Saturday, August 29, 2009

Illusion or reality?

"Better a dish of illusion and a hearty appetite for life, than a feast of reality and indigestion therewith." ~~Henry A. Overstreet

I have to agree most days.

I'd rather deal with illusion than jump into an unhappy reality. Although I will admit my own personal reality is not that bad. We have our ups and downs, our problems as a couple and as a family. But for the most part, we're happy. In a general sense, we are where we want to be in life. We simply do our best, rely in faith, in each other, and everything seems to work out for the best. Eventually. ;)

But when I read for pleasure, I'd rather have the illusion. Oh, sure, I want the essence of reality with a good mystery -- a murder or two -- a frightening character who goes 'bump' in the night. Afterward, I need the happy ending. The 'happy ever after' we grew so accustomed to in modern fairy tales. I say modern, because we all know those characters in the Grimm versions rarely lived on...let alone happily.

That's also how I prefer to write. My characters may go to hell and back -- even literally -- but the reader always knows that somehow, somewhere, they will persevere and beat the demons. Yes, those can be literal, too ... depending on the story.

So think about it -- which do you prefer? Happy illusion or sour reality? Which do you prefer to entertain yourself with?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Idling on by

"It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do." (Jerome K. Jerome)

If you think about it for a moment, you'll realize that's probably true. However, I tend to be in an opposite camp. After "idling", I'm more apt to feel guilt than any type of pleasure.

But that begs the question of why is it so easy to put things off -- to do one thing, when you're supposed to be doing other things? Is it merely a lack of self-discipline, or is there something of greater depth involved?

In my case, I believe my procrastinatin is due, in large, to the fear of failure. I don't want to make the same mistakes with this story as I did the last. I want this story to be just as good ... no, better than the previous one. But when you're the writer, it isn't easy to judge your own work. Some days everything is good -- other days it stinks. A lot depends on your mood.

The bottom line -- I need to write. I need to stay away from Facebook and Farkle and Super Poke Pets and do what I do best -- tell another story. Only then will I, personally, be able to 'idle' with some peace of mind.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Obsessively counting words

"Let him that would move the world, first move himself." ~Socrates

Believe me, I am trying. ;)

I'm in the middle of my next novel, another paranormal romance, and the writing isn't going as quickly as I'd like. After each session, I found myself checking the word count. It's adding up...slowly. Very slowly.

It's not that I need a particular number of words. I just know what the minimum count has been for my other novels. DREAM WALK was the longest I've had published to-date -- over 95k words. This novel needs to be at least 85k for it to be complete. You get a feel for these things after you've written a few stories from beginning to end. ;)

But lately I haven't been able to get into my writing zone. That means the words are coming at a snail's pace when I need to be working more along the lines of a cheetah. Well, I suppose I should be glad my episode of writer's block is over. Just have to keep things moving along.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Coping with rejection

It seems the complete story of Gabriel Bonnett and Beth Murphy will have to remain a mystery to Sentinels' fans. Unfortunately, my editor wasn't impressed with draft two of the book.

Like most writers, I've experienced my share of rejections. It still stings a bit, but you learn to cope and move on. You have to -- the only alternative is giving up. But what do you do once that "no thanks" letter couched in apology arrives? How do you deal with your disappointment? The self-doubt? And just what the hell do you do with the thousands of words you've written and now seem to have been a waste of your time?

This time around it hasn't been quite the dilemma that it once was. Honestly, after a certain period of optimism, I was somewhat expecting the R -- shorthand for 'rejection letter' in this business. I'm not sure why... but somewhere along the line I lost faith in this particular story.

And no, it wasn't a "nice" R with loads of compliments and such regarding the strengths of the story. By the tone and what was said, there didn't seem to be even one thing that appealed to her about Gabriel and Beth's romance. Pity. I really like those two characters.

Do I take it personally? Um, a little...but not deeply. I think the big problem here was I had reworked it to death. It lost any spark it might have had in the beginning. It wasn't the story I really wanted it to be. Also, it really might have been better as the first story -- or later in the series. Pre-quels are a very tricky animal. So maybe that's part of why I'm not taking this R quite so much to heart as others.

That, and previous experience. BTDT, as the t-shirt says. ;)

Still... here comes the self-doubt. Although I'm over 11k into the next Sentinels book -- now bumped up to that coveted #2 spot -- I stutter to a halt when I begin to write a scene. Am I making the same mistakes with Samantha's story as I did with Gabriel's? Are my character's goals, motivations, and conflicts (GMCs) as clear-cut and riveting as they need to be? Does their relationship have enough spark...a strong chemistry? Is the action paced well? Fast but not too rushed?

Yes, self-doubt can be a crippling thing when it comes to writing. It brings your muse to a screeching halt. It makes your hands freeze over the keyboard and your thoughts shut down as if someone hit a switch. It can also turn you into a chocolate-guzzling lump, sitting in front of the television watching all day marathons of NCIS...

But I digress. (ahem) What I really want to know is: How do you deal with rejection? How do you tame that demon self-doubt and send him back to Hades where he belongs? Please share ... I have another book to finish.