Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm back!

[For those of you who don't recognize the reference to Terminator, may I recommend you do some pop-culture research? ;) ]

Finally! It has been a long, exhausting summer! I have so much cool info that I've learned and would love to share. So I think I'll just jump right in.

New important (and very cool) things I'm learned from self-editing books:

1 - Muses don't write books...writers write books.
I've heard many writers claim that they aren't getting anywhere because their Muse hasn't really been speaking to them. I know that sense of inspiration, but it doesn't write the books, we do. The one thing that I've found to be foolproof in drawing out that hermetic Muse, is sitting down and writing. You write down one too many lines leading the story in the wrong direction... and suddenly you'll have the Muse stomping her feet on your keyboard.

2 - Know when to take a break.
As wonderful and dedicated as it is to have and follow a daily writing minimum... it can sometimes be detrimental to the story. If you, for example, are suddenly feeling the urge to kill off the main character and you're only one-third through the story--take a break. If your villain wants to go pick out drapes for the evil lair, unless your villain is pure evil masquerading as Martha Stewart--take a break.

It is important to note that taking a break is not necessarily a break from writing altogether. It can also be a move to a different project for a little while. Let the ideas ruminate and you'll be surprised what brilliance you stumble upon when you come back to it later.

3 - Doubt first, ponder later.
Everyone has opinions. It is the given right of man and woman. The choice we have is what to do with others' opinions of our work. My advice is this, doubt first...ponder later.

Here is an example: Let's say you are making homemade pizza. You have pepperoni, sauce, cheese... everything you need to make it delicious. Then someone approaches you and says, "You know what would make that pizza better? Tuna fish. Leave off the pepperoni and put on tuna fish instead. Would you immediately do it? Of course not, it sounds absurd. Who would put tuna fish on pizza when they could have pepperoni?

Before you even considered it, you would want the idea to prove itself to you. You would want your reasoning within your own mind to agree with the logic of the suggestion. You don't just go around throwing out perfectly good pepperoni just because someone told you to.

This is how I recommend you approach every piece of advice about your work. Doubt it, make it prove itself to you, ponder it and all it's ramifications. Often, it might be correct, but never assume it is. No one else can write your story the way you can. Make sure you are committed to every change you make. Don't stubbornly stick to your guns, but don't give away the farm either. (haha... gotta love cliches in a post about writing, but I can't put them in my book! They have to come out somewhere!)

That's all for today. I hope you got something out of it.

By the way, tuna pizza is divine... but I argued with my husband for a full month before I tried it. ;)


  1. Welcome back!
    I've never subscribed to the "muse" phenomena and never had to deal with a "muse" sitting on my shoulder making me write or keeping me from writing. Maybe that's a good thing?

  2. I've never used the term muse, but I definitely know it's easier to write when inspiration hits. Like you mentioned, sometimes you just have to start writing for inspiration to truly come.
    And I love the pizza analogy - very cute but very true!

  3. Thanks Melissa! Yeah, it is a good thing and it looks like you are getting the job done on your own! ;) Good luck with the new exciting WIP :)

    MeganRebekah - Thanks! Yeah, the pizza was a huge surprise... as are some of the edit suggestions I end up using. ;)

  4. That's some good advice. But tuna pizza? Hmm...I'm not so sure.

  5. Cindy - LOL, my thoughts exactly ;) But, hey... don't knock it until you try it.

  6. I just ordered pizza! But no tuna. Welcome back! Cliches and all. :)

  7. Glad you're back. Saw your mono tweet. :(

  8. Great post. I couldn't agree more about taking a break.

    Welcome back.

  9. Karen - Pizza, with anything on it, is worth celebrating :D

    Angie - thanks! Yeah, it stinks. I'm getting tested for it on Wednesday.

    Patti - thanks! :) and yes, breaks are definitely necessary at times. The trick is knowing when to take them. :P

  10. You have such wonderful advice!:) Welcome back!

  11. Thanks Chantele! :) You guys are all great. I feel very welcomed.

  12. Welcome back!

    I've been on a break myself, so I understand the feeling. Hard as it is sometimes, it just has to happen.

  13. Thanks! Yeah, breaks are a good thing... in moderation. ;)

  14. Glad you're back! I hope everything is ok with your family. Tuna, huh? Is that Finnish?

  15. Great tips! Someone else posted about the muse today. Can't remember who, but I enjoyed both posts. I believe in the muse, but I don't think it writes the books. It just makes it easier. Maybe it's more about the mood than the muse, though. If you are in the mood to write, the words just flow better.

  16. Carrie - Thanks! Everything is going pretty well with the fam :) and yes... I think it is Finnish. ;)

    Lazy Writer - Totally agree with your opinions on the muse... thanks for stopping by. :)

  17. Tuna pizza? I can't even imagine. Fresh tuna, I assume?

  18. You've given great advice! I particularly needed to hear the "decide first, ponder later" one. I'm horribly indecisive.

    And I've never given much credit to a muse. I just don't think that's how it is for me.