Tag Archives: Writer

Tourists on the Train


So I’m on the train into Manhattan trying to write, but can’t concentrate because a large family from out of town is sitting in front of me. At first I was slightly annoyed because I thought I had placed myself in the quiet car (evidently not) but now I find my opinion changed. I’m pointing out all the landmarks along the Hudson River to them – West Point, Bannerman’s Castle, Storm King Mountain, Bear Mountain Bridge, Yankee Stadium – and telling them places they should check out once we get into Grand Central – the whisper wall, Rockefeller Center, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Bryant Park, New York Public Library, Fifth Ave shopping, Central Park – and telling them how to get there. After I finished this, the little boy said to his parents: “I wish we lived in New York. It’s so cool!”

And I feel really blessed and fortunate that I do live here.



I am writing and my hands are covered in ink. I immediately think of the opening scene of Shakespeare in Love. Obviously, I am Shakespeare.


Sharing the Spotlight


Not to brag, but one of my other talents is singing. I don’t know how this happens, but whenever I join a vocal group I’m not content just being a part of the chorus. Ask Ralph. I want solos. And I get them. My father even has a name for it: Singing Hog.

I share this information with you, not only to provide you with a chuckle, but to connect one of my talents to another. I, like many if not most of you, am a soloist writer as well. My characters are mine. My stories are mine. Don’t butt the hell into my world, jerks. I took a screenwriting class last semester (a post about that will follow this one in a few days) and the professor had us write together (which I know often happens when writing for tv). IT DROVE ME CRAZY, EVEN WHEN I WROTE WITH FRIENDS AND THE SCRIPT CAME OUT GOOD I STILL WANTED TO BE DOING IT ALL BY MYSELF I HATE GROUP PROJECTS LEAVE ME ALONE I DO IT BETTER THAN YOU!!!!!!!!

Excuse me.

I’ve only rarely seen works of fiction by two authors, unless it’s an anthology, and that doesn’t even count because all the stories within the anthology are written by one person. Most people, I feel from gathering information from my limited experience, tend to avoid it. Like any writing venture, it’s completely hit or miss when you write with someone else.

Hit: Sorcery and Cecelia.

Miss: Dormia.

It hasn’t ever really been my thing, either way.

So why then, you ask, am I voluntarily sharing my writer’s spotlight with my dear friend Holly?

Well, first because  I love her.

She and I met in London and became close when we were among the few of our group to walk the twenty minutes to go to church together. She lived down the hall and after many a midnight  three hour chat in the bathroom, we realized that we actually had quite a bit in common. The main factor being that SHE IS A WRITER! And she was the only friend willing to take a day and go to Jane Austen’s House with me and then I went with her to the Peak District where we visited Chatsworth House (the latest location used as Mr. Darcy‘s Pemberley, also featured in The Duchess) and Haddon Hall (the Boleyn Family home for the movie The Other Boleyn Girl). Also we she indulges me when I want to do silly things like this:

and this:

Fun.

So, whilst we were gallivanting through the UK on literary/historical quests, we had a brilliant talk for literal hours at this lovely little pub:

We were quite tired but it was the day before Halloween and we didn’t feel like going to bed, but we didn’t feel like drinking either. Yet, we did mange to stay until the joint closed … talking about our stories.

Now I’ve spoken of my privacy issues before. I don’t like telling people what my stories are about, often because they are about too much and inquisitive friends would have to read said stories to really understand. “What’s your story about?” Like what kind of question is that?  Well, do you have seven hours to spare? I can tell you about it if you have that much time. Jeeze people. Don’t ask about my unfinished secrets. I don’t even tell Ralph my story plans, just let him read the half-finished projects.

With Hol, none of my usual resignations assailed me. I wanted her to know my plot. She listened for the seven hours (more like forty five minutes, but give me leeway for over exaggeration, it’s part of my Italian blood). I even told her my most heavily guarded secret … the ending to Laura’s Letters!!!!

After she basically made my entire life seem worthwhile by telling me she loved the ending and the whole idea for my novel, she launched into details about her current novel-in-progress. She normally writes screenplays (and is the reason I became interested in that genre) but had a novel in the works and wanted my feedback. So I listened to her for seven hours and to both our delight, we realized that we had similar elements to our stories. Different plots, setting and characters of course, but key elements matched up, which means that we have similar thought processes.

Nothing could have made me happier except winning the lottery and actually getting published.

We both then reached the same conclusion that we are not only good traveling friends, but good writing friends as well. We officially exchanged emails so as to allow reading of each other’s work (speaking of, Rowenna, I’m half-way done with your novel and I can’t wait for Kit’s ebook to arrive!). And it’s official.

We’re going to co-author something.

Everything is still in the early planning stages and may stay there for some time with my work schedule, but I swear it’s going to happen. I’m pumped. She’s pumped. Our moms are pumped. I think it has the potential to be really good 🙂

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Yes or no to sharing the spotlight? Doest the notion give you the willies? Are you open to the idea? Have you ever even thought about it before?


To Be Personal, or Not to Be Personal


Recently, my professor told us that generally writers write things from which they are more detached in first person and things to which they are more attached in third person. To this I responded with a, “Hmmm. Interesting.” This of course may not be true of all writers, but it is generally the rule of thumb, and I have found that I fit this generalization.

This is not to say that everything written in the first person is not close to the author. On the contrary, it means that the writer is trying to treat the story with more intimacy. I’ll give an example from my own writing. Wounded Soldier is told from Candace’s first person perspective. I don’t usually write in the first person, but this one just seemed to fit. None of her experiences had happened to me (aside from the fact that I sent her to my current college and I guess now technically the cheating but at the time I wrote it, it wasn’t true). This did make the writing a tad more challenging because, it’s not the kind of book for which much research can be done. It’s set in modern times and focuses on a love story between a girl and (surprise, surprise) a soldier. The best I could do was Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul. Other than that, and a few military sites and books for technical terms and such, it’s basically all up to me and my own brain. But what do I do to give it a personal touch and make it sound more intimate and authentic, even though I do not have experience of the specific incidents? Well, if I tell it from a first person POV, then I draw myself and my reader more deeply into Candace and her thoughts.

Ta- dah!

Third person, on the other hand is my usual writing venue of choice. The overarching reason for this is it comes easier to me because I generally like being an omniscient author. I have too much going on, and need the different characters in different places revealing different things. An extremely challenging task to accomplish with first person. And I always thought that was the only reason.

BUT IT’S NOT!

I didn’t realize this until I began my most recent short story (yes, a short story!!) “The First Time.” Don’t get your hopes up, I don’t think I’ll be putting this one online or showing it to anyone unless it gets published because it’s overwhelmingly personal. I actually think I’m going to submit it under a pseudonym when it is ready for publication. But, it did help me understand what my professor was saying. Everything in it happened to me. Legit, every single detail. Did I write it in first person? Did I say, “I did this, this and this, thought like this, and saw that?”

Negative.

I am writing this story in third person. It’s that close to me, but it never even occurred to me to write it in first person. It was almost like I wanted to detach myself. I couldn’t let the story go untold, but I didn’t want to bear my soul that much. With third person, it’s not really me. It’s someone else who’s a lot like me, but not quite. She’s someone I can empathize with, but I don’t really have to deal with her baggage.

As the Brits would say, brilliant!

What’s your experience or preference? Are you first person or third person? Is it more personal in one or the other?


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