Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Random Thoughts

I'm entitling this post Random Thoughts because I will be all over the place.

My eleven hour, 14 page writing spree the other day has shown me that I can keep the quota that I set for myself on New Year's, however I did say it was probably crap. It wasn't really all that bad but I did make a huge mistake and I could kill myself because now I have to go back and do some more research on the time period. I thought I had a really great idea going with the railroad and I found out the railroad didn't exist in 1816 so I am now, what I lovingly refer to as being screwed. It was such a great idea, and as a panster it saved me from doing the research but now...well...not so much. I don't mind doing the research but it takes away from the writing and I wanted to, well, just get it done. Time for rewrites.

And Dominique suggested the other day that subconsciously I made my MC sick because I myself was feeling poorly. I hadn't thought about it but it was true. And it gave the story arc a whole other dimension and a place to go that I also hadn't thought of. It put a twist into the story that works very well, allowed the MC's to discover their true feelings and leads to the climax in a much better way than I anticipated. So I guess I did a good thing after all.

Some of the blogs I read post excerpts and I have also done the same. It's a scary thing, for me anyway, to think the whole world (or at least my eight "friends") can read what I've written. I've gone to Sarah's blog (Writing in the Wilderness) for the last few days to discover a dark, war torn world, and was totally blown away. Stop by and read it, it will make you wonder, at least it made me wonder, if what I'm writing isn't trite and stupid and just not even in the same league. And I know I'm not in the same league, hell, I'm not even in the same genre, but the emotion and the visual in her work was just so fantastically amazing I'm almost ready to give up my keyboard and go back to flipping hamburgers. (Okay, maybe not hamburgers but her writing is so...I can't even describe it...it made me want to hang up my pen.) Do you ever read what someone else (not someone famous but another regular person like ourselves) has written and thought to yourself, "I can't do this anymore. I'm not good enough." I have but I'm also a Taurus and stubborn as hell and I think to myself, well, 'If she can do it so can I.' And even though we do write in two different aspects, I think I can bring a sort of literary edge to my work, even if it is romance. I think.

My story for the Genre Wars was written from a man's POV, something I had never done before. In my past lives I have done man's work, for awhile I did landscaping and carpentry, I also was in the automobile industry working for a transportation company. Let me just say, being around all kinds of men and listening to what they have to say, about life, and love, and women, had an effect on the way I think about life in general as well. Which is why, I thought, the ending to my short story for the Genre Wars was apt. Someone said (I'm not going to tell you who and I'm probably misquoting) that it wasn't what they expected...the resolution left them feeling the story wasn't finished. And I said, "But those are the kinds of men I know." I'm showing my age here but remember the old Lucky Strike commercials on television, "I'd rather fight than switch." In my story, Owen would rather go fishing than try and deal with his emotions about his girlfriend. Men I know, do that. They fish to escape their angst. I don't really know if it's as good as chocolate but hey, whatever works I guess.

Which sort of in a round about way leads me to Simon's post from this morning. He wrote a post from a woman's POV which was totally dead on. (My only conclusion is that he must have been a waitress in a former life, or had attended 10,000 weddings in the 80's.) I write from different POV's in most of my stories because they're romance and you need that, but it's only a quick blurb here and there, mainly I stay in the female MC's head. Do you find it harder to write from your own gender's perspective or the other? Sarah seems to have no problem with writing from a man's POV. And now Simon has no problem writing from a woman's. I don't exactly know what I'm trying to say here but I find it really interesting.

And what about reading books? I used to read all the time. It was my escape from the mundane, the stressful, the life I used to lead. Throughout my teens and 20's I read trashy romance. In my 30's when I went back to college I had to read literary (thank God I found Henry David and Hem). In my 40's I had a baby and pretty much haven't read the way I used to. I used to devour books, one a day at least. (True, I read exceptionally fast.) But I digress. I did read one book awhile back, it was women's fiction by a famous author and I was not impressed. She's had movies made from her work and was/is a bestselling NYT author with accolades and all that, but I'm sorry, I just wasn't that into her. I've also, (within the last 5 years) read other books by famous bestselling authors (women's fiction and romance -- contemporary and historical) and I just couldn't believe they could write such crap. One historical romance author totally blew my mind that she could let her work go to press with as many typo's and awful sentence structures as she did for one book of hers I read. And the resolution totally SUCKED. I wanted to write to her and say, "If this is YOUR best work, then why can't I be published." I felt sorry for her. Or rather, for the people reading her stuff. I know I won't bother reading her again. There has to be some kind of standard, especially in historical romance, but how could that publisher (BIG BIG NY Pub) print what she wrote? Was it all about the money? Just to get her book out and see how many copies she could sell through? Or was it just because the bar has been set so low now that any piece of garbage (and I'm sorry, but to me it was just that - garbage) can be published. Not according to the blogs I read and the rejections I've gotten.
And this book was only published a few years ago.

Okay, I think I've gone on long enough. I told you I had a lot to say even though it didn't mean anything. Thanks for stopping by.


Simon C. Larter said...

Thanks for the mention, good lady. I don't know if I have any tricks for getting into the opposite gender's head. I just try to write a character and hope it turns out well. I guess it does, in some cases.

Men and women think differently, yes, but we share the same emotions and perceptive machinery, so the inner similarities are there for the exploiting. That's my take, anyway. Others' mileage may vary. :)

arlee bird said...

Wow you did have a lot to say there. Why don't you just let your good idea about the railroad go on and maybe noone will notice and if they do they're nitpickers anyway and nobody will probably no but them unless they're some kind of huge famous critic but who reads those people anyway. I wish I could read faster. But, then again, if I did read faster I would probably read a lot a crappy books with typos.

Dominique said...

Whenever I read a book that I think is awful and I can't imagine how it got published, I remind myself that no matter how bad a book is, there is someone out there who loves it. Not everyone can love everything.

sarahjayne smythe said...

Thank you so much for the very kind words.

I read things written by my friends and others in my circle all the time that make me wonder who I’m kidding, who I’m trying to fool as I pretend to be a writer because they all make me feel inferior in that realm. So don’t feel too alone there.

And there is nothing stupid or trite about your work. You write from the heart and that’s never stupid or trite. I also agree with you and think that if you want to bring a literary edge to your writing, you are more than capable of that.

As for POV, I’ve written from both for a long time now, and I don’t remember really having a problem with that. My problem early on was flipping POVs which drove my beta crazy.

Piedmont Writer said...

Simon -- thanks for stopping by, always a pleasure to have you here. As they say back home "You're so smaht" (Think Boston accent)

Arlee Bird -- Hello, thanks for coming by, it's nice to have a new face here. I wish I could let the railroad go on as I intended but too many people would notice, editor's included and that would be a big no-no if I let misinformation get into my story. I have to try to be as historically accurate as possible.

Dominique -- yes, after I read what I wrote I knew it was wrong because yes, indeed, there is someone out there who loves her writing, obviously, or she wouldn't be a best-selling author. I was just so horrified at the thought the publisher would have sent it to press without even correcting the blatant mistakes it made me cringe for the author. If a publisher/editor ever did that to me I would pitch an unholy fit. Unless of course the author didn't care and was only doing it for the money, then shame on her. If you don't care about what you write, then you shouldn't be a writer.

Sarah -- I've got to figure out whether I flip POV's or not. I write the way I've seen it done in my historical romance genre so I guess it's okay. Once I get Mismatched finished I'll know for sure. Masquerade was written with each of the MC's POV in a separate scene so that wasn't so bad. But in Mismatched, there's a lot more stuff going on. Thanks for stopping by.

Lady Glamis said...

Anne, I apologize if my reaction to your story didn't gel. I think the ending was just fine, even if it's not what I would write or expect out of the end. I think it puts across a very good point. I just have this annoying philosophy that fiction doesn't always have to mirror reality. Thing is, you did it well in your story, and if it works it works. Apparently it worked. It's getting published. :)

I like all your random thoughts here. As far as wanting to give up when I read other people's work, that happens to me all the time. It's just part of the game. I figure that if I can't be happy with my work for what it is, how can I be happy with anything in my life? I'll just always be miserable. Some days are better than others. And sweetie, your writing is beautiful. Don't ever let anybody - especially yourSELF - tell you otherwise. Just keep writing, keep making it better and better in your eyes. That's all any of us can do.

I think I know which author you're talking about with the movies being made of her work. I have one of her books at my bedside. I haven't been able to pick it up for 6 months to read it. It just doesn't interest me much. We'll see when I finally pick it up one day.

Ah. POV. Yeah. I don't know how that works. Did Nick's POV work? I'm assuming it did. How on earth do I write from the POV of a 50 year old guy? Who knows. I just do. And you did so well with your story that I thought a guy wrote it. Simon's right about that in his comment - we share the same emotions and perceptive machinery.