Sunday, October 26, 2014

Same old, same old...Plot

Here's another blog entry that I relocated from my previous blog:

This morning while reading Jeanne Cavelos' essay, "Innovation in Horror," in the HWA Handbook, ON WRITING HORROR, I was once more moved to record my thoughts in this blog.

I recently read in ON WRITING by Stephen King, that he prefers not to plot. Thanks to his wise words I gave up the tedious and stifling task of attempting to plot my current work and just started doing what I love, writing through the unencumbered guidance of my characters.

While reading Jeanne Cavelos essay, I felt inclined to share another insight, "be innovative as opposed to imitative."

So here I am writing a novel that is my own without being imitative, this is true, yet I feel compelled to take this inspiration up a notch. Why should this story follow the same old humdrum plot lines of evil escapes, guilt-consumed man enters picture, evil runs amok, man encounters and overcomes evil, evil vanquished with potential return?

As I returned to my writing, I felt a sudden freedom to think outside the box. No, I will not alter the beginning of my current work-in-progress, it's not necessary. Yet, I am sure Ms. Cavelos's words will influence my reaction to my characters as they continue to lead me down their story's path.

Isn't that the beauty of creating? feel inspiration's wind in your hair as you explore unknown territory, nothing to hold you back? For me, it's great to know that I am free to follow my own will and do my own thing irregardless of whether it's new or an innovative take on something old.

As always, thanks for reading! I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Monday, October 13, 2014

When Writing.... A Good Rule of Thumb

When writing a story, you are your own best immediate gauge of how good it is. Does it excite you, hold your interest and keep you on edge? Are you emotionally vested, even to the point of potential embarrassment?

If not, you need to either make significant changes or start over. If you don't feel emotionally tied to your own story, your readers won't either.

Here is one of my favorite quotes, one I keep on the wall of my office...and what I try to live by when writing my stories...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Off my Shelf - Brian Keene's CASTAWAYS

Some books immediately grab you and won't let go until you've read the last page. Brian Keene's CASTAWAYS is one such book.

I started reading it yesterday morning while waiting for my husband during his dentist appointment and, I kid you not, I finished the book in one day. (Not a norm for me.) According to Brian Keene's own words, he is a fan of the reality-TV show Survivor and it shows in the writing of this book.

On a personal note, I can't tell you how many times I've wondered while watching Survivor, "What if the location is actually haunted or worse?" Apparently, Mr. Keene had the same thought.

Brian Keene is an amazing writer, his descriptions taunt, his characters real and the pacing of his story so perfect there's no time for breaks. This book literally went with me everywhere yesterday and apparently I raved about it so much that my husband (not a horror enthusiast) started reading it last night.

CASTAWAYS by Brian Keene, definitely a must read for dark-fiction lovers.

A definite 5 stars!!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Getting to Know Your Characters

Another tidbit from a couple years ago that has changed my writing life forever....

In between the required reading in ON WRITING HORROR, I've been studying the various essays by the gifted writers enclosed within its pages. The latest nugget of wisdom came from Tina Jens titled "Such Horrible People." Ms. Jens describes characterization in such a creative and entertaining way that not only have I soaked up her insightful words, but I do believe they have changed the way I write forever.

Within her essay, Tina Jens describes getting to know your characters as well as you would your high school buddies. Their ins, their outs, their quirks, fears, flaws and successes. What makes them tick? Getting to know your characters so well they are sitting there beside you writing your story for you. Your job as a writer is merely a stenographer, they are in control. After all it's their story, right?

Yes, I've read lots of articles on developing characters but never in such a clear, open manner where it is not only practical, but brings the knowledge down from my gray matter to application.Thank you, Tina Jens, for such an intelligent and entertaining essay.

So to put into practice this new-to-me character-creation process, I've interviewed one of my main characters for my current work-in-progress. As it turns out she is nothing like the puppet I created. I got her name, hair color, age and even personality totally wrong. The character that arose from this interview is stronger, more dynamic and a complete improvement over what the puppet-master me had created.

Rather than feeling the pressure of creating this novel purely out of my own tedious, task-oriented agenda, I am excited to see what she and the other main characters will show me as their story unfolds. I have more interviews today. One I am particularly nervous about, my villain. He's a dark, angry creature whose fiery home was recently disturbed. Wish me luck....I'll keep you posted.

Thank you, Tina Jens and the Horror Writers Association...and to you, thanks for reading!

To All of You Who Are Motherly!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are motherly! Mother's Day has always been an enigma to me and every year I am puzzled as to...