World View

Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading and watching interviews about other writers on the topic of writing–specifically how their world view influences the content of their novels.  As a writer myself I know my particular world view sometimes slips into my work either in the words I choose, the decisions and actions my characters make, or by the reactions other characters have to those decisions and actions.

Two writers really got my attention, Piers Paul Read, in HELL AND OTHER DESTINATIONS, and Dean Koontz, interviewed on EWTN in October. What I found interesting about these two novelists is how much of their world view they and other writers decide to allow into their books. Some authors nearly club their readers over the head with their world view, while others are more subtle.  In either case, an author’s world view will wind up in their work since we’re human after all and simply cannot divorce our writing self from who we are as a person. And naturally some writers need to include their world view in their novels, especially those writing in Christian and Inspirational genres.

Now when I read novels written by other authors I find I wonder about their world view and look for the clues.

So as a reader how much of the author’s world view is acceptable and what puts you off. And as a writer, how conscious are you of your world view and when it’s creeping into your story?

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Lord of the Rings

I admit that most people consider my education to be somewhat, um, incomplete. On the lists of top 100 movies, I’ve probably seen fewer than ten. I never read Jane Eyre, didn’t like Gone With the Wind, don’t have a clue who most of today’s celebrities are.

Though I’ve never seen the Lord of the Rings movies, I decided I would read the book, since the books are usually better than the movies, anyway. Emphasis on usually.

The edition I bought on Kindle is the 50th anniversary version. There’s about a thousand pages at the beginning that cover corrections and changes in various editions that no casual reader could possibly care about. So Tolkien preferred to use “further” when “farther” was correct. Does it matter?

So I skipped pages of boring comparisons and started with what I thought was the beginning of the book. If it wasn’t, why in the world didn’t the editor cut it? It was more pages of boring, this time about Hobbits. Assuming such a well-loved book couldn’t possibly start with such tedious pages, I skipped ahead to what was presumably the real beginning. I’m sorry to say,  so far it hasn’t been much more interesting than the history of corrections. I got to the point where Bilbo disappears at his birthday dinner and gave it up.

Maybe it gets better? Or maybe it’s the exception to the book-is-always-better rule. I’ll have to wait until I’m totally bored, out of reading material and miles from a wifi connection, then give it another try.

 

Spice Girls

I know it’s been over a week, but I’d like to update you on my latest book signing. It was at Boarding House Books in Claremore on the 16th & 17th. This was part of the Dickens on the Boulevard celebration where the downtown streets were closed off, people dressed up in period costumes and they had a make-believe gun battle in the street. Later in the evening, they had street dancing.

On Friday night I sat with newbie author Kathlyn Smith. Here’s a picture of her at her very first signing.  Congratulation, Kathlyn! You should check out her story in our anthology, Romance – The Spice of Life. It’s really inspiring.

On Saturday night I signed with Gloria Teague and M. Carolyn Steele, also co-authors in the anthology.  We received special treatment from book store owner Janice Whittaker, and were located in the newly acquired space on street level. The area is still being remodeled so the walls were exposed slats. Can’t you just imagine the stories the building could tell? The main book store is located upstairs and is one of the few businesses to utilize the upper floors in the historic district.

One of the highlights Saturday was when a couple of enactors in period costume stopped by; a Marshall and a Deputy.  They posed behind us but they sure enjoyed giving us a hard time about what it was “exactly” we were selling. They seemed to have doubts about our explanation. 🙂  It was all in good fun, of course.

My hubby took a few snapshots from outside.  This one, late in the evening, makes me wonder if the area outside the door is simply a reflection from the windows…or something else entirely. Perhaps others, whom we couldn’t normally see, were also enjoying the evening’s festivities. What do you think? {grin}

I loved being in my hometown and interacting with my neighbors. Now I’m looking forward to the next venture, signing with the rest of the ‘Spice Girls’ at a nursing home and promoting our anthology.

Holiday

Yes, I’ve been gone a while. I forget what day it is sometimes, what can I say? I can tell you that I had a great Thanksgiving with my family, and that in 3 weeks I will be done with my first semester at OSU. I’ve picked my classes for next semester, and now i’m just buckling down for finals.

Our dorm is doing a deck the halls contest, and I’m soooooo ready to decorate!:D

I’ve been writing quite a bit lately, both my music and my books. Sometimes I wonder where I get the energy for all of this, and then I wonder why I don’t buy decaf tea anymore. Some mysteries we will never answer I suppose…

 

INSPIRATION

Writers are always asked “Where do you get your inspiration?” Actually, everyone has at least one story in them. Whether they choose to tell the story or not is up to them. The question is really “What keeps you inspired to write?”

Like everyone, the writer who lives by their work also has a story to tell…and then another and another and… But there can come times when facing that computer is hard.

OMG! Again???!!!

What is it then that “inspires” the writer.? Actually, the same as any other worker.

Mortgage or rent, upkeep, insurance

Then there is:

Payments, ever-rising gas costs, repairs

Even more costly,

Clothes, education, Game Boys, Valium for parents, etc.

Yeah, surprise, surprise! Authors have the same expenses everyone else have…they just don’t get paid as regularly. And eventually, they want the end of their career to be like others.

RETIREMENT!

And there are a few authors who go for it all, including

Winning it all!

What inspires you? Today, this is mine.

Yum! Yum!

Yeah, that’ll do until my next mortgage payment is due.

Challenge

Did I mention I sold MAKE ME HOWL to The Wild Rose Press? I did! (Yay!) Now the real work begins.

One of the biggest challenges for me is to take something I’ve written and make it short enough to fit on the back of a book. Each time I get the notice that I need to send in the blurb for a book, I have the same reaction.

I throw myself face-first on the floor, where I kick, scream and cry, and beat the floor with my fists. “No! No! No! I can’t cut 90,000 words down to 150. I can’t! I couldn’t! I don’t even want to try.”

When I’m totally exhausted from crying, I hear that little voice shouting in my head, “Hey, you’re the one who wanted to sell this book. Now you gotta do the work.”

So I crawl back to my computer and get started.

Okay, it’s not really that dramatic (my husband would be trying to call my mama if it were) and I don’t usually acquiesce that quickly. 🙂 Finally though, after I fuss and stew, I hear that snarky voice and get to work.

The trouble is, I can’t tell the entire story in 150 words, and I probably don’t want to. Just enough to make someone want to buy my book. Enough, but not too much.

Easy, peasy. Right? (Uh, no.)

Writing the blurb is even harder if you’ve finished that book and written two or three more in the mean time. But it can be done.

I know there are probably people who can do this standing on one foot while they cook supper, feed a baby and roof the house, but I’m not one of them.

And there are other people who can probably go to their plot outline and use sentence 1A to combine with 3D and 5 and 7 and viola! Perfect blurb. I’m not one of those, either.

I have to get back inside my character’s head and hang out. I have to write and delete. Then I write and delete again, until struggling, I finally get something that’s not too bad. Next, I need to send it to someone else to read.

{BTW: If you don’t have a group of writerly friends who’ll give you an honest opinion, find some. They’re worth their weight in gold!}

I sent my blurb to the Smartest Women I know this week, and got a great suggestion from a sweet, smart young author. She asked if I could put it in my heroine’s voice. I gave it another shot, then sent it to the loop once more.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

After the change of another word or two, I had something. 🙂

See what you think–

When Chase Holliday’s gaze first met mine, something tingled on my end. He was hot. Dark blue eyes, a square jaw, hair that was just a little too long and this way of focusing that made me wonder if I should attack or run. And I never run.

Together we’d make a pair anyone would sit up and notice—at least that’s what I thought. Then I learned that he planned to wipe werewolves from the face of the planet. And since I was born with an active werewolf gene, well, let’s just say our twain could never meet.

Until a Blood Moon occurs while I’m in heat and all my hard earned control goes slamming out the window with me right behind it. That’s when I learn that, like wolves in nature, werewolves mate for life.

I’m in deep trouble.

Next thing was a tag line. Oh! My! Stars!!!

If the blurb was hard, the tag line was excruciating. I had no idea how to start. (If I wrote one before, I’ve forgotten.) I did a Google search for tag lines and tried to apply what I found to my book. Here’s what I sent. (I’m waiting to see what my editor thinks.)

She has life by the tail, a biting sense of humor and a killer sense of style. She’s a werewolf, and it’s time you knew.

 

Knocking It Off

Need some time off?

Having trouble kicking back and relaxing?

Can’t figure out how to keep your fingers from going with the story, even when you want to vacation?

For every writer who works hard and doesn’t know how to knock off, I’m here to help! And as an added bonus, I’m adding an excuse in case anyone asks why.

Before you let the writing bug get a foothold tomorrow morning–

  1. Check your email. Email has all kinds of places to go and things to do that can keep your mind from your work. Ads for shopping, email magazines, chats and things to do. If you let it, your email can keep you busy for hours. Excuse: Just like with snail mail, you have to know what’s going on in your world.
  2. Next thing to do is check out Facebook. Excuse: You have to stay in contact with your posse. No matter what you write, if you don’t have someone to read it, what good have you done? 😉
  3. Don’t forget about Pinterest. Pinterest has all kinds of bright ideas and recipes and things to do. Ways to decorate, gifts to buy, plans to make, pictures to take, nails to paint and on and on and on. Excuse:You have to have a life in addition to your writing.
  4. There are lots of other social media sites you can use to keep your mind off work. Instagram, blogs, loops and  . . . and . . . and . . . ! Use one, use all. Excuse: See #2.
  5. If all else fails, turn on the TV. Catch an old movie or two. They use up hours and hours. Excuse: Movies are research.
  6. Call someone. Anyone. If everyone you know is at work or asleep, try for a wrong number. I’ve had long and interesting conversations with people I didn’t know and didn’t mean to call. Excuse: You might make a new member for your posse.
  7. Housework. It might not be a ton of fun, but it can break that nasty writing habit. Excuse: A clean home is a healthy home.
  8. Run your errands. Excuse: They’re your responsiblity and your family can’t survive unless you get them done. Can’t do them later. Can’t let someone do them for you. (It works.)

So there you go. Eight easy ways to keep yourself from writing. And once you get started, there’s no end to the things you find to do besides write. I’ve found knitting, jewelry making, cross stitch, quilting, gardening, yard work, and never forget reading.

Just remember one thing–never put your writing first. If you do, you might finish that book and get started on the next.

😉

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?