle speed, and revise at snail, I’ve worked myself to near exhaustion trying to do everything, and be everywhere. How are we supposed to do it all? We can’t. And we shouldn’t try to either.
Balance is the key.
I’ve talked about balance a lot in prior posts, but I didn’t know how to attain it. I’ve had to force myself to step back, and breathe. Step back and realize that NO ONE can do it all, and do it well. Not going to happen. Not for long anyway. I still believe that through all the chatter and advice, all the constant information flying everywhere, that our main goal as writers should be creating good content.
We can market until we are blue in the face and crawling. Put our names out everywhere and brand until everyone knows it. But none of that will matter if our books suck. Writing is hard enough without trying to master social media.
I know we as writers are a helpful and supportive group. We want to help each other succeed. We want to feel like someone else gets it, and we aren’t wandering around alone searching for answers in the dark. So we read everything, follow a hundred blogs, and basically overwhelm ourselves with information. Not the best mindset to have when we are trying to write an 80,000 word novel.
Slow down. Really.
I don’t have this thing figured out either, but it occurs to me that a few things are obvious.
**Write your books and write them well. No good book—no reason for social media.
**Write your blog posts, tweet your shout outs, engage. But put a time limit on it.
**Back to writing.
Remember the reason why you are doing all of this. Is it to write stories? To get lost in those worlds? Yeah? Go get lost then, and create the best worlds you can.
The other stuff at the end of the day is secondary. Important, yes, but still secondary.
So tell me, what part of this industry have you found the most difficult?
**first posted in May 2012 before I landed the book contract, so let’s add that once thrown into the mix, things got busier. The difference? Now, I feel like everything else finally matters.
November 26, 2012 | Categories: Author, Blogging, Editing, Inspiration, Publishing, Social Media, Writer, Writing | Tags: Arts, Blog, bloggers, Book, book marketing, E-book, editing, exhaustion, Facebook, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Pinterest, Reading, Revisions, Social media, Triberr, Twitter, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing process, Writing Tips | 12 Comments »
Which one are you?
I’m the latter. Definitely.
Although I’ve always written, my love of the written word began before my sentence structure did. My imagination of worlds far and beyond sparked at a very young age. Writing the stories I imagined in my own head, came later.
I realized recently, after having a conversation with a fellow writer, just how different the above breeds of writers can be. When I began my novel and truly delved into learning craft, I found reading for my usual enjoyment difficult, and suddenly lacking. Instead of the story I saw sentence structure, grammar use. I would hear myself questioning the decisions the author made and wondering what I would have done differently. I couldn’t see the stories anymore. I’d lost the magical quality that had originally turned me on to writing. I’d lost what I craved most. The story.
Writers who are readers pick stories apart. Readers who are writers, read. For the sheer enjoyment of it. To be transported. To live in someone else’s shoes.
I learned that when you are only looking for errors, they are all you will ever see. And when you are editing your book as a writer, they are all you should see. But when all of that is done–you should see your story.
Now, I have to shut off the writer brain (as hard as that is sometimes) and turn on the reader one. If I don’t, I find myself reading as I would a text book. But if I do… I remember why I love to read. Why I love to write, too. I have worlds I want to share. Characters and plots. I have to stories to share. That’s the aim, right? To share good stories? And at the end of the day, after all the edits are done and proofreads have been finished, I want to be able to read my book through the eyes of a reader. If I can’t do that — if I can’t still feel the emotion that sat me in front of the laptop for months on end — if I can’t see and feel what I need the reader to see and feel — well, what exactly have I been doing? Remember that readers read because they want to be carried away. You need to see your book not only through your eyes as a writer, but more importantly, through the eyes of your readers. They are the ones who matter. They are the ones who will make or break you as an author. Every single time. And readers, the vast majority of them, are story cravers, not editors, not writers, just readers.
Write the best book you can. Get the best editor you can. Nit pick the crap out every tiny detail in your novel. Then go back and read it. And remember why you wrote it in the first place. The best grammar in the world will not save a crappy story. But…an awesome story will trump a few overlooked grammatical errors. Check out some book on the best sellers list. Readers aren’t looking for perfect. They aren’t looking for the same things writers are. They’re looking for that one story that digs into their soul. The one story they can’t stop thinking about. The one they read over and over again. That’s the book we as writers should be writing.
WRITE ON, WRITERS! And tell your stories.
November 19, 2012 | Categories: Author, Publishing, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, art, Author, Fiction, Grammar, laney mcmann, Online Writing, Reading, Reading (process), Short story, The Reader, Writer, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 9 Comments »
Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.
It’s every new writers nightmare. The reason so many hide their stories away.
What if no one likes my book? What if I only think I can write…but really, I can’t!
Oh, god, people are going to judge me.
A quote by Bruce Patrick
WRITE ON, WRITERS.
October 22, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writer, Writing | Tags: Author, facing fear, fantasy author, Fear, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, Judgement, laney mcmann, WIP, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 8 Comments »
The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.
October 2, 2012 | Categories: Author, Quotes, Writer, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, Communications, goal accomplishment, Henry David Thoreau, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Leo Rosten, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing and Editing, YA paranormal romance author | Leave A Comment »
Anyone who reads my blog with any regularity (Thank You!) knows that I’ve been working on my novel for two years. Two years full of a wide swing of emotions. Now, as I am officially on submission, I feel…uneasy. Anxious. A little bit afraid.
For the first time, I’m nervous about simply letting it go.
When I started working on my cover art, I felt excited. When I received the first layout, my heart skipped. Mine. My words. My name.
The second layout was similar. The fourth and fifth layouts had me feeling downright overwhelmed.
When my first wave of edits rolled in, I thought, okay, this is doable. Not so bad. When the second wave of fine toothed edits came over with suggestions and corrections everywhere, I panicked.
Oh my god. I’m actually doing this?
All those little insecurities welled up again and sat there on my shoulder, taunting me.
This wasn’t the plan, you know. You were just writing….just writing. Like always. Are you sure you want to do this? You can back out. Keep this story tucked away like all the other ones. No one has to know!
Overreacting. All part of the process. I get it. I am supposed to be putting all my efforts toward TORN, the second book in the series. I am supposed to submit the first book, forget about it, and move to the next. I know.
But…this is hard.
August 9, 2012 | Categories: Author, Books, Editing, Life, Publishing, Reviews, Self Publishing, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: art, Arts, Blog, Facebook, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Publishing, Self-publishing, Social media, TIED A Fire Born Novel, TIED by Laney McMann, Twitter, Writers Resources, Writing, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 4 Comments »
“You look like you just rolled out of bed.”
….leaving a lake-like gleam across the surface of the ocean.
“She doesn’t like you.”
“It felt like….”
Apparently, I really like the word, LIKE.
Like is a weak word writers use as a crutch. A crutch to tell rather than show readers what our characters are seeing, feeling, experiencing. It’s a lazy word. I was shocked to discover how many times I’d used it in my MS. Shocked.
Beta readers see what we, in a flurry of writing excitement (or drudgery), sometimes miss.
** I also like (see, I did it again!) the word AS. Oh, and felt. Yeah, felt. The worst!
SHOW DON’T TELL.;)
July 30, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing, Publishing, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: art, Arts, Beta, betareader, Chats and Forums, editing, Editing and Proofreading, Feedback, laney mcmann, Manuscript, Organizations, Reading, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | Leave A Comment »
I am officially on submission with TIED.
This wasn’t my plan. Well…that’s not really true. I never had a plan originally. I never thought I would be writing for the masses. And when the thought did cross my mind, it was traditional publishing. Not because I had some kind of issue with self-publishing, but because at that time (which was two years ago), self-publishing was still fairly new to the scene. I didn’t know much about it, and as an unseasoned writer, I wasn’t sure I wanted to guinea pig myself out, or my novel.
That changed though. When you’re always writing, you’re always reading too. Novels, blogs, articles, craft books. And the authors I follow (who are amazing), gave me a lot of food for thought. Indie publishing food for thought. With the upheaval in traditional publishing, the negative press, famous authors jumping ship, brick and mortar book stores going under, and so many new authors choosing to go it alone–I was forced to reevaluate my ideas about the publishing industry and my goals as a writer.
I chose to go Indie. And when I say Indie, I mean going it alone. Solo. And I’d planned, like my bio says, to publish this year.
Why am I going on submission then? Because as a newbie, I think I need more support, and an Indie publisher can provide it. I also think that if I don’t at least try to get representation, then somehow I’ve sold myself short. Not because I need a pat on the back or some kind of validation in that regard, but because it’s part of the process of becoming an author, for me. Good or bad, it’s a part I want to say I went for. Then I will be on solid ground and able to make a sound decision in regard to my novel and my future novels.
I have a great team behind me, who I owe more than I could possibly ever repay, and I doubt they’re going anywhere, so either way, I’m feeling pretty okay.
The problem with announcing that you are going on submission is that now everyone will know if you fail. Scary. Very scary. But there’s something empowering about it too. You can’t crawl away, like so many writers are prone to do if you’re on a public stage. And like the saying goes,
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” ~Jack Canfield
July 26, 2012 | Categories: Author, Books, Publishing, Writer, Writing | Tags: Author, Book Writing, Brick and mortar, Business, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Guinea pig, Jack Canfield, laney mcmann, Paranormal Romance, Publish, Publishing, Small Press, Writer, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 2 Comments »
“All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon which one can neither resist nor understand.”
July 19, 2012 | Categories: Author, Books, Writer, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Animal Farm, Arts, George Orwell, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, laney mcmann, Nineteen Eighty-Four, novel creation, Organizations, Why I Write, Writers Resources, Writing process, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 3 Comments »
TheFireBornNovels.com is officially up and running. Small in size and content still, but up and running nonetheless.
July 12, 2012 | Categories: Author, Blogging, Books, Publishing, Writer | Tags: Author, Blog, Google, laney mcmann, Novel, The Fire Born Novels, TIED A Fire Born Novel, TIED by Laney McMann, Web search engine, Website, Writer, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | Leave A Comment »
We all get a little down sometimes when trying to achieve our goals. The road from where you are now, and where you want to be, isn’t always that far. You just need to believe.
**This is a must watch for anyone who is feeling a bit stuck. Actually, it’s a must watch, period.
July 9, 2012 | Categories: Author, Blogging, Inspiration, Life, Thoughts, Writer, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, believe in yourself, Free, goal accomplishment, goals, Hosting, Inspiration, laney mcmann, red bull, Television, Web Design and Development, Writer, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author, YouTube | Leave A Comment »
I invest a ludicrous amount of time reading. Whether I read novels, blogs, craft books or research material, I always try to find useful or inspiring bits of information each week. And then I save them.
Author Joanna Penn, creator of The Creative Penn, has a wonderfully inspiring post on her blog this week. Recommended Book For Creatives: Turning Pro By Steven Pressfield This is a must read post by Joanna as well as a must read book, The Art of War being the prequel.
Anne R. Allen’s blog this week features a post by her co-blogger Ruth Harris. An interesting and humorous read. 11 Reasons Writers Get Rejected—And Why Only 3 Of Them Matter
Indie Author Lindsay Buroker has an informative post up on her blog. Is It Harder Today for Self-Published Authors to “Break-in” at Amazon?
- A Week In Links (laneymcmann.com)
July 5, 2012 | Categories: Author, Blogging, Books, Inspiration, Publishing, Self Publishing, Social Media, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: Amazon, Anne R. Allen, art, Art of War, Blog, blogging, Creative Penn, Facebook, Joanna Penn, laney mcmann, Lindsay Buroker, Literature, novel writing, Ruth Harris, Self-publishing, Social media, Steven, Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Traditional Publishing, Twitter, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | Leave A Comment »
It occurs to me after reading yet another scalding blog post by another author who is upset by the current state of the publishing industry, that we as a whole of writers need to stop engaging in the ‘who’s on the right or left side of the fence’ argument.
I know that we all get emotional and heated up and mad. It keeps the fire burning. It fuels the “I’ll show them!” mentality on both sides. By my god, this topic is OLD. And frustrating. And Petty.
So why, why are we still talking about it? Why are we still reading scathing posts that are meant to infuriate?
You wanna go Trad? GO TRAD!
You wanna go Indie? GO INDIE!
Who cares? Other than you, the author, it’s no one’s concern. No one’s business. People will always judge. Fact of life.
Your choices in publishing don’t need to be defended. Nor should anyone’s choices be ridiculed.
So let’s all shut up about who’s wrong and who’s right. Not all trad books are glazed in gold and not all indie books suck. Stop drawing an imaginary line in the imaginary sands of no where land. It doesn’t exist. Stop with the professional vs. amateur argument about indies ‘settling’ for second best because it’s all they could get vs. trads clinging to their sinking ship waving their credentials high above their heads.
Readers don’t care. This is a writers argument.
Readers want good stories. That’s it.
Self-pubbed, trad-pubbed. They don’t care.
Writers need to write good books and channel them in whatever direction they choose. Fact is, some writers are control freaks and the thought of giving up rights throws them into a backward tail spin. Others cannot fathom the idea of going it alone. They want the support that trad publishers provide. There is no right choice. There is no wrong choice.
Are we all really going through the headaches of creating worlds and characters and plot lines to turn around and waste our precious time and energy demeaning other writers for the choices they make regarding how to publish? Really? That train of thought boils down to envy, jealousy… and FEAR. Let it go.
Write good books and leave the complaints at home. Spill them out there. To your dog. Or your cat. We are all wasting time yapping and pointing fingers. Not to mention making asses out of ourselves.
Our little blogosphere of writers here online—it’s not so small. We have a world-wide reach and those who are always gripping make the lot of us look bad.
Good day my fellow writers. Write On. Publish On. And remember the wise words of Author Chuck Wendig, “Try not to suck.”
- The New World of Publishing: Insulting Your Writer Friends (deanwesleysmith.com)
- Indie vs. Trad: Which Side Are You? (andrewmocete.com)
- The Writer’s Challenge in 4 Simple Steps (chazzwrites.com)
June 27, 2012 | Categories: Author, Blogging, Publishing, Self Publishing, Social Media, Writer, Writing | Tags: Amazon Kindle, Arts, Author, Chuck Wendig, E-book, Fiction, indie publishing, laney mcmann, Novel, Publish, Self-publishing, Social media, Traditional Publishing, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing Advice, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 2 Comments »
“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”
English novelist Mary Anne Evans, known by her pen name George Eliot.
- Tuesday Poem – Roses, by George Eliot (janisfreegard.com)
- The house where George Eliot spent the last few weeks of her life in 1880 (kimbofo.typepad.com)
June 21, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Life, Quotes, Writer | Tags: 19th Century, art, Arts, Author, British, George Eliot, laney mcmann, Literature, Mary Ann Evans, Quotes, Victorian era, World Literature, Writer Resources | 2 Comments »
Going back in time to my all time fave band, The Cure, for a little easy writing music this Monday. Enjoy.
Numbers, numbers, numbers. Are they your social media goal? Build higher numbers (fans, followers) and hope they equate to higher book sales?
I’m raising my kids by a few beliefs I hold true. One of the biggest: Quality over Quantity. Every time. For my kids I relate it to friendships. A few real friends trump a lot of fake ones.
Social media is no different. It isn’t about the numbers, it’s about the connections. I believe a lot of writers have become too focused on the wrong side of the coin. Stats.
Now I’m not going to sit here and tell anyone that I’m miss social. I’m the opposite of that. So it’s difficult for me to reach out to everyone who friends or follows me. But I always reach back to the ones who speak up and draw me out. And to those people, I am extremely thankful.
And here in lies my point. Connections equal friendships. And friendships reward us as writers and as people.
I make it a point to support the friends I’ve made online. I shout out to them on Twitter, I retweet their tweets, and support their books. I don’t do it because I feel I have to as part of my daily social media routine. I do it because I want to. And it’s reciprocal. It feeds those quality connections and comes back to me as a reward. It’s karmic.
Engagement is the key to real connections. If you read a blog post that resonates, say something. Like it, comment, tweet it, ping it, whatever, but engage. It matters.
Us writers, we’re a needy breed. We like pats on the back. And we aren’t generally telepathic, so we need to be told we’re saying the right things. It gives a sense of accomplishment and reminds us that we are on the right path.
Communicate. With words. We like that.
Pay it forward. Right?
How about you? What do you need from your writing community to keep you moving forward?
Links you may be interested in:
- Friendship in the Digital Age (sheerbalance.com)
- Buying Social Media Followers > quality V quantity (carolinebeavon.com)
- Why social media success is about quality not quantity (socialmediatoday.com)
June 13, 2012 | Categories: Author, Blogging, Social Media, Writer, Writing | Tags: Business, Facebook, friendship, Inspiration, Internet marketing, laney mcmann, Marketing and Advertising, Online Communities, Social media, Social network, Twitter, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 7 Comments »
During my usual perusal of blogs, I ran across Joanna Penn’s interview of Jeff Goins. If you haven’t seen it, it is a must watch. Especially for those of us who are new to the writing scene. No aspiring here, just real writers writing. Watch. It’s worth your time.
June 11, 2012 | Categories: Author, Publishing, Self Publishing, Social Media, Writer, Writing | Tags: art, Author, Facebook, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, Jeff Goin, Joanna Penn, laney mcmann, novel writing, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips | Leave A Comment »
The vision and imagination behind The Lord of the Rings is hard to fathom. Written in 1937, The Hobbit was the first of Tolkien’s works within this series. The three remaining books followed over a span of twelve years. Tolkien gave me my first real taste of what high fantasy can be.
World building. It isn’t easy. Writers must create rules for their world to abide by, scenery perhaps never seen before, and creatures of vivid imagination. With fantasy comes conflict, and with conflict comes action. Action that makes sense, flows smoothly, and can hopefully be seen within a readers own imagination.
This can be the most difficult part of writing. Recreating the images we have created in our minds into words on paper. Words that resonate with the reader.
I see all my stories in my minds eye. Similar I’d say to a film reel. Scenes rush by in my head and try to catch them, and write them down.
Here is one of my favorite LOR scenes:
“The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from the nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.
‘You cannot pass,’ he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. ‘I am the servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.’
“….Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his hand. A blinding sheet of white flame sprang up. The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog‘s feet it broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the gulf, while the rest remained poised, quivering like a tongue of rock thrust out into the emptiness.
With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. ‘Fly, you fools!’ he cried, and was gone.” ~LOR, The Fellowship Of The Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
**Here is the film scene:
Rarely do I think that movies hold a candle of the magic that books do. Especially when recreating a classic such as LOR. LOR however, is one of my exceptions. There is as much to learn from this series of films as there is to learn from the series of books. Both are incredible.
Having trouble writing action, creating worlds? Read some Tolkien, and remember to keep it clean and concise.
Related article: Fantasy World Building — Thanks To Star Wars and Legend
- Fantasy Worlds – The Hobbit (laneymcmann.com)
June 5, 2012 | Categories: Author, Books, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: action scenes in novels, Author, Balrog, Fantasy, Fellowship Of The Ring, Gandalf, Hobbit, Inspiration, J. R. R. Tolkien, laney mcmann, Lord of the Rings, movies, novel writing, Secret Fire, The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien, Warner Bros, world building, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author | 11 Comments »
Star Wars. My first taste of being transported into another world. I owned everything related to those first three movies. The books, the action figures, I think I even had the soundtrack. I was utterly mesmerized by that world. I owe a lot of my writing desire and curiosity to George Lucas. But I was pretty young when Star Wars hit the screen. Too young probably to start creating worlds with anything other than my vivid imagination. I hadn’t started writing stories at that point.
Until the movie Legend came out. And then it was all she wrote. I was hooked. That movie, now somewhat of a cult phenomenon, changed the way I viewed the world (I was young, give me a break), and it triggered in me the desire to not only start reading fantasy and sci-fi like a fiend, but to start writing it.
(Give it 14 seconds)
What inspired you to walk the writing path?
May 30, 2012 | Categories: Author, Blogging, Books, Writer, Writing | Tags: Action figure, Darth Vader, Fantasy, Film, George Lucas, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Legend, Movie, novel writing, Science Fiction, space, Star Wars, StarWars, Television and Movies, tom cruise, Writer, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 5 Comments »
You had two roads to take, the gut instinct or the outline. You chose to write from your gut, let the story pour from your imagination onto the page. You didn’t think about where it was going because you knew it would get there. You’re 80,000 words in. Done. All feels great. Now what?
Now, Editing. You begin to go through your work chapter by chapter, detail by detail and you realize the transitions aren’t what they should be, could be, need to be or what you thought they were. Here is the biggest issue writing without an outline — headaches. You’ve got a great story but it doesn’t roll off your tongue quite right. It doesn’t work quite the way it sounded in your head.
Now for the rewrite. The biggest pain in the ass ever. It even trumps editing. And that is saying a lot. You rewrite from the beginning, move a paragraph here, a chapter there and think, okay, I can do this, it’s not so bad. Until it is bad. Until you have 30 chapters staring back at you asking to be properly read and all your thoughts become a jumbled, dizzying mess.
Now, let me start from the beginning. I’m not methodical. I’m a jumper. I get hit with an idea and I’m off. It’s my way, my style, my inspiration. But let me say that my style completely bit me in the ass. No outline is a bad idea.
I had notes. Pages and pages of notes, handwritten. I had documents–so many I couldn’t keep track of them all. In the beginning, I thought they were enough. In the end, they weren’t. Not even close. I had too many ideas. Ideas that I couldn’t reign in. Ideas that I couldn’t mold in the way I needed to—wanted to. I paid for those amateur mistakes in the end. Through rewrites, a staggering number of drafts, cuts, edits, and revisions. Close to two years worth.
Now my notes are in an abstract outline form, still free-flowing, but an outline nonetheless. Word to the wise: Get your idea, work it through and outline it. Even if that outline is as simple as a few sentences per chapter–a few ideas. Even if you only have a kernel of an idea of what the beginning, middle, and end of the story should be. In the end you will gain a ridiculous amount of time, a better story and with any luck, your sanity.
May 21, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writer, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Novel, novel creation, novel plot, novel writing, Plot (narrative), WIP, Writer, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing and Editing, writing outline, Writing process, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 8 Comments »