Friday, April 27, 2012

High In The Sky Sci-Fi Hopes

Ok folks, this is it. Make it or break it.

I’ve written many manuscripts to date and my husband has read, well, not a single one. In fact, I’ve refrained from even letting him peek at a paragraph.

Sure, he’d show interest from time to time. But it was that kind of interest which said, let me just see a little, I probably won’t care enough to read more than that though. So instead of putting us both through the torture of, you don’t like it, you don’t care what matters to me… I just said no. He didn’t fight me too much on it either which only helped my resolve.

I mean, it’s not like I physically stopped him or anything. In fact, there were many times that he was present in the same room as completed, printed manuscripts and never even picked them up.

Until this one.

I printed out a copy of my YA SciFi to give to someone and before the ink was dry he had it in hands and was, gasp, reading it.

He put it down after a chapter and I tried not to have a heart attack. But he picked it up again that same night. He picked it up the next night too. After four chapters he said, ‘It’s really good.’ And I looked at him skeptically.

I mean, he isn’t the kind of guy for flattery. If it stunk he’d put it down, no matter who wrote it or who wouldn’t talk to him after. Still, I wondered.

‘Really. It’s an intriguing story. I like it so far.’

Knock me over and dance on my grave, because that’s like an average person gushing.

A wise writer I know on Twitter once told me that the first manuscript her husband ever read was the one that got her an agent and got her published. Ever since Kiersten White said that, I’ve been waiting for the sign. If you write it he will be interested and read it, then the publishing will come.

Well, I’m not one for holding my breath or anything, but who knows. It is a first and one I didn’t think I may see ever, so perhaps…

It still has a lot of reading and editing and polishing to go, but there’s a little spark of hope there. A little reserved spark, but still, a spark. We’ll see if he makes it to the end and if he does, well, who knows, maybe you’ll all get to see it too.

Here’s to a writer’s hope and the strange forms it comes in.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Marriage Is Like A Box Of Chocolates

Very soon I will be celebrating 11 years of marriage. Which got me thinking. Maybe marriage really is like a box of chocolates…

When you've decided that one flavor is your favorite because you're tired of biting into duds, you have them fill up the whole box with that one flavor.

For the most part you love that flavor and can't get enough of it. But after a while you have moments when you think you can't take any more of the same old sweetness. You don't even want to open the box because you're tired of the same flavor day after day.

You see new flavors under the glass and mmmmm, do they look yummy. But then you think about them and what could be inside and chances are they'd just be another dud. Or say they weren't. Say they were as yummy as they look. How will they taste in a month or a year? Will they turn into the same old flavor too? Will they become normal, expected?

Besides, you see people who go off and abandon their favorite flavor in search of a new flavor and the search doesn't get any easier than it was the first time around. Actually they appear to have less patience for flavor testing and have less of an optimistic tastebud, so they're rather hard to please.

No. It's never worth it to leave the thing you love behind and go in search of something which doesn't exist. The perfectly pleasing flavor that never grows old or gets on your nerves is non existant.

What does exist is a whole box of yummy, sweetness that suits you perfectly. Because you know that you're taste isn't always perfect either. Sometimes you feel sour or bitter and you know that you're not always the most enticing flavor under the glass in the candy shop of life. But you picked each other and you love each other and you’re committed to nibbling on no other chocolates you meet along the way. Because when it comes right down to it the flavor you picked is your favorite and the two of you blend together to create a balance of flavor and texture that has taken years to evolve. Combined you form that balance and it’s good, it satisfies, and nothing else could compare.

Yes. Married life is like a box of chocolates, and mine is filled with the one flavor I picked out 11 years ago to be the only flavor in my box. It's a good flavor and every day I remember why I picked it out.

Happy Anniversary my chocolaty goodness. Here's to another 11 years of not dipping into anyone else's box of chocolates.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Spark that Starts The World on FIRE

What is it that turns an idea into a novel?

Well, besides a lot of time, typing, editing…

As writers we have lots of ideas. Sometimes too many.

Focus writer, focus!

What is it that makes one idea stand out enough to take it from an idea into an entire world of its own?

Well, for me it starts with an opening scene. One image that stops me in my tracks and makes me say, I have to remember this, there’s a story here.

Of course that usually happens when I’m in the midst of writing another story or editing another story, or both. So that idea has to sit, and thank goodness it does. This is the testing period. Sure, that idea is fun or interesting, maybe compelling and unusual, but can it capture me? I know an opening scene has something if a month or two later I’m still thinking about it. If I am, then maybe others will as well.

There has to be more though. An opening scene is great. It can make or break a story, but still, it’s only a glimpse, a beginning. In order to get from that scene to THE END, there has to be something else. For me, that something is usually a character. Once I have the scene that sets the stage it’s the characters which begin to come to life inside my head. I hear their conversations, I see their interactions. They develop voices and their voices won’t stop talking.

No, their voices don’t talk to me. That would be schizophrenia, not writing inspiration. Slight, yet important difference.

I get to know them. Their moods, flaws, strengths and characteristics emerge and I as the writer fall in love. This character has a story. It has a story that exists before that scene and one that goes on long after THE END. Their story becomes important to me when I become connected to them. I have to tell their story, because they told it to me.

So for me I would say the spark which turns every one out of ten opening scenes into a fully completed story are the characters themselves. Because you can have a wonderful concept, but without personal connection the story and world will fall flat.

Writers, what is it for you that turns an idea into a whole world of its own?

Readers, what is it that takes an opening scene and makes you want to discover that new world?