Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy Author ~

Thoughts

Don’t Think, Just Do.

My son, the skateboarder, is also a football player. Little league. He plays defense. Really well. On occasion, he plays on offense. Wide receiver. He’s a great receiver—in the front yard. On the field however, during a game, it’s hit or miss. 50/50. I told him it was in his head, and I believe that. He thinks too much. It’s all psychological. “Don’t think,” I told him, “Just do.”

I ran a post the other day, The Transitions, and talked about the need of an outline. Any kind of outline really. Something to lead you along incase you run astray, and lose your way. I am a pantster at heart. I believe in outlining loosely. Although I like having a guide, I feel it’s important to not rely too heavily on what you think your story should be.  So..in that light, this post may sound a bit contradictory. It’s not.

My issue with traditional outlines is the feeling of being ‘locked in’ to an idea. For me, writing becomes the most difficult when I feel like I am trying to force the pieces of this massive novel-puzzle into holes that don’t fit. Sometimes even your best ideas, dialogue streams, and world building skills, simply don’t work. Sometimes you need to loosen the grip and let the story carry you. Let your imagination run wild. You would be amazed at what your mind can create when you let go of the boundaries.

Three Worlds

Image via Wikipedia

When you get to know your characters—really know them, they will lead you, not the other way around. Everytime I feel myself getting stuck, hitting a wall, I ask myself, “What would Layla do? What would she say?” Layla is the main character in my novel—something I haven’t mentioned until now. I know her very well after almost two years of writing. Well enough that after my 6th draft, banging my head against the wall, and wanting to pull my hair out—I stopped thinking so much, and let her do the talking. Some writers think that sounds insane. While others, know exactly what I’m saying.

When stopped thinking so much, and let Layla start talking, the whole scope of my story changed, and became alive. It wasn’t me telling the story anymore, it was her showing her world—leading the way. And….it became easier to write. Yup. Sure did.

That’s not to say that I went completely astray of the ideas I had loosely outlined for my story in the very beginning, only that I allowed those ideas to stay fluid.

There is a negative with being locked in to a specific idea when you write. Well….I should rephrase that. There is a negative when you write fantasy and paranormal. These stories aren’t built on traditional ideas. They are built on wild imaginations. In order to create alter universes, planes, and worlds—we need to let go of what we think the story should be, and allow it to be what it can be. Big difference. Let your thoughts take you, let your characters take you. Writing is about allowing yourself to be transported.

“Don’t think, just do.” Then edit. 😉

WRITE ON, WRITERS.

(**after drafting this post on Saturday morning, my son caught a 30 yard touchdown pass. His team won the league championship.)


A Feast for Crows.

A Feast for Crows

Image via Wikipedia

(SMALL SPOILER ALERT)

I began this series behind most of the die-hard Martin fans. Although I am a huge Fantasy fan, I read a lot of YA as well, as it is my genre. Due to do this, Martin stayed on my back burner. Until recently. I sped through the first three books. Within days. Literally. I couldn’t get enough. A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings & A Storm of Swords were consuming stories.

A Feast for Crows, however, threw up a road block, and had me crawling to the finish line. It was a slow read. Very slow at times. The storyline of AFC needed to be split in half due to what would have been a brain-numbing amount of content. The book in its entirety would have simply been too long. Well over 1,000 pages. And I mean well over. In splitting this book however, AFC felt heavily one-sided. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, I did, but due to half of the cast of characters being cut, the book left me wanting more, and less. AFC was still, at half its content, around 775 pages long.  Although not my favorite book in this series so far, AFC is still a must read for any Martin fan. Especially if you are knee-deep in this series.

George R. R. Martin is an incredible storyteller and an inspiration for every author/writer. His cast of characters is immense, not to mention the number of details he somehow manages to not only hold inside his head, but also manages to keep straight.  Martin is currently working on The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in his Fantasy series, A Song of Fire and Ice. I know we all hope this book will be a quick release.

**For a further review of this book, see my Goodreads shelves to the right.

Over there >>>>>>     As well as reviews and opinions of previous books in this incredible series.


Are You Shy?

I’ve never considered myself to be shy, but truth be told, I’ve always been guarded. Guarded is a sort of fancy word for introverted. Introverted and shy, it turns out, are not the same creature. I’d never given much thought to either, until now. It’s not like I’m anti-social. But the social media aspect of being a writer, and soon to be published author, is daunting for people like me. It’s like throwing yourself into an oven and praying it’s only set at around 175 degrees. Because at 400–you will burn up. 400 is too hot, too social, too LOUD.

The social media aspect of this business forces us to be just that—social. It forces us to be everywhere. All The Time. Making contacts, creating a brand—-basically, establishing a business from the ground floor. A huge undertaking, especially when we are expected to be writing good books at the same time. When you aren’t an extrovert, it’s an even harder task. Thankfully, a lot of blog and twitter friends are extroverts and that makes it easier. They draw us introverts out once in a while.

I uploaded my fledgling Facebook page the other day (come over and LIKE me), and I swear it took all I had to push ‘publish’ and go live. I felt the same way with Twitter, an outlet that is going strong now, thankfully. My blog has been, surprisingly, the easiest branch of social media for me. Why? I’m all exposed here on the blog, how could that be easier? Writing is easy. Simple as that. Talking to 500 people on Twitter….different story. (Thank you for keeping me talking Twitter followers:)

I ran across an interesting article on NPR the other day.

Quiet, Please: Unleashing ‘The Power Of Introverts’ You can find the link here: NPR Books

Susan Cain has written a book on the subject.

QUIET

The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Check it out.

When I publish my novel later this year, I will likely hide for a few weeks, due to open and blatant exposure (Kidding. Sort of;)

Are you more comfortable in a crowded room talking to any and everyone? Or do one on one conversations interest you more?


Inspiration of the Day…

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

~Nathaniel Hawthorne


The Pendulum Swing

I’ve been revising my novel for a few weeks now, gearing up for its release. I’m nowhere near completion, but working on it every day gives me a sense of forward motion and accomplishment. Which is why after finishing Chapters 1-7 in their entirety, I found myself surprised to feel that old familiar pang. The stab in the side.

Burn Out. It happens. Sometimes when you least expect it.

Figure two (a) Equatorial pendulum with longit...

Image via Wikipedia

A year and a half is a long time to dedicate to writing a novel in these technologically fast-moving times. Too long. Nonetheless, a year and a half it has been since I began. And throughout that time I have swung through emotions with the swift fluidity of a pendulum. One day in love with my words, the next, ready to chunk my laptop out the window.

I have tried editing or writing from the end of the story or somewhere in the middle for a fresh perspective. I’ve tried working on other stories in the toolbox of ideas I have amassed. But, always I come back to my current novel.  It never shuts up. I both love and hate it. I picks me up and drops me again.

Today I received an email on my chap nine revisions. The chapter that I knew was still rough after all the edits and continued to need work. I was ready for the slashes of red across the text, the comments in the margins, ready for the question marks. I didn’t get them. At least not that many. Instead, I got the opposite. My editor said she liked the chapter, she said it had life in it.

Life.

Not sure I could receive a greater compliment than that. So today, novel, I love you again. You still need work, but you have life;)

Good Writing!


Behind the Black Screen

I received a beautiful Charles Dickens hardback for Christmas, complete with five novels. Oliver Twist, A Tale Of Two Cities, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol (my all time favorite) and Great Expectations. The weight alone, 1483 pages, is impressive. The gilded pages and heavy dark cover indicate it’s value and overall worth in a time far past.

I also received an iPhone 4gs and with it, a storm of headaches. Half of my iTunes library, to which consists of over one thousand songs, got wiped out. Panic was quickly replaced by anger, replaced by heartbreak. My music. I can’t put into words how important it is to me. How would I replace it all? How would I even remember all of it?

An illustrated copy of Tolkien‘s The Hobbit, a hugely scaled hardback encased behind glass at a local bookstore, spoke to me. It was probably two feet in width and height, under lock and key. I wanted it the second I saw it, untouched and unowned. Books like these are treasures and meant to be treasured and adored. Now it seems they are a dying breed. I bought the book in all it’s 1977 glory.

I’m reading the fourth book in the George R. R. Martin series, A song of Fire and Ice, A Feast for Crows. I’ve been downloading them one by one onto my Nook. It occurred to me over the holidays just how upset I would be if this series, a sure to be classic in its own right, was somehow lost behind the black screen. Irretrievable. Like my music.

If I lost my novels, these treasures of mine — the thought makes me ill. I love the ease and convenience of my Nook. But what about my Dickens, my Tolkien? Is it the same if I have downloaded copies of these masterpieces?

Here’s the glitch with technology. Everything can get backed up, copied, protected. But like with my music, there are no guarantees. And even if there were, is it the same when these legendary authors are hidden behind the black screen? Not for me it isn’t. The history gets lost somewhere in the technology for me. I need the paper for these stories to remain alive and true. Weight, storage, inconvenience — all of those reasons we have to stop buying paper and start downloading —  I agree with. Until we start messing with the classics. I’ll take those in all their hardback glory.


Inspiration of the day:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

~Albert Einstein


Spammage

The best spam comment I’ve read all week:

“Call me wind because I am blown away by your post!”

Glad I could help.


Novel 1 Update

I have had an inspired week filled with edits and revisions. My MS has now been relinquished for the real edits to begin and what I am positive will be full-blown revisions to follow.

Instead of going into an extended state of anxiety awaiting judgement, I plan to focus all of my energy on finishing my second WIP. As my current novel has taken what feels like forever to finish, I have a new-found confidence that the second will be a much quicker process.

I am hoping to gain some insight on creating a new title (or sticking with the original) as mine has been found elsewhere. I have created a list of around twenty possibilities, half of which I have already shot down. With any luck my title will be released here on the blog soon. My cover has also been completed.

Good writing to you;)


Thankful..

I am thankful for the gift of words, the gift of insight and imagination. For my love of books and the ability to spend hours reading them.

For friends who stand by me, even when they think I’ve lost my mind or disagree with every decision I make. You keep me upright.

For my family and their unyielding encouragement throughout my life. I would be lost without you.

For my health and sanity.

My ability to run again after my second round of physical therapy.

For music that vibrates my core and spills through me with every beat.

For my cherished memories of times and people past. I miss you.

For the chill of Autumns approach and the fall of red bruised leaves.

For all the gifts I cherish and hold dear in my life, I am truly grateful.

And of course for all of you who read, listen, like, comment and care about what I have to say, even when its utter nonsense. Thank You for listening.