Archive for July, 2011

Writers Supporting Writers

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 | The Writing Life | 6 Comments

I know I have written on this subject before, but right now, as I work on my latest draft, I really feel the support of my fellow writers through our online community, both on Facebook and on Twitter. When I am able to look up from my WIP, it is wonderful to see what others are up to in their own work and their own lives, and it is wonderful to make a comment either on Facebook or Twitter, and to have friends in both places offer encouragement as I toil.

Every writer works alone, but there is something very healing about coming back to a community of writers and friends, listening to their own ideas about their work, and feeling a renewed sense of purpose about my own work as I write to meet a deadline. We sit alone with our characters at the computer, but it is wonderful to know that other writers and friends are just a click of a mouse away.

A Room of One’s Own

Monday, July 18th, 2011 | The Writing Life | 4 Comments

Writers always need time and silence to do their work, and never more so than we are writing a first draft. Life intrudes, as it should, because we are people first and writers second. But still a part of us longs for a clean, quiet place in which to do our work.

“Give me, O indulgent fate!
Give me yet, before I die,
A sweet but absolute retreat
‘Mongst paths so lost, and trees so high,
That the world may ne’er invade
Through such windings and such shade
My unshaken liberty.”

Anne Finch
Countess of Winchilsea

Do you have a writing retreat? A time of day or a place all your own, where you can listen to the Muse and bask in the utter silence of creation?

What Do You Love?

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 | The Writing Life | 6 Comments

I found an amazing quote in a book I am reading, THE SUMMER GARDEN by Paullina Simons. As usual, I am late to this party…this is the first book I have read by Ms. Simons, but like so many people around the world, it will not be my last. The novel is beautiful, and I can not wait to read the first two in the series, and anything else Ms. Simons has written. But I digress. Here is the quote that struck me on page 370 of my edition:

“Whenever you’re unsure of yourself, whenever you’re in doubt, ask yourself three questions. What do you believe in? What do you hope for? But most important, ask yourself, what do you love?…when you answer… you will know who you are. And more important- if you ask this question of the people around you, you will know who they are, too.”

This brilliance is just a slice of this wonderful novel, but I think in addition to being a lesson for life, it is a great way to get to know your characters. If they are reluctant to talk, if they are holding back from you, if they do not trust you yet, ask them these questions. If they answer, I think you will be well on your way to getting to know them, and opening a window into your novel, and the world you are beginning to create.

The Waiting Game

Monday, July 4th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Medieval women, even powerful queens, spent a good deal of their lives waiting. Waiting for their husbands to come home from war, for their children to be born, for their sons to grow up. In July of 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine, newly made duchess by her father’s death, found herself waiting behind the walls of Bordeaux for her fiance’ Louis VII to show up and marry her. I can only imagine how vexing it would be for a woman of power, even at the tender age of fifteen, to sit and wait for the next phase of her life to begin.

Eleanor spent a lot of her life waiting: for Louis to become a stronger man, for Henry to come home from battling and politics. After 1173, Eleanor waited for Henry to set her free from her prison walls, knowing that he probably never would. But each and every time, Eleanor did wait. She never gave up.

Louis never became a strong man, but Eleanor was finally able to annul that marriage and move on. For the first years of their marriage, Henry always did come home to her from his wars and his women. And when he didn’t, in 1167, she took herself and her children home to Aquitaine. And after her rebellion against Henry failed in 1173, Eleanor made it through fifteen years held imprisoned behind castle walls until her favorite son was king, and she was able to rule once more as Queen Dowager and Regent.

The waiting game is one we all must play. But I can think of few people who played it as well as Eleanor.

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