Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I’ve been staring at a lot of UNCHARTED lately, which I’m pre-editing before Rhemalda’s editor gets a hold of it (I can’t believe how may times I wrote ‘he knew’ or ‘he thought’ or ‘he watched’—Egad, you’d think I never read a writing blog in my life!)

Not only have I been focusing endlessly on my MS Word doc, but to keep me motivated, I have an amazing painting* of what UNCHARTED's Marlena looks like, by Pascal Gentil. His version is perfect, really, but the more I stared, the more I wished I had a painting of my own—and I haven’t painted in a long time, so I decided to give it a go and produce my own rendition of Gentil’s painting*. I’m posting the process over on my art blog—Unsupervised & atLarge. I actually finished it, so I’m posting my completed watercolor here. Next week I’ll post Gentil’s painting*. I like this one very much, but when I compare it to his, I still kinda like his better. Maybe mine will grow on me…

* Edited to say that I just found Pascal Gentil's Website only to discover his "painting" is in fact a digitally enhanced photograph, which takes a great deal of talent and in no way diminishes my esteem of his work. Oh my, how I'd love to paint many of his subjects! And in a way, it makes me feel all the better about my work.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Breaking Rules: The Insecure Way

One of my biggest writing insecurities is breaking rules. When I started my novels, I went at it all willy-nilly, unaware of rules aside from basic grammar. When I got more serious about the craft, one of the first rules I learned was Show, Don’t Tell. What an awesome new concept! And wow, what it did for my writing!

Eventually I learned that once I knew the rules—why they were there and how they worked—I was allowed to break the rules, with discretion. Okay, I have to admit that scared me a bit. (No need to go into a deep psychological profile here, but even though I don’t particularly like rules, I do find comfort in their safety. If I don’t break rules, bad things won’t smack me upside the head, right?) So, the question is, How do I to know when it’s okay to break a rule?

I don’t know.

But it began to occur to me that there had to be a better way to SHOW fear, or embarrassment, or lust, or anger or that whole gamut of human emotions. I mean, how many different ways can the heart beat fast and hard and the body temperature rise? Is it just a matter of seeing how many clever and convoluted ways I can show an emotion through physicality? And that doesn’t even cover all the extra verbiage needed with showing. Sometimes it’s good to slow down the narrative, but sometimes all that extra speeding pulse, slamming objects and watering eyes bogs down the pace and makes even my eyes roll.

Recently, I came across a new term: Interiority. I don’t know who came up with it, but it's in the dictionary (of or pertaining to that which is within) and I found it on kidlit.com and it gave me a whole new slant on the Show vs Tell rule. I haven’t figured it all out yet, but the concept makes good sense to me. I’m feeling a little less insecure.

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Group, sponsored by Alex J. Cavanaugh.