When Kate Moore heads south to Anaheim this weekend to attend the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Awards, it will be for more than a chance to connect with her fans and fellow romance novelists. Her historical novel To Seduce an Angel is up for the Best Regency Historical Romance award.
A novel never sleeps.
We’re on vacation. As my family plays, I’m working on yet another round of rewrites for a young-adult novel, trying to add a scene about half of the way through.
This has had me thinking quite a bit about the idea of justification—not as in left, right, and center, but as in setting up a scene properly so that a reader neither feels as if it came out of nowhere nor as if it was far too long in coming. Getting it just right is obviously every storyteller’s goal, and one of the more challenging aspects of storytelling. Aristotle said that the end of an effective plot must be “unexpected but inevitable.” I’d say, though, that the same can be true of any good scene, and it doesn’t take a whole lot to mess it up in one direction or the other.
The reason that I’ve had this on my mind, other than my on-going story addiction/obsession, is that the last two books I’ve emerged myself in were Victoria Roth’s Divergent and George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.
Today is the final day to help launch Stillpoint Digital Press’s first original title by contributing to the Kickstarter drive for Sail Away: Journeys of a Merchant Seaman! We’ve already achieved our minimum funding goal thanks to the support of a wonderful group of backers. This guarantees that we’ll be able to get the book completed as envisioned and on schedule. Any additional pledges will ensure that this nautical memoir will reach the audience that it deserves.
If you’ve already pledged, your support is gratefully appreciated! If you’ve been waiting, pledge now and reserve one of the very first copies of the print and/or ebook edition. The link is: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/334886999/sail-away-first-title-in-stillpoint-memory-memoir
Julia asked some great questions, which got Ms. Steele talking eloquently about the most interesting thing of all: her process as an artist. She talked about how she starts a painting–not the way that I’d have thought, with an image in mind, but by working with texture and color until she sees something on the canvas and then begins to work to bring it out. Fascinating.
“There comes a point in every painting, though,” Steele said, “where I have to take what I thought I was doing–the thing that I’ve been so focused on–and kill it off, let it die. And that’s usually when the painting really takes off.”
Her comment hit me between the eyes like one of the diamond pickaxes from the games of Minecraft that Julia’s friends are always talking about.
I realized that the same thing was true of just about every writing or editing project that I’ve been involved with: that at some point, I have to take the part of the book that I’ve been fussing at and obsessing over for hours or weeks or months (or, in the case of a book I finished writing recently, for four years) and kill it. Let it die.
And that made me think of the schema of the Hero’s Journey mapped out in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. There’s a point in most hero tales where the hero (or heroine) has to face a death–either real or metaphoric. Harry Potter allows himself to be killed. Luke Skywalker cuts off his own head (though he thinks it’s Darth Vader’s at the time). Odysseus goes down with his ship before washing up naked on the beach to be found by Nausicaa.
It’s only after this death that the hero can reach his or her potential–can become truly a hero. The old self has to perish in order for the true self to be born.
In every creative project, there’s that moment: the pinnacle of frustration and the abyss of despair. And it’s only by letting go of the thing that we think is so important–the sequence or passage or sentence or character or scene or chapter that we’ve been banging up against that we can discover what the heart of the piece we’re working on truly is.
So, hard as it is, we have to learn to welcome that little death and learn to see it as the narrow, dark passage to the unknown, glorious fulfillment of our own creative work.
The Irish National Library has very quietly taken advantage of the entry this year into the public domain of the works of Irish novelist James Joyce by posting its horde of rare Joyce manuscripts on its online archive.
Maurice Sendak, Author of Where the Wild Things Are, Dies at 83
Image © copyright 1963, Maurice Sendak
If you were to ask me what piece of literature has had the most profound impact on me, I wouldn’t have to think at all. It was Maurice Sendak’s picture-book masterpiece, Where the Wild Things Are.
So, remember the news I’ve been hinting at?
Here it is:
The Human Face of Digital Publishing
The ebook explosion has promised a new relationship between authors and their readers—one that is more immediate and personal. And yet writers looking to take advantage of this new medium find themselves in a familiar bind: either seek to publish through a traditional publisher and receive pennies on the dollar, self-publish, or use a service that is happy to publish your book for you (for either a fee or a percentage of sales)–but without providing any editorial services.
Stillpoint Digital Press is an ebook publisher that provides a human touch. We are an experienced publisher of electronic and print books, ready to help you convert your manuscript or your print volume (whether in- or out-of-print) into a vibrant, exciting digital book. We will help you edit, create a cover, design, and sell your book.
A project (with attendant website) that I’ve been working on for months has gone live:
It’s still in the early stages, but I’d love you to check it out and tell me what you think!
So, this is a post from a second user. Does it work?