When I started writing seriously back in 1999 I was driven. I wrote daily and submitted a work of fiction to contests and literary journals on a monthly basis. The rejection folder grew and grew, but so did my writing skills. In 2001 one of my short stories, Crossroads won an award and was published in the Sheridan Edwards Review. It was one of the most exciting experiences of my life.
Meanwhile I was working on a couple of novels, one of which is Feisty Family Values, which comes out in February 2010. I started it in 2000 while I was finishing up my Bachelor of Arts degree at WSU. One of my instructors, Carol Konek, had encouraged me to write and was the physical inspiration for Regina in FFV.
I had trouble in 1999 calling myself a writer. I felt more like an obsessed dabbler. But I attended a writer’s retreat at Ghost Ranch with Emily Hanlon and realized that’s exactly what I had become. Some of us wrote fiction, some non-fiction, memoirs, children’s stories, poetry, journaling and essays. The key here is we were all “writers”.
So, if you doubt you are what you are, think about it in terms of what you do with your time. It doesn’t matter if you’re published or not, what matters is that you write.
You read that right…it’s Writing in the Mood…not in the mood to write. I find that sometimes when I’m in “a mood” is helps to write. The muse can relate to my emotional state better than I can at those times. We all get down once in awhile, work might be really stressing you out, or you’re having trouble with the spouse or kids, whatever the cause – we all go there from time to time. So why not use it?
Writing is a passionate, emotional, visceral experience, at least it can be. Tap into that. Use it to create depth in your characters, life in your dialog, and tension in your story. Let it fuel the scene. Make it work and let the words flow from the gut. It’ll make the story real.
Go for it, my writing friends.
If you’ve never read the Evanovich Stephanie Plum series you are missing a great time. They are funny, fast paced, irreverant, sexy, and are packed with quirky characters.
I picked up a copy of Janet’s book on “How I Write” and enjoyed it as well. For the beginning writer she has good insights and encouragement. She has tips for writers who are “emerging” into the publishing world. And gives excerpts from her books as examples. She talks about the creative process, her writing process, the publishing industry, marketing and promotion and gives good resource references.
Her recommended resource list is similar to mine in that it contains Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird”, so it makes me feel like I’m on the right track as a writer. I’m adding this one to my list of “writers should read” as well. I suggest you writer buddies of mine check it out.
Oh, and she throws a little humor in, which is a trademark of Evanovich in my opinion. She not only cares about her readers, but she cares about us writers, too.
See you along the road,
We’ve all met interesting people on our travels that come to mind when we’re writing and creating new characters for our stories. And while sometimes it is the physical characteristics that catch our eye, or mannerisms, or the way they speak – they can be the jumping off point for a very interesting character in your book that everyone loves or hates.
Maybe the check out girl at the grocer who constants chews gum and blows bubbles comes to mind. Or perhaps the dentist that hums old show tunes while he works sticks in your memory. The check out girl inspired a gum popping receptionist for the doctors office (in my case). There are no humming dentists in the story yet, but perhaps you’ll write about a serial killer that hums or sings while he does his thing.
You can never tell who will inspire you to write, so be aware and watchful for that someone memorable.
I picked up a copy of “Writing Basics” presented by the Writer’s Digest Yearbook. Wow. It’s crammed with good information. I haven’t read all of it, but I have read about “The Anatomy of a Writer’s Website” and “How to write your book in 15 minutes a day” as well as “Rough up your first draft.” The Writer’s Digest pubs are great resources, but this one has something for writers in all stages of their journey. There’s information for beginners, grammer info, prompts and stuff about the business side of writing. Okay, can you tell I like this magazine?
I have subscribed off and on to Writer’s Digest, the Writer, Poets & Writers, and occasionally pick up a Writer’s Journal. They are all great resources. I’ve marked my old copies with post-it notes and put a one or two word comment, basically indexing the articles and information I want to be able to refer back to. Have I gone back to them? YES. Many times. The basics don’t really change that much. But the industry does, so I’ll continue to subscribe to one of the above mentioned pubs so I can get the latest author interviews and publishing business scoop.
I always feel like I make better decisions if I have good information. How about you?
Write on, my friends.