- 1) Writing is hard work. Don’t think it’s not.
- 2) Good writers read, great writers read a lot!
- 3) Writing is an internal struggle that never ends and a learning curve you never quite master.
- 4) Bad reviews will happen…harden the fuck up!
- 5) Your best writing efforts will be intensely personal.
(That’s the shortlist. If you want the long list, pick up any book on writing. There are thousands of them and more being written daily.)
Because I write steamy paranormal romance, you’d think that my books are just a product of sheer imagination – but each of the above rules apply. Despite the gods, demons, werewolves, and other assorted supernatural beings, I am still writing about love, commitment, and the assorted emotions that play a part in those relationships. And to have a reader buy-all-in to this universe I’ve created, I have to dig deep and embrace rule #5. And it’s this rule more than any that I continually struggle with.
You’ve probably noticed that I didn’t spend much time addressing the nuts and bolts of writing. The editing. The rewrites. The form and formatting. The reason? You will never stop learning new-to-you grammatical rules. That’s why authors have editors.
So back to rule #5…
Intensely personal writing is the emotional life-blood of a tale. It’s what connects the reader to the story being told. It’s what brings us to tears and makes us laugh out loud. It’s why readers keep reading until the very last page of a book.
Here’s an example of me getting personal, The Love of Gods: (explicit content)
Her body was no longer entirely hers. Keely was aware that in her mind she was no longer alone. There was more than just Keely, there was her—his woman, his other half. She was strong and giving, loyal and brave. She had many names, many lives, but she was forever the same when he found her, when he held her, loved her, cherished her. She was his, as he was hers. She felt the power of him flow into her and then back again. The beat of who they were rolled and crashed inside her. Back and forth. Retreat and return. Life and death. Joy and pain. Again he came, driving into her, sharing his power, sharing his body. And she received him, welcomed him, soaked him in, drank her fill before giving back. Giving herself, giving her body, giving her life, giving her love.
“Stay with me,” he coaxed against her ear.
He breathed with her, across her skin, his body hot and hard, hers soft and melting. There was nothing more perfect than when he came to her, needing her. There was only Lugh, his heat, his body, his need, his power flowing through her. She was a part of him as he was a part of her.
She felt him swell inside her body. She was coiling again, racing for the edge with him. Her nails dug into his skin. He was her anchor. They would fly together this time, him cradling her, surrounding her always.
“Please,” she cried.
The rhythm of their music changed, became faster, a driving beat. He was pushing them now, sweeping her toward the edge with him. He moved into her harder, the power of him crashing into her more quickly.
She responded in kind, giving all of herself to him, a complete surrender to him and to what she would become because of him.
And then they were exploding together, two stars burning with one light, beyond the bonds of time. They were perfect. They were eternal.The Love of Gods
The above speaks of connection -of the give and take that is at the center of really good sex when you are with someone you completely trust. Yes, Lugos is a god and Keely is mortal in this tale, but really good sex is transcendent. If you haven’t ever felt this with a partner, then you’re with the wrong person.
In the current book I’m working on, I’m getting very real about magick. My magick. What it is really like to live magickally. What it feels like to direct energy. What it is like to be a witch. And because I want to give readers a clear understanding of this concept and not some Harry Potter version of witchcraft, I am finding it frustrating to articulate the sensation in an honest way. I think I’ve come closest thus far in this brief example.
The following is from Chapter 1, The Souls of Witches:
The clink and chatter of the cafe’s kitchen fell away as Rowan’s focus spiraled inward, ever-narrowing until all she saw or felt was the vanilla buttercream as it slid smoothly along the cake’s cold surface. Memories of her grandmother’s kitchen, its sights, sounds, and aromas flowed into her mind and along her arm as she guided another dollop of white frosting across the cake’s cold surface. The air grew heavy with the scent of powdered sugar and of baked delights, of remembered love, and of cinnamon belonging.
The flow of energy was easily directed, as if it were her own wand and not the metal baker’s tool. A whirl here for love. A reassuring hug from one who cares. A graceful wave of longing along the side—the white veil now sweet and dense with promise. She worked widdershins, counterclockwise, until the whole of the hummingbird cake lay blanketed with her magick and the flavor of home lay thick on her taste buds. Rowan ignored the ache in her shoulders and topped the uniquely Southern confection with chopped walnuts, toasted and still warm from the oven before tying off the simple spell. Stepping back, she surveyed her work and let a soul-deep smile lift the corners of her mouth before moving on to the next dessert.The Souls of Witches
Granted, this hasn’t been vetted by my editor yet but I think I’ve been able to communicate the dynamics of memory/feeling/and energy that the spell in this particular scene requires. My biggest problem is that in a universe where so many of my characters are supernatural, I find that I need to share something of myself that many would consider not-real. Make no mistake, witches are real. Magick is real. The Craft is a learned practice. The ability to wield power can be learned and nurtured over time, but usually, it is a natural phenomenon someone is born with.
This particular book will be released in October of this year, but my struggles with rule #5 will go on.
For all my fellow authors who read my blog, I hope this post helped remind you to keep your own writing raw and personal. Write what needs to be written, and say what needs to be said as honestly as you can.
And for all my readers, thank you for letting me share a bit of me with you today.