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

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where is Your Muse?

           
Recently, one of our WWK bloggers posed a question to an author: are you a planner or a pantser? The answer is as easy, or as complex, as whether one is left-brained or right. Are you a Type A personality or a Type ADHD? Personally, I believe four letters are better than one.

I've watched planners work with their multi-colored sticky notes, dry erase boards, index cards, and file folders. The thought makes me shudder. I've read books on plot and structure that suggest a four-act, eight scene arrangement or a three act, five scene scheme with an outline for each, and my question is what if the story can't be contained within those strictures?

I am, obviously, a pantser. I have an idea of how I want my stories to end. I pick a beginning, and then work to build the middle so it supports the opening and the conclusion. And lo and behold, I have found the perfect place to pants. Let me explain.

My daughter takes ballet, which means I have an hour-and-a-half to kill. Now, I can stick around the studio, sit on a hard wooden bar stool and listen to a stick-thin dance teacher yell out French words in a southern accent, or I can go find a place to write. I don't like French or stools that much.

Less than a mile from the dance studio is a Panera Bread, a pantser's paradise, right? Several weeks running now, I order a bowl of creamy tomato soup (my Lord, that is a whole 'nother blog right there), I break out my portable Bluetooth keyboard, and tappity-tap-tap, before you know it, I've knocked out a couple thousand words, often an entire chapter all before the final temps levé. (It took me three years of being a dance dad to figure out no one named Tom LeVay was ever going to make an appearance.)

Last week, though I looked up and noticed, I was not the only patron clacking away at a keyboard. I am not—cannot be—the only aspiring writer in this haven of Panini. Panera Bread must be a world of muses for the 21st century writer.

There would be no Hemingway without Key West, no Steinbeck without the Dust Bowl, no Dan Brown without The Vatican. Without question, there can be no modern novelist without Panera Bread—and, by the way, Thursdays are dollar bakery item day.

About five weeks ago, I developed a character while sitting at Panera. Five weeks ago she was peripheral, bound to be lost or killed. She served as a catalyst to get my good guys to go after my bad guys. Week by week at a small table for two by the bread company's front door, she grew. She got a first and last name. She got a hometown, a mother and father who miss her and worry because they don't know where she is. She got two younger sisters.

Between slurps of tomato soup and sips of fresh-brewed sweet tea, I pantsed my way into giving her the courage to stand up against the people who want to hurt her, the intelligence to devise a plan, and the guts to withstand everything the bad guys throw her way. She's stolen a book that details many of their misdeeds and, more importantly, where the money is that they get from these illegal acts. It's her insurance, her only way back to her mother and father.

My good guys don't even know her yet, but when they do, they will know her with a depth and appreciation, and respect—character traits I'm not certain I could have outlined two months ago—that propel them into battle with the bad guys. When that battle comes, look out. More than one somebody is going to die. And it won't be quick or painless. No quick jab with a knife or a sudden shot between the eyes. There will be punches thrown, soft tissue kicked or pinched under the soles of shoes.

Why? Because I'm a Panini Pantser from Panera Bread and because I am, by God, a writer who kills.

Hands will encircle throats and squeeze the air out. Bones will break; muscles will fail. People will die—just don't ask me who. I haven't pantsed that far yet.

Where does your muse live, and what makes her appear?
           

            

7 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

My diva must live at the Ritz. Every time she shows up, she demands a glass of champagne! There I am thinking up plots and she waltzes in thinking she can take over. Now, I don't mind the help, but her bar bills are steep. Can't she be a cheap date? But then, when she does take over her plots are insidiously wicked and her characters are better than I could think up. I'd try Panera Bread, but since they don't have a bar, I doubt I'll run into her. BTW--last time she was here, she told me about Tom LeVay--seems that he hangs out at a barre too!

James Montgomery Jackson said...

My muse appears from the ether, brought forward by long walks, hot showers, swinging in a hammock chair. I think hard and then let it rest. Or sometimes I don’t think at all and some exogenous event triggers her to present me with a gift.

I’m a patient bugger and always pleased when insight appears.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

My muse loves to travel. She seems especially happy after we've been some place new.

KM said...

I've never been in a Panera Bread. I was in a Starbucks once, when a former boyfriend insisted that everybody should at least go there once. I guess the equivalent around here is the good old boys who sit on chairs in front of the (non-chain) convenience store where I get a newspaper. Or maybe the McDonald's out by the highway that gets WIFI. Sometimes. I don't have a laptop anyhow.


But I fully get how a minor character can take on a relvance of his/her own the writer didn't anticipate. Sometimes you just have to let them grow into their own place. Or sometimes give them a nod on this manuscript and promise them a more prominent position in the next one.

Gloria Alden said...

I like Panera, but I can't write with people around. I need to be alone and most of my ideas come on walks in the woods or when I read something in the newspaper or elsewhere that sparks some idea. I'm a pantser, too. I have my plot idea, and at least a few characters planned, but from then on like weeds the plot and characters just keep growing.

Kara Cerise said...

My muse lives in my dreams. I wake up in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning with a "great" idea.

Thanks for the tip about Thursday dollar bakery item day at Panera. Maybe my muse will visit if I'm eating a croissant.

Paula Gail Benson said...

I discovered that my muse likes a small coffee and medium fruit cup at Chick-fil-a. $4.00 even total(in my location) and she can have coffee refills! Got the idea for the story on the first visit, then finished a draft last night.