Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Guest Post: It’s How I Am by Tristi Pinkston

Today I have a guest post by the fabulous Tristi Pinkston. She is awesome and I have learned a lot from her. Enjoy!

Have you ever seen addicts going through withdrawals on TV or in a movie? I don’t know if those portrayals are really accurate, but I tell you what—that whole sweating and twitching thing they do? That perfectly illustrates how I am when I don’t write. I go through withdrawals. I am an addict.

I’ve tried to quit. I really have. I’ve taken manuscripts and literally chucked them into the back of my closet. Okay, I only did that with one, but I really, literally did it. I was going to quit writing. Then I became totally, utterly miserable, and I realized that even if it was just for a few minutes a day, I had to write. It was either write, or lose my mind.

As a writer, I’m encouraged to go a little crazy. That’s how I get away with so much.

Every one of us has a passion, something that fuels us and drives us. If you stop to think about it, you’ll notice that these passions are usually creative in nature. A singer wants to create beautiful music. A painter creates art. A potter creates pottery. (Handy, that.) What is your driving force? I can bet you that you either thrive on creating something with your talents, or that you thrive on making the world a better place. We are born creators. It’s what we do. And we’re not happy unless we’re doing it.

So stop trying to fight it. Don’t throw your passion in the back of a closet and try not to think about it. You won’t win, you know. It’s stronger than you are. Dig it out, dust it off, and learn how to use it to bless your life and the lives of those around you. That’s when it all pays off—and it’s amazing.

Tristi Pinkston is the author of (soon to be) eight published novels and one cookbook. She is also a full-time freelance editor and virtual book tour coordinator. You can learn more about her at www.tristipinkston.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

That's not my pen and other quirks that come with being a writer . . .

Writers can be strange creatures. We tend to be in our own world. Creative minds combined with lack of sleep from late night editing can make for some interesting conversations and scenarios.

Here are a few that I've noticed in myself:

Pen Thief

This happens on accident. There is that moment of panic and wonder when I glance to the pen in my hand and realize I don't own it. Then, with my head down in shame, I must go back to the person and return the item my subconscious, sticky-fingered writer-brain took. I'm pretty sure I'm the reason banks have their pens on chains . . .
While I would never commit thievery on purpose, sometimes when I borrow someone's pen and it writes so smooth and fits so perfectly balanced in my fingers, I want to. But I exercise restraint. Unless I'm in subconscious, sticky-fingered writer-brain mode . . .

The Love Affair with Pens and Notebooks

Back to school sales are my favorite. There is nothing like a fresh notebook and a brand new packet of pens to lose.
Currently in my couch there is probably five pens. They seem to migrate there like geese flying to Florida. I don't mind because I know where to find them. I've lost so many pens in my life that it is actually a relief I've found a secure place for them.
Note to pen thieves: I have a guard dog. That's where she sleeps. (And ironically where she “buries” her chewy bones and dog treats).

Pets named after Characters

All of my pets are named after characters I adore. There's Lucy the chihuahua named after Lucy Ricardo on I Love Lucy. My last cat named Siri after a character in Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker. And my newest kitten Nico named after a character in the Shamer Chronicles by Lene Kaaberbol.
I don't think I could name a pet a normal non-character name. Characters mean too much to me and so do my pets.

Talks to self

I am very much guilty of this. Sometimes I need to work a plot or dialog issue. Other times, it's just me talking to myself. But hey with all the character's conversations going on and editing in my head, it's the only way I can get a word in edgewise. Besides, its all good—I've never lost an argument with myself.

Turn any event into a plot point

Sometimes life throws you hiccups. Whether it's being forgotten at the airport or the cat falling into the toilet (both true stories), as a writer my first thought is wondering if it could be used in a story. (Well, my first thought is to laugh, especially when the cat walks out of the bathroom shaking water from her paws and flicking her tail indignantly after the big splash.) Any event in life can be turned into a story. The key is finding them.

What about you? What are some of your favorite writer's quirks?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Scary Awesome or Awesome Scary: Book Review of I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Enough said . . .

But seriously, from the moment I heard the title of this book, I knew I had to read it. I did not care who it was by or what it was about, it instantly moved to the top of my to-read list. The title alone is genius. Who is not a serial killer and why do they feel the need to so boldly proclaim it?
Was the book as epic as the title? Of course.
Did it scare me? Yep and I loved every minutes of it.
John Cleaver is one of the most genius characters created. He is intense and scary. Yet as a reader, I liked him. He's a sweet, honest kid—and a potential serial killer who might one day end up killing everyone he knows. This isn't a cutesie good-guy-who-thinks-he-might-be-bad. John Cleaver is a very good kid and very dangerous. The razor thin line John walks between doing good and giving in to the monster inside him kept me turning pages until the end.
If you have not read this series yet, then you should. If I had a star rating system on my blog, this book would be five stars, hands down.
A great series.
Note to the author: I chuckled every time John, who is not a serial killer, ate breakfast cereal . . .

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

At the start of a New Year, a lot of thought is given to resolutions. We make plans and goals for the coming year. Goal-setting is essential for writers. I've blogged about this before.
Unfortunately, new years resolutions never work for me. I find it difficult to set goals for the entire year. How am I supposed to know where I'll be at or what I'll need in July or November? Plus, sometime in the third week of January, I forget every resolution I've made.
A goal forgotten is a goal not met.
That does not mean I should forget about setting goals for the new year.
I believe the best goals are ones that assess and meet daily and weekly needs. I don't know where I'll be and what I need to accomplish by the end of the year. But I do know what I need to today. I can set a goal for this week.
My resolution isn't to set a big goal, but small daily goals. Every day, I'll decide where I'm at and what I need to accomplish. We'll see how far I get.
What are your resolutions this year?
Happy New Year!