Sorry for the late post today. Frankly, the weather’s been so nice, after being crappy for so long, my head is full of gardening and birdsong LOL! Thank goodness for auto-reminders, although I only just saw that too, having already been out with the dog and having drank a cup of tea sitting on the patio. Here’s just a little of what I did yesterday, after a trip to the plant store. So lovely to be in an apartment with good light again, and have plants indoors!
So, to get to the question of which author I’d like to be, well, that’s an interesting one. There are so many authors whose work I love and admire, some of whom have already been mentioned by others here, but there really isn’t any one I’d truly want to be, because then I couldn’t be me, and I’ve grown quite fond of my strange, quirky self (and it’s about damn time too, after all these years!). What I’d really love, though, are some of the attributes of other authors, kind of smooshed to fit my personality and voice.
I want the imaginations of Stephen King and Charles de Lint (to name just two of many!), the prolific abilities and business acumen of Nora Roberts or Maya Banks, the opportunity to write books that become classics, like JRR Tolkien–you know, stuff like that. But really, what I secretly dream of–although it won’t be a secret anymore after this–is the ability to create and sustain a character people come to love, like John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport in the Prey series. I love how Sandford makes the setting and people come alive, how Lucas has remained recognizable throughout the series but has also grown and changed, just like people really do. If you read the first book in the series and then read the last, it would be like seeing someone you haven’t seen in years but instantly recognize because they were memorable and, although time has brought changes, they’re still the same person. Another character like that is Harry Bosch, created by Michael Connolly, and yet another is Jack Reacher, in Lee Child’s immensely popular series.
Of course, characters like that are generally more suited for genres other than romance, but Nora Roberts did the same thing with her In Death stories, embraced wholeheartedly by romance readers, so there’s still hope for me! I’ll just keep plugging along here, hoping for the day a character rises up and says, “You know, I could be a series…” *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*
What are your favorite characters that have stood the test of time, and what is it you love about them?
One of the keys to completing a novel—actually I think this is the biggest, hardest of them all—is the self-discipline to sit down day after day and put words on a page. The story can always be revised, grammar and punctuation learned and corrected, but the act of doing the work consistently and making forward progress, forgiving your errors in favor of reaching THE END, is the ultimate key.
A schedule, a daily rhythm to the madness, is what helps pull me through. When the schedule gets messed up, as it does 80% of the time, it’s hard to find during that remaining 20%. Recently I went to a conference, then I came home to Spring Break—kids everywhere, not an hour free. Today was the kids’ first day back at school (maniacal laughter from their mom), which means my first real day at the computer.
I’ve actually been struggling for a while with my schedule. I’ve always started the day on email and FB, with a little Twitter thrown in. But lately that time online has lengthened into “research” then random surfing. Once my mind is in that skippy, feed-me entertainment zone, it’s an act of herculean proportions to settle into a story.
But I think I may have found the solution. At the conference there was a panel on writing through adversity that has stayed with me. During the discussion, one of the authors (either on the panel or in the room) talked about her schedule, and today I stole it. Bwhahahaha! I am pleased to report seven pages. Today I was a rock star.
The change was simple. I moved my workout from the evening to the morning. In the past I’ve never wanted to give up peaceful writing time for something that I could do later with the kids running wild around me. (Earphones are awesome.) But that author was right. Somehow during a workout my imagination goes to the stories I’m working on. So instead of coasting online and then trying my hardest to buckle down, I gave up 45 min to the elliptical machine (sadistic torture device) and thereafter became galvanized to write. I’m saved.