Thursday, May 16, 2013

Are You Talking to Me?: Three things a writer needs to hear

This morning when I browsed the topics of some of my favorite blogs I had that feeling the stars had aligned (let's make it starfish since that is the photo I found!) to talk about what I needed to hear today.  But I didn't really know what I needed to hear...until I heard it.  In three different blog posts I thought...are you talking to me? 

After I digested what I needed to hear I realized I could turn it around and admit to a few unspoken doubts that probably every writer thinks in the midst of writing a story. 

1.  Why do I want to write a story with a heroine who makes "risky" choices.  What if a reader doesn't find her sympathetic and thinks "how could she do THAT?"

 What Is Your Take-Away - Thinking about theme in writing - from Babbles from Scott Eagan

"As a writer, you dictate what you want the reader to leave with. It is your decision to focus on certain scenes, have your characters say certain things and have certain behaviors to get your message across. These can be subtle or pretty straightforward."
When I think about what I want the reader to take away I'm reminded why I want to write the story.  I can be brave with including THAT.

2.  What if my fantasy setting and plot for my romance is too different.

One day, After All the Editors Went Home, the Slush Pile and an Abandoned Marketing Research Plan Partied Hard - by Carolyn at The Risky Regencies

"As the publishing ecosystem continues its transformation, we’ll see Indie authors do riskier things with their stories — and they can do it because they don’t have to listen to anyone tell them they can’t publish a story with THAT in it."

 When I think about adding THAT into my story, I'm reminded how THAT can be anything. 

3.  Have I said too much or not enough for the reader to "get it," whether "it" is conveying a sympathetic character choice or a believable setting and plot?

 Are You an Over-Writer or an Under-Writer? Revision Tips - by Margo Dill at Wow!: Women on Writing

"...writing is hard."

It is, isn't it. 

Trust me, I'm including a link to that post for more than the nugget of wisdom "writing is hard." But some days that really is what a writer most needs to hear!  A sympathy card now and then would be nice too.

And some days I think it's a writer's own fault.  It's hard because of the risky choices!  Characters who do the "wrong" thing, settings and plots that are "too different."  Must we make it so hard?  Yeah, we kind of do.  Because if we don't have all those layers, we will have a much harder time with over-writing and under-writing, which is that temptation to either explain (a lot) or go the other way and be very stingy.  Put another way, we get bored. 

Only after I read all three of these blog posts did I appreciate how well they correlate with each other.  I do want the writing to be "hard" if that means complicated enough to know what kind of theme the story has, or what I want the reader to take away (see #1).  I appreciate the theme for helping me "focus on certain scenes, have my characters say certain things and have certain behaviors to get my message across" and ultimately guide the toning down of over-writing and amp up under- writing.  And yes, I love to be reminded that I'm an Indie writer.  Yes, I can put THAT into my story.

Are there days when you think the stars align to tell you what you need to hear?  


  1. I think the stars (or starfish!) are always lining up to tell me stuff. And sometimes I even listen. LOL Writing IS hard. Some days it doesn't FEEL hard, though, so it can trick us into thinking we're failing somehow when we hit those hard times. I actually just finished a blog post about being able to write what we want, and how the majority of my favorite reads lately have been indie stories, from people who wrote something new and different, and I'm glad they took that risk.

    So this post was perfect timing for me too! It reminds me that I can write the stories I love to read, and not be afraid to try putting THAT in there. :)

    1. Donna, sometimes it isn't so hard, you're right! :) I love those early days in a story when I'm picking and choosing my favorite scenes. Thank goodness the stars line up to remind how much fun it is on the hard days! There are lots of reminders that either fall in our lap when we need them or we can go search them out. And reading all those indie stories is a very enjoyable way to be reminded of the new and interesting options.

      I'm glad this post was perfect timing for you too!


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