Why we Write

You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you’ve got something to say.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’ve always liked F. Scott Fitzgerald.  His books were often so fun loving.  When I started to write my novel, which I have since rewritten into something else, I felt I needed to work out a story, and I wanted to share it with the world.  That is the best way I could put it, as I had a longing in me that certain things in my life had worked out differently and I wanted to make the life I had hoped for, happen.

Now I have moved on to a fantasy genre because I came down suddenly, with stage 1 breast cancer, and it changed everything.  I went through radiation treatment.   I wasn’t the same person anymore.  All of the sudden, that path my life had been taking had changed, and I wanted it to  be for the better.  I took my simple story (it seems simple now) and I wanted to make it magical, because that is how I felt about what had happened to me.  The kindnesses shown to me by people I didn’t know -a cop giving me a two day warning to get my car inspected, the bag of notebooks, a scarf, a filing folder, and other things that were donated by volunteers, and my workmates who never complained about filling in for my absence when I took off two, two week spans of time, one just to keep my sanity toward the end of the radiation therapy, which was a lot of driving to do after and overnight shift, and then home to bed, then to do it all over again.  My dear husband who bought me a dozen roses and my family, my cousins especially, who cheered my heart.  So many caring people, and it changed everything.

I was no longer jaded and cynical at times, and I had to admit I was grateful, even though seeing tons of medical professionals was not really my cup of tea or on my list of things to do.  Nonetheless, I got through it and after two years I am finally turning toward the future again. And what did I find? I found that I have lots of stories in me and have met some fabulous people that I never would have met.  And I have continued to read about story writing and hope to have several more books full of things to say. 😉

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Writer’s Block

“If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack at an hour when it isn’t expecting it.

I think this is a handy little tool to make twists and turns and come up with something unique.  Even if one doesn’t keep it in the end, it’s a cool idea to jazz up your routine and write differently, whether playing unusual music or taking your laptop outside, sometimes these are the things that will unearth that creative spark. In fact, I’m going to need to try this soon.

As a nighttime writer, due to my night job that I have to keep, there are still ways to attack, even if I’m sitting on the same sofa, in front of the same storage trunk. I could open the curtains a bit and look out at the night sky and the nighttime neighborhood or I could adjust the lighting, change the music station, turn on albums and the like

I tend to be a creature of habit and limit my musical options to three things, but there are even more ways to change an environment in order to get the night turned around. Even one as set in their ways as myself, still has options for change and variety.

Speculative Genres

“Respect the genre you’re writing in.  In an effort to put your own stamp on it, don’t ignore the established conventions of that genre – or you’ll alienate your core audience of loyal buyers.”             Kathleen Krull

In Fantasy the established conventions are called “tropes” and include world building, swords, dark knights, wizards, quests, heroes, dark lords, ancient worlds, and magic.  Readers look forward to reading about these various things appearing and combining in their story.  I can’t blame them, ever since I was hooked by Fantasy stories three years ago, that’s nearly all I’ve wanted to read.  Not single books, but entire series because I love the worlds so much.  The magic is enchanting and the stories of heroes and quests and wizards are mesmerizing.  Add a little romance to it and, I want that!

I wanted that so badly that I wanted to write my own books, but in the middle of my first draft, toward the end, in fact, I learned that I had cancer.  I couldn’t write in my manuscript during treatment.  I was too worried and ended up just looking at my notebook, night after night.  Even when I learned it had only been a treatable form of stage one cancer, I couldn’t work on my story until the radiation treatment was complete.

When I finished my story afterward, I found out I no longer liked my story.  “Anyone could write this,” I told myself.  So I went about changing it.  I made some of the bad people good guys and I made it a Fantasy story.  Kind of a modern day Urban Fantasy, but Fantasy nonetheless, with links to ancient myths and tropes and I even had an idea for a sequel.

Ideally, I’d like to make four of this series. It is based on a story of how I wish my own life went.  I enjoy my novel so much now, but I realize there is so much that goes into a novel – scenes, showing, settings, conflict, structure, and that thing that concerns me the most, being beautifully written.  If I can master that, I tell you, I will have it all wrapped up.  Then nothing can stop me.  Not anything.

I’ll just keep taking breaths, a little at a time,

Critics

The important thing is that you make sure that neither the favorable nor the unfavorable critics move into your head and take part in the composition of your next work.    Thornton Wilder

Too often a writer will write to please critics, or to please an editor or someone else while they work on their Work in Progress and they forget the most important thing to do is to write for one’s self and for one’s own enjoyment.  I know I would move  forward and backward trying to either write my novel to live up to my expectations and then turn ’round and try to live up to some imaginary individual’s expectations.  The most important person to be happy with your work is yourself.

We can get feedback from all kinds of people, critics, editors, beta readers, critic partners, writing groups, and so on but in the end your own instincts are the most important.  It’s the most important that your own taste is met by your writing and not someone that you’re inventing that you are concerned with impressing in some unusual sort of way.  My best intentions come out with outlines and structuring and the more I work that way, the happier I am and that I feel I am producing a better quality manuscript.

Can’t say it enough – trust your instincts, and learn as you go.  You’ll be better off if you learn to produce a quality story on your own, without trying to please others before you are even finished with your first draft, before you are even faced with rewriting!

I wanted to create a Blog in order to share my love of writing and reading with readers or anyone else, who might be interested in my work. I currently work at an overnight job and write when I have extra free time, during the night. My interests have led me to fantasy and paranormal genres, although other genres are not “out” for me. I’m looking forward to having a few printed books in my hand to call my own and I wish I had begun writing long ago!