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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Workshop Wednesday - The Challenge

Today's WW advice is: don't do what I'm doing. Don't set out to write some complicated, convoluted book about damaged boys and their damaging relationships. Just don't. Save yourself the headache. Save yourself the hours of debating, deleting, and fingernail-biting. Seriously, don't write yourself a Loverboy. Just. Don't.

Okay, that's not really my advice. My advice is something that I hope, by the end of this, proves true, and not just something I keep telling myself. On the days when my internal monologue is one continuous strain of ugh, I stop and think to myself, This is frustrating because it's difficult. It's a challenge. And challenging work is probably worthwhile work. It's scary because it isn't a safe bet story. There's no guarantee anyone will connect with the characters' struggles. There's no guarantee the unreliable narrators will come across as sympathetic and sad, rather than just pathetic. This book is a minefield of quietly horrifying moments, and I spend a lot of time reading back through those scenes, wondering if they'll be read as intended, if they have the proper punch.

So on the flipside of all the ugh, I try to find some self-awareness and think about the fact that on the other side of this, when it's done, I'll know so much more about myself as a writer. Growth isn't easy and under the radar. Growth is awkward and painful and stressful.

So today's message is this: challenge yourself. Staying stagnant, doing the same thing over and over, using tested formulas again and again is comfortable, peaceful, and safe. It also prevents you from growing as an artist. I chafe beneath the MC tropes that keep getting slapped onto my stories, and with each book going forward, I try to push against them in a different way. From monsters with silver tongues and sweet sides, to heroines with conceal carry permits who don't need saving, I always want to push that envelope and bring something unique to each volume in the saga. This is my most challenging book ever, and it's frustrating, sure...but that doesn't mean it isn't worth it. Don't shy from the challenges just because they'll give you headaches and backaches. The artist in you wants to grow: let it.

1 comment:

  1. What I love most about your books, is how well rounded they are. You tell a story about relationships, siblings, parents, significant others and friendships, while never loosing the larger story arch that others there, looming over these characters, for better or for worse. I can't tell you how much that is appreciated. So as you said, let the artist in you grow because your writing absolutely reflects it.