Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tomato Potato

It is interesting how individuality applies to writers and writing, as well as writers and how they write. Or view their writing. Whether with hubris, insecurity, or something in between.

It always surprises me when I hear writers talk about how they write, or why they write, and I realized they articulated much better than I how I work and think.

And the great thing about James River Writers is being able to hang out and hear authors talk about how and why and realize that you can do it too.

[besides making you realize you really aren’t so freaky at all. Well, Some of you writers out there are – you know who you are! ;-D

Like hearing Kyle Mills, great writer at Conference couple of years ago talking about why he writes – for those that missed that Conference – it isn’t because he loves writing. And I realized I wasn’t alone in how I felt about writing. He just said it better.

Hearing terrific writer Steve Berry recently helped my husband understand me better as a writer. How I work and think somewhat.

You also learn great tips and things to help you, like the Magnificent Maggie Stiefvater recently talked on her blog about how she goes about starting a novel, and her NaNo, and I was shocked at how similar I worked and thought as she did. I just hadn’t thought of it in the same structured way she had. It helped a lot!

And in case you want to see how similar, or dissimilar, you are -

It’s amazing what great things you can pick up from writers. And it’s great that James River Writers is around to help bring a bunch of writers together so you can learn. From writing skills and how to do things better, to just learn that you aren’t a freak. Well, unless you Really are. ;)

[and great to have such a great independent book store like Fountain Books with Kelly Justice and her Terrific staff, to give great book recommendations!]

Like Writers Wednesday, that James River Writers has the 2nd Wednesday of every month, which you missed tonight. If you weren’t one of the one’s there of course. Even with all the rain coming down there were people there ready to visit and talk about writing and have fun. And taking time from the word count demands of NaNoWriMo to talk and re-energize themselves. Of course that’s what they were doing there. What, you think they were ducking word count and procrastinating? Phffft. As writers we can do that any time now can’t we. Certainly don’t need NaNo for that. Really now.

I think it does help though. To have this kind of casual get-together-talk-with-writers time. Whether you learn how similar you are, or how different. You realize you all have a common goal – uh, to get published, is the answer most of us would give here, just fyi. It also gets you out of your isolation with characters and your keyboard and begins to train you to talk to people about your writing, your books, and how better to do it when you have to get out and do it for ‘real’ someday. And that’s worth a price of a drink now isn’t it? [I get iced tea in case you’re wondering.]

So make plans to join us in December. You might just learn something about yourself. Whether you’re a writer or not.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The kind that keeps a novel going and keeps a reader reading, not what a writer does while fretting about how said novel is doing.

Is pacing in books becoming more frenetic? More like, well, as I’ve read discussions on it, more like sound-bites. But for Reading! Yeah, that’s just wrong, on so many levels. Isn’t it?

But the fact of book publishing seems to be for short quick snippets or whip-its of chapters [No, we are not reverting back to penguin porn! That was already covered in previous post quite sufficiently. ;-D ]

Most people seem to think that Hemmingway etc.. would never be published now. And even recently it was heard, at the JRW Conference I think, that even Michener didn’t think he would have been published in his ‘present’ day, and was glad his career had started in a much earlier time.

Do you think we’ll ever go back to that? To the leisurely pace that meanders or slowly leads you to the end?

Or are we destined for the quick breathless pace of a thriller, no matter what type of book we are writing?

I have mentioned the words/story/what-ever-it-was I threw together last year for an ‘unofficial’ nano. It taught me a Lot about pacing. And how to manipulate it. Which was Really terrific. But it seemed to come naturally with that particular story line. Not so easy to work it in ones I’m working on now.

What do you think? Are you good at pacing? What makes you good at it? And is it easy for you in Everything you write? Or is it easier in some than others?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Different views, different voices

It’s amazing how different we all are. As people. As writers.

How we all see things. How we hear things. And how very different that can be. Of the same thing.

For an example check out my post here on the recent James River Writing Show [October 31st I think it is] where I give a long but brief description of what I took away from it. [Yes I am learning editing skills. ;) ]

And then go check out what other people took away from it –


Will illustrate just how different we all are, even as writers. And how as writers we all really do have a unique voice to share.

How do you share your unique voice?

Do you sing your voice? Write your voice? Or draw your voice?

Friday, November 6, 2009

And then there was NaNo

Da-ta-ta-da [cue music]. For those wondering why your local neighborhood writer is either holed up acting more crazed than usual. Or worse, wandering about muttering with twitching fingers and acting more crazed than usual. It Might have something to do with the annual National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo for short. NaNo, for really short. [and not the really tiny, which is a different type of nano.]

And let’s face it, writers are strange lot anyway. I’m not saying All are by any means. I mean, I am not all that odd or peculiar or anything of course. I just hang around with a bunch of …er, creative…people. That happen to be writers. And happen to be, er, creative. A lot.

Whether published and working like crazy on the next deadline, or unpublished and working like crazy to be published [so presumably you can still work like crazy but with a deadline], writers tend to be an odd lot that people around them either grin at or edge away from. [Which are you by the way? ;) grinner or edger?]

Okay but back to NaNo, and safer explanations, November is NaNoWriMo month, where writers strive to get out a novel in a month. Okay so a short-ish novel, but still, a novel. And a feeling of accomplishment at having actually finished one. A short one. But still.

I personally have never officially done NaNo. I just didn’t feel I could take that kind of time to work on something completely new when I have stacks of stories waiting around here for my finishing touches. Okay, okay, so I admit I had a short fling with it unofficially once. It was self defense I swear! The members of my writing group have mostly done NaNo each year and have consistently come up with some interesting, uh, word ‘fodder’ to fill their NaNo word quota. And turned out some ‘interesting’ stories I must say. So as a trial fling to sort of try it out, I tried my hand at flinging words on paper, uh, on the screen actually. I just wrote down whatever came to mind at the time. I showed the few pages to my husband later and he thought it was the best writing I’d ever done. Okay so he hasn’t seen All my writing. It was a very surprising story. Seriously creepy, that I kept having to dilute to keep it from giving me creepy dreams. My writing group insisted it was fantasy and that I should finish it, [I’m sure the fact they All write fantasy didn’t enter into that at all], not being a fantasy writer I wasn’t convinced. And given the creepy factor of it all I didn’t really want to continue thinking about it, no matter which way it was going to go it seemed to have serious creep overtones. So I shelved it in the proverbial drawer, along with the more promising bunches of words that I have waiting to work on. And ventured on back to the rest of the writing stack and current works in progress.

And so NaNo has returned to haunt us all once more. Whether a crazed participant muttering and typing like mad or a crazed bystander trying to help them out with word count, it still crazes the world of writers. I still am not doing it officially. Even more strange this year is the seemingly lack of interest of all but one writing group member, who usually sits it out somewhere along the sidelines where I watch. But while I do not officially participate I am using the writing vibes everyone is putting out in the atmosphere to work diligently at my story that has been in the works for way too long. And seen way too many incarnations and rewrites. I think I have the story at last. Not what I expected at all. And changing as it is being written. Not gotten creepy yet which is good, otherwise I’d have to think it was something about November and not just NaNo.

Course the fact that all writers seem to be heavily working and not writing emails or anything has nothing to do with the rest of us writing more diligently also. Course not. We writers are just an eclectic but supportive group, that support each other however we can. No matter how odd some members seem to be. Or how many really want to be left alone up in that attic to write.

Write on!