Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - Hemingway's Wisdom

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”  

“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”  

“If a writer stops observing he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed.”  

“A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it.”

“If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.”  

“Good writing is good conversation, only more so.”

“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.”  
Ernest Hemingway

Just a handful of my favorite Hemingway quotes about writing. The best writing advice allows for individuality; it encourages through simple truths that we as writers can use as building blocks for the more fantastical elements of our stories.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hamilton House

I'm a person who is prone to obsessions. I have a monogamous spirit; I commit to things, even if they're just ideas. If I stew on something long enough, if it haunts my thoughts to a certain degree, I put it on scrap paper. And it goes into The Box. I have a box in the top of my closet, full of very rough drafts, half-started stories, orphaned chapters, truly forceful characters with no novel in which to exist. There's stuff from high school in there, maybe even before, because I can't bring myself to throw away ideas that stayed with me for that length of time. The deeper I get into my publishing career, the more I use The Box as a cadaver, harvesting it for useful parts. That's a bad analogy; it's more like finding places for the misfits who didn't belong in their own stories.

Hamilton House is one of those misfits. I have written that house into countless intended books, and finally, in Fearless, had a real place to put it. It's the embodiment of one of my small obsessions: abandoned historical houses.

I've only ever lived in houses built in the 80s, and the 80s were a dark time for home design. Houses built in that decade have no character; they don't have that solid, timeless bone structure; the color choices were trendy and vulnerable to aging. 80s houses aren't haunted; 80s houses don't have echoes.

There's something fascinating about the idea that, in some of these old creaky houses, these empty shells left to rot and ruin, you could put your hand against the bleached scraps of wallpaper and be touching a place someone else touched over a hundred years ago. That gets me. I love history; I love how small and unimportant it makes me feel.

That's one of the reasons I love writing so much: it gives me an outlet for obsession-expression that real life will never afford me.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Cover

It's coming right along. I'm so happy with how the cover came out.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What a Week

Viktor pretty much sums it up with this picture. What a week. Markus has been sick; an auto-immune response triggered a mass production of lymphatic fluid in his left hind leg, and the swelling was just obscene. It's a condition called lymphangitis, one I've treated before, so thankfully, it was nothing new, just created lots of worry in me about my poor biggest boy. He's a senior horse now, and this was his worst flare-up of the chronic condition yet. Thankfully, he's feeling better today, after being on the meds a few days. He's so difficult about taking them, I have to disguise his antibiotics in molasses and inject his steroid with an intramuscular shot. I'm so thankful he's on the road to recovery and feeling more like himself.

I'm not sure I've ever told my Markus story, how he came to me. I'll have to do that soon, one afternoon when I'm not knee-deep in knives, literally and figuratively. I asked my dad if he had a knife I could photograph, and he proceeded to produce almost a dozen of them for me to choose from. My dad the weapons consultant! I'm working on the "All-American Monsters" cover, as well as that overall final Fearless cover. That one's a bit of an art project. Can't wait to share it.

So, Saturday night - I'm thinking staying in with wine, Cheetos, and Shakespeare sounds like a brilliant plan. Y'all go party for me. I'm recouping.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Lines 10/17 - Fearless Part III

From Fearless
Part III: All-American Monsters
Copyright © 2014 by Lauren Gilley
Her smile was thin, but she couldn’t seem to help it. “You wanted me to be different.” From the rest of you, she left unsaid.

            “I wanted you to be better,” Ghost corrected. “And you are.”

            The backs of her eyes burned. She blinked and stared at her hands.

            “I just…” Ghost took a troubled breath. “I wanted you to know that. That you’re doing a good job and I’m proud.”

            That was probably her cue to leave, because she wasn’t going to get bigger praise than that. But she felt unsteady. It had been a very long time, she suddenly realized, since she’d sought shelter in the arms and leather-covered chests of any of the Lean Dogs in her life. She missed that. She was rabidly nostalgic for that, and wanted to dive across the table and into her father’s lap so he could tuck her under his chin and promise to put bullets in all her fears.
            But she wasn’t a little girl anymore – not that club-attached girl she’d been growing up – and he was proud of that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - Lessons From The Page

This weekend, I treated myself to a little downtime and began reading this book; it's over a thousand pages, so I'll be a while at it, but I just can't stop working through Anne Rice's entire body of work. I'm ensnared. Today's Workshop Wednesday is less of a workshop and more of an observation, one of those pearls of wisdom plucked from the pages of a truly great author.

Rice's Gothic, supernatural tales may not be your thing, but no one could deny the true magic of her attention to detail. The rich histories, the depth, the shining personalities of her settings. Whether her characters are on the coasts of Cali, or in the swamps of Louisiana, or along the Seine in Paris, she pens a love letter to the city, and makes us, the readers, fall in love with this place. She writes especially lovingly of the South, which strikes a chord in me; I was raised Southern, and not ashamed of that. So many Southern writers spend their efforts razing the humid climes of their childhoods to the ground, humiliating, berating, belittling. But I love that, as twisted as some of the happenings of Rice's books, there is nothing less than sheer joy in her settings. Some of Lestat's exuberance for the world bleeding right through the page, making me feel familiar with Paris, with San Fran, with New York.

She makes me want to be there, inside the world of her stories, and that's a lesson I carry forward. Show your audience that they can fall in love with a place, and likely they will.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday Talking Points

Rainy day. Coincidental outfit/rain boot coordination. Unintentionally awesome. I burn through cheap rain boots like they're made of sugar; might as well be stamped with Disposable at the factory.

I'm really enjoying this album. I love her voice and half the songs put me in a good mood to write Ava and Mercy, "Fire" in particular.

Fearless Part III is underway and so far, I'm happy with the progress. By now y'all know I'm a big fan of flashbacks, but this part is all present day, and it's all new for the characters, and it's a lot of fun. In Part III, we dive into the Carpathian conflict and there's lots of good drama-filled, heavy moments with Ava and Mercy; and lots of family side-action. Don't hold me to it, but I'm hoping to have it out in about a month.

I'm also working on "Green Like the Water," my Russell short story due out in December. It's set between the end and the epilogue of Keeping Bad Company, another peek into family life the way "Things" was. Layla, Lisa, and their menfolk on a beach getaway leads to, what else, family drama. Expect the long-awaited happy ending for Lisa.

The plan is - I say plan because a certain puppy likes to mess with my schedule - for all four parts of Fearless to comprise the first novel of my Dartmoor series. I introduce a character in this novel who will feature in the sequel. The plan - there's that word again - is to keep the series going. Books for Aidan and the other guys fleshing the club out even further. There's so much potential there, so I'm excited about the prospect of it all.

As always, any feedback is welcome and appreciated. Links over to the right. I'm off to make the most of the rest of puppy nap time.