The Writer’s Wheel 7/12/2020: Does How You Age Affect Your Writing?
There are those who feel that aging affects your writing. Or is it more likely, the way you age affects your writing. Does the quality of your health play a part on what you’re able to do? Or do you think that you can still tell a decent story no matter the age?
Ageing Affects Writing.
I wonder if others feel that you shouldn’t write blank when you’re not that age? That’s just silly imo. Some of the best writers have written middle grade or YA or older no matter their age. Both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien gave us masterpieces. Stephen King has written from YA characters to adult. Nora Roberts consistently turns out bestselling books for readers of any age.
So, you see, I don’t think that it’s age that affects writing so much as what the reader believes. Do they believe that a writer can’t produce quality fiction or non-fiction after they hit a certain age? Or is it that they can’t believe they’d be able to identify with someone a different age than them?
The Way You Age Affects Your Writing.
Your health affects you at any stage of your life. Maybe you have asthma. Sleep apnea. Diabetes. The list goes on. How you take care of yourself is the key. Someone that’s younger can ignore medical advice as well as someone much older. People get depressed. Their hearts broken. Even bones. How we heal is individual to each of us.
I don’t see that someone younger is in better health to write a story than someone older. Each of you struggle with something different. Or perhaps the same but it’s how you handle it that matters. Some can be stubborn. Others judicious about keeping themselves healthy. Your attitude plays an important part in everything.
The Quality of Age.
If you’re like me, you’ve faced hurdles in life. Some good, some bad. We do what we can with what we’re handed. We might not have the energy of a younger person but then again, they don’t have our experiences. Experience is very helpful in writing. It’s what you’ve faced in life. What you failed at. Both have taught you things.
If you’re handicapped, take a look at V.C. Andrews career. She didn’t allow anything to get in the way of her dreams. Now granted, drinking yourself under the table each night or doing hordes of drugs doesn’t help anything. But if you’re really determined to make it through, you will.
Telling a Decent Story, No Matter the Age.
The most important thing is to remember who you are, what you’ve learned. You can trust yourself whether you’re writing a five-year-old to a hundred-and-eight. There are a lot of stretches for a writer. Writing different genres. Different species. Different cultures and religions. After all, no one really knows what it’s like to be an elf or a hobbit, but Tolkien brought both of them and more to life in his writings.
C.S. Lewis didn’t know what it was like to be a lion yet Aslan is one of the most popular children stories. You can write out of your viewpoint. It’s been done over and over. You can write a different gender. A different culture. Even a different color. But pay attention to stereotypes and avoid the offensive ones. If only this writer or that writer was allowed to write from their perspective, no one would be able to explore an identity but one of their exact self. That would be a boring world indeed.
Beauty And The Brooding Lord is a Regency romance. Serena is fast approaching spinsterhood unless she can find a husband. However, she doesn’t want to marry someone stable and conventional; she is drawn to men of rakish behaviour, although she knows that they may be too much of a risk. What she would really like to do is ‘sample the goods’ before choosing.
Serena arranges an unchaperoned visit to the Vauxhall pleasure gardens with Sir Timothy, but events take a sinister turn. Luckily, Lord Rufus Quinn, known for his rudeness and cold-heart, uses his sense of honour to make a daring rescue and save Serena’s reputation.
I enjoyed the story of Serena and Quinn and how their relationship grew. My only regret was that the ending felt rushed and a little unconvincing, which was a shame as the rest of…
Wherever I am, I tend to accumulate piles of “things” I need to deal with: things to file, things that need follow-up, things I want to dig into, etc.
In person, those “things” build up into literal piles covering the top of my desk. In fact, I still have one massive pile that I haven’t yet unpacked and put away after the chaos of our house flood. And sometimes I’ll have rows of sticky notes covering the edge at the bottom of my computer monitor.
On my computer, I’m not any better, as my browser explodes with 400+ tabs…as I once again accumulate things I need/want to deal with: articles to read and share, advice to try, programs to check out, etc.” Sounds like my desk, lol. I make endless folders, notebooks, sticky notes, etc. Still, it doesn’t help.
Until a fellow author approached me, asking me to cowrite an urban fantasy series. I was nervous. I was intrigued. I asked some questions. I hesitantly agreed. Not long later, I approached another author friend wondering if we should do the same with an idea I had percolating. One that felt like it could be far better served if it was molded and cultivated by more than just one mind.
And so my coauthoring journey began.”
2. https://stevelaube.com/a-writers-writing-space/ “Several weeks ago, I asked my awesome clients to share a few awesome words about their awesome writing spaces. (Some of them said I overuse the word “awesome,” but they’re just being picky.) It’s a subject that fascinates me and sometimes inspires a change or two to my own writing space, so I share their responses in the hopes that they do something similar for you:
“My workspace is an organized mess. It’s almost shameful but it’s all work-related. There are research books, calendars, appointment lists, and goal sheets everywhere. I choose for my workspace to be this way because I can find things quickly without losing my train of thought” (Cindy Sproles, author of What Momma Left Behind).”
3. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/07/roaming-body-parts.html “I recently read a blog with a firm stance on how to deal with body parts. I don’t entirely agree. I don’t have trouble with figures of speech, and if I’m reading that a character ‘flew down the block to John’s house’ I don’t see her mid-air. If someone writes “a lump of ice settled in her belly” I’m not seeing actual ice.
How do you react when you read things like this?
Their eyes met from across the room.
His eyes raked her body from head to toe.”
Some Things More Serious:
1. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2020/07/the-triple-edit/ “Completing a draft of a book can feel like you scaled a mountain. You might take a moment to breathe and celebrate. You did it! You are on top, after a difficult climb. And then you notice, as the clouds clear a bit, that you have only scaled the first peak. There are three more even steeper peaks ahead before you can call it DONE! Those triple steep hikes are called editing.
I recommend three different edits completed by three different people. Try to use both men and women and people from different races and backgrounds than your own. They will provide a more diverse edit and provide you a broader perspective on your work.
If you are having the book edited by a traditional press, the process is similar to the experience of self-publishing in which YOU are the publisher.
I don’t recommend skipping any of these edits, because there is nothing worse than a manuscript full of typos, errors, and even plot holes.”
I’m keeping up, as best I can, on the virus and vaccine news. I’m scanning the political news, because I consider it related to virus and vaccine news. But the economic news—that’s almost impossible to keep up on, and right now, that’s as important as the virus news.
I’m simply not getting the answers to the questions I’m asking, at least not in any cohesive fashion. It leads me to believe the answers aren’t out there, not yet, but they will be over time.
Right now, everyone is struggling with their personal finances, even if they’re well off. (Well off people are looking at their investments, trying to figure out how to manage them.) Most people are struggling on a much more profound level than the investment level. Do I show up at my job for the paycheck and maybe catch this damn illness? Do I stay home and lose that job?”
3. http://booksbywomen.org/what-if-donna-cant-leave-the-building/ “If there’s any silver lining to the global Coronavirus pandemic, it’s that if I ever attend a cocktail party again, people will no longer say: “Wow, you’re a writer? It must be great, working from home. You know, I’m thinking of taking a couple of months off to write a book myself.”
We writers have been working under quarantine-like conditions for, like, forever. Yet what has changed for us with COVID-19 is that the entire narrative context of contemporary storytelling has become outdated overnight. So many of the books, dramas, and screenplays we’ve set in the present day have suddenly become period pieces — tales from a bygone era — simply because our characters go outside.
Before the Coronavirus, a fictional modern couple could dismantle their marriage while commuting between New York and Hollywood. Main characters could lose a child at an amusement park; deal crack on a crowded street corner; or run away from an oppressive community in Williamsburg by hightailing it to Berlin. They could do countless romantic or depraved things crucial to entire genres of fiction.
But in 2020, how can two “summer sisters” have breezy romances when they can’t lie on the beach? How can serial killers kidnap victims when no one’s mindlessly lingering in parking lots? For that matter, how can private detectives work the streets when they’re supposed to stay home – and why would they anyway, when all their suspects are stuck on their sofas watching Netflix?”
But everyone brings secrets to the island, distorting what should be a convivial, relaxing summer on the beach. Lisa sees danger everywhere, while Poppy watches over her husband John and his routines with a sharp eye. It’s a summer of change for all of the children too, who are exposed to new ideas and different ways of life as they forge a bond of their own.
While revelations from the past and present unfold, the book builds to a shocking event that will shake your sense of justice and leave you wanting to talk about crime and retribution.”
Drawing on the phrasing of Walt Whitman’s great late 19th century poem Leaves of Grass (above) Frank Prem has produced a collection of expansive and outward looking love poetry written, as always, in the unique style that allows every reader to relate.”
Written in an easy-to-read manner, Gemma included a lot of material and ideas; I particularly enjoyed the sections on connection, power words and gratitude. I’ve read quite a lot of books around this subject, but I enjoyed being reminded about some of my favourite concepts.
One downside to reading this book on kindle was the vast quantity of non-essential material at the start; the dedication, quotes from readers, forward etc; this took up the first twelve per cent of the book. It was too much and nearly made me give up reading; most of it could easily have been placed at the back of the book, where I could choose to read it at my leisure.”
Nothing this week. My Adobe Digital Editions which I used for Netgalley will no longer work with Windows 10. A lot of people have experienced this issue. I’ve tried support to no avail. I will have to concentrate on the future with books I buy, arcs I’m asked to read, and my Kindle offerings. I can’t get the books I send to Kindle from Netgalley to stay around where I can find them to read. They seem to disappear. I also tried my cellphone but the print is SO small I can’t read it. I attempted to upsize the print but it made my phone go all wonky.
I recently read a blog with a firm stance on how to deal with body parts. I don’t entirely agree. I don’t have trouble with figures of speech, and if I’m reading that a character ‘flew down the block to John’s house’ I don’t see her mid-air. If someone writes “a lump of ice settled in her belly” I’m not seeing actual ice. How do you react when you read things like this? Their eyes met from across the room. His eyes raked her body from head to toe.
The Writer’s Wheel 7/5/2020: How to Get Back into Your Writing After an Absence
For some of us, it’s been months since we glanced at our WIP. Not that we meant to abandon it, it’s just that life’s circumstances took us away. Some of us might not even come back. That’s okay. If you’ve realized it’s not your thing, move on with something else.
The First Step.
Usually, I begin by rereading some of what I’ve written. I let it resonate with me till I’m ready to get back to it. The rereading helps to refresh you to where you were when you stopped. It serves to reconnect you to the work and what needs to be done.
Sometimes you have to go back further. You might have taken a turn you didn’t want to take and now’s the time to correct it. Do you remember what you had planned for your characters? What direction you were headed?
Try a Paragraph a Day at First.
Don’t try to belt out thousands a word when you’re picking up the reins again. Easy does it. A paragraph a day will insert you back into the pace of the story and serve to remind you of what you had planned. Again, the reconnection is important and necessary to push ahead.
Gradually increase the word count till you’re back to where you want to be. Don’t rush though. Let time mend the flow. You’ll know when you’re ready to rush ahead. Keep an eye on the story, where’s it’s been, where it’s going. It’ll help lead you down the right path.
If You Decide the Story’s Over.
It happens. Sometimes the story doesn’t work out. It could be the timing’s off. Maybe you also feel it doesn’t matter what with the world’s events. Or maybe, your book needs a drastic rewrite with what’s happened in society.
Who could have foreseen face masks, divisions in society, and the growth of poverty? A lot of how we look at things has changed. Maybe it’s led to some soul-searching for yourself. You might not be in a place to do writing right now.
Nothing prepares us for life. We can follow other’s guidelines as best as we can but things are always getting challenged, turned around. We do the best we can with what we have. Our loved ones must, of course, come first. If that means getting a job to support your family then do what you need to.
It’s tough enough out there. No need to beret yourself. It is what it is. We grow up. Take on challenging family dynamics. And do our best to keep everything getting better for all of us.
Take care of yourself and don’t feel guilty.
If you can continue, take it as it comes. Again, no need for guilt. Somedays are better than others. We do what we can. Soon, those plot twists will come to mind and you’ll chase your dream again.
1. https://www.septembercfawkes.com/2020/03/breaking-writing-rules-right-write.html “Over the years, I’ve done a lot of posts on dialogue, in part because when I went searching for a deeper understanding on the topic, I didn’t find a lot of material. One of the recurring things I did find though, was about writing indirect dialogue. And this is absolutely one of the best places to start, when learning how to craft better dialogue. Dialogue should always be saying and doing more than what’s on the page.
Almost always, anyway.
Naturally, this means incorporating indirection.
Which plays closely into subtext.
But a few times I’ve been asked, when is it okay to use direct dialogue? For this post, I have at least four answers.” Nice insight into direct and indirect dialogue!
This is something I’ve been casually pondering for a while now. Then, last week, I received the following email from David Hall:
Down the street I can see 70 years coming toward me. A few more months and it will be impossible to avoid. Have you ever discussed age and how it affects the material we write?
For starters, let me say that this one of my favorite types of email to receive—those sent to me by older writers who are either just starting out or are still going strong. With this year’s birthday, I will reach the moment in my life where fifty is as near to me in the future as twenty is in the past”
That’s when we let our imaginations drift into a fantasy land in which we can take shortcuts because we’re “special” and don’t have to travel the long hard road everyone else does. Employing Authors’ Magical Thinking, we’re confident we can still arrive at the desired destination, riding a unicorn and wearing a gold crown upon our carefully coiffed head, greeting our fans with a regal wave.
When it came to proposals, my magical thinking went like this: It seemed as if I was trying to convince a publisher to like me. “Either you like me or you don’t; either my idea makes sense to you when I describe it in a few sentences or it doesn’t. Why do I have to agonize over all these details: title, subtitle, hook, description, audience, word count, comparative titles, bio, sales history, chapter summaries–even sample chapters, for Pete’s sake. If I wanted to be a salesperson, I’d apply for the job!”
Yeah, Authors’ Magical Thinking.” I wish we didn’t have to do querying or proposals either but how can we convince others to give our books a try if we can’t explain them properly?
The police found no fingerprints. No witnesses. No description. But they did have a trail of DNA that stretched back 15 years and across three countries. A case so bizarre that the mystery woman — aka The Phantom of Heilbronn — wasn’t only an elusive female serial killer but a cop-killer, as well.
On May 23, 1993 in the quite town of Idar-Oberstein, Germany, a neighbor knocked at the door of Lieselotte Schlenger. No one answered. She knocked again and again. Still no answer. Finally, she phoned the police. When they arrived, they found Lieselotte on the living room floor. Someone had strangled her to death using wire from the floral bouquet. Police interviewed dozens of potential witnesses, but no one heard or saw a thing. The only clue to the killer’s identity were trace amounts of DNA found on the lip of a teacup. Police couldn’t match the DNA to a suspect. They did, however, determine the sample came from a woman.
Fast forward eight years.
In March 2001, in Freiburg, a southwestern town in Germany miles away from Idar-Oberstein, a 61-year-old antique dealer, Jozef Walzenbach, was found strangled to”
The name, Trethevy, is thought to derive from the old Cornish for ‘place of the graves’. The locals call it the Giant’s House and there are tales of giants playing games with the stones. It has another name too, King Arthur’s Quoit, though I have been unable to find any reason why the legendary monarch should be associated with the place. The area, though, is rich in Arthurian sites, from his birthplace at Tintagel, just a few miles to the west, to King Arthur’s Hall and his Bed on Bodmin Moor… and Dozmary Pool, where the Lady of the Lake gave him Excalibur and to where it was returned on his death.”
3. https://stevelaube.com/it-may-not-be-as-bad-as-you-think/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=it-may-not-be-as-bad-as-you-think “In the early morning hours, in a hotel, I was preparing to be on faculty at an important conference when I discovered that an elf had snuck into my makeup bag and stolen my Lancôme foundation. For those who don’t wear cosmetics, foundation is a substance that takes your skin from “ready to read a book in the privacy of your home” to “ready to appear before important people” within moments. Because of the elf, I had the moments but not the foundation. I rarely wear foundation, so I wasn’t surprised that the elf made off with it. I always pack tubes of red lipstick in various conveyances, however, so they are too numerous and substantial for the elf to carry them all away.
Horrified, I realized I could not recover from this theft in time to appear flawless by conference time. There was no store open at that hour, not even one that carried the most inferior foundation. For a split second, I wondered if I could text the director, “I’m sorry, but an elf stole my foundation so I can’t appear today,” and go home. No. No, I did not text her that.
Instead, I summoned courage and applied the rest of my “face” before heading out for the event. Here is what did NOT happen as a result of my lack of foundation:”
I have always though that the preservation of the written word is one of the most important things in the world. As a lover of books for as long as I can remember, some of my earliest and fondest memories are of my mother, my Aunt Mary, and my nana reading books to me. Blue Bug and Word Bird were just the start of a life long love of books. As I’ve gotten older and have discovered more books and authors, my love for books has only grown stronger with each passing year. So the thought of a world without books and reading is a horrifies me!
I’ve given a lot of thought as to what book I would memorize should the need ever arise and I’m sure for anyone who knows me, they would be surprised to find that my choice isn’t Harry Potter. Though I have loved Harry Potter for over half of my life and have learned many lessons from it over my lifetime, the book I’m choosing I feel embodies the true spirit of memorizing stories and telling them.
Sometimes those goals are driven by our genre. For example, the romance genre usually strives to make readers connect and care about the characters on a personal level. Readers want to root for them to find and deserve their Happily Ever After, so a strong emotion and character focus is key.
Given that I’m a romance author, that’s one of the reasons I greatly respect and appreciate what Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of the famed Emotion Thesaurus have done for the craft of writing. While their Writers Helping Writersblog includes plenty of information about plotting, they’ve focused on characters and emotions more than many other resources.
So when Angela offered to share her insights into applying what she’s learned about characters to crafting a deeper, more powerful relationship (specifically with romances), you can bet that I jumped at the chance. Especially, as she’s sharing fantastic examples so we can understand how we can apply her insights too.”
1. https://audreydriscoll.com/2020/06/28/my-best-reads-of-2020-part-2-more-book-reviews/ “The Old Woman & the Mad Horse – Case File for: The Big Three Mining Investigation by Cage Dunn and Rose Brimson The tension starts on the first page and doesn’t let up until nearly the end. Hella Solaris is an investigator for a shadowy organization opposing a mega-corporation’s efforts to gain technological domination of the earth’s population. Her intent to step back from active service in a small rural community is thwarted, first by the presence of an angry horse, and then by a criminal element who wants to drive her away, and finally, by discoveries and developments that entangle the personal with the professional.
This is a thriller of sorts, but much of the action is internal. Hella gathers information, processes information, formulates theories, has “aha” moments and “oh shit” moments, weighs priorities and calculates risks. The point of view is close third person. Very close; for most of the book the reader is inside Hella’s head, seeing what she sees—often on the screens of various electronic devices—following her thoughts, experiencing her emotions. The pace is dizzying and there are opportunities to lose the thread, especially when tech-related acronyms and initialisms abound. I ended up reading the book twice, to make sure I picked up on all the crucial details.”
2. https://owlnpussycatbookpromo.blog/2020/06/28/this-ghostly-romance-will-keep-you-up-all-night-reading-abigails-window-by-susan-lynn-solomon/ “Abigail Bender lost her only love at Gettysburg in 1863. One hundred and fifty years later Kaitlyn Novacs, teetering on the edge of a breakdown after the loss of her one love, encounters Abigail’s spirit in a quaint Canadian inn. There’s a connection between these women, Kaitlyn feels it the first moment she sees the ghost but refuses to admit it. She is forced to accept how closely her fate mirrors the ghost’s when through Abigail’s window she witnesses the ghost’s life and death. Still, there’s a secret Abigail withholds from Kaitlyn. Will discovering that secret come too late to save Kaitlyn from Abigail’s fate?”
Frank shares an amazing example of a Haibun written as a memoir of his experience at Gertrude’s Nose, on the Minnewaska Preserve. This just goes to show you the versatility of this form. Here are a few tips (a sneak peek) of what you will find in my new book, Word Craft – Prose &…