Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest post by K.M. Parr

Writing: Behind the Scenes

By K.M. Parr

Writing is serious business. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy or comparable to a life of lounging by a pool, pen in hand.  As a matter of fact, writing is a lot less glamorous than people think.  It’s difficult.  Time consuming.  Frustrating.  Words don’t always come when you want them.  And even then, it’s one of the most rewarding experiences anyone can ever have. 

Someone once said, “Why do you do it, then? If you think writing is such a difficult endeavor, then how can you even call yourself an author?”

One thing this person didn’t understand is that this is the nature of writing.  It’s meant to be an adventure with unexpected twists, turns, and wonders beyond one’s imagination.  That’s what attracted me to the craft.  That’s why it is such an integral part of my life.  

The beauty of the written word is much like being in the middle of a life-sized maze: you’ve been placed into an unknown situation and now you need to write your way to the end.  Sometimes, you don’t remember how you got from one point to the other, but it works.  And if you go at it repeatedly, the way becomes familiar; you gain your bearings faster.  

I tell anyone and everyone that will listen to not be afraid to express themselves creatively.  There may be times when you are discouraged, but that’s all a part of the ride.  If it’s what you enjoy doing, do not give up.  

My advice to anyone who wants to make writing more than just a passing fancy: 

·         Write. Write a lot.  Write about your life, fictional characters, hypothetical situations, anything to get your mind moving.  

·         Don’t be afraid to ask friends to critique it.  Get used to having others look over your work and help you perfect it. 

·         Carry a notebook with you at all times.  Creativity comes at the oddest times. 

·         Have a plan of action.  Type it out for yourself if you have to.  Why are you writing? Do you want to self-publish? Submit to agents or publishers?  

·         Never let anyone tell you to stop.  If writing is what you enjoy doing, don’t listen to those trying to bring you down. 

K.M. Parr is the author of the newly released Alex in Wunderstrande: The Clairvoyance Clock.  Connect with her online at:


Sunday, February 05, 2012

On Esme Weijun Wang's "Things I Have Done Alone"

A few days ago, the feminist blog Jezebel ran a piece by writer Esme Weijun Wang, called "Things I Have Done Alone." It's since had several comments calling it indulgent or dense. At first, I had no idea. When I finished it I was stunned, and thought Oh my God, I know exactly how she feels.

Okay, maybe not exactly. No people can feel 100% alike. But that piece really resonated with me, like each sentence was my own heartbeats. I've gone to parties where you go in expecting one thing but leave with quite another. I've read a phenomenal book that changed the way I write. I've gone to live concerts and been swept away by the music ... hasn't everybody?

I suppose not. The piece is gorgeous and incredibly honest, but it's something I think mainly writers can appreciate. For instance, take this line:

"Triumphantly went to the printing room to print the 400+ paged draft. Stood with my hand on the hot pages, warm."

A non-writer might say "Huh?" and scratch her head, but I instantly recognized that moment. When you finish a book, and you have that first draft in your hands, still hot from the printer, it's an incredible moment. All the work of months, years ... it's right there, in something you created. That's something you, and no one else, accomplished.

I just hope the writer doesn't get discouraged, because her work is lovely and I want to read that 400-page manuscript.