I’m closing user registration until further notice. I’m tired of deleting spam accounts, and, well, those are the only users registering these days. I’m pretty sure that only about four people actually read this blog, and that’s because I send it to my FB and Goodreads feeds.
That’s okay. I can wait until my audience builds up. I’m a very patient woman. Except when I’m driving.
It’s a new list started by an independent author in the U.K. I’m quite impressed with it. Give it a look.
The questions that young writers ask the most are the ones that are probably the most difficult to answer. What does it take to be writer? How do you know if you’re any good? What, people wonder, is that special, magic ingredient that makes the difference between a wannabe and a writer?
It’s something that I’ve thought about a lot. It’s impossible to find any single answer to that question. But I found some that work for me.
There is a scene in The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting. Tommy Stubbins is asking Polynesia if she thought he could learn animal languages. Her response to Tommy: “Are you a good noticer?” She goes on to explain that animals talk with more than the sounds they make. A tail wag, an ear lift–each of these things speaks volumes.
It’s a perfect question to ask of a young writer, as well. Because a good writer needs the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes. A good writer notices events and surroundings, stores them away somewhere in her brain, and takes them out again when she needs to develop a scene. If you’re a good noticer, that scene comes to life. If you’re not, it falls flat. It’s inauthentic. The reader gets bored.
There’s something else that came to me today. I think I’ve finally figured out the essence of what it takes to be a writer: You have to be able to make your mother cry.
Let me explain. Many years ago, I wrote a short story about a poor boy in a who lived in “the Projects,” a government-subsidized apartment complex. I modeled the Projects on my own experience living in one for three years as a child. Like I did with all of my stories in those days, I gave it to my mother to read. When I asked her what she thought of it, she said it made her cry. I was taken aback. It wasn’t a happy story–It’s a story about hope and disappointment–but I didn’t think it was that sad. But then she told me why she cried: Because I had described the Projects so well, it brought her back to the time in our lives when we lived there. And they were not a happy time.
So. Are you a good noticer? Can you make your mother cry? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you’re a writer, my friend.
Julie Dillon send me the final version for the cover of Darkness Ascendant (a.k.a. book 2). It’s simply wonderful.
There are about two hours left to get the Kindle edition for 99 cents.
Can’t wait to see the final product.
In other news, the writing is moving forward. I expect a March publishing date.
I’ve just entered Book One in the Kindle Select program, which means if you have Amazon Prime, you can borrow the book and read it for free, so tell all your friends.
Book two is still coming along slowly. I anticipate a spring release. Julie Dillon sent me the latest version of the cover and it looks spectacular.
I’ll be reading excerpts and signing book one in Richmond, VA on November 11 at 5 p.m. Come to the Weinstein JCC at 5403 Monument Ave Richmond, VA. Turns out I’m closing the JCC Book Fair, which is kind of neat.
The writing is going well again. The holes in the middle of the book are starting to be filled in, and the buildup of the end chapters is, well, building up. Now I’m at the part where I discover what’s going to happen myself. It’s an interesting thing about writing. You plot the story, make an outline, even write a few paragraphs of a scene, and then when you write the full scene you sit back and go, “Where did THAT come from?” or “Oh, I guess that scene isn’t going to work. Oh, well.”
When you’re writing, the words are perfect in your head before they hit the computer screen. And then you sit there and wonder how they changed in the few moments between the thinking and the typing. I’ve always said that if they ever perfect a tool that brings your thoughts into words on a page, writing a book would be a heck of a lot easier. Of course, I would never attach a computer to my brain, so I’ll never find out if that’s true.
In the meantime, my impossible goal is beginning to look possible, and Darkness Ascendant: Book Two of The Catmage Chronicles is getting closer to release.