Y'mean to tell me that all this time, it was YOU, the sweet demeanored Sunshine who held the magick quill that writes the books?
Oh but you are sly...I thought your brother looked elvish! Hrmph!
Seriously tho, Kari, I do sympathize. Although I tend to think it's more part of your nature to need to "do" something, as you have that "drive" that I seem to lack.
But since you're talking about writing here, I guess I can explain what I've been doing this past week. Since the brainfog that has been so stubbornly clinging to me since well before last year has lifted somewhat, I've been reading, reading, reading. (I couldn't read for a time, no comprehension and yep, it infuriated me--sigh, I groused about that somewhere here in the blue.)
I went to my mom's, who has the largest paperback fiction collection I have ever seen and chose six. (and that was without leaving the kitchen) *smile*
All bestsellers--different styles, but I wanted to see what the public, therefore the publishers, considered a readable book. (That's right, I went commercial.)
The Hanged Man's Song--nice little munch of a read by John Sandford. (Hmm...nice plot, no holes, sometimes a little too tidy, but all in all, I enjoyed the exploits in that one. Then OH. Well yeah. I should.
I read his bio. Pulitzer prize winning journalist. Well there had better not be holes, huh?
Then I picked up Mssr. Sidney Sheldon. (I think I told you about that.) And for those of ya'll who haven't heard me read, I'll have to fill you in.
No I do not read entire novels aloud. What I do is speak a running commentary, and in Mr. Sheldon's case, much of it was quite rude too. I rolled my eyes as I licked my fingers to turn the page, saying "Oh PLEASE--spare me" but like the proverbial train wreck I kept reading.
"Expletive!" I erupted once, calling him a choice name normally reserved for those I know intimately.
"What?" My husband asked. "Not you. Not this time. Him.." I snarled.
I repressed the urge to write, "Whattsamatta boy? You had to leave a cocktail party to fulfill your contract?" in the margin.
(It was my mom's book, afterall.)
I finally got to the ridiculous ending, and I closed the cover, and asked Sidney aloud:
"Are you mocking me?"
and then, for the first time in years, I regressed to my bad habit of book-throwing, thundering to the ceiling,
"My mother paid money for that!"
Yep. I was insulted alright.
(The message in that one is don't forget to respect your reader.) I made a mental note to myself.
Then I picked up One True Thing. That one touched home, and I stayed up all night reading that one straight through, and I confess I cried as she so aptly portrayed the debillitating and heart-breaking effects of chemotherapy on the main character's mother, while intelligently delving into the psychology of family roles. I gulped, remembering, but I had to go on.
At one point in her story, Anna Quindlan seems to protest her own medium, saying "people like their stories tidy, all wrapped up in ribbon" (paraphrased, sorry) And that life wasn't really like that. And she did pretty much wrap up her storylines, but she left one thing dangling, and I respected her stubborn refusal to sum it all up, and I thought it lent insight to her choice of title.
I read others, but none quite got my attention the way that Clive Cussler did.
After reading about 200 pages, I said aloud:
"This man has a cocaine habit."
I said this because, this guy is just amazing. He offers so much info, mixing his facts with fiction, blended so well, that I found myself saying over and over,
"It's a STORY, Karen." The plot lines are incredibly complicated. The action is non-stop, and yep, I was frowning at some of the ludicrous devices used to rescue his main characters from seemingly impossible situations.
The snob in me was starting to wince that left eye, and raise the right eyebrow--UNTIL, I got to the part where, Clive's hero, Dirk Pitt, is in a situation that would call for nothing short of Divine intervention for me to believe in the story enough to continue, and yanno? That's what Clive Cussler offered up. Clive Cussler shows up, himself, in the middle of his novel, to rescue his beloved fictional character.
"I have seen you before," Dirk Pitt said to the author, smiling.
"More than likely you'll see me again too."
I loved it.
I "got" it!
He KNEW it was ridiculous, and he was winking at his readers!
OH GLORY, he let us in on his joke.
And with that one little twist, I made a mental note of another lesson:
"Don't take yourself too seriously--maintain a sense of humor."
So anyhow, you might wonder why I am wasting all this time reading when I should be writing, huh?
The truth is, I'd wasted time writing before because I'd never read with same discerning eye as I am reading now.
I need to know what kind of a book I want to write. I need to know my point of view and stick with it throughout. <--my previous fatal error
nodding, 1st person narrative? Who was I kidding? It's tough to flesh out a character, much less to the extent that the said character, (er, me) could show up on virtually every page and carry the whole show.
note to self: work on the third person
and then there's just the nasty little points of grammar of which I know better, but maintain bad habit.
note to self: maintain bad habit and you will write badly (laughing @ Nan with a wink)
note to self: keep Strunk & White handy and have an adverb alarm installed in your brain, Karen.
So anyhow, to sum it all up, my writing buddy, give yourself a break. If you're not enjoying the process, it's gonna show.
Remember there's people like me out there who might read your book.
But um, no pressure, right?