Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Voice

A writers 'voice' is like an accent. You never hear your own. But that doesn't mean you don't have one.

Let your own voice shine.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Linkage

If you haven't read these two articles by J. K. Rowling yet you really should. She talks about writing the books, the ups and downs with being published in an honest way.  I'm a fan of Harry Potter and getting to see into the author's mind was really thought provoking.  I admire her even more after reading these articles.
 
Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Waiting

If there's one thing that life has taught me, it's to wait. Life is full of waiting. It's an important skill. It's not always easy, but there are times when it's necessary. 

Do you know that moment, when you've finished your story, sent it out into the world, and now you're back at the beginning, staring at a blank screen, wondering if you'll ever have another idea again? I hear this is common to writers.

Last time I queried I had this fear. I toyed around with several ideas, but none of them grabbed me, none of them had electricity. Each day I told myself I just had to focus, to work harder, and each day the panic increased. What if I never had another good idea, what if I couldn't ever finish another novel? Until one day a character walked up and told me her story.

Now that I'm querying again I've noticed the same fear, the same feelings of being lost. I wonder if I'll ever have another good idea, or if I have what it takes to finish another book. I'm a few years older now and hopefully a few years wiser, too. My fears were unfounded last time, I have to believe they will be this time too. 

So I wait.

I toy around with ideas, explore settings and themes, and spend a lot of time reading. And I believe that, eventually, someone will introduce themselves and ask to tell their story. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

beginnings



I’ve been thinking about first pages a lot lately. When I look for good examples in published books there is one book I keep coming back to. This was a book I found and read solely on the strength of its first line.  The book is SILENT IN THE GRAVE by Deanna Raybourn.

It starts with this:
“To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.”

Isn’t it intriguing? Who is Nicholas Brisbane and why is he the focus rather than her twitching dying husband? Also, there’s a bit of dry humor in these sentences that made me know I would like the writing.

It continues.
“I stared at him, not quite taking in the fact that he had just collapsed at my feet. He lay, cured like a question mark, his evening suit ink-black against the white marble of the floor. He was writhing, his fingers knotted.” 

This sets the stage for what is happening. We also learn something about their socio-economic station in life. They have a marble floor; he wears an evening suit. We also learn a little about their marriage.

Next paragraph.
“I leaned as close to him as my corset would permit.”

Here, with the reference to the corset, it sets the time period.

“’Edward, we have guests. Do get up. If this is some sort of silly prank—“

Again, this sets up their relationship. If my husband fell to the ground convulsing I wouldn’t stand there and accuse him of pranking, or worry about guests. Though married, they weren’t close, definitely not in love, which brings us back to who could that Nicholas Brisbane be?  He shows up in the next paragraph but I’ll let you keep going on your own.

I love how these few sentences set the backdrop and the characters. I may not know Edward well enough to be devastated at his dying, but there are so many questions, so much vivid description that I want to keep reading. That is the goal of a good opening.

What is your favorite opening? Do you have one that you keep going back to?