Archive for November, 2011

Why Do We Write?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 | Gratitude, The Writing Life | 7 Comments

Photo Credit

San Miguel de Escalada

Why do we write?

To find the shadow of ourselves in the faces of our characters.

To explore times where we have never been, places that we will never see.

To discover what is lost, to heal what is broken.

To walk the road to Santiago, to begin a quest, to see the face of God.

There are other reasons, as many as there are visible stars in the sky.

But for today, these reasons are enough.

Retreats and the Fourth Draft

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 | The Writing Life | 2 Comments

Sometimes in the midst of a major re-write, it can be a real blessing to step away from life as I know it and go on a writer’s retreat. Of course, the opportunity for this is pretty rare. Often writing has to happen in tandem with the rest of life, and that is how it should be. But sometimes, every once in a blue moon, a major revision ( or opportunity to make the book better) comes alongside the opportunity to go away for a long weekend and do nothing but write. I was fortunate enough for that to happen for me this week, and I give thanks to the Muse and all the writing gods. Sometimes a plan comes together, and it is a beautiful thing. Now, if I can just make the book even better with draft five…

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Revisions: Seeking the Perfect Novel

Monday, November 14th, 2011 | The Writing Life | 2 Comments

I have been reading and loving a great many Regency romances by Nicola Cornick as I begin the revisions on my first Regency romance, How To Tame A Willful Wife. There is such joy in reading good books, in being transported by a clever story and,  more importantly, in coming to know and love an author’s characters. Nicola Cornick does all these things: transports me, brings me joy while creating fabulous characters with whom I can fall in love.

As I begin the revisions on my own novel, I keep the lessons of Nicola Cornick’s work in mind. As I revamp the book, I search for the balance between conflict and maintaining tension in the plot and drawing real characters on the page who are genuinely in love. It is my job not only to tell a good story, the story my characters want told, but also to bring those characters to life on the page in the same vibrant way they live in my mind. It is a joyous challenge. Though I may never reach the ideal of perfection, the harder I work, the closer I can get to it.

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Writing as a Blessing

Monday, November 7th, 2011 | The Writing Life | 2 Comments

Every time I sit down at my computer to begin the next phase of my novel, I realize how blessed I am.  When I begin my work, my characters show up to tell me their stories, to open the door into their world so that I can step into it with them, and hopefully bring my readers with me.

It is a privilege to do this work, and a joy to watch as a new world unfolds before me. I feel almost as Michelangelo did when he said that the sculpture exists already beneath the marble, and he was the one to free it. I am no Michelangelo, but I think every creative person knows a shadow of what he means. The work as it is meant to be born lurks in the darkness just beyond our reach, whether a piece of sculpture, a painting, or a novel. As a novelist, as I begin to give myself over to the work and to the story the characters want told, the novel begins to unfold before me almost like magic.

I do not mean to say that it is easy and effortless and that birds are always singing and that rainbows light my path. Sometimes it is dark where I’m walking…sometimes the Cave is a lonely place. But always, no matter how long it takes to bring a novel into the Light, the book and the journey to create it is a blessing.

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