Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Goals and Affirmations

First, I managed to whack out some words on the computer today. Whew. Writing goal met. Personal life goal of going to the gym? Nope. Too busy catching up on errands after I finished writing.

As I write, I am reading Maass's book, WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL. Much of what I read challenged me, forced me to think in many directions regarding this book, my life (hey, I can apply the principles to real life battles), and my future writing.

First illumination from Maass:

How can you catch the mood of our times? ... be sure that your breakout novel will speak to contemporary readers? By being awake to life as it is around us. By living in our times... How can you engage your readers in your fictional world if you, the author, are not engaged in your own world?

Oh, how true these words are to me. I cannot draw from a wellspring of NOTHING. I am committed to the world at large, I fight my battles, I read the newspaper, I have opinions (many I keep secret here, but they crop up in my writing on a regular basis). I LIVE.

This knowledge gives me hope. Writing in a vacuum is not for me. I must engage in the world around me as I am one who needs the interaction. I love to hear people's stories, their histories, their reasons for their choices. I love to talk, but only to disarm others. I want to hear their stories. I care about humanity. I believe in justice. I fight for it in my community as a parent and a citizen.

Every once in a while, I wish I could just turn off this need to make a difference, however small or large, in people's lives. I can't do it. This drives me. Gives me purpose. I believe this drives my writing and gives me purpose in my writing, too.

Yes, I am new. I only have four books... the first one is badly written, the second one is not so bad, the third one is affirming my efforts as a writer, and current WIP is a constant surprise to me. But this current WIP, while difficult and painful to write, is exciting me because I'm attempting to push past the boundaries and build my writing muscles.

... the moral underpinning ... comes from within (me).

I remember struggling for this story to emerge again after a bad critique. And I went back to the basics. At the bottom, underpinning it all, I knew why I had to write the story. And it boiled down to my characters and the depth of their emotions wells up from mine. I'm in love with my characters. The rest of the book, the plot and the setting, is building around them.

In 2009 I learned a lot, and I experienced a lot of firsts. I loved getting so close to the idea of being published and finding an agent. Oh, the heady joy of it all. But the greatest lesson I learned was to push the envelope as a writer. To find that well within me. To patiently mine my heart and emotions and history for a greater story.

And this learning will continue.


Kristi said...

Thanks for sharing! Good words all of us writer's would be good to remember! I too need the world and life around me for inspiration...which is why I'm addicted to blogging!

Christine said...

Hi Kristi, thanks for dropping in! I agree, blogging keeps me connected to the world in so many ways. Professionally and personally. I know it's easy to get wrapped up in our writing and hide in our private worlds, but we haven't got words if we don't go out and engage.

Maass's book is very good. Right now, I feel it's pointed out a few things that I need to address where I am weak as well. Details: texture, shape, sound, sight, setting (I am a lazy researcher) and world building. I used to think of world building as only the realm of paranormal/fantasy/Sci Fi/thriller/spy stuff. But now I realize it is about small towns, people, ordinary places made alive that draw the readers into the story and give them life.

Gwen Hernandez said...

I'm always tempted to become a social recluse, but you're right. If I hideout, I won't be able to relate to the characters I need to create.

Good post. Keep stretching!

(My verification word is: protart. I think I'm offended. ;-) )

Christine said...

Pro Tart! I love it. I'm laughing so hard and grinning ear to ear. I just finished another chapter of Maass's book. Keeps me thinking. I have A LOT of layering to do when I finish laying down the story. That's good. Layers add words LOL.

Gwen Hernandez said...

"Layers add words"

I'm counting on it for my current MS!

--Pro Tart

Christine said...

You know you'll never lose that handle now that you've accepted ownership. Yeah, layering in helps. But then we have to back with the silk polish and revisit our favorites: it, then, at, some... sigh sigh sigh.