With all the craziness of the world, I have pretty much tuned out to video media. I haven’t turned on the TV screen for over six weeks. I am sure it’s a passing thing, but I am listening to more podcasts and getting in more reading time.
My new year of writing and teaching is off to a great start. On January 6th, I signed an agreement with the Arizona State Library Association to become the 2017 Summer Writer in Residence at Scottsdale Public Library. I will be providing a series of six creative...
The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Here is a quick recent author appearances recap. First, I attended the Cirque du Livre Writers Conference in Mesa, where I presented on with Alan Black, Deena Remiel, and Tom Leveen on topics that included creating antagonists readers love to hate, the best path forward on your publishing journey, and my process for developing a strong reader pitch. I also co-presented a first page read panel with Tom Leveen, where we gave on the spot critiques to writers. Of course, I also attended some great sessions on dialogue (Tom Leveen and Bruce Davis) and marketing (Deena Remiel and Alan Black) to name a few.
You are a writer. You either write, or you want to write. And if you are truly serious about it, you study and hone your craft.
You go to the library and check out all the writing books. Especially the ones written for your chosen genre. You read about plot and character development. You learn about manuscript formatting and submitting to agents. You learn the difference between active and passive writing.
Plot points, crisis, and climax, oh my! I have been reading up on plotting, taking a deep dive into process and techniques, attempting to distill the information that others have provided in books like The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen, and The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman into something that I can easily absorb and make part of my ingrained writing process and inform my teaching process, as well.
This is not the first time I have delved into plot at this level. A couple of years ago, I published an essay about plot called “Plot Isn’t Just a Four-Letter Word,” You can find it on line here for free.
When writing, I start from character, not simply because I think it’s a great place to start—although, for me, it’s mostly character engagement that keeps me reading (or writing) a book or story—but more so because that’s just the way my brain works.
So, when describing the landscape/creating the setting for the book, everything I see is filtered through the eyes of my characters. This is a huge plus in developing voice and for showing the character’s emotional journey, because the world the reader sees is from the perspective of the characters living in and experiencing it.
Making emotional connections through writing is always at the top of my list of goals, whether I am writing poetry or prose.
When I tell people I am a writer, I get the usual questions and responses. “What have you published?” “Someday, I’ll write something.” “I wish I had time to write.”
For me, writing isn’t something I want to have done. It’s something I need to do, and not just “when I have the time.”
I have been writing for years, in journals, on napkins and little scraps of paper, hoping to reach out and touch someone with my words, hoping to connect, and always finding some understanding of my own feelings and emotions.