Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Minnie Lahongrais - My Journey in the World of Writing & Giveaway

My Journey in the World of Writing


Two years ago I began writing as a way to deal with the death of my father. I had a deep and abiding desire to see him, hold him again; have a conversation with him. Someone suggested therapy. Yea, right! I was in the hole for a sum topping off in the mid five figures and trying to rebuild my life after a bad breakup. Therapy was not going to happen! So what could I do but immerse myself in my favorite pastime? Read! During that process, I discovered free reads on Kindle; specifically the world of the paranormal. I was home! The more of these stories I read, the more I began to imagine a world where I could share an existence with my father, and we could hang out again, just like we did in this world.

A light bulb went off and, “Resurrection of Dead Dreams” was born; currently in progress. Why isn’t it done, you ask? Well for one thing, during that time writing was just a way to deal with my issues. I never thought I would seriously be doing this. A posting on Facebook about NaNoWriMo by Katie made me curious and after a little bit of research, I decided I would make an attempt to participate; but I would write about something else completely.

They say ignorance is bliss, but in this case, I will disagree. Ignorance has taken me on one twisty/turny journey. Granted, I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing when I first started writing. Maybe I still don’t, but I definitely knew even less in 2010.

I wrote “Sinner’s Ride” during one sleepless month, with no real plan, no concrete idea where I was going with it or what I would do with it once it was done. In fact, the current ending was not the original ending. The published version was finished in February, 2011.

I published with Xlibris because a friend suggested it, but at the time, I didn’t know what questions to ask nor did I know anything about the publishing process. I had no clue as to how to go about marketing my story and I absolutely never imagined that two years down the line I’d be tweeting, blogging AND writing another novel, much less offering tips to other authors on my hero’s blog!

Today I want to talk a little bit about how my writing style has changed and what I have learned so far:

  • I learned that if I was going to be serious about writing, I would have to find time to write a little bit each day. For me this meant a minimum of an hour a day, even if it wasn’t in one sitting. Writing is like raising children: you have to nurture your muse, tease more out of him/her; nurture that bit then go at it again…on a daily basis.

  • I learned that I needed to read any and every thing I could get my hands on – every day. I’m not talking about the newspaper or magazines. I have a 3 hour round trip commute, so I read other indie authors’ work; at least one way. Though I do get into the story that I am reading, I am also looking for tips on story structure and plotting. I study prose. If something strikes me, I read it two or three times in order to get a better understanding of the technicalities involved. i.e. POV; show not tell., etc.

  • I try to live in a state of constant awareness by paying closer attention to the world around me. For example, sometimes I don’t read on my commute. On one of those train rides, I might talk to random people and while I do, I pay close attention to their mannerisms, quirks and other idiosyncrasies as these are characteristics I will want to use for my characters.

  • I try to learn a new word each day and use it either in my daily life or in my writing. There’s a word of the day app for that J Remember, we’re wordsmiths! We should know words! Oh! And I use a thesaurus!

  • I learned that word count doesn’t mean a thing until the story is told. If I write a little bit each day, the words will not only come, but they will pile up. For me, counting words as I worked on a WIP was too stressful. Writing should be fun!

  • Here’s a biggie: I used to worry about editing; and story timeline while writing. I learned not to be so anal. I feel I am better now than I was a year ago. I used to write a chapter, sleep on it, read/edit it the next day then move on to the next chapter. No longer. Now, I just dump it all out until I hit a wall, then I go back and read all that I’ve written, clean it up and move on if I can. If I can’t continue with the current project, I work on something else like marketing/social networking or another WIP. If that gets overwhelming, I shut everything down and either veg or hang out with my kids.

With my current WIP, “Divergent Lives”, there was no way I could edit each chapter as I wrote it. This story requires a lot of research and sometimes in discussions with professionals, I get ideas. So what I have is fifteen good chapters, a great idea for the ending (which I’ve outlined – something else I didn’t do in the past) and, a big hole in the middle that needs filling up. The plus is that I have identified storyline matters that have to be addressed and will tackle each one individually -- as standalone stories within the story.

What the foregoing tells me is that rather than panster-ing (is that a word??) my way through a story, I am becoming more organized in my telling of it, thereby keeping the reader engaged and then hitting them with something totally unexpected. I love doing that!

The bottom line is: Do what feels right for you as long as you end up with a complete story that is engaging.

  • And finally, I learned to dream big!

So for me, ignorance is not bliss. It is a doorway to the blissfulness I experience when I sit at my computer and immerse myself in the wonderland of my imagination.

 Giveaway Info!

Minnie is offering up 5 copies of her book TODAY, you pick the format (Print or Ebook!). All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment on this blog post, then stop by one of Minnie's social networking sites (Blog, & Facebook Page) and tell her "Katie Sent you." She'll add up the entries and select a winner. It's that simple. All you have to do is tell Sinner, "Hi." and you could win a free book.



Lahongrais said...

Katie! Thanks so much for not only allowing me to guest blog, but for all you do to support my dream!

You've awoken something in me that I never dreamed I had and I am forever grateful to you!

I will always be your biggest supporter in whatever you choose to do!


bn100 said...

Very nice post. Thanks for sharing about your writing process.