The trick, however, is being able to filter the useful sparks from the blinding light.
When I was a beginning writer, I went to a writing workshop. I was excited because, based on the description, I thought I was going to learn the formula for writing a book. The trouble? The instructor gave us the formula for writing a book. She was knowledgeable and successful and the subtext was ‘Do it this way and you will be, too.’
I wasted 6 months trying to twist and squeeze myself into writing her way. A lost cause. Her way was not my way—and it took me that long to gain the confidence to believe that. Once I did, the angst fell away and my productivity increased.
The truth is that there as many ways to write a book as there are writers. And as much as a beginner might wish to be given a blue print, they shouldn’t make that wish. Finding your own process is how you become a writer. Make no mistake, it’s a hard slog while you are in it, filled with surprises, flights of joyful confidence and the corresponding descents into despair. (Get used to this—it never ends.) But relax, if you can, and enjoy the journey.
Don’t stop going to workshops, reading craft books or listening to authors. Just learn how to cherry pick the nuggets that work for you. Feel free to discard the rest. Find the way that makes putting words on the page a joy—and guard that process like the treasure it is.
Writing is hard. Publishing is hard. (That’s a whole other blog!) So preserve the wonder. Learn everything you can. Become a master of your craft. But protect the joy.
D. M. Marlowe lives in North Carolina with her family and two cats. When she is not spoiling them all, she is probably writing. Failing that, she’s likely lost in a book or movie, on a long walk, gardening or hanging with her friends.
In her other life, she is a USA Today Bestselling author of Historical Romance.
Author: D.M. Marlowe
Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure
Mei Barrett has been hiding all of her life. Raised in solitude by her beloved father, she’s been trained to fight, to adapt, to defend. She couldn’t prevent his death, however, when it comes at the hands of a mysterious creature straight out of legend. She could only run—and learn how to hide in plain sight.
For four long years Mei has lived alone on the fringes of a society still recovering from the devastation of quakes and disasters along the infamous Ring of Fire. Mei’s concerns are more immediate however. She must hide her eyes and their despised mutation, and she must stay one step ahead of the strange wind demon that continues to hunt her.
Detection was inevitable. But Mei begins to make some discoveries of her own. For it seems that her old enemy is not the only mythical creature on the loose. Nor is she the only one fighting them.
And perhaps her own tragedies are not as far removed from those the world is facing, after all.
Something was off. Not in the same way as before. But I felt . . . something. Eyes watching.
I veered suddenly into the parking lot of a used bookstore.
Something moved in the line of trees at the far edge, right at the spot where I would have walked past. Something large set the high branches to rustling. I moved easily, acting as if I didn’t notice.
The bookstore door was locked. I cursed under my breath before nonchalantly turning to the rack of free books lining the front of the place. Picking a title, I leaned against the door and opened it. I eyed the parking lot from beneath my brim, then tossed the book back and chose another—a thick, oversized edition of Sherlock Holmes tales. Nothing moved out there. Not a branch or a leaf or a rustle of wind.
I wasn’t fooled.
I hefted the book and pretended to be absorbed. Slowly I moved out, head down, nose in the book, ambling west again, but this time taking the alley behind the bookstore’s neighboring houses. The lane was lined with full-grown trees, providing some cover. When I hit their sheltering darkness I tucked the book under my arm and took off at a fast, silent run.
Not for long. Something thumped to the ground, directly in my path. I skidded to a stop, backpedaling rapidly.
Panic and disbelief nearly stopped my heart. My mouth hung open.
This was not the creature of my nightmares and memories. It was something different altogether—and yet still entirely unbelievable.
On two feet, broad and heavily muscled, it stood over twice my height. Its skin was a deep, dark red, its nose large and curved over like a beak. Large, heavily muscled arms flexed as its hands opened and closed. Long, white hair flowed back to meet huge, rustling black wings.
It tilted its head in a distinctly avian gesture and peered down at me. A thin, trilling sound echoed in the alley. “So small you are, to be the cause of so much trouble.”