If you are interesting in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

WWK welcomes Welcome Wednesday author interview guests--B.K. Stevens (10/7), Lida Sederis (10/14), Judy Penze Sheluk (10/21), and Toni LoTempio (10/28) to our blog. Our guest bloggers this month are--Cindy Brown (10/10), and Julie Mulhern (10/31) in addition to our bewitching Saturday bloggers, Sam Morton (10/17), and Kait Carson (10/24).

Warren Bull's "The Interview" has not only been included in the Flash Bang Mysteries anthology, but it also was chosen for the cover of this volume, due out in October. "Wrestling with the Noontime Demon," another of Warren's new short stories, was released in the Destination: Mystery! anthology on August 9th. Edited by Andrew MacRae, the anthology is available on Amazon in paper or Kindle formats.

"A Matter of Honor" by Robert Dugoni and Paula Gail Benson will be published in the first Killer Nashville anthology, Killer Nashville Noir: The Living and the Dead (working title), scheduled for release in October 2015.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Zone

Nancy Pickard is one of the guest speakers at the Crimebake conference this year. Not only will I reread her novels but I’ve discovered the book she wrote with Lyn Lott, a therapist/writer, Seven Steps on the Writer’s Path: the Journey from Frustration to Fulfillment. Both experienced and novice writers go through these seven steps.

So far, I’ve read the chapter on unhappiness, step 1, the restlessness and discomfort that precedes creativity, and step 2’s chapter, wanting.

To find out what I really want, Pickard and Lott suggest I take into account negative feelings that include jealousy and envy. Once I know what makes me jealous, I can make a list that will help me discover my real desires.

By now, around pages 50 to 60 in the book, I’m sure several readers are delving into these feelings and making great lists. I’m slow at tasks like this. I’ve written stories and not included a single internalized thought or feeling. Introspection isn’t my bag. I see pictures and memorize everything I see. However, I wanted to uncover new stories and characters so I persisted with the task.

I wish I could write pages of internal thoughts like Harlan Coben that are as dramatic as action. I wish I could use language to show character and emotion the way Lisa Gardner does. I wish I could give a glimpse into the lives of three boys and then show their stories unfolding and intertwining when they’re adults. As a reader, I was convinced each boy could only become the particular adult portrayed in Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River. I wish I could use language the way Tana French does to show the visceral responses of her characters. I wish I could create a character like Lisbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy.

After looking into what makes me jealous, I believe I’m interested in making better use of language and delving deeper into character.thumbnail

I’ve just begun to try the approach suggested by the seven steps. At every conference I’ve attended, I’ve learned what agents and publishers are looking for. It doesn’t make sense to totally ignore the marketplace. However, I’d like to find out more about the themes and characters that preoccupy my subconscious.

To reach the zone, I sometimes have to turn off all the voices of critics, no matter how helpful in the past, and of expert marketers. It’s not easy. Listening to a favorite piece of music helps me. Do you have a method to reach the zone?


E. B. Davis said...

Ellis Vidler wrote a blog about how music puts her in the zone. I have to rely on circumstances--such as getting time alone, which is hard in the summer when kids are home.

But I can't write until I visualize a scene. Ramona Long advocates writing everyday. Once everything crystalizes mentally, then I can write a scene without fuzzy edges and ineffectual dialogue. Until that happens, there is no point in writing.

Every scene must have purpose and fit like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. If you can't see the entire picture nor realize the function of the scene within the whole story, how can you write it?

Kara Cerise said...

Thank you for the book suggestion, Pauline. I just downloaded since I am on step one - the frustration part of the writer's journey at the moment:)

Pauline Alldred said...

Hi Kara. The steps do exist, don't they? I found the suggestions for working through them helpful.

Kristi said...

Thanks for the article Pauline ... I'm definitely going to check out her book.

Ramona said...

Pauline, I think you are gaining a lot of self-knowledge through this book. That's a brave thing to do and address.

As Elaine noted, I do advocate writing every day, because that keeps the story in my head all the time. Even when I want it to shut up for 5 minutes!

Warren Bull said...

Nancy Pickard is one of the best writing teachers I know. She's always worth listening to and she emphasizes knowing your self.

Pauline Alldred said...

I agree with you, Ramona, that writing every day keeps the story in mind and fresh. That is one of the most difficult rules to keep. Just one day can't hurt, I'll say, and then one day becomes two.