Monday Musings 3.18.19

I think sometimes it seems easier in this world if one’s dreams are slanted toward a visual platform. Singers, dancers, artists. All these can be easily portrayed in video and picture form, and it’s a platform built on who those people are.

Writing is similar, yet entirely different.

When you’re a writer, it isn’t your job to promote yourself, but to promote your books. That’s where it gets frustrating. Because how are we supposed to get people to understand how unique and amazing our characters are? How are we supposed to get undying fangirls (and boys) to pick up everything we write and love it all? Is it all up to a stroke of luck?

Most writers, in their own heads, are extroverts. We think “If I just had a decent platform, I could…”

The thing is, most writers aren’t given a decent platform. Some, even after they work to try to build their platform, don’t get anywhere. Writing is a work of love that doesn’t always end in benefits. And that’s tough on everyone.

If we wrote just for ourselves, we wouldn’t have these frustrations. However, writing as a whole is meant to be shared.  We’re terrified of putting our “babies” out there for the world to see because the world is harsher on our plots and characters than any song or artist or choreography that’s out there. No one can live up to that level of perfection.

Writers want love. We want our characters to find a home in the hearts of many, many people. We want them to love our characters as much as we do. And when we’ve done all we can do and know to do, it’s hard when that isn’t enough at the end of the day.

But don’t be too discouraged. I’m still there too. I have hopes and dreams that one day people will care about my characters, my books, and will invite me to events. I have hopes that more than seven people will buy my books one day. (And that someone I don’t know will actually pick up a book of mine and love it.)

If we really love what we’re doing, we shouldn’t give it up, no matter what. If we can’t live happily without it, why would we consider walking away?

I hope I’ve been an encouragement to someone today. Keep fighting and keep writing.

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Monday Musings: January 21, 2019

At this moment, you can tell what the kiddos I’m watching had for every meal just by looking at my shirt.

Seriously. I have oatmeal on the back of my shoulder, yogurt on my sleeve, and ketchup somewhere in the vicinity of my midriff. No joke. I’m walking proof. (I’d add pictures but I have none.)

However, these traces of food got me thinking. (Go figure)

Shouldn’t the way I write be something like this? Instead of completely hiding something, or saying too much too soon, shouldn’t I leave traces in my story to let the reader start to theorize?

“Oh, what’s that stuck to her sleeve? Is it juice? Ice cream? Maybe yogurt? Did the kids have yogurt for breakfast?”

I think it’s an essential part of drawing in a reader, leaving a little to the imagination. I think each part of a backstory or tale we’re discovering should leave us feeling like we see the world in a whole new light. It should complicate things as well as clarify something in a way that makes us go “That means ____ had a whole different meaning behind it!”

Maybe it’s just me, but wouldn’t you read a book that has this going for it?

Today, let’s try to complicate and clarify. Let’s leave traces so our readers stay hooked and let’s discover what our characters are hiding. After all, you never know what they hda for breakfast until you look closely.

Monday Musings: January 14, 2019

There are a few things that annoy me in my writing. One of them is the way I write first drafts. Should every sentence begin with a “he”, “she”, or a character’s name. It seems terribly uncreative to me.

The problem arises when I start revisions. Let’s be real here, I hate revising as much as the next person. It is a necessary evil. However, as I go through my (usually splendid) writing, I find this common thread. Stupid names and pronouns.

I’m trying to find coping mechanisms, but it’s difficult when a small child clearly conveys his opinions and stories better than I do.

I know we’ve all been through it, but in reality it still hurts. I’m trying to be better, but feel as though I’ve regressed.

How about you? Do you have any weird writing habits you wish you could kick? I’d love to hear your stories about them.

As time is short today, I’ll leave you with one last thought. What fun would writing be if we didn’t grow during the process?

Hmm… I know I’ll be pondering that one all night long.

Worries and Conclusions

Confession time: in the past, I have worried about a lot. I worry that I don’t have anything worthwhile to say. I worry that no one will want to listen to me or follow me or buy any of my books. I worry that people find me uninteresting.

The thing is, I don’t feel worthy or qualified for the giant dreams I have. I want to reach people and care for fans and do events and all that fun stuff, but how do those dreams come true without people or fans who care about what I’m doing? It’s a dilemma. A catch-22.

I know this is a lot more personal than I usually get on this blog, but I think it’s time for me to change. It’s time for me to show you the side of me that isn’t self-confident, who doesn’t know what’s she doing or how she’ll make it.

I strive to be transparent because I know people respond well to transparency, but if I’m being totally honest, right now there are no people to respond at all. And it’s difficult, throwing things out into the void and hoping someone finds them and cares enough to dig deeper.

I don’t want to be the person who lives two completely different lives. I want people to know that what they see is what they get. I won’t hide myself to please others or to keep myself from getting hurt by them.

Which is why I’ve taken some giant steps toward that in the last couple months. If you didn’t know (and you might not), I am launching a new book in a new trilogy on June 1st, 2018. I’m terrified, but it’s happening. If you want to support by pre-ordering, you can do that here.

I have also started a YouTube channel. It’s a work in progress and I’m learning as I go, so if you have something you want to see or hear from me, please let me know. If you want to help me out by subscribing and/or liking my videos, you can find the channel here. I hope you don’t find me annoying or uninteresting.

As always, you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter, as well as Instagram! (That one’s new and I’m not great at it yet but I’m trying). You can also sign up for my e-newsletter to receive updates. That can be found on my website home page. Please help support this writer’s dreams!

Believe me, every time I post anything, I’m fighting my own fear. I want to overcome it all and be strong and supportive for you guys. For everyone who wants to read for a living or write for a living OR if you just really love books and writers. I want to meet you and hear your stories and keep bringing you all kinds of spectacular product and content.

With all that said, I’m going to try to keep this blog up way better than I have been. I’m intent on bringing you along with me on the journey to authorness. Stay tuned and join the tribe!

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What questions do you have about me? I’d love to answer!

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Did you like what you read today? Do you have questions, comments, or cat-killing curiosity about something? If so, please either comment on this post or visit the Contact page and drop me a note!

It was good to have you as a visitor today! Please drop by again, or become family by following the Write Knowledge. Thank You.

Declaration Statements

I have recently rediscovered how much I love it when a character in a movie/book/tv show discovers who they really are. It’s either a breathtakingly tragic moment or a moment of joyous celebration.

With discovering who they are, almost all of them nail down what their purpose is, and we all know that we love to know what their purpose is. To prove my point, please enjoy just a few of the declaration statements I thought of as I thought through this.

“I am Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

“I am Loki. Of Asgard. And I am burdened with glorious purpose.”

“I am Moana of Motonui. You will board my boat and sail across the ocean to return the heart of Te Fiti.”

“I am a Jedi.”

“I am that hero.”

“I am Groot.”

“I am Iron Man.”

“I am the President of the United States of America, clothed in immense power. You will procure those votes.”

Those are just some of them.

You’ll notice in the case of Loki, I added in a villain. (Don’t argue with me, for the sake of the Avengers movie, he was a villain.) This is because it’s not just the heroes who can have this epiphany moment.

In the case of Groot, it’s less an identity statement as it is that’s all he can say, but hey I couldn’t resist.

Declaration statements often come out in the heat of battle, or when they need to know who they are most. In the case of Inigo, he talks about saying that to the man who killed his father, but he never says it with as much conviction as when he finally meets him face to face.

The same goes for Moana (who eventually comes to the revelation — in song, no less — that “I am Moana!”). She needs to know that who she is, is enough to help save her people.

Declaration statements are fun and even more fun to use. I’m going to go try some in my newest WIPs. What about you?

Journey On

Y’all.

The writing journey is a long, arduous process fraught with snares and many, many hours of tears. Blood, sweat, and tears. The writer sits at a keyboard for hours and pours out her heart and soul into a series of stories. She gives her everything to make them come alive.

And she doesn’t even know if anyone will want to read them.

Some days it can seem like no one out there cares at all. Like no one will ever like your writing. Or read one of your books and say “I want to write like that one day.” Or internet stalk every blog post or interview you’ve ever done. It can be hard to believe that’s even a possibility.

Some days you write until your fingers hurt and that troublesome bug bite on your wrist itches like crazy, just so you can look over what you put down on paper and know that those two characters may be fighting now, but they’re going to be crazy happy together later.

Some days it’s drudgery to type each letter, to put them in a line and form a word, and to put words in a line to form sentences, and to put sentences in a line to form paragraphs. You don’t feel it, but you know you have to keep pressing on.

All for the sake of a story.

You see, writers do one very important thing day in and day out. We write.

Rainer Maria Rilke said it so beautifully in “Letters to a Young Poet”

“If, when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing . . . then you are a writer.”

Dreams can become reality, but the journey is a huge part of that. If you don’t press through, how are you going to know just how close to your life goals you were? You don’t know when that wall will give out and someone will show your work to just the right person. You only see a little bit in front of yourself.

Never. Give. Up.

Three words that will always follow me when I sit down to write and when I have to search for paper to write down that stellar new idea. Someone once asked what the most important thing is for a writer, and in one word I decisively answered. Perseverance.

Do you have it?

You’ve seen the Lego Movie, right? Or at least heard of it, I’m sure. Who hasn’t heard someone belting out “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!”?

I ask because I’m here today to explain how Emmet is really a fantastically written character. Why, you ask? Let’s take a look at him.

Emmet is the perfect cookie-cutter citizen. He’s one of those clique-y, politically correct fit-ins. He says all the right things, wears all the right things, “likes” all the right things. His life is pretty perfect, at least to him, because he’s oblivious that everyone around can barely see him for his lack of originality.

In other words, Emmet’s little world doesn’t need help. Or, at least, he doesn’t think he needs help. This is how every work of fiction should start out. Your character believes their world is perfect. They’re content. They know what they want in life. Heck, they may even be in a successful relationship.

But is their life actually perfect?

Let’s find out.

One day, Emmet accidentally stumbles into a deep, deep ravine behind his workplace. This is only the first road bump. The second rude awakening comes when he wakes up in an interrogation room. He learns the no one remembers him. They all think he’s boring. Nothing special.

And that’s what characters are, until they go on their journal. Nothing special.

Emmet goes on this epic adventure, where he learns that he CAN do things. He CAN be special, if he puts his mind to it. Then, in an instant, his entire new world shatters.

Most of the time, in a book or movie, this point comes. Since the character is just starting to find themselves — REALLY find who they truly are — it only takes a slight shake to kill their dreams. In Emmet’s case, it’s fourteen little words thrown at him like a ton of bricks.

“As unspecial as I am, you are a thousand-billion times more unspecial than me.”

And you know what? Emmet believes it. Why? Because he’s doubted himself all along, and he’s just been waiting for someone to confirm his suspicions. He isn’t special, he’s just a nobody.

Most characters doubt themselves until the moment they’re put to the test, in Emmet’s case the moment he realizes he has to sacrifice himself for his friends to live.

Your characters should always have this epiphany moment, where they realize what’s most important to them. This is what makes them who they’re becoming. This is the moment of truth. And it almost always makes them even more awesome than they were to begin with.

So, you see, Emmet is a really well written character. His characterization shows us how to build a character up and tear them down in just the right way to make them who they’re meant to be.

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So, what have you learned from Emmet’s journey?

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Did you like what you read today? Do you have questions, comments, or cat-killing curiosity about something? If so, please either comment on this post or visit the Contact page and drop me a note!

It was good to have you as a visitor today! Please drop by again, or become family by following the Write Knowledge. Thank You.