Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG: Titles vs Characters


Oh, wait; that's WRiTECLUB, which is in its final bouts this week. Sadly, this is my first year that I have neither participated  as a writer or voted since DL Hammons first conceived and launched the event. And what an awesome event it has become over the last (about) 6 years. Even picked up by the DFW writers conference. I can't say "AWESOME" with enough force for all the work and effort DL and all the initial judges put into this yearly event. And the readers that offer constructive critiques and sometimes difficult votes. As I said, I only read and voted on a few of the bouts this year (I've been a very lax blogger) but the entries I read were all stellar, well edited, and it pretty much came down to which genre I liked. Tough choices. Good luck to the finalists; perhaps we should ALL try to take a few moments to read the finalist entries and offer encouragement . . . . .

Encouragement: now there is a word we all need as writers. Lately, my "encouragement" has been in the form of - you can't make money if you don't write. And the ever favorite "I like it cuz you wrote it so I don't have to read it." Yes, I know I'm largely responsible for this lack of encouragement for my writing: I've not been writing much, not submitted anything this year, and have mostly dropped out of the writing community. Meaning, no writers group to force me into 'submission.' Yeah yeah, I have commitment issues. On the one hand, I don't like someone looking over my shoulder while I write; I don't want a 'group' to write my stories. On the other hand, no accountability is . . . no accountability.

I am getting some writing done; a slow pace, nothing worthy of showing off to a group, or the public at large (publication). But I am writing things in several word documents. Including a document for the WEP June challenge, Unraveled Yarn. Writing a "yarn" (a long and rambling, often improbable, story) seems to fit my writing perspective at this point. With a thousand word count limit, the YARN can't get too long, which in itself is an intriguing allure for the concept. I have my interpretation started, pretty much finished, except I need to tweak the "rambling" concept into a viable structure. Hey look; I'm plotting, an accomplishment itself!

Ah, I was about to segue into the IWSG, but have one more writing resource related comment. I don't know if anyone ever clicks on my writing related links; but I did get an email from someone stating they visited my blog, saw my resources, and added a link for freelance writers. I clicked on the link for jobhero, aka The Ultimate Freelance Writing Guide, and I did add it to my resources. It doesn't seem to be a scam or purely advertising site. If you are a freelance writer, or want to get into freelance, and you check out the link, please let me know if you discover it a scam site. It seemed useful to me in my brief browse, although I'm not interested in freelance. Well, I'm interested, just not that dedicated. Freelance writers put some SERIOUS work into their writing - and submissions.

OK, on to IWSG. Although if you read much of the above "yarn," I'm sure you'll read plenty of insecurities in the subtext. Am I still a writer if I'm not bashing out novel after novel, or producing short stories several times a week. (Punctuation Nazi's may note no ? at the end of that sentence. I'm not sure it was a question.)

When I first started writing a novel, then a trilogy, then some short stories, then discovered a writers group, and blogs and and and and and . . I zealously threw myself into it. Now, I still love writing, finding a story concept, developing the world and characters - especially developing the world and characters. And yes, I love getting published, though short stories is all I've had success with. Back then, I wasn't constrained by the knowledge of all the rules: genre specifics, querying (like job interviewing), reader trends, publicity gimmicks. I did not "study" to become an author, I just sort of fell into it. Now I feel like I need to go to college to learn business management, public speaking, marketing analysis, copy write litigation.

So I'm writing slow, with too much of the business end of writing on my mind instead of the creative process. The sheer joy of creating characters to fill a world. Building a world that my characters fit into. My completed trilogy (Uck, yes I lost two books and am in the process of recreating them) is a women's fiction I thought was totally unique. A few years ago, after much research and reading, I started to accept there is an entire genre (yep my intro to women's fiction) with my concept. I'm still hoping for some uniqueness. My ideal ambition for this novel (trilogy) is that it will get published, and Lifetime movie channel will will notice it. Hey! A girl can dream . . .

This month's IWSG question is: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names? Easy peasy answer: I suck at book/story titles. LOL, I really have a lot of novel and short story starts. Complete with excessive research into names, name meanings, character descriptions to go with those names, prevalence of names in my location/settings and time era's.

A title (usually) is the absolute last thing I settle on to finish a story. Mostly because you cannot submit without a title. A title is always a "working title" until the story has been accepted by a publication. It rarely even tentatively happens until at least midway through a first draft, and is still subject to change at any point prior to submission, depending on the theme of the publication. For me, a title must reflect the book content, which is introduced (preferably) in the first sentence, or paragraph, discovered somewhere in the middle of the book/story, and reinforced in the last chapter. Meh; just how I write.

I have only had one Title that I created characters and a world around. The title "LAUGHING AT BUTTERFLIES" came to me, then it took about three years for my characters, a plot concept, and a world to develop around the title. Perseverance was an understatement for this one; a lot of research went into the character names, setting, folklore. If you have ever completed a massive research project, and successfully integrated the research without it sounding like research, you'll understand what an undertaking this "title first" project was to accomplish. But it was published (with only one other rejection) at Bewildering Stories issue 744, if you have time or inclination to read it.

Please be sure to thank (via visit) our Ninja host/creator Alex J Cavanaugh, and the June co-hosts Beverly Stowe-McClure, Tyrean Martinson, Tonya Drecker, and Ellen at The Cynical Sailor.

Be seeing y'all around the blogs :)