Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Miss Overmyer, in the Computer Room, With the Keyboard

I am a murderess—a rather sly one, I might add. Yes, I am willing to put my confession down on paper and on record: I, Elizabeth Ann Overmyer, am a cold-blooded killer.

My computer is full of stories that I strangled and squeezed until the lifeblood came rushing out of every margin. What should I call this vast cemetery, this collection of decaying ideas? “The Living Unread”? Cute, but too interesting. This is not a horror story. A horror story sparks a wild and fiery pain within the breast. All my stories are good for is sparking a wild and fiery…fire within the fireplace. Snap, crackle, pop.

I challenge Holmes to solve any of the murders surrounding my stories. Shy, unassuming me, a professional hit-and-type man. How have I gotten away with so much without suspicion? Let me share my most secret ways with you, though you may already be an experienced story-killer yourself:

1.      Act shocked.

That will keep the suspicion away from yourself: “Really, sir, I have no idea how this story died! I’m just as surprised as anyone.” (Act shocked? Now be honest, aren’t you really?)

2.      Discreetly white-out affairs.

If you’ve been fooling around with another story, take a break before sentencing.

3.      Consistency is very important: make sure you keep repeating the same story.

Say, wasn’t that what got us in trouble in the first place?

Let me see if I might sum up the life of my latest “dearly deleted”; let us call him “Blaine”:

“Dearest Blaine. His name was erased from the great book of life far too early. His memory lingers on—on the back of my ink-stained hand. Blaine was a soft-spoken soul, so soft-spoken that one would have never known that he existed. In fact, where is everybody? Where? This is not right; this is not proper, not at all! What on earth?”

Obituaries should have been written—and with them I could fill almost an entire column. Let me think of how one might have read:

“No Vel VII fell victim to the ink. His servant found him alone on his desktop. Ms. Author tried everything in her power to revive him; but, seeing the plot was taking a bad turn, she phoned a priest, who came in and administered the last writes. The editors pronounced him read on arrival.”

Alas, my poor victims. All I can offer them is a proper resting-place…and more lifeless stories to keep them company.

The above was orignally posted at The Coffee Press Journal, now defunct. All rights reserved by moi.

Ten people are being or have been interviewed for my Author Interview series. What what! Some non-YA and MG slipped in there--oopsie!--but it's okay. The series begins September 7, 2012. If you're interested in being interviewed and have a published or soon-to-be-published YA or MG book, please email me: bethovermyer@gmail.com

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Playing With Blocks

Ready for a rambly post? Yes? All righty, then start reading:

Two of the questions I'm asking in my author interviews: "Do you believe in the dreaded writer's block? If so, how do YOU overcome it?"

Before I post the interviews, I want to get my opinion out there. This is my opinion, so it's not necessarily correct. It's not necessarily wrong, either, hahaha.

True or false: You sometimes sit before the blank screen, not knowing what to write. After a few minutes of staring at the blinking cursor, you shut the Word document and walk away.

Did you answer true? I did.


Fact or fiction: Something is out there keeping you from writing.

Sometimes fact is what I answered. Allow me to explain:

Sometimes YOU (or me, often) consciously or not become your own worst enemy. You say negative things to yourself like "I'm not a writer" and "I can't write" and "Who am I fooling?" With these ideas in your head, no wonder no words come to the surface when you show up to write. This is sabotage. IT becomes, or rather you ALLOW it to become, the BLOCK.

Other times, other people can do the same thing. Intentionally or not, they make you not want to write or feel good enough to write. Notice I didn't say that they made you not write--that's always up to you, no one else. But people can become a reason, a hindrance, an excuse.

See, the fiction is that there's this magical brain block that  appears out of nowhere. The fact is that each block has a name. Is it a parent who told you to stop writing because you're a hack? Then that parent becomes the block, AKA the excuse. Realizing who or what the block is is important, methinks.

I'm reading The Artist's Way. Julia Cameron talks about the well running dry or the fish pond running out of fish. Think about it: if you caught all the fish in the pond without replenishing, you would have no fish left to catch. Duh! So maybe sometimes it's not really a block. Maybe sometimes you just need some nurturing! In-put, out-put, what goes in must come out, ya know?

So, I've been struggling a little in the confidence department. The Artist's Way had me recall three of my creative "Monsters," or people who challenged my artistic worth. I'm sad to say that two of three were other artists. They are three of my blocks. How do I get past them??? (Note: The following is me, not TAW):

The first step to solving any problem is to admit that it is, in fact, a problem. So...

Step 1 to recovery: - "A" was wrong to be so hurtful and negative, "B" was wrong to tell me I was never going to make it, and "C" was wrong to laugh at me for asking questions.

But what if my block is something I said? Or what if it was something I DID and I'm still beating myself up over it (like submitting unpolished work to an agent)?

All righty, let's try this quote on for size:
"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." - Joseph Chilton Pearce

Say it with me: "I have done wrong...but that's all right."

There is forgiveness. There is learning. There is healing.

I've not yet worked entirely through my blocks, but I'll try to keep you posted on my progress. Another thing to keep in mind: It is you and you alone who allows things to block you. Others may throw blocks at you, but it is up to you to allow them to become big enough to block the way or not.

Take responsibility for your writing. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. And never EVER stop learning.

Ciao, pals.

What are your thoughts on writer's block?