Having a summer home (Blogspot) and a mansion (Weebly.com) to clean, dust and move stuff around has taken its toll on my writing time. Here at Blogspot, I have to run outside each time to see where things are, move them again and run back outside. Over there at Weebly, I click on the image and it asks me where I want it moved or donate it to cyberspace goodwill. That place is such a joy to play around in. You should check them out: http://weebly.com and set up your own FREE website that is actually dummy friendly. I told one lady about it and she set one up in a hurry...even though she hasn't a clue how to build a website (professionally looking at that).
So, for anyone who is still following me here at Blogspot, I am sorry, but my time is mostly spent writing the sequel to Encore and setting up permanent residence over at Weebly.com. Soon, I hope to shut this one down and move my summer home to Wordpress (very impressed with it).
Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer and staying cool while writing your masterpieces.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Monday, July 9, 2012
Everywhere we look, someone has "expert" advice, a list of tips of what to do and what not to do, or suggestions on how to market our books once we reach that stage of our writing careers.
The old expression about not being able to see the forest for the trees is so true. When we are so deep within the woods, whether it is our writing, our marriages, our jobs, or whatever situation overwhelms us or takes up so much of our time that we feel lost, many tend to give up.
For the past ten years, I have been writing poetry, short stories, notes on the backs of receipts or napkins, and novels. I keep notebooks everywhere (along with a collection of reading glasses now so I don't waste time searching for them when a brilliant idea strikes me), in the bathroom, on my nightstand next to my bed, in my purse, and in my car.
During this period of time, many hours have been spent in editing, revising, and studying, reading, and searching for all those "expert" advice tidbits. There are so many out there. Where does one begin? We begin with one tree at a time. After a while, we learn how to identify the different trees and determine their worth in our unique journey. We learn how to sort through and decide which trees are valuable to our genre, our personal quest in writing, or how we measure success.
In contemplating the forest, I reflected on my earlier writing while editing my very first completed novel (which is now a four-book series: The Corundum Empire) and realized that in all the learning, reading "on-writing" books by the greats such as King and Morrell, and getting my very own leather-bound copy of Strunk & White Elements of Style, I have learned how NOT to write.
By that, I mean - I have learned more over the past decade on how NOT to write than how to write:
Don't write in passive voice.
Don't repeat phrases or words.
Don't mix tense.
Don't tell, show.
Don't head hop with point of view.
At first, I had no clue what passive voice meant. After discovering that MS Office Word has a setting to identify our passive voice sentences, I began learning just what they were and my writing improved. Same as with all the other "don't's," I began avoiding them so the revisions wouldn't be as big of a job. My writing has changed dramatically since that first novel was drafted. I printed it out in my vanity, thinking I was a real author. The current edition of The Corrundum Empire is not the same book, and I am not the same writer.
I think one of the biggest things I learned in all the DON'T's of writing is this...
DON'T EVER GIVE UP!
(see this blog and more at http://lucindabilya.weebly.com)
Posted by Lucinda Bilya at 8:08 PM
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Ask the question, “Why did you take this class?”
Now imagine some of the answers they would give to that question.
“For fun,” one student may say while shrugging their shoulders as if they have no idea why they signed up for the class.
That answer is one that we must agree with, but there are times that it isn’t so much fun, right? How about all those re-writes and editing, only to realize that your work and effort do not measure up. There are times when writing is not always fun and games. However, the rewards are cause for great rejoicing.
“It’s easy,” another student says while slouching down with a cell phone hidden under his desk. “It’s an easy English credit.”
Here you remind the student that there is nothing easy about writing, if done correctly. None of the arts, dancing, singing, painting, or writing is easy. They all require practice, drive, setting goals, practice, study, practice, re-working, practice, dedication, and did I mention practice? All successful artists of any sort have dedication, determination and spend years perfecting their craft.
A singer on stage didn’t hop up there from the audience unpracticed. A painter did not one day grab a paintbrush and create a masterpiece without first learning the craft. Dancers do not move with the music as if a part of it without first spending long hours practicing the steps. A successful writer does not one day decide to sit down at a typewriter and create a NY Best Seller without any knowledge of the craft, the industry, or the audience.
“I like to write,” a shy student on the front row of the classroom answers.
Now, there is a student with a valid reason for signing up for the class. They like to write. Write the answer on the chalkboard (oh, that’s right…today it is a dry erase board, or computer screen projector, or some other “board” in front of the class. Chalk is so dated).
I like to write.
Then you edit it: I love to write.
Then you edit it again: I enjoy writing.
Then you rewrite it: I have a passion for writing.
Then you rewrite it again: My passion for writing has become an obsession.
Then you get crazy: Writing drives me crazy and I must write!
Finally, you write with calm and deliberate ease on the board: I like to write.
That is creative writing. Writing stories takes us down many avenues and many different routes to get to the same basic thing: putting into words our passions, our feelings, our fears, and our ideas. There are many ways to say the same thing, but sometimes we have to get more creative.
King Solomon once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” So, we must get creative in HOW we write it. That is why love stories and detective mysteries will never go out of style. People love them. Vampires? Exactly! Same old Dracula movies for years until…brand new sparkling vampires that we can love rather than fear. Vampires are as old as dirt, pardon the pun, but take an old idea and twist a new concept around it. Get creative.
So, why do you write? Why did you embark upon this journey down a road filled with detours, side roads, potholes, and road construction?
(I deliberately avoided the answer, "To make money" because that is not a wise reason for writing novels. As a member of the Starving Artist's Society, I know that writing for the money is merely a pipedream, a "winning the lotto" frame of mind.)
Posted by Lucinda Bilya at 7:40 AM