Saturday, September 28, 2013

Writer Myths: I wonder if this will ever get published.

Hi folks!

Short and sweet wrap up to the Writer Myth series. News next week!

This is a myth that trips up so many authors: I wonder if this will ever get published.  I say to you -- a myth  is wrapped up in this statement. It's like this: Danger, Will Robinson: Failure is imminent! Robby the Robot is the voice in your head and it isn't good. Yes, you are worried you are going to fail. You are worried your work won't be good enough. You are worried that no one will care. You are worried that Robby is right -- for you, writing is an ultimate fail!

Stop that!

Every thought you think is a choice. Why not choose the upside. It's just as easy to think success is imminent. Dream you are going to succeed. Dream your work will fly. Dream that everyone who should, will care. Start listening to Jiminy Cricket from the classic Disney movie Pinocchio. Wish on stars and let dreams come true.  Why not?  Jiminy is right.

I've never seen any writer fail who kept trying. Keep trying friends. See you next week with more good stuff.

Here is the doodle for the week: "Pocketful of Stars"

Here is the quote for the week:

 When your heart is in your dream no request is too extreme.  Jiminy Cricket

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Writer Myths: Avoid Clichés.

Hi, folks. Busy, busy, busy, but news is around the corner!

I'm continuing my series on writer myths.  It is true that cliches are often a sign of inexperience or laziness in writers, but sometimes cliches can be useful. Use them for humor or turn them upside down to create fresh language. Here is a useful cliche site. It's important in writing to always be aware of what you are doing, especially when you are breaking tried and true rules.

Cliches can offer great comic effect.  You can create some serious play by throwing in a string of cliches --  he'd worked his fingers to the bone --- literally, fragments of bone were spread across the table. Serving as a grim reaper was a thankless task. A self-deprecating character tossing cliches as ironic commentary can also add a ton of fun to a scene, too.

Sometimes in a first draft I use cliches as a way to move forward quickly in a draft. Cliches are a helpful way for me to get on with the story.  I do go back and scrub the manuscript, but the first pass is always mess. Cliches are just part of the mess for me.

I like to see if I can freshen a cliche. When I find them I ask myself: Why did you go there? Perhaps I've thrown out, "It was a dark and stormy night..."  The first words of a A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L' Engle by the way. So there! Use cliches! For me, I think a cliche is about seeking more lively ways of saying the same thing. I turn the phrasing to find something that is interesting. Wind stripped branches of leaves and the body was covered before the light of dawn. I'm happier now.

I hope this is a useful discussion and that you find it helps you create better stories. I will see you next week with another writer myth.

Here is the doodle: Puss in Boots.

Quote for the week:
The first man who compared woman to a rose was a poet, the second, an imbecile. Gerard de Nerval

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Writer Myths: Kill Your Darlings.

Hi folks, I'm continuing my series on writer myths and that is coming up, but first, I've got to mention some egg action. You may remember that once upon a time I chatted about eggs.  It's been a while since I've had an opportunity to mention this fun part of my blog. This week we are near the hatching phase of "egg-dom." So, news is to come!

Now, back to myths. Last week, I chatted about the myth of bad reviews. This week I'm moving on to the myth of "kill your darlings." Okay, it is true that you must often kill your darlings. I mean, most of us remember some relationship that just wasn't moving us forward, and it had to go. Sometimes, we write bland, flat drivel that needs to find the nearest circular file, and that's fine.

But there are times when you need to put down the murder weapon. I mean, killing some of those darlings is a crime or  at least a crying shame.

Here is my story. Once upon a time I was collaborating with another author on a project. I would write an awesome line, and the other author would love it too. Then a few days later, I'd get into slasher mode and ditch my awesome line. Delete.

My collaborator was unhappy with the slashing of "awesome" lines.

I answered, "I can always do better." But certain things slowly became clear. I can't aways do better.

My collaborator was like, "I think you are killing our story, and please stop it."

I learned something I love about writing in that moment. Every story is about a kind of collaboration. You and the reader are sitting by a fire. You are the spell maker; they are the mesmerized.  If you have created magic the first time, just let it be.

Sometimes you will get it right without trying. Don't second guess yourself. Never leave genius on the cutting room floor.

See you next week with more about writer myths, and perhaps a reason to throw a party!

And now for a mythical doodle. This one is called "Pixie."

Finally here is a quote.

I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Paul McCartney

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Writer Myths: Avoid Bad Reviews

Hi folks, I really love my series of writer myths.  I wrote about a number of writer myths last year and recommend that you give those 4 posts a look. I believe you might find something useful. I'm continuing my series the month. Short and sweet is my motto.

At the end of the day writing is a performance art. Reviews are audience feedback. (OK, I know, not everyone has reviews yet. Hang on, I'll get to that.) Some writers believe all reviews should be avoided. Other just toss the negative ones. They don't want all that negative energy. 


Let me start with disclaimer. Some people are out there slinging stones (I'll cover this down the road), and, of course, that kind of stuff should be avoided, but many reviewers are giving honest commentary that will help you improve your works. I suggest avoiding all reviews will keep you from a very honest and valuable way to improve your work. Writing is about reaching an audience. We want the audience to clap, but if they are not clapping, we need to listen.

Not every performance is stellar. I've read multiple books from single authors. I can attest from experience this is true. Don't overlook author response. It may help you sharpen you work.

Unpublished writers! You can benefit here. I stumbled into one big time helpful practice many years ago. I attended an open read and was at the end of the list of readers. Each participant had five minutes. I found myself fiercely editing my work, during the performance of the other readers. I had believed my work was perfect  when I arrived, but an audience responding to the writing put me on my toes.  "Brilliance" hopped out of me that I had been unable to access. During my reading, I saw the eyes of the listeners light up. I saw the eyes glaze. I saw the need to listen to the audience.

My advice, stop waiting for someday to connect with your audience. Find a way to connect now. It will change your writing life. I am sure.

Thanks for stopping by!  I will be back with more myth busting nest week.

Okay, folks, doodles are back: "Mermaid".

Quote for the week!

All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Leo Tolstoy