Friday, January 25, 2008

This one goes out to...

...two talented writers whose hard work is paying off and to whom this post is dedicated. They are:
  • Bronwyn Storm: Bronwyn has recently sold yet another short story to The Wild Rose Press, on the heels of her first, very well received Miniature Rose I Love You a Latte, which has enjoyed pride of place on the publisher's Bestseller list for weeks. Her full-length novel, Ethan's Chase, is due to be released in coming months. Here is a teaser:
    From downed networks to binary coding Chase Logan can handle just about anything, except her sexy new client, Ethan Phillips. His sculpted looks have Chase’s libido spinning faster than a Pentium Four processor, but his aloof attitude freezes her in an instant. Five years after charging his ex-fiancée with fraud and sending her to jail, advertising executive Ethan Phillips’s emotions remain in the ‘off’ position. But Chase’s laugh, her candor and delicious figure, are booting up his feelings and turning on his heart. Though both Chase and Ethan believe their emotions are safe behind their respective firewalls, their mutual attraction renders their logical programming inactive, and they're about to find out that when it comes to love, there are no defences that can protect the heart.
  • India Grey: India has just this week sold her fourth novel to Harlequin Mills & Boon Modern. Her first novel, The Italian's Defiant Mistress, recently won a CataRomance 2007 Reviewers' Choice Award, and her second, The Italian's Captive Virgin, is out in England this month. For those of us over here in North America who must wait until October for release here, see the teaser at right and visit her website for an excerpt. Do you have any promotional literature on the third, India, and any idea when it will be released?

Congratulations, Brown and India! Keep up the good work.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

A metaphor for writing

Now that the festivities are over, and the first official work week of the year begins, it's back to the old drawing board. I don't know about you, but the prospect of another year stretching out before me is a bit daunting. Sure, it will be full of success, joy and prosperity. But it will also involve a heck of a lot of work. That's what's proving tough to get my head around.

This weekend I read an article about the YA writer Tim Wynne-Jones, in which he likens writing to stacking wood. He stacks his firewood not tight like interlocking bricks but criss-cross so that gaps are left for air to flow through and thus dry out the logs. It's no small task, as he uses the wood to heat his home in Perth, Ontario, Canada all winter long. He approaches the task patiently, one log at a time, and points out that it is not an endless but a finite task. "You have to approach something like writing a novel the same way. It's just a chapter at a time. Like stacking wood."

My father and brother (and sometimes my mother when winter encroached too quickly) stacked the wood in our household. My sister and I were more likely to be given the task of cooking dinner, tidying up the house, or feeding the cattle. So, sadly, I can't borrow the metaphor, even if I feel desperately in need of a similar inspiration for my writing.

So what metaphor have I latched on to? Dominoes! I'm not talking about the game of strategy but rather domino toppling. Like stacking wood, standing hundreds, maybe thousands, of dominoes on their ends in an interesting and intricate pattern in such a way that they all topple precisely as arranged, takes planning, ingenuity, patience, and inspiration. And, unlike stacking wood — or so I imagine; correct me if I'm wrong, Tim — dominoes have a way of going their own way, much as my favourite characters habitually do. The best part about writing is letting the "tiles" fall where they may.


Tim Wynne-Jones points out: "Sometimes you pile [the wood] so that so much air can get into it, and then it falls over. You discard the odd-shaped logs that don't work for you. And you build more firmly." That's the crux, I figure. No matter the planning and the careful precision, something invariably goes awry. But the best work benefits from little setbacks.

What is your metaphor for writing? How do you imagine it will help you return to the drawing board/keyboard/blank page?