This Friday (as Ana admits to being completely out of ideas for how to cleverly describe anything) C.V. asks When writing gets difficult, what inspires you to keep at it?
Linda responds that “I love to write.
The stories are in my head and they want to come out. On difficult days, I take the dogs for a walk and mull over the story. I’ll play out whole scenes, dialogue and all, in my head. Often when something good strikes I record it into my phone so I’ll remember when I’m in front of my computer.
Any time I can tune out reality and put myself into my novel’s world I get inspired. Besides dog walks this means in the shower or first thing in the morning when I’m still half awake. Some of the best ideas are lost because I have no way to save them there.”
Kathryn says “Sometimes when I hit a roadblock, I play a little mental game with myself.
I set a small goal – say 300 words or half an hour at my desk. Once I get going I rarely stop. The 300 words turn into 1000. The half hour becomes three. Not all the time, but usually the hardest part is getting started.”
Ana shares that “Curiosity inspires me.
I see a photograph of a woman dressed in Turn-of-the-Century garb with her arms crossed and I wonder ‘Who was she? What was her life like? What did she get to do with her life and what did she not get to do?’
Despite my curiosity, it is often difficult to write. And to compound that, there are at least two different types of difficult.
If it’s difficult to even sit down and write, I’m like Kathryn–I set my timer for 30 minutes and don’t allow myself to get up until the timer goes off. Also like Kathryn, once I get going, I usually keep going.
The other difficult is when my writing is stuck, which is what I had recently with one chapter. I wrote and rewrote and rewrote it, but it didn’t work. I had to be honest and admit that the action in the bored me. Then I remembered that “if your writing bores you, it will certainly bore your reader.” So I walked away from my computer, groused on Facebook, and went for a walk.
During my walk, I realized that I expected my characters to do something they wouldn’t do. And in a place where they wouldn’t do it. With that knowledge, I was able to recraft the chapter. So for this type of difficult, I had to admit defeat and take a break. Also, I got great advice from my Facebook friends, writers and non-writers alike!”
Katie says “Reading mediocre books.
Which is maybe not great to say? But it’s true.
When I feel like I’m not smart enough or organized enough or I don’t have a grasp on my story, I read random things. After a while (sometimes it takes longer than other times), I’ll find a book where I think, ‘I write just as good as they do!’ And then I get back on the horse. Or rather, the laptop.”
C.V. finishes this week’s answers with “For me, my characters and their history inspire me to keep writing.
Their history is so fabulous that I feel compelled to bring their untold story to the world. My writers’ group is providing me with great critiques that have helped me improve my writing immensely. They are getting quite involved in the story, are anxious to learn what happens next, and love the.complexity of the characters.”
Ana Brazil writes historical crime fiction celebrating bodacious American heroines. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Historical Novel Society, and a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers.
Ana’s award-winning historical mystery FANNY NEWCOMB & THE IRISH CHANNEL RIPPER is set in Gilded Age New Orleans. Her upcoming October 17 2023 release is THE RED-HOT BLUES CHANTEUSE, a Viola Vermillion Vaudeville mystery set in 1919 San Francisco.