Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book Pause--Literary Lesson

When I was writing my first book, Unfinished Business, I avoided reading fiction novels. For starters, I didn't want to unconsciously infuse the other book's storyline into my storyline or borrow scenes, and such. Is that form of plagiarism? Probably not, but I try to be remain ethical in everything that I do. Don't want to jinx my success, you know. Secondly, since I struggled seriously with finding time to write, I'd be plaques BIG time with guilt for reading a book when I needed to be finishing writing one!

However, as I'm working on my second novel--a spinoff of the first, I've changed my position on this matter. As a writer it's important to read a lot. Right! I'm sure we all agree on that. Just the same, as writers, we need to write a lot! Duh, right?

There's only one way to accomplish this, I've finally realized. Do them simultaneously. When I tried this recently, I benefited significantly from
reading the great writing of one of my favorite authors, Sandra Brown. First off, the story, French Silk, was awesome, one of the best suspense stories I've read in awhile. The story was set in New Orleans. By the time I finished the story, I felt like I'd visited the culturally rich city. that I expected anything less from Sandra Brown.

Anyway, back to the story. Reading Sandra Brown's vividly described scenes, realistic characters, and her showing of the story rather than telling were both exciting and inspirational. My excitement as a reader is obvious. As a writer, I was excited because I was reminded of what my own writing needed. After I finished the book, I wanted to describe the kind of jewelry my protagonist wears, what hair accessories she likes, what brand of weave she likes. I'm excited about showing how her disgust for the way her mothers loose ways during her upbringing plays into her eventual resolution to her own loose ways.

See the double benefit? How do you balance your writing and reading life? Do you only when you're not writing? Or do you do a little of both like I did?

Monday, August 13, 2012

When to Move On--A Literary Lesson

The numbers recorded on my word log for my upcoming novel over the last few weeks have been pretty dismal: 85, 288, 27, 280, 91, 41, 21--to give a few examples. And these don't even reflect the days when I didn't write anything!

As if that's not enough to be down in the dumps about, do I dare share with my literary friends that this minuscule effort has been on one friggin' scene!

I know. I know. Stop yelling at me! In my five plus years as an author I know better than to have spent this considerable amount of time on the same scene. I should have moved on days ago against the pull of the literary devil to stay lost in a scene that obviously wasn't working or isn't meant to be--at least not right now.

Make sure you don't fall into this form of writers block by, first, planning your scene thoroughly before you begin writing, and, second, don't be afraid to leave a scene unfinished. Perfect time to use the bookmark feature of Microsoft Word. When you're ready you don't even have to search for the page where the scene is housed--just search your bookmark and click. Its also convenient if you decide to delete the scene all together.

Finally, at the start of this week, I've moved on to something else and the writing has been going well, although that unfinished scene is not far from my mind. Lol.

How do you handle these types of moments in your writing? Do you fight with the scene like I was doing until you get it right? Or do you ditch it immediately?

Respond below.