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Friday, July 28, 2006

Emotional Punch and a few discoveries...

I've been preparing for the re-start of my writing life, and reviewing previous rejections from HMB to remind myself of (and hopefully strengthen) my past weaknesses.

Both my submissions came back saying that I didn't have the high degree of emotional punch that HMB require. I've had 12 years to ponder the meaning of what the editors meant by 'emotional punch' (hereafter known as EP), and I'm pleased to say that I think I am finally getting it!

Fiona Harper has helped. She's recently blogged about EP, and she's used some excellent examples to show us what this enigma is. Well worth a read, even if you think you already know.

Recently, I've used other media (TV/Film etc.) to examine and research how exactly EP works. IMO you have to experience EP at work in order to capture the essence of it and recreate it in your own writing.

Today, watching the latest episode of 'Our New Life in Everwood', I felt a familiar lump in my throat as the latest EP event hit the characters' lives. Sitting here thinking about how they make it work so deeply, I suddenly had one of those 'light bulb' moments: Before you can hope to achieve emotional punch you must first create real life characters you really care about. Without this connection, no matter what our characters are going through it won't affect us in the slightest. We just won't care.

Now for an extra shocking discovery: EP isn't one single ingredient that you can sprinkle on your story to spice things up. It's much more than that. It's a combination of everything - characters, background, plot, action, narrative...

All these years I've believed that when the time comes for me to write again, all I have to do is repeat what I did before, but add a sprinkling of the magic ingredient - EP. D'oh! Since when is life ever that simple?!

Another revelation to hit me: EP is the reason writing is so tiring! EP is all about feelings. Whether they are emotional highs or lows, we really need to experience EP with our characters. This is exhausting!

Example: If our Hero is bereaved, we are grieving with him.
If our Heroine is hurting from a past relationship, we are sharing her pain.

In real life when we go through difficult times, it’s emotionally draining. So, now for the million-dollar question: If writing exhausts me, it must mean I'm doing something right, mustn't it?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's Party Time!!!

Thanks to a post on Kate W's blog I've discovered there's a blog party going on over at Lucy Monroe's .

It's an open invitation and everyone is welcome. Those of us that can't make the RWA in Atlanta can still have loads of fun, and there's heaps of prizes to be won too. Well worth a visit or three!

Julie C is blogging about her time over in the USA whenever she is able, as is Brenda Coulter - although Brenda is doing things slightly different. She's sending audio posts to her blog to keep everybody updated on what's going on, including who's winning the RITA awards.

All exciting stuff for those of us interested in these things.

So, don't let me be the only latecomer to the blog party - pop in and say hi!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Move Over Goran...

...and make way for Clive!

I feel bad. I didn’t plan for it to happen. But in my defense I never chose Goran to be my hero for this book, he chose me!

It’s not nice when you have a hero who changes the way he looks mid-way through the book, but I think it’ll work out for the best. My hero’s name is Matt. He’s an Englishman and since I’ve gone back to write his story Goran just hasn’t felt like ‘Matt’. For a while (especially as I've been re-watching Season 1 of ER) George Clooney has been a strong contender. The trouble is, Matt isn't quite that cheeky with the ladies.

Chapter Two's main scene takes place in a torrential downpour - Clive's picture here is almost perfect (Unfortunately I haven't been able to erase Angelina, who will never be heroine material for me).

Matt is prone to a bit of brooding, so yep, Clive's won hands down...

Have you ever had image problems with your characters midway through your book?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's nearly time...

... to resume my work-in-progress. I can feel it. I've already made plans to begin my 'writing' life on the 1st August, but my characters are beginning to rebel on me (for a change!).

Now all I have to do is make my 'real-life' problems and issues understand that they've got to take a back seat... (Not an easy thing to do when I've still got plumbers and kitchen fitters scheduled to come out, handyman visits to oversee, and a medical appointment or three! Oh yeah, and our Dyson blew up yesterday so that's moved to the top of the list).

As if all that isn't enough to be going on with, here in the UK we are currently in the middle of a heatwave. Which would be fantastic news if the heat didn't wreak havoc with my MS symptoms. I find this very strange when in the past I've coped with hotter temperatures in the Costa Del Sol and the south of France without any problems. Hmmm... can't we ever get things right over here?

Anyway, enough of my moans - I'm happy really...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Thinking, thinking and MORE thinking!

Yep, you've got it, I've been thinking! (Normally I'd call it procrastinating, but not until I officially get back to 'work').

In my head I'm planning all the writing I'm going to be doing, and it's got me wondering about which name/s I should be writing under.

My first project is to finish my manuscript for HMB, but there are other things I want to write too. Should I use a different name for HMB and another for the other projects? I always planned to write romance under my children's names 'Charlotte Alexander' but then I decided I'd rather use my own name (Susan Rix) because it would feel weird to answer in real-life to my daughter's name...

The main problem is (and I've got my optimistic head on here, because I'm assuming that I will eventually achieve publication) I don't want to cheat my readers. They could pick up a 'Susan Rix' or 'Charlotte Alexander' expecting a contemporary romance or inspirational read and would be offended to find sensual or Jesus/God references etc., depending on the genre.

I also hope to write non-fiction articles. (Yep, right now I want to write everything!). I don't want to have to use loads of different names, but perhaps that's the only way around it? And if so, which should I use my 'real' name for?

Dilemmas, dilemma's! What would you do?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

We've Moved!

If you are reading this it means that we've not only moved but the computer's unpacked and Internet has resumed. Hallelujah!

There's still loads to be sorted out, and everything that could go wrong did go wrong, but hey, we've survived!

Health-wise I've been ordered to 'take things easy' for a couple of weeks. It's not worth risking a relapse, so I intend to do just that (in between odd bits of unpacking etc). Hopefully I'll be able to catch up with all your blogs soon.

It's been an emotional rollercoaster these past few weeks, but it would have been far worse without all of your support and encouragement.