This weekend I was at the store and I walked by the home and garden department to find that it was being stocked with – you guessed it – Christmas items. Trees, decorations, lights…you name it and it was there. And I shook my head at the ridiculousness of Christmas being set up in September.
And this of course got me thinking about our tendency to want things to come faster. Who doesn’t look at the clock at work and sometimes wish for it to be five o’clock? Our hope for the weekend to come sooner? Or hope for holidays or special events to get here sooner?
I totally get that, but I sometimes thinks we spend a lot of time wishing our life away! It’s hard to immerse yourself in the moment. But I think we might be more content if we did that more often.
For me, the truly unique characters in my writing world, are the ones who see every moment as an adventure instead of looking to the future for happiness. The perfect example of that is Misha, the larger-than-life demon who plays an important roll in my Mind Sweeper Series. He sees his friends, TV shows, food, work, well…anything really, as an adventure. Which makes the reader (I hope) want to embrace him. At least, that’s what I’ve heard anyway 🙂
I hope that once I finish his story, we can all enjoy his love of living in the moment.
And as I write this, I hope we all take a breath and take a moment to enjoy now and not wish time away. Life is precious as we’ve witnessed over the past month of hurricanes. So enjoy each day!
Growing up, I was a TV junkie. Name it and I watched it. One of my favorite magazines was the TV Guide Season Preview Guide. I loved reading about the new shows coming, and I would highlight the guide and plan out what I would watch.
Now, with my job and my writing, I have very little time to watch TV anymore. A little sad, but I have a new addiction – writing stories.
There are a couple exceptions to my no-TV-watching life. One of those exceptions is the show Supernatural. You’re probably not surprised about that, right 🙂
Well, over the Labor Day weekend, I was sick. So other than editing (which had to get done) I started to watch season 12. I had the entire season recorded on my DVR. And I binged most of the shows, leaving a small number that I have been watching this past week.
And I’m reminded why I love TV and why that has evolved into my writing career. When it comes down to it, a good story is a good story. Yes, Supernatural has demons, and vamps, and angels, and anything else you can think of. But what makes the show amazing is that it is ultimately about sacrifice, and love, and family. Oh and of course the two scrumptious brothers don’t hurt the show either. And they get to dust really EVIL things. That plays into Good vs Evil, David vs Goliath…
How can you not WANT to watch that? or read that?
So as I watch the last show of season 12, I have to remember that good story-telling is about letting the reader or watcher empathize with the characters. Because coming along for the ride and escaping into a new world is the best!
And before I sign off, I want to let everyone in Hurricane Irma’s path know I am thinking and praying for you.
Friday, I got my edits back for TO HAVE AND TO HOWL, which meant I spent Labor Day weekend…well, working.
But that’s okay, since the book is getting closer to release. So this first edit, read-through, next edit, read-through, proofread and, you guessed it, read-through, will prepare us for the fall release. Yay!
There is something cathartic about editing. Not my favorite thing to do in this process, but there’s nothing wrong with making things better. There are a lot of things in life that don’t get the benefit of editing, so books are special.
And as I dig through my editor’s notes and fine tune the story to make it even better, I can’t wait for you all to read it!
You read it right, my friends. Today, I lived a part of the Goldilocks tale. How you might ask? I went mattress shopping! And as I tested the different mattresses, the story kept running through my head.
AE laid on the first bed and it was way too soft, then she moved to the next and it was way too hard. Finally, AE found the bed that was just right and she settled in for a nice long nap. Okay…maybe that last part is a bit of a fabrication since I was in the middle of a mattress store, but you get the idea.
Fairy tales immerse us in a world very different than our own, yet it keeps us in the story with the familiar. Even though we might not have been lost in a forest and experienced Mama, Papa and Baby Bear, we, at one time or another, experienced a comfy bed and warm porridge (or oatmeal, cream of wheat…you get the idea).
Good stories are about bringing the reader along for a ride they have not experienced before. But there are touch points along the way that anchor us to the world.
Let me explain using my stories. As you know, I write about paranormal and when I tell people that I do, they often will tell me they don’t read that sort of thing. But here’s the thing. My stories are about characters who want love, and family, and have fights and make up. The characters just happen to be paranormal, but it doesn’t make their emotions and dreams different than what we, as humans want and need – touch points that anchor.
Make sense? Kind of an interesting analogy from a day of mattress shopping!
Before I close my blog for the day, I wanted to say on a more serious note – thoughts and prayers are going out to all of you who are impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Over the years, I have talked about my writing process. Every author is unique in how they write books. Some write fast drafts that are bare bones 1st versions that they then flesh out. Others write detailed outlines and follow them. Still others write character sketches.
Some authors write linearly and others not so much. I fall in the “not so much” category.
Don’t get me wrong, I always start out with the best intentions to write the book from point A to point B. After all, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, right?
Not in my creative process. I start at A with B oh so far away. Then C shows up and distracts the crap out of me! “C” is normally a scene that forms fully fleshed out in my head. And I then HAVE TO write it down. It’s a compulsion really.
So while TO HAVE AND TO HOWL is spending quality time with my editor, I started on a new Mind Sweeper story. Misha has been begging for his story for quite some time now. And boy is the story writing itself out of order!! I keep picturing scenes and then they come to life on the computer screen.
Since Misha is larger than life (literally and figuratively) it makes sense that he is letting me know how he wants this book to go!
I’ll follow the twists in whatever direction they take me until I type the end. Sometimes you have to break the “rules” to accomplish what you set out to do.
If you’re a writer, how does your process work?
I can feel the anxiety in the air. I call it summer desperation. The last few weeks before the glorious season comes to an end and we head into fall. With these last days, there is a need to eat fresh foods, sit in the sun, walk barefoot in the grass, drive with the top down, swim, boat, camp, grill outside, and get in those last minute summer reads!
All the fun things that we enjoy in the freedom of the warm season – at least for those of us who have cold winters!
As much as I love the fall, there is something bittersweet about these last weeks of summer. As if our play days are coming to an end whether we want them to or not. Of course, for writers, we can delve into worlds where the sun is shining warmly. I have found that the weather in my books often reflect the mood of the scene I’m creating.
One scene that stick out to me in particular is in Sentinel Lost, the 5th book in my Mind Sweeper series. Kyle must face something painful, that she prayed she never would again, and as she runs outside, the rain comes down, cold and wet as if Mother Nature cried along with her. It just fit with the mood.
So as I walk barefoot outside and lean back absorbing the sun on my face, I know that I can visit summer anytime I want in my writing. And I’ll remember that when the air outside fills with frost.
What about you? Can you think of stories where weather plays a part in the story?
For the past two days, I have been reading my newest manuscript in preparation to send to my editor. As I read through the story, I’m reminded that the words, if written correctly, pull you down a path of discovery.
While I read tonight, my girl cat performed an acrobatic dance that would make a Circ performer jealous. She was chasing some sort of flying bug and entertaining me while she soared through the air.
And that’s when it hits me. For her, she was on an adventure to capture the “winged beast”. She will do everything in her power to succeed. Writers also live for the adventure. Whether the plot lends itself to the high seas, or a distant planet, or a house in the suburbs, the true adventure is unraveling the story as the words fill the page. If told well, the adventure pulls the reader in as well and allows them to escape to a world of the author’s making. Pretty heady stuff, huh?
This past week I attended Romance Writers of America’s national convention. 2000 authors, editors, publishers, and other industry professionals under one (very large) roof talking the craft and business of writing. It is always an amazing experience to attend and spend time with people who get me the writer.
While the actual conference is exhausting, it is also rejuvenating as well. Spending time with others discussing writing and publishing is like my “spinach” if I was Popeye that is.
One of the fun things I got this week was a Do Not Disturb sign shoved under my hotel door from Harlequin. In the pic, the woman is reading a book as her hero carries her into the sunset. And while this is incredibly clever and came home with me to now reside on my office door, I came to an even bigger epiphany when I hung it there.
As a reader I am definitely carried away by the story, the scenery, the emotions, the characters, and anything else that moves me. But the same can be said as a writer. When my scenes are going well, I am IN THE STORY. I am living it and experiencing all that moves me. And that is a heady adventure. It can be emotionally draining sometimes, but more often that not, it is cathartic. To spend time creating worlds and characters who defeat the bad guy (since my books have mysteries too) and grow into beings that can love each other is the reason I keep writing.
So, if I could rework this picture a little bit, I might have the woman typing away on her keyboard since writers need time with their stories as well…
This weekend, one of my writer friends showed up at my house with chocolate cake. Now, I am not going to turn that away, I mean her away. She brought a large piece so I ate a couple of yummy bites and then put it away for another time. I found myself savoring the cake over a couple of days and it got me thinking that eating a treat can be compared to reading a great book. Now stay with me, and I’ll explain what this is all about.
I have found that when a book is really good many readers do one of two things.
Savor – when a reader reads slowly to savor the story because they don’t want it to end
Devour – when a reader can’t put a book down because it is that good
I have a tendency to devour books. I read the last Harry Potter book in one day! With some of my favorite writers, I will read the book FAST, FAST, FAST and then go back and reread the story. If we take the cake analogy further, I would say I eat the frosting and then go back and eat the rest of the cake 🙂
As an author, I hope that readers enjoy my stories right down the the last sweet bite!
So what type of reader are you when you get that really GOOD book?
While my editor is reading my first draft of To Have and To Howl, I thought it was a good time to try something new. So I bought dictation software. I finally bit the bullet and decided to try it after hearing other authors rave about dictation. They said it helped with productivity, and it was healthier because they didn’t have to sit and type at the computer.
I’ve been using the software for a couple of days now, and one of the things I found out rather quickly is that you need to be patient. And that is something that I’m not very good at. Another thing that I’ve learned is that I’m teaching myself how to rethink as I write. What I mean by that is that when I type, in some respects, I’m using muscle memory. With dictation, I have to think through my mouth…so to speak – LOL
I have to remind myself that when I first learned to type it was a slow process and now I do it without thinking. So I hope the same thing can be said about the dictation software once I get used to it. So far, it’s been an interesting ride. As a matter fact, I am writing my blog tonight with the software. My cat Dylan is sitting next to me meowing and the software keeps asking me to repeat what I’m saying 🙂
If I don’t watch him closely, he’ll be using my computer and dictating emails to his cat friends! I’ll let you guys know how it goes as I get more used to hearing myself tell my stories out loud.
The picture I’ve included is a representation of me working on my dictation software. Except I don’t have red hair, and the headset I’m using isn’t pink, and I’m not a doll, but you get the idea!