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Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Sunday, April 18, 2021

P is for Perfection (or lack thereof) #atozchallenge


Are you a perfectionist? It can be both a good and a bad thing. Do you struggle with needing everything you do to be absolutely perfect, just so? Is it a driving force in your work, or does it keep you from writing? Do you keep endlessly tweaking your WIP, and not letting anyone read it until you think it's good enough?

If any of these things sound familiar, I have a challenge for you:

DO SOMETHING 'OKAY'. Not perfect. Just okay.

Write something imperfect. Show an unfinished story to a stranger. Publish a blog post that could probably use more editing. Take a leap. Not everything has to be perfect all the time. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. (It really is harder than it sounds.)

And if you are on the reader/commenter side of this thing, here are some things you can do to help:

1. Compliment specific things! It means a whole lot to writers to read compliments that go into detail.

2. Tell people what you want more of. More of that character. More of that kind of story. More of that fantasy world. It is a lot more inspiring than "constructive criticism." 

3. Don't message people with "I found a typo!" Just. Don't.

Happy writing, happy reading, happy blogging! :)

Friday, April 24, 2020

Twenty questions for JR Vincente (#AtoZChallenge)

#AtoZChallenge 2020 badge


The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:

A 2020 Look at the A to Z Team


Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to one of our shining team members, JR Vincente! 
I asked twenty questions, and received some stellar answers :) See for yourself!

1. You have been writing for 15 years, and you publish erotic fiction. Was this the genre you first became interested in writing?

Well, considering I started writing in High School, I definitely did not start with erotic fiction! Actually, I started with mystery. As a teen, it was a great way to channel my frustrations. There were often characters very similar to my classmates… Sometimes I look back at some of those works and chuckle at my naivete.

2. What's your second favorite literary genre, currently?

Mystery, for sure. It has had a place in my heart since my mom handed me a Mary Higgins Clark novel out of my grandmother’s closet shortly after my grandmother’s passing. I fell in love.

3. Your fiction focuses on BDSM lifestyle and relationships. What's the most important thing you'd want an outsider to know about BDSM?

That there isn’t one RIGHT way to do things. As long as everyone is safe, sane, and consensual, figure out what works for both of you or all of you and enjoy it.

4. From what I can tell, there are a lot of harmful stereotypes out there about BDSM, especially from people not involved in it at all. How do you (personally) differentiate between "good" and "bad" (poor quality) BDSM fiction?

I’ll read almost anything. I read a surprisingly small amount of BDSM fiction considering it’s about all I write anymore. I’m mostly looking for something that’s an easy read and entertaining. There are, of course, some egregious issues that I can’t handle. I recently started reading a book where the submissive’s safeword was basically treated as code for “I’m having an orgasm,” and…I don’t think I’m going to be finishing that novel.

5. Are there sub-subgenres (niches?) of BDSM fiction that are close to your heart?

That’s a tough question. There are so many things I like. I have a wide variety of kinks, I’m poly, bisexual, and a switch. So… there isn’t much I don’t like! I do really enjoy reading FemDom stories, which is something I’ve only started exploring in the last few years.

6. "Especially now, an ideal world sounds pretty damn good." - What would your ideal world look like?

Well now, if you have been reading my blog during this challenge, you’ll get a pretty good idea! But, in a nutshell: a world where everyone has equal access, there’s no prejudice, there’s lots of kindness, openness, and empathy.

7. One of the novels you published is a Choose Your Own Adventure book. What was it like, writing a narrative structure like that?

I LOVED IT! One of the things that’s difficult for me as a writer is making all the decisions for every character. Sometimes I worry that the reader will dislike my choices as an author. Writing a Choose Your Own Adventure alleviates all of that. The reader can make whatever choices they want! It’s very freeing, but also very difficult to manage details.

8. What is your favorite part of world building?

I am really enjoying the creative control. No need to worry about STDs or accidental pregnancy in my world!

9. The novel you are blogging about in this year's A to Z is a part of a series. Would you like to tell us more about what you plan for this series?

I started out building the world, then starting my main character’s story. I’ve written two books so far, and her story is nowhere near finished. I’m sure that there are some other characters we’ve met along the way who will have their own story to tell. The sky’s the limit!

10. You state on your blog that you are bi and poly. Are these identities reflected in your writing?

I am! Sometimes they do. I write a lot of bisexual fiction, whether I set out to or not. There are sometimes poly relationships, though often I don’t navigate the world of feelings in the poly relationships. I will probably do more of that as time goes on, but I certainly don’t consider myself an expert!

11. What is the best way you'd like to see these identities reflected in fiction? Or mainstream media? What are the stereotypes you want people to be done with?

I just hate that people have to judge other people’s lifestyles. Why does it matter who I go to sleep with? You aren’t seeing it. I’m not having sex in the streets, for goodness sake. But there are people who do judge, and that’s why I have to keep things somewhat anonymous. It’s frustrating. We are just normal people, living normal lives, we just happen to have other adults who help us out. It’s no different than a best friend who helps out with childcare, except we might have sex, too.

12. How do you think fiction can help with removing stigma from topics such as BDSM or polyamory?

I think a lot of stigma comes from a lack of knowledge. Maybe reading/seeing relationships people haven’t experienced will help them understand that they really aren’t that different, and certainly don’t deserve judgment.

13. If you could ask a big-name/famous/important/awesome writer (in your genre or outside) to mentor you, who would it be?

I would love to talk to Laurell K. Hamilton. In what I’ve seen of her social media, she seems like an awesome person, and I LOVE her work. I actually won’t read her novels unless I know I can devote some serious time to it because I can’t put it down!

14. What is your daily (weekly?) writing routine like?

I try to write daily. The challenge I set for myself of writing 1,000,000 words in 2020 requires about 2800 words per day. When I skip days, those words stack up quickly! My best writing times are early in the morning or when I’m out of the house. If I know I can’t set aside some time after work, I try to get up early and write. When all else fails, I make a date with my best writing friend to write together early on a weekend morning.

15. If one of your novels (current or future) would be turned into a movie, what would your dreams be for that movie?

I would love for something to go as mainstream as 50 Shades did. I know that’s not a great representation of BDSM (okay, maybe it’s a pretty terrible representation), but what was impressive to me was that many people outside the community saw it. I think that’s pretty cool. Plus, I could probably write full time off the money that made!

16. If you could write script for a TV show of your choice (existing or original), what would it be? 

Gilmore Girls. It was always such a great show, very witty. Loved it.

17. Next to writing fiction, you also blog regularly. Does writing a blog post require a different mindset? Do you easily switch between the two?

It’s definitely very different. I write a lot more easily than I blog. I actually started my blog because of the A to Z Challenge. That makes it easier – having a focus and a goal. Otherwise, I get listless. What do people want to read about? I’m not comfortable talking about my kids on my otherwise kinky bdsm blog! So… what else is there?

18. What advice would you give to bloggers about blogging adult content?

Be honest. It’s so rare to find raw honestly in the world anymore. If you’re going to blog about adult content, don’t censor yourself.

19. What is your favorite part of the A to Z Challenge?

The people! I love reading new blogs, getting comments, responding to comments. It’s such an awesome community!

20. What is something you would have never learned if it wasn't for A to Z?

A to Z wasn’t just the inspiration to start my blog. It was also the inspiration to write my Choose Your Own Adventure. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it!

Visit JR's blog here, Facebook page here, and Twitter here!

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Putting the "muse" in "music" - What's your writing jam?

The more I talk to other writers, the more I realize how great a source of inspiration music provides for all of us. Every year during A to Z, many people use their daily posts to share some of their favorite, most nostalgic, most deserving pieces of music, and it is always a treat to browse through those posts. In my own research, I have conversations with people who reveal the many uses music can have in the creative writing process.

Do you do any of these?

Have a playlist for a specific writing project
Do you meticulously assemble a list of songs that are somehow associated with your WIP? Do you often wish that you could publish a soundtrack CD along with your book? Do you have your go-to station on Pandora while you are busy typing away?
(Some writes are better at this last one than others. Some of us require silence when we write - but we still need out music when we are planning!)

Have a playlist for a specific character
Do you have characters in your writing who come with their own mix tape? Do you make lists thinking about what songs your heroes listen to (or would listen to, if they had the time and the means)? Do you come across songs and thing "this is totally Her/Him/Them"! Do your love stories have Their Songs?

Have characters or stories inspired by music
Have you ever listened to a song, staring out the window of a train or jogging away on a treadmill, and though "ooh, this would make a great story!" Have you ever watched a music video, saw a character, and thought to your self "I want to know about that one!" Have you ever been so taken with the mood of a piece of music that you had to put it into words?

Share your music with other writers
Have you ever said the words "YOU GOTTA LISTEN TO THIS!"?

We'll listen! Tell us what your favorite writing music is. Tell us if (and how) music inspires your writing. Tell us about that one nostalgic song that always makes you want to write.
Give us all something to listen to!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Writing Through the Holidaze

Even the Cat Can Go Bonkers with Holidaze Stress

Nothing's busier than a person who writes, unless it's a person who writes during the Thanksgiving holiday. I prefer to call it "holidaze" for the obvious reason. The only way I get through this time and still remain sane is to have a schedule. I schedule everything during November, even when to take out the garbage. If I didn't, the garbage just might be ignored and that would be very bad indeed.

One DAY of my THANKSGIVING HOLIDAZE SCHEDULE:


AM

  • 4:00 open eyes, create mental list for the day
  • 4:30 find coffee maker in dark--don't risk waking family with bright lights
  • 4:40 boot computer, sip coffee, wait for computer to wake up, sip more coffee, nudge computer, cuss
  • 5:00 answer emails
  • 5:40 check blogs and respond to all comments, visit at least 15 blogs before break
  • 6:15 BREAK, coffee maker now clearly visible in dawn light, so make another cup, listen for footsteps upstairs
  • 6:20 fb, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+
  • 7:00 greet first family member with smile, but silence. They are very cranky in the morning.
  • 7:30 find food, eat, talk about the day's plan, do dishes
  • 8:15 return to computer, more emails and blogs
  • 9:00 shut down social media, pull up WIP, cry, then rewrite
  • 10:00 check garden, clean up after raccoons, cuss
  • 11:00 eat lunch, take a walk down to the creek
PM
  • 12:00 call friends and family re: Thanksgiving plans to firm up menu and make sure they're bringing stuff
  • 1:00 Take out garbage (See, I was serious.)
  • 1:15 Make Turkey Stuffing, boil Sweet Potatoes, look for wine.
  • 3:00 Set table for T'day
  • 4:00 Call in and order Pizza for pick up.
  • 4:45 Drive to town, pick up Pizza, return home (MY ROAD TRIP FOR THE DAY)
  • 5:15 Drink wine, make salad
  • 5:30 Eat Pizza, drink more wine--use counter because table's set
  • 6:30 Stack dishes in sink and call Elves
  • 6:40 Find happy 30 minute sit-com on Netflix
  • 7:15 Shower (if we have water--drought year)
  • 8:00 Open Kindle and read
  • 9:00 Face in pillow
Repeat with adjustments for after the T'day celebration. Happy Thanksgiving to all!




Wednesday, November 4, 2015

5 tips for authors who work with folktales

Fairy tale adaptations are all the rage these days. Some of them are stellar, some of them are decent, and some of them are... boring, I guess. But whatever the case, here is something that not many people talk about: Adapting fairy tales (especially if they are also folktales - not all of them are!) is a tricky issue. Many people just automatically assume that folktales are in the public domain - therefore there is no copyright to consider, or intellectual property to tread on. However, when working with traditional stories - especially if they are from a culture other than your own - is a lot more complicated than it sounds.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind if you work with fairy tales:

Make sure it is actually a folktale 
Not all fairy tales are folklore. Some of them are literary. These might look like a folktale, but they still fall under copyright and intellectual property rules. This becomes especially tricky when some authors write "fakelore" - publish their own work under the title "folktale" (or, ironically, "original folktale"). In other cases they might publish folktales that are real, but publish them in their own version, re-written, re-told or adapted.
This is not only important because you might get in trouble for copyright infringement. You might also be unwittingly propagating false information on the traditions and culture of a certain group of people.
How to avoid: It is useful to look for the same story in other sources. Sometimes you have to approach the author to ask. Good thing we have social media.

Check on a culture's actual stories before you make up new ones
Attributing a fake "folktale" or "legend" to a foreign culture is a huge literary faux pas - especially in the case of indigenous and marginalized groups. This was one of the main problems people brought up about the Twilight series - the author took an indigenous nation, and made up legends that don't actually exist in their tradition. Since most people had never heard about the Quileute before the books/movies came out, they automatically believed that those stories were real "Indian folklore."
How to avoid: If you are featuring an existing culture in your work, do your homework. Go the extra mile. Read their stories. Maybe you'll find more useful things than you thought.

With that said...

Make sure you are not committing cultural appropriation
Not all folktales are up for grabs. They might not be protected by copyright law, but that doesn't mean you are not being offensive, inconsiderate, or hurtful towards the community that claims them and keeps them alive. Don't assume that finding an indigenous folktale in a written collection automatically means they wanted it to be out there.
How to avoid: Be respectful. Educate yourself about cultural appropriation. Ask.

Make sure you are not promoting stereotypes
Even if certain folktales are okay to use and adapt - make sure you are using them the right way. Selecting certain stories to represent certain cultures (especially if those cultures are not generally well known) puts you in danger of upholding a Single Story.
How to avoid: Read more stories from the same tradition. See if you can present a more diverse picture.

Note your sources
This is more of a courtesy than a necessity: I personally love reading about the original sources of folktales and fairy tales people use. I will be eternally grateful if you note them in your Introduction, or Afterwords, or... wherever. In addition, if you are working with less well known tales from other cultural groups, is is courteous to point people in the direction of your sources, in case they want to find out more, and educate themselves about the oral traditions of the world.

Do you like fairy tale adaptations? Do you write them? Let me know what you think!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The A-Z Process

Since I'm a procrastinator, I still haven't settled on my theme for the 2016 Challenge. Not good (although I still have time). There are just so many good themes that I'm running off in a different direction every time a shiny new idea hits. The thing is though, no matter what I decide on, I basically take the same approach to the month's blogging.

Read – I do copious amounts of reading whenever I'm embarking on a new adventure. It's a way to steep myself in my subject matter and get a good feel for it.

Research – This aspect is the fun part. Of course, this can mean information overload which makes it difficult for me to settle my mind and sit down with the aim of putting it all together. Balance is key here, since I sometimes get so carried away with research, I find it hard to move past this phase.

Write – This is where the action comes in—knitting all the useful bits together into cohesive articles that will be of interest and help people who stop by to read each day.

Revise – When all the research and writing are done, I take a bit of time to re-read what I've prepared to make sure I'm on point with the data I'm sharing.


What else do you do when you're preparing your articles for the Challenge?



J.L. Campbell writes fiction and non-fiction and blogs at http://www.joylcampbell.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How Do You Find Your Ideas?



How do you find your ideas? Authors are often asked this question in interviews. Or perhaps; Do you have trouble finding ideas to write about? My problem is the opposite. I have too many ideas. What I’ve found is that having an idea and getting the idea down in words that actually say what I imagine they should, is a totally different pot o’ honey. Does that metaphor work? I also don’t have enough time to actually write a different story for every idea that I have.

That said I’ve found that using more than one idea in a story can add not only a new dimension to it, but adding two, three or sometimes four different ideas can make the original idea much more profound, intricate, and beguiling to the reader.  Kind of like a photographer taking a shot with one type of lens and then finding that if a wider (or narrower) angle is used the whole view of the photo, the whole concept and direction of the photograph is changed, broadened and the focus encompasses more than the photographer originally dreamed of. Or a painter who finds a new color that brings a startling new life to his painting, a life not previously glimpsed, an ambiance not previously hoped for but now heartily embraced and enhanced. Or what about a musician who finally plays a note in a sequence he's never used before and falls into a piece of music the world must hear?

Do you use more than one idea in a story, different lenses on the same scene, more than one new color on your canvas? Do you mix and match, push your mind outside of your “normal” range to see what creation you are capable of producing? Because to me, finding the “newness” in ones “old” methods is what makes creating so beautiful and satisfying, even if it doesn’t always work the way we think it should.   


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www.mindmapinspiration.com







Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What Do You Read? Is It What You Write?




I don’t think that I write what I read. I LOVE to read Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mysteries, Spy Thrillers, Romance, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and some non-fiction, like true stories about amazing people or biographies/memoirs. I tend to read a lot. I like to read authors I'm familiar with, but also new ones, to help with honing my own craft at times. I've read a few written by folks participating in the A to Z. I have found more than a few Indy-published authors that I really like and I buy their books whenever they come out.
But I don’t write , strictly speaking, in any one genre. I guess you could say I mix it all up. The first novel I published was a mystery/women’s fiction/ghost story (which nowadays is called Paranormal). When someone asks, I say mystery. It’s easier. But the genre boundaries are spreading across lines, crossing into one another. I wonder how this is affecting the market, and my chances for sales.  
Are you someone who writes to a market? Are you someone who writes whatever you feel like writing? Are you someone who writes in one genre? We all write for different reasons and I think those reasons have a lot to do with what we write.
I write fiction in whatever form it comes to me because it’s the only way to get the stories (those voices!) out of my head. And, I don’t want to do anything else. When I write, not only does it (almost always) make me a better, happier person to live with, but I, crazy fool that I am, realize that I want to be read. I want other folks to read my work and tell me what they think. I don’t like it when they don’t like what I’ve written, but hey, I’ll take the bad with the good. Hopefully it makes me a better writer. It also helps me to keep my personal introspections more positive. Writing makes me more apt to listen to my positive blah blah instead of the negative. The negative is always worse when I’m not writing. I get mad at my husband (poor guy) when I don’t write and usually don’t realize I’m taking out my frustration on him until I’ve opened mouth and crammed the proverbial foot inside.
So, after that little “walkabout” in my head, do you write what you read?

Lisa Buie-Collard's blog is found at: lisabuiecollard.com Please drop by, and if the mood suits you, leave a comment. She always returns the visit!


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