Friday, June 29, 2012

The True Phonies

I LOVE reading Amazon reviews for books. I don't know why. It's addicting. And the best ones to read? The reviews on the classics.

The 1 stars are the most interesting.

I was reading reviews for The Catcher in the Rye (a book I LOVE. It's in my top 9 (the top 7 spots are filled with the 7 Harry Potter books). There, I came across a reply to a person who gave negative review. A person commented on the review, and it goes something like this:

You are the phony which Holden talks. You didn't understand the book at all.

IT IS IRONIC! This got me so angry, and made me think. And, above all, it is phony.

Reviewer B criticizes Reviewer A for expressing his/her HONEST opinion on the book. So it's a valid argument. Then, 'B' comes in and calls 'A' a phony. It makes no sense.

B is being the true phony. Why?

I know many, many people (me included) rave about classics because other people rave about them. Because it is 'intelligent' stuff to read. I have so much respect for Reviewer A because he/she diverged and expressed his/her true HONEST opinion. I have tons, tons of respect for 'A'.

I find it extremely phony for someone to trash another person's honest opinion. I find it even more phony when someone likes the book ONLY because it is a classic.

I bet J.D. Salinger (author of The Catcher in the Rye) would have loved his critics more than his fans - the fans who only liked him because he is a 'classic.' He would have loved his critics because they are not being phony. It's funny, because Salinger may have given birth to tons and tons of phonies :)

I've done this too, so many times. The biggest problem in classics is that people read it with the expectation that they WILL like it; and so, they do. I do. I have done this for so long, and I finally realized it's phony. I'd love to live in a world where books were books and everyone expressed their own opinions about them.

Censorship does NOT only exist in the banning of books; the biggest censorship is in the fear of thoughts.

I'll try to express my thoughts on books how I truly feel about them. I'll read them like any other book. I feel scared to death knowing that I might tell some professor that I didn't like a huge classic, but I feel this is necessary. I hate knowing that my preferences might be biased. If I want to hate a book, I will; If I want to love it, I will as well.

What are your thoughts about this? I really, REALLY want this discussion to go on, so please, comment and we'll talk :) I like discussions. They help a ton in figuring things out, and, honestly, this blog might be just about that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


This hashtag is HILARIOUS. It's trending on the Tailored Trends thingy. So if you are on twitter, or even if you aren't go over here (not sure if that link works. If not, just google #thingsnottosaytoawriter) and check it out. It is hilarious.

FILLED with things that only writers will laugh at, and outsiders won't understand.

I did a few of them (@SC_Author). Here are my better ones :)

""Oh, I am too! I just finished my book yesterday; want to critique it?""

""Oh, so you're a writer? When's your book going to be published?""

""Make sure it's a long book. People love long books." If I heard this, I would go crazy. Absolutely crazy."

Here are a few gems:

"So, when are you going to get a REAL job?" @Krysten_Hill

"I could write a novel if only I had the time." @susanhillwriter

"Aren't you finished yet??" @JLeaLopez

""They published you because you're a woman and they have quotas for that."  (Yes: actually had this said to me.)" @TriskerSlake

"It's not that hard." @KelaMcClelland

I love that last one, and I love this hashtag!  Just send in a tweet and you'll know how it feels :)

Why? Because it vents all of the frustrations to a community that understands us. Everyone laughs and groans. Our non-writing best friends probably wouldn't understand. A good laugh is what SO MANY of us need while writing, because it can get just way too hard.

What are your favorite tweets on #thingsnottosaytoawriter? Which one of the above made you laugh? PLEASE share! I am in desperate need for a pick-me-up. Any ones you found funny? Do you have any you'd like to share?

Thanks so much guys, and don't forget to subscribe!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The FUNNEST Part of Writing-- Quirks

(I have a new schedule to blogging; go check it out on the above tab :) )


I haven't used this literary device until last night, and I LOVE them.

I loved it. My passion for my characters spread to all of the minor characters too, and you know why? Because the quirks made my array of characters individual, and that, I feel, is the main importance of quirks.

Quirks are so helpful.

I didn't use them before because I thought they were 'unnatural' or something to my story. So I just didn't use them. Also, I didn't think JK Rowling used any quirks. That's why I thought, "Quirks aren't necessary. JKR's characters are the best I've seen." And then I realized it was because JKR GAVE her characters quirks.

Dumbledore (<3) is the weird powerful wizard. Ron is the ginger, Hermione is the braniac, Madam Pince is crazy about her library books, and Filch has his cats. In fact, JKR's entire world is full of quirks! How about Spello-tape, or Platform 9 3/4, or Hogwarts, named when Ravenclaw had a dream that she was riding a warty hog.

The reason I didn't think her characters had quirks was because they felt so natural to their character. And that is where I tried to come from in my revisions last night. I knew my characters, and I knew their jobs, habits, and passions. Thus, I fitted a quirk specific to their personalities. This is HUGE, otherwise the quirk feels so unnatural, and non-JKR. Make it so it fits to their personality! Quirks make a world and a character endearing.

And, the other huge thing, is that quirks differentiate your characters from each other, and from other literary characters. Unique quirks will tell a reader, "Oh, he's the redhead," or, "Oh, she's the woman with all those rings on her fingers." If you have teachers in your book, it is SO easy for the reader to lose track of all of them. The way JKR did it is with quirks. Snape = mean, Flitwick = small, McGonagall (<3) = strict with the hat, Sprout = fat, stuff like that.

Quirks would help a ton so the reader doesn't go, "Wait, who is he again?" Because trust me, I do the same thing a TON with a lot of books!

Have fun with quirks, because you are enjoying your characters and world! (Also, same goes with world-building. If you have a unique setting, UTILIZE IT to all the quirks it can have. JKR did this fully, and just look where she is right now :).)

I think you can tell I love JKR :)

What quirks do your characters have? Any truly amazing, funny, creative ones that you would love to share? Do you think quirks are helpful?

Saturday, June 23, 2012


The theme of the Guest Bloggers: Unveiling the unique sides of the writing world :)

Anything that the bloggers are really awesome at, they'll blog aboutl I already seen an awesome idea from one guest :) It's bound to be awesome!

So, I can't get on the internet at ALL during the last week of July and first week of August. I literally think I'll be going through withdrawl with 14 days without my book, or without you. I can't even begin to imagine what the state of my Twitter and blog will be at the end of that.... shudder.

 I don't want to stop blogging and then have to revive my blog after 2 weeks of deadness. SO, using the nifty 'scheduled post' option on Blogger, I can schedule posts to appear any time/day/month I want months in advance. Maybe years. Never really tried that out.


I need five guest bloggers for those two weeks to talk about ANYTHING writerly they want! Maybe just a topic you'd love to discuss, or do a little 'debate' to any of the posts I did/will post in the future. Maybe something inspirational, or a life story. Anything! (As long as it is substantial. I will be reviewing the posts before they are published ;))

Steps to Become a Guest Blogger

1. Comment below with your email and I'll shoot you an email. (Keep in mind, if there are too many volunteers, I may have to cut some :( )

2. Follow my blog and/or twitter :)

Woah... I thought there would be more steps than that! I guess not :)

The rest of the instructions will come in the email I send to you once I see you are interested. (This includes the discussion of the post topic.)

July 15th, I think would be good for the deadline for sending in the ACTUAL post draft. Then I can do all the nitpicking and I'll set up the post on my blog. I'll tell you what day you'll be appearing once I get your post.

Comment below if you are interested! As always, if more than 5 people volunteer, PLEASE, volunteer anyway; due to schedule conflicts, they might have to drop out or something, and I'll shoot you an email.

Did I miss anything? Oh yea! I'll include your Twitter and blog url or anything else you wish in your post, because I'd love to spread the word about you :)

 ALSO, this is open to any and all writers, agented, published, or neither.

Comment below to volunteer or if you have any questions! I might raise the number from 5.

Thanks so much guys! I really mean it!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Did Your Revision Make Your Book Sucky?

Disclaimer: This is the post that I wrote yesterday. I meant to combine it with my 'Winners' post but it got too long, and I feel like this is an important post, so here it is right now :) KEEP IN MIND, I wrote this yesterday, and right after major revisions!

This was going to be a "Secrets" post, but I'm way too exhausted to devote the proper brain power to do it. Subscribe so you know when the "Secrets" posts will come :)

I just came back from 1.5 hours of solid revising, so if this blog post is a bit dreary or mean, well... too bad. Just joking. Kind of.

Do you know the revisions that I'm talking about? Where you change one scene in the beginning, and that dominoes into EVERY OTHER PLACE IN THE BOOK. And then you do basically a whole reading to get rid of all those references and you change up the dialogue and all that stuff!

I had to literally re-characterize the antagonist in my book. It was exhausting. And you know what the worst part is? I don't know if my revisions helped. I made my antagonist more caring, and that just sucks, because readers might actually like the antagonist now. And not as in 'respect,' but as in 'ooh, I hope nothing bad happens to her.' And that's not good. Kind of like how I felt about the Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman (go check it out. The Queen was one of the best developed antagonists in films (films) I've seen, second to Anakin Skywalker. He's the epitome of awesome antagonists). But this recharacterization was necessary to my story.

And so, here I am, all worried and anxious.

How can I tell if my revisions didn't make my book sucky?

The answer is that you can feel it. Honestly, I've been shying away from this recharacterization. I KNEW my antagonist was caring, but I didn't want to add it in due to storytelling purposes. But now (I hope) I feel that my revisions will help. I was being true to the story and true to what I felt.

Be true to your story.

Stephen King said that in revisions, you have to take out anything that isn't your story. Well, for me, it was adding stuff ;)

You have to develop your story and tell it how it was meant to be! If you KEEP coming back to it, KEEP reading over what you did, your revision might suck. That means you have that nudge in the back of your head or that gut feeling. Of course, wait a day or two before you consider it; all revisions make writers antsy. Let it simmer and then see if they were good changes. If you revise based on feedback without understanding where the critiques are coming from, your revisions will ring false, they will be phony, and you will not be true to your story.

And that, above all, is poison to your book. Every false revision you make tears apart your book, and that's how I feel about my book right now. But I'll do a reread tomorrow, see if my revisions make sense and how I feel about it. (See last paragraph to know how this turned out). Because if I revise with my brain fried like it is right now, I will do nothing but harm my story.

Wish me luck!

Edit from today: I have now decided to take a break from the chapter that caused me trouble. That means like a day, for me. I just came back from doing some line-editing on other parts of my book, and I feel SOO much better! Also, today in the shower, I was frustrated over the revision I talked about. And the reason was: my revision was not good enough. I solved the problem in the shower just thinking and thinking (and thinking) over it, and I have the plans for the new revisions all in my head. My previous revisions sucked. I'mna give it a few days so I don't do what I call, 'Panic Writing.' Panic Writing is the death of your book, so do NOT write if you feel frustrated or angry with your book. It just makes your revisions sucky.

Wish me luck in my new revisions! Eep! I feel SOO much better now! Contrast to today morning and last night, I actually am starting to like my book again, and I have hope in it :)

What revisions do you shy away from? Do you hate revisions? How do YOU know if your revision worked or not?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winners of 100% Contest!

The winner of last night's contest is......

Actually, two people.

One: Stephanie Adele, with "I am 100% sure you are a cheater! :P" (Mostly because I thought it was really funny and good that it deserved recognition :) )

And two, Peter Burton with a very long list of reasons that you can find in the comments here. Here are the comments if you can't see the link, with my replies underlined. He had a bunch of awesome ones, some I debunked, and others... you decide :) The awesomest ones are below :)

Bald people have no hair growing on top of their heads.
ALL mammals have hair all over their skin; it's just too short to see most of the time. Even if you shave it, there is still a small layer.
Another medical fact: Once a hair follicle has died, it will never grow back, or begin to produce new hairs. So there are NO tiny hair follicles on the truly bald head, which means your explanation is in error, no tiny hard-to see hairs, because no live follicles to grow them. (100% true)

If you walk off of a ten story building on Earth without some external support, you will fall.
Hang glider ;) Not an external support, hehe!
A hang glider IS an external support. (And technically, to get tricksy right back, you are still falling... just at a much slower rate.) (100% true)I hoped you wouldn't have caught that....

Without an opening of some kind, you can not walk through a brick wall.
You might have got me here.....
Yeppers... I do. even if so called phasing existed you would have to use the openings (space) between atoms.

People are getting too smart now adays....
That goes to show, even the 'rule' that "There is no such thing as 100%s" is not 100% true! Thanks all of you for participating! I had tons of fun. See all the other comments and the cheating ways I debunked them right here. Hehehe. EDIT: Check out Kela's comments on that link too. Hers were awesome, but she commented just a bit too late :)

Hope you had fun!

What do you think about the replies? Any that you might be able to debunk right here? Give it a try!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why I don't believe in 100%s (Contest at end!)

I don't. I just don't. There is no fact that is 100% correct. Want to try me?

The Earth is a sphere.
Actually, no: Due to its spinning, there is a slight bulge around the equator.

The Earth orbits the Sun.
Partially. There is another focal point to its orbit, and that is the reason the orbit is elliptical.

Even in science, there is no such thing as 100%s. Facts that we take for laws might be overthrown later on (such as Newton's Gravitational Laws, overthrown by Einstein).

I truly feel that this post is best for ALL aspects of life, not only writing.

I don't believe in words such as 'always' or 'never.' I like 'usually' and 'mostly' a lot better.  In fact, you'll rarely (see, I even did it there) see me use these words in my posts (other than the occasional slip). I get scared when I say these words, because I KNOW that there has been an exception. Because, the truth is, there is no 100%. No deed is ever 100% wrong. Is murder wrong? How about to defend our country? Is betrayal wrong? How about Brutus's betrayal to Caesar, for the benefit of Rome?

Bad books get published, good ones do too. A 200K word debut, and maybe even a 10K hits the bestseller list. SO MANY 'laws' are overthrown all the time!

There are no 'rules'! They are man-made, and like anything else man-made, they are fallible. Whenever anyone says the word 'always' or 'never,' I cringe a little bit, and my trust in that person goes a wee bit down. It is important to appreciate the nuances of grey between the black and white. Writing a book by the letter of the 'law' and rules is, plainly, dumb. Appreciate the grey areas!

If I believed in 100%s, I would have trunked my manuscript the minute I finished the first draft. Why? Because it was 136K long, contained a framing device, a prologue, and a major rule-breaking. In all respects, my book would never have been published.

But little old innocent me thought I could make it better, and I did: it is now 91K (a YA fantasy). I cut the prologue and the framing device, and my rule-breaking is well developed and set up so it doesn't feel (I hope) like a major violation. My book is not in queryable state, something that probably shouldn't have happened. Repeat after me: There are no such things as 100%s!

There ARE things such as trends, and I believe in trends A LOT. This doesn't refer to genre trends; I'm talking about writing styles, success trends, and the 'rules' of writing: one thing that worked for many, many writers time and time again. Trends are the 1%-99%. Trends are LIFE-SAVERS. (But that post will come later.)

Next time you write a extremely critical critique for a friend or feel down about your book, think again. There is no reason something can't be published if one works really hard at it (another thing I really believe in. Reasons will come in future post :) ).The reason less than 2% of writers get published is because the 98% gave up, or believed in 100%s.

Revel in the 2%. Because if the 100% existed, we would have no Charles Dickens. We would have no Dorothy, Narnia, or Middle Earth. And, above all, we would have no Harry Potter. And imagine how horrible life would be then.

What do you think? Should writers, or anyone, think in 100%s?

And now, the dare. Can you come up with anything that is a 100%? Be as witty and ingenious as possible; NO answer is wrong :) (Keep in mind, if you play dirty, I'll play dirty back, hehe.) I'll try my best to refute them, and I'll post the winner (if there is one) tomorrow with my next post. EDIT: You only get one try, so pick your best, and good luck!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why 50 Shades of Gray is a Bestseller

I can just imagine the backlash I'll get for writing this post.  I ran this past a few friends of mine, and I got a little taste of what to expect: They told me not to write this.

But you can never tell a writer to keep quiet :)

50 Shades of Gray, for those of you who don't know, is a erotic adult novel by E. L. James that revolves around wealthy Christian Gray's... exploits with young Anastasia Steele. (For the rest of the summary, go here.) Basically, Gray forces Steele into a bunch of sexual experiments which she finds scary at first, but exhilirating. She loves being submissive.

I can't say it better than Cupcake's (hehe) review on Amazon.

"Is 50 Shades Darker good? Hell to the no, it is not good. But is it entertaining? Yes. Is it hot? Yes. Is it worth reading? Yes..... Do not, however, mistake an enjoyable read for something well written, because this is NOT well written. It's like literary crack. You know it's bad for you, and you feel dirty and low for enjoying it, but you can't stop."

Cupcake, a Top 1000 reviewer on Amazon (who seems incredibly knowledgable about the craft of writing) gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. Why?

And here is where it gets exciting. This book has TONS of faults, mainly: its writing is not the best. Also, people get upset about its origins as a Twilight fan fiction.

Why is this a bestseller, if it is riddled with bad writing and content most people shy away from? Because, it is content most people shy away from. You don't have to admit it (and most of you probably won't) but everyone had their... dreams. James wrote a book that exposed this dream as rawly as possible; she wrote what everyone else shies away from; what they dare not write. She wrote a book as opposite from today's moral standards as possible.

I respect E.L. James. There, I said it (and I'm a guy). I bet all of you are going to attack me now. I respect her not for her writing, but for her raw material and the courage it must have taken to publish this in today's market. I hope in my writing, I can evoke emotions (maybe not the same emotions as in James' books) that are as raw as hers. Mine won't be erotic, but hers was. So what? She didn't do any editing (maybe she went a bit too far in this ;) ) of the 'inappropriate' content of her book. She wrote the book how she felt it. And that paid off.

I ask you, did you, before this book, ever freely discuss some of the fantasies you had with a large number of people? This book opened that gate for so many women (and men) worldwide. JK Rowling said that there is a dark side to humanity, and it is much better to bring it into the light and discuss it rather than ignoring that it ever exists. (If you don't read any other part of this post, read that line.)

I hate censorship. I hate it with a passion, and most people are under the false impression that censorship must be tangible. No. It can take form as the invisible social restrictions on our thought. E.L. James exposed the desires of people worldwide, and she shattered some of those restrictions. She wrote something that everyone else would be afraid to write. And she wrote it rawly: No toning it down. This is why she is a bestseller.

I agree, she could have use a GOOD number of years in writing lessons and she could have used a good editor. But she did wrote most of us would never dream to write (admit it). E.L. James wrote something that we all think about, but we get scared to talk about. She opened up gates of thinking worldwide (read JK Rowling's quote again on why this is important). That is something all writers strive (and mostly fail) to achieve. That is why she is a bestseller.

What do you think? (I'm almost too scared to ask that.)

And don't forget to subscribe for more posts like this! You get free cookies :) Maybe. Not really. But still :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Classics: Crud?

A disclaimer: This is me, presenting a case and thinking about something that has been bothering me. I LOVE classics. Two of my favorite books are classics. I'm just playing a little devil's advocate here. Don't hurt me :)

Let’s face it. Tale of Two Cities, Pride and Prejudice, and Huckleberry Finn would have a CRAZY--if not impossible--time getting published in today’s world. Today’s market calls for tight writing, a tight narrative, and easy reading. Most classics (not counting their old-fashioned style) don't have these qualitites. (We can't use ‘old-fashioned’ writing as a reason against them; in their time, they were modern.)

It’s the ultimate irony: The books we call classics would be laughed at in today’s market.

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE classics. I devour them, and I think writers would benefit SO MUCH by learning from the great writers' techniques. But imagine an agent or an editor today, reading the first 5 pages of Tale of Two Cities. They would laugh at the crazy amount of telling, and send a form rejection without ‘exploring’ the depths and awesomeness (AWESOMENESS) of that novel. To be honest, I do the same thing. I LOVVEEE classics, because I read through the hard writing and find the awesomeness that was promised. But if I picked up an unheard-of book written in the same style, I wouldn't read it, and I would put it down. I wouldn't even try to find the awesomeness in the book.

And Holden Caulfield, of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, would call me a phony.

This troubles me. I read Wizard of Oz so much faster than Wuthering Heights (which I'm still reading--and enjoying!) because Oz is SO EASY TO READ.

Why should some books be considered classics if they would not even be published in today’s market? Why should we read through the ‘overwriting' and search for the depths in the classics, if we wouldn’t do the same thing for the other books? Isn't it kind of hypocritical?

In a way, students are the best critics. A lot of students groan when they have to read classics in class because they know the books have their faults.

Before you come to a conclusion, really think about it. Pretend you read books for fun and never heard of any classics. You read for enjoyment. Would you pick up War and Peace, a 1,000+ page 'classic'?

I'm literally torn over this. Seriously, please, tell me what you think! EDIT from Kendra's comment below:  

The irony is, the classics would be rejected today. I still haven't found an adequate answer to why this happens, and I can't justify it.

If someone (anyone) would like to answer, I'd really love it, because I'm torn.

Do you think the title of 'classics' is slightly hypocritical, if the books wouldn't be published in today's world? How can you justify the irony in this?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Ok, so I usually won't be posting on Sundays, but this is a special day.

It's the day of Arthur Weasley (thanks, Jean Oram :) ), the day of Dr. Manette and.... yea, I don't know too many other famous fictional fathers. (Try saying that three times fast.)

But my father, even though he might get frustrated that I spend a lot of time in front of the laptop when he wants me to go outside, has supported my writing even though he has never read my book. He's an awesome father, full of joy and happiness and he's a little crazy at times too.

Happy Father's Day to all you great fathers out there!

What are your happiest memories of your fathers?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Secret to Being a Bestseller

This is no gimmick. I'm not going to trick you by saying, "Write a good book." Because yes, that's important. Yes, that is CRUCIAL. You need the good plot, good characters, and good writing--it's essential. But, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say you've done all this, because I know you all are great writers.

There is one thing, however, that writers completely FAIL to comprehend at times.


Every major bestseller has broken at least one of the 'unbreakable' rules of writing. And yet, breaking the rules I listed below did not detract from their stories.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (yes, I'm American. No, I don't like Sorcerer's Stone better)? Big word count and starts off with a flashback.

The Da Vinci Code? PLEASE! If there was a bigger violation of "Show, don't tell," I'd like to see it with all the info-dumps in that book.

Tale of Two Cities? Main character dies in the end, and POV shift at the end (And yet, the ending scene is the most beautifully written scene, in my opinion, of all literature (as far as I've read). I LOVVEEEE it. I reread it to this day).

Animal Farm? ...... Seriously? The main characters are PIGS! (In both senses of the word.)

Hunger Games? Written in first person present tense, which was not all that common back then.

Catcher in the Rye? SOOO MUCH internal monologue and ongoing narrative. No plot.

YET, each one of these rule breaks were so WONDERFULLY done!! Tale of Two Cities is the best selling novel, if I remember correctly, of all time; Harry Potter is the best selling series of all time; Catcher in the Rye... it's Catcher in the Rye. It's awesome. And it sells like crazy.

The thing is, writers get so scared of breaking the rules that they don't do it. The thing to realize is, that rules are made to sort out the mediocre. Most people can't write a tight 120K novel. Most can't pull off a main character's death. Most don't have the awesome voice to pull off a load of internal monologue. That's why there are rules--to sort them out. But if they can do all this stuff well, boy, NOTHING will stop them.

If you write within the rules, then you are SET. You will sell loads, and you will get a huge fan base.

But, if you pull off breaking a rule or two, and you do it AMAZINGLY,  you will be on your way towards JK Rowling and Dickens. (On your way. Maybe not at ;)) Do what comes natural to your story, even if it breaks the rules.

Rules help, loads. So please, KNOW THE RULES BEFORE YOU BREAK THEM! I broke tons of rules in my book, and now, in revisions, I'm going back and fixing them. The rules help. Yet, I still have one big rule that I broke. Don't fix something just because the rules mandate it. Don't fix something that makes the story unnatural. Fix it because critique partners have issues with it (get yourself one if you don't have these awesome people). Fix it because YOU know that it is wrong. Don't fix it if you don't understand why.

Rules are in place for the average writer. Many writers can excel at mediocrity. But only a few can be good at difficulty, and once you are, you've reached bestseller status. (Keep in mind the disclaimer at the top of this post.)

"The Secret of Being JK Rowling," "The Secrets of Creativity," "The Secret to Marketing," and many more are coming. Don't forget to suscribe so you don't miss the posts!

So what about you? What rules have you been panicking about that you've broken?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Music, Writing, and Emotions

The strength in your writing will come from the strength in your emotions.

If you feel happy, or excited, it's too hard write a death scene. If you feel sad, you can't write a happy scene. (Which is why I treat my depression moments as gold for sad scenes.) Your emotions will seep into every word you write, so your emotions should match your scene. The best writing comes from passion (you'll see me harp about this a lot).

So, to get your emotions in line, listen to music!

This is my personal way, and if it doesn't work for you, x out that Youtube tab with as much force you can muster. Or rip out those headphones and yell at me. But try it out. Music is known to invoke emotions easily and powerfully. I listen to music before I draft, but not during. The emotions still stay with me and my writing turns out MUCH better.

Which songs match up with which scenes? Here comes something I like to call:

The Musical Chart for Emotional Writing

(Keep in mind, this is only what has worked for me. So find your own songs that you love and add them in.)

Emotion Desired Music to Listen to

Anger ----------------- Any kind of screamo (that you like. Not that hurts your ears).
                                  Personally, I've never listened to screamo, but it might work!

Pain, heartbreak------- Adele. Anything but Rolling in the Deep. (And yes, I am a guy.
                                    But I love Adele. If there is any singer that can sing more
                                    powerfully than her, I'd like to see it. She is so raw in her voice.)
                                    Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song--ping pongs are used for
                                    special sound effects) by Enrique Iglesias. EDIT: From Steph's
                                    comment below, Hymn to the Sea (Titanic soundtrack). I don't
                                    know how I forgot this one!!

Depression------------ Paramore (When it Rains), and Adele (Someone Like You, One
                                   and Only).

Longing--------------- Adele (Hometown Glory). She's just full of all kinds of emotions!

Breaking free -------- Greenday (21 Guns, but it is bittersweet. Still sadness). Adele
                                   (Rolling in the Deep. Rumor Has it. These are happy :) ).

Happiness------------- I don't know.... happiness doesn't move me, unless it's
                                   bittersweet. I don't use it much. F is for Friends by
                                   Spongebob? Or the Campfire song? Yea, that works.

Bittersweet----------- Greenday (21 Guns), Adele (Hometown Glory. I love this one!!!
                                  All about her home (not a guy... or that's what I tell myself.
                                  Cuz all she sings is about that guy. This one mighht pass for her
                                  hometown.). EDIT: From Steph's comment below, Hymn to the
                                  Sea (Titanic soundtrack)

Phew! Yup, that's pretty much it! The songs I allwayssss come back to are Hometown Glory, One and Only, Someone like You, 21 Guns, and When it Rains. They are haunting. And please, I am a guy. I just need to be moved before I write. So there comes Adele!!! I AM STILL A GUY! But I still love her.

JK Rowling burst into tears after she wrote the forest scene in the last Harry Potter book. That kind of emotional investment is something every writer needs.

What do you think about my little list? Any categories you would like to add? Any songs you find yourself coming back to over and over?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Breaking the Blogging Field

It's taken me a while to finally break the blogging field. Quite frankly, it's because I was scared.

Scared to dive in, scared to break the frontier, and above all, scared that it might be pointless. Is it?

Let's think:

Most readers out there will never see your blog when they buy your book. Ask yourself, honestly, how many books you have bought based on seeing it in a blog. Five, at tops? And that's being considerate! I've only looked seriously into one (and ended up not buying it). That is five, out of the (hopefully) hundreds and hundreds of books you have read.

Then why blog?

First, the more practical reason: The number one, number one reason books become bestsellers is by word of mouth. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone had an initial print run of just 500 hardcovers--300 of which went to libraries. (OH YES, you'll see tonnss of HP references in here :) I love it :).) What sold it? Word of mouth. Getting one, even one person to buy your book off of your blog might turn into ten sales.

And then, the funner, happier reason :)

I've come to realize, blogging and networking is to meet other writers. No one else will relate to your querying woes other than writers. This is a place where we hear jokes such as "He's a new writer and he is querying a manuscript on its first draft." We laugh, because we know and relate. We understand the query trenches, the endless revisions, and the futile hopes. We can relate to the feeling of sending your query and feeling like it is just going down a black hole.

Blogging and twitter, all this stuff, is to connect with other writers. Because being a writer is insanity. Being a writer is misery.

And, as we all know, misery loves company :)

(Hm. I quite like that quote. I think I'm going to use it for my little catch-phrase, or pitch, or whatever you call it. Yay :).)