Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year’s Dreams

When “The tumult and the shouting dies/ the Captains and the Kings depart,” (Rudyard Kipling) and there is a lull, a time to reflect, reevaluate and plan ahead.

The Mayans have left, their calendars under their arms, or between their tails/tales. As a writer of romantic suspense, travel sagas and motivational essays, I turn away from the holiday insanity and make goals. Not resolutions. Resolutions are easily lost in the minutiae of real life. Setting goals gives us wiggle room to get there within a loose framework of uninterrupted time. We all have interruptions, unexpected events and reversals of fortune. I spent a lifetime, fifty plus years, putting serious committed writing at a low priority level and simply living. The fortuitous outcome of that is now I have something to write about. The disadvantage is I missed many opportunities to be published.

Big HOWEVER: just getting published should never be one’s goal. Creating a good product, a clear voice, an interesting and entertaining message, an experience for the reader, even dropping in a little wisdom or showing readers a different perspective is something a writer should aim for.

We want to leave behind books that people reread and enjoy, finding little nuggets to incorporate into their own lives. Show don’t tell works for both fiction and motivational nonfiction. It’s like a transfusion, or a graft, adding to readers’ experiences.

Make a list of books you’ve read more than once. Those written in haste with the metronome of an editor or an agent marching up the author’s heels are not among them. The keepers are those that were written with forethought, life experience and a love for language. An editor at Random House once said, as the digital age encroached, "I will read a manuscript written on a typewriter because I know it was done with forethought and love." From historical fiction to metaphoric fantasy, these meaningful books contain a message pertinent to readers’ real lives.

Here is my list of re-readable gems: Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe; Kon Tiki, by Thor Heyerdahl; Tales of the South Pacific, James A. Michener; Into Thin Air, by Jonathan Krakauer; Alice Through the Looking Glass, the second Alice book, by Lewis Carroll; The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion; A Turn of Mind, by Alice Laplante, The Chemistry of Tears, by Peter Carey, and a few others I’m discovering, such as the current version of a Tim O’Brien: The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers and Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander.

Think about your favorite “old friends” and make it your goal to write something memorable.

Julie Eberhart Painter, is the Champagne Books author of Mortal Coil, Tangled Web, and the 2011 Book of the Year, Kill Fee. The sequel, Medium Rare released December 3, 2012. And, Daughters of the Sea, a paranormal coming Jan 25, 2013 from http://www.MuseItUp

Visit Julie’s Web site at


Rhobin Lee Courtright said...

I like you're goal oriented approach.