What Makes A Good Writer?

Hey all;

I think that the question: what makes a good writer, is a terrific one, because it is so subjective. One person will claim that it is someone who’s grammar is impeccable. Another will say it is someone who can draw you into the story. Still a third will tell you that only someone who is an English Lit grad can truly end up as a good writer. Extraordinary. And, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, everyone is right. At least from their own point of view.

For myself, I think a good writer is a good story teller. I seriously will gloss over some fairly glaring grammatical errors when reading a novel if the story has pulled me into itself. I don’t excuse the errors, of course, but then I’ve never claimed to be perfect myself, so I tend not to expect perfection in others.

I’d say a perfect example is Dan Brown. Love him or hate him, formulaic or not, his stories draw you in and then take you along for a wild ride. That’s a good story teller.

J.J.

 

On Becoming Attached to Your Characters

Hey all;

As a writer I often, or always, become attached to my main characters. Sure, some subordinate characters come and go, but my main group (which has gotten a bit large in my current work in progress) is very special to me. So when it comes time to put some or all of them in mortal danger or even, gasp, kill one off, I’m quite torn.

After all, these are almost friends of mine (cue the Psycho music here). I know who they are, what makes them tick. I am, in many ways, both mother and father to them. Truly, if not for me, they would not exist. And then comes that moment when one, or more, has to go. It’s quite wrenching actually.

I’m sure other authors go through the same emotional ride. But in the end, if it is necessary for the story that X has to die, then you must suck it up and just do it. And then eat some cookies and cream ice cream, in their honor, of course.

J.J.

 

Main Characters…where do they come from?

Hey all;

I’m always fascinated to hear how other authors create their main characters (MC’s). Everyone is different, of course. Some use people from their own lives; friends, family, co-workers, etc. Some use themselves at different points in their lives. For myself, it’s a bit different.

My MC’s seem to just walk in the front door of my mind, smack me upside the head and inform me that they have a story to tell. Yeah, weird. I know. But Justin McLeod, my MC in the Titan’s Legacy series, just appeared one day as I was wracking my brain over who would lead the new Titans in my story. Yup, all five feet, four inches of him. Skinny, scruffy, messy brown hair and the biggest blue eyes I’d ever seen. At least, that’s how I first perceived him. The same is true of all of my novels, although the order of appearance can be different.

With the Titans, I had the story laid out in my head and Justin showed up later. With my other novels though, often the MC pops up and the story grows from him/her. It’s totally random and, for me, keeps my interest and my enthusiasm high while writing the next story. Your mileage may vary. But however you do it, when you find your MC, or they find you, you’ve got the anchor around which your tale will grow. And I think that’s the most important part of any story.

J.J.

 

The Titan’s Legacy – Volume 2 coming soon

Hey all;

Just an update to keep you all in the loop. My second book in the Titan’s Legacy series is heading for a launch date around mid September…ish. I won’t reveal the title yet, but I will put it out there a few days before release. I thank all those who’ve been inquiring about the next book and I just wanted to give you a heads up.

J.J.

 

Writing through the pain of Writer’s Block

Hey all;

Some people have asked how a person who is writing deals with writer’s block. You know what I mean; you hit a wall in your writing where your mind goes blank. No inspiration, no ideas, just some simplistic soundtrack repeating over and over in your mind. Mine is usually the chase music from old Bugs Bunny cartoons.

My answer is simplistic but effective, at least for me. Keep writing. Smash away at the keyboard. Write drivel. Write about your MC’s Mom, or his/her favorite hockey team from their youth, or that weird scar they have on their ankle. Write anything. But write. Because somewhere in the middle of that mess, something will connect in your mind and zing!, you’ll be back on track and running away with your story again.

Now, on the other side of that coin are the times when you are inspired. When the ideas are flowing faster than the blood in your veins or the sweat on your brow. You can’t stop. You don’t want to stop. Even though you have to get dinner ready, or you have to meet your bestie for lunch, or <insert real world problem here>. You know what to do then, right? Yup. DON’T STOP.

Never cut off your muse. Maybe you can only use ten percent of the stuff flowing on to your computer. Doesn’t matter. That’s what editing is for. The important thing is to write it down while it’s flowing. Because that writer’s block thing? Yeah, that’s waiting right around the corner. So write and don’t quit.

J.J.

 

Show Don’t Tell

Hey all;

One of the hardest things for a lot of writers, in my opinion, is showing not telling when writing a novel. Telling is basically saying: Fred did this and then Fred did that. Boring!

Showing is more about allowing the reader to experience the adventure along with your protagonist, using your character’s senses to their fullest degree: Fred saw this, smelled that, heard this. It’s drawing the reader into your world and allowing him to be surprised by what happens as much as your characters are. Sounds easy and for some writers, it is. For others, not so much.

J.J.

 

The Joys of Reading

Hey all;

There are times when I, even as a writer, tend to forget the sheer joy that comes from spending an afternoon lost in a good book. Being instantly transported to new places, even new worlds, getting to know new people and living through them. It’s magical.

That was reinforced today when my power went off for the entire day and all I could do was sit by a window and read. Probably one of the most relaxed days I’ve had in months.

J.J.