Friday, June 28, 2013

Finding a Balance between Acceptance and Rejection--Seesaws in the Writer's Life

At a writer's conference recently, I sat in the audience and listened to a panel of four agents.  They fielded questions and then began to speak about the of-so-difficult process of acceptance and rejection.  Expect rejection as part of the journey, they said, in many different ways. 

Why does an agent "fall in love" with a book?  Why doesn't she or he?  What is the magic that makes the process work for everyone?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Complex Structures and Multiple Storylines--Authors Are Experimenting with Next Steps for Their Books

Have you noticed the trend?  Books are getting more complex--not just in their storylines but also in their structures.  Could be a reflection of how our brains are changing (see The Shallows:  What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr).  Or our desire to reinvent literature once more.

But what's best for your book?  Are you eager for the edge in structure or storyline?  Here's a short history of where we've been and a forecast of where we might be going, with some ways to analyze where your book fits into it all.

Multiple Narrators Become Woven Structures
Only fifteen years ago, when Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible was published, we were awed by a story told from six or seven viewpoints.  Each member of the Price family contributed their own version of the voyage from Georgia to be missionaries in the Belgian Congo. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Privacy and Alone Time: Why Creativity and Good Writing Depend on These

Summer is a great time to discover new books.  A colleague recommended Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, for its unique views on creativity and the need for alone time to nurture that creativity. 

Alone time is a tricky subject.  It hints of antisocial behavior, even selfishness, but I find it's absolutely essential for my sanity, balance, and creative spark. 

Cain's book gave me enough scientific backing to accept the idea that I need to be alone a good portion of each day to hear myself and my story.  I'm not alone in that need, either!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Why Do Creative People Fear Routine? Getting Over the Internal Obstacles to Actually Finishing Your Book

My ideal writing day is open-ended.  I have nothing I even have to get dressed for.  I can be alone, noodling around my writing space, enjoying silence and letting my characters and topic talk to me without fear of interruptions.  I get to design my own play space and time. 

In this ideal world, the creative flow is strong.  It's unimpeded by plans, structure, or routine.  I write often and well, I never encounter doubts or blocks, and I produce amazing amounts of work and feel completely refreshed by the process.

A writing life without routine--that's what most of us dream of.  Because it's really the routine--the obligations and the demands--that gets in our way, isn't it.  If we were free to just write, we would.

Right?  Not really.  A great fantasy, but rarely true.