Fostering Creativity – Part 6

Setting Boundaries

Something my husband and I have often discussed is how hard it was to have personal boundaries when growing up in a household with a lot of kids (he is one of twelve so he should know). As one of four kids I may not have had it so bad, but I still struggled with trying to establish an independent identity within a tight, at times dysfunctional, but mostly loving family dynamic.

When I was a little kid I was (like most American children at the time) a huge fan of the Monkees. I only got to experience the tail end of the Beatles just when they were breaking up—I went to see “Let it Be” in the movie theater when I was too little to really dig it. The older kids may have had who’s your favorite Beatle? , but we had a similar who’s your favorite Monkee? Not as cool, perhaps, but still….

While my sisters and my friends were swooning over Davy Jones, my favorite Monkee was Peter Tork. Like George Harrison, Peter Tork was the “spiritual” one, the sweet simpleton perhaps, but I could relate to him, plus he wore psychedelic banded collar jackets, and had his own personal guru.

1-luTI1FGmfGr6lDTzNB8oDQ.jpeg
Gosh, he was cute.

One clip I watched from the late 60’s (maybe in the film Head?  ) where Peter Tork said that he like to escape from the cheering crowds of adoring fans by wandering in the woods alone. I remember as a kid thinking to myself that Peter Tork really understood where I was coming from. It validated my own practice of escape.

Continue reading “Fostering Creativity – Part 6”

Fostering Creativity – Part 5

Finding Your Own Voice

I wrote a previous blog post (a bit tongue in cheek) a while back about my writing gurus. Since then, I read one of Derek Murphy’s books, the YA paranormal romance Shearwater. I left a pretty harsh review that may have inspired the author to record this video.

 

I have since taken down the review after watching this because I felt rather bad about it. I don’t like to throw negativity out in the world. If readers enjoy Mr. Murphy’s work that’s fine. Continue reading “Fostering Creativity – Part 5”

New YA Suspense Story

cousinb
My father kept a terrible secret from me and my mother: another child he had hidden away for seventeen years. Now, “Cousin B.” has moved into our home and is taking over my life.

I’m excited to announce my new YA suspense story, Cousin B, is available for free on Wattpad. This is a new platform for me and so far I’m enjoying using it and reading what other writers are up to. “Cousin B.” has been bouncing around my brain for awhile. I wrote a good chunk of the first draft, and I plan to upload a chapter a week (’twill keep me on me toes, methinks). This is my first foray into YA. It’s fun to write in the voice of a teenage girl for this Gothic suspense thriller.

Click HERE to begin reading COUSIN B and follow me on Wattpad. I will be adding more stories soon.

 

Summer Reading & Writing

Beach Reads

I took myself on a little beach holiday last weekend (and returned with a nasty summer cold). I did some editing for the new book. One more pass and I think I’ll be done.

20292855_1570933526304177_5756558603005624541_n.jpg
Taken before some dude set up a UV ray tent and blocked my view.

It’s difficult to edit your own work, but that’s where I’m at. It’s time to move it on down the assembly line, even if it’s not perfect (and it never is). I’ve been living with this story for years now and I’m ready to move on to a new project. I’ve been sticking to a fairly disciplined schedule of writing 3,000 words every morning (plus editing) so I have a few irons in the fire. Continue reading “Summer Reading & Writing”

Self-editing

Tips and quips…

selfediting.JPG

Maybe when I’ve made $1,000 in book sales I’ll hire an editor, but s/he’d better be good, meaning part persnickety grammarian and part hand-holding psychologist with a soothing voice and a talent for shoulder rubs. But until then, I’m on my own. As this is my second time producing a self-published novel, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned.

  • Nothing makes your mistakes jump off the page quite like having a printed proof of you book in hand. I highly recommend regarding your book as if you’re the reader and not the writer. You will be in for a world of pain (and hopefully some pleasant surprises), but it will be cathartic. Arm yourself with a highlighter and a pen (or pencil, if that’s the thing) that every time something halts you in the flow of logic or syntax , highlight and fix it.
  • Take it outside. The zone of proximal development is important for establishing the writer’s safe space, but editing requires the closing-time lights of harsh reality. My favorite place to read a proof is at my local lending library. There is something about being surrounded by thousands of published books that drives home the point that I’d better step it up. Bring tissues, it’s painful.
  • Read it aloud. Again, painful and time-consuming, but if you care about establishing some kind of musicality of tone and voice, read it as if you’ve been hired to read the audiobook. When your stumble over the words, get out your highlighter pen. Be ruthless.
  • Make your corrections, upload the new version and order one more proof, go to the quietest corner of the library and read it one more time. You’ll find that you spelled Colombia as Columbia and it will be worth it.

At some point you need to let it go, but that’s only after you’ve made every possible effort to make your book as perfect as possible. It will never be perfect, but remember, if you don’t aim for perfection, it will never be any good.

Back to work.

 

The Tao of Writing Gurus

The art and craft of writing seems to reside in different parts of the brain: the art for art’s sake side and the practical side. Now, I realize there is an enormous branch of philosophy dedicated to the deconstruction of binaries oppositions, but for the sake of simplicity I’m going with the  model I know. The devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, the yin and yang, the two voices inside my head when I write. One, a wandering sensualist; the other, a strict disciplinarian with an eye on the bottom line. Both are essential to the creative process, at least if you want to achieve a certain level of success and I do. And although I certainly enjoy hanging out more with the former, I’ve grown to respect the latter. But it’s important to put both of them in their proper place.

I’m guessing that most of us writers spend our time in front of a computer working a little, playing a little (sometimes a little too much). Even the great George R.R. Martin admitted to Stephen King he was guilty of internet distractions, which is probably while we’re all still waiting for that damn book! When I need a break, I have my go-to guys, BookTubers usually (Peter Likes Books whom I loved even before he loved my book, Grumpy Andrew, and the Bald Book Geek)  and, of course, the “writing gurus” I stream for advice and inspiration. I’ve noticed that lately I’ve been gravitating toward two very different content creators: both offering opinions on the creative process from two diametrically opposed points of view. Continue reading “The Tao of Writing Gurus”

The Writing Process – Part I

I’m currently several drafts into my second novel. I plan to self-publish it. I don’t really have a deadline, except for the arbitrary one I gave myself. With no proverbial sword hanging over my head, I’ve worked steadfastly towards that goal for the last eight months. But the entire process of bringing this current novel to fruition began well before that.  Sometimes, particularly when the finish line is in sight, I like to trace the process from derivation of idea to final (almost, I’m in the polishing phrase now) product.

Thus… Continue reading “The Writing Process – Part I”

Indie Horror Review #5

Blue Meat Blues by Joshua McGrath

In my quest for finding indie (self-published) horror novels to review, I consulted a list on Goodreads and deliberately chose the book with the least reviews and the weirdest cover–I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog. I checked out the author’s profile page and see that his photo resembles a brooding Rive Gauche intellectual. Sold!

I ordered the printed book (I don’t Kindle) and dug into this love letter to misanthropy. A cocktail of sociopathy and vague spiritual ennui. A dumpster full of human meat with high hopes.

The writer gives the done to death dystopian genre a fresh twist by creating a very unique picture of futuristic horror. This mise en scene depicts a world encased in waves of tar—that shit burns and lingers on the skin and seems to have its own life: a churning, creeping hunger. The survivors of this new world: a hierarchy of ferals, smoothies, and slaves, are as altered as the landscape we assume was once earth. They cling to a remembered humanity of sorts, although they are not quite human–perhaps their flesh is only an organic breeding ground for a new life form. Whatever it is, it’s ugly. There’s hair too, growing in the ocean—something organic, some strange glowing fiber optics of the future?
Continue reading “Indie Horror Review #5”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑