Posts from the ‘On Writing’ Category

My Writing Process

Every writer develops a writing process, a routine, a style. There is no ” one size fits all” in writing, and the same reason why I stay away from “the how to’s” and “the must do’s.” Certain guidelines, tips, and recommendations have worked for me and many other authors, but it does not mean that it will work for everyone. I follow my own heart and mind when establishing my writing process and developing my style. I welcome what will benefit it and discard what will not. I am grateful that there is so much information out there to help me and widen my point of view. This was not available many years ago.

When I commit to a story its development starts – ideas, images, dreams, and serendipity make themselves a part of my daily living. When I write and I put myself in a receiving state. Inspiration will come in many forms and from many sources. In that receiving state I don’t pass judgement, however,  it helps me recognize when something is not working or just doesn’t feel right. Some writers can edit as they write, or as they finish a page, a chapter, or the day’s work. I cannot do that. It seems to interfere with the receiving state, and degree of inspiration, as well with the flow of ideas.

My first draft is truly a rough draft. After it is done, I must take a break from the story, and then editing can begin, in several rounds from one draft to the next. Only when something does not feel right will I go back and change it during the first draft, and only because it will influence the rest of the story, and it becomes a mental road block for me. Point of view is a perfect example of something that might feel wrong in the beginning of a story, and must be dealt with right away. Another example is a character that defied me until I had to change everything about him – his looks, his demeanor, personality, and even role, from secondary to primary. It was not what I had intended, but I became aware in the very early stage of writing the story. Awareness came in the form of this character refusing to be written in a certain way, and even shutting up. This may sound weird to some people, but if you are a writer immersed in your craft you get the point, and understand it.

I believe that the more you write the more you grow and evolve, and so does your process. It is a living endeavor that does not stay the same, and it should not. Never the less, it has to be nourished and developed. The love of a lifetime.

 

On Saying Goodbye

Losing a loved one is never easy. Whether a partner in life, a friend, or family member, it is one of the most painful experiences. Having to say goodbye when one is not ready is devastating, and it may render a person numb out of an unexpected dose of pain. One of the secondary themes in my novel The Five-dollar Miracle is the loss of a spouse, and the feelings and emotions that go with it.

Last year I experienced the loss of loved ones, and just a few weeks after I had finished writing a chapter dealing with this topic, a friend died unexpectedly leaving her partner experiencing the feelings of pain, loss, desolation, and so many other emotions that can only be described by someone who has gone through it.

As writers, we draw from our experiences when we try to convey through our writing, and the rest we imagine or draw from observation; we try to do the best we can when portraying what we have not experienced. Many times, we place ourselves in those situations fictionally, and try to understand or visualize the array of emotions surrounding a particular situation. At other times, inspiration seems to take our hand and guide us in our writing. We try our best, and as writers that is all we can do, but I can say with certainty that our writing will only match the synergy of our experience.

What’s Next?

What’s next? It seems to be the perpetual question. It is our human nature to want to keep on going, do better, achieve, evolve … . It seems that as soon as something is achieved, another goal appears in the mind, as if there was no time to enjoy the prize and celebrate the achievement. Whether you are an overachiever or not, the desire presents itself, sometimes as a burning fire to the next level, or as discontent with the present. We forget about the sweetness of the now, and about enjoying the fruits of our hard labor.

As a writer, I focus on the story at hand; however, other stories are brewing or are waiting to be written. It is tempting to hear the plea and to attempt to start writing them, although I have found that I can only write one story at a time, unlike other authors. Instead, I dismiss it and concentrate on the current story, blocking everything else. If a new idea crosses my mind, I jot it down for later consideration, when the timing is right. I don’t succumb to the urge of developing it further.

To each story I pledge my undivided attention, until it is written, edited, and published. Not until then, do I consider my next story. That is another process, which I will write about on a future post – how to select which story to write next. At the moment my focus is in editing The Five-dollar Miracle, and hopefully publish it by the end of this year.

I would like to hear about your writing process and experience – do you write one story at a time or do you split your effort into several?

The Novella – New Attention Span Trend?

It has been said that the new generation of readers prefer to consume stories fast, and many favor stories that are not too long, as an example the novella. As new readers devour stories at a fast pace thanks to e-reading, authors may feel the pressure of writing more, faster, and put out more works. Whether you have a huge readership or not, the thought of catering to readers is a legitimate one. Even if you set out to write a novella, there is no guarantee that you will end up achieving so.

As far as my experience, when I write a story, I don’t know how long it will be. It is a living process, one of the mind, the heart, the soul, and one of spirit. Currently, I am editing my next story – The Five-dollar Miracle – and it took a life of its own, not quite as I had planned, so I let the process be and the story flowed taking me where it wanted. As an author I have control of the story, but its birth and development sometimes challenges preconceived ideas, and for me, letting it unfold by putting aside those ideas works.

As I have said before I don’t outline, other than a few scribbles of a basic idea for a story, in no particular order, and pretty much all over the place. Later on, the story develops and things fall into place adequately. In Moonlit Valley the ending came as a single sentence on my mind. At that moment, I wrote it down and I knew it was the ending, however, I was at the beginning of the story, and didn’t know how I was going to get to that point. I may have an idea for a story (whether it starts with a line, a word, or a paragraph scribbled down when it hits my mind) but its development is a living process that takes me along with it until its completion, in which length is unimaginable. It may turn out to be a short story, a novella, or an epic. I am done when the story has been told.

Please feel free to comment on your writing process. I would love to hear about your experience.

Sunrise Souls – the poem

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SUNRISE SOULS

 

The Dinorah Chronicles came to an end with Sunrise Souls. This last book wrapped up the ongoing story; however, each book was written in a way that you do not need to read the first one to know what is going on. Each book stands for itself. Here’s a little bit about Sunrise Souls,

As the Sunrise Souls awake to embrace the decoding of a new dawn – a new era for Earth and its inhabitants – a prophecy unveils. Dinorah Sandbeck, half-human and half-Anarth, leads the decoding of a new Earth. As it was written, “Sunrise Souls, embrace your essence, and in doing so, fulfill the prophecy of a new dawn, the birth of the New Earth – 000.

I would like to dedicate this post to the Anarths, characters who I fell in love with while writing them. At the end of the book, I dedicated a poem to these characters. It is written from an Anarth’s point of view. I would like to share it in this post.

Anarth Song

Among humanity I dwell

I carry the burden of Cain

His legacy divided men

Earth enveloped in a blanket of pain.

One life to live a thousand times

Serving the good of humankind

To protect and serve, no end in sight

As long as Earth gives birth to right.

 

God’s seed, the righteous one

The good, the pure, the kind of heart

For it I fight, a thousand times

Eternal battle of flesh divine.

 

Divine and soul of flesh becomes

Thrown into Earth, duty my sword

For humankind the oath I take

I give my life, my sword, eternal fate.

 

Will I write about Anarths again? I don’t know the answer. It is their call.

Release of Sunrise Souls

Finally! Sunrise Souls is published. It is the last book of The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy. The other books in the trilogy are Ramblings of the Spirit (Book 1) and The Book of Sharon (Book 2). The trilogy was inspired by my first novel Moonlit Valley, and is set 20 years after, which presented a challenge with Time, as far as aging and evolving certain characters without affecting the integrity of the first novel.

Sunrise Souls took a bit longer than anticipated, and I think I felt a bit more pressure because it was the last book, and what the first book set to fulfill, as far as the purpose of the protagonist – Dinorah Sandbeck – the last book had to reveal and complete. Although each book is written in a way that you don’t need to read the previous to know what is going on, each book is part of the big story – Dinorah’s purpose – and at the end, it is fulfilled. It was a challenge, but I feel that the trilogy had good closure, and I feel at peace with my protagonist.

This one is set in Rignano Garganico, Italy. Rignano Garganico is a southern little town in the Province of Foggia, Italy. It is a jewel, a little secret that sits atop a mountain, and rich in history, as it dates back to medieval times. When I imagined the setting of this book, I had in mind a picture of where I wanted Dinorah Sandbeck to be located. I knew it had to be in Italy, but preferably not near the Vatican, as this location plays a part in the story. I had a strong mental image, but had no idea where to find this place; so I armed myself with Google Earth, and asked, “If I was Dinorah Sandbeck, where would I go?” Immediately, I felt a pull to the area, and started my search nearby, and soon enough, I found myself navigating the streets of Rignano Garganico. It was a magical and serendipitous moment; it was the image I had in mind, and more. So I dedicated time to research as much as I could, although I didn’t find much information, but what I found was enough to give me a background on this enchanting place.

Here is a small excerpt from Sunrise Souls –  The southern little town in the province of Foggia sat atop a mountain, as if it was the entrance to heaven. The crisp white clouds were reminiscent of watching angels, only to be forgotten by the observer when the valleys bellow revealed a majestic panorama. At first, I was intrigued by it, but now, I was enchanted. Rignano Garganico was growing in my heart. 

There were a few times when I found many coincidental facts with my story, and I felt “at home.” This is something that I’ve heard many writers talk about, and experienced as well – the many coincidences they find when writing a story, serendipity. Throught the writing of the chronicles, I found myself smiling many times.

Here is a shot of the cover, and a bit about it. It is available via Amazon and Createspace in paperback and eBook.

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Sunrise Souls

The Time is Now!

As the Sunrise Souls awake to embrace the decoding of a New Dawn – a new era for Earth and its inhabitants – a prophecy unveils. Dinorah Sandbeck, half-Human and half-Anarth, leads the decoding of a new Earth. As it was written, “Sunrise Souls, embrace your essence, and in doing so, fulfill the prophecy of a new dawn, the birth of a new Earth – 000.

So what now? I am happy to have done justice to my characters, and I am ready for the next novel. I don’t think that I will write another trilogy for a while; I prefer a single story, but that doesn’t mean that I am done writing trilogies or a series. I have several novels in mind, however, I will write the one that screams to be written now. This is something that I learned about myself as a writer sometime ago, and experienced more as I wrote The Dinorah Chronicles, and that is that in a way, a trilogy ties me down, and that is because I can only write one book at a time. For some reason, I cannot write multiple stories at once; it is not my writing style, and I can only eat and breathe one book at a time. I admire authors who can split their energy and inspiration into multiple stories at once.

Each book is an education in itself, and a writer always learns, experiences, and discovers new things via the story that he/she writes because it becomes a living entity that continues to evolve, even when the writer has written the last word, the end. It lives in the mind, the soul, and even the spirit of the writer, and it may stay there, or reappear years or decades after. No one knows, even the writer.

 

Writer’s Self Doubt

Am I good enough? It is the question that haunts our minds at one point or another, and if you have written for some time, you know what I mean. You might have 4,5,6 … 15 books under your belt, and that moment of weakness can take your breath away, and with it, chisel a bit of confidence. If you let it, it will keep chiseling until it creates a masterpiece of doubt, and at its worst, of fear. It is at that moment of balancing the writer-self with the ego when one wonders (or wanders), and even dares to question if it all makes sense. If you have been there (or are there), it is normal. Artists, whether writers, painters, sculptors … and any human that is passionate about something, passionate enough to doubt that is, will go through this act of balancing. The image of a circus clown crossed my mind.

Am I good enough? The only way to answer this is to keep going and find out. This is not the time to stop and wonder, but to keep pressing the dream, and regain your breath. At each breath of the pen, the air clears out, and with it any hints of fear that might try to creep up in the writer’s soul. After all, we are in a game of souls, and the mind chooses the setting, and the words flow.

Am I good enough? You’ll never know unless you press on.

 

*Sunrise Souls update – I am in the last revision phase, and almost ready for publication. This one has taken my breath away.