Friday, December 16, 2011

The Voice Not Heard

While my stories and characters have always lived with me, I believe I put pen to paper in order to be heard.

This doesn't mean no one ever listened to me or heard me. It doesn't mean I lacked attention or had no opinion. I mean pen and paper enabled me to voice outside the persona I was...am. My life role in a manner of speaking. Sometimes those roles don't fit the voice living deep within us. Sometimes we need to let the voice out.

The voice carries our silliness, our laughter, our questions, and it carries our anger and pain. If I didn't write where would my voice go? Would it find another outlet...a less healthier outlet? I can't guarantee I'm being heard, but I know I've expressed what I needed. That whatever was, is, within has been given a voice...release.

As my life unfolds its journey and those who cross its path, all become part of my written voice.  The good, bad, ugly, silly, neglected, pain, anger, and joy. All weave their story through my voice.

An author's world may start with a drop of imagined maybes and whatifs, but it lives by the voice.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Writer Answers: Where Do My Ideas Come From

The simple answer is: I don't know.

I have always visited my imagination. When playing with dolls, toy animals, stuffed animals, a vague memory of a magnetic city where we had poles under the table which moved the cars and people around, and books. These are just a few areas I remember always having my own stories and worlds.

The toy animals had their set families. Some animals were teachers and each little one went to a certain grade. The littlest ones...a black pig, baby elephant (from the Disney Jungle Book movie), and a calf...they were the ones having adventures. I still have them.

The dolls. Well, when one has a camper and airplane you can imagine the adventures they went on. Yup, lost in outer space. Crashed on an island filled with monsters.

I don't remember the first story I wrote, but my grandmother said I was putting on shows and telling stories since I was three. Who's going to argue with my grandmother.

Simply put, I don't know where my ideas come from, they've been a part of me since memory.

Right now, they're voices screaming out of my fingers on the keyboard. I'm not saying they all make sense. Some are silly and some are downright scary. Others, well, they all are parts of me.

Hmm, maybe a fiction writer is the person tapped into their counterparts from worlds living parallel to our own. Our stories are just the telling of the lives our other selves are living.

Now if that's the case, maybe there's a few stories I shouldn't write. On the other hand, maybe the only way to keep the parallel world alive is by writing their stories. Maybe one of my counterparts is writing my story...right now.

Hmm...where did this idea come from?

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Review - Thank You Clea & BookWenches

I'm thrilled to have been reviewed by Clea at BookWenches, please see their link to the side. Her 3.5 rating and words are very much appreciated.

Naming Your Characters

Do you spend as much time in naming your fictional character as you did naming your child? Do you think writers spend any time naming their characters?

Naming is an important element to any story. The right name should roll easily off the mind's tongue. It should fit the image you have of your character...or not fit should that be the feel you require. Names come with set images and personalities, too.  Think of the following names and their first impression:

Philip
Michael
Norton
Stanley
Biff
Tommy
Thomas

Bambi
Irene
Janice
Gladys
Cassandra
Veronica
Missy

Now, to clarify, I pulled these names off the top of my head without any thought given to people I know, don't know, may have met but have forgotten. Basically, for this writing, I went down the alphabet, at random starts, and it was the first name in my head with that letter.

Naming my own character in MIDNIGHT FIND was something else. First pick was "Jackie" and then I became friends with, Jackie. It felt strange having a real Jackie, and a fictional "Jackie." Thus, the change to "Tina." Why "Tina"?  I don't know for sure. Her name did a pop into my mind. Analyzing it now, maybe it's because my "Tina" doesn't fit my first impression of a "Tina." Think "Gilligan's Island."

However, if I think my favourite singer, Tina Turner...someone I wasn't actively thinking about at the time...the name is a perfect fit.

I have another story where my female character is, "Sam." This was before my nephew of same name was born. Somehow, I don't think...as he grows up...he would appreciate a fictional female character, written by his aunt, with his name. Or maybe it's just me.

I like my characters to have names which are different than those I know. Think of it this way...a name without context. One free of relationship luggage, whether good luggage or not. There's a different topic...writing those we know within our stories, but they don't know it...for another day.

I have heard of different methods writers have used to find names. The most obvious one is using baby name books. You can match your character's traits to the name's meaning. Easily match a name to a character's cultural background.

I've heard of some writers using the phonebook for last names. Most characters need a last name...as I realize my "Tina" doesn't have one.

There is also the newspaper orbits. Maybe a tad creepy, but given the ages of those who have passed away, it's an avenue to find a name to match a time period.

Which is another point to naming...time periods. What is popular now, may not have been even thought of in my grandmother's time. My mom was named Barbara Ann before The Beach Boys' song. It was just my luck KISS' song "Christine Sixteen" came out right around the time I was or was nearing sixteen. And you don't have to guess too hard to conclude my dad, James, received quite a few "Home, James" when we were out and about.

Now for one last crazy piece of information, I do understand others have used this method; however, the first time I heard about it was watching a late night interview with a supposedly famous adult film star. (another topic for another day...crazy, strange, useful information which clutters a writer's mind) He indicated to find your "porn" name, use your middle name and the street you first lived on. Yeah, doesn't work for me...my middle name is someone I was named after.

Naming is essential to your fictional character. So, what's up with your name.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stand By Your Words

For many years I've been asked "why don't you write something nice" or "why do you always write so dark/gruesome/scary" or "why don't you add a little romance."

I write what I write because these are the words and stories within me. Whether you are drawn to write for children, teens, horror, romance, mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, ghosts, even (and hold your breath here folks) erotica...these are YOUR stories. These are the voices screaming within your head, demanding release!

Stand by your words and to hades with anyone who dares says anything negative about what you write.

The only negative voice you need to listen to are those who are out to help strengthen your words...yes, the dreaded editor. I'm an editor and I've been edited. And in both relationships each side is working toward the same goal...the best dang near-as-all-get-out perfect vehicle to showcase your words and story.

I'm also a reviewer and no I don't always mix with what I read to review, but reviewing is a very personal opinion on any piece of work.

But, I'm moving away from my point...Stand By Your Words. Editing and reviewing are for another day and place.

Too often I've heard authors apologize for their words. I've heard "oh, you won't want to read this, well, 'hehehe', it's a little steamy" or "sorry, but I felt the character needed to say those words, you know, that 'f' word" or "oh, I can't let ____ know about my story, they'll take a fit."

You wrote the only story you could write...the only story you should write...YOURS.

In this world we will always be placed in some type of category, some niche, some corner, some place. That's the nature of the beast. Without some label, some defined placement, people won't know how we fit in with what they want. Deal with it, it's life all around us.

But...STAND BY YOUR WORDS...don't allow someone, anyone, to make you feel something you're not. Only you can define your feelings. Only you can stand up, hold your head up, and declare...Yeah, I wrote that and I'm dang proud.

We live within societies, what we stand up and feel is totally up to us and us alone.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What a Writer Writes

Personally, I write reviews, random rambling thoughts, poetry, fiction, some non-fiction, and however you would classify blogs. I also journal in a notebook, sorry not into Internet journals only because between the covers of my notebook I will let off steam. Steam that is better not read while I live.

I'm also an editor. I do believe that fits in the writing genre. While it isn't my own work, it is a vital aspect of the writing life. Without editors most of our writings would be crazed chaos with the best ideas stuck within our minds. Now, I don't intend this to sound like I'm patting myself on the back. I am comfortable with my editing abilities, but without an editor working on my own fiction, well, uhm, yeah, can't edit my own to save my life.

To write is to express your ideas. To share your history and to share your imaginary world. Writing allows us to gather information together for our own benefit, and hopefully, for others as well. Some are paid for their writings and others garner credit and readers.

There are many definitions of who a writer is, a few of those definitions sit awkwardly with any writer.

Some call us hobby-writers. I dislike that name. Some figure a hobby-writer is someone who is not paid for their writing. Well, this writer has been paid and the goal is to be paid; however, I have been published without monetary feedback and am dang proud of those writing homes. It garnered me exposure, readers, and experience.

Right here and now, this blog, I'm not being paid to write. But, you're reading me. You may even be checking out my listed links. Maybe even buying my book...or the book of someone I've reviewed.

Each writer knows they have something to say and the 'word' is their method of expression. We need to write as much as a chef needs to cook, a baker to bake, an artist to draw/paint/sculpt/you name the medium.

No matter what you write, if you have the internal desire to share it...you are a writer.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Writer Writes, Right

I'm a writer who truthfully doesn't do a whole lot of writing. Why?

As an editor, I'm always on my authors to keep writing. So, why haven't I written more? I did join NaNo this past November. Nope, didn't even make 5,000 words. However, I did manage to pull together a storyline. One that has been bugging me for too long. It might even work.

In a 24 hour period...yes, I can hear my authors say "spell it out"...I should be able to find five (see I spelled it out) minutes to write something. It's taken me longer to write this little bit. I've deleted four false starts already. No idea what I should write, only knew I had to write something.

Why do I have to write something? Well, uhm, yeah, you see, a writer writes, right?

If only it was that easy.

Look, I know all the conversations of writers' block, sitting arse down and just write, throw the self-editor into the swamp, the story's in the re-write. Just do it. Heck, I've had those conversations with friends who are stuck in front of a blank _____, fill in your own medium.

I've had the conversations about self-doubt, self-sabotage...self-everything. Believe me, I'm one of those who thinks she could write the book on this line of thinking.

So, why then haven't I done more writing? Simple. Maybe I'm not a writer. Maybe, I'm not "your" definition of a writer.

Hmm, a writer writes. BUT, what does a writer, write?