Industry event on writing diverse characters.
Emotion is a basic component of creativity.
As an angsty teen (weren’t we all?) I used poetry as a way to work through and express the confusion, sorrow, and joy that flowed through my adolescent years.
In my twenties, I used writing to find my way out of the forest of grief that the loss of my first husband landed me in.
These days, all the ebb and flow of life finds its way into my writing. Poetry is still my go-to for personal emotion, but I’ve turned to novels and short stories for the majority of my art and self-expression.
Whether the emotion is sorrow or anger, love or sheer joy, it comes out in my writing. Often it is a process, where the emotion is transformed into a character’s reaction to a situation that is nothing like the one I experienced in real life. Whatever the situation, the feelings it engenders tend to be universal.
Everyone experiences loss, betrayal, ambition, in some form. Everyone needs love, security, happiness, in some measure. Tapping into these experiences and desires creates a universal language everyone can relate to and understand.
The need to communicate those needs is just as universal. For me, writing is the form that communication takes, and emotion is the fuel.
How do you express yourself?
One of the hardest things I do as a writer is balance my calendar.
Does that sound weird? It’s kind of like balancing a tire – putting all the weights in exactly the right places so that the tire doesn’t wobble, and possibly fall off while you’re driving.
In the case of my calendar, that means making sure no one month has too many events, because if it does, my writing (the tires of my career, you might say) will wobble…
and maybe fall off.
Which would be horrible, especially since the writing is my favorite part of this career.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the events too. Signings
But any event I attend derails writing for a couple of days both before and after it. A three day event can take out an entire week’s worth of words. So, if I go to too many of them… Well, you see the problem.
My current writing calendar looks like this:
December is reserved for family and whatever writing I can fit in between times. It’s ambitious, so I know that if I pile in too many events on top of it, the writing won’t get done.
So, right now, I’m looking for balance. How about you?
Category : Behind the scenes for Readers
From Hogwarts to Middle Earth, the most compelling speculative fiction worlds are not just believable, but make readers want to envelope themselves between the pages and inhabit that world.
The devil, as always, is in the details. When it comes to developing a world that comes to life in full color for my novels, I always find myself coming back to a single question:
For me, a new story almost always starts not with the world, but with the character. Everything else fills out as an extension of that initial voice.
The beginnings of the world, therefore, are filled out to help me understand who the character is and how they became that way. The why behind it all.
When I started writing my first novel, Mud, I started with little more than a mood and voice from the golem who became the story’s antihero.
Why is this character on the streets?
Why is he hiding from everyone in a shuttered building?
Why does his soul feel so desperate?
These are all questions I asked myself at the earliest stages of the story’s development, and the answers heavily influenced the shape of the world that I built around him from those small nuggets.
Incredibly, before I knew it, I had not only a voice but a complicated character rich in history and shrouded in mysteries driven by the nature of the world he inhabited and its terrible history of wars between the gods and rebel demigods determined to overthrow them.
Why does the why method work? It is a flexible approach that you can put to work from any starting point for any project. The open-ended approach prompts your creativity to reach for the answers and encourages deeper thinking automatically.
Most importantly, it inherently encourages logical cause-and-effect worldbuilding that builds an internal logic to your world as organically as a sapling grows from a seed.
So the next time you find yourself stuck in your worldbuilding, keep this simple word in your pocket and give it a try! I hope it stretches your creativity as much as it has mine.
E. J. Wenstrom believes in complicated heroes, horrifying monsters, purple hair dye and standing to the right on escalators so the left side can walk. Her award-winning fantasy series Chronicles of the Third Realm War (City Owl Press) includes Florida Writers Association’s 2016 Book of the Year MUD (#1), RAIN (#0), TIDES (#2), and more books to come.
No matter what your path in life, from where you are standing, you can look in either direction, but you can only move forward. Still, it helps sometimes, to stop and consider. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about past, present and future.
I started writing – seriously writing – about nine years ago now. My first book took me three years to write, and I thought about it for at least a year before I started putting anything on paper. Before
A lot of stuff changed during that time. I went from having two children at home through their teenage years. I went from Mom to Grandmom, stay-at-home to career woman, student to teacher. And we moved several times, a couple of them from one coast to the other. It was an eventful decade and a half.
There were some rough professional challenges that led me to take a hiatus between the second of those early works and Descent, the first novel I published. But other than the lessons I learned from the experience, I’m content to leave it in the past. Suffice it to say that those lessons made the leap to indie publishing easier than it might otherwise have been.
Today, a lot has changed, but the most important things remain.
My girls are grown and I am enjoying being a grandmother to six beautiful little ones. I left teaching, a career I thought would see me through to retirement. The reasons are myriad, and very few have anything to do with the actual art and science of teaching itself. Those reasons are best left to another
rant post. In both sides of my life, personal and professional, the love remains, and that is a blessing all its own.
Some might say I’ve retired. I just call it switching careers.
I have eleven books published and I am proud of them. Each one has helped me expand my knowledge base and polish my skill set. I’ve learned that some things can be delegated, even in an owner/operator business like mine. I know enough, now, to be able to give back to the writing community that nurtures me, and that feels good.
Today, I’m staring at 2019 and wondering how to make the best use of the 356 days it has waiting for me. I know what I’d like to have
I’d like to build a profitable writing career. I already love the art of writing. Now I need to master the science of marketing. After all, what good is a book if it doesn’t get read? Kind of circumvents the purpose.
I’d like to succeed in my plan to write seven new books this year, and have a special each month for my readers. I’m working on a plan to make those two things happen and I feel pretty good about it.
I know it will take discipline and perseverance to see the plan succeed, but I’m OK with that. After all, it’s mostly about the journey, and so far, my journey has been pretty awesome.
C.L. (aka Cheri) Roman, writes fantasy and sci-fi with a paranormal edge. You can find her here and with her Novel Bunch on Facebook. Cheri and her ever-patient husband live in the not-so-wilds of Northeast Florida with Jack E. Boy, the super Chihuahua, and Pye, the invisible cat.
Remember me? That author you signed up to see posts from about a million years ago?
The sci-fi and fantasy writer?
The one with the cat?
Yeah, that’s me. Can’t blame you if you didn’t remember right away. It’s been a minute since I posted. The official reboot began last week when I put up a guest post by the awesome Leslie Halpern. Her post was the first one in a new posting schedule that I hope you will enjoy. It’s going to work like this:
Every Thursday a new post will go up. Because there are so many stellar authors out there, and I thought you’d like to hear from a few of them, I’ve offered guest spots to a wide range of sci-fi and fantasy authors. So I’ll be posting at least once a month, on the second Thursday, but the rest of the month it will be a guest author.
At least, that’s the plan.
I have the schedule mostly filled through November, but there are a lot of open slots after that. If you have an author you’d like to hear from, drop me a line in the comments. Come to that, if there’s a topic you’re dying to know more on, let me know. I’m always open to suggestions.
This represents a sort of reboot for this blog. I started it a while back when I set up the website. With it, I’m hoping to connect to readers and spread the word about my books and the indie world in general.
I hope you’ll join me.
It’s finally starting to sink in.
I will not be going back to AC this fall.
That means no lesson plans to prepare, no faculty meetings, no bulletin boards or syllabi to create, no graphic organizers to send to the copy room. No professional development classes, no parent/teacher night. It also means no new, fresh young faces staring back at me in a strange mix of anticipation and apprehension.
Yeah, I’m going to miss that last one.
And I’m not going to lie. It feels weird. I’ve given the last ten years of my life to educating high schoolers. The profession has provided me some beautiful highs, and some tear stained lows. It has been both the best and the worst job I’ve ever had and, if I’m honest, I have to admit I’m going to miss it, at least a little.
I’m going to miss the students: Luke, who always sounded like he was asking a question, and Megan, with her breathtaking artistic talent. Wesley, who almost never came to class, but always managed to pull it out at the last minute. Olivia and her vast stock of wisdom and kindness. Dani, who is so beautiful, inside and out. And Dusty, Destiny, Jaymie, Bailey, Skye, William, Conner, Ethan, Cesar, Kylani and…The list goes on, far too many to mention them all here. As they do every year, the students go on with their lives. Our paths will likely never cross again, and that is as it should be. I hope I helped them. I hope they remember me fondly.
Hold on. I need a tissue.
I’m going to miss my colleagues. Tracie and her endless font of wisdom and creativity. Becky S. and her love of all things HP. Vivian and her head on approach to pretty much everything. Becky T. and her unique take on the world. Not to mention Tina, Anne, Sara, Debra, Cynthia, Rob, Jackson, Scott, Bernie, Amy, Shelli – and the list goes on, and on. I am so thankful that I don’t have to lose any of them. (Thank you FB.)
Because of these folks and so many more, it was a good ten years. There are moments when I wonder if I’ve made the right decision – and then I sit down at my desk and the words begin… And I know that I’m in the right place now, just as surely as I was in the right place for that decade of my life.
This past weekend I was privileged to present at a writing Focus day for the Florida Writers Association. It was glorious. I got to speak on something I am passionate about to people who wanted to learn what I had to teach. The teacher in me joined hands with my inner writer and the resulting happy dance is still going on. I’m thankful that the bridge isn’t too long, and it’s in good repair.
So, if I’m looking back with a bit of wistfulness, I’m also looking forward in anticipation. Feeling one doesn’t cancel out the other.
How about you? What changes are you making these days? I’d love to hear about them.