Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Insecure Writers Support Group and Cover Reveal for Moonless


Hello everyone!  And welcome to another awesome installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!  Led by our indomitable leader Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh we gather on the first Wednesday of each month to share and encourage, express doubts and concerns, or offer assistance and guidance.  Be sure to head by the Ninja’s lair today to hear the BIG NEWS!

This month is especially awesome for me since I’m co-hosting!  Along with the amazing Julie Luek, Rachna Chabria and Ilima Todd!  Please take a moment to thank all my awesome co-hosts in your travels today.

I wanted to write something special for my month as co-host but I’ve also got a book cover to reveal for my wonderful friend Crystal Collier so I’m going to relay a short but potent anecdote from my early life as a writer.

One of my classes in college was playwriting and my teacher was a relatively famous playwright known for being tough and wonderfully inspiring.  The first course I took with him- an introductory course- was fun.  We were learning the ins and outs of the genre, reading lots of plays, taking risks.  There were few requirements on what you produced other than simple scenes and plot devices.  I had a ball.

Then I moved onto the real work- intermediate playwriting.  The task was to write ten new pages a week with the ultimate goal of coming out of the semester with a rough draft of a finished play.  They didn’t have to be good pages, my teacher often reminded us, they just had to be new.  Why?  Because that’s how you learn.

Well, this probably won’t surprise any of you, but I struggled with this.  I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist about my writing.  I had to believe it was good in order to be able to share it with anyone.  So rather than producing ten new pages of material I would hand in two that I’d revised five times over.  And even those I would judge as not up to snuff.  Needless to say, this was not ok with my teacher.

So one day after class he asked me to stay and chat with him.  
He sat me down and told me- point blank- “This is not going to work.”  
I thought he meant the class, that I was failing.  
“No”, he said.  “I mean you being a writer.”  
I looked at him like a dear in headlights.

He explained.  Becoming a writer, he said, is learning how to mold and shape the ideas in your head.  It’s polishing the little details, the nuances that make the different elements shine.   It’s tweaking, in other words.  Which all means that you have to have something to tweak.  He told me that I’d never become a writer if I didn’t, you know, WRITE.

It’s the single greatest and most important lesson for me, and one I still struggle with.  Because that tendency to judge- to scrap the story idea or the sentence before I let it cross my fingers- is still there.  The desire not to share anything unless it really is “good” still inhibits me sometimes.  But sometimes, I write anyway.  And the one thing that I know unequivocally is that anything you’ve written- really, ANYTHING- is better than anything you haven’t.  Simply because it exists- you have something to tweak.

So I tell you all the same thing I tell myself everyday: just write.  No matter how stupid, how silly, how simple, how insert-insult-here it is; write it anyway.  You can tweak it once you’ve written it.  And you might actually turn it into something “good”.  But even if you don’t, you’ll still be better simply for having written it.  Just write.  That’s all.

A big thanks to Alex for the honor of co-hosting this month.  Please make sure to visit some of the other bloggers from the list on Alex's page and spread the love!


And now, without further ado: The cover For Crystal Collier’s new book Moonless:
 
In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.

Among the many things to change for her that evening are: her physical appearance—from ghastly to breathtaking, an epidemic of night terrors predicting the future, and the blue-eyed man’s unexpected infusion into her life. Not only do his appearances precede tragedies, but they’re echoed by the arrival of ravenous, black-robed wraiths on moonless nights.

Unable to decide whether he is one of these monsters or protecting her from them, she uncovers what her father has been concealing: truths about her own identity, about the blue-eyed man, and about love. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with the man of her dreams and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

This awesome title is going to be released on November 13th and all sorts of cool things will be popping up around the web as the time approaches.  Go here for the full list of participating bloggers.
 
Crystal, author of MOONLESS, is a former composer/writer for Black Diamond Productions. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

45 comments:

  1. Your story reminds me of the Nora Roberts quote, "I can fix anything but a blank page."

    Enjoy your co-hosting duties this month, and congrats to Crystal! The cover is amazing :)

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  2. Congratulations on co-hosting! I agree, just write, and then, revise, revise, revise. Eventually I think a book will come from all that work.

    Crystal's cover looks awesome! Plus her book releases on my birthday. I think that's a very good sign.

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    1. My release is on your birthday? *gasp* It was meant to be!

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  3. Wow, that is a beautiful cover! Nice. ^_^

    Congrats on the hosting gig! Thanks for sharing that awesome advice from your playwriting teacher! I want to copy it and paste it on the wall by my desk. I, thankfully and sometimes unfortunately, never had a problem with getting words on the page. I had a problem editing them. But I still love him for those words and I think they apply to all aspects of writing.

    Love your Halloween ticker by the way. :)

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  4. Hmm, that sounds really familiar. I think I am guilty of the very same thing.
    Congratulations to Crystal!
    And thank you for co-hosting this month.

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  5. Hi, Beverly,
    So nice to meet you. Your teacher had it right. We're writers. We gotta write. I always get sidetracked by wanting my chapters to be perfect before I move on, but I'm kind of used to that now.

    Crystal's book sounds intriguing.

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  6. Great to see you hosting the group, Beverly, and nice to meet you.

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  7. Love that cover! :)

    I struggle with letting people read pages-in-progress, but I'm learning there's a difference between letting people read really rough draft stuff and letting them read pages that are pretty good but not polished. :)

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  8. I hear your pain. I joined an online critique group earlier this year, thinking that sending them something once a month would be a piece of cake. But I spend so much rewriting my pages I'm always begging for more time. I'm not trying to make the pages perfect. Just enough for them to make sense.

    Thanks for co-hosting the ISWG this month.

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  9. Thank you for co-hosting! That's one of the lessons I had to learn - to focus on the writing first, and polish during editing. It's hard, but it means you get more words down!

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  10. Such a great lesson, Bev. The only way to get good at something is to do it, repeatedly. Perfection isn't born in a first draft. =)

    And thank you for sharing my cover. You are ROCK AWESOME!

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  11. Gorgeous cover! Great post, Hostess Bev. How painfully true. You can never sell a book if it isn't finished. I put on revisionist blinders until I've finished that last page, then wade into the tweaking and polishing. There's no use in trying to fix something along the way if you don't know if it's going to be broken by the last page. It's like doing surgery before the diagnosis.

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    Replies
    1. (She called it gorgeous! *jumping up and down*)

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  12. Fantastic post. That's a very good lesson to learn. Crystal's cover is gorgeous! :)

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  13. Thanks for hosting! Happy IWSG Day! Love the cover of your book and the advice is sage. Thanks.

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  14. Yay for co-hosting! Thanks for doing it ;)

    Just write. I know this, I do, but I can be stubborn... NOT for my own good lol. But I do agree its necessary and I love what he said: learning how to mold and shape the ideas in your head. Very true.

    Congratulations to Crystal! Great cover :D

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  15. 'Simply because it exists- you have something to tweak.'

    Love this, girl. I was a bit mad at your teacher at the first but then saw he had a point, and that you were quick-witted enough to not only capture it but transmit it with this excellent post.

    And, sincerely, congratulations, Crystal! Good of you to profile her, Bev.

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  16. Really stunning book cover. Sounds interesting, too. Great post on the need to WRITE. I have to tell myself that as I sit down. Just start, you can always go back and change things. It's amazing what can happen. Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. (Stunning! *giggles* *covers mouth and reminds self to stop interrupting the real commenting*)

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  17. Gorgeous cover, and beautiful anecdote! I'm one of those who has trouble editing as a I write. It takes me forever to finish something!

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. (Another gorgeous! I think that's the word of the day. *kicking up heels*)

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  18. I wish I would have taken more writing classes in school. Sounds like you had a great teacher!

    Thanks for co-hosting, this month :)

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  19. Thanks for reminding to just write. I am working on a project that is so darn tough to write, probably because I am guilty of perfectionism too. Thought I had lost that side of me, but it is springing back to life with this piece. Thanks so much for co-hosting this month!

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  20. Hi Bev, it's so true; we have to just write. What I do is write it before I can think about it. And then I go back and make changes, but I find that the actual writing is harder than editing, so if I can get that first draft out, then I'm almost there!

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  21. That is a TERRIFIC cover. I LOVE the clock theme. Wow!

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    1. Yay! Thank you, Sarah. (She said Wow! And she used caps!!! ... !!!)

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  22. Nice cover!

    Also...you are SOOO write. There's no way to be a writer without writing, and I have a tendency to forget about that, too. *sigh*

    Tessa (currently posting both at Tessa's Blurb and The Book Bunnies)

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  23. Congratulations on your co-hosting gig Bev!
    Crystal's cover is lovely! Great image.
    And you are so right, the message is simple... just write.

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  24. Crystal's cover is stunning for sure!

    And thanks for the just write reminder. :)

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  25. I LOVE this post. It's so true. It's hard for me to share sometimes. I'm always worried what someone else will think. But I love writing and I will never get better if I don't keep doing it :) Thanks for sharing.

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  26. What great advice on writing. Sounds like you had a great teacher!

    I love Crystal's cover, it's so beautiful.

    (And thanks for co-hosting, and visiting my blog). :)

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  27. Yay for Crystal's cover! I beautiful!

    Thanks so much for co-hosting this month, Bev.

    You know, this story reminds me of that great advice: first get it written, then get it right. I have to remind myself of that every day. Especially when writing the first draft!

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  28. Sage advice. Writers must write. I put on my writing hat and editing hat at different times. The hope is that I am free to let loose, knowing that the backspace button can be employed at a later time, if needed. ;)

    Thanks for co-hosting this month. Nice cover. :)

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  29. Sage advice, Bev. Writers need to write. Through sleet, snow, hail, or...Wait, that's postmen. :) Anyways, I agree and I think it's something we all need to hear every once in a while.

    Thanks!

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  30. Hi Beverly, I agree that we must just write no matter what. There is no excuse for not writing. And the best thing is that our writing can be improved with rewrites, edits and lots of tweaking. Love the cover of Moonless.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

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  31. Nice to meet you, and thanks for co-hosting. The cover is beautiful!

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  32. Love your story, Beverly. Thanks so much for sharing--perfect for IWSG! And so neat with Crystal. HUGE congrats to her!

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  33. Congrats, Crystal!
    And thanks for the reminder, Beverly. Trying to make everything perfect right away is one of he big mental blocks I struggle with too. First write, then come back and make it into a story. I'll just keep repeating it to myself ;)
    And thanks for co-hosting!

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Thank you for your comment! I will love it and hug it and pet it and call it George. Or, you know, just read and reply to it. But still- you rock!