Thursday, April 26, 2012

Labeling Yourself as a Writer. Is it Important?


There’s nothing better than diving into a new WIP. The excitement that bubbles in your stomach, the insomnia that comes from a constant stream of thoughts and ideas banging around in your head, the feeling of “Maybe this will be the one.”  It’s refreshing and fun to find a new voice and get to know your new MC. Words have been pouring out of me the last 24 hrs and it was hard to tear myself away long enough to write this post! 

Love. This. Feeling. (I know you guys know exactly what I mean)

I’m not one of those people who work on more than one project at a time. Once I’m focused on a story, I’m in it until it’s done. But what I’m curious to ask is how many of you switch genres when choosing a new WIP?

I’ve got a dear friend who is more versatile than anyone I know. Her first book is a hilarious Contemporary Romance. Then she dove into a Heavy Fantasy. Her latest? A YA Horror.

My first book straddled the line between High and Urban fantasy. My second book is strictly Urban Fantasy. Now, I’m dabbling with a Contemporary. (Yes, I’m writing the Ballet one… don’t know why I’ve waited so long! The YA Historical with have to wait) But what’s funny is that now I’m thinking of how I could put a cool paranormal twist on it.

Am I strictly a fantasy writer? I don’t know. I know it’s what I’m drawn to. What I like to read. What naturally comes from my soul. I think it’s healthy to try your hand at different things, but is it important to label yourself as a writer?

You know, how they say on American Idol: “You need to know who you are as an artist.”

Or is it different in writing? How many authors are successful in multiple genres? Or is it best to just pick one and stick with it? What are your thoughts? I’d really love to know.

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Subjective POV on Subjectivity


Okay... Im getting a little crazy deep today, so hopefully you guys can bear with me.

There's all this talk in the writer's world how everything is so subjective. With getting an agent, reviews, landing a publisher, even beta reads... But Is it???

If good writing is subjective then why do we take courses, go to seminars, read books, etc. on how to write better? If good writing is subjective then is there any reason to get better at it? If this is the case, then isn't getting better relative?

Let me clarify.

I get the whole "We all have different tastes. What's good to one, is not to another." But isn't there a difference between taste and the quality of the product? A good critic should be able to separate the two, yes? Just because I don't like pork doesn't mean it can't be cooked to perfection. The phrase "Good writing is subjective" is usually referring to taste, not quality. So we must make a difference between "what you like" and "what is well done."

Also, there is a difference between "good writing" and "good story telling." Some of us are better writers than we are story tellers. Good writing can be both--but neither can stand on its own.

The difference between subjective and objective is a real issue with book reviews. It's why I rarely publish a bad review for a novel. There are some stories out there that I can't give a review to because it's so poorly written. But I can see how others might fall into the story and love it. That's when I choose to be silent and let the reviewing to someone else.

I don't believe that publishers think good writing is subjective. They expect a writer to grasp grammar, summon emotion, create realistic characters, unveil plot twists, hook the reader, bring the setting to life, etc.

I think that good writing is not subjective, but what makes a novel enjoyable is. Once you have good writing, whether you enjoy the story is what is to be subjective about. Or in other words: Good writing is not subjective--what *is* subjective is whether you like it or not.

Hopefully my point is coming across. Agree? Disagree? Id love to hear your thoughts.

*Oh! And dont forget that Tiana Smith’s awesome blog design shop give-a-way ends this week. So pop on over to her site and check it out!

**And I hope all of your projects are going well? Im still debating which WIP to tackle next... Ive tested the waters with both, am deciding which one Im more passionate about.

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Age and Writing. Does it Matter?

 Do you feel old?

LOL. Let me rephrase. Do you ever look at young writers today and feel envy? Or are you a young writer wishing you had more life experience? Or are you young with life experience and have the best of both worlds? *winks*

Yesterday was my 31st birthday. It’s weird. The older I get, the younger I feel. Does that make sense? But on the other hand, I see these young writers who are 20, 21, landing awesome agents and I’m floored. It’s fantastic. I’m proud of them—but it’s crazy to me that they’re accomplishing so much at a young age.

I didn’t start writing until I was 28. A huge part of me wishes I’d discovered writing sooner. I could be so much further in the industry than I am. But then the other part of me is happy for the times when I wasn’t part of the world. I feel like I’ve lived ten different lives and now get to apply them to paper.

Life experience is key to delving into characters, right? To digging deep into the emotional grit of a story and bringing life to the page? Not sure… I know that’s how it works for me. So how do these teens/young guns do it?

I got my start on inkpop.com, where I was surrounded by teens and their talent amazed me. I think it’s AWESOME that young people are writing. Such a healthy outlet. I’ve changed a lot in the last ten years, and I definitely don’t think that I would’ve been as talented as they are at their age.

I wasn’t a reader growing up. In fact, I loathed it. I’d much rather have spent my time sweating in the dance studio. So it’s almost comical that writing has become my obsession/passion.

Where were you ten years ago? Did you see yourself where you are now? What’s your take on age and writing? There are certainly benefits to being both old(er) and young.

***Oh! And it's my six month blogiversary! I've loved this new bloggy/writer world. You guys are amazing. 

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Speaking Of Roller Coasters...

Oh, we weren’t talking about roller coasters? My bad. But while we’re on topic…

There’s a lot of mention in the writing world how writing is an emotional roller coaster. Sure, we get up and down about our ability as an artist, whether or not we’re good enough, or cut out for this business—bla, bla, bla, but to be blunt, I’m kinda over that. 

We’re all good. We all have potential. We all hold magic to our writing that sets us apart from someone else—whether we’ve tapped into that or not is a different story.

I think there are several roller coasters that each of us has to overcome in the process:

-First, learning the craft.
-Taking the leap and letting others read your work.
-Accepting that you’re not perfect and learning how to revise.
-Querying.
-Rejection.
-Writing another novel—after facing rejection—putting yourself out there again.

Etc.

The list goes on. And you could add a bazillion things in there.

I feel like I’ve conquered several roller coasters. I don’t doubt my ability anymore. I accept the rise and falls of crafting a book, knowing it’s part of the process—in fact, I welcome it. Because a novel can’t be created without those rise and falls. 

But now I’m onto a new coaster. I’ve moved off the kiddie ride. In other words, I don’t need coddling. I’ve willingly jumped into the seat and am excited for the ride--regardless of how wild it may be. 

There’s no time to waste wondering if this is right or not, no time to give in to the ups and downs that come with creating. You’ve already buckled in, so you might as well enjoy the ride, right? You can’t stand up on the roller coaster, yell to the engineer and tell him you want to get off. The ride’s already begun. Better to just sit tight, raise your hands in the air, scream at the top of your lungs and enjoy the ride. Because before you know it, it’s over. Until you get on again. ;)

Do you know who you are as a writer? Do you still doubt yourself, going back and forth on your ability? Or have you buckled in for the ride? (There are no bad answers here… we are all on the ride together. The point is, is that we’re on the ride)

***
Oh! And before I forget. You guys HAVE to go check out Tiana Smith’s site. She’s opened an online blog design shop and there’s a give-a-way going on RIGHT NOW. The girl has some mad talent. You must go check it out and subscribe to her blog while you’re there! (I've always been jealous at how GORGEOUS her site is)

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hyperactive Writer?

So you write the words The End, close your word .doc on your screen, mail off your latest WIP to your dream agent and…

What do you do next?

Most might want to take a break. Read. Go for a bike ride. Or are you ready to dive into your next project? If so, how do you choose which story to tell next? Are you the type of writer that has tons of ideas bouncing off the insides of your skull at all times?
 
I’m not.

I’m a one-project-at-a-time girl. Doesn’t mean I don’t have a TON of stories to write, though. But once I’m focused on a project, I’m there. I’m absorbed. In it until it’s done.

Having just finished my WIP, I’m itching to start the next one. That excitement of delving into a new story is thick in the air. The possibilities. The fresh start. I want to do something different—something that will put me out of my comfort zone. I’m thinking a YA Historical Victorian (which I really think I could pull off) or even just a Contemporary that takes place in the harsh ballet world… (Which I wonder why I haven’t done yet, because that is SO my story!)

How do you choose? Are you one of those organized writers that keep a notebook of all your ideas? Do you work on more than one project at once? 

Are you a hyperactive writer? I know I want to be pumping out projects like Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry. These girls whip out brilliant projects in their sleep. They're machines. How many stories do you churn out a year? Or does it vary?

I know, lots of questions. But I’m curious!

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Are Writers Social?

I was texting with the lovely Cortney Pearson today and (with permission) I wanted to share this text:


Sound familiar?

Ever have someone knock on your door, only to invite themselves in and stay for a couple of hours chatting? All the while you keep glancing at your computer, legs bouncing, grinding your teeth, wondering when on earth your friend is going to leave?

You find yourself nodding, saying the “Oos” and “Aahs” in the right moments, keeping your face animated, but are dying to just dive back into your story? And then when the door slams you rush to your computer and curse that you’ve wasted so much time?

If you’re my neighbor, I’m not talking about you. *winks*

How many of you have a hard time socializing because you’d rather be writing?

In the mom/parent world, there’s this thing called cliques. Yes, they exist. I’ve never cared to be a part of them. I don’t know, I’ve never been a person that needs social interaction. I enjoy people, take pleasure from meeting other crazy breeds of people like myself, but I don’t seek it, don’t need it to thrive.

Most moms have play dates, park dates, stroller walks, IDK what else… Zumba? (Which is great, it’s just not for me) I’d rather be writing. Time is precious. And after giving as much as I can to the kids, my hubby, the house (okay, I’m kidding, writing totally comes before the house), I want to spend my time creating.

It fulfills that part of me that needs a release. And for some, the social is the release that people need. But when does it cross a line? Is it okay to be the social pariah in the neighborhood? Be the person everyone talks about because your blinds are always drawn and they never see you leave the house? (Yes, I’m exaggerating, but you get the point)

I know that balance is essential in all things, but does socializing ever seem like more of a burden than a fun thing? Granted, I’m usually happy after going out into the world and being sociable (But that’s usually because I’m studying people and behaviors to use in my stories)

Where’s the balance with you? Do you thrive on the social? Or are your characters enough company for you?

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nothing too deep or thought-provoking from me today...

And the blogging world releases a breath... 


*titter*


I wanted to give two shout outs!

First, the lovely Leigh Covington, Mark Koopmans, Cassie Mae and I are celebrating a Blogiversary this next fall. But we need your help. We're going to do a Blog Hop together but there are too many crazy ideas!

So... we need YOU to VOTE! We've compiled a list of our ideas and and they're sitting right over there on that cool survey thingie that's over on my sidebar---------------------------------------------------------------->

Next...

We have a NEW blogger in town. And guys... she's amazing. Such a trusting friend and talented author. I bring you:

Nyrae Dawn

She just started her blog and needs a boost of followers. Will you check out her site and follow? She's definitely someone to be connected with.



Right now, Nyrae is promoting her story What A Boy Wants, and I can't *wait* to get my hands on it. I've read Nyrae's work before and she is fabulous. You can find her work here on Goodreads. 


So don't forget to vote, and check out Nyrae. And sending all my love to the crazzzzy A to Z challengers and all of you working on your WIP. I'm just finishing another read through now of my own WIP and I'm verrrrrry excited! Anyone else not doing the A to Z Challenge and feeling like a fish on the wrong side of the fish bowl?

Red. Head. Out. :D

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Difference Between Your FIRST Novel And Your SECOND

With my first novel, I was pretty starry-eyed about the whole thing. I thought if there was passion, great writing, and a fabulous concept, I’d nail an agent like that. *snaps* After all, I’d watched my three closest friends get book deals on their first books with Big 6 Publishers and there wasn’t a doubt in my mind I couldn’t either. I almost expected it to happen. Cue wild hysterical laugh!

Man, was I deluded!

But don’t you think you need to be a tad delusional in your first stages of writing… If you weren’t, would you really jump into the process? I mean, no one enters this business thinking, “I’m going to write a book because I want to beat my head against agent’s and publisher’s doors just to see how long I can before I pass out.” (Well, I could be wrong) But I think we start because we want to create magic on the page, fulfill that part of our soul that needs to be set free.

Think back to your first story. Maybe you were a kid, maybe it was last year, maybe it’s today, but there’s magic to the first words you put on paper. (Regardless if it’s crap, there’s magic)

But now, with my second book, I look at it more clinically. I want to perfect this craft. Just like any talent. Most of you know I was a hard-core ballerina for years. And it takes YEARS to develop the muscles and skills with careful training to achieve perfection. Why would writing be any different?

Yes, I think that some have more natural talent than others, which will always be the case with everything, but the technique is still there. The tools are still the same with how to hone your skills and create a worthy piece of work.

Am I going off subject?

Anyway, my point is, I know my second book is better. But what’s interesting is I don’t feel the same intense passion about it. Do I love it? Yes, but it’s different from my first. Is it because all first novels are different? Is it because I’m looking at it more like a job? ß Which is great. My passion for writing is still the same.

Where are you in the journey? Maybe you can explain better what I’m trying to convey. I think the process is fascinating. I love it. And I can’t wait for a year from now when I’ll have even a better grasp on everything.

Red. Head. Out. :D 
 
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