So, yesterday you saw my efforts to write a chapter of paranormal romance. I loved the challenge, but learned some things about myself. Namely, I stink.
Much of my Blogvel Life Lessons will be summed up in a post on From the Write Angle (August 24th, I think). I hope you’ll join me there, as it promises to be jam-packed with awesome information. Lucky for you, I’ll just share my stinky, lame truths here.
My Blogvel CATastrophes
I know next to nothing about paranormal stuff. Oh, I’ve read a werebook or two and have scared myself silly reading spiritual snippets here and there, but never has it been more evident that my paranormal prowess is so…lacking. What is the difference between a succubus and a vampire? I think I might maybe have a bit of a teeny idea…
I absolutely, positively stink at coming up with “other’ words. Yeah, I totally stretched my vocabulary here. I mean, how many different ways can you call a monster? I suggest nicely if you don’t want your head taken off, but seriously, my paranormal language smells worse than a dead skunk. Twin’gan ka’an? Uhm, can you say Klingon choking on a dill pickle?
I’m hot. Under the collar, that is. And it was a tad bit awkward. It didn’t take long for me to realize that by the time THE SKELETON KEY made it to my keyboard, I’d be called upon to steam things up. Hello, I write for little people. The kind that shouldn’t know dragons create fire in more ways than one. All I pictured was my mom, my neighbor, my friends’ neighbors’ dogs, etc, etc, etc thinking, “And she writes picture books?!?!?”
So how did I fix my lame-o writing skills?
Research, research, research. Folks, if you don’t know the material of what you plan to write, research your little heart out. I won’t tell you what I found regarding the difference between succubi and vamps, just know there is a difference. Such a HUGE difference I would have been mortified to interchange them.
Be less lame than me when it comes to language. While I make up words all the time in my kid lit, I don’t have a clue how to do it for big peeps. I do know that the words need to feel natural. They shouldn’t stop the flow of a sentence or pull a reader so far out of the story they can’t get back in. Maybe Yoda can help you.
Get comfortable with your material. Know that you are not what you write. Nor does every piece of fiction have to be the same style, genre and age group as the last. Writing is a freedom of expression. Reading is a freedom of choice. We are not locked into writing a certain type of story any more than our friends’ neighbors’ dogs are forced into reading the same old Bones Digest each month. Said dog can always bury a story he doesn’t want to read.
In short, writing a chapter for the Round Robin Blogvel was super fun. It challenged me as a writer on several levels.
What do you do to challenge yourself? Are you afraid to step out of the box, or do you go boldly where you’ve never gone before?
Curious minds want to know!
I’m proud of you for doing the Round Robin Blogvel!
As I tend to be a bit wordy in my writings, (who would have ever guessed THAT?) my challenge for this year was to do First Sunday Short Fiction. In which I have to write LESS than 2000 words. And tell a story. And have a resolution and a HEA. What the heck was I thinking?!?!?!
But thanks to many kicks in the rear, and heavy editing, I’ve managed to complete 8 short stories so far. So it can be done!
~ Steph (the overachiever who writes over 100k for NaNo because she can.)
You are amazing. I have no doubt that you can succeed at anything you put your mind to.
Hugs to you and looking forward to another wonderful NaNo season with my favorite STHatters!
You did great Cat!!!! I loved your chapter, and I’m exciting about jumping off from your ending point.
It IS good to stretch ourselves in our writing–First Sunday Short Fiction has been a big challenge for me, too, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from it. I’ve also had a lot of fun with the Blogvel, and various other blog projects, and sharing critique with other writers. It’s been such a learning year for me so far and I love it!
And you totally don’t stink. You smell like clean socks and sunshine. 😉
Are those clean socks before Sock Dog gets them or after?!?!?
Thanks for your support and your enthusiasm. If there is one thing I lack, it’s your ability to spread so much energy around the cyber world!
Great insights! I want to expand my horizons a bit and branch out (occasionally) from YA, and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one bi-curious about genres! LOL
I agree with Michelle – you smell like clean socks and sunshine:)
I’ve written such a vast array of things that I don’t know if I quite fit anywhere. And all of my writing is very different even within genres or age groups. One of my favorite books on writing across genres is “Damn the Rejections: full speed ahead” by Maralys Wills. Loved it and loved to learn that it can be done.
“Don’t be afraid to dabble,” says the writer smelling of clean socks and sunshine!