Wednesday, October 6, 2021

TO TOE OR NOT TO TOE THE LINE



Hey! It’s the monthly blog hop/ known as the Insecure Writers Support Group founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You’re invited to join if you're a writer, insecure, or just supportive of writers. It happens the first Wednesday of each month, and it would be sweet of you to visit at least a dozen or so new blogs and leave a comment. Your words are appreciated. Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.   Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  

 

The awesome co-hosts for the October 6 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pitt, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!


Years ago...

When I finished my first manuscript I was ecstatic..

I had NYTimes best selling author stars in my eyes...

And I sent it off to an editor feeling positive. 

But when the edited manuscript came back...

The stars turned to tears...

My manuscript had been edited to shreds...

Besides numerous typical first-time writer errors...

She said: 

“Your religious and political views don’t belong in a story.”

I wasn’t even aware I had done that, how'd they sneak in?

But guess what? I learned.

Now, if I put in opinions, they’re my character’s opinions, not mine...

And I’m judicious...

Asking myself if a character’s opinion is crucial for the plot?

But other than that..

I have a liberal criterion...

About language, scenes, or controversial characters.

If they are needed for the story they stay... 

If not >>delete, delete, delete<<

Now mind you...

I’ve written some “eh hem” scenes that were necessary... 

But after I wrote them...

I felt like I needed a shower... 

Or prayers... 

Or...

A moment alone.

But isn’t that what’s delicious about writing?

We can cross controversial lines—within reason, of course...

Without getting shamed, ostracized, or arrested. 

It’s why I have two pseudonyms. **wink**

Well, I got to thinking about authors whose books... 

For several reasons have been banned. 

So, I Googled...

And up popped Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer.



Immediately, I got a flashback...

Of me as a kid living on Long Island... 

During the summers...

When my mom would go Wednesdays to her coffee klatch... 

And knowing she’d be gone for two hours...

I’d sneak into my parent’s bedroom...

Go straight to my mom's top dresser drawer...

And find hidden under her undies... 

The book she’d currently be reading...

And because I knew those books were forbidden for me to read...

They seemed all the more tantalizing. 

BesidesTropic of Cancer, I found Lolita, one by James Baldwin, and a few others that are hazy in my memories. 

Hmm?

Thinking back

I can say my mom had a very multi-personality library. 

On the bookshelves in the living room were the classics: Chaucer, Dickens, Homer, Poe, Dante, Shakespeare, Tolstoy and more.

On the coffee table were the bestsellers of the time: Earl Stanley Gardner, Leon Uris, Hemmingway, James Mitchener, and other bestsellers.

But in the bedroom...

Was her Ooh, la, la stash. Oh, yah, yah!

So?

Where do you draw the line in your writing?

Ever cross it?

Ever read a banned book? 

Do tell.

 

Always,

Em-Musing

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

VALIDATE ME

 

It’s the monthly blog hop/ known as the Insecure Writers Support Group founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You’re invited to join if you're a writer, insecure, or just supportive of writers. It happens the first Wednesday of each month, and it would be sweet of you to visit at least a dozen or so new blogs and leave a comment. Your words are appreciated. Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.   Let’s rock the neurotic writing world 

The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

  September 1 question - How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?


I've been a copywriter for decades...

So, writing something and having it published or produced...

Always felt successful.

Not to mention getting paid was great.

But for me...

Writing a novel and getting it published meant real success. 

Two years ago... 

I pulled out an old manuscript...

Edited my heart out and self-pub’d.

Trust me...

That monumental feat alone felt successful...

As I’m sure other self-pub’d authors have felt. 

And then just the other night...

I was watching a YouTube video with my daughter...

When she said, “Mom! This is the story in your book!”

Yup! It is.

Well, truth be told...

I fictionalized parts cause that’s what we authors do, right?

But seeing the visuals... 

And hearing the voiceover telling the story...

I didn’t feel successful...

I felt validated...

That all my years of research was spot on.

Because back then...

Doing research wasn’t a simple Google click away.

So? What about you?

When do you feel success?

And is success the same as validation?

 

Always,

Em-Musing

 

In case you haven’t seen the Video Trailer for my book, Azael's Lot here it is.

?And did I miss a notification 
from Blogger that there would 
be changes to the formatting? 
It's taken me several hours to get my template back to normal. 


Wednesday, August 4, 2021

I’M GLAD I’M NOT AN ADVERB


 It’s the monthly blog hop/ known as the Insecure Writers Support Group founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You’re invited to join if you're a writer, insecure, or just supportive of writers. It happens the first Wednesday of each month, and it would be sweet of you to visit at least a dozen or so new blogs and leave a comment. Your words are appreciated. Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.   Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  

 The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

August 4 question - What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?


I’ve read my fair share of books on writing:



Stephen King On Writing 







Strunk and White - The Elements of Style







Dean Koontz - How to Write Best Selling Fiction








Anne Lamott - Bird by Bird





And more.

I’ve learned a lot from them... 

And my biggest takeaway is: 

I’m glad I’m not an adverb.

Everyone hates adverbs... 

Editors hate them...

Agents hate them...

Even famous writers hate them:

 

I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbsand I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they're like dandelions.” Stephen King

"Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs."Strunk and White  


I am dead to adverbs; they cannot excite me.”  Mark Twain.

 

If adverbs had feelings...

They’d be on antidepressants...

Or suicide watch.

So why were adverbs created anyway?

Especially the “ly” words?

Do readers, notice…or care?

Here’s a factoid:

Hemingway used 80 words ending in “ly” per 10,000 words of proseJK Rowling uses 140 adverbs per 10,000 words, and EL James uses 155.

I’m guessing readers weren’t counting the “ly” adverbs 

While they devoured the stories.

And I don’t think Rowling & James counted the “ly” words 

As they skippity do-dahed their way to the bank.

This is my take on adverbs...

If I am writing using the  omniscient voice...

I watch my adverbs...

But if I am writing in a character’s voice...

I write the way the character speaks...

And if that includes adverbs, so be it. 

So?

Thoughts on adverbs? 

Always,

Em-Musing

P.S. Big lizard in my bedroom, scorpion on the floor, electric goes off at 2, sweat like a hog till power's back, Blogger not behaving, Internet acting wonky...Yup, that's why my post is so late. Did I say I love living in the jungle?

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

LOOK UP IN THE SKY IT'S A ...OMG! IT'S FALLING!

 

It’s the monthly blog hop/ known as the Insecure Writers Support Group founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You’re invited to join if you're a writer, insecure, or just supportive of writers. It happens the first Wednesday of each month, and it would be sweet of you to visit at least a dozen or so new blogs and leave a comment. Your words are appreciated. Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.   Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  

The awesome co-hosts for the July 7 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

 

July 7th optional question - What would make you quit writing?

Hmm?

What would make me quit writing?

It would have to be the end of the world.

Let’s say if one day...

We were told a solar flare, meteor or asteroid...




Would bombard earth in 24 hours and annihilate everything...

I doubt I’d want to spend my last moments writing...

I would spend it with my family, of course.

Hmm? 

But I wonder...

Would we eat?

What would my last meal  be?

Would I have to cook it?
But on the upside...

I wouldn’t worry about those 10 extra pounds...

I could eat anything I wanted and as much as I wanted...

Like mountains of mint chocolate chip ice cream...

( Note: make sure to keep the freezer stocked with it)

And, I wonder if on the other “side”...

Writing is something that happens? 

What do you think?

I mean...

Think about all the billions of writings throughout history...

Do they mean anything up “there”?

 So?

What would make you quit writing?

 And what would your last meal be?


Always,

Em-Musing

 


P.S.July 3, 2021— a HUGE solar flair want off, the largest since the other HUGE flair in 2017                         

 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

POINT OF EWW


It’s the monthly blog hop/ known as the Insecure Writers Support Group founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You’re invited to join if you're a writer, insecure, or just supportive of writers. It happens the first Wednesday of each month, and it would be sweet of you to visit at least a dozen or so new blogs and leave a comment. Your words are appreciated. Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.   Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  

The awesome co-hosts for the June 2 posting of the IWSG are J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!


June 2 question - For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

 

A while back...

I had been working on a manuscript that I dearly loved...

And I remember thinking...

This is such an incredible story, yada, yada, yada...

And I’m such a creative writer, yada, yada, yada...

Soon I’ll send out queries, and get an agent,yada, yada, yada...

And one day it’ll be on the NYTimes bestseller list. YADA!

But for several reasons I put this manuscript away.

Last year... 

Eager to start working on it again...

I went into my archives of unfinished manuscripts...

Blew off all the pixel dust and

OH. . .DEAR. . . GOD!  





What is this mess?




OK…

The story was still good...

But my writing?

Yeesh!

Clich├ęs, repetitive words, too much backstory...

Weak description of scenes, lazy grammar... 

One-dimensional characters, etc, etc, etc! 

Really?

How could I not have noticed all this before?

After the shock and realization sunk in...

Of how much editing this baby needed... 

I got to wondering... 

Why does it take time to gain perspective?

Why can’t my brain be like Grammerly? 

And catch mistakes immediately?

Whoa!

That’s it!

I’ll create an ap... 

That downloads directly into writer’s brains

And then as a writer is looking at their manuscript... 

The ap will automatically tell them in their head what changes to—

Uh, wait a minute...

Editing out that thought right now...

Because I’m a writer, not a developer... 

And I don’t need any more distractions.

Lord knows I have enough of them already.

So?

How much time do you need to get a better perspective? 

 

Always,

Em-Musing

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

DARLING, PLEASE LET ME KILL YOU

 

It’s the monthly blog hop/ known as the Insecure Writers Support Group founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You’re invited to join if you're a writer, insecure, or just supportive of writers. It happens the first Wednesday of each month, and it would be sweet of you to visit at least a dozen or so new blogs and leave a comment. Your words will be appreciated. Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.   Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  

The May 5th questionis:  Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? If so, did it surprise you?

The awesome co-hosts for the May 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone,  Cathrina Constantine!

 

Recently...

A reader of my book, Azael’s Lot

Responded so favorably to it...

That I thought she was referring to someone else’s book.

(Yeah, that’s the insecure part of me)

I challenged her with a few questions...

And to my surprise she answered them...

And then she had some of her own like:

Had I ever thought of an alternative ending?

Why had I chosen the setting that I did?

How long did my research take…and more. 

She then said she was glad...

That although it seemed that I would kill off one of my main characters... 

I didn’t...

However, I told her I actually had thought of killing her...

The character, that is. . .not her...

Because when I’d heard the term “kill your darlings” ...

I thought it only meant killing a beloved main character.

But I love this character and I didn’t have the heart. 

Plus, she’ll appear in a sequel...

And I don’t want her coming back as a ghost.

Curious then about the quote... 

I researched it...

And though it's often attributed to William Faulkner...

It's actually British Writer, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, 1916 

Who first said: “Murder your darlings” 

Since then it has also been attributed to several other great writers: OscarWilde, Allen Ginsberg, Eudora Welty, and Anton Chekov...

Even Stephen King. 

In King'sOn Writing”: A Memoir of the Craft, 2000 he said: 

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

Here’s an article from a recent MasterClass ...

About what “killing your darlings” means.

Writing is a painful process and most experienced writers will tell you that good writing involves substantial rewriting. An essential part of the rewriting process is combing through your work and cutting out material that isn’t essential. Sometimes this means we have to lose things that we are proud of and attached to. When you edit out material like this, you are killing your darlings.


So?

Ever kill any of your darlings? Care to share?

Or

Ever get an unexpected response to your writing?

 

Always, 

Em-Musing