Category Archives: writing

Indie Author Roller-coaster

I am a daydreamer who decided to let loose my stories, characters, and thoughts into the physical world via words. Now, those daydreams are written on paper or across an electronic screen. Due to the fact that I am impatient and headstrong, I self-publish. Oh, I do occasionally try to locate a traditional publisher or an agent, but after the second or third send-off I lose the desire. The reason for my search: I suck at marketing. Oh, I’ve wonderful ideas that have even been ‘borrowed’ by other authors and a few small publishers I’ve met at local signings, but I am not a car salesman. I do believe in my books and love them, but I’m mostly an introvert. I write because there is a story to be told and I want to share it. So what if my books are not published through the traditional methods-there are plenty of Indie Authors out there today. Of course, that decision is like buying a ticket for a roller-coaster. I loathe roller-coasters, but I have rode them for my children. Much like I am with the ride I loathe some aspects of being an Indie author, but I love creating stories. Daydreaming is my thrill and like the air we breath, I find it necessary so I continuously ride.

Inspiration may come in even the smallest tidbit (i.e. word, object, sound, etc.) and a story is created. Praise from not only one, but multitudes of readers give affirmation that I did something right and I am on a smooth track. With that said, the soul-sucking, muse-killing, ‘step on me please’ moment can cut short the track and I drop. An example for this is learning that a school mate, who took the traditional route, landed an agent and then subsequently a publishing house for two books. It’s yin/yang hell and those random happenings pop up like an extreme game of whack-a-mole or the straight tracks and sick drops of a roller-coaster. Writing is addictive though so what can you do? Once you finish a story and receive praise… Well, it’s like eating chips or chocolate gummi bears — one is not enough (story or accolade).

Did I mention those pesky outside forces that do not involve the ‘creative world’, but yet can have a damning influence? Ah yes, those lovely reminders that elves are not cleaning your house, you doubt there is a paying job that you will ever like, you have yet to find a tree that grows money, a vacation is something everyone else gets, exhaustion flows through you more than your own blood, and those darling angels you gave birth to no longer adore you. Yeah, those wonderful dips in the Indie ride can zap your muse. What can you do when that happens? Good question. I’m not certain there is just one answer. I think everyone must find their own solution. For me, I hang on tightly, tuck my chin to my chest, and close my eyes when it goes for the drop. It’s hard and sometimes it takes a few tries, but my chin eventually does unglue from my chest and I reopen my eyes. Once I get over mourning ‘what I am not’ and decide that I don’t really want to get off the ride, I force myself to sit in front of my laptop or stare down at a piece of paper with my pencil in hand and tell myself that I will…

There will always be calm lulls and teasing dips that sometimes turn to acrophobia-worthy high climbs and heart-squeezing drops…you just need to be stubborn and hang on to the bar.

Speak to me!

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Only, please don’t use big words…unless you know their definition.  It’s not that I don’t know or like ‘big’ words, I just don’t like listening to someone who misuses them.  Yes, some words sound smart and may make you feel like you are Einstein, but know your word (meaning) and how to use it (please) before your mouth spouts it out. If used improperly, you end up sounding rather…silly.  Seriously.  I am a writer and a word geek.  I’d much rather hear or read someone use two sentences to get a point across than to try to use one word that they have absolutely no clue what it means.  No, I don’t correct them (unless I’m editing for them), but I do cringe (or  twitch).  People who use big words are not smarter nor do they sound smarter and really, what is a ‘big’ word?  Well, to be honest, I’m not quite certain.  I don’t imagine that it’s just the length of the word that causes it to be big.  I have said five letter words and had to define them before.  I’ve even looked up six letter words.  Perhaps, it’s the familiarity?  I pick up words from conversations/reading and sometimes use them unintentionally so I’m willing to believe that others do as well.  The one difference is that I also pick up the definition/meaning as well.  If I run across a word that I am unfamiliar with (be it reading or conversation) and I have even the slightest question as to its meaning, then I will look it up  to be certain before I use it.

Words can be powerful tools, but only if you know how to use them properly.

Random tidbits…

When I write, I constantly research.  I may write fiction/fantasy, but I feel I should know the truth of the subject matter that I am focused on before I write or better still, alter.  No matter how tiny or seemingly inconsequential the matter.  Yes, I’m that annoying.  I’m currently working on a picture book (over 500 words) and a pic book (only 500 words) for a contest entry.  Yes, yes, children’s stories, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be some fact in them.  For example: In my children’s pic book, “Something Greater Than Fear”, my dear Ms. Figgs takes some spider web and applies it to the owl’s wound to stop the bleeding.  That’s a fact.  Also, spiders to me are fascinating yet they also freak me out.  While these websites aren’t the original source I discovered it, they too support the fact. http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/The-Amazing-Spider-Web-319037.html and  http://www.livescience.com/1094-spider-silk-repair-human-ligaments.html .  I always check more than two or three sources and always check the source itself.

So…did you know birds have the sense of smell, but some rely more on their eyes and sense of touch than smell? I was researching crows for this one. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412201724.htm  and http://www.birdsandblooms.com/Birds/Summer/Can-Birds-Smell-or-Taste/  Also did you realize that only male crickets chirp? http://cricket-breeding.com/how-and-why-do-crickets-chirp/   Some seaweed…have air bladders in it to help it float. http://nature.ca/explore/di-ef/isap_e.cfm  Also, ‘ginormous’ is actually a word despite my 2003 copy of Microsoft Word’s spell checker!

Also, a fun fact…I research any name that I give my characters.  Some may be gaelic and some may come from what the story is centered around.  For example, in Pell Shade, almost all of the names come from paper, writing tools, or ink.  Mnemosyne was the Greek Goddess of Memory or Mother of the Muses.  Awl Blott, well since he is the bad guy…Awl – a pointed instrument used for piercing small holes and Blott – take off the extra ‘t’ and you have a spot or stain, especially of ink on paper.  I feel a name is just as important as the character.  To quote Boingo from “Hoodwinked” :

“Dolph, tie up the brat; Liesel, hold the book; Vincent, get the truck; and Keith… darn it change your name, please. That’s not scary and I’m embarrassed to say it. Boris, try that. Keith, ya know, OOOO Watch out for Keith!”