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Frankie's Wining Room

Drinking wine while writing, reading, crafting, and whining

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Speaking Candidly

An Author’s Superpower

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Originally posted as a guest post

Authors have a superpower that oftentimes gets overlooked. They write stories that touch the hearts and minds of people. They have the ability to shift a reader’s perception, a way of thinking, or the way they feel about a topic.

That might seem common-sense, and it is, but when you talk to authors about their stories, it’s amazing to see how many don’t realize the power they hold in their hands.

I was helping a fellow author edit her book the other day, and she was discussing a topic that was very important, but she feared it was controversial. So, instead of dealing with it, she pushed it under the rug and felt as though the character handled it poorly. It felt really immature to me.

So, I mentioned that to her, and she told me why she handled it this way. She didn’t want to upset people.

Okay. Great. Understood.

However, here’s the thing. As a reader, you’ve invited me into your mind, your heart, and your soul–if my writing is good enough to penetrate all those layers. I show you, through my characters, how you could handle a situation. I allow you, the reader, to experience things you’ve never lived through. I allow you, the reader, to take charge of your life, to say what you always wanted to, but felt powerless to do utter out loud. I allow you to fight back, to stand up, to take charge. I allow you to dole out the hard love.

And then, if I’m good enough, I empower you, the reader, to do that.

That’s a pretty incredible super power, if you ask me.

The big crisis in Whiskey Witches is something that we all see happening, but no one really talks about, and that’s custody battles. The “losing parent” is always seen as a bad guy, and if the mother loses her kid, she…did something unspeakably horrible.

But what isn’t talked about is all the horrible, emotional, brutally horrific things that happen outside the courtroom. The winner isn’t always the “good guy.” Sometimes–a lot of times–they’re just the bigger bully. And the loser is shamed into silence. When we don’t talk about an issue, we empower the other side.

Now, some parents lose their kids for very valid reasons. They do. They are the reason there are custody battles in the Courts of Law in the first place. But…not all do deserve that, and none of them talk about it, and it hurts like hell. These parents often lose visitation rights–though they could push it through the courts, it harder on the kids and then the kids don’t want to see the other parent, so it’s a lose-lose situation. They lose phone call privileges, hugs, kisses, I love yous, calls on your birthday, the ability to talk to them on their birthday. They lose holidays–or are bullied into “having the holiday that’s easier to deal with” because that’s always a great idea.

We authors have the superpower to discuss hard-line topics like this in a safe place. Fiction. The setting is fake. The characters are fake.

But the lessons are real. There’s real power in a book. Even a fiction one.

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NaNoWriMo Update

I can’t really say that I’m a true NaNo’er. I’ve been participating for many, many years, but with the new writing schedule, I NaNo every month, almost. This year, I’m writing probably 1 1/2 books of my own, and (2) books with other authors, though those two won’t be complete by the end of this month and they’re not scheduled to.

When I participate in NaNoWriMo, it’s to join with other authors/writers as we all get together and write. In write-ins, we talk about our books–the newbies, that’s ALL they talk about–and we discuss the joys of writing with people who just don’t get what we’re trying to do.

We haven’t met the mid-point of the month yet, but I’m already half-way through the month, and I’m…well, I need to push a little harder this weekend to get where I want to be. I have about 20K to get there and I can do that by tomorrow. I think. I hope.

But…only if I get off social media and actually write! LOL!

The election–for as horrible as it’s been–has been a great thing for me because it’s KEPT me off Facebook! So, thank you, Trump, for that, at least. Oi.

Okay. I have to go…try to kill my heroine. Because that saying NEVER gets old.

Deep Third Person POV

Several of my writer friends have asked for an article on how to write deep third person POV, or point of view. There are already several great articles on how to write it, when to use it, the benefits of using it, and grammar usage in this POV. If you missed them, here’s a few:

The Editor’s Blog – What Is Deep Third Person POV

She Novel – How to Write Deep Third Person POV

Helping Writers Become Authors – Everything You Need to Know About Third Person POV

There isn’t a whole lot that I can really add that they haven’t already gone over. But here are a few highlights that I’ve discovered when authors think they’ve written in deep 3rd but haven’t.

Paige 5a

Voice

Deep 3rd has a lot in common with 1st person. As a matter of fact, I’ve had more than one editor tell me that I’m writing in 1st person…even though I’m using “she” instead of “I”. It’s a very intimate narrative. You’re using your character’s Voice instead of your own. You’re using her words. Not yours.

This was something I really had to work on in Whispers of the Skyborne because I had to use multiple POV’s in order to tell the story and, in order to keep the narrative fast-paced, I decided to keep the POV’s deep. Here are a few examples of how I used Voice to do this: Whispers of the Skyborne

Chapter 1

Rain beat against the windowpanes of the cockpit of the Khayal Layal. Lightning flashed though the dark storm clouds metres in front of us. Boiling ocean waves surged below. Thunder rattled through the windowed dome, clattering the rows of controls. A metallic tang laced the air.

One of my crew let out a startled screech.

Three months ago, my family had died. My entire tribe. Thousands of people in a matter of moments. Their ships had fallen from the sky in burning pieces, hitting the ocean’s surface kilometres below.

Chapter 2

Oki, Synn’s older sister and the current leader of Ino City, stepped off the elevator platform onto the command floor. The turquoise tile gleamed under the light cascading from the undulating belly of Ino’s lethara. It’s jellyfish skin glowed with yellows and slight bursts of blues as it shifted high above her. His smell was thicker here, but instead of turning her belly as it did others, it imbued her with a sense of familiarity and reassurance.

She needed that. Three months ago, her harebrained brother had taken possession of the entire planet, tipping it on its side, shaking everything out. He’d replaced leadership. He’d taken down two reigning powers at the same time like a big, powerful, overbearing, air-infected, pea-brained boy.

Then, he’d disappeared, leaving the world he’d flipped on its head wondering what in the love of dirt they were going to do.

Different View Points of the Same Action

As you can see, there are two different sides to the same story here. Three months ago, something major happened, but they both saw it differently. That’s something very important to keep in mind, too, and something that trips up a lot of authors and readers. Two people are not going to see the same thing the same way.

Thoughts and Italics

I think this is probably the biggest issue for a lot of editors who are used to omniscient third POV, or third person limited. Typically, when a character thinks, their thoughts are in italics. The reason for that is because we’re not really in their head. We’re receiving their thoughts as if we were telepaths and their thoughts are entering our minds.

In deep 3rd that’s not the case. We’re inside their head, sharing their thoughts in the same manner as 1st person. In 1st person, the only time thoughts are italics are when the thoughts belong to another person.

For more on this, see the Editor’s Blog – How to Punctuate Character Thoughts.

Adding Depth and Deleting Tags

This is the biggest thing for me. Deep 3rd adds depth. It just does. The reason for that is because we’re experiencing everything the character does as she lives through it. We feel what she feels. We hear what she hears. We see what she sees. And we don’t have to have her tell us that she’s feeling, hearing, or seeing. See below for an example that I just wrote in Witches of the West. Keep in mind this is Draft Suck.

She laced her fingers through his and walked to the double glass doors leading to the balcony.

The cool morning breeze danced along her skin. The wooden floorboards sent knives of ice into the bottoms of her feet.

Now, had this been in third limited, here’s what it might look like.

She laced her fingers through his and walked to the double glass doors leading to the balcony.

After the door opened, she felt the cool morning breeze dance along her skin. As soon as her feet landed on the floorboards, knives of ice shot through the bottoms.

There are more directions in third person limited. You have to direct the reader through each of the movements.

But in deep 3rd, you’re experiencing what the character is as she experiences, you don’t need the direction. There’s more story. Less unnecessary tags. Your narrative is shinier and gleams easier.

These are the biggest points for me. I love writing in deep 3rd. It is, by far, my favorite POV to use.

Writing Everyday – Reality or Not?

The Lent Writing Challenges, like all of my writing challenges, leave me with one very strong stresser.

Writing every day.

A lot of the really great, fabulous, amazing writers say to write every day. They follow that up with something that my mind translates into, “Stop coming up with so many excuses! If you want to be a real author, you’ll write EVERY DAY and you’ll stop WHINING about it!”

I’ve tried. For eleven long years, I’ve tried. But the other things get in the way. The kids. The significant other people. The house. The pets. The plants–sounds stupid, but, yes, the plants. The other job.

I’ve failed. In every write-everyday-challenge, I have failed.

And I’ve come to one conclusion.

These authors are so amazing, and they’re so fabulous, and they’re so lucky that WRITING is their full-time job. It’s the only one they have.

I’m a project manager who can’t get promoted to full-on PM because I lack “the qualifications”. I fight every day to get those “qualifications” to make me a better PM, but the boys who aren’t as capable, apparently, have those qualifications. Because they’re getting the promotions. That is a 10+ hour a day struggle.

Then I come home, and I’m a writer, and an editor, and a graphic artist (which I need to get back into and show you what I’ve learned!), and a publisher, and promoter, and a webmistress.

And I’m a step-mother, and an almost-wife. And I’m potty-training a cat. And I’m bringing plants back from the dead.

Life has to be balanced. If writing that post or that chapter or whatever is the thing that’s going to throw you out of balance for the day, if your day is so chaotic and exhausting that the thought of applying words to cyber-paper makes you even more exhausting, then don’t. The writing challenge, any writing challenge, is to make you a better writer.

I’ve determined that writing EVERY DAY isn’t what makes you a better writer.

Making sure that your off-days don’t stretch out too long does though. And when you have the time, you put your butt in the chair, or on the toilet, or on the counter, or wherever, and if you say it’s time to write…

…then you write. 

One day, I am going to be one of those great authors. I will. My writing is pretty good. It’s not awesome. There are some authors out there that are AMAZING! One day, I’ll be ABLE to write every day–because one of these irons I have in the fire will be gone. Hopefully, it’s not family. I really like them. Hopefully, it’s the job that frustrates the crap out of me.

But even if I don’t, I’m still going to write when I have the chance because I enjoy it.

 

2015 In Review

2015 happy new year design art
2015 happy new year design art

Well, as far as 2015 goes, it didn’t suck. It really didn’t. My writing kinda did. Oops. I didn’t get a lot of writing done and then I launched a failed experiment and a dud, trying to get it out too early. Yeah, as far as writing goes, 2015 was kind of a crap year for me. I struggled.

Hard core.

But I was getting the rest of my life together and that has to count for something. I have a better job. I’m succeeding at as well. I’m in a relationship that’s adding a lot of quality to my life. My finances are in better order and things are being dealt with. Finally. Because writing makes Frankie less bitchy. No joke.

Going into 2016, I’ve got to get back on the writing and succeeding at publishing bus. I have to. Right now, it’s kind of a really expensive hobby, and that’s not acceptable. I don’t suck at this writing thing. I’m just not awesome…enough to matter. I have to figure out a way around that. And I will. I have a writing schedule that allows work time–because paying the bills is a must–and family time. I’ve also trained the new family to allow writing time

I have a publication plan that’s not nearly as aggressive as I’m used to. That kind of killed me this year anyway. Can’t write aggressively with a 50+ hour a week job and a family. Sorry.

Some people can. I’m sure. Not me. I’ll get more books out there. Get them promoted.

Hopefully, they don’t suck and people can actually enjoy them. That would be awesome. I want to keep doing this. I want to keep writing. I want to keep publishing. But…I’ve seriously got to figure out how to be good at it, or at least, better. So…that’s what I’m going to be working on next year. Well, starting on this week. Whatever. Anyway.

So, that’s the 2015 recap! It didn’t suck. 2016 shall be better!

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