I’m still on my semi-vacation. I have written another homemaking and frugal book during that time. I’ve had great fun in cranking the little booklets out, however, what I really am focused on is the fiction. I’ve covered all I can with outdoor laundry lines and milking that penny. I’d like to leave the home front and frugal frontier and explore the realms of daydreamy story telling.
I’m a down to earth gal so I will not have the imaginings of the Harry Potter or Twilight sort. I’m more the country and farm romance, the internal struggles that keep the character stuck in the life they don’t want and the dramatic unfolding of enlightenment and self-reflection that turns them into the hero or heroine in the end. I love the idea of romance and I love nothing more than a good story of overcoming odds. The thing about me is that is at odds is that, while I love a good romance movie, I don’t enjoy reading them. I really can’t stand most romance novels. They are so corny and sweet that you can feel your teeth forming new cavities just reading them. I did love Amish fiction, however, because they were clean and wholesome without too much cheese and syrup.
I spent my vacation reading all sorts of great books. One was Stephen Kings’ On Writing. Very good book and inspiring. I love him because he feels nostalgic to me and takes me back to the 70’s and 80’s when life seemed more simple. He talks about his journey and gives some advice to the writer but the end overall ideas is that either you are a writer or you aren’t. You either have it or you don’t and you can’t learn the talents to being a great writer through schooling and study. It’s there…or not. Maybe this is true. I believe you can definitely become a better writer. Another tidbit I loved was his method of writing. He finds the idea of a story (he calls it the fossil) and then he just sits down and writes as fast and hard and much as he can. He says he does this because if you write hard and fast doubt doesn’t have time to settle in and the story unfolds for you. I have experienced this. Too much thinking can ruin a good story.
The advice I have found with all good writers is this: read and write a lot! A lot!!! Stephen King writes huge books and reads 70 to 80 books a year. Nicolas Sparks reads a hundred a year. You may not like either author but they make millions and movies.
So, I looked up all the most popular books for the last few years and began picking up piles and stacks of literature from the library. I wound up sending most of it back as the theme seems to be of melancholy and hard times and I just can’t survive on that fodder. I like some drama and I like to escape into happy endings. I did read one post-apocalyptic tale, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Very good and depressing but not so depressing that when you put the book down you felt like it was end of times yourself. It was more a story of personalities and how they entwined over time pre and post-plague. I would recommend it, however, be warned that every time someone gets sick you may get a little nervous.
Another author that I’ve discovered lately was Fredrick Backman. He’s a Swedish writer of a few books, A Man Named Ove (already a movie), Britt-Marie Was Here, and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. I love this man. His characters are filled to the brim with personality, you fall in love with them and cry at the end of his books. He doesn’t waste time on long descriptions of the breeze and temperature of each day or all the boring internal struggles. Who really wants to hear someone’s crap that really should be saved for the therapist. He is simple, smart, heartwarming, and humorous. You get to know the personalities and heart of the character through situations much as you would in real life.
I am now going to read Stephen Kings The Stand, which is a huge contrast to my Amish fiction and Swedish writer. With Donald Trump going into office and talking about increasing our nukes and flu season in full swing…this may not be a good idea but the book is almost a classic and I feel drawn to it. I somehow ordered the “uncut” version which means I have 1000 pages instead of 600. Oh boy.
So, I have a plan for becoming a better writer even if Stephen King doesn’t think it’s possible. I do find that since blogging, writing a few fictional books, increasing my reading venue outside the normal books I read about green cleaning supplies and Amish toil and drama, I have improved vastly. I’ve also taken to keeping a pad and pen by my side to write down words I don’t know or that tickle my fancy. I live with a foreign husband and little persons and my language is being reduced to Sesame Street verbiage. Reading is raising my intellect a few notches.
Write for fun, write to escape. Don’t focus on money…you may not make any. They say that only 5% of writers can actually support their families on their writing. I know that I have a healthy coffee fund from my books and that is about it. I write for the pleasure and hobby of it and I charge nothing, or less than a coffee, for my books. I blog for therapy and discussion not for money as I’ve made a mere 3 cents in a few months.
In a nutshell: Read all sorts of books, the present, and classics. Learn new words and was of description. Write fast and with passion. Write what you love and know. Don’t judge yourself. Get a few people to be your readers and give you input. Blog to exercise the muscles of your intellect. Create a writing space. Learn new words. Keep a pad and pen on you at all times to write down ideas and plots as they come. Sometimes your nocturnal dreams will give you a story…believe it! Think like a writer, become the writer.
Good luck and have fun!!!