Book Joy

Every reader knows the joy of a new book.

There’s something exciting about spending hours deciding which book to get. It doesn’t matter whether you’re browsing the book catalogs online, wondering the rows of books in the library or sniffing in the clean scent of a fresh book from the bookstore.  Every reader knows that special feeling you get picking out your books.

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When you’ve finally decided and you’re walking home with that new book, there’s an air of anticipation and you want to read right away. Sometimes you may need to put off reading that a new book because of other obligations. But it’s always there in the back of your mind, it’s waiting with a new adventure just for you.

But if one book makes a reader excited, then you’ll be overjoyed to   buy a complete series at one time. It’s like having your birthday and Christmas wrapped up at once- and all the other little holidays thrown in at the same time. When I can buy books in a series, I feel like I want to be shut away from the world for at least a week until I’ve read every one in a row and in order. I rarely buy a series of fiction books in print. Those I buy on the internet; space is an issue, because if I bought every series I liked, I would need to build a new house just to hold my books.

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But when I buy a series of nonfiction reference books, it’s  like I’ve invested in my future. My future as a writer, because these are the books I’m usually buying. And although I may not read them right away, I display them on the bookshelf, in their proper order, waiting for the opportunity to use them for reference. Oh, don’t get me wrong; I will look through each book to see what is  in each chapter, but it doesn’t get quite the attention that a series of fictional books will get. Those I dive right into and become part of the series.

And I must admit as an author seeing your own series ready for purchase-well there’s just no words to explain the sense of awe and pride. Knowing somebody else might buy  your complete set of works or at least what you wrote in that series is mind-boggling. Self-satisfaction doesn’t begin to cover the words.

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If there was a way, I think every writer would like to sit on the shoulders of the reader and gauge their reaction. Do they like your favorite passage, or smile at that little joke you included? Do they hold their breath in anticipation of a climax, do they sign with your ending-content the story ended the way they wanted? If you’re a mystery writer like me, are they following all your clues? Are they catching which ones are red herrings and are they surprised by your ending? Are you getting the right results with each book in your series?

You hope that these questions will come up every time, in every book.

So, thank you to all who have purchased my books; one at a time or in a complete series.

I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

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Watching for Inspiration

Sometimes you have to just push the chair back and walk away from the desktop.You can only stare at a screen for so long before your mind goes numb and you’re searching for inspiration.

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Some of the best inspiration that you can get is from watching the people around you. This is especially true at large public locations. I’m lucky to live in South Florida; between the place where the mouse lives and the place where the dolphins swim there’s plenty of attractions to go and watch people. I don’t know what it is about people who are on vacation, but it seems like they’ll do the most amazing things. It might be because they’re letting their inhibitions down, as ifthey have an “I don’t care” attitude. Or maybe it’s because they think no one’s watching: at least no one they know. Young or old, male or female, there’s plenty of inspiration to watch for.

 

I especially like to watch the interaction between people;  what they’re doing while they’re talking. There are so many hand gestures and movements a person makes without even being aware of it and if you incorporate those into your story line you can add a lot of interest.

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Here’s a perfect example…

We were at the place where the mermaids put on a show in the springs  by Tampa. Two little girls very close in age were excited to be able to see the show with the mermaids. They jumped up and down and chattered non-stop. Their parents kept exchanging looks as they tried to quiet them down. Finally it was time for all of us to go in and sit down in the auditorium to watch the mermaid show. The two little girls were overjoyed with excitement and chattered loudly.Their mother tried to quiet them down but to no avail. Rather than getting in the middle of an argument with them, their father simply took each   girl by  hand and led them to their seats.  Instead of letting them sit together, he conveniently put himself and his wife between the two of them. They weren’t able to feed off the excitement of each other and they settled down to enjoy the show.

In that same auditorium over in the corner there were three little girls in the front row leaning over the railing. They were so excited to see the mermaids that they were pushing their noses up against the glass. Instead of being loud and rambunctious like the other girls, these three little girls were in awe of the mermaids. They whispered back and forth to each other and when one of the mermaids swam over and waved at them they were so excited they just didn’t know what to say.  As the mermaid swam away, the giggling and the whispering started. Yet, it was a smile on the adults around the three girls that told the true story. We were getting more enjoyment out of the children’s joy then out of the show itself.

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Children of all ages are great to watch, because they held nothing back. Watching an adult is a little bit harder; you have to really pay attention, without appearing to stare at the interaction between them. It can be something as obvious as to couples fighting with raised hands and loud voices, to another couple so comfortable with themselves that words are needed. They let  their emotions show through actions;   the older man holds the woman’s hand to help her over a rough patch in the sidewalk. To me that action was louder than the arguments of the other couple.

So, when you feel like you’re stumped, or that you need a break, get out of the house and see what’s going on around you. If you can’t do that, flip on the TV and watch the interactions of the characters on the show. Be sure to pay closer attention to the side characters instead of the main characters. Sometimes what you see going on in the background is funnier than the comic one-liners the main characters have.

Feeling inspired? Good, now get back in that chair and start writing!

 

 

About the pictures:
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_belchonock’>belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_catmando’>catmando / 123RF Stock Photo
 Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_yeletkeshet’>yeletkeshet / 123RF Stock Photo

 

When & Where do you Write?

When & Where do you Write?

 

Write.

The more I read and talk to other writers, the more I realize the answer to these two questions can be as diverse as the writer.

There are no set rules, no hidden formula to a productive writing time. Each author has their own recipe for success. And even then, it’s not written in stone.

I know some writers who insist early in the morning is the best time for them; they’ve had a good night’s sleep and are fresh to face that blank piece of paper/screen.

Others do best later in the day, when all their chores and responsibilities are out of the way, and the family is off doing their daily routine (school, work, etc.).

Then there are the night owls. They insist  they do their best work late at night when there are no distractions and they can concentrate on their work in progress.

 

Writer.

Personally, I’m all over the place. There are so many factors that can affect when I write. If I’m in my creative stage, late at night is my time. I collect all the thoughts that have been spinning around in my head during the day and put them into a solid idea and expand on it.

If I’m at my editing stage, or trying to work through a weak spot or solve a problem I’ve created, then morning is best. My mind is clear and I can focus. But it needs to be earlier while I have the house to myself.

Research and planning are best for the middle of the afternoon. I can sit at my desk and distractions don’t seem to bother me. It’s easy to break away from the work in front of me to watch the birds outside my window or talk to my hubby when he comes out to ask me a question.

 Of course these are not set rules. As every writer knows, when the idea for your storyline is new, there is an excitement that goes along with it. There is a hunger to get the ideas down as fast as possible so  you don’t lose them. You may find yourself shutting yourself in your office, blocking out everything else, for hours at a time. Eventually the newness of the idea becomes a solid outline, and then a rough draft. This is when you begin your writing routine.

Does part of this routine include a designated location where you work from?

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Mine is where-ever. That’s it; where-ever. I do a lot of dictations and as long as I have my phone with me, I’m good to go. Some of my most productive time is at lunch when I’m in my car, sitting along the river. No distractions, no interruption-just writing time (in between bites of my lunch). Having a laptop allows me to take my WIP where I want; be it under the oak tree in the front yard, by the pool or sitting by the hubby on the couch (ear plugs needed for this one since the TV is on). Serious editing needs to be done at my desk. I seem to do better in a more professional setting for the editing stage.

Every writer has to find what works for them. It may take a few books before you find your rhythm. But I think  mixing it up every once in a while, also stirs the creative juices and keeps you from becoming stagnate.

So move around, find your sweet spot, find your creative and productive times, and get to work on your next project.

Secrets in your History

What does your search history say about you as an author?

 Almost every author has some degree of research that they had to do. The research is what gives body and life to your story.

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It makes it more interesting and unusual facts with detailed descriptions can captive your reader. You can only get these facts from either physically being at the site of your book, or researching it. And since most of us are tied to one location, research is our best alternative.

I think it’s safe to say most authors tend to write it at odd hours. Often our work or family puts the writing on the back burner which can make the stolen moments we do find to work on our manuscript occur at the oddest hours. This means we may find ourselves working when going to the library  isn’t feasible.

 Thank God for the internet!

We can stay up until two or three in the morning, researching to our hearts content. We can easily wander off into different tangents, from one fact to another, as we researched deeper and deeper into a subject.

But all that research leaves a trail.   There’s been discussion among authors I know about this very subject.  If anybody ever looked into an author’s (especially a mystery writer) line of research, and the sites  we visit, and the questions we ask… well, many of us would be considered dangerous  element.

Search for idea

Search for idea

How would somebody who isn’t aware you’re an author react to your research history? Would you cringe when they search your computer’s history? Are you taking in them down a dark tunnel your normal personality would never go? If you’re a mild-mannered person who is looking up all sorts of deadly and evil ways to kill off your characters, will your friends look at you differently? Could you be looking into government espionage and ways to corrupt a government official could bring some unwanted attention from ‘big brother’? Maybe you’re looking into buried Treasures in history of your area and ways to claim it for yourself.

Do you see what I mean? Your research history can land you in a lot of trouble if the wrong person looks at it. But that’s what being an author is all about! We take all our research and off we go. It’s our job to weave a spell and create a story good enough to captivate our readers and have them turning the page.

 

Open book and idea text

Open book and idea text

 So before you judge the history of any author’s computer research, you really ought to read their books. You never know how we might twist facts to work with our plots.

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