Monday, September 30, 2013

Journey

Happiness isn't a destination. It's wrapped up in your journey.


So make it a good one.  Make it last your whole life long. Be happy with what you're doing and learning, and never give up.



On another note, my class has been pretty intensive so I'm not getting around to blogs quite as much. I'll still be around but I may be sporadic.  Happy fall everyone!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Know Thyself



I spent a great deal of my life trying not to be my sister.  I thought if I did everything opposite of what she did I would be my own person. It took me a long time to realize that doing something just because she didn’t wasn’t  really an indication of who I was anymore than if I had been  trying to be just like her.  I had to learn to listen to myself, find out who I was, and be true to that. Regardless of what other people did and said.  Once I found myself, life was so much easier.  And much more enjoyable.

In many ways finding my writing voice is very similar to finding myself. I’ve had to listen to the stories deep inside, write what I felt and believed, not because it was trendy and not because it was the opposite of what was trendy. I couldn’t copy other authors style, voice, or genre. 

 If I write true to myself and the story, the story itself might ring true to readers. Even if not, even if I never get published I know who I am, and I know what I write.  

And that knowledge is a wonderful thing.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wait for it

There's no arguing about it, we live in an immediate society.  With texting, cellhones, ebooks, music downloads we can have what we want when we want it.  Which is now.  See, I just downloaded a book while writing that sentence.  No one wants to wait anymore, and I think that impatience is affecting the way we write and read books.

I've been seeing more and more people, whether it's a reader waiting for the next book in a series or a writer wanting to release a book, that would prefer a sub-par now, rahter then to have to wait for it.

I see the pressure this puts on authors.  I've even seen authors that believe if they don't put out two books a year they will never succeed.  Two books a year is crazy!  Very few people (none that I know of but I won't rule it out completely) can write that much that fast and still write really well.  If authors give in to this 'have it now' mentality are we creating a world with lower expectations?  Or is it the readers lower expectations that are pressuring the author to do less than their best. 

It's kind of like McDonald's vs gourmet.  Some people like it fast and cheap, some only want quality.  I guess most of us have times for one and times for another. But what kind of world do we want for our books?  And what kind of books do you want as a reader?

As a reader, I would rather wait and have a better quality book, with a better quality reading experience. When books are rushed they may get to me faster, but they leave me unsatisfied. Maybe it's the dissatisfaction of a lesser quality book that causes us to hunt for the next one, something to satiate the reading need. Maybe if we read books that transcended us, that caused us to think and ponder and feel, books that we couldn't get out of our head when done, we wouldn't feel the need to immediately toss it aside and find the next replacement.  Maybe those better quality books would teach us to wait.

Do you feel the pressure? Do you give into the mistaken apprehension (for it is mistaken) that you have to publish two books a year to be successful?

I'm trying to teach patience to my children, and I can tell you they're sure teaching it to me, but do you think, over all, waiting is a lost art? 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thought for the day


When you stop trying your chances for success drop off considerably.




I read this on a blog once and I like to repeat it to myself when I'm tempted to give up.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Help please?

I have a synopsis due sometime in the next week or two.  I've only ever written one synopsis before so I'm afraid it sounds a little more like a query.  Or maybe it's just lame. But I'm pretty sure it's one of the two.  Anyway, I'm posting it below and if anyone is willing to give me some feedback I will be forever in your debt and mention you in the acknowledgements if and when I get published. 

I'm well below the max word count so are there places that need more details?  Places that are confusing?  Does it sound like a stupid story? I really don't like the last line but can't figure out how to end it.  I'm not sure if the first paragraph should stay or if I should just start with the second.  How's that for some insecurities?  Hmmm, maybe I should have posted this on the first Wednesday of the month.


Feel free to leave comments or email me if it needs more help that can be summed up in a comment box. Thank you so much!


I don't actually have a title yet but here it goes.



Seventeen year old Raisa has had only one goal in life; stay alive.  Now that the twenty year war over her country has ended, her goal might be achievable.  She also might be able to eat on a regular basis, which is life goal number two.  All in all her prospects for a long and happy life look good. Until the soldiers come for her.  

Annexed by the winner, her small country doesn’t exist anymore.  But the history and bloodline of the people do. And it’s that bloodline the king wants.  To breed an heir of both nations the king chooses Raisa to marry his son, Sergei.  As the future queen Raisa will be fed, clothed and taught.  All she must do is leave her family and home, travel to the capital and marry a stranger.  Something she is willing to do if it will bring peace to her over burdened people and food to their empty tables.
At the palace she finds a new life, one she’s never dreamed existed, pretty clothes, as much food as she can eat, a handsome prince, not to mention butter. She also finds people are judged not by what they do, but by who they were born, and she was born a no one. Her bloodline is her only redeeming quality which doesn’t leave her much of a future once an heir is born.  

But there’s one thing Raisa inadvertently brought from her country home; Rusalka, who is known for mesmerizing men. Demanding their worship she ensnares them in a spell until they drown themselves trying to reach her, and she is after Sergei.  Now, Raisa must figure out how to reclaim her bewitched husband-to-be, in-between learning about her duties as a princess, preparing for her official engagement, and trying to bring together a country that has been too long at war, that is. If she can’t break the spell then Sergei will drown, and with no heir, the country will erupt into civil war.  

Skipping out of her own betrothal ceremony she confronts Rusalka. Raisa breaks the spell over Sergei with a kiss but Rusalka escapes. She doesn’t go far, and she isn’t giving up Sergei  without a fight.  Sergei and Raisa search out Rusalka’s weakness.  As a water elemental she can leave the river, but only if her hair stays wet.  They plan to lure her out of the water and keep her there until she evaporates. Their plans are ruined when word comes of the mysterious happenings up and down the river bank; men, drowning themselves for no reason, women telling tales of husbands that are bewitched.  It can only be Rusalka. She is coming for Sergei, and she is destroying everything in her way.  

Seeing it as an attack by a neighboring kingdom the king prepares for a war the country it too weak to win.  Sergei and Raisa must confront Rusalka quickly or watch their country ruin itself. As the only heir Sergei is never without body guards. Neither is the mother of the future heir, Raisa. But they can’t let anyone else suffer for them.  They sneak out of the palace at night and find Rusalka waiting at the river.  They lure her from the water and distract her from noticing her drying hair. When the sun comes up Rusalka evaporates.  Finally free of her pull Sergei and Raisa are left to bring peace to their country, and find happiness with each other. 



And if anyone actually made it through that here is a link to a hilarious video about a day in the life of a writer.  So. Funny.

 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Define It.

Lately I've been coming across discussions and definitions of what writing is and it has made me wonder about my own definition of writing. 

I think everyone believes 'writing' involves grammar, punctuation, word choice, sentence variety, lyricism, pacing and similar mechanics. But is that the sum of writing?  Is it only about commas and word choice?  Or does writing also include story, plot, characters? 

There are many times when we say at writers "I like the story but the writing wasn't very good." or "The writing was amazing, but I couldn't connect to the characters." does writing include making your characters relatable (obviously there is still room for personal preferences here as not every reader will like every character no matter how well written) and making sure your plot has a beginning, middle and end? Or is that story telling? 

The fact that writing is defined differently by different people is one more reason the whole industry is so subjective and we sometimes feel there are no straight answers. 

For me, writing includes the line by line mechanics, grammar, word choice, smoothness, etc, but it also includes the whole; whether or not the story makes sense, multidimensional characters and such. I don't differentiate between "writing" and "story telling".  They're all part of the same thing. 

How do you define writing? Do you differentiate between the two?