Posts Tagged ‘opinion’

I like many types of fiction.  SciFi, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, even Horror.

          A couple members of the Stonehenge Writer’s Group write some excellent horror.  That’s a genre that’s incredibly difficult to pull off without being cheesy or letting down your readers at the end of the story.  Kudos to those who do it well!

          I believe horror can be roughly divided into two main groups.  The first: Grab the reader’s attention by drowning them in blood and gore.  The second: Rub the reader’s nerves raw, slowly, agonizingly, with an ever increasing application of tension — knowing something bad is about to happen, perhaps when you turn the very next page…

          Okay, reading that back I guess it’s obvious which type of horror I prefer.  Not that I mind well done blood and gore.  I just prefer to have it as a climax to a great story, not the only reason for the story.  That’s just my preference.  I know there are many who will vehemently disagree.  So for this post, let’s agree to disagree.  For me, the best is incredibly creepy OMG-is-it-going-to-get-me-NOW horror.

          So, what do you find horrifyingly creepy?  Something realistic?  Ghostly?  Monsterous?  Something tangible, like a phone call with no one there?  Or the intangible, like the glimpse of a shadow where it doesn’t belong?

          Is it worse to be with a group of people and know one of them can’t be trusted?    

          Or is being completely and utterly alone what makes it truly creepy? 

          How about finding your things moved, cleaned up and put away, when no one but you has a key to your home?  Would you tell yourself you must have done it and forgotten about it?

          Or the sounds of whispered conversations in your house that stop when you enter the room, even when you’re the only one there?  Would you tell yourself you’re just imagining things?

          Maybe it’s receiving a ‘love’ note from someone anonymous, who claims to have been watching you for weeks and thinks it’s nearly time for you to meet.   Would you report it to the police?  What if they said there’s nothing they can do?

          Perhaps it’s a sudden explosive shattering of glass from somewhere downstairs?  Would you go down, alone, to check it out?

          Is it worse if you’re woken from a dead sleep, barely dressed, half awake?  Would you call someone else?  Wake them up?  When it’s probably nothing…

          What if you glimpse, out of the corner of your eye, a shadow move past your dark bedroom doorway?  Would you tell yourself that was nothing?

          Or hear unexplained footsteps in the hall, right outside your door?  Would you pull the covers over your head and pray it goes away? 

          How about a ‘scritching’ sound, like fingernails would make, coming from the window that you can’t see behind closed curtains?  Would you get up to open those curtains?  To see what’s out there?

          I’d be interested in hearing if any of these push your creepy button.  Or do you have others?

          What is it about a horror story that makes you say, “That was awesome!”

In the many Facebook wall posts, individual blog entries and Meet-up discussions I’ve seen in the short time since the New Year began, I’ve noticed a theme among all of them; “I need to start writing again” or  “I can’t find my motivation,” or “I just have to force myself to write.”

I too have felt the burning desire to get back to writing and, have also experienced the disappointment of not being able to get rolling the way I want to. Rather than disappoint myself into defeat by cracking the whip on my own back, or by setting unattainable goals, I decided to take a step back and just allow myself to grow naturally.

It all started with the first step – deciding which of the three stories that I am currently developing to start with. This in itself may not be an easy choice for some. I decided to work on the rewrite of my completed Erotic Romance novella. I had finished the first draft back in July and have recently received some feedback on the first two chapters from members of Stonehenge, my  Meet-upTM writer’s group, so I felt it was the story that I had the best chance of doing anything with successfully.

The second step was what many folk are having a difficult time with right now. Finding time. I found some time, one hour every morning where I had no distractions, no interruptions and a quiet atmosphere to work in. So I began the rewrite. It wasn’t a very large block of time, but it was something.

The first day I produced a paltry 374 words in that hour. Oh – whoopee! Atta-boy David! You’ve got a good first paragraph (exaggeration – it was really about 5 paragraphs). Needless to say, I was less than exuberant with my results. But then I just had to tell myself that it was a step forward. It was progress after all. Why berate myself on not being able to pen half a book in one hour? It was a success!

Day two was much better. In that one hour window, I had added to my initial 374 words to reach 1100.  Still not a big leap forward but forward progress nonetheless.

Day three I broke 1000 new words in one hour. That was a lot! I was quite proud of myself for the first time since I did 8000 words in one day when finishing the first draft. I looked forward to the next day’s hour with great expectations.

Day four – another 1000 word hour and the story was actually flowing nicely as well. Realizing that my efforts weren’t just creating dribble, that one thousand words in an hour made me feel very good about myself. Again, I looked forward to the next day.

Day five, six and seven have all seen 1000+ word days in that one hour window of opportunity. Something is happening. I’m writing! How can this be? I didn’t even feel stressed or hurried over the past week. I’ve actually got something on paper (well, pixels at least) and it wasn’t the drudgery that I thought it would be. I sort of forgot that I had to write and just wrote.

That’s the trick. Stop telling yourself that you have to write, like it’s a job. Most of us are still doing this as a “hobby” in conjunction with our real jobs, so why make it a task when it should be fun?

Taking that one step further – why feel the need to sit and write for hours on end? Write when it feels good and for as long as it feels good and the work flows. When you hit a hurdle, pause for a moment and try to think it through. If the answer doesn’t come immediately to you, put it down and go do something else. I have found that in working this way, I get through stumbling blocks much easier than I used to. When you are in the heat of the moment, and you come upon a problem, one part of your mind is saying “screw it! I have to get this other information down” while another part fights the first and says, “No! We must solve this problem first BEFORE we go on. The fate of the free world depends on it!”

Both are right to some degree, and if you can skip ahead and continue writing then come back to whatever is hanging you up, then go for it. I have the tendency to get marred down in trying to solve a problem, the result of which is I get frustrated, angry, disenchanted and begin second guessing everything about my story. I get stuck in other words. No one likes that feeling and it is probably why many of us find it difficult to get started after a break. We don’t want to feel that way.

The baby step approach I’ve been describing above has helped me find my groove. I work, not expecting much, but end up achieving a lot. When I feel good, I write. When I am stuck, I walk away and think about it. Usually, I can work through my problems and at the next one-hour writing window, I can implement changes and move on, many time still achieving a 1000 word hour. But the most important thing that helps me maintain this one-hour-a-day schedule is that I feel good and am looking forward to writing. If you can’t feel good about what you’re writing, or even look forward to your writing time with enthusiasm – what’s the point? There’s enough stress dumped on you by life, why dump more needlessly?

I don’t even pretend to assume this method will work for everyone, but it’s working for me right now. So much, in fact, that I’m inspired to share my workflow with the hope that I might be able to help or inspire someone who’s experiencing the same difficulties in finding their happy place.

If you find this has helped you, let me know. If you have a method you find helps you get through the muddy trail, share it here. You might just help me or someone else in the process.

 

Happy writing.

Writing, unlike other forms of art, allow the reader direct access to the soul of the writer. When viewing a painting or photograph, we may perceive a piece of emotion or desire, but it is limited by ambiguity and by our personal filters. This holds true for the written word, yet the reader has more to work with. It’s all there, on paper or the computer: the soul exposed. Even if a story is about a world non-existent, the characters are built upon by the experiences of the writer, and in doing so, the reader may decipher who a writer is.

This being true, for me, writing is extremely personal. I am an introvert. I do not easily share my innermost thoughts or emotions with strangers, and oh, how I relish in the anonymity of the digital world. But, to grow as a writer, I needed to find peers of the field.

So, I found Stonehenge. I have been with them for over a year now, and I have seen my writing grow; I would not be as strong as a writer without their help. Although I remain an introvert, always will, I have found comfort in sharing my self, my writing, and my worlds. I took a leap in the growth of a human being by pushing myself beyond my comfort zone.

This blog is the culmination of Stonehenge Writers pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone, as a group, and entering the digital aether to share our knowledge, our goals, and our questions to the world. I invite you, join us. Share in our journey, share in our souls, and share in our words. You may not live near us, but with the click of a mouse, we are bound only by miles to share thought and vision.

And now, I leave you with this tiny fragment of myself:

I ride
Past the sound an’ past the light
All is a blur of cosmic flight

It’s a shame there are so many of us writers and so few publishers…or are there?

In this mass-multi-media-mayhem of a world we thrive in, there have never been so many options.  Whether your goal is to publish traditionally, indie, or by any other means your creative mind can concoct, the world is at the whim of your will.

But, how do we get there?  Well, here’s the short answer.  Anybody can publish a book.  One click of your mouse can show you websites sleek enough to easily connect your story to the masses.

Here are some tougher questions.  Is self-publishing the best option?  How do we know when our writing is good enough?  And at what point should we stop editing?  How do we market?  Where and how do we find agents if self-publishing isn’t the goal?  And what is this elevator pitch/query letter/synopsis thing people always talk about?

Well, if you’ve read this far, are interested in our answers to these questions, or if these questions have fired new ones in the furnace of your mind, then read on.  We will explore every facet of writing our fingertips can click onto the page.  Have a question?  Good, we love discussions and debates.  Just remember to be respectful.

Stonehenge craves knowledge, so if you have something informative to offer, or a different perspective to pitch, please share.  The one thing I’ve come to understand is, the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.  While the wealth of knowledge we carry is immense, we are always learning and adapting.  So click around.  Peruse our site.  You just might find an answer to that question burning in your mind.