The Heart Of Writing

Hello again from about 50 miles north of here, in London:

[London Eye (l) and Queen Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) under refurbishment. London, England. Photo by me, September 2019.]
While writing the new novel, in recent days during breaks I spent some “down” time once again scrolling Twitter’s #writerscafe/ #writingcommunity. Feeling rather “isolated” as we all do now, we know now more than ever that social media (used wisely) can be a positive diversion. So here are some recent authoring tweets I felt were worth highlighting.

This is, I think, an appropriate one with which to start:

I begin by brainstorming a few pages of chronological and big/pivotal event ideas, including how it will finish. That slowly is expanded to create “the exterior thin framework” of the full house. Writing the bulk of it after that becomes a process of doing up “the interior.”

Coincidentally, yesterday was something of a “milestone” in writing the planned new book. I have all of the chapters “framed” from beginning to end; some are quite detailed, others are just “skeletons,” but they all have a few lines or paragraphs at least. Now what follows for many months is all of the “filling in”…

[Photo by me, June 30, 2020.]
which is what constitutes the heart of writing (for me) a book:

[Photo by me, June 30, 2020.]
After I completed Tomorrow The Grace back in October, I decided I was going to take a “sabbatical” and write nothing more at all before probably June.

The pandemic upended that.

Since we were all mostly stuck at home, first I completed that dormant (since 2017) travel short story to provide a permanent free read for anyone who visits my blog here (and not just a Kindle-only and temporary book freebie I saw other authors doing for Amazon customers). Second, I started earlier than planned on the next novel, and now as July 1 arrives I had never thought I would be this far along; I had moved on with it quicker than I had expected I would.

One to two years. And where I am now is pretty much on “schedule” based on when I had started a few months ago. When all is written and done, it will be sometime in 2021 or 2022.

Occasionally, I find that I think…

[A 1792 Paris excerpt from Conventions: The Garden At Paris. On Kindle for iPhone or iPad. Click to expand.]
…we could bring back dueling. LOL!

That is a question that unsurprisingly led to a mass of replies and thread exchanges.

My answer? I have written five novels and everything that happens in them happens for a reason.

The 1700s-1800s historical ones in particular are obviously meant to reflect life and social norms of that era, both the good and the, at times, bad (as you see in “dueling” above), in the countries where they are set. There was some “chivalry,” yes. But it was also still often a world of “the strong triumphed,” and some men – far more than today – saw it as acceptable and their “God given” right to control and even to mistreat (including sexually) women.

Not as far as I know. But my books have been on at least one reader’s local bookstore shelf thanks, I later learned, to that someone going into the shop and asking for one. (She emailed me that she did.) The shop then ordered all (then) of them.

Writing is actually best done when older. It is one of the few activities in which we tend to get better with age. Main reason: a “50 year old” has usually seen much more of life than a “20 year old,” simple as that.

So when I see a “20 year old” who writes well… I think one can only imagine how good they might be at “50.”

No, and I would not trust any who approached me directly on Twitter. A serious outfit would at least have visited this web site. I have an email address on my “About” page and at the bottom of my sidebar.

I like all of those things… which is why I wrote/write them.

What did I write on here June 22?: “…sent it off to betas!”

Not really, because everything written drives in some way to the point of the tale itself. I try to avoid distractions produced for just “background purposes.” Frankly, if a “back story” is worth THAT much attention, it might also be worth its own full book.

Fantasy… unless what they can do is scientifically vaguely plausible within the generally believed contours of the laws of science.

So “Iron Man” is maybe sci-fi.

Superman” is definitely fantasy.

I think examples best answer that:

My three favorite fictional men: 3) “Colonel Brandon” (Sense and Sensibility), 2) “Christopher Newman” (The American), 1) “Leslie Slote” (The Winds of War).

My three favorite fictional women: 3) “Natasha Rostova” (War and Peace), 2) “Elizabeth Bennet” (Pride and Prejudice), 1) “Cora Munro” (Last of the Mohicans).

Those I suppose probably also provide a fairly good insight into why I write the sorts of books I do.

And why? Uh, how much time do you have? LOL!

No. I don’t usually listen to podcasts.

I don’t write “first person” (I, Me, Myself) novels. They are usually “third person” (He, She, They, etc.) with bits that may be “first person” as and when ***I*** see fit. My books, my rules.

I would never write in a genre I did not like.

I am sure what I wrote would be awful.

Why would anyone want to write something awful?

Within joking around, there is likely some degree of serious wishful thinking involved too.

As I wrote on Twitter some months ago: My (now late) uncle was a regularly published crime novelist in the 1980s-90s and was never “rich.” One book was optioned for a film; but it wasn’t produced. He warned me an author usually “makes it” only thanks to a TV/film adaptation. (Hint: keep a day job.)

I write for the challenge and the chance to reach and to entertain (I hope) an interested readership. I have zero desire to be well-known; I am interested only in my books being the focus. Most authors hope to earn some money (sales are, like it or not, some degree of validation that what you write matters at least a little), but if you think you will get rich doing this, as my uncle cautioned you will likely be disappointed and even become disillusioned.

Indeed anyone who sells “200,000” copies of a new novel probably has a shot at a web-streaming adaptation at least and perhaps even a film. That is A LOT of copies. It would be a pretty big hit.

On that note, I finish with this pub tale:

[From my Instagram Stories, June 29, 2020.]
Have a good, wherever you are. 🙂