Thursday, July 21, 2011

Self-employed with a wimp for a boss!

My boss sucks. She's too nice! She's too forgiving! She needs to start cracking the whip around here! Yes, I'm an employee who struggles with confidence. Look at me! I'm clearly a nervous wreck. I tend to forget what I've accomplished and doubt myself. And I have a lot of other responsibilities. But still! That's no excuse for her allowing me to be such a slacker! She needs to get tough!

I have some great plans for the company. There are two short stories related to Dreaming of Deliverance that are basically finished. I have some beta readers lined up to go over them. Them I'm going to produce them both in text and audio and release out into the wild. You'll be able to read and/or listen to more about Trae and Lindsay's background. I know there's an interest. But I'm having trouble getting myself to do what I need to do. And my boss does nothing. I just have to email them to the beta readers. Why can't she require/encourage me to do it?!

Then there's what my son refers to as "The Rat Book". It's a middle-grade novel thats 75% complete. I love this story. I can't wait to finish it. I think it will be excellent in audio and there really seems to be both a need for and lack of ebooks for younger readers. But my boss hasn't given me any direction on when I need to finish it. I'm floundering here, and she's no help at all!

And of course there's the sequel to Dreaming of Deliverance. I'm getting there with it, but I still have a long way to go. However, I'm ready to start sharing excerpts: post videos of myself reading them on Youtube. I'm excited to share them. Even my non-podcast listening readers know how to watch videos on Youtube. It's going to be awesome! But once again, my employer is giving me no guidance, no timeline, no help.

So I'm turning to this blog, as I often do when I need a kick in the rear. Something about stating here what I'm going to do, helps me to actually do it. And maybe the fact that I'm spilling corporate secrets by admitting that things aren't exactly hunky dory here at work, will finally force my boss to treat me how I need to be treated!

Either that or fire me.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Description and natural settings

It was so pleasant writing by the lake last weekend, that I decided to write in my backyard this morning. The backyard isn't quite as picturesque as a mountain lake, but it's still lovely. My husband grows bonsai, and our neighbor has a fountain, so it's rather peaceful and zen-like back there.

It's funny. I've gotten many compliments on how descriptive and visual my writing is, which I used to think was one of my weaknesses. It's something that doesn't usually come easily. But writing in beautiful settings helps. Being outside helps, especially since a lot of the scenes in my fiction occur outside in dramatic natural settings.

I want to start blogging about some of the settings in Dreaming of Deliverance as well as its sequel and soon-to-be released short-stories. The trees in Guin, the granite in Parl, Hoven canyon, the river, the willow, they all were inspired be real places. I don't grab characters from my real life and experiences (at least not purposefully) but I'm very inspired by nature. When I'm writing a scene, I can see it in my mind and I think that helps me describe how it looks. Also, I think my impatience for too much description in some of the books I've read, means that I only include enough description in my writing to set the scene and provide a climate for what's happening in the story. Description for description's sake isn't usually that interesting, but when done carefully and concisely, it can really help plunge the reader right down in the middle of the action.

So look for some blog entries about setting soon!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Writing Lakeside

I’m up early. Sitting on the dock of a mountain lake, looking at the snowy peaks, and listening to the water lap against the shore and the occasional ski boat roar past. This morning I’m working on a short story I’ve been working on forever. My approach to writing is the opposite of a lot of what you’ll read from the writing gurus. I feel like an oddball compared to them. It’s one of the many reasons my confidence isn’t as strong as it could be when it comes to writing. I do things so differently from many other writers.

For lots of writers, word count is a big focus when they are writing their first drafts. Not for me. I understand the appeal. Word count is something trackable. You can measure your progress, mark how much you’ve written, and even share that with people in your social networks. I’ve tried to track words, but it doesn’t work for me. I’m too slow. It’s depressing.

One of the reasons I’m slow is because I don’t take the time to write as much as I should. In some ways that’s understandable. I’m a mom and it’s summer. The kids are around more, blah, blah, blah. But the main reason I’m slow is my writing process. I write and revise and write and revise. It’s difficult for me to keep churning  out first draft type writing for more than a couple of pages. I have to go back and rework it until I feel ready to move on. That can take awhile. And I get stuck, not only on the level of trying to polish the writing so that it says what I want it to say in a clear, effortless-to-the-reader way, but also on the story level. It takes time to come up with stories that are interesting, compelling, and different. I like being different. I like having characters that you haven’t seen before and situations and resolutions that aren’t what you expect. All of that takes time.

Does that mean I’m a hobbiest and not serious about being an author? I don't think so. I’m not going to have several books come out a year; they just take too darn long to do. But I refuse to crank out writing that doesn’t work for me so that I’ll have a high daily word count. Maybe I take it all too seriously. But my goal has never been to put out stories just for the sake of putting them out. I want to be able to stand behind them and know that I am satisfied with them. They might not work for everyone, but they work for me.  I make them the best that I can. And in order for me to do that, it takes time.

Time spent writing on the dock of a mountain lake isn't so bad, however. Now I'm going to get back to it!