My friends and I were hanging out over the long weekend, and somehow we got started quoting Love Actually. I love that movie, and it’s probably one of my favorite holiday films, but I was thinking today of why I liked it so much. I finally decided that it’s because it tells so many different love stories and makes you care about every one of the characters involved. It can definitely be a challenge to keep up with all the intertwined relationships, but you get the gist of them pretty quickly.
This is Gerald. Like you and me, Gerald is a writer. He was just accepted to a university to pursue his passion for writing. But unlike most of us, Gerald lives in a refugee camp in Rwanda with 20,000 others who fled conflict in the Congo.
Ah, the World Cup, an event that we all look forward to. Timers count down months before it starts, and countries bid to host 10 years in advance. Even non-football fans (or non-soccer fans for the Americans) find themselves by a tv with snacks, suddenly the greatest supporters of popular teams like Brazil and Italy, bellowing orders as if voices could somehow ride the airways back to the players.
What if you could write with so much passion that it would hook readers like you’re playing in the World Cup?
The last couple of weeks I have been thinking about dialogue in fiction. A friend of mine told me that some agents will flip to a random section of a manuscript and make a judgment based solely on the dialogue!
I don’t know about you, but I truly believe that whoever said, “The real problem with reality is the lack of background music,” was really onto something.
We all love music, no exceptions (unless you are some sort of alien from a deaf planet, and even then, that’s pushing it). Music enhances everything: movies, showers, pool parties, workouts, spring cleanings, and even relaxation. It cannot be denied. Music stimulates our psyche.
Did you see the thrilling World Cup match between Colombia and Uruguay? Or the one between Argentina and Switzerland yesterday? Are you beside yourself to watch Colombia beat Brazil (my prediction) in the quarterfinals? I can barely breathe just thinking about it.
There are personal reasons why I’m cheering for Colombia, even though they do have THE BEST DANCE MOVES. But while we palpitate about the world’s best sporting event in the entire history of the entire human race, let us explore the uncanny parallels between the World Cup and what we’ll call the Writer’s Cup.
If you’re like me, you probably have way too much on your plate. Kids, school, work, the dreaded pile of laundry gathering in the corner. How do you make time for your writing when you’re so busy? One way to keep writing when you’re too busy to write a book is to write a poem instead.
As I’m writing this, it’s a cloudy morning in Georgia. The sticky heat of summer has finally let off. The crickets are still going away and the trees look marvelous. That’s one thing you don’t get in California, at least the part of California I grew up, huge, green trees everywhere.
And as I’m looking at them, sipping my coffee, I asked myself, when was the last time you noticed those trees? When was the last time you were this grateful just to be alive?
It’s been my experience that all my best writing—and most satisfying writing time—comes out of this place of gratefulness, this rootedness in the moment.
However, I’m in the process of launching a book right now, and I don’t have time to look at trees or even write very much. All I have time to do, it seems, is market. Of course, nearly every author today is struggling with the same thing. We all have to market our books. We all have to hustle if we want our words to spread. Which leads me and others to the question:
Is it possible to write and market your books at the same time? And on a larger scale, is today’s publishing reality keeping us from creating our best art?
We’ve all read work by snarky writers who’ve cast aside the rules and developed their own way. These are the rule-breakers, the free spirits. They don’t take themselves too seriously and even throw in a dash of self-deprecation for effect.
The ones I’m talking about are not bad people, but because of their irreverent behavior they sometimes get lumped in the snob category.
How do you evoke a full sense of the time and setting of a novel? One way to quickly make sure your readers know exactly where they are (and when) is to write about the news.