Saturday, May 10, 2014

Calling All Authors: Can You Relate: By: Rebecca Draco

…It’s funny what creatures of habit we all are, and how differently we think, yet how the same we human beings are. I teach high school, college, and middle school students, and I go to church, and when my students enter the room, I let them choose on the first day of class where to sit. (Of course, there’s always the stipulation that if they are naughty, I get to move them, probably out the door to the office first, then a changed seat away from their buddies the rest of the year.) But anyway, I digress…The point is, they always migrate to the same position for the first week then choose a seat. When I go to church or sit in college classes or meetings, I’m a front row kind of gal. I think I’m hoping the preacher’s holiness will rub off on me, or I’ll gleam knowledge via osmosis if I sit in the front in a college classroom, or the front for a meeting will somehow help me remember better what I’m supposed to be getting out of that meeting.

…So, having said all that, can you relate to how we like to write and where and when? Some people prefer early morning, or late night after kids are in bed, or…all day long. Some people can write anywhere, but I have to be in a quiet place, either at home or, oddly, enough, a loud place, like Starbucks. As Liz Flaherty said, “My first thought was of coffee shops and laptops. Even McDonald's tables in the morning--and laptops. They go together. I can't write with noise at home, but I lap up the people noise in those places.” So time and place and atmosphere I think sometimes set and play on our moods, but I know that when I write, if I’m deep in POV, I can ignore the surroundings, but if I’m trying to truly think about where I’m going with a scene or plot or character, then I need quiet and no one bugging me. I can’t imagine writing with small kids around, and kudos to those of you who do. I can’t write with the TV on, nor can I sleep with sound like TV or radio on. I need quiet and focus, but kudos to those of you who can multitask with background noise.

…Speaking of needing concentration, like Sophia Queen who said, “I've got one for you as I'm in it right now ... the joyous honeymoon phase of brainstorming a new book! When you're not yet bound by pesky details and potential plot holes, just letting your imagination fly.  ;-)”, I love when I get new ideas, but that’s when I really need a long span of time to jot down notes and get the ball rolling. Not that I’m a plotter or planner from start to finish, but I have to know where I’m beginning, and to some point where I’m going, then if I have to change it, I can do it while flying by the seat of my pants.

…Now, editing is a whole other ball game. I can do that with a few distractions. I might not even threaten to kill my boyfriend who loves to interrupt me when I write. Ugh. At least if I’m self-editing or even editing for my editor, I can stop and get started again without too much effort because I don’t need flow, unless I’m doing a major edit…which, thank God, I haven’t had to do much of. As A. Y. Stratton said, “Editing. It's necessary and it should help polish the story, but ugh, it gets boring... You really don't know when it's complete.” I’m not sure boring is the word for now I feel about editing. Maybe stressful or just not as fun as writing the story, but it is necessary. Gotta primp those ugly babiesJ

Well, at least when all that editing is said and done, the book is great, of course, and you send it out, and hope everyone loves your beautiful baby as much as you do, and you might even be courageous enough to ask for reviews. Some you will get whether you want them or not, so you might as well ask anyway. And as Wendy Zwaduk said, and we can all hope to relate to, “Reviews that make you smile! - those reviews where the readers totally GOT the story.” And we all dream of those, and if we get the opposite, we try, try again…and take the negative stuff with a grain of salt…but not too lightly, because maybe, just maybe, they have a point, and we can learn from both good and bad criticism.

…Now go! Off with you! Write. Sit in a quiet corner, or under a tree, or in a coffee shop, and let the rhythm rhyme!

Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy the May flowers!

Rebecca Draco


Big Mike said...

I write 4AM to 7AM cause that's the only time before everyone hits me with demands. But it is nice and peaceful that time of morning.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)