Tag Archives: strengths

A Novel Idea

20110907we-relationships-chart-map-showing-many-places-and-peopleBeta readers rock! If you don’t use them, you are really missing out on a wonderful opportunity to get virgin eyes on your work and help you identify strong and weak spots. On my second pass by the alpha reader he saw much improvement in my first crime novel  and I still have a few places that I want to go back and touch up to strengthen a character’s position on certain pertinent matters. So that, along with some beta notes trickling in, is what I have been doing all week.

I have an outline for book two, and another story in my head for book three, but I am feeling a need to break away from this and write something different. I just read a very good “relationship” novel (will tell you more about that later) and I have been mulling over some ideas. It really stimulated me to think about just what comprises a good novel.

Honestly, being human or not, relationships are what most every novel boils down to. The relationship between people and their world, the relationship between lovers, the relationship between individuals, parents, children, siblings, friends, elves, war lords, bad guys, good guys, pets, robots…relationships are what make good novels relate-able.

So I got restrospective and started thinking about all the relationships in my life. There is really some good fodder there. It has not been a typical life, though, but some typical relationship issues were resolved.

The only piece I have really written well in first person was about a gay guy coming to terms with his identity in a community that was less than accepting. I liked the practice of getting into his character, but that story has been done to death.

I am thinking of taking another angle, and writing a piece in first person about a woman who finds herself with two grown children, divorced from a gay guy, and five hundred miles from her home at the age of forty. How she starts over with her life. Having never had her twenties, because of family responsibilities, she suddenly finds herself in a world she has been isolated from for twenty years. She violates the old double standard by trying to juggle relationships.

It sounds sad, but it really isn’t…there would be humorous undertones throughout as she acclimates to a new lifestyle and the dating scene again.

I don’t have a clue what genre it would fit into. Women’s fiction? Chick-lit? I don’t read much in either genre, so I really don’t give a flying flip about rules. I just want to tell the story. The underlying theme is about forgiveness.

I am not one of those paranoid people about sharing unpublished ideas online, because we all have our own ways of telling our stories.

I haven’t made an outline. It’s just a thought. What do you think about it? Boring or interesting? Amusing, maybe?

Any ideas for a working title?

Bloggers: The Real and the Imagined

Wizard-of-oz_hologram

As a nurse, especially when working as a psych nurse, we are taught to read body language, to pick up on subtle biological cues, note changed inflections and tones when listening to words spoken.  You get none of that online. Even when you are acute enough to read between the lines, it’s not the same thing.  You are working off of one sense, and your brain has to assimilate the information from there.  The other four senses are impaired.  We are all reading with impaired senses. There is no real emotion in it, only the sense of sight, you see the words, your mind has to create the rest and none of us think quite alike.  What you write is subject to interpretation by the reader. We are operating like the drunk driver.

When writing novels, we are always writing from our own perceptions, trying to convey a personality through words. Not our own personality, but the character’s personality.  Their mannerism, mood, actions, reactions, language, how they uniquely interact with the world around them. A world that we also created.

Many bloggers, especially anonymous bloggers who have created an online persona of sorts, do the same.  The ones who use a character image to write and respond to comments are really adept at projecting an image they wish you to see; like Mr. and Mrs. Bojangles (Not really characters that I know of, I am making them up for demonstration purposes). She signs her comments Mrs. B and he signs his comments Mr. B.  They take turns posting whatever they wish the world to know about the Bojangles and how the Bojangles receive the world around them.

They might really be Mr. and Mrs. Morgan down the street. He may kick his dog and she may beat her kids, you really don’t know them. Online, they are a sweet little old couple who offer advice to young people on starting a family. Then again, they may be ministers of their church and dutifully assist their parish in all manner of life’s challenges. Again, you don’t know.  You just know their online persona.

ozLike the Wizard of OZ, they are protected by a curtain of anonymity.

Do you ever wonder about the people you meet online? Surely you do.

Then, there are bloggers who write outright, open about themselves and their personal lives, their work, their talents, their writing process, their ambitions, the way they perceive the world around them, signing their writing by their real life name, posting it at the top of their blog as I do.  How well do you really know them? Being online, you don’t see their flaws of character, that they bite their nails, never comb their hair, cross their legs and & arms when seated, and smell like yesterday’s cheese. You also don’t see their strengths of character, the way they shake a hand, their smiles, their infectious laugh, the way they always hold the door for others.  You can only guess, by the words they write, what they must be like in “Real Life”.

Whether it is the “real you” or a persona that you have imaginatively created, I am truly amazed with you all, from the 25 year old unemployed Australian guy sitting in a coffee shop with the brilliant mind looking for his niche that ponders life and its meaning, to the passionate 20 year old writing majestic prose and poetry lamenting lost love, from the quirky 80 yo great-grandma who recalls history with a twist of lime, to the struggling 30-something writer who ambitiously defeats personal odds to develop an entire series of marketable books.  The guy next door, the lady with 9 kids, the satirical comedian, the girl coping with mental illness and drug addiction, you are all why I keep coming back. I love the diversity that is you, real or imagined.

The collective consciousness of the blogosphere is both mystifying and marvelous!