Over most of my writing career, I have this frustrating scenario that repeats itself. I’m either driving, in the shower, or in the dark just about to fall asleep. This happens during the silent times, when not much else can distract me. Of course, it’s also when I have zero easy access to pen, paper, a napkin, or a computer. It’s when my story creating brain goes on overdrive, and the best of my best comes out. And then, I race in my head to memorize as much as I can until I can get to something to record it on.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about all the topics I might write about in my upcoming blog spot. I thought about blogging about a couple of the books I recently read. One of them was Hooked, by Les Egderton(which was excellent, by the way) and his take on story beginnings. Then I considered discussing the book Story Engineering, by Larry Brooks and his ideas about the structure of a novel. All of that fell apart though, when after an already stressful couple of weeks, I heard about the tragedy in Florida on Sunday. Continue reading
Before getting more serious about my writing, I’d never put much thought into book cover design. Of course there were covers that caught my eye, but I never dug much deeper into why that was true.
As I got further into my first novel, I began to think about what kinds of things I wanted on my own cover. I started on a design with the help of a friend, and actually ended up really happy with it. The cover got great feedback from those I showed it to.
The summer I was ten, my mom handed me a towering stack of young adult books she bought at a yard sale. Judy Blume anyone? That summer I read so many books, by the end of the stack, my parents were begging me to go outside and close the page. This started a long battle of people telling me that I was spending too much time on things that made my heart soar.
Most writing advice sources will tell you to “just write”. Well, that advice has turned out not to be just right for me.
Even writing not to “just write” seems controversial. So I figure I better explain myself and my process of getting words on the page. Continue reading
Last night my husband spent the night at the ER for pain that ended up being kidney stones. Ouch! What does this have to do with writing you ask? Bear with me, because this might be a windy explanation.
Many years ago, I was a young girl that liked stories. Somewhere on that journey, I got the message, my imagination was a waste of time. Spending time living in other worlds wasn’t worthy, and at some point my passion for exploring my interests got snuffed out. So I got on with all the things a normal teenager does. Dragging myself to school, reading what I was told to, and other high-schooly things. Continue reading
Writers are a strange bunch. Everyone knows this. And if you are a writer yourself, you probably agree.
I mean, I’ve actually done internet searches on “exploding smoke bombs” and “how to disarm a gun from an assailant”. Along with “smoke traps for burglars that collect DNA”(so cool!) and “mind-altering medications that increase sexual desire”(don’t ask). And that’s all for one story! Continue reading
When I first heard my next blog day was Valentine’s Day, I have to admit I panicked a bit. I mean, most of the women on this blog are romance writers. And, I’m… not that romantic. Gasp! Shock! <covers head in paper bag> In fact, my husband and I stopped celebrating the day many years ago. Not because we don’t love and cherish each other, but because the mushy stuff usually gives us the giggles, and then we go back to our comfortable, happy stand-by’s.
Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I’m romantic, just not so touched by the standard, check-box, normal things that are considered so. But I love love. Thoughtfulness, connection, and reading about the unique couples from different walks of life. Those that know me best, know I can get rather obsessed with a good love story. So when I thought about what I could possibly write about that has to do with Valentine’s Day? Favorite types of story couples is what this had to be about.
- The Hero and the Sweetheart
When I think about the most popular love story couples, I can’t leave out the strong man that will go to any lengths to rescue the pure woman. He’s doesn’t let fear, dangerous obstacles, or odds stand in his way. The only thing that stops this man is love. His female counterpart is deserving and needs help. She’s needs loyalty, and someone she can trust. She offers vulnerability and a place to call home. And in the end, she will bring him to his knees.
- The Bad Boy that needs reformed by the Good Woman
In real life, I’m not necessarily one for bad boys. But the misunderstood guys from the wrong side of the tracks in fiction totally gets me. He needs stability. He needs persistence. He needs someone to knock him out when he’s being a pain in the you know where. Maybe she’s damaged with daddy issues and that’s the draw. Maybe she’s never met anyone like him before. Or maybe she just sees a side of him that no one else has stopped to look at. Either way, with the two of them together, they both get a taste of what the other side looks like. And both (in fiction at least) are usually better for it.
- The Evil boy meets the Evil Girl?
This kind always gets my blood going. They’re fire and fire. A battle of wits and tension. They’re that scintillating kinship going blow for blow with their partner. Usually sparks fly, until they ignite together and set their passions ablaze. Maybe that’s cheesy. But they’re so much fun. And sexy to watch when it all comes together. In a strange way, this couple gets each other– maybe even more than all the others. Because unlike the nice guys that connect, they are usually scared and lonely people behind that mask of protection.
- The Nice guy and the Bad Girl
This is another favorite of mine. Even though I wasn’t a “Bad Girl” (most of the time), I had a rough life. These girls usually do too. They don’t get any breaks. What’s handed to them makes succeeding feel impossible. Until something good, in the way of a sweet, possibly nerdy guy comes along. He’s not over the top heroic usually. But he sees the part of her others have been missing all her life. Maybe he’s had too much normal in his life and she’s that fire he’s been looking for. She finds comfort and strength in his stability. These two give each other something special. An appreciation for how rare the other is.
- Best Friends Turned Lovers
Could there be anything cuter(and more sappy) than two people who are inseparable turning to each other and becoming sweethearts? Maybe I’m just a sap because I had a lot of male friends in junior high and high school, but this is usually a way to make me aw and sigh. They know each other better than anyone. And maybe there’s been a tension there the whole time, and they both ignored it, not wanting to take that risk. Until one night, when their guards come down, and they crash into each other in an explosion of lust. It’s the love and respect that’s there before things even start. The certainty, yet tentative approach that has always gotten me right in the heart.
- The Best Friend’s(or Boyfriend’s-eek!) Best Friend
So, you’re going along reading a book or watching a movie and one of the leads(usually a female) is with someone who on the surface seems right at the time. And then that second person has a best friend. He’s either seems totally perfect, or so wrong they make sparks. Now depending on the circumstances, he’s either so good for her that you know right away they belong together. Or so many sparks fly, that the way he challenges her is exactly what she needs. I can think of at least a half dozen of these couples and every time I fall in love with it again. The conflict is the friend, but that resolution when done right make for an explosive ending..
- Two Perfect Sweethearts
These two can be a challenge. If not carefully written they can be nauseatingly sweet. Kind of like that icky romance stuff I was talking about. Why? Because they’re so perfect it makes you want to vomit. Like too much candy. But, they also can show what to strive for. Trust. Faithfulness. Respect. They care about each other and the people around them. Many may assume their past is perfect too, but it isn’t always. Sometimes there’s a long road that’s caused them pain so unbearable the only thing that got them through is hope. So they create beauty. They need and deserve that happy ending more than anyone else.
Those are just a few I thought of, and there are many more. Of course, what’s equally fun(and sometimes more) is when the traditional roles like above are reversed. It puts an exciting spin on what we’ve grown to love. Maybe they’re a combination of two or more types. Maybe they’re same-sex or even polyamorous.
What about you? Do you have another favorite type? Why do you feel drawn to it? And what type of couple are you and your love?
The first time I remember being inspired for a story I was eight years old. An episode of “Family Ties” had left me completely crushed and begging that the story couldn’t end that way. Ellen Reed had agreed to marry her boyfriend, leaving Alex P. Keaton full of despair. Why an eight year old was so tore up about a sitcom romance, I have no idea. Maybe I’ve always been a romantic?
The experience filled me full of questions about how the writers could do that to poor Alex. What was going to happen? Would she still be on the show? It just couldn’t end that way. So, that night I remember “righting” the wrongs of his heart. I did the same a season later after everything was fixed and she took an opportunity and went to dance in Paris.
From that point on, inspiration seemed to come from everywhere. I created these characters that still live with me today, in part from combining inspiration I’ve found through books, television, movies, music, art, games, and real life occurrences. My sister and I would even play out some of the scenarios with our Barbie dolls and small toys. I remember my characters being trapped on a camping trip and spending a couple of hours making a rubber band chain that could stretch across our room for them to travel across to safety. My mother wasn’t always thrilled with the mess we created but our minds were rich with creativity and innovation as we played out our tales.
As I grew older, I often processed my emotions through story. My characters would face a similar feeling in a personally created scenario, and they would work through it with me. It’s often in a much more interesting way with many more obstacles and resources. It was a way to refocus and helped get me through my emotional teen years.
Adulthood has been interesting. Daydreaming is kind of an odd thing to do once you’re past the age of fourteen. I remember many times watching out the car window on a road-trip and my mind wandering to characters with a more exciting reason for exploring the destination. Other people’s lives lived in my head, and that’s kind of tricky to explain. An odd gas station trip, a favorite scene in media somewhere, or a random song would keep them going and they would expand as my experiences did.
Now, I call that wandering mind of mine writing. It sounds much more official with a title, though I often find people curious about why I spend so many hours with it. It seems that if you’re not officially getting paid or it’s a true assignment, it’s frivolous. I have a feeling whimsical thought will be with me for the rest of my life. So whether it’s called childish, silly, daydreaming, pretending, playing, wasting time, or writing, it inspires me. As life does, from everywhere. Even in the most unusual places.