Writing Wednesday

If You Assume Something It Makes...

If you assume something it makes me smile a little on the inside because people's facial expressions are amusing and interesting when they find out they've made a wrong assumption. When people assume the wrong thing about me, I sometimes just let it go. When I do correct the person I do so with a smile to try to nonverbally communicate that I'm not offended (it takes a lot to offend me), but I think I just make the person feel more awkward.

I once went to a concert with a friend. It happened to be a country music concert and my friend happened to be white. There was a college student, also white, there taking a visitor survey for the city. The assumption she made was that my friend was the one there for the concert and I was just tagging along because friends do that type of thing for each other. Where her assumption went wrong is which friend was tagging along with which friend. I'm the country music fan and talked my friend into coming so I didn't have to be alone.

I guess it would be better to say I dragged my friend to the concert. My friend couldn't even remember who we were there to see. Which is what I told the young lady. She responded with a simple "oh" and tried unsuccessfully to mask all her thoughts and emotions: shock (A black woman with locs is the one into country music?!), introspective debate (Did I just racial profile someone? Nah, I'm not that kind of person.)  and embarrassment.

I collect moments like this in my memory vault and pull them out when I'm writing. Sometime my character's experience is the same as my, but to make it fun sometimes it's from the other person's perspective. Realistic moments like this in writing is what makes the writing relatable. Everyone has been in some situation like this.

Writing, Writing Wednesday

Write What You Know

Write what you know is some of the most commonly given writing advice. It's good advice. A story is more authentic if the author is writing from their truth. 

I often don't follow that advice. If I did all my stories would be about a middle-aged woman that complains about everyting having to be open concept on the HGTV shows she watches like an addict. Am I really the only person that has dirty dishes in the kitchen sink that doesn't want people to see as soon as they open the front door While I've had many experiences and a few different careers, I don't have enough to make characters that vary. So, sometimes I have to write about careers or places I know nothing or very little about. In the case of Someone to Love, I had to write about beers I've never tasted.

Writing about those unknowns is expected from any author. But as a romance author I have to write about some other unknowns. If I were to write only what I know about live, it would be a mixture of funny and boring, with a pinch of sad. That's why I write what I want instead. I write about the various types of men I wanted and the way I desired to be wooed me when I was single.

It's not just the men and the romance, it's also me I want to be. My heroines are often the more perfect woman I wish I were in my heroines. They are still flawed. I write my flaws, past and present, into them but they get the chance to grow and over come them. This makes the characters more three dimensional and relatable.

In a way, I am writing what I know because I know what I want and who I'm striving to be. Write those things that are so instilled in you they're second nature as well as what you dream about.

Love,

Lena

 

Crafting, Lena's Life, writing distractions

Writers Block

Like many authors, I've known my share of writer's blog. There are times I can't manage to string words together on the screen. Then sometimes it's because the words just aren't there. But, frequently, it's because I'm distracted with desire to do other creative endeavors. 

I’m no scientist or anthropologist, but it's been my observation that creative people often have multiple creative outlets. Some singers also act and vice versa. There are actors that also paint.  I'm a writer that also crafts. 

I sew. I make paper crafts like cards. I dabble with graphic arts. I used to paint and draw (I say used to because I’ve not done either for a while and I’m not certain I’ve retained the skills). At one point during my college career I was a general fine arts major, concentrating in ceramics. The craft that pulls me away from writing the most is flipping furniture and other housewares items I’ve found at flea markets and thrift stores. Last year I decided to change all these crafty hobbies to a crafty business. This year I started selling my wares (including my books) at a local handmade and vintage store here in Indy.

If you’re a fan of my writing, don’t worry my new endeavors will take me away from releasing more novels or short stories. I can no more not write as I could quash my other creative activities. Plus there’s so much down time waiting for paint to dry that I might as well write.

Two years ago I hatched a ten-year plan to my ‘retirement’. For me, retirement doesn’t mean no longer having to work but no longer having to work for someone else by being a full-time entrepreneur. It is my goal to make my living with my creativity, both writing and crafting. My absolute dream is to own a shop downtown in a small town somewhere. I’d have all types of vintage, handmade, and upcycled items for sale and a writing nook in the corner of the shop for me to continue to spin tales of love and romance.

Love,

Lena

Writing, Writing Wednesday

Where to Begin?

For me starting a story is like starting a lawn mower. First I squeeze the lever up to the handle, then I pull the cord once, twice, sometimes thrice, before I hear the engine catch. Then I'm good to go until the grass is at least half cut, or I have to stop to pick up a fallen branch or abandoned tow and then I have to restart the engine. It takes me more than three tries to start a story.

That whole captivate the reader from the start philosophy gets in my head. I start trying to second guess what readers want and stop just writing the story. To keep my self-editor mute, I sometimes won't write those opening lines until after I've completed the rough draft.  My internal editor turns on when I worry too much about if those first pages pull the reader in. I can't write with her on. Each word becomes a laborious choice, taking hours to write a paragraph. I'll write one sentence fifty different ways instead of fifty different sentences.

I think of this as the movie making approach to writing. When a movie is being filmed, it's not done in order. All scenes for a particular location or actors with small roles are shot at around the same time, regardless of its place in the plot.

I don't have to deal with actors or locations, but I do have to deal with words and sometimes the words are flowing better for one part of the story than whatever is the next chronological part. I start writing which ever scene I know the most about, even if it's the end. I sometimes start at the end. I skip to which ever scene captivates me at the moment. This method often leaves holes in the roughest draft, but I fill them in during the revision process.

This is my method that allows me to get from the once upon a time to the they lived happily ever after. I have so many collections of incomplete stories from before I started writing this way. If I got stuck I would continue to try to write the next chapter until I got discouraged and put the work on the back burner then eventually into a box.

Getting the words on the page is more important than getting them on the page in order. Just keep writing!

Love,

Lena