Friday, May 24, 2013

Keep those muscles flexed...those WRITING muscles that is ;)

They say cliches exist for a reason - because they're TRUE.  That old saying of writing every day is no exception.  I find that if I don't work those creative muscles, they atrophy.  Like any other muscle in the body, if we 'let it go,' we forget how to use it.  Even if you can't muster up ideas for your current project, engage in a different writing exercise.  If you only write several sentences, it can sometimes spark more to follow.  Before you know it, your words are flowing across the page...or computer screen...whichever method you prefer.

On day at work, as I sat in my car at lunchtime, I saw a beautiful butterfly flit across my path.  I wrote down a few things about the wonderous nature is, noting the different colors in its wings, and how it floated through the air.  Once I was done, I'd realized I had another IDEA for a portion of my current manuscript. 

I'm the type of person that's too easily distracted.  If I allow myself to miss one day of writing, a month will then pass, and I'm looking at a blank computer new ideas...just stuck in my story.  That gets me nowhere if my dream is to be published.  Books don't write themselves. Even famous authors have to sit down and  slog through a manuscript the same way the rest of us do.  They're no exception, and I've read that even THEY suffer with writer's block from time to time.
I've become more observant....that truck with the squeaky trailer that passes me by in traffic...the sound of the waterfall in a building's lobby...all become a sentence, and in no time,  a paragraph.
Even if you're not a writer - notice the world around you, and it becomes a more interesting place.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

How is YOUR writing?

Show of many of you out there have noticed a decline in the quality of your handwriting?  I swear, since I started typing a lot more on my computer, I've watched my formerly neat handwriting morph into something you'd see on a doctor's prescription pad.

Have we become THAT technologically advanced that actual writing is falling by the wayside?  Rarely do we send notes or letters in the mail anymore.  Even greeting cards can now be sent electronically! 

I wonder if there are any writers out there that actually WRITE?  And I mean
that literally.   I find I can't do it for two reasons - one, my thoughts &
hands are quicker in concert, and two -- when I do try it, I practically revert into my old standby of shorthand I learned many years ago just to keep up with my brain.  (yes I still remember it and even THINK in shorthand - weird I know, but hey, that's  how I've kept up with it.  It's like learning a new language-if you don't USE it, you lose it).

Also, if I write down my thoughts, my hand seriously cramps up after a while.  At that point, I throw down the gauntlet (I mean pen), and turn to my trusty laptop.  So..anyone ELSE out there ever actually hand write anything other than a grocery list?  Let me know..

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I'm Baaaaack!

Wow, it's been six months since I last posted on my blog!  If I haven't mentioned it before, I'm a crime and trial junkie.  I've been wrapped up in the (in)famous Jodi Arias trial.  A woman who stabbed her ex-lover nearly 30 times, slit his throat, then shot him for good measure.  The epitome of a woman scorned.

This is the stuff of novels, though if anyone were to have written it, nobody would believe it was true.  Each new day brought with it another tale of filthy deceptions.  Anything to get her out of First-Degree Murder, which carries the death penalty.   It had all the hallmarks of great fiction -sex, lies, and yes....audiotape!

Perhaps a lot of you already know me from my HLN Crime Fan page on Facebook, where we've discussed this trial ad nauseam.  I've enjoyed meeting many new people that I now consider friends and hope they'll follow my blog as well.

I love reading, but I gravitate toward mysteries, detective stories, and true crime.  I write what I read, which is what they say authors tend to do.

So, for those of you that might have wondered what happened to my psychological thriller novel, it was put on hold while I allowed my mind to stray.  Not a good thing for a writer, as I've realized.  Much like exercise, if you miss one day, it can turn into two.then three..and so on. Writing is the same.  Every author will tell you to write EVERY DAY, and they're right.  If you don't, the 'muscle' becomes atrophied (yes, another metaphor to exercise, but if the shoe fits.).

When I received the feedback from my editor (who is WONDERFUL), I was overwhelmed by all the changes that were necessary, and I let it get to me.  I didn't know where to start.  I felt like I had to practically re-write the whole novel.  I've begun the process, and let me tell you, as a first-timer, it's ARDUOUS.  However, I want to make this happen, so I have to do it - no more excuses!  Life is way too short, and this has been my calling since childhood.

Now I see why some authors take YEARS to write a novel.the easy part (for me) is the writing - EDITING is the bear.  Learning what areas to tweak, which characters you (sadly) need to part with, and what you need to expand on to make the reader identify with your story and fantastical people.  It's a learning experience and can only serve to make me a stronger writer in the future.

There will ALWAYS be 'another trial' to follow, but now that I have a break, I'm making it my mission to forge ahead and work on the book.  I need to find a balance, which I've never been good at.  That Billy Joel song, "I Go To Extremes" seems to have been written for me!  I'm either gung-ho about a project or totally ignoring it.  I'm a great 'starter,' but this time, I need to be a 'finisher.'