Sunday, February 19, 2012

Inspiration Found

So I'm humming along, writing chapter two of what is sure to be my best-seller novel (as all my books are, naturally :) and I think: this is awesomeness. Hey, I know, I'll let the husband read it. He LOVED my first chapter and has been begging for more. Then he can tell me how amazing I am and I'll have a nice warm fuzzy to get me through chapter three, and so on...

And, yeah. Well. He was bored. Why don't you add this, he suggests. Or make her do that, then yada will happen, and that will be exciting, no? Um, honey, this isn't one of your action spy novels, its a YA geared for girls with actual feelings and stuff. He says: You're right, I'm not a writer. You know better than I do. You rock my world, woman. Love and stuff.

Then, after a couple minutes of eating my humble pie, I realize he's right. Not about changing my story into a MacGyver/spy-gear/alien showdown, but that something needs to be changed. And after a long talk together, I think I've figured it out.

*will stew over it another day before (sigh) scrapping chapter two and trying again*

So when someone gives you criticism that's hard to swallow and you've built a wall in defense in front of you, see if you can take it down, brick by brick. Maybe that harsh stuff wasn't really so harsh at all, and if you look closer, you might see what it really means. And what it really means is inspiration from the unlikeliest of places that will make your story shinier than it could have been otherwise.

Want to find another source of inspiration? James A. Owen, author of Here, There Be Dragons (movie underway, btw) was the keynote speaker at LTUE this year and literally left me in tears and joining the hundreds in the crowd for a two-minute standing ovation. And here is where I can pass my inspiration found to you. He is giving away an e-version of his non-fiction book, Drawing out the Dragons, absolutely free until February 22nd. Just go here, fill in your name and email and they'll send you the link to download. This book is what his entire speech was based on. So go and get it now, seriously, you will thank me.
Where do you find inspiration? Do you let your spouse critique your stuff? Have you ever drawn a dragon?


Kelley Lynn said...

I've never drawn a dragon...

I usually don't let anyone read my work until I've typed 'the end'. Just because I'm afraid their opinion will change my work too much.

But, when I have typed 'the end' and it is out there with my CPs I let them at my work and make sure to at least try to understand everything they say. There's a reason they suggest it. What is that reason and is it important to me.

Good luck with writing! I'm back on the writing train too :)

Kathryn Purdie said...

I have deleted six month's of hard work because of good, but hard advice from my writer dad. I'm also smashing down to a fragment the first third of my book, thanks to pretty much everyone's advice. I've deleted two of what I thought were the coolest chapters ever, thanks to the advice of Robin and my husband, and rewrote those those chapters from scratch.

Most of the time, I agree with the advice and make changes. Very seldom do I say to myself, "You know, I like it better the way I have it." But I've learned it's important to stand by those decisions too and have confidence in myself that I've made the right choice (at least for me).

My husband is almost always my good-job-honey-pat-my-back reader. So when he does suggest I change something, I listen!

Great post, Ilima! I'm so excited for the book you're writing!!!

Julie said...

HA! My spouse has a "thing" for swords, dragons, and magic... reading my work just doesn't happen! Which is good, in a way, because then I'm always brilliant to him, right?! But it WOULD be nice to have a live-in critiquer!

I've recently resigned myself to NOT let my work be critiqued by peeps until I have a very solid draft. Its too painful sending people something, only to realize five minutes you hit "SEND" that the draft you sent was second class and WAY under finished!! I'd rather wait until I have something REAL to edit!

Great post!

ilima said...

Kelley and Julie-I've never let anyone read my stuff until its 'done' before either. This time, though, I had to submit my first chapter for a conference I'll be attending that is months away. So I let my CP's go at it and perfected that first chapter, then let my husband read it. He's been asking for more so I let him read ch. 2, and this happened. Don't think I'll let anyone read more until its done. But I do think this as a blessing because I'm addressing something NOW that would have been a beast to fix LATER and would have needed fixing. I'm grateful for this experience.

Katie-6 months of work? Ugh. I think that's why I'm an outliner and not pantser, I dread having to cut that much stuff. Good for you for doing what needs to be done though!

Nancy Thompson said...

I only let other writers critique my work since they know all the "rules." My best advice, find 4-6 critique partners, especially the ones who write in your genre. they will things out of you you never even imagined possible!

BTW - thanks for the follow. I've tried like 20 times to follow you back, but Blogger is being very difficult. Stupid Blogger!

Unknown said...

My spouse is my first reader. It goes like this: I ask for an honest opinion. He gives me one. I sulk. :)

Robin said...

Great post Ilima! I'm excited to read Here, There Be Dragons-you and Katie both oohhed and ahhed about him.

Sharing with my husband is hard. He goes through interesting phases where he thinks fantasy is evil, so . . . but when I do share and he likes it it totally makes my day!

Also, I have tried to draw dragons-and failed miserably-my then 6-yr-old didn't even like it.

Amy Jarecki said...

So funny, my husband doesn't even read fiction. Giving him my work to critique is like torture for him :-)

ilima said...

Nancy-CP's are the best!

Shirley-I hear ya.

Robin-I don't think I've ever attempted to draw a dragon.

Amy-Ya. It's like when he makes me listen to his search and rescue stories. :)

Angela Cothran said...

I really try to be realistic about my writing. I'm very open to criticism. I look at it like exercise. It is painful and uncomfortable, but I always feel better afterward :)

ilima said...

Angie-I like getting criticism from CP's and other writers, but from your random person (esp. non-readers) its tuff for me.

Anonymous said...

I rarely get my hubby to read anything... except for a pitch or query letter.
He used to tear me to shreds... he doesn't get my writing... but then - he does read in the genre I write.