Friday, July 8, 2011
Guest Blog: Willa Edwards: Finding Your Own Writer's Path
First of all, I don’t really feel qualified to give that kind of advice. I’m still such a new author myself, with only three works published (my third Whatever You Want, Sir will be out with Whiskey Creek-Torrid on August 1st. I’m so new in my own writer’s path, it seems odd to me to give advice. But I do have a few suggestions, the most important being to follow your own writer’s path.
What does that mean?
We always talk about writing the story you want to write, and the characters you feel passionate about. Even if you think you’ll have trouble finding a market for it. That if you follow your heart it could lead you to the story of your dreams. But what we never talk about is writing like you want.
I’ve always wanted to be an author, since I was four years old (I’m still unsure how a four year old knew what an author was, but that’s a whole different story). I studied the famous writers through my early years, especially female authors like Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen and the Brontes. I had this vision in my head of how a writer had to be. Bent over their desk, writing late into the night, obsessed with finding the right words or the perfect sentence.
While my vision of what a writer should be might be more true than false (it certainly feels that way sometimes, when I’m up past three in the morning banging away at edits due the next day to make sure every mistake is detected) it was more funny than anything else. But I also developed beliefs about how writers are suppose to write, which proved to be more destructive than even I knew.
I thought writers had to start with Chapter One and write until they typed out The End, chronologically. I thought authors had to know everything that was going to happen to their characters. That nothing could be changed after the fact. That they write every word perfectly, with the plot points perfect right away, the characters arriving full of life and complete from the first word. That edits were only for grammatical errors.
I’d always written the way I thought I was supposed to, and my room, computer, notebooks, napkins, etc… were lined with incomplete works. Lots of starts and stops, but very few finished products. I’d get a few scenes in, and not know what happens next I’d end up put it aside, before I figured out how to move on to the next scene I’d get distracted by a new idea. It took pulling teeth and a very long time to finish anything.
It wasn’t until I was twenty (I know it sounds young, but remember that means I’d been writing for sixteen years) that I decided to ignore these misconceptions of how a writer is supposed to write. I was starting to write romance, and I had this idea for an amazing scene. A great love scene, that would happen sometime in the last quarter of the book to kick start the climax, but I hadn’t even started the story yet. Normally I would have ignored it. I thought I had to start with the first chapter. But this love scene was so powerful it wouldn’t leave me alone. I had to write it down. After I finished that scene, I had to write the ones around it, and another one in the beginning that is mentioned in the scene. And so on and so on. I wrote the book slowly around this one scene, building the whole plot around this one pivotal moment in the character’s lives.
When it was all said and done I written the entire 110,000 word novel in about three months, oppose to the previous novel that took two years for me to finish from all the down time I needed to figure out what would happen next. Each page was more passionate, the characters were more true to my original vision. They didn’t change half way through because I’d decided some new piece of information I didn’t have in the beginning.
To me the results were simple, I wasn’t supposed to write chronologically. It was another few years before someone else gave me the word for the way I write. I’m not a pantser or a plotter, I’m an inspiration writer. Meaning I write based on what’s inspiring me at that moment. I have a basic idea of the story before I sit down, just a few bullet points, but after that I just let inspiration follow me.
It took me years to find other people that write like I do, but I’ve learned there are more of us out there than you think. The most famous of which is Stephenie Meyer. And that there are a million other ways to write than my original vision. The more writers I know, the more ways to write I discover. Everyone seems to have their own path, and their own distinct way to coax the muse out of her shell.
For me, the two writing choices that have made all the difference for me and probably resulted in me being published were, deciding to write romance instead of the horror/paranormal/historical novels I was writing before (that were filled with sexual tension, love scenes and longing looks). And deciding to write in my own way, based on my inspiration of the moment.
So my number one piece of advice to every writer, new and experienced, is to try new things all the time. Try writing out of order, trying writing the synopsis first. Try writing a kind of character you would never consider or a genre you never thought you’d like. Make each scene its own document. Try new things and stretch as an author, because you never know what might click for you and open up a whole new world. Even though I feel as though I’ve found my niche, and have had success with my method, I still try new things. I still add something to my journey or rearrange my normal routine because there’s always room for improvement. No system’s perfect. And sometimes just the right thing can trigger a whole new path you never knew existed before.
And most of all I always follow my writer’s path, and don’t let misconception, or what I’m supposed to be doing deter me for what feels right to me.
Willa has wanted to be a writer since she was four years old typing away at her grandmother’s typewriter. She wrote her first novel in fourth grade about the trials and tribulation of twin alien princesses. Since then Willa has dabbled with many different genres, including sci-fi, paranormal, mystery and suspense. When she read her first romance at fifteen she knew she’d found her place, and she’s never looked back. Willa is now a contemporary and historical erotic romance writer who lives in New York. When she’s not writing you can find her curled up in bed with her two fur babies, her nose pressed to her e-reader.
BLURB for Midnight Mirage:
Lincoln and Gabe, best friends and the hottest new alt-rock duo Mirage, only want one thing. Mallory. They’ve been waiting a year for Mallory to open her heart to both of them and accept the alternative relationship they wish for.
Mallory’s flattered by their attentions but can’t believe they’re any more than sweet words. They’re rock stars, surrounded by beautiful woman. They can’t possibly want a plain-Jane reporter like her.
When a crazed fan forces their hand, their protective instincts take over. Gabe and Lincoln aren’t willing to wait for their woman any longer. They initiate her with intense pleasure, ringing in the New Year in the naughtiest way possible. But when they whisper words of love and forever in her ear, she runs away.
Will Mallory be able to open her heart and return their affection, or will insecurity keep her from the men who love her?
Buy Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/midnight-mirage
Find me Online: http://www.willaedwards.com
Fine me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#%21/willa.edwards
Posted by Marianne Stephens at 12:01 AM