Friday, May 20, 2011

The dreaded draft

Well, I'm supposed to be in the middle of a lightning draft...... You guessed it, I'm not. I'm seriously stalled. I think because I feel that there are things I should know that I don't and that's what's stalling me.
The class is going great but I'm just stagnant. Sort of like Homer Simpson humming the clown theme song in his head kind of stagnant.
Don't get me wrong I've been working on this book, but for some reason I can't write. It's starting to seriously weird me out, but I've made a decision to sit down and type, hence this post. Remember the saying 'you can fix a bad page but you can't fix a blank page.'
Onward and upward.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The terror of small workshops

You know them. Those small number workshops where you can't hide and you have to participate. Can you feel your palms sweating? Your pulse pounding?
Well, I'm off to one next weekend and I can tell you - my throat is dry and I've still got a week to go. This could be a good thing. It could be the best diet I've ever been on. My stomach is so knotted I can't eat.
I'm looking forward to this workshop. I really am. But - I'm not the most confident where my grammar is concerned. Plus my brain goes on a hiatus and I lose the ability to talk like a reasonably intelligent human being. The speaker is going to expect me to know something, anything about my proposal.
So, this is where I am. A mass of insecurities - like all writers. I can't bluff it. I don't have the confidence to do that. I've been plodding for so long, well I feel like a failure.
Then I run into people I've known for eons - and I get the 'Oh...... you're still not published?' Include the pitying look and there you have it.
I know that's why myself and friends of mine, who have since gone on to become published stopped going to some conference because of that question.
Don't get me wrong I love seeing my friends, but that question has the power of lowering my self esteem to levels that even a single cell organism would be able to glide over me.
I think I need to take the attitude - who gives a shit.
My hide after all these years still hasn't toughened up enough to be able to withstand that question.
My tender pride and confidence wilts and I think that's a shame.
I should be proud that I've survived. That I've kept that 'never say die' attitude.
So. when I get asked that question on the weekend - I'm going to say - 'Yup. Do you want to see the scars?'

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Fall Guy aka Underdog.

Ever wonder whether you're the fall guy, the underdog? I think we all do to a certain extent.
Are you the one that worked unimaginable hours at school to just pass where others sailed through and became dux / valedictorian?
Are you the one who, wasn’t a champion sports star but a team player and even then spent time on the bench?
Are you the one that couldn’t date because you had to work to keep food / roof over your head, while others lived the high life without a worry?
Are you the person that picked up the pieces and kept on going even when the 'flash in the pan' dropped the (insert appropriate word here) like the proverbial hot potato, leaving you with egg on your face? (See I can add more than one cliché in a sentence - HA)
That underdog moment is what builds character in a person.
This is also what makes for a great character in a novel.
Now channel that experience into your characters. Dredge up that pain, the tears, the anger and let it all go. Release it into your heroine or hero.
We, as writers and readers love the underdog character. We sympathize with their lot in life. We cheer their successes. We cry at the seemingly unbeatable odds. And, when they finally win through, we punch the air - our hearts full.
Think of Cinderella - she was the underdog. How sad was her life after her father died. Scrubbing floors for the wicked step-cow and the three heinous bitches. But when she went to that ball - we all sighed and wished that was us in that pretty dress and glass slippers, dancing with that studley guy.
Remember how sad you felt when she went back to the drudgery of her life?
The heart stopping moment when we weren't sure she was going to be tested with that shoe.
And then the instant when she put that slipper on.
We want that - will she, won’t she or will he, won’t he moment.
So – if you’ve felt like the fall woman / underdog stand up shout, ‘I’m an underdog and damn proud of it!’
Fall Princesses and Under Queens of the world unite!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Voice - you've got it!

Had an interesting conversation with fellow writer Elijana Kindel today about voice. She's got it, I want it back. What prompted this discussion was that I am doing a fantastic critique course at Savvy Authors with the insightful Teresa Bodwell.
How do you recognize voice and how do you protect it once you've found your voice?
That can be tough. Some writers have a writing voice that projects loud and clear with tonal qualities that are uniquely their own. Others get lost in the wilderness, lost in a swirling maelstrom, victims of our own insecurities.
Once you've found it, cling on to that sucker, like a junk yard dog over a bone. Stay true to yourself, but be willing to listen, think and learn.
I think voice can change depending on what genre you're writing at the time.
I'm feeling empowered.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What did I learn in 2010?

Yeah, that's what had me going. What did I learn. Well, I didn't learn how to herd cats - that's for sure - LOL. I've had an interesting few months,with some ups and downs, but over all I'd say it was a great year! People who know me are stuck dumb by that comment and say to me - but didn't you..... or wasn't it a bad year? To them I say nope I had a great year! Even with the rejections, the fractures, the never ending loop of doom I call medical trivia - I had a great year! The power of positive thinking and those yummy feel good endorphins.
I learned a lot, writing wise, made some great new writer friends, met up with some older writing friends and went to a fantastic conference - the Emerald City Writers' conference If you only go to one conference -yeah you've all heard that old chestnut - honestly it's a great conference!
I'm also doing Cherry Adair's challenge finish the damn book.
So if you suffer from procrastination choose to do something about it. Either do something like finish the damn book or even one of the 100 words a day loops that are around. All of them will get you focused and get you into a habit, pick your time, choose your goal and go for it. You never know you may just get a book out of it.
Write on peeps!