Monday, January 31, 2011

Reckless, by Cornelia Funke

I was dreaming I was an Egyptian slave (wearing Cleopatra eyeliner) washing my husband's underclothes on a 19th century washboard, when William woke up for his 4:45 morning bottle.

Now I can't go back to sleep. I blaim the washboard. I liked the eyeliner. It was hot.

Instead, thoughts about the current book I'm reading filled my sleepless mind.

Reckless, by Cornelia Funke.

Picking up this book based solely on reviews from Goodreads, I was excited when I brought it home from the library. Then I realized it was by the same author that wrote Inkheart, a book I had a very hard time getting into.

It made me hesitant to read Reckless.

So I was pleasantly surprised when from the first chapter I was hooked. Funke's opening paragraph is simply poetic.

The night breathed through the apartment like a dark animal. The ticking of a clock. The groan of a floorboard as he slipped out of his room. All was drowned by its silence. But Jacob loved the night. He felt it on his skin like a promise. Like a cloak woven from freedom and danger.


The heavy conflict and action is immediate. It sucked me right in.

But having such immediate, dramatic conflict and action can be a double edge sword.

Now I'm to the middle. And although I'm still enjoying it, I am not at all attached to the characters. Which is making the middle drag.

Even with a plot's conflict rising, if a reader isn't emotionly invested in the characters there is only so far the stakes can go. And frankly, I feel the same way about the protagonist as I do the antagonist. Blah.

Will I stop reading? No. I'm still enjoying the story.
Will this book stick with me after reading? Probably not.

But that's the best thing about being an author. Experimenting. Playing with plot. Playing with the structure of a story. Playing with the characters. And that's what Funke did. She made the story how she wanted it. Bravo.

"Read - and be curious. And if somebody says to you - 'Things are this way. You can't change it.' - don't believe a word."
- Cornilia Funke

Now, maybe I can go back to sleep. If not, I'll play with my black eyeliner instead.

Words written last week - 4580
Word Goal this week - 4800

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Writing By Candlelight

I'll admit, tonight when I finally had time to write I wasn't looking forward to it. It felt like another thing to get checked off my day's To Do list.

So I decided to try something different. Taking candles from our fireplace, I locked myself in my dark bedroom and let the small flames transport me to my characters' world.

One stubborn flame kept flickering, nagging at me. Just like all the holes I'm seeing in my manuscript's plot as I'm writing the rough draft.

But the steady flames, from the other five candles, burned steady; pushing me to plow through this messy middle. And leave the holes for revision.

I think I'll write by candlelight more often.

Weekly Word Goal - 3500
Words Written So Far - 3072

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Becoming An Author Each Day

"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day."

-Richard G. Scott

Yeah, I kinda suck at that. You know, the whole actually doing what we need to so we become what we want to EACH day.

Wow, that felt very irreverent to put the word 'suck' in the same post as a Richard G. Scott quote. But there's no other word that I can think of to describe just how horrible I am at doing something EACH day.

I know of published writers who consistently write each day (weekends, holidays, and birthdays included). And then there are others that write in large spurts after seasons of drouts. Obviously, it works both ways.

With me I've noticed that if I write every day I think about my book more throughout the day, and I'm excited to write again the next day. But if I don't write every day then writing becomes a chore.

Jeni, in my critique group, gave me the great idea of having a weekly word goal. So, on those crazy days when you only have time to maybe write a paragraph (and that's pushing it) you are still reaching for a goal that week.

My goal this week is 3500. I have 1482 already written.

What are your goals that you are working on (writing or not). And how do you work at attaining them?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Life As A Writer

For the past five years I've dabbled in writing.

Here and there I'd write a partial manuscript, only to give up when it became too frustrating.

I'd attend a writer's conference, feed off the energy and resolve to write more. But of coarse, the conference energy would fizzle and die, right along with my writing goals.

But then the best thing happened. It took four and a half years, but I found a constructive writers group that literally meets a mile from my home. Who would think finding a good writers group would be difficult? But it is. To find writers who have the same goals and inspire you by their determination is a lot harder than most would think.

Once a month we meet. We critique each others manuscripts, talk about books we've read, and encourage each other. And each month I am rejuvenated in my goal to write.

Except for last night. As I read everyone else's manscripts my frustration in my own writing grew. I've learned so much, but connecting what I've learned into my writing is extremely difficult. And I know its because I've spent more time learning and not enough time doing.

So this blog will mark the beginning my journey of self discovery as an author. I hesitate to call myself that. An AUTHOR. Who am I to call myself that? And then, like Gaylene quoting Martine Leavitt last night, "I'm a Child of God." And because I know that, I know I can do anything I want if I put in the time and the work. And I want to be an author.