Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just Telling the Story, Part 3 (?)

Not sure if this is actually part three or part twenty-two. No matter.

I'm pleased to announce Some Insights. No, not mine -- those of my masterful-writer with crit-partner, Janny. She's found out that she cannot have "The Box" in her head when she's writing. That she must write like she wants to, the stories she wants to tell.

Now, this is a writer with a superb sense of "story." She is always asking her characters: "Why?" And she insists I take my work to a higher level by asking my characters "Why?" also.

Here's the reason. You sit down and begin to write (at least, you do if you're a seat-of-the-pants writer, like I am) and a character pops up and begins to form in your mind. Sometimes, if the Muse is smiling on you (mine usually doesn't -- that's why I call her Sulky Brat), your character will pop up full-formed and deliciously realized, like Athena springing from the forehead of Zeus. At other times, you only get a glimmer of who your character is. This demands you drill deeper.

Let's say your character is a woman with commitment issues. You peel off a layer and find out she has commitment issues because (1) her dog died; (2) her father abandoned the family when she was small; (3) the last guy she dated treated her like youdon'twannaknowwhat.

Okay -- why? Why do these things cause her to distrust going with someone long-term? How did they affect her? You don't know that just by discerning the basis of her issue. You have to ask why, not once but many times, to get the right depth and make her "live" in your reader's mind as a character.

Janny's great at this -- when she lets herself tell the story she wants to tell and doesn't hem herself in by thinking, "Must color inside the lines...must color inside the lines."

No. Take risks. Get dirty. Dare to tell the story you want to tell, give your characters the lives and personalities they must have, let your voice be heard clearly. Worry about the market later.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Win a Few, Lose a Few

What to say about the week it's already been? Perhaps the best comment comes from Jeremiah 17: 7-8 "Blessed is the (wo)man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." (KJV)

My hope and my trust are in Him. Oy, what a week it's been!

Revisions on the existing parts of the 974 Wales book, PEACEWEAVER, are going along great. The book formerly intended for Sheaf House, SEASONS OF RECKONING, is going there no more. Instead, it's being reworked with a new framework and a new (if lame) working title: THE STRANGER-GUEST. It's now a straight medieval, book #2 in a series to be called "The Faith Box."

Janny correctly points out the obvious flaws in its working title: "Stranger than what?" says she, and beshrew me if she ain't right!

The series as I envision it will be four books: the first, PEACEWEAVER, is where the Faith Box originates, in 10th century Wales and Chester. The box travels a bit; book #2 may be THE STRANGER-GUEST or it may morph into a book set between these years. I'm thinking 1215 or thereabouts--who can say? In any case, the box is handed down, a precious heirloom something like a reliquary, from mother to daughter through the centuries. The final book in the series will be present-day, or close to it. Of course, the box's stories are blurred and distorted by time. But the Faith Box always holds items of meaning in its (current) owner's walk of faith -- it never loses its power to inspire.

How say you, minions?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cover Art Triumph!

Once again, the wonderful artist Jenifer Ranieri at Desert Breeze has created a great cover. I'm pleased to show it to you here.
This is the fourth of four winner covers Desert Breeze has assigned to my books.
Color me pleased, humbled, and proud.
ALOHA, MY LOVE, a contemporary romance, releases as an e-book in all known Terran formats on December 1.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fired Back Up!

Writing news today, plus a mini-rant.

The good news is: I'm afire once more. Those peripherals I discussed in the previous post will have to wait -- a story burns!

More than once in the past I've discussed with Janny the idea of a series, centered around a container of some kind that the characters use to store mementoes in -- items that figured in, or remind them of, some sort of crisis of faith. The items can be anything: a rock found on the beach that day they prayed and got answers; a bead from Grandmother's paternoster; a note from a friend thought lost.

The concept was originally the Bag o' Religion, shamelessly borrowed, but it's morphed into an ancient reliquary. PEACEWEAVER, the piece I'm brushing up (and trying desperately to finish) will be the introductory story. After that I'm fleshing out a previously written medieval, set later in the period, for the second book. Working title: THE STRANGER GUEST.

Janny's question was, "Stranger than what?" That needs answer, but not right now!

Mini-rant follows. Those of you who don't care, now's your chance to opt out.

ACFW in their forward-thinking mode has decided that e-books are no longer acceptable as Book Club selections. They selected Shawna Williams' NO OTHER as their first ever e-book. All 'round cyberspace, e-authors were applauding. ACFW "gained face" as they say in the East.

Now that's all over. One e-book was permitted for discussion, but not any more.

C'mon, ACFW. Get with the times. Do we always have to be two years behind the industry? Or this once, can we put on our Big Girl Times-They-Are-A'Changin' Hat and try, at least, to get on a level playing field?