Friday, November 15, 2013

Some Writing Advice. Some Detours.

The other day, my publisher and I had one of our fun (and sometimes slightly whacky) conversations. It was about blogging, and what to blog about, and my reluctance to write blog posts.

This is part of it
Publisher: Oh good grief. You're an award-winning author. And people also want to know about your life. Really!

Anyway. Who wants to know about my life? Hands up, please!
See? What I said. No one. And that's a good thing, because there really isn't much to talk about.
That will change next year though, the moment after I've bought my tickets and get ready to travel to Canada and the US again.

I really wanted to visit friends in the south and west of the US next year and see Atlanta, Oklahoma (yes, all that red dirt!) and California. Los Angeles, I've never been to Los Angeles, and I've always dreamt of going there. Also, Sacramento! I wanted to drive up Highway No. 1 along the California coast and see the redwood forest! And I wanted to buy a Hollywood Starbucks mug. Sniff.

My silly wayward brain decided otherwise. And this is where my life and my writing overlap, and in real-time. too.
I'd just finished the newest of the Stone Series books, and somehow my mind was straying. It was moving away from Jon and Naomi Stone, and into a world that was totally different.
For a while, I ignored that call.

Let me take a brief detour here.
One of my most heartfelt writing advices is, "trust your gut". I learned that when I was writing The Distant Shore. My gut told me to have someone shoot Naomi and wound her nearly fatally, and all because she was Jon Stone's wife. It took me a long time to figure out why my gut insisted on this. I tried to move away from that scene and its consequences, but it just sat there like a Mack truck and refused to move away.
Naomi had to be shot. 
She had to be shot to show how deep and strong her love for Jon really was. Whatever happened to her had to be extreme, painful, devastating, and overcoming it had to be painful beyond measure.
Some readers have said that Naomi whines a lot in the sequel, Under the Same Sun.
Hello? SHOT? Traumatized? I want to see one person who wouldn't whine in that situation. I knew I would!
Okay, digressing again. But the point here is, I listened to my instincts. As wild and crazy as the idea sounded, it made total sense once it was written. Naomi had to be shot. And she had to overcome that trauma in the second book. End of story.

Okay. Where were we? Right. Writing advice.
I'm going to dispense writing advice. Here we go.

1. Trust your instincts.

2. Trust your instincts.

3. Trust your instincts.

4. Please drop that "aspire" out of your profile. Please. If you'r writing, you're a writer. Period.

5. Don't write what you think the market wants. Write what your heart wants. Be bold! That's the only way to be sure that it will be any good.

6. Finish one project before starting the next.

7. Finish one project before starting the next.

8. Finish that project already! The ideas for the new one aren't going anywhere, right? After all, they're in your head. And the last I've heard, we control what's in our head. Well, more or less.

9. Start worrying about agents and publishers after your novel is finished (which means, written, edited, edited, and edited.). How can you possibly know which agent or publisher to approach before your book is even written? 

10. Have fun! If you don't have fun writing, don't do it. Because it would be an immense waste of your time.

So there. Writing advice, from an award-winning author.

PS: My twitter handle is Mariam_Kobras now, if you want to follow.