Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Give You Permission To SUCK

Yep. My blog topic for the week is... suckage.

And how, as writers, we should embrace it.

Now before everyone gets up in arms thinking I am saying they DO suck. I am not.

First off, I am just talking about your writing, not you. And secondly, I have no idea if your writing sucks or is amazing.

What I am here to say is that I DON'T CARE if it sucks. I still INSIST that you write.

I can't tell you all the writers I talk to on the stream, in DMs, and in life that are petrified and paralyzed by the concept their writing may suck.

So you can imagine the shock and horror of when I way... Um, okay, let's say that it does suck, why is that stopping you from writing?

I mean, I write crap sometimes. Do I want that to end up in the final product, no. Does it sometimes, yep, probably.

Think about it. Who are your FAVORITE authors? Is everything between those covers a sterling piece of work? No. Some of it... wait for it... sucks.

Ok, maybe your absolutely favorite authors don't suck, but go into the bookstore and pick up a random bestseller. I can guarantee you that there is some suckage in there. And even the mighty literary giants have written some really sucky stuff.

What distinguishes an 'aspiring' or struggling writer from a true author is that an author accepts the fact they may SUCK yet KEEPS WRITING.

No one can help you with the story that is stuck in your head. I know it seems all perfect and cozy locked away in there, but it is miserable. Your story wants to come out and play.

And I am hear to tell you that your story would rather be out on paper with major suckage, rather than confined to a life sentence in your brain.

Why? Because even the utterly worst writing in the world... can be improved. Once it is on the page it can be fixed. You can apply structure and style. You can develop your voice. Eventually your writing... won't suck.

Writing has a learning curve that unless you write, you will never complete.

So, accept the fact your writing may suck. Also accept the fact that EVERY other writer in the history of writing has sucked.

Join our illustrious ranks! And WRITE :-)

Ok, I've got to wrap this up... I have writing to do... that may suck. #Iamdownwiththat

Until next week!

P.S. Yes, I wrote crap while writing Plain Jane, and the 7 other books I have written. And yes, some people that read it may feel some of that suckage still exists on the page.

Okay, um #awkward, but I'm not going to let that effect how I promote the thriller or in writing the sequel.

Writers, write and in writing, they improve :-)

If you want to sample 50 pages of Plain Jane for free to witness the ratio of suckage to absolute brilliance, click here!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Re-Writing: A Second Chance

As we know, I love writing, but for me I love re-writing even more.

Even though I don't find the blank page scary at all, I do feel a certain pressure to get the story out. To figure out all those stupid, you know, facts that have to go into the plot.

Like if my Hero is in Bulgaria, how long will it take him to fly to Paris. You know stuff like that. I have to be sure that is my Love Interest is a pilot she uses, oh I don't know aeronautical terms.

So for me, that is a little stressful. I want to make sure that my tentpole really is a tentpole, standing in the middle of my story with enough intrigue and action to carry the reader into the second half of Act 2.

This first draft is the nuts and bolts of the story. I have to get my Hero from point A to point B and have it not only make sense, but have it come out organic.

However for the re-write? Ah, all those pesky facts are hopefully taken care of. All the major angst over how I am going to break the laws of physics and still have the story make sense are over.

Now, I just get to play. For me, this second draft is the most fun. This is when I dig into character. When I find the super cool way to solve sticky situations. When I can concentrate on turning that phrase just right.

The backbone is laid in and now I get to flesh out the story.

I know so many writers that groan at re-writing, but I really can't see it. The work of grinding out that first draft is over and while the tedium of line edits is on the horizon, it isn't here yet.

So enjoy this golden time for your story. When you take it from a draft to a full grown book! :-)

Your Assignment: Take a small section of your book that's been bugging you and do a re-write... with JOY! I don't care how dark and twisted your work, that doesn't mean that you can't embrace the rewriting process and make it work for your story!

And don't forget, my novel under my pen name @CristynWest is available in so many formats it will blow you mind! #seriouslyitwill

So hop on over to Smashwords: And just for being so awesome and reading this blog, here is a 50% off coupon: RH88E

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Trust Your Reader

I have been reading a lot of new fiction lately (like 10 books in the last week).

And what has struck me most is how little newer writers trust their reader.

I had forgotten how much this single factor affects readability.

As writers we ask every reader to suspend disbelief. They need to let go of their preconceptions and the 'rules' of their reality and enter ours.

However, it is our job as writers to honor their surrender and help them sustain it.

The less you trust that reader to follow along, the more frequently you state the obvious, or repeat key phrases, the hard it is for them to stay in this holy pocket of 'suspended disbelief.'

She drove up in a Caddie with a rock on her finger. She's rich. We get it. You really don't have to go into her Sax 5th Ave shoes. Or her Vera Wang dress. We GOT it.

Now I'm not saying you can't sprinkle those items later. Or if you are writing a character who is fascinated by fashion and those descriptions help define your character that you couldn't go into a whole laundry list.

I am just saying, do it with PURPOSE. Don't just keep going on and on because you, as the writer, are uncertain if you got your point across.

Remember the reader WANTS to go along on this journey with you. And the VAST majority of your readers have... oh I don't know... read a book before.

You can slip into a sort of fiction 'short-hand.' Trust the reader is getting what you are putting out. Make sure every bit of description has a point and a purpose. Cut out anything that seems to belabor an idea or is 'over-written.'

Less truly is more.

The more you trust the reader. The less you have to write! Simple #buttrue!

Your assignment? Randomly pick 3 pages from each act. Read them aloud to someone unfamiliar with your story. Ask them when they got 'it' (the central idea of the scene) and when did you keep writing past that point.

Then, you know what to do next. Rewrite if needed! #duh

Now I am sure by now you know I've got a book out #unlessyouhavebeenlivinginacave :-)

I am getting a ton of great reviews and I would love to hear your opinion if I 'practice what I preach' :-)

Read up to 50 pages of Plain Jane for free here: and here is a 50% off coupon code if you decide to read the entire thriller: RH88E

Any review posted on Smashwords or GoodReads will be featured on this stream and my pen name's @cristynwest. And if it is totally kick-a** I will promo it on my personal account @craftycmc

Thanks again!