“Some of this book — perhaps too much — has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it — and perhaps the best of it — is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”
~Stephen King (On Writing~A Memoir of the Craft)
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 »
December 20, 2012 | Categories: Author, Quotes, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Author, Dream, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Quotes, William Faulkner, Writing Tips | 1 Comment »
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 »
Young Adult fantasy novels are my first go-to on reading shelves. My first love of books in general. I write them too. Pretty well, I think. At least in content, anyway. Sometimes, however, “Laney, YA writer” gets crossed with “Laney … well, Laney.”
Why do I sound like an adult sometimes when I write? Besides the fact that I am one, I get caught up in the flurry of the story–action scenes, love scenes– and I occasionally forget contractions and ‘teen speak’, as my editor calls it. When I’m on a writing roll, I write what I see in my head. The words kind of disappear. Strange? Maybe so.
Stories read like moving pictures for me. Like a blur of color. My editor slows the view down so I can see what’s staring back at me from the screen. It’s an invaluable tool.
Writers need editor’s eyes. They are programmed to see what we miss. Although, sometimes it may feel nit picky or overwhelming–we need to use it, learn from it.
My story reads tighter, cleaner … better. As far as I’m concerned, the frustration that can come from full-blown edits are worth every ounce of hair pulling and head banging. The goal is to produce the best story I can. Even if that means cringing every time I open a document to find blue ink covering my pages.
November 14, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing, Editing To Deadlines, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, Book Writing, editing, Editing and Proofreading, Fiction, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Exercises, Writing Tips, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author, Young Writers, Young-adult fiction | 4 Comments »
“It’s always too early to quit.”
November 5, 2012 | Categories: Publishing, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Editing and Proofreading, Inspiration, laney mcmann, New Age, Norman Vincent Peale, Power of Positive Thinking, Quotes, Rewrites, Writing and Editing, Writing process, Writing Tips, YA paranormal romance author | 1 Comment »
Pre-Final edits are in full swing, so forgive my sporadic blog posts of late. The writing pendulum is searching for the mid-point.
Turns out real editing with changes and revisions takes a while. Add in a deadline and … yeah, it’s a time stretch. With that in mind, I’m continuing my What’s In An Editor post series (a spin-off of What’s In A Beta Reader). And since I’m new to the editing game, it will be a work in progress. Here we go:
I keep asking myself, “How would you feel?” Or, “What does that look like?”
Feelings are hard to write. For me. Well, I should reword. Feelings are hard to show in my writing. It’s a point of head banging lately. Rewriting sections to show instead of tell. Showing say … scrutiny, for example, causes my head to ache. How would I show scrutiny? It’s a good question. One that I’m working on.
The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi is an invaluable tool. One that I use from time to time (more often lately). It doesn’t, however, give a writer all the answers. It simply leads them a bit farther down the ‘expressive’ path. After that, showing is still in the mind of the writer. Showing without repetition … harder still.
I’ll move back to my example. The sentence I needed to alter per my editor was this one: I scrutinized both of them.
So, how do I show scrutiny?
Here’s the definition: A critical observation or examination.
I could have my character shake his/her head, but I do a lot of head shaking (it’s an easy and probably overdone fix). I could have a disbelieving eye roll (also a bit overdone even though I like eye rolling). How about narrowing eyes? That works. When we are skeptical of someone’s behavior we narrow our eyes in disbelief.
Still, it’s a crap shoot. Seeing eye to eye on every little detail is unlikely when it comes to editing, but your words should feel right. Put yourself in your characters shoes and ask yourself, “How do I feel?”
Nobody said editing would be easy.
WRITE ON, WRITERS!
November 1, 2012 | Categories: Editing To Deadlines, Novel Writing, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Beta reader, edit, editing, Editing and Proofreading, Facebook, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Twitter, Typing, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing and Editing, Writing Tips, YA paranormal romance author | Leave A Comment »
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 »
It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.
October 19, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Author, Canada, Dalloway, Inspiration, laney mcmann, London, New Brunswick, Virginia, Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, Writing Tips | Leave A Comment »
“You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.”
September 21, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Boston University, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, Isaac Asimov, laney mcmann, novel writing, Russian American, Science Fiction, Short story, Writing Tips | 4 Comments »
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. Here are some of the best links:
Author Michelle Davidson Argyle has a great post up on her blog, The Innocent Flower. You can find it here: When You Can’t Hack It As An Author
Joel Friedlander has great tips on his blog, The Book Designer. Here’s his post: How To Find Out What Readers Want
September 5, 2012 | Categories: Author, Blogging, Self Publishing, Social Media, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: Arts, Author, Book design, Book Designer, Creative Penn, Joanna Penn, Joel Friedlander, laney mcmann, Literature, Michelle Davidson Argyle, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing process, Writing Tips | Leave A Comment »
“Art is the lie that tells the truth.”
August 28, 2012 | Categories: Quotes, Writing | Tags: art, Art Gallery of Ontario, Henri Matisse, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Pablo Picasso, Paris, Philosophy, Philosophy of Logic, Quotes, Truth Definitions, Writing Tips | Leave A Comment »
You wrote your first book. Now you’re marketing it on every social media site you can think of. Or maybe you’re on submission and you’ve chewed your fingernails to bits with nervous energy at the thought of rejection. Either way, you’ve started your second book right? Right?
The tale goes that most writers need to have between three and five books in the marketplace before they will take off and be seen. If they do at all. There are exceptions, of course. So are you writing those three to five books and beyond, or are you putting all your efforts toward promoting your first, and only, book?
I won’t lie and say that I didn’t go into a state of panic when I went on submission, or that I didn’t freeze into a no writing phase for about a week afterwards. I did panic. I did freeze. Then I realized I was wasting both time and energy, and I continued on with TORN, the sequel to my first book, TIED, now on submission. I realized that regardless of what happens with TIED, I needed to move forward with writing. It was the only thing I could control. And if everything did work out with book one, I would need to have book two in the wings, finished, ready and waiting to go live.
The turnover with e-book technology is simply too quick to expect that a year in between books will cut it in today’s market anymore. What I learned when I continued on with book two, was that my anxiety decreased, my reason for writing in the first place resumed, and I fell back in love with my story. For me, that in itself is all I can ever ask for. To love what I’m doing regardless of where it leads.
Now, I won’t lie and say that marketing doesn’t scare me to death, or make me uncomfortable. It does. And I am only doing a fraction of marketing now compared to what I know will be required of me when I do publish. But even then, a balance will need to be struck. Because in order to sell books, you have to continue writing them. There needs to be something to buy within a reasonable amount of time after you’ve created a buzz with your first masterpiece. So market away, submit away, but remember, this is a writing game we’re in. We need not forget that.
So, what about you? Are you in a terrified state on submission? Marketing your Indie book? How’s it going?
August 21, 2012 | Categories: Author, Publishing, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: Amazon Kindle, Arts, Author, Book, E-book, Fiction, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Marketing, Publish, Publishing, Self-publishing, Shopping, Social media, WIP, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 1 Comment »
“I should think it extremely improbable that anyone ever wrote simply for money. What makes a writer is that he likes writing. Naturally, when he has written something, he wants to get as much for it as he can, but that is a very different thing from writing for money.”
August 18, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writing Tips | Tags: Arts, Author, Authors, Bertie Wooster, humor, Inspiration, Jeeves, laney mcmann, Literature, novel creation, P. G. Wodehouse, Wodehouse, Writing Tips, YA paranormal romance author | 2 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 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 »
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 »
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 »
After I posted my novel cover, and publication target date, to all of my social media sites, I felt a combination of relief, trepidation, and…naseau.
Truth — Besides the writing community and my very close friends and family–No One knew what I’ve been doing for the last two years. Why?
Fear of what people will think, what they’ll say.
All that crap that means absolutely nothing.
I mustered the courage to send my cover photo to a few friends and family, and went ahead and bit the bullet and posted it on my personal facebook page. Sad thing—that scared me more than anything else. Great thing—the response was overwhelmingly positive. And still somehow, I’m uncomfortable when my friends say, “I can’t wait to read your book!” or “That is so awesome, Laney!!”
I love them. Every one of them, for supporting me. But… I also understand what it feels like to put your soul into something and have that little devil sitting on your shoulder. The one who says, What are you thinking? You really think you can pull this off? Seriously?
As a former classical dancer, I know what it means to walk on stage and swallow fear. I’ve done it more times than I can count. After a while, it becomes old hat.
As a Chef, I know the feeling you get when someone sends something back to the kitchen because they hated it, or it was under cooked, or over cooked, or who the hell knows why. It stabs you a little.
And as the daughter of a Fine Artist—I know what it feels like from the other side of the street too. My mom has always said, “Not everyone will like, or even understand what I do. I don’t care. I’m not painting for them.” And she’s right.
Grab support where you stumble upon it, but don’t expect to find it if you go looking. That’s not what this is about. If you’re writing for the hopes of fame and fortune, pats on the back and great reviews, you’re writing for the wrong reasons. Write for you. Dance for you. Paint for you.
The ONLY person you need to convince of your talent, your drive, your passion—is you.
Just don’t buy into the hype.
May 16, 2012 | Categories: Author, Dance, Inspiration, Publishing, Thoughts, Writer, Writing | Tags: art, Arts, Author, Chats and Forums, Fine art, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Online Communities, Social media, Social Networking, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Exercises, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | Leave A Comment »