Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why write?

First off, I want to announce the winner of last week's 200th Post drawing---- LISA KESSLER!!!  WOOO!!!  Congrats, and thank you all who commented (I used a very scientific manner- numbers, bits of paper, and a blind draw ;)--if you commented and mentioned a previous blog post you liked, you got TWO bits of paper!)

Now on to a very short blog, but one with a big question:  Why do we write?

I know we all have different reasons, but a recent blog post on why you shouldn't write (Chuck Wendig- hilarious!) made me look at why I do continue to torture myself.  It takes up alot of time, and leaves little to show for it.  Even if you get published few non-writers know how much work REALLY goes into a book.

So why do we do it?

I think I personally have some sort of disease where my mind makes up places and if I don't write them, I'll go mad.  But that's me.

Now it's your turn- WHY do you write?  Could you stop?

Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

200th POST! Best time to be a writer.

Before I launch into today’s weekly babbling, I wanted to mention this is my 200th post! WOOOOO! I’ve had a great time here and have gained many new insights and ideas from all of your comments. I look forward to many, many more! Thank you!

Now, on to the important part- PRIZES!! To say thank you for coming by here today I am offering up one $25 gift certificate for one lucky commenter to Mysterious Galaxy, Books Inc., or Bookshop Santa Cruz (or, if you have a favorite independent bookstore- and they do online gift certs- winner’s choice!).

Why these three? Well, first and foremost—they are independents. I think supporting real brick and mortar stores is vital and especially the ones flying indie. Mysterious Galaxy is local for me, I used to work for Books Inc, and when I lived in Santa Cruz I loved visiting Bookshop Santa Cruz.
Three great indies!

Here are the rules: You must comment about something in today’s blog posting—or list a favorite past blog of mine. You get two entries if you do both!

If I get more than 20 individual comments (no, commenting twice won’t count ;)) I will toss in another $25 gift certificate to an independent bookstore and draw two winners.

The contest ends at MIDNIGHT Sunday, March 24st. I will randomly draw the winner (or winners) at that point and will post the name(s) on my blog on Wednesday, March 27th.

Now on to this week’s post J

Best time to be a writer

There are some folks out there saying this is the worst of times to be a novelist. Book sales are all over the place, EVERYONE thinks they can write now, put your favorite doom and gloom saying here.

I say they are wrong.

Never have we had so many ways to get our words in the hands of readers-- and isn’t that what we all want?

The publishing world is changing radically and will continue to do so. Gone are the days when self-publishing was an ill spoken option, discussed only in back alleys, if at all. Authors are diving into the self-publishing world and coming up great. As long as care is given to the book, professional editing, covers, layout, etc- there is no reason an author can’t produce a very well respected self-published book. Now there is A LOT of work involved- but more and more unpublished and published authors are looking at this option.

E-pubs- the romance world has lead the charge on the epubs, but more genres are climbing on board. Again- very viable way for authors to get their books out there! A good e publisher is worth their weight in gold. They often have far more flexibility than a traditional pub-and many of them do end up printing physical copies of their books as well.

Traditional- the standard, but one that will have to begin to change as writers and readers explore their options. The prestige is there, but so are the gatekeepers (agents and editors).  You might have a great book, but if they want only books they can sell a certain number of copies of, and they feel you’re a few hundred short, you won’t be let in.


I think writers of today have many options to control their own careers and get their works out in reader’s hands.  There’s no reason why a author shouldn’t explore all three options, and many traditionally published authors do so as the rights to older works return to them.

Now I’m not saying what we do is easy, it will never be easy, but I say it’s a great time to be an author!


Don’t forget to make a comment/site one of your favorite posts from this blog to win a $25 gift card from an indie bookstore!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Space Slug, the Dog, and the Glass Rocking Chair

Today I thought I’d talk a bit about how we as writers use our words to control what the reader sees. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Of course our words control what the reader experiences! We’re the WRITER!
Ah, but sometimes books go askew when the writer forgets that whatever they focus on will be focused on by the reader as well.
For example—think of your book as being told through a camera. You aim it at your protagonist coming home-- he fixes dinner, he sits down to watch TV, then he finds an alien space slug behind his sofa. You’ve aimed the camera to show all of that.
Now imagine all of that, but you wander off and start aiming the camera at the dog. The dog isn’t doing anything, and has become friends with the vicious alien space slug so he’s not even reacting to it.
But your camera loves that dog. Maybe he’s a text representation of your own dog. And you are really good at describing that dog. Meanwhile the reader is thinking, “OH! The writer has the camera aimed at the dog—something must happen with the dog!”
Then nothing happens with the dog.
It’s that gun sitting on the shelf in chapter one, that never got used.
If you as the writer focus the camera on something—especially if you give it lots of detail—we as the reader will be looking for that thing, item, event, to be important later on.
For myself as a reader, if an author screws this up this once, I’m ready to walk away from the book. They do it twice and that book is air born in a trajectory meant to land in a “give away” book pile. To me that author has broken the sacred rule- they made me focus on something with no meaning to the story.
This can happen for a few reasons, but mostly it boils down to forgetting and falling in love.
1) Forgetting: this is when the author really meant to do something with the dog—but then forgot the bit or edited it out. That’s well and good, except that the author forgot to take ALL of the bits of intense focus of the dog out. This doesn’t mean we can’t see the dog, just that it shouldn’t be an intense detailed focus. ‘There is a dog’ verses ‘a full, elaborate description’ of said dog.
2) Falling in love: not the characters- but the writer. Sometimes we do too much research on something. We have all of this information to describe it- say it’s a Victorian fire poker. So we put all of that loving detail, how it was used, what it’s made of, how it shines in the firelight into our book. Then don’t ever show it again. The writer may love their words so much that they feel the reader should as well. Guess what, the reader ain’t gonna care. If that poker isn’t important- we don’t need the detail. Not every bit of researched information needs to go in the book. TRUST ME.
So make sure you are focusing on things the reader needs to know to enjoy your story- nothing more, nothing less.
OH! And next week there will be PRIZES!! Next week will be my 200th Blog Post- wooo hoooo! Come on by and have some virtual cake and ice cream.
(And if you’re wondering about the glass rocking chair in the title of this blog- then I’ve just demonstrated my point. ;))

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Insecure Writers

I recently joined a blog roll--aka a list of like minded bloggers-- this one is called the Insecure Writer's Support Group, or IWSG for short.


The first Wednesday of each month we post to the world something we're insecure about--not a problem we're writers' EVERYTHING makes us insecure ;). So, to my fellow insecure writers- both on and off the blog roll- here I go :).

This month's insecurity is about letting folks down.  I'm talking about when someone reads part of your work and gushes about it (or even just says, "Hey, that's not bad") and then wants to read more.
I am terrified that they'll get to the rest of the work and throw it against the wall.  They'll realize that I'm a fraud (ahh- another IWSG blog rears it's head for a future month ;)) and I'll let them down.

Or, my writing could be fine, but they may have an idea where my story is going that varies wildly from where I went with it.

In short, I freak if someone likes my work but hasn't read the entire bit of whatever project they're reading.  I hate to think I'm going to disappoint them.

What about you?  Any deeply hidden fears lurking in your psyche?