Friday, July 18, 2008

Gracen's Easy, Breezy Writing

Writers have it made, right? Easy, breezy writing…HA! Writing can be a struggle at times. Don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing--absolutely nothing--I would rather do as a career choice. Writing is the only dream I have ever had. I’ve known since High School that I wanted to be an author. And I have been…just not a “published” author.

To be honest, I’d give my writing away on the street corners if my publisher would let me because I just want to entertain people. Even if I do get the "glazed over look" when I tell people about The Devil's Den. Something about vampires makes people go blank, even when they were the ones who asked what it was about! I've even had people say..."Oh, not another vampire book." So, while I love to write, I don't like the scathing criticism I get from people who have never read one word I have written. Being a writer, I've learned one has to develop thick skin.

Even with that irritation, writing is in my blood. Regardless of how many or how few I publish, I will always write because the voices in my head won't allow me to quit. But, a lot actually goes into writing...for me anyway. From that first spark of an idea, to fleshing out the characters, to putting the idea into coherent sentences and then to plotting out the story. Easy, right? Well, not always.

I can’t just write any story. I have to “feel” the story, actually become a part of the story in order to write it. Really, I do not know how to describe this, other than, I guess, I have to sort of become my characters in some ways. I have to “feel” their emotion, their pain, their horror and such. Sometimes, I have felt the emotions so deeply that I have actually made myself cry as I wrote the storyline just because that was what the character was doing. So, I guess I do become my characters to some degree. I wish I were one of those writers that could just take any thought and write it without having to feel it so deeply. That is not my talent.

Keeping it fast paced and not boring isn’t easy for me either. When I edit, I try to weed the boring, slow sections out or re-write them if they’re vitally important to the story arc. Mostly, they’re not, so they get cut and deleted.

I’ve said before that I “channel write”. When I’m in that groove, that is when writing is at its easiest for me, when I’m not having to think about the next scene, the next spoken word or even the next mannerism because it writes itself. Ah…writing can’t get any better than when I’m “channel writing”. Then it is truly easy, breezy…

Dialogue is easy, fun and fast paced for me. I write straight dialogue and then go back and add all the tedious body language, mannerisms, thought process, show what is going on externally from the dialogue, that sort of stuff. Some of it can be shown through words, but sometimes words are meant sarcastically rather than for meaning, so obviously the body language and mannerisms of the characters have to be described infinitely to fully express the intended meaning. Sometimes I will have dialogue written ten chapters before the scene is supposed to take place. But if dialogue is hounding me, then I write it down and wait to add it. Sometimes it writes itself into the book and sometimes it doesn’t.

Here’s an example of dialogue, from Peaceful Negotiations (currently unpublished). The first example is how I write it without the “filler”. A little background: The conversation is taking place between Wendahl (a woman Monarch, who is ruler of the entire Blueblood race) and her Wizard, who is a cross between a mid-wife and a prophet. Some places there aren’t a lot of difference, but there is more filler in other parts.

Option A

“Why wasn’t I summoned?” she queried.

“You were in the fields, Your Grace. I sent Willow after you, but
she could not locate you.”

“Why wasn’t one of Alexis’ ladies summoned then?”

“Willow was summoned.”

“Then why was she out trying to locate me when any of the other ladies
could have done the bidding?”

“Your Grace, really, what are you trying to get at?”

“What I want to know, Wizard, is why she’s dead.” Wendahl was pacing
now.

“But I told—”

“I know what you told me. She was healthy. You know it and I
know it.” She watched him. “So tell me, what exactly went
wrong? Why did you let her die?”

“Forgive me, Your Grace, but I don’t possess the hands of time. I
believe you have Goddess Moira to ask that question.”

“Don’t be snide with me,” she snapped. “It wasn’t her day to
die. I feel it, Wizard.” They both knew Goddess Moira only took
those she called home.

The prophet was fidgeting now. “What do you want me to say, Your
Grace?”

“I don’t want you to say a damn thing,” she flung at him in a fit.
“Where’s Willow? Why wasn’t she present during this
conversation?”

“Because she was trying to locate you when Alexis and the baby died.
She was shocked and grieving over the loss. I thought to spare
her.”

“Next time you think don’t.”

The Wizard flinched.

* * * * *

Option B

“Why wasn’t I summoned?” she queried, not wanting to doubt his accounting of it, but feeling she had no alternative. She could not think of one reason why the Wizard would want either of them dead, so she felt scathingly foolish for even asking the question.

“You were in the fields, Your Grace. I sent Willow after you, but she could not locate you.”

“Why wasn’t one of Alexis’ ladies summoned then?”

“Willow was summoned.”

“Then why was she out trying to locate me when any of the other ladies could have done the bidding?”

Sighing, he braved the question, his voice wavering so slightly she doubted her ears. “Your Grace, really, what are you trying to get at?”

“What I want to know, Wizard, is why she’s dead.” Wendahl was pacing now, truly agitated by the injustice of Alexis’ death.

“But I told—”

“I know what you told me,” she didn’t allow him to continue. “She was healthy. You know it and I know it.” She watched him, her eyes hard, stopping her lengthy strides long enough to say, glaring hard at him, “So tell me, what exactly went wrong? Why did you let her die?”

The Wizard gulped at that attack. “Forgive me, Your Grace, but I don’t possess the hands of time.” Her eyes narrowed at that rejoinder. “I believe you have Goddess Moira to ask that question.”

“Don’t be snide with me,” she snapped. Wendahl flung her arm at Alexis. “It wasn’t her day to die. I feel it, Wizard.” They both knew Goddess Moira only took those she called home.

The prophet was fidgeting now. “What do you want me to say, Your Grace?”

“I don’t want you to say a damn thing,” she flung at him in a fit. “Where’s Willow? Why wasn’t she present during this conversation?”

“Because she was trying to locate you when Alexis and the baby died. She was shocked and grieving over the loss. I thought to spare her.”

“Next time you think,” she retorted, “don’t.”

The Wizard flinched as if struck, but said nothing.


Be honest, which one did you like better? Option A or Option B? Since this is still a work in process, it’s not too late to change it…LOL.

So, that was a little bit of insight to what is easy for me in my writing. I’d like to hear your thoughts, opinions, slander ;-), etc.

Have an awesome weekend everyone!

5 deadly screams:

Molly Daniels said...

Option B. It brings you into the scene:) More visual.

Hahaha...You channel write; I get 'in the zone'! And I've done that too...have dialogue running through my head, so I'll write it down and find a way to work in to the story later.

Alessandra said...

From my perspective (a reader)I would DEFINITELY say Option B. As Molly quite correctly said, "It brings you into the scene."

Granted, it was easy to follow and imagine the emotion of the characters from the dialogue alone (Option A) BUT it is a mistake, IMO, to allow the reader to assume the intent of the writer. If interpreted incorrectly, the reader could become confused by subsequent actions of those characters and eventually not enjoy the story.

So sorry, all you great and wonderful writers out there, even more work for you :0( The reader NEEDS the dialogue filler.

rippst8 said...

i agree with the other 2 ladies option b was much to read. ididn't realize what really goes into writing, i thought you just found it in your head and wrote it they filled in didn't know their was so many options i guess that is why i am reader and let you writers do the hard work and i enjoy the results. and the devils den was a great story after reading it i can see how your emotions got in the story thats for a great read can't wait for the next one annette

Gracen Miller said...

Hi, girls! Thanks for your comments, they were fun to read. And I agree, I like Option B better too, but wondered how the reader would feel. I submitted this book yesterday, so I'm waiting on pins and needles for the next month or two (or longer) for the acceptance or rejection.

I don't mind doing the extra work ;-) that goes into writing, Annette, because most of the time writing doesn't feel like work. When it becomes "work" is when I have to write a 3 page synopsis about 200+ pages. It's hard to decide what's important and what's not. Molly, I'm sure you can sympathize with this one.

Thanks again, ladies, and I hope you each have an awesome weekend! :-)

Kelly McCrady said...

Option A is what we call "talking heads." Option B is the fleshed out version.

I build my dialogues the same way--nice to see others using the same process. Keep it up!