How do I keep myself and family from going insane during my up-and-down emotions, especially over family get-togethers or major life events... How do I use my personal strengths and weakness to my advantage...
I write during and about them. I keep a running notepad on my iPhone of my thoughts and feelings throughout normal events, such as eating out, grocery shopping, vacations, holidays with family, and children’s events. Anything that will make my characters more believable. But, I also go one-step further.
After all, how do you write about a character's tragic death when you just spent a great day with friends and family over a holiday weekend. Sometimes I can. Occasionally, when all is perfect, the writing flows effortlessly, but other times it doesn't. So, if I am experiencing a particularly strong emotion, I'll seek out a scene in my Work In Progress that requires that sentiment, reread, and almost always edit accordingly.
When I am feeling down, I seek out a troublesome period in my protagonist’s life, be it past or present. My depression works to my advantage because the words on the page reflect my inner turmoil. The reader will feel the character’s pain and be able to empathize. And a plus, after pouring out my frustrations--as though I've spoken to a good friend, who only listens--I usually feel better when the section is finished.
When I am happy, my joy spreads like wildfire, and so the reader will sense my excitement and therefore feel the happiness my characters are experiencing.
Romantic... Well, you get the idea. The reader should feel as though she is a part of the scene, as if she is the main character or, at minimum, a close friend.
Isn’t that what a great novel should accomplish? The reader should feel chills spread down her arms and butterflies in her stomach at the idea of a first kiss. Her pulse should race as if she is prey in a game of cat and mouse, and when appropriate, she should even shed a tear.
So if you're like me and fret when all the extended family is around, and somehow you got the job of managing the food for a small army, don't get upset. Delegate! Then sneak away and jot down what your mother did to upset you. How Uncle Joey dressed for the event. How cute all the new kids acted who were finally old enough to play with the sparklers.
In other words, use your emotions, happy or sad! And if you're not a writer, that's okay...trust me, it still helps to write it down.
And since you'll probably need a mental escape at some point this week, grab my new release so you'll have something to read when you slip away, and see how Jana Embers deals with her lying, cheating husband of fifteen years and her new life as a single woman.
Until next time, Happy Reading and Writing!
But that doesn't mean you should give up!
Writing the perfect book, the perfect male or female character, the perfect movie, song, play ... the perfect anything ... is impossible. Yes, impossible!
Don't believe me ... Take a look at some of your all-time favorite movies, books, plays, music ... anything that you love. Someone, somewhere, hates it.
But you know what? That's okay!
Variety is the spice of life. If we all loved the same things, it would mean that everything would be the same. How boring would that be?
I can't count how many times hubby and I have been discussing an issue, and someone who doesn't know us thought we were arguing. Hey, we've been married twenty-six years ... that's how we talk. And we love it! If he agreed with everything I said or wanted, I'd think, "Man, where's the tough guy I married?" and if I gave him everything he wanted ... Well, he'd probably like it for a little while--he is a man, after all--but then, even men would get bored of a woman who agreed with everything they said and wanted.
So ... don't worry when a few people don't like what you wrote, said, sung, drew ... Look for--and be willing to learn from--the people who offer genuine, constructive criticism on what they didn't like about what you did, as those are the only critiques that matter. The honest reviews that will help you get better at your craft ... whatever it is.
That said, yep, I have people who don't like what I write, but that's okay. I know my characters aren't for everyone. I don't write perfect heroes, just perfect gentlemen with a few flaws. I write stories about real people, dealing with real issues, facing real life. And yes, I've learned a lot in the last three years from those genuine reviewers I mentioned above--because I was willing to listen--and I'll keep learning, as long as I can type and read.
So, brush off your backside, get back on the horse, and get back to work, my friends!
Until next time, Happy Reading and Writing!
Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember these are just my opinions and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. If you’re curious about what I write, please visit one of my author pages, where you can read all about my novels and short stories. And hey, I’ll even give you a free book, just for stopping by. To stay up-to-date on my writing posts, sales, giveaways, and new releases, sign up for my newsletter here.
As I wrote that line, not only was I reminded of Joe Fox's comment in You've Got Mail about vats of olive oil, but I also realized -- and this is fitting to the post -- not everyone likes Big Macs. Me, eh ... not really, I'd rather have a plain burger, so I pull everything off it. But ... I LOVE their french fries and coffee. I digress ...
The M in McDonald's is probably the most commonly known trademark throughout the world, and yet, McDonald's advertises EVERYWHERE! Radio, TV, Twitter, Facebook, your mailbox …
Yes, even though there's a good chance that you'll go to McDonald's in the near future -- umm … for coffee -- they still pay millions of dollars to bring you into their lair. And one of their most popular draws is the freebie or discount, often called a "loss leader."
Yes, that lure of a free or bargain sandwich is what gets you in the door. Sure, you could just order the Big Mac, but ohhhh…those fries smell so good, and then you know you'll want a nice refreshing soda -- Diet Coke, of course -- to wash it all down. Yep! They gotcha! They know if you come in for the free sandwich, more than likely, you'll go away with more … and there's a good chance, you'll bring a friend … or two.
Well, that's what a free or $0.99 eBook is like. It doesn't mean that the book isn't the author's number-one bestseller -- like the Big Mac. Authors offer you their bestseller at FREE or $0.99, hoping you'll order the follow-up novel, and maybe even a third.
I'm not particularly fond of cliffhangers in books … I always like to end the current situation, and then dangle another situation in front of the reader, but even a cliffhanger is like a Big Mac. Sure, you could just have water … but authors hope that once you finish the book, your mouth is watering for something more. Water … love it. But some things, like burgers and pizza, just taste better with a Coke. Wasn’t that a campaign too?
So, go ahead … as an author, don't be afraid to offer readers a snack. And readers, I always offer a snack. It just seems like a nice way for us to meet. If your mouth doesn’t water for another course, that’s okay. I just hope you enjoy a little escapism on me.
Until next time, happy reading and writing, friends!
Stop by your favorite retailer and grab one of the "FIRSTS" in three of my on-going series, absolutely FREE!
Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember these are just my opinions and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing books, and new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post once or twice a month at the most. :)
FIRSTS IN SERIES