Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Writer Syndrome

LOVE this!

I know, I know - I'm supposed to be blogging every MWF, but yesterday was insanity on stick for me.  I got home from work and immediately crashed.  Also, this week's blog was supposed to be on Purple Prose, but I've decided to discuss something different today. 

As a new writer, it's great to see so many resources for writers online.  Probably the best source I've found have been blogs by other writers.  They've been so helpful to me that I've decided to pay it forward with my own writing-dedicated blog.  And who cares if no one's reading my blog?  It's a great learning tool for me and it's nice to have a place to put all of my thoughts and concerns. 

When I'm not blogging or working, I'm writing and I absolutely love doing it.  There are few things more exciting than brainstorming and coming up with new ideas.  Actually getting these ideas down in a cohesive and exciting way (er...I think that's called writing) is the hard part.  I like to think that I have a great imagination.  I've looked around and there's no one else out there who's done anything quite like my story. 

So, what's my problem?  I've got a serious case of "New Writer Syndrome" or NWS.  I have a lot of doubts about my current place in the process.  I'm at the very beginning stages and I have the whole gauntlet ahead of me.  I tried to cheer myself up by re-reading Stephanie Meyer's description of her road to publication.  Yeah, cheer me up it did NOT.  Her road was a lot less bumpy than the other stories I've heard.  It's like she sat up in bed after having this crazy dream about a sparkling, day-walking vampire and his co-dependent girlfriend, jotted it down, sent it to agent who helped her tweak some character names, and then almost immediately got a movie deal.  To be honest with you, it kind of pissed me off.


Well, not to sound like a brat, but my idea is a LOT more exciting than Twilight in my opinion AND I'm a better writer.  PLUS, none of my characters (hopefully) will be as annoying as Bella Swan.  Even with all of those factors, I know that my road to publication probably won't be that easy, and who knows if my book will ever even see the light of day. 

Every now and again it's easy to get disheartened, but I have to remind myself that I have a truly kick-ass idea.  I just need to write my story and then worry about putting it out there.

My real life job is in property management and real estate sales, so it's easy for me to think of my writing career in similar terms.  A writer's product IS their imagination.  When you're selling a product, sometimes the first person you have to convince to buy into it is yourself.  Staying invested, especially once those rejections start rolling in, is the key.  If you give up on yourself, so will everyone else.

Also, just a reminder:  I REALLY need a critique partner!  REALLY REALLY bad!  Please check out the "My Writing" page and let me know if you'd be interested in crit-partnering for my YA Fantary-Horror series, The Faerie Tale Chronicles!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to tell your story without getting in the way: Authorial Intrusion

I didn't get a chance to upload a shot of my work space for the kick off of NaNoWriMo.  This is in my dining room.  I don't really eat int there, and the view is great, so it's become my office!
 As a writer, you have the benefit of knowing (for the most part anyway) where your story is going.  That can be a good thing, but at times it can hinder the way you express things.  Certain details are difficult to convey and you do want your audience to be able to stay on the same page, as it were.  So, it's easy to get so caught up in writing that you may not even realize that you're telling the story.  Now, what's the problem with that?  Well, no one wants read a book where they're simply "hearing" the author in their mind, feeding the words to them.  People want to "see" the story in their heads.  At worst, you want your readers to feel like they're watching a movie.  At best, you want them to feel like they're IN the story with the characters, living it alongside them.

This can be tricky.  I've been writing since I could put letters together, but now that I'm seriously pursuing this, I've begun to research the craft.  At first, it was really daunting.  I kind of thought I knew pretty much everything that went into this.  I mean, I have the gift of gab and a good imagination...what more could there be?  Boy, was I wrong.  Fortunately, there's lots of really good information to be found on the subject of writing.  One of the very first topics I encountered was authorial intrusion.  I'd never heard the term before, and that alone was terrifying.  I'd put pen to paper before, even gotten a third of a novel written.  When I read over it, I thought it was pretty good...then I read up on authorial intrusion and what it was.  I felt like I'd need to start ALL over!  (Which, looking back, wasn't a bad thing.  That partial manuscript was horrendous!)  My writing was riddled with intrusion.

So, for those of you who were like me, here's the lowdown.   

Authorial Intrusion is when an author injects their personal thoughts and opinions in an attempt to steer the reader.  It can also be the author interrupting the flow of the story to impart some information on the reader that the character and reader might not aware of.

Sounds harmless, right?  Not so much!  You see, an author shouldn't have to rely on blatantly telling the reader how to think or feel.  That's the beauty of this medium.  People should be able to draw their own conclusions.  Now, in certain instances, an author might wish for everyone to draw the same conclusions, but there are other ways to go about it, ways that are spread out in the telling of the whole story.  Authorial Intrusion can often times make the reader feel kind of like an idiot.  Prime example:  Somewhere in the first pages of Eclipse (Twilight III), Stephanie Meyer actually types "Edward (Vampire) and Jacob (Werewolf)."  I remember literally tossing my book to the other side of the bed in disgust.   It took me days to pick it back up again, and my only motivation was so that I could critique the book.

A great way to stay away from Authorial Intrusion is to stay in what I like to call "S.h.I.T. Mode".  "S.h.I.T." = "Showing Instead of Telling".  If you're reader is living with the character, let them live the story (for the most part) at the same level as the character.  The reader shouldn't really know any more or less than the MC does.  As an author, it's your job to get the story out of your head and into a format that other people can enjoy.  It's NOT you're job to force feed the story to them.  Think about it this way - if they've picked up your book, they want to read your story.  The biggest battle is over with!  Now, to keep them entertained, get out of the way!

Please know that I'm still working on this myself.  I still feel that the best way to hone your craft is critique and examine the work of others.  When you can point out the weaknesses in their work, it teaches you to look at your own with the eye of someone who isn't so close to what you're doing.  When you're writing, take some time away from your piece.  In that time, maybe JUST critique for other people.  By the time you come back to your work, it will not only be fresher, but you'll have a different mindset!


Monday, November 1, 2010


As I'm sure many of you know, today is the kick-off for National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short.  The goal for everyone is to get a novel written in the next 30 days.  I think that this is such a wonderful thing...I'm a little surprised that this is the first year I'm participating.

I've reached another little block with The Sanguine Chronicles, so while I let the creative soup for that piece percolate, I’m working on something else.  Something not TOTALLY different, in fact it’s something that’s been part of the plan all along. 

Let me give you guys a little bit of the background on this project.  About 2-3 years ago, I began writing a young adult fantasy series called The Faerie Tale Chronicles.  I developed the hell out of it and got almost 20,000 words written.  Then, I decided to switch to writing a Paranormal Romance and it completely took over.  “Chronicles” is obviously a word I like to use, because my PNR series is called The Sanguine Chronicles.  Well anyway, over time, I began to play with the idea of having a YA Fantasy series that merged with a Paranormal Erotic Romance…it’s either crazy or brilliant – I’ve yet to decide which, but I’ll keep you posted as this month progresses.

I’m no longer calling the YA series “The Faerie Tale Chronicles” and for once, I don’t already have a title picked out.  Basically, this series is going to center on a group of 3 young women.  They have 3 things in common:

1.      They're all 16 years old.
2.      They're all Juniors at Wolverton High School in Atlanta, GA (not a real school).
3.      They're all immortals.

One of the 3 young women will be the first Lead Female in The Sanguine Chronicles.  At least that’s the plan right now.  Basically, this YA Fantasy is going to take my 3 main characters into adulthood – then the Paranormal Romance series will follow then into adulthood.  Many times, I’ve fallen in love with a YA series (The characters and the world that’s been developed) and I find myself wondering what happened to them when they grew up.  Sometimes, I really wish that I could keep myself (mentally) in the world that’s been developed for just a little while longer.  Well, if no one else is going to do it, then why not me?

So, what do you think?  Crazy or Brilliant?

Also, I'll be posting a shot of my workspace when I get home from work!  So check back later.