What goes on inside a writer’s mind? #writers #writingcommunity #writerslife #amwriting

Writers are simple creatures, we really are. Give us a small, space, make it quiet or noisy depending on our preference, throw in food and beverages every now and then, and we are happy.

A computer and a note pad are always useful as we need something to jot ideas down on…and to write on.

When I’m writing, I forget about everything. In fact, I really hate it when something ‘real life’ important rears its ugly head and demands my attention.

I sometimes worry about myself!

But mostly I worry about writing.

I have two lives. The real one and the imaginary one, and sometimes that line can get real blurry. You find yourself saying things your character might say, and then you wonder whether you are losing yourself inside your character, or if your self is being lost inside the character.

I find it particularly disturbing when I start to sound like the male characters from my book. Does this mean I write feminine male characters?

Do I need to seek counseling?

And what the heck does it matter?

Is there even anything even separating the old stereotypes of men and woman anymore?

Maybe it’s good to mix it up!

Sometimes my mind goes off on a wild ramble…

I forget about real people when I write, but every now and then they pop up and remind me, and it takes me a few minutes to center myself.

I don’t forget about my cats…well one of them anyway because he is extremely noisy and lets me know if there are insufficient quantities of bickies in his bowl.

And writing is such a long process, and terribly frustrating. It feels like every little stage takes forever and it makes you so impatient, and being impatient is not conducive to quality writing…and then you end up editing it to death and feeling even more impatient and frustrated!

But every now and then you write a sentence or a paragraph, and it is so damn beautiful that you wonder how the heck you dragged that out of the sorry ramble that your tapping fingers produced during the other 99% of the time.

You can get lost in that sentence, find yourself re-reading it and admiring it like you’ve just discovered you really do have a soul.

The rest of your draft is still a shocking mess, but you’re a writer, so you focus on the positives.

And then there are other writers. Those appalling folks who keep writing good books that you can’t help but dip into the moment they come out. You’ve written 200 words today, you should reward that effort by reading a couple of chapters from your favorite author’s new book!

There’s a flaw in this plan because no one ever just reads a chapter. Nope, that’s not going to happen.

So in answer to the question, what do writers think about…everything and anything…we walk among you and yet we are not really present.

Don’t hate us, we can’t help it. If you want to know what really goes on inside our head, you’ll have to buy our books 😉

Happy reading and writing 🙂

Do writers know what they are doing? #writingcommunity #amwriting #plotting #plottwists

Yes, I admit this is a bit of a provocative statement, and sweeping, but I wanted to address an argument I was having with my Husband.

And why not use the internet? Nothing like airing your domestic disharmony in public!

This isn’t a new argument, we have been over it a few times and he’s just not seeing my point of view, even though it’s about writing and I’m a writer and he’s not! So I thought I would get the writing community to wade in on my end. Just in case there is any confusion here, I am a woman and it’s a given that I am always right 😉 Right?

To give some context for this, my husband is an extremely logical person…and I’m, ah, not. I mean I can be logical sometimes, but mostly I take leaps and jump from events to conclusions. I don’t want to get into the nuances of logic v emotion. But in short, I’m comfortable that there isn’t a ‘plan’ or even a ‘logical’ progression to the way a story plays out.

So what was this burning issue provoking domestic disharmony?

Well, it’s George R.R. Martin’s fault.

Specifically Hodor.

I’m really hoping most of you are at least familiar with GoT, but in case you are not…there is a character called ‘Hodor’ and all Hodor says for many seasons is ‘Hodor’, doesn’t matter what folks say to him, situation, stress levels or emotional state, all he says is ‘Hodor’. I think it is season five or six where we discover why this is.

My Husband: That is so amazing, George R.R Martin must have planned this from the start.

Me: I seriously doubt it.

Now, it’s quite possible he did plan it…I’m open to this option. Writers do plan stuff. I plan stuff, but it’s more of a fuzzy framework in which to play, and I change my mind as I go, and add bits, and I blatantly ignore said framework when a new, more interesting, idea pops up.

And I make connections to old seemingly insignificant details all the time.

It’s one of the reasons I think colorful, if somewhat inane details, are so important to a book, because they facilitate connections later down the track. I am always doing this, some minor detail I wrote right at the start will suddenly present itself as a plot twist. It’s part of the process and it’s the way writer’s brains work.

I’m sure someone has asked George R.R. Martin if Hodor was planned right from the start, and perhaps he was. My argument isn’t about whether or not Hodor would always ‘hold a door’ from the moment he arrived on the pages of that draft all those moons ago. But it is possible that he wasn’t, and it is my firm opinion that writers do take strange quirks and details and repurpose them later.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Have you ever planned a major twist right from the very start?

Have you ever stumbled across a plot twist as you were writing, pulling in an early event or detail and repurposing it towards the end?

Happy reading and writing 🙂

…and for those who want the answer to the burning did he / didn’t he question.

How Does Game of Thrones Author George R.R. Martin Really Feel About That Hodor Reveal?

Author interview – Lori Katherine @LoriKPoetry #authorinterview @Thereadingchimp #poetry

Today I have the pleasure of introducing author Lori Katherine who will be sharing her thoughts on reading and writing, and details of her poetry book, Flow like Lyrics.

Lori on Writing

Where do you get your ideas?

As a poet, my ideas for my poems are a reflection of my personal experiences, feelings, and emotions. I love picturing a situation in my mind and try to place the main character in the poem in that situation. I also love to write so the reader can relate to the raw emotions and feel as though they are right there!

Why motivates you to write?

I write because I love writing and always have! I love art and music and wish I had the talent they have in those forms, but writing is the thing I’m good at ( at least I think so). It’s my passion and I love it!

How many hours a week do you spend writing?

The amount of time I spend writing depends on my personal schedule, but usually I like to get in about 30 hours a week.

Best thing about writing?

The best thing about writing is being able to express myself in a way that just regular words cannot. I absolutely love the writing community which have been such a great support in my endeavors! I love when a reader says to me, “Wow! It’s almost like you were in my head!”

Your biggest writing distractions?

My biggest writing distractions I’d have to say are my family. Not that it’s a bad thing, but their timing is immaculate when it comes to me needing that quiet time to really write. Because I do put their needs before mine, I will tend to just drop what I’m doing for something they need. I should also mention that our puppy is a mega distraction while writing! I cannot resist his nose kisses!

What are your favorite books or sites you go to for writing tips / advice?

When I need writing tips or advice, my go to is the Twitter writing community! Those wonderful creative individuals are a great source of advice, tips and motivation.

How long does it take you to write a book? 

For my first book of poetry, my work was spread out over many years of writing for pleasure. My second book that is currently in the works, due out in February 2019, is about halfway completed  I began work on it in September of this year.

Have you ever cut anything from your book and why?

I have cut many lines out of my poems for many reasons such as the poem just not flowing freely or words just not capturing how I want a reader to interpret them.

Least favorite thing about writing?

My least favorite thing about writing is not having enough time to dedicate to it. I’d love to spend hours after hours just writing ideas and poems.

What do your friends and family think about you being a writer?

My friends were amazed when I told them I released a book! They had absolutely no clue that I loved writing. My family has always been so supportive of my writing journey and are my biggest fans!

Most important things a writer should spend money on?

The most important things a writer should spend money on would be marketing materials.

Least important things a writer should spend money on?

The least important things a writer should spend money on would be paying someone for a review. Major no-no!

How do you measure your success as a writer?

I measure my success as a writer when someone can tell me that my poetry hit them deeply and inspired them to pursue writing themselves.

What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting the writing journey again?

The advice I would give myself if I were starting the writing journey again would be to not rush through it! Be patient!


As a reader

My favorite genre is thriller! I have always loved a creepy, scary story that makes me want to pull the blanket up to my ears while hoping the boogie man wouldn’t find me! Oh, I could read a good thriller over and over again!

Ever skipped something important to stay home and read?

I have never skipped something important to stay home and read a book because I take my Kindle wherever I go and can read anywhere!

What is your favorite book quote? 

My favorite book quote or should I say poem quote is from Robinson Jeffers.

“A little too abstract, a little too wise,

It is time for us to kiss the earth again,

It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies,

Let the rich life run to the roots again.”

Favorite book hero and / or villain and why? 

My favorite book hero would have to be Mia from the book The Girl From the Sea. I just loved her character and her determination throughout the entire story.

Most influential book?

The most influential book I’ve read is Mountain Interval by Robert Frost, one of my favorite poets!

What are you currently reading and what’s the verdict so far?

I am currently reading SO many books that were released all at once, but the one I’m open to now is The Retreat by Mark Edwards. My verdict so far? I have read all his books and always hate when they end. I love it!

If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) what book would it be and why?

If I could have a signed book by an author it would have to be the first thriller book that I fell in love with which is Watchers by Dean Koontz!



About your Book…

You are living in your latest novel. Where are you living, and what is it like?

I’m living in my poem titled Keep Watching Memories. I’m living in New York City as a waitress. I’m absolutely miserable here doing what I’m doing and want to get out.

 

Like Flow Lyrics


About Lori

A passionate journey through the different emotions experienced throughout life. This poetry book of a short voyage, is an exploration of love, pain, relationships, loss, finding one’s self, and learning to love the life you’ve been given.

Lori Katherine is a New Hampshire state resident originally from Massachusetts. This is a collection of the many poems she’s written over the years. Flow Like Lyrics is her first published poetry book, however, she has been writing poetry ever since she was a young girl.

On Twitter@Loripoetry

 

Writing – where do you start #amwriting #stories #creativewritng

I have been writing for so long now that it is hard to remember where I started, but writing does start somewhere—it starts with a daydream.

Daydreaming is awesome.

There is something wonderfully fresh about a new daydream. When the blank space opens up to allow the industry of imagination to begin. The ideas that take hold can go in many directions.

That’s OK.

When it starts you have no preconceived  ideas or constraints.

dog dreams

You know it’s the one

Life is full of daydreams.

Some are better than others. Some are worthy of a second look.

You know it’s the one when your conscious and subconscious keep coming back for another visit.

You explore it, you examine it. After a while you just know it’s right.

It's the one

You have to start somewhere

When you find a new story, it is so hard to know where to begin.

Do you plan? Plough right in? Decide the end? Character profiles?

Aaaarrrhhhh!

chasing dreams

Finding your flow.

After a while you stop worrying about the plan, the beginning, the ending, your characters, because they all just sort themselves out.

You strap in, get ready, and prepare to enjoy the ride.

wild ride

Why readers love the underdog #writing #amwriting

In all aspects of life, people are drawn to the underdog.

  • the geek who saves the planet and gets the girl/boy, while the jock is passed by.
  • the outsider team with part-time players who topple the mighty favorite with the money and star players.
  • the ‘David’ meets ‘Goliath’.
  • the poor farm boy / girl who becomes the great warrior / saves the universe / becomes the hero of the quest.

There is a reason why we love the underdog, and it all comes down to psychology.

As a writer, understanding the reasons and psychology behind our love of underdog characters can greatly help us when we are crafting our work.

Why do we love the underdog?

1. Challenge

As the saying goes, no pain, no gain.

The greater the effort required, and the closer, more nail-biting the ending is, the greater our sense of fulfillment and achievement. While there’s nothing wrong with natural talent (who doesn’t want it), stories are not made out of millponds, we need challenges that require a gargantuan effort to overcome.

And our trusty underdog delivers.

2. Reverse psychology

When we back a ‘winner’ that gives us the same euphoric winning feeling. So, while the underdog by definition is the least likely to win, we have been conditioned by the stories we have read, watched and heard to expect the underdog to win.

3. Pleasure at others misfortune.

Yes, humans are sick bunnies. This is the whole reason why shows like ‘the office’ are so popular. We love watching other people fail from the comfort of our safe lounge chair. Evil hands are rubbed together as our hapless hero faces an uphill battle just to stay afloat.

4. Equality

You are all sighing in relief now! No, humans are not completely evil. While we love to wallow in the misfortune of others, there is a huge thrill when the underdog perseveres, overcomes their many misfortunes, and endures challenges along the way….as long as they succeed.

And in those few stories where they don’t succeed, we often feel cheated.

Life and society is full of ebbs and flows.

Great civilizations rise and fall, and the only thing that is certain in the uncertain nature of the world, is that nothing stays the same.

The top team will not remain the top team for ever.

Good and evil.

Power and poverty.

Every dog will have its day.

How we love to love the underdog.

Why writing a book is like creating a parallel universe #amwriting #writerslife

Choose your own outcome…

When I was little there was a children’s book I read, and in the book you got to choose what happened next. Such books were not new then, and they are still around now. I saw an adult version of this not very long ago. You know the kind…

Lots of exciting stuff has happened…do you:

  • Open the door – go to page 64
  • Turn around and walk away – go to page 72

This got me thinking about the writing process, and how, when we write, we sit out of time, as if we are sitting on the edge of countless parallel universes.

Nobody knows the exact way the book will turn out when they start to write. Writers are always talking about the way characters can surprise them, or how the story can twist unexpectedly. Our imaginations, our life journeys, our jobs and the people we spend time with can all impact the words we write on the page.

In what other ways, do we the writer, impact the story?

What if we sit down to write a chapter today, would it be the same chapter if we wrote it tomorrow instead? Would it be close, slightly different, or very different? And if it was different, could it shape the entire rest of the book?

Hence my parallel universe reference.

It’s a little mind blowing to think that if you sit down at your keyboard you may write a scene in a completely different way just because you are feeling particularly happy or particularly sad. And what if the phone rings and interrupts you, and when you come back you have decided that a character needs to die, or fall in love, or something else that you had no inkling of before.

It’s in that moment when you decide to stop writing, when you move away from your keyboard for whatever reason, must a new parallel universe inevitably pop up? Like a deck of cards on endless shuffle, or a kaleidoscope shifting sand, you never know exactly how the dice are going to fall until they do fall, or in writing terms, you sit back down at your computer. And when you do everything has shifted and you sit down to a different place and a different head space.

Every time we write a story, we could have written a million more.

Would those other variations have been better or worse or just different?

Life too, is full of choices and the consequence of those choices impact everything that comes after, so it seems only fair that our fictitious worlds should be subject to the same whims.

We might think that there are a million stories or a million lives we could have lived, but ultimately there is only one story, just as there is only one passage through our life, and that is the one we choose to write.

10 wonderful quotes about being a writer #amwriting #writer #writerslife

 


“You fail only if you stop.”

~ Ray Bradbury


“This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away.”

~ Anne Lamott


“Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities, and have them relate to other characters living with him.”

~ Mel Brooks


“Most people carry their demons around with them, buried down deep inside. Writers wrestle their demons to the surface, fling them out onto the page, then call them characters.”

~ C.K. Webb


“The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.”

~Henry Green


“Which of us has not felt that the character we are reading in the printed page is more real than the person standing beside us?”

~ Cornelia Funke


“The writer’s curse is that even in solitude, no matter its duration, he never grows lonely or bored.”

~ Criss Jami, Killosophy


“Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.”

~ Rod Serling


“Writing, real writing, should leave a small sweet bruise somewhere on the writer . . . and on the reader.”

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés


“Blessed are the weird people:
poets, misfits, writers
mystics, painters, troubadours
for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.”

~ Jacob Nordby, Pearls of Wisdom: 30 Inspirational Ideas to live your best life now

What do you listen to when you write? #writerslife #amwriting

Being quiet

I am guessing not everyone will share my sentiments, but for me, there is great comfort in being quiet when writing. I write best when I am sitting in my little pod office, with the lovely view of trees, and…absolute quiet.

My husband used to be incredibly noisy, which did present some problems on occasion! Recently, he has become an avid reader (he reads way more than I do now!) and I am delighted that he does this in the quiet. For the most part, when I am writing, I am left alone in this noiseless state. I do deviate occasionally, but more on that below…

E.B. White “I never listen to music when I’m working.”

Background chatter

Yes, this is the writing chimp editing in a coffee shop!

I am a self aware introvert. I accept this is what I am. That said, this desire for silence is a little extreme even amongst the introvert brigade. A few years ago I read the aptly named ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain, a book all about being an introvert. In it, she talks about her writing routine, and she found it more productive to sit in a coffee shop to work on her book. The background chatter, and the unobtrusive presence of people helped her to focus. For her, too much isolation was actually a bad thing.

Pop music

The concept of writing anything of worth while listening to pop music is beyond my comprehension. But E.L. James  found Will.I.Am blasting in the background an inspiration when tackling her ‘naughty’ scenes! Each to their own…

Classics anyone?

Classic music can create a powerful mood in a movie, but what about when we write? I do have a few pieces that I enjoy occasionally when I want to create a pull in a particular emotional direction. I am not alone in this one…

In an interview Edmund White, the writer of award-winning fiction, biographies and memoirs, said he liked to write to chamber music by Debussy, especially the cello sonata.

Chill-out tunes / a beat without words 

This is probably one of my favorite deviations from silence. I love things with a good beat if I’m writing an action scene. It’s a great tool for visualisations!

Ambient music

A final shout out to the ambient music. Birds, wind, waterfalls, waves, the stuff you hear when you go to the spa…if you go to a spa, that kind of thing. Ambient music is all about creating a mood. There is generally no beat to it (although there might be), just drifting notes that (hopefully) create a strong or peaceful mood.

So, what do you write to?

Thoughts and suggestions? Have I missed any obvious ones? What do you like to write to?