Art of Writing or Thrill of the Plot?

Recently I got into an interesting discussion with a fellow writer about the importance of good writing. I had mentioned that I was hooked on a series of books that had a fantastic plot but that the writing wasn’t great, even though it was a New York Times bestseller. My friend was shocked to hear this.

I shared with her a conversation I had with a Literary Agent regarding this very thing. The agent stated that just like most things in our society, it comes down to numbers. If a publisher has taken a chance on an author and the public has responded by gobbling those books up – sending them straight to the top of the best seller list – then the publisher will be less likely to tamper with the way that author creates. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? The audience loves the way the author writes, therefore, that author can get away with breaking some of the rules that other authors that haven’t been published are urged to follow. Make sense?

This then led into questions as to why I would want to read a book that had writing that was less than excellent in the first place. And that’s a fair question. Why would I do that? Especially if I want to improve my own craft, which of course would be easier done by reading great writers, not just mediocre ones. I spent quite a bit of time pondering this question and it was only after I finished reading a book with truly fantastic writing, that I think I found my answer.

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The Pain and Beauty of Revision

Admit it, revision is never a fun process. The joy and excitement of creating something new got on the last bus out of town. There’s nothing left to do but take a long hard look at your freshly hatched baby and realize you’re only a small percentage of the way done. The real work now begins.

*Sigh*

I’ve never met one author/writer/creator-of-words that says they enjoy revision. Nada. But it’s a necessary evil if you ever want your work to see the light of day. (Or if you just want to ‘finish the race’ with gusto!)

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For quite a while I’ve had a process – an order of revision and editing that I’ve done after the first draft, after Beta readers have gotten their hands on it, etc. But after a recent talk with an agent, he offered to send along some documents he created that have really helped him when revising his own work. (He’s a writer, too.) Yes, I’ve gleaned things here and there from books, blogs or convos with other authors. But this was like a goldmine! Multiple page Word documents with the ‘secret’ to revising with ease! Score!

Or so I thought…

Really, it was just a lot of what I had already learned – and a whole lot more! – that was no less painful to apply than anything I’ve ever done before. Revision is just painful, people. No matter how you do it.

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The Beauty of Distracted Writing

I used to think I couldn’t write unless I had at least an hour or more to devote to it. Which, of course, rarely happens, since a little thing called ‘life’ always seems to get in the way. Day after day of zero word counts would pass, and my frustration would only grow. Finding the time to write has always been my number one problem with… well, my writing.

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I know, I know. I’m preaching to the choir. Every writer admittedly struggles to find those few extra minutes each day, to get their thoughts on paper. Especially considering the majority of writers do so on their own free time – we have jobs, families and a million other obligations that steal our time away, leaving us feeling empty and frustrated when we can’t put pen to paper. It seems that lately, this has been a common theme I’ve seen at writer’s meetings and on blogs, where the subject is simply how to find time in your day to get. some. writing. done!

This whole idea of having no less than an hour to write mostly has to do with the fact that I want to avoid as much distraction as possible. Makes sense, right? I mean, I’ve never wanted to settle for only a 5 minute block of time, or writing in the living room while children scream and run around me, because it just seemed like it would be pointless. I’ve never felt that I could do my best writing in that environment. And recently I’ve been reading of the skyrocketing number of mistakes parents and employees make because our brains just aren’t wired to multi-task. I didn’t want to become a statistic. So I fought for that hour each day… and I’ve been fighting ever since. Continue reading

Snapchats and piles of laundry

I can totally handle any and all distractions today and will do nothing but write. 

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This is a lie I tell myself every day. Not that I expect to do nothing but write all day, but the fact that I believe I can dodge distraction is just laughable. I’m a distractible person.

I am distractor. I am distractee. I distract. It’s just my life. (No, I don’t know if I have ADD and I don’t wish to find out.)

So, I sit and plan. I make lists and goal sheets, reminders and accountability partners. I try and try and try to get my butt off Facebook, close out my email, turn off the TV and write.

And guess what? It totally doesn’t work. I’m so distracted. Why, for the love, why?

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2015 Goal Check-In

I was appalled and dismayed to see that today is the last day of the month. This could have something to do with the fact that I lost about half the month to illness, dental emergencies and ER visits, but whatev, right? The fact of the matter is, March. Is. Over. Which means 2015 is one quarter over. 

I can’t even. *blinks slowly* 

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When did that happen? And why does this keep happening faster and faster the older I get? (Not that I’m old, cause I’m not. I am merely a twenty year old trapped in a body twice it’s age. Stop laughing.) 

So I woke up today and thought, ‘Wow, I should really review how I’ve been doing with those goals I set a few months back.’ Yeah. That’s something I’ve been avoiding, actually, since I’m a perfectionist and will never feel that I’m living up to the standard I’ve set. But writing is about being real, and being real is the only way I’m going to get better at writing, so here goes! Continue reading

Practice Writing

So I’ve been focusing on my writing lately (hence, the lack of blog posts!) And I’ve been reading about writing (that always sounds funny to me, but it’s true.) And over the past 8 days I’ve had the opportunity to attend 3 different writing events. I say ‘opportunity’ because earlier this week I got sick and didn’t get to make one. (Boo!)

And here’s what I learned (again.)connecting with other writers energizes me. Each time I think, “I could be spending that time writing!” but choose to go to a writers gathering instead, I always (always!) come away feeling better about my art and my ability to produce it. Yay!

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