The Villian is Not Always a Person

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In life for the most part, people are not all good or all bad. Depending on what situation has enveloped them at the time often determines where they are in their values. A few people never waver, but most oscillate. We put rituals and friends in our life to help center us. How do you write that in a novel?

What Was

The first novel “The Grand New Delhi Escapade” I used the idea of action events. The training at the Long Ridge Writers Group showed how to create a story around an event using sensory details. In talking with a friend from India nightly we shared our shadows. He had lost a brother and I had lost a daughter. Mix in a bit of Irish family history with the name McGowan, and an answer to the nearly endless complaining I heard while teaching that it was hard to find a clean book, and you get a novel. By the way the endless complaining is unfounded. Here comes the truth. Indie authors ( off mainstream but equally talented)create plenty of clean books. Their marketing machine comes smaller so books are available but not the usual routes. Traditional methods produce fewer books that make more sales. Constraints happen along the way and taking a risk on an author becomes well calculated. The Big 6 know what sells in masses. Unfortunately except for children’s genre it may not be clean as defined by the general public. Who by the way is the fuel for the traditional publishers. They buy the not so clean books. They buy the Indie author books as well but not in the same numbers as the traditional methods. Yes the public’s mouth says one thing but their pocketbook says another. In marketing money spent speaks loudly.

What Is

As an author you can write that which suits your inner artist or you can write that which sells. We do both after all we have to eat. Writers are not alone in this. Singers often sing songs that they are not particularly fond of because the audience or service needs it. Painters often pick a theme and create a series of portraits for marketing. Which brings me back to the central theme of my second novel set in Hyderabad. No villian but plenty of people solving a problem and trying to make a living. The villian is corruption and will be tied to a person’s action. The action itself will be trying to make a living not an intentional act to commit a crime. It results in many people becoming permanently ill for a lifetime.

It’s much harder to write and develop.

I have had to learn ways to create the flow psychologically rather than with action events to build to a climax. It caused the characters in the book to do introspection. The good news is you learn more about the characters. Despite the struggle of writing it, it has made me a better writer. The first novel was pure pleasure to create. The second one leaves me feeling uncomfortable at times. Nearly unsettled. More of a call to “think and let think.” The novel does not have all the answers. Everything does not wrap up neatly in a package like life.

What Is To Come

I am reluctant to write the climax in this novel. The one caught in the corruption essentially was a good man who became greedy for more money. In an act that on personal level seems harmless once distributed destroys the life of many. The fact is we all do small acts that result in corruption. Some of us get put in prison for it and others live freely. Like buying a product created by child labor because you want items cheaply. Child labor as the child has no choice. The whole novel has small struggles throughout it on several levels. At the end Sharlene will have her family and friends. More aware but less innocent.

In the middle of putting food on the table with my other writings, the outline of a third novel has come. Bangalore. positive muslim character, and high tech hijinks. It keeps interrupting. I have to write the climax. I HAVE to write the climax. I must write the climax to novel 2. But not tonight. I have to eat and set up for a client.

Angst, redemption, and then renewal.

Until next time may your life be Love, Joy and ever positive,

Mary

Where Does an Idea Come From?

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                                                                    Via www.flickr.com by Elaine Ashton

Where do the ideas come from for a novel or any piece of writing? For me it is an odd mix. Often everyday ordinary life gives me a spark. Something I heard someone say in passing, an ad on the TV, a discussion with a friend or here is where it gets artistic —a vision or a dream. My mind will shift to the part that is images and emotions. I will see the world a bit differently then. It begins to do associated thinking patterns. That is where I see one thing which triggers another thought from something I saw, learned or experienced which triggers another round of imagining. It is like when you draw and you feel your mind relax. Images arise that you view nonchalantly. When it happens during the waking hours it lasts for a long time. Characters create and I have conversations in my head, persuasive debates with famous figures or those in the know. Sometimes pieces of conversations had over the years rise up inside me and synthesize into something new. Fortunately that is extremely pleasurable for me. Most of my fiction items come from that. And I also like to take a bit of real life–an event, a person I know with an interesting personality, known issues and craft a narrative story around it.

I Teach Therefore I Am and I Write

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For nonfiction writing it becomes items I have read, studied or talked with an expert about. I write on the Internet for various companies. I love the variety. Some writing I do is educational pieces since I was a teacher for 14 years. An education degree gives me the broad information necessary to do high levels of medical, technical, web copy, assessments etc. After all I taught others to read, do math, discover science, and social studies as children, but I also mentored many teachers and spent one year as an administrator. All professions owe many of their skills and successes to a teacher who took the time to develop it in a person. No one is a self made person. A long line of family, community people and teachers develop the next generation for better or worse.

SEO Writing

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I do SEO writings which means they are part information, part advertising in an educational way and partially scaffolded. Most companies have clients who have meetings with the marketers. They design a campaign even down to a document that scaffolds what is needed for that particular campaign. The places I work for emphasize honesty, do your research, have high quality writing and ideas. If the information is not credible, and trustworthy the reader is not going to buy. We buy from people who we think are fair and give value. Or we buy from people we think we can get a good deal from (unfortunately we take that to mean sometimes to cheat but that is another story. No one wins when you cheat including you) They have research telling them what words viewers key on which by the way is extremely cultural. What people in India cue in on is slightly different from Americans. Even within the same culture different geographical areas have slight differences just ask the Google elf who does all the mathematical formulas. Of course each company has its own special format for that in some cases. Other companies trust the writer they hire to craft something intriguing especially if they want their web copy or content to be different.

Novel Writing

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Novels are a different type of writing all together.  It is this large synthesis of fiction and nonfiction woven together with the writer’s voice and ways of stringing words into phrases into sentences into paragraphs into chapters into novel. Pieces of yourself or others a writer admires or detests morph in your mind into real human beings with a history to be discovered and a future to develop. For me the characters carry on conversations in my head. They have opinions about my writing or life. Even when I am interacting with real people in my day or on social media they are participating in the debate or viewing. Whole scenarios and conversations spill out on the page so fast that all I can do is get the words down. I come back later and shape the whole, the paragraph, the sentence, the words and finally the mechanics of grammar and spelling. I am not a writer who says mechanics first. I am a writer that says get your ideas down on paper. Give it some time and then go back and read it, and even read it out loud. Then shape and edit. I have always been like that. It is me whether I was a student, a teacher, a mother etc. I view things as a process. Nothing is ever perfect thank goodness. It separates us from machines and software who get things down technically perfectly, but the writing has no soul, no voice and at times makes no sense. It takes a human with all our strengths, weaknesses, biases, experiences and unique life to breath life into writing. Sometimes it is the imperfect view, the perchance for conflict, the serendipity of it all that leads to creating a wonderful engaging piece of writing whether fiction or nonfiction but especially with a novel.

Back to the question—where do ideas come from? Any where, any place, anytime a writer is experiencing their life and notices something. Depending who you are and what matters to you in your life there will be some things imperfectly done you will notice in this article and some things done very well. Hopefully your writer soul will spring forth and you will decide on a better way to word it, a more concise word choice, or a better format. You know what I am just glad you noticed. Until next time may you have a grand escapade any way you wish.