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Posts Tagged ‘DeAnna Cameron’

Words on Wednesday- When the Words Won’t Come

In books, writing on February 12, 2014 at 8:58 am

Today’s post was inspired by a question asked on the facebook page of O.C. Writers. Yesterday, Ryan Stansifer asked the group, “When the rest of your life has drained you so badly the mere thought of writing is exhausting, what do you do to get those word counts done?”

It’s a simple question, but I had to seriously think about it. Not being able to get words on paper isn’t usually a problem for me, but as I told you a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been separated from my manuscript for so long, that I’ve had trouble getting back in touch with my characters.

Some writer’s take a break from their manuscript, and when you have been living in your book for too long, a break from your work can give you a fresh perspective. I’ve done this before, but this time…..a break is what caused the problem.

Writer’s with a deadline (or very disciplined writers) often force themselves to put their butt in their chair and put down a certain number of words. This is a great technique, sometimes it results in pages of ‘junk’, but even that can get you back in the flow, and you can always go back and cut or edit what you don’t like later.

One writer suggested working on a new project, a short story to get your creative juices flowing again and give you the satisfaction of completing something. I haven’t tried this technique yet, I never let myself stray from the project I’m on until it’s completed. I’m always afraid I won’t come back to finish. This could be the best advice for me, just because I’ve resisted it. You guys will make sure I finish my current novel if I go this way won’t you?

What I usually do, and this was the advice I shared with O.C. Writers, is read a good book. Preferably, one written by an author that I know personally. A good book always inspires me and makes me want to write. When it’s someone I know, it makes the possibility of having my own book published more real, more attainable, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have met some inspiring writers and have some great mentors on this journey.

But there is one thing I haven’t done, that just makes sense. I haven’t read my own manuscript through from cover to cover like a reader. I

thought this would be the first thing I did when I got back to work on my book, but the minute I picked up the manuscript I started line editing. Not my intent, but my reflex, I had to edit.

So, my goal today and tomorrow is to read my manuscript like a reader, not a writer. I’m going to download it to my kindle, so that I’m not tempted to edit, and read what I’ve written from cover to cover. I’ll let you know next Wednesday how this worked out.

Thank you Ryan Stansifer for asking the question, and O.C. Writers for all of the inspiration.

 

What do you do when you need a gentle push….or swift kick….to get yourself back on track?

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Dancing at The Chance

In book signings, books, Uncategorized, writing on May 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I’ve always imagined Stephen King tapping out his manuscripts on an IBM Selectric (with automatic correction…not that he needs it) in a dark room of a rambling mansion fingers flying, typewriter carriage dinging when he gets to the end of each line…pages flying about at warp speed…some of you may be too young to know what I’m saying here, but watch an old movie, you know from the early 80’s. Anne Rice I picture in black swirling robes, writing by candle light in a castle tower…… Phillipa Gregory, well I see her in courtly attire, with a quill and ink well, elegantly dipping then smoothly stroking line after line across beautifully hand crafted paper… I know this is ridiculous, but this is the way I imagine other writers writing…although on any given day, you will find me in a pair of jeans and a cotton blouse, barefoot (or in sandals because they make me wear shoes at the library) filling page after page of a wide ruled notebook with a blue ten cent pen, unless I’m editing and typing my work into the computer…..not nearly as glamorous as the way I imagine other writers working

But then I met author DeAnna Cameron at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and I picked up an autographed copy of her latest book, Dancing at The Chance. DeAnna is warm and full of life, as are the characters she writes about in this beautiful turn of the century tale. I can see DeAnna dressed in Victorian skirts and corseted, her lush red hair adorned with feathers and fluff as she hand pens her latest story.

And let me tell you, this is a book you will want to read. The characters come to life, dancing across the pages of her book, letting the reader experience vaudeville from backstage, to center stage, back of the theater to front row center, the dark and unrefined side, to the family like camaraderie of  an art that was on the brink of extinction…and of course there are secrets and romance.

Now the truth is, that I have no idea what DeAnna wears when she writes, but I have seen her dressed in period costume at the Steampunk Shimmy Showcase at  Viento y Agua Coffeehouse in Long Beach a couple of weeks ago. DeAnna and her dashing husband could have stepped right off the cover of one of her books, and among the pictures my own hunky hubby took, was one that might have been a cast picture from Dancing at The Chance.

Whatever DeAnna wears when writing, I would love to see a sequel to Dancing at The Chance…perhaps Second Chance at The Chance??? In the meantime, I’ll be reading her first book, The Belly Dancer and hoping she’s writing faster than I’m reading.

How do you imagine writers at work? Or do you even think about the writer? Are they a shadowy background figure? Or are you entirely lost in the pages? (Which I am when I read a good book.)

It’s time for me to get back to work on my manuscript….and I’ll be wearing a 1920’s flapper dress with bouncy fringe, seamed stockings and a feather fascinator while I write…really I will!