Wanting It Bad Enough

So after yesterday’s rejection of Hot Shot, repeating the theme of not enough emotion, I started wondering if I want this bad enough. I mean, if I wanted it bad enough, wouldn’t I read the craft books and do the scene cards and use highlighters and fill out the worksheets? If I wanted it bad enough, would I tear apart SIMs and study the way the authors put those books together? Just the idea of it locks me up. I can’t do it.

I want to tell stories. I think I’m a good writer; I can put words together, I can create interesting characters, heck, I even figured out conflict. So something’s missing, and maybe it’s that willingness to go the one extra step. Why am I so blocked against it? Am I afraid it will slow me down? Am I (gasp) afraid of success? Am I doing everything I can to assure my success? I have to think the answer is no, yet I’m reluctant to take that extra step. Why, I don’t know. Maybe I want to get published doing it my way. My way is in no way easier, but it is easier in my mind than doing cards and spreadsheets. I feel like if I start doing those exercises it will kill the magic, kill the story, kill my enthusiasm, and then why be a writer, you know?

After that R, I ran the gambit of emotions. I entered the ms in two contests, then sat in the tub and cried because I was never going to submit ever again. Yet I wrote yesterday, after the email, because I’m leading a BIAW challenge and darn it, I set a goal for myself. Are my goals clashing with my craft? Maybe.

I don’t even know how to end this blog. But just writing it down taught me more about myself than I knew.

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13 comments:

Trish Milburn said...

A bit of self-examination is always good, though not often fun. What if you started out with the deeper character development by utilizing it on something that is already written, like Hot Shot? That way, you're not killing that magic that comes with spilling a brand new story onto the page. You're just giving your existing story another chance, a new life. Why not devote 15-30 minutes a day working on the charts, etc., for Hot Shot while spending the rest of your time galloping along on your fun new story? Just an idea. It's worth exactly what you paid for it. :)

And what a wild-hair picture of Gerry.

Gina Black said...

Just a thought...

Is it that the characters lack emotion because it isn't there, or is it because you haven't written it onto the page? I ask this because that--in a nutshell--has been my problem for a while.

In other words, I have created emotional situations and emotional characters, but I haven't shown that emotion. I've expected the reader to infer the emotion. My lovely CP is getting tired ofwriting "but what is she feeling?" on my WIPs. I think I'm finally beginning to get it. Sometimes it needs to come through in the introspection. And sometimes I have to show the emotion through action and dialogue, because if it isn't on the page it doesn't exist.

Anyway...just a thought. (And you wouldn't need charts or worksheets--although a few highlighters might be helpful. ;)

MaryF said...

Trish, that is a good idea. That wouldn't be so overwhelming. You're brilliant!

Gina, does your CP have the initials TJ? My CP even SINGS the song, "Feelings" in her comments to me. Showing emotions is hard, though. What do you do? How do you make it come across?

Gina Black said...

What I'm learning to do is...

I have lists of "emotion words" now, which helps me to focus on what I want to convey.

I've learned to believe that if I don't grind it in it isn't there. I've been much too subtle in the past.

I go back and read each section asking myself what the character is feeling and if it shows.

I pay close attention to Dwight Swain's motivation-reaction units...which is one (and a very good) technique.

I used to want to be subtle out of respect to the reader, but I'm coming to understand that people read romance for the emotion, so being subtle misses the mark. The more I get that, the easier it is.

(BTW...my CPs initials are LV and her first book is coming out in 12 days!!)

MaryF said...

Gina, you know, I considered making the emotion list, but was afraid it would be silly ;) Glad to know it works. Grinding it in, huh? Okay. Will definitely relook at this.

Bonnie Ferguson said...

Mary,
How can you even ask if you want it bad enough? You wouldn't have kept at it for 11 years if you didn't. You will get there. They say luck is when preparation meets opportunity...well you have the preparation part down and when the opportunity happens you'll be ready :)

Bonnie

Paula said...

Ooo, these comments are brilliant, because they address something I'm dealing with in my own stories. Since I know I need to up the emotion quotient in my books, I'm going to give myself permission to overwrite the emotion in the WIP I'm working on now.

If the final book comes to 350 pages or so, or the emotion becomes overkill, I know I can dial it back. But it's easier to trim or tweak something that's on the page than it is to add something that's not there.

Jill Monroe said...

Mary - I was going to suggest going another way. Start with a blank page and write. Forget about what you've learned in books, heard in workshops, gleaned from tearing apart your fave books - just write what makes you laugh, or makes you cry what made you want to be a writer in the first place - find your love of writing, your love of being a storyteller.

I firmly believe once you do that - everything will fall into place. At least that's what did it for me.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Mary, I agree with Jill. Sometimes just letting it all pour out on the page is the best way. It's so easy to get bogged down with the way you think things are supposed to be done. I can't tell you how depressed I once got trying to use the Marshall Plan! You have to find the way that works right for you, not the correct way or the right way, whatever those are! Just my two cents for what it's worth.

MaryF said...

Bonnie, the scary thing is, I've had opportunities with Susan. I think she's rejected....let's see, Hot Shot twice, Heart of a Knight, Devil in Disguise (hey, I always forget about that book and it was my first request!)....that may be it. I hope I'm not using up my opportunities with her.

Jill, except when I spill, I tend to gloss over the emotions. Maybe I'll try that as an exercise, you know, just write someone who's scared, someone who's hurt, etc.

Elizabeth, I so understand what you're saying about The Marshall Plan. My friend Chris sent me a list of what she did when she was revising her story - great ideas - but OMG, just reading it gave me a panic attack. Then there are some writers who have gone through SIMs and Intrigues and just taken them apart, what did this author do right? I can't. I just can't. To me, that's too...planned. I need the story to come up from inside me, you know?

Michelle said...

Mary--maybe step back and write something, just for yourself? You know, to rekindle the magic?

MaryF said...

Michelle, you don't know how tempting it is to step back and write something else. I'm just so afraid of not having something else to send to Susan if she rejects Surface. How driven is that?

Joanna K. Moore said...

Mar, I'd try writing something in first person. I learned more from that experience than anything else I've done so far. BIG TIME!

I know what you're feeling. I've been debating with myself, telling myself that if I don't change, this may be my last year in RWA. I can tell you, cherie, you are way more focused and driven than I am. I love to write, but I don't compare to you. My main desire is to have a passion for something in my life. I'm not sure anymore that this passion is pursuing publication with Harl/Sil. Color me wondering, and seeking.

JoAnn

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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