Goddesses of Love

>> Saturday, April 07, 2007

I can tell I'm close to taking that next step in my writing, going to that next level, when I get restless.

The restlessness comes in the form of discontent with my hero or my heroine or my story structure or my plot or the shallowness of my prose. Something's not right--not deep enough, not complex enough, not unique enough. I want to intensify the work, but don't know how, can't think of something fresh or new or twisted enough to express this need to take my work to a new height.

I spoke in a comment on Edie’s blog (topic: Learning The Craft) about seeking out craft books/articles/blogs that speak to writers on an advanced level, how hearing the same concept in a new voice or from a fresh perspective can shed light on a topic in a way that helps you see it more clearly, understand it more completely.

This is a huge challenge for me, because my brain doesn’t ordinarily function at this depth. I’m a pretty average Joe—average intelligence, average all-American life experience, average middle or upper-middle-class work experience, average family (both immediate and extended).

So, when concepts like those described in The Writer’s Journey by Vogler or The Heroine’s Journey by Murdock start to appeal to me, I know my writing subconscious is stirring.

Here’s an article I ran across along those lines that has me thinking again about going deeper with character and plot than simply character and plot, but evolution and life journeys and archetypes and how all that plays a part in our lives and how it should also play a part in our romance fiction.

Goddesses of Love: How the Romance Genre Has Embraced Feminine Myths and Archetypes, Part 1

Goddesses of Love: How the Romance Genre Has Embraced Feminine Myths and Archetypes, Part 2

Is this phenomenon a foreign concept to you or do you also get an inkling of when it’s time to step up your writing? How do you know? What do you do?

9 comments:

Linda Winfree 4:38 PM  

Are you going to shoot me if I say I just write?

I mean, I do look at craft in terms of the books I read -- how authors do what they do. And I think about my own writing, what I'm doing and what I'd like to do. But I know I don't study the way you do (although these articles look interesting and I am adding them to my favorites to read later!).

Joan Swan 5:33 PM  

And your published and I'm not.

**Big frowny with L on forehead**

Edie 6:12 PM  

Joan, you WILL be published. My goal is for every book to be better than the last one. My last book was scary. I think I pulled it off, but now I'm doing something even harder. Maybe it's insanity.

Funny that you mentioned my blog. On Thursday at Magical Musings, I blogged about your website and the fun stuff you have on it. :)

Joan Swan 6:50 PM  

Thanks, Edie. :-) E told me about the blog, I went over and checked out all your great links!! Thanks for mentioning me. I'm going to have to do some research and update my agent list--that's a big job.

Linda Winfree 12:12 PM  

It doesn't mean that I sold without working. I'm always pushing forward on what I do -- like Edie said, it's about making each book stronger and better than the last. I study craft -- by reading a lot across genres, looking at how other writers pull off what they do. I just don't do the type of studying you do (my other CP Carol does a lot of this as well). It works for her and you, but not for me. I get bogged down in the course and never get any writing done.

I'm more of the directed independent study type, LOL

And again, I concur with Edie -- you're going to sell and sell big, baby! It's coming. :-)

Elisabeth Naughton 6:47 PM  

Ditto to what Lin said.

I study craft by reading in and out of my genre, by studying other writers, by . . . writing. I've read craft books, but I tend to get bogged down when I read too many. I start thinking everything I write is crap - which, sometimes is true, and sometimes isn't - comparing myself to the "experts". It becomes counter-productive for me.

That said, I'm going to go look at the articles you linked, just for fun. :)

Joan Swan 10:16 PM  

E, that's what someone else said on Edie's blog where she discussed craft.

I could see how that might happen. We're all so different -- in good ways!!

T.J. Killian,  12:06 PM  

For me the big thing is to always layer the story. Character forward/plot forward is very easy for me. Then again, I've been writing for a looonnnngggg time.

Here's the odd thing. I don't read what I write. I have to trust myself at some level. Being a cross-genre writer, I need to trust my gut instinct more.

Way back in the day, when writers actually wrote stories on old fashioned typewriters, you didn't have so much of what you have today (ie. all these So You Want to Write a Book, How to Write a Book in Your Sleep guides). Maybe that's where my confidence comes from. Truthfully, study people, always layer a story, and never forget your plot is important.

Not sure this was of any great help.

Regards,

T.J.

Joan Swan 10:24 PM  

Thanks, T.J. Great insight. I have a certain level of trust in my writing, but I'm a long way from where you're talking about. :-) Maybe after another dozen years or so of writing, huh? :-)

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