We have author Juanita Kees sharing about writing.
Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing Australian Rural Romance novels with elements of suspense, Australian Fantasy Paranormal and Small-Town USA stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three boys and has a passion for fast cars and country living.
Juanita Kees on the web:
Writing is like a balanced diet - everything in moderation.
Long before I was a writer, I was a reader. In embracing the art and craft of writing, we aim to improve with every book we publish. Each conference we attend, every workshop we take and with every round of edits on our manuscripts, we're honing our technique and learning new skills. As a reader, I never noticed things like 'point of view' swings nor did I care about the hero or heroine's 'mirror moment' or 'character arc'. All I knew was that the story did or didn't work for me. I didn't understand what it was that drew me out of the story after the opening paragraph, made me reach halfway point only to be unable to finish the book, or (most importantly) what it was that kept me on the edge of my seat entertained until 'the end'.
Then came writing, editing, research, competition entries and finally, publishing. I learned technique, the do's and dont's of writing a good book, publishers' guidelines and styles...the list goes on to assist you in presenting the reader with a book you hope will be the next international bestseller. And who knows, you might just be lucky :)
So that's book one on the shelf, all nicely packaged and ready for ripping through the roof of sales charts world-wide...until that devil named Self-Doubt comes knocking on your door. And you don't have to be a writer for him to come knocking.
My current work in progress is a small town romance and I'm having a little trouble with my characters. I've plotted and planned out the chapters, defined their personalities, their arcs, their mirror moments, and generally organised them within an inch of their lives. Three chapters later, I've hit the wall with them dancing around each other like boxers in the ring with no fight plan. Right after that comes, "I can't do this. What makes me think I can write a book? What if readers don't like it?"
Why am I having trouble? Because I'm trying to stick to the 'rules'.
When the monster Self-Doubt comes calling, I back away from my keyboard and curl up with my all time favorite author, Nora Roberts. It's there I see all the 'rules' being broken that, as a reader, I didn't recognize before. Here's a few:
- Starting a sentence with 'And' - Nora did it
- Starting a sentence with 'Because' - Nora did it
- Starting a sentence with 'But' - Nora did it
- Switching in and out of POV's - Nora did it!
The editor in me shouts "No!" while the writer in me shouts, "Yes, yes, yes!" Why? Because that's how 'real people' speak and since our characters are 'real people', they should be allowed to speak naturally. What gives your writing a 'voice' is the uniqueness of your style, the way you structure your sentences, scenes and dialogue; that little bit of 'you' in every story. So perhaps it's time I followed the same advice I give to others in my role as an editor - write from the heart and apply the rules later, if they apply. If we apply the same rules to our work all the time, all our books would be the same - like a recipe passed down through the family - until someone comes along and adds a twist to it.
Be that person to add the twist - in moderation of course, you don't want to break the rules all the time! Write from the head and the heart of your characters, and you're on the road to writing a book that will resonate with the 'real people' out there - your readers. And when Self-Doubt steps into the ring, tell it to rack off and remember: Nora Roberts did it.
Juanita Kees has a new book out this month: