I received an email which read:
I’ve finished Eddy and I downloaded and read The Gold Tooth. Who is Noreen Lace?
The sender later elaborated – These are two very different styles. I found this surprising as most of the authors I read are a single style in each piece of writing.
I’ve thought about this before – I feel it’s good to be able to change. To me, it shows growth. However, some disagree. Some people feel you must stick to your style because your readers have expectations and may disappointed.
For me – I want to be able to grow, change, and do what feels natural – just to write what comes out and not to force it to be what someone else wants it to be.
Stories are organic. They grow from the characters, the setting, and the force of its own motion; therefore, the writing itself must be organic which may grow into a different style.
If you know me – you’ll see the stories are still part of my personality and therefore personal style: dark, dry, ironic.
Have you ever been inspired by a book? Chris Pellezzari’s Last Night in Granada planted lingering images of Spain, Flamenco, and Lorca.
I’ve undertaken a trip to Spain because of that book. Whereas travel is always on my mind, locations are not usually a question. I have a list. This book moved Spain to the top.
I was playing with a story in my head before leaving. A few of the people I’ve met are to become characters. I’ll decide later if I’ll tell them. 😊
Travel. Experience. Write.
Have you ever been inspired by a story? I imagine many people have: hence, fan fiction. I’m inspired by characters and what could have happened.
Think of The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald, so it’s said, hated the hypocrisy. Parties, and alcohol, and politicians who took part or did nothing. Daisy – hated her. Would have loved to see her get her due. I don’t know how I felt about Gatsby himself. I wanted something more for him, realization or redemption.
I was inspired to write a part two in which one of those two things happened. Of course, I’d have to somehow bring Gatsby back to life first. Still working on it.
There’s nothing wrong in being inspired by other authors, other stories, other’s characters. As a writer, these things should strike us.
Use the last story you read as a prompt – take a character or a location and tell your own story.
An extremely good conversation in my literature class about intelligence (Inspired by Ted Chiang’s The Great Silence). We talked about other species that fall under the definition of intelligence, which is “the ability to understand and apply knowledge.” Considering Alex the Parrot and Koko the Gorilla, and other species: crows are problem solvers and remember faces. We discussed dogs, cats, and others. Is love, as an abstract idea, understood and applied by animals? And then – is intelligence found in showing love?
This is what good literature should do. Teach, delight, and create wonder.
Read The Great Silence here
How do you keep track of your submissions?
I keep a log of when, where, and what I’ve submitted. I also updated it when my piece is rejected, accepted, or haven’t heard from the publisher.
There are a number of ways to keep logs, either by date, title, or other.
I keep mine by date of submission, but it’s easily searchable if I want to find out where and when I submitted anything specific.
I also keep a log of places not to submit again. It’s a very short list, but if you run across an editor who is unprofessional or a journal that operates with questionable practices, you should keep track.
Using submittable as your tracking system works if you don’t submit to journals or publishers who are not members, as I do, but I find their site challenging to navigate when I’m looking for a certain title I may have submitted at different time periods. My list is long and some journals don’t actually update.
I’ve had a few things accepted (or rejected) and the publisher has not updated my submission on the site; therefore, it appears to still be in process.
I find my own log more easy to navigate.
“Don’t be afraid of failure. The reality is that most people successes rise out of the ashes of their previous failures.”
From a new documentary on Netflix titled Creativity. The narrator is talking to the creator of Game of Thrones. The creator is talking about how many times he’s failed.
I started this to say – what are you afraid of?
Then I wanted to ask – what if there was no such thing as fear? What would you do? What could you do?
I want you to think about that. What if fear was not in the human range of emotion or thought?
If you’ve reached a point in your story where you’re stuck, or perhaps some small thing is niggling at you, tell yourself what it is before you go to sleep.
There’s a number of things I’ve done in order to enhance or forward my writing – and the above is one of the things. Margaret Atwood recommends the same.
But I’ve gone further. I was writing a poem and I knew one line wasn’t quite right. I kept going over it and over it and could not seem to find the right words in the right order to bring the poem together. As I went to bed that night – I told myself to dream about it.
At 4am, I woke up with the line! I scribbled it in the notebook (which sits next to my bed) and turned over to go back to sleep.
Not only do I tell myself the problem I’m dealing with in my writing before I go to sleep, but I also think about different story lines for my characters. This keeps me juiced, so to speak, with inspiration. The next morning, I’m ready to hop out of bed and write.
Sometimes, of course, this backfires and I want to write then and there – which I do. But most of it can and does wait for that dreaded blank page the next morning.