Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy Author ~

Posts tagged “Writer

Writers Who Are Readers and Readers Who Are Writers

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.

Books

Books (Photo credit: henry…)

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.

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What’s In An Editor? Part 2. (How Do You Feel?)

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!


What’s In An Editor?

Grammar police

Grammar police (Photo credit: the_munificent_sasquatch)

An interesting thing happens when you work with an editor. You are quickly reminded (or I am) that although you may be a good storyteller and okay grammatically, becoming a terrific storyteller and a grammatical whiz, is quite another animal. Patience reigns. Glad my editor has a lot of it. 😉

WRITE ON, WRITERS!

** The homonym police got me…. reins vs. reigns. See what I mean about editing? Thanks, Carol. 😉


What Are You Afraid Of?

Judgement.

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. 

BUT…..

A quote by Bruce Patrick

WRITE ON, WRITERS.


The Only Reason For Being A Professional Writer…

The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.

~Leo Rosten


Sometimes When I Think…

Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.

~Truman Capote

English: Truman Capote

English: Truman Capote (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Make Your World Breathe

 

Just breathe

Just breathe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

There is no such thing as too much description.  Okay, maybe later on when you’re a few drafts in some details will need to be scaled down. But in the beginning when you are just writing, just write. Tell your story and every little detail that you see in your mind. First drafts need to be loaded with details. There will be too many but come draft two and three you can pick  and choose what’s important enough to stay and what needs to go. And through those changes your story will start to become alive.

 

Every character in your story needs a voice and I don’t only mean the ones who can talk. I mean EVERY character. The buildings, the car, the woods, the town. The world you’ve created needs to breathe. It needs life. Life in writing is created through details. The edge in someones voice, the creak of a clock tower, the feel of a touch, the sweetness of a flower. The ripped, faded jeans. The wickedly flirtatious smile. The racing blood. The charred forest. The reader needs to see it, taste it, feel it, hear it and know it. They want to walk in the world you create, to feel what the characters feel.

 

I think we all can get caught up in writing dialogue. It is no doubt, extremely important but at the end of the day, if all you have is dialogue, where’s the setting? Why does the reader care if he can’t see your characters sitting on the hillside, or fighting in the alley? The only way to create your world is to give it a personality of its own. Give it an identity and make it come alive in the minds of all who read it.

 

WRITE ON, WRITERS!

 


Half In Love…

I was about half in love with her by the time we sat down. That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty… you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are.

~J.D. Salinger  –The Catcher in the Rye

A friend reminded me of Salinger today — I had to share one of my favorite excerpts.

The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


What’s In A Beta Reader? Part 4

Look right

Look right (Photo credit: dlombardia)

“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.;)

What’s In A Beta Reader?

What’s In A Beta Reader? Part 2

What’s In A Beta Reader? Part 3


On Submission

I am officially on submission with TIED.

Eeeek!

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