Writers who don’t talk to themselves scare me

image By Ned Hickson

Whether you’re a novelist, columnist, poet or Subway sandwich artist, talking to yourself during the creative process is important. Admittedly, I can only speak with some authority on the first three; that last example is mostly an observation based on the two Subways in our area. Regardless, at the risk of sounding politically incorrect, I think every good writer needs a certain level of multiple personality disorder with a dash of schizophrenia. That’s because, as a writer, you need to have the ability to do more than simply observe and notate things about people and situations; you have to be able to inhabit them in the same way that, say… Justin Beiber inhabits his role as a skinny caucasian gangster.

Except unlike Justin Beiber, you must be believable.

To do this, you have to be willing — and able — to step outside yourself and literally experience things as someone else in order to formulate reactions and dialogue that ring true. Even as a columnist, I have a few individuals who make appearances from time to time because they allow me to approach a subject more effectively than through simple narrative.

One of these individuals is Ima Knowitall, the “self-proclaimed best selling author” behind the novel, Fifty Shades of Time-Traveling Vampire Love.

Confession time: I’m not actually a 30-something, pessimistic female writer who wants so much to believe in her own fame that she constantly projects a facade of celebrity to the point of ludicrousness.

If you need a moment to fully process this realization, I understand. My wife was pretty shaken by my big reveal as well, once we took the leap from Match.com to meeting for the first time seven years ago…

Welcome back! (Coincidentally, the same words I used at the beginning of our second date.)

As I was saying, Ima Knowitall is an individual I turn to when I feel that exploring an idea is better suited — and more engaging for readers — if they feel like an active participant in the conversation. That’s where multiple personality disorder comes into play. Even if what you’re writing is an over-the-top character or situation, readers will be willing to suspend their disbelief as long as there is an element of truth. Screenwriters for sci-fi, horror and action movies constantly rely on this element to convince viewers to go along for the ride.

And that element is the believability of your characters.

In order to make an individual like Ima Knowitall work, three things need to happen:

1) What she says and does must stay true to her character
2) My reactions and responses to her as the “interviewer” must embellish, not contradict her
3) Anyone else we “interact with” must do the same

To pull that off, you have to engage your MPD in order to shift your points of view convincingly from one individual to the next. For novelists, this is the first step in graduating from linear plot-driven writing to richer, character-driven stories.

Or in the case of a humor columnist, the first step toward a life of alcohol abuse.

Which brings me to the effectiveness of talking to yourself. First, let me clarify this shouldn’t occur in a room full of strangers or, for example, while making someone’s Cold Cut Combo at Subway. But when utilized as a tool in the privacy of your own home or office — or even during your morning commute if you pretend to have a Bluetooth — actually verbalizing dialogue is the best way to hear if it rings true. Not only will it identify phrasing that would be too difficult for someone to say (Note: This does not apply to characters written by Aaron Sorkin), it can also be an integral part of “inhabiting” that individual in the same way an actor verbally explores a script to understand delivery and motivation.

My fellow journalists in the newsroom have become accustomed to my mumblings on deadline days. Even if I’m in the break room making a sandwich…

image Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. Visit his blog at Ned’s Blog)

Introducing Deborah Jay

So happy to have Deborah Jay joining our group. Deborah will have some updates around November 1, but for now, hope you’ll enjoy a quick introduction, and some info on her books, one of which is on sale through tomorrow, so act fast!

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Fantasy Novelist Deborah Jay

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find the time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many horses, and her complete inability to cook.

She has a dream of a day job riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her debut novel, epic fantasy The Prince’s Man, first in a trilogy and winner of a UK Arts Board award, is available from most ebook retailers.

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Her eco-Urban Fantasy, Desprite Measures, (first in a projected 5 book series) is the tale of a Scottish water sprite trying to live as a human, and is currently available on Amazon.

Desprite Measures is currently on sale for 99 cents.
Sale ends tomorrow, so act fast.

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On the surface she’s a cute and feisty blonde, a slender pocket rocket fitness coach. But Cassiopeia Lake has a secret; she’s really a force of nature – an elemental.

Water sprite, Cassie, has lived undisturbed in her native Scottish loch for eons. Now, one encounter too many with modern plumbing has driven her to live in human guise along with her selkie boyfriend, Euan. It’s all going fine – until a nerdy magician captures Cassie to be an unwilling component in his crazy dangerous experiment.

Escape is only Cassie’s first challenge.

She’s smitten by her fellow prisoner, the scorching hot fire elemental, Gloria. But how do you love someone you can never touch?

And what do you do when your boyfriend starts to hero-worship your persecutor? Not to mention that tricky situation of being the prize in a power contest between two rival covens of witches.

So when Gloria’s temper erupts and she sets out to murder the magician, can Cassie keep her loved ones safe from the cross-fire, or will she be sucked into the maelstrom of deadly desires and sink without trace?

 

Buy Deborah’s Books Here:

Desprite Measures
The Prince’s Man – Amazon
The Prince’s Man – B & N
The Prince’s Man – Apple
The Prince’s Man – KOBO

Find Deborah on Social Media Here:

Blog
Twitter
Facebook
GoodReadsPinterest

 

 

Social Media Links Here:

Introducing Ned Hickson

I’m so happy to have my cyber-friend, Ned Hickson, joining us here on The Write Stuff. Ned is a funny, funny man, and an all-around nice guy. If you don’t follow Ned Hickson.com, you really should. He makes me, and a whole lot of other people, laugh every day! I decided to use Ned’s About Me page, entitled Let Me Explain Myself,  as his intro, because it’s far funnier than anything I would come up with.

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Ned Hickson is an editor and humor columnist for the Siuslaw News,
a small Oregon newspaper where the motto is:
Your dependable source for local news. Twice weekly. Unless we lose count.

After graduating from high school in Florence, Ore. in 1984, Ned moved to Dallas,Texas, where he found groundbreaking work as a bus boy. He eventually made his way into the kitchen and was promoted to corporate chef for L&N Seafood Restaurant in 1987, traveling throughout the South, coordinating restaurant openings. In 1989 he was promoted to regional chef and moved to Atlanta, Ga., where he was in charge of overseeing kitchen operations for 15 L&N Seafood locations throughout the Southern region.

But what does any of this have to do with his WRITING credentials?!?

Nothing really, but aren’t you getting hungry?

During his years in the restaurant business, Ned continued to write, getting short stories published in dozens of small press magazines, and completing a mystery novel. In 1999, he was hired as sports editor and columnist for the Siuslaw News in Florence.

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“Focused.” “Dedicated.” “Marginally Excitable.” — Just some of the words used
to
describe his journalistic style.

During his time at the News, he has been awarded “Best Local Column” from both the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He took his self-syndicated column online to newspapers in 2002 and, by 2003, received his first measure of national success: A threatening letter from Velcro© for not using the “©” symbol when making fun of its product. That same year, he became a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. In 2013, his column became a syndicated feature with News Media Corporation.

He and his wife, Alicia, are the parents of four children. They live in a 112-year-old home, where Ned utilizes his home repair skills to make improvements, such as being able to flush the toilet by turning on the garbage disposal. He is also a volunteer firefighter, which could come in handy, depending on how well he wired his home.

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“This should get that fuse box open…”

Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.

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Buy Ned’s book here:

Humor at the Speed of Life: Amazon
Humor at the Speed of Life: Barnes & Noble
Humor at the Speed of Life: Port Hole Publications

Find Ned on Social Media here:

Ned’s Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Introducing Debra Mauldin

Debra is the second one of our new members to step up and introduce herself. Thanks so much, Debra. I’m really looking forward to getting to know you better.

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Debra Mauldin

Published writer, Mother to 3 beautiful daughters and Grandmother to 6, (4 girls and 2 boys). My grandchildren are my world! I am a Certified Aromatherapist with an Associate’s Degree in Human Services. Writing has always been a part of my life. My passions are writing, reading, helping others, gardening, nature, and spending time with my grandchildren. I am currently working on a short story anthology that will be women’s fiction. I hope to publish by May 2015.

I am also working on two different novels, one fantasy, and the other one science fiction. I hope to get both of these novels published in 2015.

Read Debra’s short story, Christmas Festival, here:
Christmas Festival

Buy the complete anthology here:
Dragon Knight Chronicles

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Find Debra on Social Media here:

Wattpad (3 short stories)
Twitter
Linked In
Pinterest

DKC Writers’ Corner

 

Introducing Patti (PJ) Fiala

NOTE: So happy to meet Patti! She has sent me a lot of good stuff to share with you guys, and I hope you’ll pass it along via your own blogs, Twitter, or Facebook–however you want to get the word out. Patti will do the same for you, I’m sure, when you have news to share.

Patti Fiala

PJ Fiala

I was born in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri named Bridgeton. During my time in Missouri, I explored the Ozarks, swam in the Mississippi River, and played kickball and endless games of hide and seek with the neighborhood kids. Spending summers in Kentucky with my grandmother, Ruth, are the fondest childhood memories for me.

At the age of thirteen, my family moved to Wisconsin to learn to farm. Yes, learn to farm! That was interesting. Taking city kids and throwing them on a farm with twenty-eight cows purchased from the humane society because they had been abused was interesting. I learned to milk cows, the ins and outs of breeding and feeding schedules, the never ending haying in the summer, and trying to stay warm in the winter. Our first winter in Wisconsin we had thirty-six inches of snow in one storm and were snowed in our house for three days! Needless to say, I wasn’t loving Wisconsin.

I am now married with four children and three grandchildren. I have learned to love Wisconsin, though I still hate snow. Wisconsin and the United States are beautiful, and my husband and I travel around by motorcycle seeing new sites and meeting new people. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are interested in where we are going and what we have seen along the way. At every gas station, restaurant, and hotel, we have people come up to us and ask us about what we are doing as well as offer advice on which roads in the area are better than others.

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He had love and passion to give, but she was afraid to take it.

Owning Rolling Thunder Motorcycles, Inc. and raising his twin sons was top priority in Dog’s life. That was until he met Jocelyn James, the sweet, loving single mother of Gunnar, a young man who works for Dog.

Joci raised Gunnar alone after her cheating, dickhead of a boyfriend ran off with another woman. She finished school, started her own graphic design business and hung out with friends and family. The last thing on her mind was men! That is until she met Dog.

The chemistry is undeniable. The passion is incredible. The family bond is like no other.

Find Patti On Social Media Here:

PJ Fiala
Facebook:
Twitter
Pinterest

Google+

Buy Patti’s Book Here:

Dog Days of Summer

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