Detouring around the road block

I haven’t blogged in a little while, actually haven’t written anything in a few months because I got detoured. The detour took me off to crafting and redoing things around my house, but my biggest road block came at the point in my current WIP where I had to write a scene that caused major pain and confusion for my heroine. I couldn’t decide which direction to go next and she wasn’t offering me any signs to point me in the right directions. In fact, she just kind of bottles up everything that was happening and left me sitting with my fingers on the keypad in dismay! Oh, how I hate it when they’re running around in my head begging for their story to be told and then when I hit a hard spot in their life they expect me to figure it out! The film strip started to melt before my eyes as I , too, got a little lost.

It’s taken the past few months of mulling over possible paths to finally realize it was there all along, I just had to pry it out and put some of me, my feelings, in the film to get the scene rolling again. it’s a tough conflict for her to surpass and since I’ve never experienced it, myself, I had to internalize some of the damage I had done to understand how it might come out. I’m not sure I’m heading in the right direction yet, I went left and she may well decide I should have gone straight ahead, but it’s finally going back down a road to some where.

Writing scenes that have no real place in your life can become overwhelming at times as you try to understand all the ways it impacts someone’s life and their story but you have to walk that dark, unknown, scary road to grow and explore the possibilities!

Emotional writing

     Oh how our emotions can be transported into our writing. Any emotion you have can easily be used to give your love scene more impact, depression can be channeled into you hero/heroine in a desperate point of life, laughter can easily become a playful look back at someone’s childhood, and drama can become an amazing fight scene.

    I find when I’m writing my emotions at the time definitely affect my work so I try to head to the computer if I’m in a certain state and I have an important scene to figure out. I can draw on these emotions and infuse how I’m feeling into that scene and if you’re lucky, it can be a great way to release frustrations!

    So much of our lives is filled with these moments that sharing it can only improve your work. I’m not saying all the time, because most times you just want to be, “in character” when you’re writing but those tough to write scenes can easily become a powerful, poignant, scene with an extra emotion. Your love of life will come through the scene or your anger over a fight will heighten the argument between your characters.

     I find it’s the whole ‘being in the mood’ issue that allows me to add a little extra at times when I’m struggling to find the right way to impart a feeling. It’s that sense of anger you want to convey, that sense of truly being touched by someone you want your reader to feel or that wonderful euphoria after making love you never could really figure out how to put into words.

     Use the same emotions in your descriptions since your five sense can easily distinguish smell, taste, sight, sound and feeling. We have those places we visit that make us feel warm when it’s 50 degrees, those living rooms where we know right away we are comfortable and welcomed there and those homes where we walk in the door and are immediately afraid to touch a thing, much less sit on the furniture. These are great ways to set the stage for how a character has been raised or how your protagonist lives their life! A comforting person would have a warm, comfy home while the protagonist would most likely have a dark, foreboding abode. It helps the reader form opinions not always easily conveyed with dialogue.

     Tap into those emotions next you write or head to the computer next you overwhelmed by an emotion and see what comes out!

Preparation

     Funny how we get wind of a possible storm and some us prepare ahead of time. I’m on of those of people. Food was bought mid week, bottles were filled with water the same day, and the clean up of outdoor furniture for winter was finished before Friday. Now it’s just a wait and see game. But, isn’t being ready part of our daily lives? It excites us, gets our heart pumping and our blood coursing through our veins with a bring it on attitude! I’ve got this!!

     You spend most of your days getting ready for work, dinner, plans for the evening and so many other mundane things. As a writer this becomes part of you daily routine when it comes your characters, settings and time periods. I have a closet filled with containers of books: history books, clothing books and how to write books just as a beginning. Reading needs to become part of a daily routine so you can live what you’re writing. You need to feel like your in the 13C Scotland if that’s your time period. You should feel at home, speak the language or dialect, adore the clothes, and in some way, wish you could have actually been there!

     I think if you feel a connection or kinship with what you’re writing you infuse your work with feelings. A wish, if you will, of actually living that life for just a moment in time. Your preparation is huge part of feeling your work. Researching you subject, watching movies or shows concerning a time period or theme, and infusing some of it into your life helps you feel closer to what your writing. My office is filled with castles, swords, plaids and odds and ends that, for me, make me feel closer to Scotland. It’s my muse when I’m stuck on a page my head can’t figure it out. I look around the room and think about the time period and how the castle may have felt in winter, or how heavy carrying that sword would have been after traveling for hours. Could my heroine have really felt the way she did wearing that heavy plaid or encumbered by so many clothes? What would that food smell like cooking on an open fire instead of the oven and how would the scents smell as your feet shuffled through the fresh rushes on the floors.

    Its those preparations you take everyday to keep your life on track that will add a little reality to work. The knowledge that your ready is a viable, powerful feeling that infuses your life with confidence.

Author Pages

   I’m slowly learning to navigate promoting a book you wrote, edited and published yourself. It is, I’ve found, a learning process unto itself. The avenues open to writers are vast but thus far Amazon has been the easiest to learn, for me anyway.

     I’ve started a website throw Weebly and have begun loading some things on there, but I have a lot to learn about HTML and file transfers before I can produce a fairly educated page. But, it’s all part of this process.

    While many days you can my nose buried in a book about Scottish history, mediaeval clothing or food, or just brushing up on slang you can now also find my buried in webpages that try to explain to the novice, me, how to make a good webpage. Oh, what we try to understand and learn for our crafts.

    On the upside though, I now have 122 pages written of Where My Heart Lies and my heroine, Rhiannon, is finally coming to realize there aren’t many options concerning her father’s life! A little teaser, if you will, about what she facing and how her feelings will come into play when the hero, Ian, finally concedes to the only option. And that option will, in many ways, bring closure to this Scottish Historical Romance.

HAHA sorry can’t give more a way than that!

Harvest time

   It’ that wonderful time of year when people are harvesting the last of their crops or the brilliant orange pumpkins that scream Fall in our minds. But, this is also a good time of year to look back on your work and see what progress you’ve made. I don’t care if you’re a new writer or a seasoned writer you still learned something this year.

    For me this year has been about seeing my first book, which I know needed some work, up for sale and getting feedback on it. It some how makes my progress a little more viable, real to the touch because I have work to measure my new book by. I can see the improvements, feel the difference in my characters and see how my scenes flow. I was excited about the first book, probably too much so in hindsight, but it’s out there and now I can only strive to write better.

     As I write this, and look back over the past year, I have solid proof that my work has improved, I’ve grown as a person hence as a writer!! I’m sharing my work with a few people who are giving me honest feedback, thoughts and improvements I can completely mold into this book and produce something better the first book. A goal we should all strive to do, no matter the arena we work in. The object of a career is always to grow, mature and move forward. My reason for looking back and taking note of what I’ve learned is how best to place these things into my characters lives, their scenes and the descriptions that I hope will draw readers into a world of make believe, forget their worlds as they become engrossed in mine and, in the end, close the book with a feeling of satisfaction. I want my work to be worth their time!!!

Taking a break

     Sometimes you put your work on the back burner, not always by choice, but out of necessity. It’s not writer’s block I’m dealing with, it’s life in general and all that it encompasses. Too many things happening, too much that requires my attention, and too many ‘I want to do’s’ that converge in the warm months of the year.

     Time has a way of forcing us into the odd and end things we can only do when it’s warm. Yes, I want to be out on the motorcycle all weekend, spend the weekend mornings floating in the pool without a care in the world and the weeds, well they call my name every day but I’ve learned to ignore them more and more. The important thing is having fun, relaxing and creating new memories over these months, not pulling crap out of the garden every day!! Yet someone has to do it at some point. Weed Begone here I come!!

     Should I feel guilty for leaving my characters in limbo for a few months? NO! They survive in my head and as time allows I will write a paragraph or even a page when an idea strikes me. They still yank my cord at in opportune times to remind me their dance is in a holding pattern and they are ready for the next act. I, now, have pages of thoughts or scenes, if you will, filled with starting points to continue on with. Snippets of scenes that will unfold into pages of ups and downs for them to contend with through out my book.

     But, the breaks offer a much needed respite from plotting scenes ever day, digging up facts to use and editing pages that you thought were perfect when you wrote them! Ah, yes the joys of going back and thinking, “What the hell was I trying accomplish here?”.

     The breaks add another dimension to your work if you sit back, recall your down time,  how you used it and most importantly reflect on the feelings you shared with people during those moments. You can draw on the love, the disappointment, the joy of a new experience or friend, and just the shear joy of living life. After all your characters life lives through your experience, no one else’s, so imbue all your experiences into their life so a reader will feel what the characters feel, sense and live their life about!

What we left behind

I spent the last two days going through new insurance options, including life insurance, at the new job. Besides the brain numbing choices of how much it will cost, who is in network and the mounds of paperwork just to say “yes I want it”, it always raises questions.

As a writer I wonder what I will leave behind with my work. Every thing we write is in some way a direct reflection of how we feel, what we think or, I hope, what we dare to dream about. Do we impart this in our work enough that generations of family born after we’ve long left this realm will have an inkling of who we were and how the world shaped us?

Some books, or stories, are timeless and the message they impart is completely tangible to any generation, but as an historical romance writer I share my thoughts, ideals, and dreams about romance with a spattering of history thrown in. No real big ahha moments in there, just, what I hope are moments for people to escape into a land I created and enjoy their time there.

I guess the goal, for me, is to create a piece of work that will leave a lasting impression about a dream world I created for other people to live in for a short time. But, I think for any writer of any genre we have to just aim for our best work and hope that if someone picks up our book in a hundred years they can view it as a testament to the time the author lived and know those bits of paper with the fancy covers are inherit thoughts that once feed the imagination of someone so devoted to their work they took the time to leave it behind for someone else.