Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wannabe Writers #6

Wannabe Writers is a meme created by Sarah of Confessions of the Un-published!

One of my goals right now is to move my literary ambitions out of the box and onto the shelf, by which I mean that I no longer want to ignore how much I enjoy writing. I love the idea of this meme, and I'll quote from Sarah's post here:

I often find myself searching the web for information during my struggles as a new writer. So I wanted to start a place where us future young-adult authors can come together to ask those questions, share our stories, and get feedback.

I'm going to be offline for the day, but I will read your lovely comments and get back to y'all on your blogs ASAP Monday. :-)

Where I am in the writing process:  Continuing to wrap up Novel #1, I wrote a new query letter, and I'm waiting on some feedback before I finish up the final storyline edits. I'm also experimenting with a new opening scene to better reflect the content of the novel. Novel #2 is progressing nicely, and last week, I ripped out about 5000 "tell" words and then added about 5000 "show" words to replace them.

My current problems:  I'm still struggling with this question:  When do I say "this is it?" (If one agent says something about my novel, is that problem insurmountable? Do I keep working on it for the experience or do I just say, "okay, that's it" and dive headfirst into Novel #2?) Last week, one of the commenters, Swimmer, said this:
The answer to your problem is well... you don't. I keep going on my novels because I love them and I love the characters I create and their unique inner and outer problems. I don't know if I will ever publish my book. I will try but I love it being mine. That is why I keep writing it because I feel I owe it to my little world but I honestly have no idea if its a good book or not.
And that little tidbit totally made my day. Thanks, Swimmer! That's some of the best writing advice I've ever heard.

I'm not writing to become published; I'm writing because I love it, because it's my creative escape. I would love to be published, but stressing about when to shelve a novel takes the fun out of it. I'm really wrestling with that this week--to remember that I'm writing for me and that anything else is just icing on the cake.

Question(s) this week: How to write characters of a different race (gender or sexual orientation--or even culture)? Has it worked for you?

How to write characters of a different race...My advice would be to immerse yourself in the culture (or at the very least, watch lots of movies and read as many books about it as you can), but I really don't know, having never encountered this before.

I can't help but think of the advice Anne received (from Gilbert, I think) in the Anne of Green Gables series when she's striving to be a writer. Write what you know. I write about characters I'm familiar with. They're not exactly like me or anyone else, of course. I've pulled bits and pieces of my personality and included them in the characters; they're exaggerated composites of the people I've known and seen.

Right now as a writer, I'm not skilled enough to use someone else's way of life and make it personal enough to craft a decent story or character out of it. Maybe someday.

I'm really interested in seeing how others respond to this question because I don't have much experience with this topic and would love to hear others' suggestions.


  1. I'm writing for me too. But deep down inside ...I'm really not. What drives me to continue on is the hope of one day being published. And now I'm committed. (I'm not sure how long you've been at it.) But for me now the secret's out. All my family knows...Oh Sarah writes. And I know they all doubt me. I sucked in school at English, I never read, and I'm not the sharpest crayon in the drawer. SO proving people wrong is a strong motivator too. My point--find whatever it is that keeps you going and use it--good or bad. I want to see my book at Borders. I want to say I told you so. I want to be Stephenie Meyer on Oprah. My reasons are selfish--but they make me write everyday.

  2. Oh I'm blushing!! That was so sweet. Thank you. Good job on the editing! I love re-reading my "good" writing because it makes me feel accomplished. By the way I loved your advice on how to conqure(spell check) writers block. It totally worked and now I am on my way to finishing the novel!