Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Want to be a Writer, Then Write

The Challenges of Writing

When I can't Write

There are a lot of reasons not to write.
You can make them up as you go, or you can just not write. The question really becomes are you a writer, novelist, blogger, playwright, screenwriter, or a wanna be. There is nothing wrong with being a wanna be. Writing is is always a challenge, especially if you want to be a good or great writer. There is good news if that is the case. If you want to be a writer, then write. Don't pretend to write, don't just talk about writing, just write. Forget about the image of Richard Castle or Jessica Fletcher, Writing is work. If you feel the need to write, if you feel you will explode if you don't write, Then write.

If I haven't scared you off, then let me share with you when I can't or won't write. It's called life. If you are a member of a family or a community, then things will get in the way of writing. You have to make time for writing. Make it a vocation. Set aside time and a place and go write. Make arrangements with others that this is your time to work. Once you have done that, don't waste it. You will, but in time, you will waste it less. The key thing is not to feel guilty about it. If you do you will write less.

I can't write when I am interacting with others. Mainly because it is impolite. Writers fall into two groups; those who will not be interfered with when writing and those who will adapt to the world around them. Neither is wrong, just decide which type you are and make it work for you. If you are going to be in the first group, then have the decency to let those around you know; When you are writing, "Do Not Disturb" unless... You can fill in the rest. If you are a part of the second group, make sure you have an understanding with those around you how important writing is to you and to please respect your space when you are writing. Most of us are a mixture of the two and you may want to share this paragraph with others.

Outside Noise When Writing
The second cause of my not being able to write is when I get pissed. I don't mean I have had too much to drink, I mean I am angry and frustrated with idiots. The problem is that idiots can be anywhere. Since for the most part, I do not write when I am out in the world, idiots usually have only a modicum of effect upon me. By the time, I return to the sanctity of my home and I am sitting down to write they have vanished from my consciousness. The laughter you hear in the background is my wife. Unfortunately, a man's home is not his castle, I use the internet, we have a television, and there is the phone. My wife deals with the idiots who call on the phone, she sees it as one of the perks for being married to a writer.

As for the idiots on television, who usually take the form of News reporters offering their often biased view of events have been dealt with. We cut the cable. There is a marvelous little box that we got from Roku for about sixty dollars and I can subscribe to what I want, and it is less than fifty dollars a month. I may not get the latest up to the minute programming, but I get it when I want to watch it and I can binge watch whenever I want. I see that as television's future.

The internet was my last hurdle. I had set my home page to one of the major portals and I have been inundated with news I don't care about and observations by a vast majority of people who have no idea what they are talking about. I had a need to set them straight. I finally realized, they don't want to be set straight and getting into written flaming was their only interest. I then looked at the portal I was connected to. I discovered that I could disconnect from the insanity by customizing my home page to just what I was interested in. I did so. It has been a difficult process because one does so wish to educate the confused masses, but in truth if they wish to be educated they will seek knowledge and truth out rather than bellow out obnoxious gas. There is a reason we have two eyes and two ears and only one mouth.

When I do Write

Alright, alright, I'm writing.
I write just about everywhere. But I need to digress. As a kid, I was such a liar. I didn't lie to get out of trouble, well mostly. I never lied to cause someone else harm. Never!. But I made up stories. Dumb stories. I got told the story of the boy who cried wolf and got more story books of Aesops Fables than anyone. If I had kept them all I might have a valuable collection. Yeah, right. My mother told me I got it from my father, who knew, it was an inherited trait. When I got older I realized that stories called novels are not lies. But I married early, had kids, and discovered I had a talent for programming computers. People were bidding to pay me money. I tried writing on the side, but I am the adapt to the world type. I settled for writing white papers and documentation. It was boring because I couldn't make stuff up. Damn!

So when do I write? Usually when I am left alone. I should explain, that I write in my head long before it gets to paper; real or virtual. I could be reading and I'll ask myself; what if? and a story line is born. I will play around with it for awhile and if it shows promise, I will start thinking about titles. Then characters start appearing in my mind, and I start seeing scenes. Some time after this I will get to my computer and open a folder with a title and I will create an outline document. I'll put down as much as I need to to remind me of what the story is about and I have given birth to a novel. At this time, I will go back to whatever I am currently working on.

"The Case of the Jade Dragon" has two chapters remaining and I will be working on chapter fourteen when I finish this blog. While I have been writing the "The Case of the Jade Dragon", I have given birth to another novel in the Jonas Watcher series and one other novel outside the series. I have written a couple of blogs and I have had a lot of ideas that never made it to "paper". The only time I am not writing is when I have to be fully focused on something else. I don't write while driving and I don't write when my wife wants my full attention. She is my biggest fan and she has a habit of asking me "Are going to finish the next book? I want something to read." I do not disappoint my biggest fan.

What is Writing

Writing with a Muse
That seems like a silly title, doesn't it? Is it really? If your image of writing is taking out parchment and a quill pen and lounging on a bed and writing sonnets or prose on the bare back of your muse, you've probably an overwrought imagination.

I deal with being a novelist, Writing as a novelist is different than writing white papers, documentation, and other forms of non-fiction.

Here is what writing is for me. I won't repeat what I wrote above. When I finish "The Case of the Jade Dragon" I will open up the outline to "The Case of the Looking Glass Mirror" and I will begin writing. I will start creating chapter titles and I will tell the story scene for that chapter. None of the Chapter titles are carved in stone. nor is what is in a chapter or the order of chapters. Sometimes while I am outlining, I'll get the ending I want. My opening will show up about this time. Usually, it is a sentence or a paragraph. I will develop around fifteen to twenty chapters and in my outline with a brief paragraph supporting the chapter.

Now comes the research. I use my library, the public library, the internet, and experts in the area I am researching.  As I research I flesh out my outline. Within the outline, I will actually include elements of the book. A dialog scene or an action sequence will force its way into my consciousness and I will write in the appropriate place within the chapter.

During this time, I will also start thinking about my book cover. I am not a great artist, but I am a good manipulator of a graphics program and I can develop some interesting images. I use the book cover creator from "CreateSpace" to help me with my covers. This also helps with telling the story. Once I have about eighty percent of the outline finished, I start my rough draft. This is where I start to write the story as opposed to telling the story.

Writing for me involves a number of steps from the beginning of an idea to the final product that is either a physical book or an eBook. It involves a lot of thought before anything physical gets done. I will be sitting in a chair staring off, and my wife will ask "Working on a new book?" when I say yes her response is always the same, "So get it on paper, I want to read it."

My best advice is something I was told some time ago. "Do you want to sell more books? Then write more books."

 Detective Adventure Mystery
Detective Adventure Mystery