Writing & Publishing

Why I Write

There is a Facebook group for everything now. Of course I belong to several writing groups, which I usually end up un-following because people complain so much or I don’t feel I am getting anything from the group. Today I stumbled across a post on a group I just joined and I was shocked by what I saw. The topic of discussion was basically how to get rich quick off writing novels…

I’m sorry, what?

Unless your last name is King or Rowling, you, my currently unpublished friend, have a long road ahead of you. Also, you’re most likely never going to be on easy street.

True, writers CAN make a lot of money, but it’s unusual. I thought about why I write….no it’s not for the money. Anyway, here are a few reasons:

  • I HAVE to write. I had an interest in writing at a young age, and I think about it daily. When I was running the bakery, I hated not having time to write. It ate at me daily and I felt incomplete. I had stories in my head needing out, and no time to write them down.
  • I have a story to tell. My own story is not yet book-worthy (hence this blog) but I imagine characters and the stories they would tell if they could. I like the approach of “not everything has a happy ending.” I think too many books out there end with “happily ever after” so I like writing about reality. Prince Charming doesn’t always win the girl.
  • My characters drive me nuts! Sometimes I forget the characters I develop in my head are not real. No, I don’t need to discuss this with my therapist (though I’m sure she would get a kick out of it!) but these people I invent are important to me. They have a story to be told, and I want to do them justice and see it through. Because my fiction usually deals with injustice (such as sex slavery/trafficking) I feel I need to tell their story to raise awareness of the issues I find bothersome.
  • It’s a form of therapy. For many people, writing is therapeutic. I deal with depression and anxiety on a daily basis. Most days I do well, but there are some days I need to do something to get through the rough patches. Burying myself in writing helps get my mind off the depression. While some people may need to write letters to people they may never send (which is actually a GREAT therapy) I just need to work on one of my writing projects.
  • I want my kids to know they can do anything they set their minds to do. Writing a novel is something a lot of people talk about. It’s a “one day” type of activity…. “One day, I’ll write a novel.” For me, I’ve written a novel and am working on publishing it. I want my children to see they can do whatever they want and to be proactive about completing the project. Publishing is something I’ve wanted to do since I can remember.
  • If I didn’t write, I would face even more depression. I think a lot of the stress felt while I ran my own business was because I had no time for me and the things I like to do. It started to eat at me after awhile and affected other parts of my life. Sure, I’m sad to have closed the bakery because when I wasn’t stressed, I enjoyed being creative in the kitchen….but I’m much happier being creative on paper!
  • It’s who I am! Unlike many people who identify with their job (i.e. an accountant who became an accountant because it pays the bills) a writer is who I am. I can’t separate it from the rest of me. Just like Bill (hubby) is a Marine, and will be for life, even though he is no longer active duty, he is always a Marine!

No where on this list do I list fame and fortune as part of why I write. Yes, I have made good money copywriting, yes I would like to see some return on my time for writing my novel, but it’s not WHY I have to do it.

What is your passion? Is it writing? Soap making? Hunting? Why do you do it? I really feel as though doing something for the money, fame, and fortune puts you on the wrong track! Tell us what you think in the comments.

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Life · Writing & Publishing

Fall In Love With Your Character

If you’re a writer, you know the importance of a well developed character.

If you’re a reader, you also know the importance of a well developed character.

If you watch movies, television, or even anime, you know the importance of a well developed character.

Since I was young, I’ve used my mother’s Writers Digest guide to character sketches. It was a three ring binder she had (typed) from before I was even born (I was born in 1981) as part of a correspondence course they offered. Over the years I have “fixed” it to fit my needs and intimately get to know my characters.

This morning, while listening to the radio, I learned I no longer need to fill out 45+ pages of demographics and questions per character, but just ask my characters 36 questions each. Evidently, an experiment done years ago where two strangers walked into a room, answered 36 questions each, and then stared into each others eyes for four minutes. It made them fall in love and get married within six months.

Recently, another woman tried the experiment and found the love of her life (though she claims to not subscribe to the idea of a soul mate……because THAT is far fetched!)

Is it possible to introduce two strangers, ask them 36 questions (getting progressively more intimate as the question go on), have them stare into each others eyes for four minutes, and have them be in love forever? I suppose anything is possible. Personally, it doesn’t matter if it works or not because I’m married to the “Marine of my dreams” as I like to call him…BUT the questions are interesting, and I think they would help writers with the development of their characters. I have no idea who crafted the questions or what they were based on…..but they are interesting!  Here is the article I read, if you would like more information!

Read more of Mandy Len Catron’s writings on love on her website.

THE 36 QUESTIONS TO FALL LOVE

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamt of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.