This post is the first of many weekly posts that you can find at my co-created blog, Eclectic Scribbles. I’ll put links to these posts here on Pens & Inkwells. :)
I have found, oftentimes, that it is very easy to fall into a rut when writing. You find your groove, something that works, and you stick with it. Say, for example, you write a fantasy book about a medieval-set place where a girl finds out she’s a princess/or finds out that she has magic/or finds out that she’s the key to some bigger event that she never even knew about. You love this book and enjoy the world building so much that, when the time comes for the book to wrap up, you either start a sequel to write more in that world or start a new book that has the same feeling and style to it.
Guilty as charged.
Fantasy is my safety zone. I’m comfortable working in the realms of magic and medieval things because I know how to do it. Several plots and series have come out of the same melting pot, and oftentimes I feel I wouldn’t be able to try something different if I wanted to. This is okay, but it has the potential to hold you back.
A great writer can write thriller/horror/romance/fantasy/and mainstream without needing one genre to fall back on or use as a crutch when the tough gets going. Of course, you always have your favorite genre, but you should be able to work on other things too, just in case one genre or style doesn’t work out for you.
It’s hard. I should know. I’ve tried historical fiction (failed at that about 7k in), I’ve tried religious suspense (finished the book but won’t ever do anything with it, it was that bad). I’ve tried romance (not great at romance, tbh), and I’ve tried sci-fi (fun, but involves a lot of world-building and logic, neither of which I’m good at). Fantasy has always been my net, catching me when I fail and keeping me from thinking I’m a terrible writer all together. I’m good at fantasy. I can pull it off. I have great plots, great characters, magic, subplots of romance, and fascinating villains.
But I’m not growing. There is no challenge with fantasy. The biggest challenge is editing my own work (it’s hard to cut up my own darlings and think up new material; I often heavily rely on what I have to edit, going line by line. Faced with new material and I crumble).
Because I’ve grown tired of not being challenged, my brain decided to think up of a fairly radical plot line. I’ve been toying with it for a while, unsure if I can handle it… Why? It’s mainstream fiction. General fiction. Character driven set in current times. No magic, no forests, no ancient curses or prophecies. Just a character suffering from mental trauma and a friendship that transcends/challenges what society thinks of relationships today. I’ve never done this before, and I’m still not sure how I’ll pull it off. I’d be writing material that some people might question, sneer at, or shrug off. The biggest challenge is that I need to write it anyway and not let what other people think about it bother me.
So. I want to challenge you today to step outside your comfort zone and write what you think needs to be said. Sometimes writing should be safe and fun, but other times writing should be used as a way to challenge society and bring to light different views and opinions. Writing is a weapon just as much as it is an enjoyment. The pen is mightier than the sword, after all. It is your sword, and you should use it even if you think there’s a chance people might laugh at you.
Last week, my friend and I were at Barnes and Noble looking through the fiction / paranormal romance section of the YA area. I had four or five books in my hands (as usual), and I couldn’t decide which one to get. So I had my friend read the backs and decide which one I should get.
Out of these books including Linger by Maggie Stiefvater and The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter, my friend chose this one. She guessed that it might start out slow and get really, really, really good and told me she’d probably like to read it too.
She was right.
It seems like no matter what I do, I simply cannot keep a weekly schedule for any blog I’ve ever had. I suppose I just get too busy with real life to sit down for 30 minutes and impart my thoughts? However, I just got back from a 4-day music festival and thought I ought to write a post about what’s been going on in the life of this writer, as of late. :)
I have missed Muse-y Monday the past couple weeks because I’ve been busy, but as I just wrote a guest blog post for my friend Mariella (her blog can be found here), I thought I might share the link to it and just call it a day. :)
Also, her blog is a lot of fun and has a lot of information, so be sure to check it out!
Blog post on prologues and when they are/aren’t acceptable in a novel can be found here.
Have a great afternoon, and I’ll see you guys tomorrow for Character Thursday!
Every writer has a place where the whole writing adventure began. Some writer’s ideas are born in the shower (what a place for an anniversary, right?), some writer’s ideas are born at school, and some writer’s ideas are born (while reading a book) in thinking, “Man, I could write a story better than this.” No matter where the ideas came from, they were born out of a need, a desire, a curiosity, or an inspiration.
Most of the time, these ideas are inspired by our environment. Mine, for example, was born out of two things: a One Year Adventure Novel class (www.oneyearnovel.com) that pushed me into the written word and my grandparent’s farm out in South Dakota.
This was back in the Fall of 2008/Spring 2009. It has been almost four years since I started my first novel, and has been three since I finished my first book. Of course, I had dabbled in fan fiction before I wrote my own, original stories, but I don’t count those because I was borrowing ideas and inspiration that wasn’t mine (since the start of my first actual novel, I have only written one fan fic drabble; I haven’t gone back).
Today, for Muse-y Monday, I would like to take the reader’s on a tour through The Farm (that started it all), point out some specific sights that influenced my writing, and share with you the importance of that place that sparks a writer’s thirst for words … forever. Really, the place where you began is the place that will stick with you for the rest of your writing career.
I actually have the privilege of living on The Farm right now; I’ve been here since mid-May, and for all intensive purposes (and everything I know right now), I might be living out here for the next two-three years, especially since I plan to finish college at South Dakota State University. It is amazing to be back out here not only because I get to live in a place of beauty and inspiration, I have also finished two novels here (one in the spring of ‘09 and one just last week, spring of ‘12).
The book that this place inspired me to write and used this place for setting and inspiration, my first novel, was The Prophecy. I wrote it when I was 15/16. As I go, I’ll probably slip some excerpts in here.