Yet another novel done, and I’m still loving this thing called writing.

After twelve weeks and almost 106,000 words, I’ve finished my seventh novel’s first draft. Now for the editing, which I happen to enjoy almost as much as the writing. It went over by quite a bit because of a few interesting aspects, but I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out. Now to see how much fat I can trim without trimming the lean.

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Fingers crossed, toes too.

I’ve taken a break from writing to edit, write synopses, and write “blurbs” (that’s what you read on the back of a book that makes you like it or not) for all the novels other than what an agent requested in December.

I did all that for a portfolio of sorts I’ll put together for a March workshop when I meet her. I’m hoping they’ll all create further interest, which might land me an agent this year. Cross your fingers and toes so I can make this happen.

I’ll likely start on a new novel soon, one in which I’ve completed the first chapter in December, before things started getting exciting concerning that agent.

Novels and queries and synopses, oh my!

As anyone who aspires to publish their writing knows, not only is it hard work, it’s work that’s hard on you. I continue to dream the dream, working that forty-hour grind while trying to be grateful all the while for that forty-hour grind.

I am grateful, but I’m more grateful for being able to write. Penning a story, characters, places, conflicts, and resolutions is an enjoyable thing, likely within the top two personally enjoyable attempts at a creative pastime I’ve ever attempted. And having beta readers enjoy my work is great also. Recently, a woman said her sister came into her room and asked what was wrong, because the reader was cursing. Her answer? She was angry with one of my characters. When you can illicit emotion like that with mere words, what a thrill.

At the moment I’m working on a synopsis for my fifth novel, and it’s (they all are, right?) special. With great characters, a great hook, a great conflict, and a great (I’m a romantic at heart) love story, what’s not to love?

Fellow writers, you know how it is. We hope for that break, but it only comes with hard work, not only learning the craft of writing but learning the craft of storytelling so the reader stays engaged. My mantra is this: If I write something a reader skims, I’ve failed.

Here’s to us, the hard workers, the writers.

Best.

 

Why We Write

Recently, someone on a writing site I belong to posed this question: Why do you write? This is my answer:

I write (what I consider to be) literary mixed with genre (upmarket). The themes among them so far are perspective, perspective, and perspective. Why? Because too many people these days (myself included at times) lack it to the nth degree. I like to put the proverbial shoe on the other foot; I like to make people think; I like to hope my writing is eventually published, if for no other reason than to give both sides of my character’s–and their protagonist’s–stories.

In today’s volatile environment (yes, I left out the “P” word): wouldn’t it be great if those on the far sides of each argument remembered each other’s humanity rather than focusing on why they hate each other?

Hey, I can still wish.

A few writing tips, thoughts, conjectures I have learned along the way.

You’ve no doubt heard variations, and some will be present, but if not, here you go.

A writer without imagination is like a musician without rhythm; it’s doubtful anyone will enjoy either.

MC needs to show someone a vital phone pic? Break the phone. Needs to get somewhere? Break his car. Don’t make goals easy.

Don’t tell your readers he smelled the coffee. Instead: With rich coffee aroma, steam rose in lazy swirls from the dark brew.

An important part of writing is in the details. Yes, your character may taste, touch, hear, see, and smell, but does the reader?

You know you’re writer if you love editing. Well, you might not be a sane writer. Polish that passion–make it pop.

Dialogue: Never boring. Constantly use tension, whether anger, humor, fear, or sexual. Unexpected is great too.

I love it when an unintended character pops into a scene, taking the plot in a different–better–direction than I’d intended.

Friends ask how I write. My answer? By knowing my character’s perspectives; their hearts, souls, & struggles.

Recently made three women cry. It’s okay…actually, it’s great. They were reading one of my short stories.

Let characters interrupt. Hey, did you see– Yeah, it’s– Don’t interrupt me when– When what? Arrgghhh! (You get the idea)

Possibilities?

I attended a Facebook launch party held by Filles Vertes, a new publishing house, last night. It was great fun. They had prizes I could use. One was a fifty-page critique of a work, along with a few similar prizes. Well, I managed to snag a fifty-page critique, and I’m extremely happy about it. I’ve been wanting professional eyes on my MS, and now I have that opportunity.

They also had a pitch session, and, drum roll please, they want me to submit not one, but two of my novels!

Do I have to say how cool this is?

Now to work, writing a query for and sprucing up the first 25 pages of one of those manuscripts. Got to get them in ASAP and see what happens.

Still Journeying Onward

Well, here I am, almost done with another novel. One chapter to go and it will be time for the real work, which is editing. If you’ve ever thought about trying to write something, give it a shot. It’s as rewarding a thing as I’ve ever done. But yes, it can be very hard work. So many things have to work together to make a novel come together well, to fit like pieces in a puzzle, to make it all seem like it was easy to write, when it definitely was not.

If you haven’t heard the terms ‘pantser’ and ‘plotter,’ now you have, and I am a pantser, which means, loosely, that I write ‘by the seat of my pants.’

What it really means, at least to me, is I write without anything except the most general outline, which, for the most part, is in my head. I come up with a premise, a main character, and other characters. Then I let the premise, as well as the conflict, carry me forward, while allowing the characters, who can become as genuine to me as people I know, whisper their secrets, telling me who they are, what is in their past, both good and not so good, and finally, what their fondest wishes are.

Still journeying onward while attempting to meet the challenge of having a published work on the shelves one day.

Wouldn’t that be something?

Wouldn’t it be great?

Every weekday morning as I wake, the alarm a demon beep-beep-beeping in my ear, I sigh. I feel as if I’m being pulled apart, the writer in me wanting nothing more than to have a bite, take a walk, and get down to the pleasure of emptying myself of thoughts, feelings, characters, while knowing I will be full by tomorrow, ready to do it all over again.

Is this your dream also?

Naked Branches.

Come, says the writer,

look into my world.

See and hear,

touch and taste.

Watch the leaves flutter on high

on distant branches.

Smell the breeze

and listen as lovers talk

lying on an old quilt

by rolling waters.

Do so eagerly.

Do so lovingly.

Fall into my world and

into theirs.

Watch as they laugh and love

and yes, as one dies,

leaving the other to either suffer

or move on.

Sometimes it’s now

difficult.

Sometimes the branches seem naked,

bare, mistakes easily seen in other works,

and it could be difficult

to enjoy

if I were to allow it.