Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Philosophy, Mud Pies, and Therapy

Talking with a long time friend and fellow writer recently, she revealed that finishing her young adult novel was proving to be a challenge.  She just keeps adding and adding and adding to the pot and the soup is never done.  As everything in writing is about what is going on inside of you, this is an outer display of some inside challenge.  I don't mean to throw philosophical mud pies into this blog, but there you have it. Authors have stuff going on in their core, and it is going to show up in their work.

Which slams open a variety of topics. Such as: you nor I have any idea what her challenge is on why she is not making an easy, neat and tidy, efficient ending to her story. Why she cannot wipe the dust from her chapped finger tips and declare the tale she has undertaken as concluded.  We can assume, conjecture, and imagine, but only she will ever know the complete truth as to her inner wrestling with the beast called The End.

The young adult novel that I just posted on Amazon, Black Licorice, is so much better than the first in this trilogy. Does this mean that I am getting better as a writer, that I am sick and tired of writing so just sticking up stuff on the inter net so I won't have to face it anymore, or that I have obtained Writer's Enlightenment and can pump out perfect stories in a single weekend?  My ego will definitely go for the latter of these choices.  Probably, however, it has more to do with the fact that I have had more practice at writing a novel than when I wrote Red Nectar.  That, and the reviews that sweet, kind, generous people bestowed on me helped me to know what to do and not to do in subsequent novels.

I find it fascinating to read reviews of my stuff. It's like being the fly on the wall to people talking about you. Reviews by people I've never met are the best. They are not holding back due to some fear that we won't be friends if they say they don't like the way I wrote something. It is a chance to gain insight into my character, personality, and relationship with the world through words.

Scout and Ellie, a middle grade chapter book of mine, ended a 10 book giveaway through Goodreads.com last week. I'll be sending out the books to the winners this week.  Once readers check out the book, they will most likely log on to Goodreads.com and post a review. Yey! More insight as to where I am in life from outsiders, and how I can improve my writing.

In the last giveaway that I did for Red Nectar, a very insightful reader said she would have given the book 4 stars over the three that she assigned it if it weren't for the interruptions that I made in the telling of the story.  Seems my talking about political and environmental situations that were not necessarily relevant to the story, well, they weren't wanted.  On a personal level, this means to keep my topics of discussion with others connected to what we are talking about--not to interject with my own biased views.  And as a writer, I see the importance of the words of one of my favorite writing teachers, Diane D'Andrade, "Stick to the story--no one wants to hear your 'message'."

Writing and casting my stories up to the public eye is like having the general public as my personal therapist. If I manage to shove aside my ego, I can gain profound inner knowledge. Of course, I have to remember that each reviewer has their own 'stuff' inside of them that is affecting how they perceive what I write. But somewhere between my ego and their stuff, glimpses of core stuff both personal and writing-wise can be seen.

Wow, all of this stems from writing words on a computer. One of the biggies of why I LOVE being an author--and why everyone should write at least one book in their life time.

Heather Leigh
aka author of the freshly posted Black Licorice

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