Monday, March 27, 2006

Making Major Changes

I haven't been writing this past month at all, except, I write every single day. Many years ago, I started writing fanfic. I wrote fanfic every single day. I was very happy, because it was just me and whatever small audience I could find. Sure, sometimes if I wrote slow, or failed to update in a timely fashion, somebody would bitch at me. I would then say, "I'm sorry. I'll refund all the money you've sent me. Oh wait...."

Because I didn't get paid. I did it for the love of writing.

So I haven't been writing anything in the past month, except something that very few people will see. Something that I'm doing purely for the fun of it. Something I'm doing for me. I feel very guilty when I'm not having a lot of fun.

Don't get my wrong. I have fun writing my novels. But you really do have to take a good number of things into consideration. Who is your audience? What do they expect to see? What publisher are you targetting? What do THEY expect to see? What are the conventions you must include? What are the conventions you can ignore? These sort of questions can affect everything from word choice ("cock" vs an euphamism like "manhood") to character development to the freaking title! In fact, I have a book placed with a publisher right now, and the editor emailed and told me that the title must be changed.

Unfortunately for me, she didn't offer any suggestions. I hate thinking of titles.

What I am working on now is a purely collaborative affair. I must drive my writing partners crazy. I don't write with an outline in mind. I am not a plotter. My novels are character-driven, and I'm not sure I'd know a real plot if it slapped me in the face. It is a learning experience, to say the least. It's especially nice when one of my partners asks me what I want to do in the next section and allI can say is, "I don't know." Because I don't know. I can't see into the future in my own life, I sure as hell can't see into the future in my characters' lives! That always brings up an interesting discussion. Well, it used to be interesting. Now it's been beaten to death on every single writers' board and forum on the Internet. To plan or not to plan, that is the question. I'm going to tell you the answer now, in case you're wondering, having been on both sides of the fence--it doesn't matter. Figure out what works for you and run with it, and if anybody tell you you're doing it wrong, tell them they can jump in the lake.

Despite my current vacation from professional writing, things have been going well for me this year. I was a finalist in the Amber Quill Heat Wave Contest with my story The Streets of Florence. I actually wrote about 80% of it while in Florence, and for me the best part is all the details I managed to include. Re-reading it was like going back there for a few minutes. I'm surprised it won, because I always thought it just wasn't. quite. right. But hey, what do I know? Amber Quill Press also requested the full of a different novel, a western called Dead Man's Corner.

I was also a runner-up in Harlequin's Everlasting/Epic contest with my novel Engaging Carol. They requested to see the full. I sent it in a little over a month ago and now we just wait.

Well, I think that was appropriately long and rambling. I have a few recommendations, though. If you enjoy listening to audio books, pick up Augusten Burrough's Running with Scissors and Dry. He reads them himself and he's brilliant. Even if you've already read the memoirs, get it on tape. Also, if you enjoy good music on live albums, check out Wilco's Kicking Television. They capture the Wilco-concert experience perfectly.


Blogger Caffey said...

Pepper, first i'd love to say Hi and nice to meet you! I haven't had the joy to read any of your books and you are a new to me author from LS and you can bet i'll check up your books when i'm done here! I'm not an author, just a reader but for me, one thing I always felt guilty about was reading an author's book in a day or two when they worked so hard writing it for months! But the joy I get from reading, how it heals me emotionally during tough times and too just brings so much excitement to know I have goodies coming up to read, I'll wait as long as I have to for the authors book. Its that worth it!
Congrats on all your upcoming contest wins/books. Others see the worth in you.

2:43 AM  
Blogger Pink Pen said...

I'm glad you're writing again. Out of the seven authors I edit, you're definitely in my top seven! *grin*

And I promise to never make you change a title without giving you suggestions. They may be dumb suggestions, but they'll be there. heeehee.

2:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs2.5 License.

Click here to join liquidsilverreaders
Click to join liquidsilverreaders