Is ‘not knowing’ holding you back?

Karalee’s Post #88

http://wallpaperwonder.com/stars-wallpaper-download.htmlYesterday was one of those days when the heavens seemed lined up and my mind in the right space to absorb new concepts and philosophical musings into my life. I’m sure most of you have had wonderful days like this too and can still remember them years later.

What happened was that I was talking to a friend that coached me to stretch my beliefs. I’ve been avoiding making some decisions (letting go of some things I believe I shouldn’t) and fear of having no concrete idea what the ramification of those decisions will really be has been holding me back. And, I would gather, this is true for many people.

For sure it’s is a control issue and a place of safety knowing where “I am at.” In reality though, even the smartest person on earth doesn’t know for sure what the future will be. BUT what I am certain of is that not making decisions is slowing my personal growth. Which, by the way, includes writing a damn good story with a hugely memorable protagonist that absolutely doesn’t fit the mold as Helga talked about in her last post!

So my friend and I talked around this issue and what popped up for me is, simply, let myself be at peace with not knowing. Simple, right? It’s not an easy mindset for me, although when I get there, somehow it is freeing. Try it yourself and see how it feels thinking this way.

In actual fact, it is quite exciting! Let go and try things and see what happens. The mystery of not knowing and going forth and seeing what is or can be, is I imagine, some of the reasons that explorers, scientists, and people doing extreme stuff, do what they do.

I’m not saying that I need to be extreme, but letting go does put me in a different mindset.

Who knows why, but the mood at dinner last night was light and talkative too, even my eighteen year old son who is in second year at university (taking commerce and computers) joined in. Now the stars and the universe must have been lined up in a particularly good arrangement! :).

He made the statement that “no one knows how humans think; how we make our thoughts.”

Now this is absolutely the reason all families should eat around the dinner table with no electronic device distractions. This is social interaction at its best! My son’s girlfriend was with us too and we had a great discussion about what is intelligence, what makes us human, etc, etc.

We had lots of ideas and discussions, and in the end had to be at peace with not really knowing the answer. In retrospect when I think about it, not knowing in the first place is what opened the door for this discussion.

So I say again, be at peace with not knowing!

Yesterday was a memorable day for me and I believe that being in an open state of mind made it possible. As writers, being in this state is our sweet spot, where creativity flourishes.

Don’t you agree?

Happy writing!

 

Breaking the Mold

Helga’s Post # 93: We writers all have days when the creative wheels stop spinning and eventually come to a grinding halt. If we are lucky, this could last a day or two. But it could stretch to weeks, months, and beyond. Such is the writer’s bane. We deal with these annoying phenomena in different, and yes, creative ways. Most writers are quite adept in their quest to defeat the insufferable phase. Some of us start working out, or taking up running – age permitting – gardening or some such, and a few of us believe that inspiration lurks inside the fridge or cookie jar.

Speaking for myself, when I am stuck writing my next scene or chapter, or when my own words start to bore me, I close my computer and go in search for a cure. That could be the library, a coffee shop, or my favorite, the local dog park at the beach. Watching people who are owned by their dogs ranks high for rekindling my writer’s inspiration.

Coffee-Art-01A few days ago after my walk at the dog park, I was sitting outside Caffe Artigiano, a venue known by connoisseurs for serving the best coffee on the planet. I was sipping my artfully prepared latte on this glorious late summer morning, the air crisp, leafs turning from green to vibrant yellow and orange. I was thinking about my writing, watching people pass by, searching for a memorable face or figure.

It struck me that most people look rather uneventful. So very different from what TV makes us believe Mr. and Mrs. Average look like. Unlike their young, slim and handsome TV versions, most passers-by are over fifty, sixty, and many much older. Some walk with a slouch, almost all wear ‘comfortable’ shoes and have bad hair-days. With a few exceptions, they are generally not very ‘attractive’ in the traditional sense, or at least what we are made to think is the norm. The fact that I noticed people’s ‘uneventful’ appearance showed me how brainwashed we are to adopt a certain image of how people should look and what makes them attractive.

TV is not the only culprit, though. Think of the last two or three novels you’ve read. What image do you have of the hero or heroine? She might be in her mid-thirties, tall, beautiful hair, and she is a skilled communicator. Perhaps our hero is toned because he works out a lot, women are drawn to him, and of course he is expert in using his fists and a gun. They are also strong of character or become so as the story progresses.

I think of the characters in my own writing and admit that I too have fallen into the trap. Not with all mind you, but I endowed quite a few with these attributes. Boring! But isn’t that what readers expect and want?

I believe a lot of writers face this conundrum. It takes a lot of courage to create a hero or heroine in her fifties or sixties (or God forbid, seventies), of uneventful looks, short of height, in fact, an average person like your neighbor, a relative, or your best friend. Because we fear that’s not what readers want and they won’t buy the book. Is it worth a try to break out of the mold? For sure it will take more skill. It’s not lazy writing. Endowing characters with humor can go a long way, as can a great plot and really good prose.

I am intrigued and may take on the challenge. Just to be different. Because, ironically, creating characters that don’t fit the commercial mold are anything but average. In the end, everyone is unique and important.

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Surrey Writers’ Conference

Surrey International Writer’s Contest

surrey IWCAnyone going?

I’m still making up my mind. Last year, I had a lot of ups and downs, but the ultimate result was a complete failure to interest anyone in my book. Worse, some of the agents never even got back to me, which I find increasingly odd in an age where indie publishing is becoming (or has become) acceptable and profitable.

sean ranHowever, let’s take a look at this year. There’s a good social media presence, and some very accomplished people, which could be very interesting for us 5/5/5. There’s even a masterclass on owning your online space by Sean Cranbury. I like owning my space and Mr. Cranbury knows his stuff.

diana G

Diana never put her arms around me, but then I’m not a highlander

Diana Gabaldon will be back, as will Jack Whyte, and frankly, they’re both worth the price of admission, both great speakers, great story tellers. I have a secret crush on Diana so whenever I get near her I go back in time and become 9 years old, again, blushing and mumbling and looking at my feet. I think I said to her last year, as I stood beside her in the food line up, “Errr, uhm, book, you, that thing, you know, ack, character, highlander, urm, erp, ah, oh look there’s a muffin.”

There’s a pretty good selection, as always, of workshops, and one of my favourites, Hallie Ephron is giving a keynote speech. She written one of my writing bibles, “Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel: How to Knock ‘Em Dead with Style,” and she’s amazingly approachable.

Same with Don Maass. I often learn more in one of his two hour workshops, than I could learn in a year at college. He’s also written one of my other bibles, “Writing the Breakout Novel,” and while I haven’t written one yet, there’s still good advice in there. Totally good advice.

I guess it’s up to every individual (and their finances) to determine if this year is worth attending.

IMG_1557

That’s me on the left

For me, even being a card-carrying introvert, I have fun talking to the people there. When I’m not sweating like a used car salesmen at a tax audit, I can actually have some fun, talking craft or experiences or even learning a thing or two from the person sitting beside me.

If the other writers decide to go, then I’ll probably tag along for sure. I mean, I’m the only guy in the 5/5/5 so I’m sort of like their pet. Like a bulldog or pet pot-bellied pig.

But everyone, please at least check out the web page. Check out the writers, agents, editors and gurus who attend.

And maybe I’ll see a few of you there.

 

Research is the love of learning

Karalee’s Post #87

For me, researching a topic  often pulls me in so many interesting directions that it can be difficult to refocus on the details that really matter. I don’t want to get lost in the milieu of research, rather I need just enough information and details to enrich my story to keep it exciting, or to convince readers that my details and characters are authentic, or to keep my plot line progressing at the proper pace.

Building stories and the world that one’s characters live in is a fun challenge whether it takes place on Earth or on some made-up planet or anywhere else for that matter. Today the internet is the go-to place to search for anything imaginable. It’s a magical place that can entice a person to explore forever and not stop when you’ve found what you were looking for because “everything” is interesting. This can be fun, but not always. It can be a time sucker and prevent real progress, and one can get lost in places never intended to go to in the first place, like Hansel and Gretel.

Focusing on the task in hand can seem almost impossible.

photo by Joanne SmithLast Friday my friend Joanne and I were running  around Burnaby Lake. The sun had caught this spider web, bringing into focus what is often nearly invisible, and we couldn’t help but stop and admire it. Call me crazy, but it made me think of story building and how this spider had to both start and finish somewhere. Not only that, but the purpose of the web itself is to catch food for survival.

Now unless you as a writer have given up your day job and risked everything in order to make a living at writing, the purpose of your story as a writer isn’t literally for survival.

We write because we love to tell stories and build our story worlds and have them make a difference in our reader’s lives, whether for sheer entertainment or for teachable moments when we view our worlds in unique ways.

Research can provide our stories with anything from the foundation up, but it must all be built from the author’s story ideas and  knowledge of this craft called writing. I’m sure spiders learn along the way too and build better webs with practice.

I read this great blog post about research by Tosca Lee on the blog The Kill Zone. Check it out as I feel her method not only makes sense, it is also a good use of one’s time and energy.  Now that’s worth researching.

Happy writing!

Thoughts on my 100-post milestone

toastSilk’s Post #100 — This is the 100th time I’ve sat down to write a post for this blog. Who knew it would ever go this far or last this long? I certainly didn’t.

I wrote my first post – “The getting started brainfreeze” – 9 days short of two years ago, on September 17, 2012. While there are, no doubt, still some ice crystals lurking in my gray matter, I’d have to say we’ve all come a long way since then.

We began the 5writers5novels5months blog to create interest in our crazy challenge to each write a novel in five months. We needed the encouragement – a wee cheering section – and I guess we also thought that publicly declaring our intentions would keep the pressure on us to follow through. Also, as “emerging” writers we really needed to learn how to blog.

But those 5 months have come and gone, and here we still are.

For the most part, we accomplished our original objectives (even if not all five novels were finished on deadline), but along the way we also found other rewards to blogging. Like building our community of more than 1,600 followers, getting comments and encouragement from writing friends we’ve never met in person, sharing experiences and advice with people who face the same challenges we do, and finding other great writing blogs to follow.

Of course, some of the 5writers enjoy blogging more than others, and it’s fair to say that every one of us has, at some point, groaned audibly when looking at the calendar and realizing it was our day to post … right in the middle of a flight somewhere, or a real estate deal, or a household move, or a sailing adventure, or a kids’ hockey practice, or any number of other activities.

A common concern is that writing the blog takes time away from writing our books. It’s true that there’s only so much time available. Not only do we all lead busy lives, but each of us has struggled to make the time and sustain the drive to finish our novels, not just to first draft, but all the way through rewrites to a polished version. Never mind the scarier step of seriously marketing ourselves to become published authors. Would the time “lost” to blogging otherwise really be spent on novel-writing? That’s a great question I have no sure answer for (though my inner skeptic just rolled her eyes).

And still, we’ve persisted with the blog.

But we all feel the need to create a new chapter in our 5writers story.

In three weeks, the five of us will meet over a couple of days to discuss the launch of a new challenge. I’ll take a marketing note from the masters of the modern launch, Apple … “wish we could say more”. But it’s fair to expect our next chapter as a writers group to re-invigorate and shape the direction of this blog.

In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate my 100th post tonight with the person who’s had to put up with my whining and bitching … put up with the many times I’ve dragged myself away from the blog after finally clicking “publish” and staggered off to bed at 3:00 am (usually waking him) … and put up with my frustration that after more than two years of fitful effort, and a lot of talk, I still don’t have one novel really ready to pitch or publish. That, of course, would be my dear husband.

Thanks to him. Thanks to my cherished 5writer friends. And thanks to all of you who take the time to read our scribbles online.

I toast you in 15 languages …

Cheers!
Skal!
Kippis!
Salud!
Okole maluna!
Cin cin!
Budmo!
Kampai!
Prosit!
Mabuhay!
Slainte!
A votre santé!
Gan bei!
L’chaim!
Oogy wawa!

 

 

Are fiction characters real?

Karalee’s Post #86

Recently I watched the Ted Talk by children’s author Mac Barnett published on June 19, 2014 called ‘How kids can teach adults to read.’ He explores the relationship between fiction and reality and as a child he loved the quote by Picasso.

picasso quote

 

I find the quote amusing as fiction writers are in effect, trying to convince our readers of the “truthfulness of our lies (made-up stories).”

 

Mac Barnett drew the Venn diagram below and explained that for him the overlap between truth and lies is what he calls the art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have often chuckled at the thought of “us writers” creating characters and we talk about them as though they are real people.

Truthfully, in my writer’s imagination my characters are real and have a real family and a life history. Put to paper, the characters can then come alive in every reader’s mind. That’s the magic of storytelling. And when any author’s book is made into a movie their characters can become even more “real” through the actors.

I must be in a bit of a philosophical or maybe a scientific mindset at the moment, but really, what is reality? Are our thoughts “real?” In the physical scientific sense how can we even measure a thought?  And if we agree that thoughts are real, then is everything we think of also real?

Now there’s a thought!

Why do any of us think about famous characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Jane Austin, Jack Reacher, etc. as “real?” Or even fantasy characters such as Peter Pan or Whinnie the Pooh, even though we know they aren’t?

It really is all in our heads.

Then Mac Barnett said it in plain words and brought home to me yet again what everyone in our writing group has learned and talked about.

Mac Barnett said, “The characters aren’t real, but we have real feelings about them.”

That’s what we as writers are striving to achieve.

That’s what Queen Scheherazade of 1001 Nights (a.k.a. The Arabian Nights) that Helga talked about in her last post achieved in her storytelling to her husband, the Persian King Shahryar each and every night for almost three years. It literally saved her life.

And that’s what all those debut authors did that made the bestseller’s list that Silk referred to this week.

All these storytellers made their listeners or readers have real feelings about their fictional characters.

Understanding that and then achieving it is the real magic in fiction writing, don’t you think?

Happy writing!

 

 

Shocking revelations about debut novels

holy-cow

Silk’s Post #99 — Maybe “shocking” is a bit strong, or maybe I’m just easily shocked. Or maybe it’s just a cheap trick of a headline.

But now that you’re here, let’s talk about the somewhat depressing truth that we unpublished, unknown writers live with every day: the top reason a person buys a particular novel is because it was written by an author the purchaser has already read. This is a simple fact of fan behaviour.

This means that if you, the unpublished author with the unfinished book in progress, actually make it to “The End” (most don’t), and then manage to get through several rewrites that succeed in improving your novel to a level that is truly ready to pitch (again, you’d be in the minority of unpublished writers), and then actually get an agent (unlike most), and then that agent manages to sell it to a traditional publisher (good luck on that one, too), and one fine day you actually see your debut novel on the retail bookshelf … that is where the most unlikely miracle of all has to happen for your book to break into the bestseller list.

Readers have to risk $10 or $20 of hard-earned discretionary cash on a book by someone they’ve never heard of in hopes they might like it – rather than pick up the latest novel by one of their favourite authors, which they have every expectation of enjoying.

So is your debut novel doomed?

The shocking answer is: absolutely not.

I started thinking about it while reading my book club’s selection for September, The Rosie Project, a charming first novel by Aussie writer Graeme Simsion (2013, HarperCollins). Above the title on the cover were the words “The #1 International Bestseller”. Lucky bloke, that Simsion, I thought. One in a billion.

But then I thought back to some of our other book club choices over the past couple of years. Hmmm. Weren’t there some other debut novels on our list? Yes, there were:

  • The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
  • The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
  • The Best Laid Plans, by Terry Fallis
  • The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson
  • The Outlander, by Gil Adamson
  • A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, by Marina Lewycka

In fact, of the 27 novels my club has read together, eight of them were debut efforts – nearly 30 percent. This is a much higher percentage than the industry average of first novel deals as a proportion of all fiction deals signed in a given year, which Publishers Marketplace apparently shows to be about 10 percent. This may mean that my little book club is especially adventurous when it comes to book-buying, or it may mean that popular fiction genres (mystery, romance, sci fi and the like), which typically don’t get on book club lists, are more dominated by “name brand” authors.

But who cares? It still adds up to hope for unpublished authors.

Shocking Revelation #1 is that something like 10 percent of fiction deals are for first novels, according to my (admittedly not exhaustive) research. (That does sound high, but to hear some doomsayers talk, any measurable percentage of debut deals would be shocking.)

Shocking Revelation #2 is that a healthy number of these win prestigious awards and become top sellers – and that’s just in print. Clearly, the indie market is where a growing percentage of debut novels get published today. (An interesting hybrid story is that of Terry Fallis, who, after many rejections of The Best Laid Plans, went ahead and self-published with stunning success, before being picked up by a traditional publisher after he had proven his marketability).

Shocking Revelation #3, for me anyway, is how many bestselling and prizewinning novels over the years have been first novels – books that made their authors so famous that we don’t think of their first titles as debut efforts anymore. Many are “household name” books, so legendary they seem to have always been there, like the mountains or the sea.

The ultimate debut novel Cinderella story, as most writers are probably tired of hearing, is of course the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. But there are many more eye popping examples. Here is a list, culled from several websites, of some famous first novels:

  • Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
  • The Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison (his only novel)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (her only novel)
  • White Oleander, by Janet Fitch
  • This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, by Fanny Flagg
  • Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
  • Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
  • Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon
  • The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Dr. Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak
  • The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy
  • The Tiger’s Wife, by Tea Obreht
  • The Lovely Bones, by Anna Sebold
  • Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell
  • The Notebook, by Nicolas Sparks
  • The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Well
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
  • The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Dafoe
  • The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, by Kim Edwards
  • Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
  • Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer (yes, that Twilight)
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenberger
  • The Descendents, by Kaui Hart Hemmings
  • Deja Dead, by Kathy Reichs
  • The Kite Runner, by Khalid Hosseini

What do all these first novels have in common, besides being publishing miracles?

They’re very, very good; they have the “it” factor. (Yes, you can argue that, but success speaks for itself.)

What do all these writers have in common, besides being both good and lucky?

They persisted. (No, you can’t argue at all with that.)

Just think of all the fantastic novels that have been written over the centuries that you’ve never heard of – because they simply stayed in some aspiring writer’s bottom drawer and never were published, or maybe even finished.

Woody Allen once famously declared that “80 percent of life is just showing up”. He was talking to us. To writers. Here’s what he said about what he said:

“I made the statement years ago which is often quoted that 80 percent of life is showing up. People used to always say to me that they wanted to write a play, they wanted to write a movie, they wanted to write a novel, and the couple of people that did it were 80 percent of the way to having something happen. All the other people struck out … they couldn’t do it. That’s why they don’t accomplish a thing, they don’t do the thing. So once you do it, if you actually write your film script or write your novel, you are more than half way towards something good happening. So that was, I’d say, my biggest life lesson that has worked. All others have failed me.”

In a pursuit that’s freighted with so much angst and complexity, isn’t it refreshing to hear advice that’s so simple, and so obvious?

Debut novels get to be bestsellers because they’re great in some way. So make yours great.

Even more fundamentally, they succeed because the writer persists and gets the job done. So keep writing.

Shocking Revelation #4 is that, against all the considerable odds that aspiring writers are constantly lectured about, debut novels do get published and become bestsellers. Miracles do happen, so believe in yourself.

And get to work.

A story-teller like no other

101 days. That’s how long our house has been on the market by now. It feels more like 1001 nights!

Ferdinand_Keller_-_Scheherazade_und_Sultan_Schariar_(1880)

Ferdinand Keller – Scheherazade and Sultan Schariar (1880)

As I was thinking of a topic for today’s post, trying to come up with something moderately meaningful and entertaining, I thought about Queen Scheherazade of 1001 Nights (a.k.a. The Arabian Nights). Here I am struggling to come up with one post per week, while this clever woman told a new story to her husband, the Persian King Shahryar each and every night for almost three years. Though she certainly had a more pressing motive than most other writers, she must be the ultimate storyteller of all times. Hands down.

There are many different accounts of how she did it, how she managed to keep her husband pining for yet another story. Writers, pay attention. What she achieved is any writer’s dream! How do we keep readers turning the pages of our novel, just like Scheherazade concocted stories that kept her alive another day and yet another, and so forth.

The story, dating to the early 9th century, goes that every day the King would marry a new virgin, and after doing so would despatch the previous day’s wife to be killed. This was done in anger, having found out that his first wife was unfaithful to him. He reasoned that all women are the same. By the time he was introduced to Scheherazade, his high-ranking political advisor’s daughter, he had killed 1,000 such women. Eventually the vizier, whose duty was to provide them, could not find any more virgins.

Against her father’s wishes, Scheherazade volunteered to spend one night with the king. Once in the king’s chambers, Scheherazade asked if she might tell him a story during the long night. The king lay awake and listened with awe as Scheherazade told her first story. The night passed by, and Scheherazade stopped in the middle of the story. The king asked her to finish, but Scheherazade said there was no time, as dawn was breaking. So, the King spared her life for one day to finish the story the next night. So the next night, Scheherazade finished the story and then began a second, even more exciting tale which she again stopped halfway through at dawn. So the king again spared her life for one day to finish the second story.

And so the King kept Scheherazade alive day by day, as he eagerly anticipated the finishing of the previous night’s story. At the end of 1,001 nights, and 1,000 stories, Scheherazade told the king that she had no more tales to tell him. During these 1,001 nights, the king had fallen in love with Scheherazade, and so he spared her life, and made her his queen.

I love this, because it’s a story within a story. A tall tale, you might call it. But think about some of the wonderful stories that Scheherazade thought up, night after night. Sinbad the Sailor, Aladdin, Ali Baba, Old Man of the Sea, The Fisherman and the Jinni, The Thief of Bagdad, and The Three Apples.

This last story, The Three Apples has in fact been described as a “whodunit” murder mystery with multiple plot twists. However, although the story has detection fiction elements it lacks a detective, in that the person charged with investigating the murder, does nothing to solve the crime, but in both cases sits at home awaiting his fate. Both times he is saved from execution by a chance revelation.

Or take The Thief of Bagdad. It tells the story of a thief who falls in love with the daughter

The Thief of Bagdad - N.H. Wilton 1924

The Thief of Bagdad – N.H. Wilton 1924

of the Caliph of Bagdad. Hugely popular, the story was made into an American swashbuckler film in 1924 and considered one of the most expensive films of the 1920s. Not a bad record for a woman who made up the story on a whim ten centuries earlier.

What’s so interesting about these stories for us writers is their structure. The Three Apples is a first level story told by Scheherazade, and contains one second level story, the Tale of Núr al-Dín Alí and his Son. It occurs early in the Arabian Nights narrative, being started during night 19, after the Tale of Portress. The Tale of Núr al-Dín Alí and his Son starts during night 20, and the cycle ends during night 25, when Scheherazade starts the Tale of the Hunchback.

It’s the layers of the stories that make them so effective, i.e. saving Scheherazade from literally losing her head. She tells just enough of the story to keep the King’s interest, promising to continue the next day. She then adds layers to the plot, introducing new characters, adding more complexities as she goes. (Footnote: What does that say about the need for detailed outlining? Looks like our clever storyteller was a true pantser).

I love those stories and I am starting to read them again, after many, many years. They are magical in the purest sense, and they show me some interesting things about pacing, plotlines, and a lot more. Whether fact or fiction, 1001 Nights has much to teach writers about the art of storytelling.

Enjoy what’s left of the Labour Day weekend.

Writing space

Joe’s Post #109 — I’m in the process of moving and have the opportunity to set-up a new writing space. In the next few hours, I’ll be dismantling my desk, packing up my computer and filing my files. I’m not the only one of the 5/5/5 to be moving. 3 of 5 of us decided to add this to our complex lives.

deskBut for some reason, the whole idea of setting up a new space is very exciting. Yes, I’m that lame. I get excited by things like new books by my favourite authors, a lovely place to sit and read, and (apparently) a new writing room.

So what will I do to make the new space awesome.

Here’s Joe’s top 5 things he needs in a writing room.

  • I need a table to create maps, to colour them and to spread them out. I can also use this table for my complex (some say insane) outlines.
  • my publicationI need wall space to hang maps, pictures of the subject I’m writing about and a place for my one small publication. I have it framed. It reminds me that I can do it (with a bit of luck and some damn fine writing.)
  • I need a lot of bookshelves for books. I have a small space reserved for me, but a huge space set up for the likes of Lee Child, Mr King, GRR Martin and Janet Evanovich. Oh, and a few shelves of non-fiction books. Maybe a little more than a few shelves.
  • I will need a door to close when I have to do serious writing. I can write a blog when I’m surrounded by family (albeit with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors), but to get into my head, really get in there and play around, I need no distractions.
  • I need a computer that will not crash when I have 40 odd windows open. Some will be chapters, some will be research, some will even be emails or articles I’ve read, but I love the instant access of this modern age and dammit, I’m going to take full advantage of it.

So, in 2 days, my new life begins. Give me a week to get that room set up the way I want.

Then let’s see what happens.

*****

What would you need in your writing space?

Six reasons why writing isn’t a chore

Karalee’s Post #85

The word chore is defined as a small or odd job; the everyday work around a house or farm; or a hard or unpleasant task.

 

 

To me, housework falls into the chore category.

And as the years go by, cooking is becoming more of a chore too.

 

 

 

But not writing. Why?

  1. First off, writing is fun. I can safely say, a heck of a lot more fun than chores.
  2. Making up stories is pretty cool. What’s in my head can be completely off-the-wall, absurd, neurotic, scary, criminal, embarrassing, nonsensical, hilarious or anything in-between. That’s hugely entertaining to me and selfishly all mine. Chores definitely don’t fit in this category.
  3. I choose what to put down onto paper and that is satisfying in itself. Chores can be satisfying but are usually on the “have to do” list.
  4. Writing is not a small job, albeit it can be an odd job. Chores are often a collection of smaller jobs that can take up hours of time, but beyond a doubt, to complete a novel is a huge job and often take months or years.
  5. Although writing is difficult, it is not an unpleasant task to me.
  6. The process of writing – having story ideas, observing the world, asking “what if,” organizing story lines, and creating the story itself are pleasant activities and where my mind goes even while doing my chores, and is where I’d rather be.

The next time I feel frustrated at not making progress in my story or feeling stuck for whatever reason, I can put the moment in perspective and be grateful I’m writing and not doing chores.

How about you?

Happy writing!