Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The ONLY right way to write

Betcha thought I was going to give you a super secret way to write, huh? 

Sorry, the only right way (for you) to write is your way. I’ve harped on this before, but recently I saw someone on a writing group page upset because someone had told them they were writing incorrectly.

To which I said, “Say what?” (In my head only, enough folks had already jumped in on the issue ;)). There is no wrong way to write.

Now, before some folks jump all over me, yes, there are ways that will make your writing more palatable for a gentle reader. Things like proper grammar, commonly accepted punctuation, spelling that doesn’t hurt the head, and so forth.  Obviously, you as the writer can do whatever you want-you just may not be able to share it with anyone outside of your pets and people who really love you...a lot.

But there is a more insidious way of “failing to write correctly”- not outlining your book (to be fair, the opposite is true as well- I have seen people poo-poo the plotters for being uninspired and lacking originality which is hogwash) BUT the situation I saw was that the author had told the person “helping” them, that they didn’t use an outline.

And they were told that only hacks don’t use outlines, and therefore they were not a real writer. And this was said to what sounded like to me a new writer. All dewy eyed and wet behind the ears.

I wanted to find the unnamed source of pain for the new little writer and bash them in the head.

There are as many ways to write as there are books. I am a serious pantser. But even for me, each book is a little different. I just finished the draft of book three, The Emerald Dragon, and I felt like I was balancing on an over inflated beach ball, dancing a jig, while juggling fifteen water balloons. It was a messy write.

To some degree that’s how I write everything. Parts of it may look deceptively put together even in their first draft…but the entire piece is sort of like a Jackson Pollack painting from a distance.

It’s how I write. And for this book, it was REALLY how I write.

Because my brain can only hold so much information, I am actually going to do a slight outline for the remaining three books in my series. But I’m still a pantser. I know how it ends but the path getting there is messy and there is a chance of falling water balloons.

You may write like I do, or have an insane 100-page outline. IT DOESN’T MATTER! There is no "correct" way to write- and if someone tells you there is, and even worse, then tries to make you feel bad about YOUR path, smack them around for me (okay, use a pillow or something, I'm not supporting violence here ;)).

And you older, more established writers out there, encourage the new folks, but don't try to brain wash them to do things your way, or make them feel bad about their way. I've got a pillow with your name on it ;).

Friday, January 15, 2016

Got Time?

Time. It seems we're always looking for it. Counting on that moment that we have some to follow our dreams.

I had the concept of time brought to the forefront of my brain recently for a few reasons. The first was a friend of a friend of a friend, who, when I told I wrote, said, "Oh, I envy you having the time for that. I want to but I just have too much going on." I held back my snark (I didn't know this woman) but did say that I made time. I get up at 5am. I edit and write during my lunch at my day job. I stay home from going out to many fun things with friends to write, edit, and plan world domination.

I make time.

Now this can hit some folks hard. Maybe they do have a dream of writing (or something else they "don't have time for"). They tell themselves the only reason they haven't done it, or started to do it, then gave up, was they were just too busy. Clearly, other people (like myself) have copious amounts of extra time just floating about-but since they have a "serious" life, they just can't do it now.


Guess what people, we all have the same 24 hours a day. How we chose to spend them is our choice. Somethings are unavoidable--little kids, evil day jobs to pay the mortgage. But a lot of it is optional. 

We lost David Bowie and Alan Rickman this week. Two amazing stars in their fields, who MADE time to be who they became. They both had the same 24 hours you do. They had the same temptations to do something else with their time. But I think we're all very grateful they chose to make time for their crafts instead.

YOU decide not to watch TV that night, or get up early, or work through lunch. If you chose not to, that's fine. But PLEASE don't use time as an excuse.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#IWSG- This writing gig

First blog of 2016! And it’s the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day! How awesome is that?

For those of you who don't know what that is, hop over to the mothership and find out!

Today will be a bit of a ramble about choosing to become a writer.

 Unlike some folks, I didn’t start off grade school knowing I was going to be a writer. Until second grade, words and letters (and sometimes numbers) were all back-asswards for me. After two years of re-training my brain, they started going to right way ;) (most of the time- don’t ask me to total your bill at a restaurant if I’m tired ;)).

But I did always tell stories in my head. And recently, I came across a single page story from probably 5th grade. It was kinda goofy, but not bad for a 10 year old, and I got an A!  I honestly don’t remember it at all but it was fun to find. My mom had saved it, and not really much else, so it must have been important to her (and probably me).

I do recall writing a play in 6th grade, and loving it because folks laughed (like they were supposed to—not at me ;)). I briefly thought I'd do more writing, since my teacher loved it, the class loved it, and I loved their reaction. 

But,then sort of forgot about writing- until Star Wars came out. I remembered writing basically a Brady Bunch type story (not them, but a big family) but I used names from Star Wars.  I showed my great aunt who was visiting and she said it would be great to have a writer in the family. I was so excited. Then nothing. Kids get distracted, there were new and other things to do.

When I was about 18 or so I started on my first real book. I have since stolen names (Vaslisha Tor Dain from the upcoming Warrior Wench was one) ideas, situations from it…but its body is lost to time. Again, I sort of wandered away from the writing idea.

Then a few more years later I started another book. The Essence of Chaos. Took forever to finish since I’d put it down for years at a time, then have to edit the crap out of it when I drifted back to it. It’s salvageable (unlike that first book) but not sure when it will be out. Actually wrote the entire second book and started the third.

Then nothing.

About seven or eight or so years ago I fell back into writing. Worked on The Essence of Chaos- Then started a new book-The Glass Gargoyle. Then wrote a few more 'first-books-in-series'. After all of these years, I think I may have finally hit on something, as even though I still have “non-writing days” they are usually days, not months or years.

When I look at how much writing kept poking at me, and I kept trying to walk away, and yet kept coming back, it just boggles my mind. For good or bad, it looks like I’m stuck with this writing affliction. So hope ya all like reading!