Home of Ane Ryan Walker, Teller of Tall Tales, Writer of Short Stories

Tag: Support

Traveling, Friendship, and Touring America…before it’s too late

It’s been an interesting summer. Fun times catching up with old friends and revisiting favorite places. My DH (darling husband) an I now travel full time in our 5th wheel and are striking off the places we need to see on our bucket list, before–I hesitate to say it, but before someone kicks the proverbial bucket.

So today, in the RV park of iffy wifi, and bad weather I’m resurrecting an old post about friendships and their true values. I’ll keep you posted as I catch up with friends around the country and see the sites.

Women and Friendship

Date: July 22, 2013

Author: Ane

“And life is what we make it. Always has been. Always will be.”

– Grandma Moses

Here’s a thing I know from my heart: value the women who are your friends for they are worth their weight in gold.

Ane Ryan Walker

I do value my women friends. I am still in touch with the girls I grew up with, my best friend from first grade who was still my best friend at high school graduation, and with whom I am still friends today. Ditto for my best friend from college.

I just returned from a long weekend at the beach. It’s an annual event, a three-day weekend cherished by all of us, spent at the beach house of a mutual friend.

Now these ladies and I have been friends for a very long time, sometimes old friends and sometimes new friends. Some 20+ years, and one who just joined us for the very first time. There isn’t a lot of exclusivity to the ”Girls Club” just a few simple rules.

1) Cardinal Rule: Girls Only, no children, no spouses, no boyfriends, no pets. We’ve only violated this rule once, for a two-year old male toddler whose Mom really needed a “girls weekend”.

2) If you get up, you lose your chair, and if you leave the room, we will talk about you. This requires no explanation.

3) No makeup, no bras necessary. (As we age, we make this bra thingy optional. Some of us really need the support.)

4) What happens at the Fish Bowl, stays at the Fish Bowl. We are a little upset that the marketing people stole this for Las Vegas, but we’re not gonna’ press it.

5) No criticism of others situations or behaviors. The truth of it is, everything else in your life may change, but the Girls Weekend is Sacred. We tease, cajole, and tell stories and secrets of our own and others bad behavior over the years, but since those stories never leave the Fish Bowl, the purpose here is to bond with the new, entertain the old, and to put in perspective who we are in this moment. It’s all about how we went from lean, lanky, single, hot girls to the sometimes Grandma’s of today. We know you, and we know your history. This is the place where you come to be your absolute true self. And they keep showing up.

So another year has passed, I took a poll, and if you weren’t in the room, too bad.

No names, the innocent are protected, always.

These are the women I’d trust with my life, share my “bucket list” with, and give my last dime. They are consistent, caring and crazy. They are a reflection of who I really am and I am proud to know them all.

I love you guys!

Thank You Kelli, for the recent visit to Guadalupe River State Park, as always it was great to see you.

It breaks my heart that I will miss Girls Weekend, but I will catch up with Y’all as I can while traveling.

 

About Writer’s Block

  “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”

― Shirley Chisholm

Writers write. Ask any writer. If they could stop writing, they probably would stop writing. For the rest of us, we write to still the voices in our heads. We write to get our stories out into the world.We write, publish, and repeat the process. Endlessly.

If you ask me about that thing known as “writers block”, I’ll tell you it doesn’t exist. I can pretty much prove it. No other profession allows its practitioners to claim that no work can be accomplished today, tomorrow, this week, next week, or anytime in the near future, because they are suffering from a “block”.

Plumbers block? No. Dentist Block? No. Nurses Block? No. Accounting Block? No.

Trust me, if you are a writer and you’re not writing it’s because you choose not to write.

But wait, you say. I really do have writers block. What can I do? The answer is simple. It’s a choice you make, either a form of procrastination to avoid criticism, rejection, or some other form of negativity. So, you ask, how can I fix that? Start writing. Yes, that’s right. Make a plan and stick with it. Just start writing.

Writing when you have fear is difficult. Fears need to be faced in order for you to overcome them. So of course, the answer is simple. Start  writing.

Having difficulty with your story? Keep writing. Many writers know, you can not fix a blank page, so fill the page, then worry about fixing it later. Nobody–or let me say rarely–does anyone love a first draft. Usually it takes a lot of work, self editing, story restructuring, critiquing, and professional editing to get a story into decent shape.

Did I mention the upside of continuing to write in the face of adversity (i.e, laziness, fear, procrastination, martyrdom, or anything else that prevents you from writing)is you will find your true voice and your writing will improve if you just keep writing.

Secondary Characters

How important are secondary characters?

Very Important. Think for just a minute how you might see The Harry Potter series without Neville Longbottom. Or perhaps Pride and Prejudiced with Jane Bennett.

Not so interesting, huh?

Important to remember the names for secondary characters. They should not be similar to the hero or the heroines name. The first names of these character should never start with the same letters. Names that sound similar or start with the same letter can be confusing to your reader. You don’t want the reader to confuse Crissy the servant with Sissy the villain. That would not be good. Remember, sound alike–Katy, Kathy, Cody–can confuse as well.

Where some writers will provide a full interview to get to know their primary characters, it isn’t always necessary for secondary characters. Does that mean they are less important? Less well-developed? No.

While they may not require the same depth of development, secondary charterers require the same amount of attention to the in development. Supporting characters who are well-developed are those who provide the proper support for your hero and heroine. Their development provides depth for the story and layers of interest to your novel.

Secondary characters provide a unique perspective through which the main characters can be viewed. What they see, hear,  and think about your hero or heroine and the behavior gives additional insight to the main character.

Characters, like people, are often judged by the company they keep. If you wish to define a characters moral core, the companions they choose are a good gauge of moral compass.

Sometimes the secondary character allows us as readers to compare and contrast the desirable qualities between heroes and secondary characters.

Secondary characters can contribute to a story by the use of valuable dialogue. They will know–and so will your editor–which questions should be asked and which subjects the hero wishes to avoid, but shouldn’t. They hep to increase the conflict by introducing the taboo subject, and sometimes outrageous behavior.

Secondary characters are not held to the same high standards which we impose on our heroes. They do not benefit when they advance to primary status in follow-up stories. And be assured, romance readers love to see the secondary characters follow-up with their own story.

 

 

Trust

We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.”

― Walter Anderson

This post speaks to the issue of sharing your work with others. I know, I know. You write for the satisfaction of having created something from the sheer fabric of imagination. You want to see what materializes from the vapor of pure imagination, and if the story burning in your heart and mind can be told, understood, and shared.

Unless you take the leap of faith and share your story with others you will never know. Remember, it is a leap of faith. As creators of fiction we are timid in sharing our story for fear of our “baby” being deemed ugly. And keep in mind, not every one will love your story. Some may even dislike it. But the stories we write are not for others, but rather for ourselves and those who can identify with the story we need to tell.

Sometimes the most difficult people to trust with a story is our family and friends, who may feel compelled to tell us  our  stories are wonderful.   The people we love, and who love us, often feel compelled not to criticize, even in a constructive way. They don’t want to hurt our feelings when we truly desire to hear their thoughts in hope of finding our way onto the path of success. So who do we turn to?

Sometimes we need to approach and engage strangers to help us judge the merits of our work. We need to be selective in the approach, seeking out readers who will and can give constructive feedback.  This method will more likely ensure assistance in a forward motion rather than annihilate our hopes and dreams.

Beyond that we need to listen. Often, authors who are overly sensitive complain of being unfairly criticized. “They just didn’t get me.” “No one understands what I’m trying to say.”  Do we stop to consider that we, as writers, aren’t making our intentions clear? That editing, and possibly re-writes are in order?

Not every writer is fortunate enough to have a mentor. Not every writer can approach a critic–and every potential reader is a critic–and find the help her/she requires. We have to trust sometimes that the criticism we hear, especially commonly repeated criticisms, are true. When these criticisms are repeated, we need to assume they may be true. Trust your judgement.

 

Giving Back

True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possession you can share.

― Suze Orman

Today I want to bring attention to a particular group of writers who impress me with their willingness and ability to give back to the group that nurtures them. I have been a member of RWA for more than nine years. “Romance Writers of America is dedicated to advancing the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy.”  The statement taken directly from the home page as their mission statement. This hasn’t always been true with individual chapters. Sometimes, once they become successful, the published authors lose patience with aspiring authors and do not like to share space, much less expertise.

Every chapter is different, and I’m the first one to celebrate differences. Gone are the days when I have to worry about who will be offended when the “experts” don’t want to be bothered with the “newbies”.

The women who lead and nurture my group of local aspiring authors are the most generous and hardworking women I have ever met. Don’t get me wrong, I have had several mentors who helped me along the way and I’ve mentioned them here, singing their praises and touting their generosity of spirit.

I was blessed the day I found Sunshine State Romance Authors.

This is the first time I have ever encountered a group so totally dedicated to helping others, both individually and as a group, on such a consistent basis. Every time they are asked to help, they step forward to offer advice, expertise and assistance; whatever is in their power to help is there for the taking.

How refreshing to find no disdain for the “unpublished” author.

How inspiring to know you will be assisted rather than ridiculed for what you don’t know.

How comforting to know that no question is considered foolish.

How empowering to know the help you need is there for the asking.

How successful these men and women are because they pay it back and pay it forward on an ongoing basis. They do embody the mission of RWA. Sadly, not every chapter can make this claim. Now I’m sure there are other chapters who believe they do this, but are you really sure? Examine your next chapter meeting and make sure you welcome new friends, assist the aspiring author when you can and share the knowledge you’ve acquired over your career.

Real writers spend a lifetime working on their craft, and know there is always something new to learn.

Truly successful people have the generosity of spirit to share with others and nurture those who seek their assistance, without judgement.

 

http://sunshinestateromanceauthors.com/

 

Cross Genre Writing

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

― Satchel Paige

There’s a lot to be said for celebrating your inner child. For those of us who write fiction, the ability to celebrate all stages of our growth and development, as well as recalling the joy, humiliations and growing pains of a life long experience is essential.

Sometimes writers tell me they don’t know what the “experts” mean when they admonish newbie writers to “write what your know”.

Of course I have been writing for a while now, and sometimes I forget that there is too much to learn on the front end, and you can’t possibly know or even figure out everything you’re supposed to know without a few tips from your friends.

So for now, I can only address one type of genre writing.  Let’s go with adults writing for children.  I pick this since you don’t often hear about children writing for adults–tongue firmly planted in cheek!

Do you remember what it was like to be a child? Here’s a few tips to jog the memory:

  1. You were very likely the shortest person in the room, or a midget in the land of giants
  2. Parents, and other adults were quick to give conflicting information
  3. An excuse for not sharing things you already knew was “because I said so”
  4. you commonly heard  your mother whispering to the neighbor, “I’ll tell you later” and waiting for you to go inside or away, anyplace where you couldn’t hear them talking
  5. You wanted to do something and the answer was “maybe” and if you pressed for a “yes”, it was always “no”.

It’s easy to take the right path down memory lane.  You can even take a trip to any venue which caters to families, and watch how adults treat children.  As if they were second class citizens, or didn’t have the capability to see what was happening right in front of them.

Amazing how often we underestimate the little guys.

My parents were as guilty as any other set of parents I knew to observe at this age.  When I was the shortest person in the room I was commonly frustrated by my parents lack of regard for my intelligence and their inability to realize so many other adults spoke without filters in front of children.

So this may be some insight as to how we, as adults write for children.  Been there, done that.

 

 

 

 

Raising the curtain of disbelief . . .

  Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

― Voltaire                    

When you sit down to read are you often transported to a different world?  I am. This is likely the single most important factor in my desire to read on a daily basis.

You will find it to be true that most authors are avid readers.  We all like to read, read often, and read across multiple genres.  I think I still average about a book a week. I am a regular at the local library frequently (five times a week) there are books too numerous to count, both hard and soft covers in the ” to be read pile” as well as on the “keeper” shelves. And that doesn’t include the 300+ on the eReader, or stored in the cloud, a godsend for the reader who travels frequently.

I have never moved with less than twenty-seven boxes of books along for the ride.  I am vested in story.

So it is important to me when I sit down to tell you a story, by writing a book, that I can transport you to a different time and place. I’d like to think that I can make you believe absurdities even if it’s only for a short period of time. But no, I do not desire to make you commit atrocities.  But the question remains, can I make you believe that someone else might?

The ability to raise the curtain of disbelief is a gift for any storyteller. Some of them abuse the gift, and some do not. I aspire to be the storyteller who does not abuse your trust, but rather engages your interest.  I hope that I can get you to invest in my characters and join me more than once for a break from reality.

So, I do plan to keep you abreast of my journey as I head towards the completed manuscript and into self publishing. In the interest of testing the theory about whether or not I can engage your interest and begin to raise the curtain of disbelief, I’m asking if you might be interested in seeing the prologue for a horror novel in progress?

Here’s how it works.  I’m asking today, and if I receive a 25% positive response, I will include the prologue either as a separate page or as an addendum to next weeks blog.

Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions about the process of self publishing, I will happily answer what questions I can, and draw on the multitude of resources available to me to find the answer you’re seeking.

 

In Your Best Interest

“Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.”

– Tim Hansel

So tell me, really, what do you want to do here?  You know as do I that the road to publication is a difficult one.  It’s not only filled with potholes but it has many washed out bridges and side streets endlessly under construction.

So let me ask you, the last time you took a road trip did the slow downs, detours and bad directions  keep you at home?  I’ll bet not.  Me either.

So when I get those little nips from critique partners who are usually making every effort to edit my voice right out of the picture, do I stop writing? No, I do not.

So by now, you must be asking yourself how I handle those particular “road bumps”.  They are nothing more than road bumps to me, because I don’t take them personally, that ‘s the first thing.

Secondly, I always treat the comments as constructive criticism, even when they’re obviously not.  You’re familiar with the side comments offered which will never help your confidence or your writing.  “You’ll never sell this.”  “No one is buying (insert appropriate category of writing here) right now.”   And my personal favorite, which comes on the heels of the criticizer editing out every last vestige of ‘voice’, ” that’s not really –or it can’t be– your voice.”

People who have your best interest at heart are loving and encouraging.  They do not criticize how you choose to spend your free time.  They are happy for you when you’re happy and supportive when you need it.

People who have your best interest at heart try to help you, no matter how long it takes you  to learn a new technique or to get something everyone else got in the first pass.

People who have your best interest at heart never tell you how a thing only works this way; they will help you learn new things and tell you, “this works for me.  Maybe you want to try it.”

So please, don’t let the people who refuse to support you make you avoid pursuing your dream.  Life is short, good strategies are usually simple;  avoid negativity wherever you encounter it.

Share the joy, write when you can.

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