It’s at the heart of every good story. It can be the main character versus nature, or society, or themselves, but often it’s shown through conflict with another character. Recently, I’ve re-immersed myself into the POV of Grace Lightbourne, the impulsive and sometimes outspoken Angel in Training from WINGING IT! Grace seems to end up at odds with so many characters — Archangel Michael, fellow Guardian Aisha, her Dominion-roomie Faith. But, I was writing a scene in the second book where Grace has a dispute with Mercy, and it made me uncomfortable. So, it was time to take a break, and take a walk.
In go the ear buds, on goes Pandora, and then comes this song (which, BTW, I hadn’t heard in a long time.) It reminded me that the conflict with Grace and Mercy can be worked out, and to just go ahead and write the scene.
Tension between people who care about each other is normal and natural. In fact, it’s a lot easy to let things go when you don’t care, right?
In MY WISHFUL THINKING, two best friends, Logan and Emily, must share a genie, which inevitably leads to conflict. In DOLPHIN GIRL Jane has conflict with her mom, but loves her with all her heart. Both of those conflicts made the story stronger and I hope made my readers care more deeply about the outcome. So, having faced my fear of conflict, it’s back to writing the story.
Oh, and if you’re curious about the conflict between Logan and Emily in MY WISHFUL THINKING, it’s featured today over at the Free Kindle books and Tips blog.
It seems like I always include fantastical things in my books, so these three things seemed–I don’t know…interesting.
Dolphins Talk — In Dolphin Girl, Jane speaks with the dolphins. I don’t know if you saw this piece on the TODAY Show about the beluga whale named NOC (pronounced No Sea), who learned how to vocalize in a lower octaves, which sound remarkably human. Here’s a link to YouTube where you can listen to the whale’s conversation. I wonder what he’s saying? Any guesses?
Guardian Angels Exist — In Winging It!, Grace is an Angel-in-Training who is skipping school to try to earn her wings while serving as an apprentice. In yet another clip from the TODAY Show, here’s a real-life guardian angel. In fact, I’m writing a new story for Grace where she spends a bit of time in the hospital with her Assignment. Look for Gifted! soon.
Wishes Granted — In My Wishful Thinking, Logan and her best friend Emily share a genie, who grants anything they desire. Sorry but I don’t have a clip from TODAY (yet). But I did have a few wishes granted. Namely that the proof of the paperback arrived today and it’s ready to go and the ebook is already for sale at Amazon. And! My Wishful Thinking is a POTW (Pick of the Week) by Orangeberry. All in all, some nice wishes granted.
It seems absolutely amazing to say this, given that I thought it was doomed to be a dusty drawer book. While it’s been awhile since I was a new parent, I can’t help but think how much all the ups and downs of this past year are like having a new baby. So, here are some of the similarities I’ve noticed.
1. Sleepless nights.
Coming up with scenes for the next book? Remembering something you forgot to do? A Kindle Select free run, anyone? Are these the things that woke you up or kept you up? They were for me.
2. Checking to make sure the baby is alive.
The book equivalent of tiptoeing into the nursery is signing into KDP to check your sales. If you hit refresh-refresh-refresh, you probably were the type of parent that would wake your baby just to make sure.
3. Less social life and free time.
You receive an invitation to hang with friends, but you’re involved in something else for the book. It could be a blog tour, or promotion, or interview or, or, or…
So you decline and watch over your book instead. If only there were book babysitters, then you could still go out and phone home ten times to see how things are going.
4. You must fight the urge to over share.
When you do finally go out, you must fight this with all your will power. You know those parents that have hundreds of pictures and want to tell you about diaper changes. Don’t be that person. No one cares that you need one more review before ENT will feature your book. No one.
Well, maybe other authors at KB, but that’s it.
5. The weight you put on is worth it.
The biggest, most disappointing difference is that you don’t immediately lose weight when you release a book. But really, who cares about buying new clothes? You wear a lot of sweat pants when you write, anyway.
Take heart. It will come off, but it requires a determination that you never needed bb (before book or before baby, whichever you prefer).
Babies need strollers, binkies, bottles, and lots and lots of clothes. Books need covers, a web site, editing, social media, and blog posts with adorable pictures like this one.
7. The support you get from others (and who gives it) surprises you.
You think grandma will be the biggest fan of your baby (and maybe your book, too). But it doesn’t always happen that way. In fact, a lot of your support comes from those who are going through the same trials at the same time.
8. Nothing is just yours any longer.
With babies, you are required to share more. With writing, the book is what you share. And sharing your book is waaay scarier than sharing your stuff, because now you’re out there for everyone to see. Don’t fret. It’ll be okay and you’ll even get used to it.
9. You let go of perfection.
Your house is not as clean, because there are so many book-ish things that need your attention first. When you find the time to clean, you’d rather write. Not only are you forced to handle house stuff differently, but also somewhere in that first year, you realize your child – the book – is not perfect either.
Oh, well. Nothing is.
10. The second child doesn’t get as much attention.
You fully intend to not fall into the trap of not giving as much to your second book (or your second child), but it happens the all the same. Because you still love your first book and you can’t just drop it like a hot potato, so now your love is spread around, perhaps a bit thinner. It’s not that you love it any less, but it can never be the one and only.
11. You believe once again in the things you believed as a child.
You begin to believe in magic and luck. Perhaps you’ll be visited by the book version of the tooth fairy–the Amazon fairy, who deposits sales into your KDP account late at night while you sleep.
12. It doesn’t really change you.
With a baby you’re now A MOM. With your book you can call yourself AN AUTHOR (if you want). But those titles don’t change who you are at your core. Your values are still the same. And as much as we all would like the event to magically transform us, and make us better than we were before, it doesn’t.
So, here are my top twelve. There are others and maybe you even have a favorite.
Each book only gets one first birthday, and to celebrate this one for Dolphin Girl, I’ve lowered the price to 99 cents. You can find it here at Amazon
A super quick post today. At the beginning of August the LA Times ran this story ,which asserts dolphins are like junior high school girls because they hang out in cliques based on certain social behaviors.
I thought the article was really cool, especially since I used pods in Dolphin Girl as a metaphor for cliques, but I think the LA Times got one thing wrong. Cliques don’t just exist for junior high school girls. They exist in high school and adulthood, boys and girls, men and women. I consider political parties, religions, special interests or any way that someone might label themselves as the definition of an elite social group.
It seems we don’t outgrow it when we turn fourteen. Or fifteen. Or even sixteen.
My cliques are: wife, mom, mom of teenager (because this is a special badge of honor), sports mom (this badge requires an even greater commitment), Catholic, writer, reader, storyteller, indie-pubbed, daughter, aunt, sister, dog lover, dolphin lover, music lover, cookie baker, dieter, art appreciator, …etc.
What cliques are you a member of?
It seems hard to believe that four years ago I was hard at work on a major revision of Dolphin Girl, pulling apart every chapter in an effort to make the story more focused. In the book, Jane, the main character, has a crush on a popular athlete Sam Rojas. In the original version, Sam was a baseball player.
During the revision, I spent a lot of time thinking about why Jane felt a connection with dolphins and why she felt a connection to Sam, too. I believe I had an a-ha moment during Michael Phelps’s 200 butterfly in 2008.
It went something like this – Omigod, he’s Sam.
Phelps even looked a little bit like the way I’d already written Sam—tall, gangly arms, boyish grin. The only problem was Sam played baseball and he needed to be a swimmer so that dolphin girl Jane could have her dolphin boy.
Out of the Olympic swimming, came huge slashes to the manuscript and new chapters. I obsessed about everything Phelps-ian. In one of his races his goggles filled with water, so I used that. Sam shows Jane how to use the goggles before her swim with the dolphins and he tells her it sucks when you get water in them. And, at a swim meet Jane is there to photograph Sam as he swims the fly. She wishes momentarily that she could be on the bottom of the pool to capture his swim from a dolphin’s point of view. If you’ve spent any time watching NBC’s coverage, they definitely have the dolphin-cam.
All of this proves, that writers write when we’re not in front of a computer, which means no one should feel bad about slacking. Life is our material.
I’ve been spending a lot of time watching the Olympics and Phelps…and other sports, too. Dolphin Girl is already written and I doubt there will be any kind of sequel, but who know what material might come from other events.
At the beginning of this year’s games, I was heartbroken (like some other Phelps fans, I’m sure) with his fourth place finish. Fourth in the world didn’t make him a slouch, but I wanted more for Michael/Sam. So…I was extremely happy that the games turned around for him. It’s been wonderful to follow his success and as he swam the medley relay last night, I hoped that Phelps might swim one event—a fly—in Rio.
But, if he doesn’t, there’s always YouTube. 🙂
One of the things I struggle with is a perfectionism.
Is this the right word? The right way to phrase this? Is my grammar flawless? How ’bout punctuation?
It’s O.K. Or, on second thought — is it okay?
The lyrics in this song, What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me? express this fear…well, perfectly. Joe Cocker is not Pavarotti, but I’m okay with that. I’m also, for the record, O.K. with that.
When it comes to my writing, the thing is, I know I’m not perfect and I’m pretty sure I never will be. In fact, look at the title of this post. It should have been posted yesterday. It’s not Music Tuesday, right? Not to belabor the point or anything.
So if a part of my writing is out of tune, will readers stop reading? Some will. But my friends will hear the heart beneath that sour note. Today, I was given an incredible reminder of why it’s O.K. (okay) to sing your own song, your own way. Cassie Deaton posted a review of Dolphin Girl over at her Shadow Kisses blog. She gets me, warts and all. It reminds me that like Joe Cocker, I need to say, Lend me your ear and I’ll sing you a song and I’ll try not to sing out of key.
Now, let’s listen to Joe rasp and growl together, cause the guy’s got a ton of heart and soul.