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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Monday, April 16, 2018

Letting go, a follow up





I've been struggling recently with people who do not think like I do--this isn't a problem---until it is. Trying to figure out motivations, reasons for certain behaviors, and what to do about it all, becomes impossible if you're thinking processes are completely different. For instance, I'm okay if a reader doesn't like my book, but I am not okay if they can't say why. I always know why I like or do not like a book! Same goes for people, but where we get caught is in expectations of closeness. (expectations that everyone will love our writing) We are all so very different. It is a miracle that we get along with anyone! But thank goodness there are those with whom we just click. We may not be at all alike but there is a common thread or an understanding between us that surmounts anything else. Dare I call this love? Maybe. Or if not love then some sort of psychic connection--perhaps a past life?  And the most interesting thing about this is--most of the people this happens with are not family. We've been taught since childhood that family is where it's at--family is who we can always count on--family supports us. But family can hurt us more than anyone else because of these unrealistic expectations. We put up with things we'd never put up with from a friend! Just because we are in the same gene pool doesn't mean we can understand one another, agree with one another, or be close--and yet we try and try and try...until that day when we say to ourselves: JUST LET GO.

Letting go. It is a good thing in so many ways. We give up on trying to change people to suit ourselves, we give up on getting along, we decide that their opinions or behaviors will no longer sway us, make us feel bad or keep us from following our path. In other words we go our own way and let them go theirs. Simple and easy. If only it were! It seems that this process takes a lifetime...

Thanks for reading...


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Why giving up might be a good thing



Everywhere you turn you see the words, don't give up, follow your dream, never give in, keep on fighting. What if the truth is the exact opposite? That in giving up you find your peace and discover an entirely different path?
It makes no sense to do what everyone else is doing and get nowhere. They may have success doing this thing or that thing, but if it doesn't work for you why keep beating your head against the wall? because the experts told me it will work, is one answer. Because if I do it long enough or the RIGHT way it's bound to work, is another. Because I don't know what else to do, is a common answer. You don't know what else to do because you haven't looked outside the box. There are many different ways to look at a problem and not all of them require you to follow the herd mentality.

But really, I mean REALLY letting go is very very difficult and requires a TON of courage. You don't know where the path will lead and not only that, you can't even find the place where the path begins! How to start? Where to start? You have to trust those who say they know how to play the game, don't you? You give them money and get into the boat with a whole lot of others. The boat is overcrowded and many of you on board will have to abandon ship to save yourselves. And the ones who remain may or may not make it to shore. The boat has a bad leak and the one in charge doesn't really know how to sail. But how could you have known this before you handed over your cash?

Ah, the freedom of being in your own boat with only yourself to blame if things go awry. You can set sail for that small green island in the distance, the one that keeps calling to you. But wait, you say--that island doesn't spell success--that island is isolated and who knows what lives there? Could be Monsters...

The problem is too many people on the water all heading for the same goal--can you tweak your goal a bit, not have to have the same one as everyone else? Maybe it isn't really the money you're after--maybe it's more about the feeling you get while you are engaged in the process. And we all know that fighting never gets us anywhere. We've seen it over and over.

In giving up you open a door. And behind that door could be something new and wonderful to be discovered. Another way. To never give up is to be stubborn and fixated, like a person who refuses to believe in the rain that hits him in the face. To repeat an old quote from the sixties and the title of a book--"Don't push the river, it flows by itself."


Friday, March 9, 2018

Creative versus critical voice





I’ve been reading Dean Wesley Smith’s article entitled: Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=4477) and it’s making me think about creative versus critical voice. What Dean says is that we should always write in creative voice even when editing.  Furthermore, he doesn’t believe in the editing we all think we have to do—draft after draft after draft all in the name of improvement.  I’m puzzling over this because of how many drafts I’ve done on my trilogy and what I’ve accomplished—for one thing I know that I did not stay in creative voice.

My husband says the first draft of The Moonstone was the best. It meandered all over, with lots of description with no hook at the beginning. I changed it because I wanted to have an agent pick it up—and so I had a hook in the first line. It didn’t go over the requisite 65,000 words. The first pages moved rapidly into the plot line. Did an agent pick it up? No. But by then I was on my way to cutting and slashing, taking out descriptive passages that “didn’t further the narrative” and making sure that the plot moved forward at all costs. But sometimes this may not be such a good idea--I have one reader who wanted to know what I'd cut out of the book. For her the meandering parts are the best. 

Dean writes his first draft, corrects for mistakes and typos and so on and then hands it to his reader—of course he’s a professional, having written numerous books. We can’t all do that, especially as debut authors, can we? And what about staying in creative voice? I’m not sure I understand how to do so since my internal editor is  strong and opinionated. Clues need to be noticed when we’ve left creative voice, I suppose—I ran some changes by my husband recently—I took out articles, ‘the’ specifically, since I had two of them in a sentence. When I read the sentence with and without ‘the’, the one with flowed better. Maybe that’s a way to decipher the code for creative or critical—reading aloud…

One thing I can say is, if I feel energy behind what I’m writing then I should keep going. If not, wait until the muse is there again, whispering in my ear.


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What do you think about creative versus critical voice? Do you know when you’re in one or the other? How many drafts do you do?

(this is a reprint of an old one, but thought it important enough to post again)

Thanks for reading!
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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Where's my muse??




Hi all--I used to get more readers before I moved my blog over to WIX--and so here I am, attempting to gain back all those readers I've lost due to the move! I hope you're still out there...💖

First of all, what do people want to read about? The marketing mistakes I make or the self-publishing mistakes I've made or my general all around ineptness when it comes to selling books...or...my current inability to write at all?

Okay--muse forsaking me it is. This is the first time I've had writers block. Since I've never had it before I'm not sure that's even the proper name for the malaise I feel every time I sit down at my computer! All I know is I can't muster up any enthusiasm for the several books I've begun, and when I try to think about them and where the story could lead, I get nothing. With one exception that is--the Summer McCloud paranormal mystery I began could go somewhere if I let it...for some reason I wanted to write something a bit more...well...serious. But if that's where my head's at then so be it! Two shelves of books on magic at the local bookstore have disappeared right under the nose of the bookstore owner. Who took them and why? Now that Summer and her hubby, Jerry, have a PI business it will be their job to find out...

Since I'm a pantser I'm as much in the dark about the trajectory of the story as you, the reader of this blog. My imagination usually carries the story forward, the characters taking over and showing me the way. Will that happen this time? It hasn't with the other three books I've begun--is the well just dry and needs replenishing or IS THIS IT? Funny that I recently did an interview and said unequivocally that I would never stop writing--maybe it was that one statement that did it--you know, like saying, I'll never drink another glass of wine, or eat another piece of cake--that sort of thing.  Whatever the reason, I don't like it and wish it would go away!

What do you do in a situation like this? Do you force yourself to write or do you wait until you feel like writing again? Do those of you who write to market experience writer's block? What if you have a deadline?

Would love to hear from you on the subject...thanks for reading!

Please visit my website:

www.nikkibroadwellauthor.com

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The importance of research

A writing friend mentioned to me how important proper research is to the process of writing a novel--this is SO true! In my first three books, Wolfmoon series, I did oodles of research on herbalism, wolf behavior, Celtic myth, gods and goddesses, trees and what they can be used for, how to make matches, Scottish slang and sayings, etc...etc... I rarely have a day when I am not consulting the Internet for info on something! How wonderful to have a library at ones fingertips!

Second series, Gypsy, found me looking up Norse myth and worlds and their significance, Norse gods and goddesses, satyrs, Beserkers, the finer points of sailing, Norse holidays in olden days and what they consisted of, more herbs and their lesser known uses, time travel lore, nuclear disasters, etc... And don't forget to call on your friends who might know things that you do not. My brother, a sailor, helped me immensely when I was writing the Gypsy books.

Coyote series took me into Native American myth, the Navajo culture, coyote behavior, native ceremonies...My Witch series led me back in time to Salem of 1693 and what happened there with the hanging of witches. I read about the Pilgrims and the Puritans and the differences between the two, (didn't we learn this in grammar school?), the people who were involved in the witch trials and their roles, and every single person who was hung that year, as well as the Wampanoag culture and the role they played at that time. It paid off, since A Witch in Time Saves Nine, received an honorable mention in the New England Book Festival!

I've learned so much over the course of writing seventeen books, a lot of of it in one ear and out the other, but some of it has stuck. For instance I now know how to start a fire in the wilderness without benefit of matches or even a mirror! (not sure I could actually manage it) I know what an AGA is. I understand Cenotes and their spiritual significance. I know the meaning of Berserker. But, the research I've done for my ghost murder mysteries has been harder for me. For one, I am not a person who knows much about police procedure and there isn't much on the Internet about it--at least it's been hard for me to discover. (And it is not a subject that interests me!) I sought out a retired cop for help on one book--he was invaluable and I dedicated the book to him. I'm lucky, since my ghost murder mystery/romances are really NOT about that aspect--they are more about relationship, and ghosts, with some police procedure thrown in for good measure. And how do you research ghosts? I have to admit my heart lies in the fantasy realm where I can draw on my very active imagination--😈


My latest book, (second in witch series)The Moon in Her Eyes, is taking me to Luxembourg, a place I've never been...(a beautiful place, by the way) It has also placed me within the anomalies of time travel--I've been fudging it a bit, trying to work out what might happen if...and of course more research on the Wampanoag and their various evil and good spirits. I actually love the research part of writing, although I have to admit that sometimes it can get a bit tedious...

So in summing up, do your research, because without it a story won't have the believability it might otherwise. And whatever you do, keep on writing!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Good news!

I have been honored to have my work included in an anthology published by Crimson Cloak Publishing! The book is called The Rider and can be purchased on Amazon. I found the contest on the Internet and entered because it piqued my interest with its fantasy elements. We were to write a certain number of words and include within the story certain elements contained in a picture..very much like the picture of the cover I've included here. So much fun! My story is called 'The Awakening'. If you haven't heard of Crimson Cloak, check out their FB page and look into upcoming contests.

My second piece of good news is another of my short stories inclusion in the July issue of Gemini Magazine! I wasn't one of the winners but I was listed as one of several 'notable stories'! http://www.gemini-magazine.com/ It's called 'The Grove'.

And so in following up with all this...entering contests is a wonderful way to get your name and work out there. It's fun and can either be expensive or not depending on what you find as a contest. I have had several success stories with books even though I have yet to win or place. With all the writers and all the books I feel privileged to even have my name mentioned!

All you need do is go on the Internet and look up writing contests--and you can take it from there! Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!