Friday, February 26, 2010

Literary Dinner Party

I was having a discussion with some co-workers about my favorite authors when someone asked me a rather strange and intriguing question: if I could invite five authors to a dinner party, who would I invite? And then someone else added that they couldn’t be alive…I had to bring them back from the dead in order to attend.

Well, I only had to think for a moment before answering:

1) Wilkie Collins: because I am an uber-fan and I would love to get his take on crafting a killer mystery - terrible pun, I know. (As well, I’d hand him Drood by Dan Simmons and see what he thought of the characterization – since it is told from Collins’ point of view and takes some liberties with regards to fact vs. fiction.)

2) Edgar Allan Poe: because he was so darn creepy…I’d love to get a taste of his social etiquette.

3) Nathaniel Hawthorne: because I enjoy reading all of his novels and short stories; I would love to hear him speak on the duplicity of human nature and wonder what his take on our modern world would be.

4) Mary Shelley: because I’d like to know what impact her writing had on her role as a woman in her society.

And finally,

5) Oscar Wilde: mainly because he was funny and bizarre and I believe he would add some interesting chatter to the table.

So that’s my list of perfect dead authors to sit and chat with…how about you? Do you have a group of dead authors you’d like to have a dinner party with?


Friday, February 19, 2010

What Keeps You Going?

The other day, Nathan Bransford posted on his blog about what keeps writers writing. It got me thinking…a lot.

What keeps me writing?

I can’t stop the ideas from invading my thoughts if I don’t write them down. I can’t focus on the next thing when there is a scene or a character or whatever, speaking to me. I get this nagging, annoying feeling (like a finger poking me in the arm over and over again) if I don’t sit down to write. This is especially true when I set quotas or a deadline for myself.

For example, this past weekend, the long weekend, I had a mission for myself. I just got some edits back from a fellow writer (thanks Donna), on a short story I was working on. Well, it turns out, as I suspected, the ending really sucked…in fact, there wasn’t much of an ending, too many loose ends. In any case, the story needed a lot of work. So I decided that I needed to focus all of my attention, all of my free time on the weekend, on fixing the story. I fretted over a new ending for the days leading up to the weekend and finally came up with something that I thought would pass as good. Then, I wrote…and wrote and wrote…all weekend.

By the time Monday night rolled around, I was done and happy with what was there. I mean, it still needs a couple more rounds of editing but I think I have something for my publisher to look at now…something worth submitting. What was amazing to me was that I didn’t get annoyed at the process. I didn’t get stressed out about having to rewrite many parts of the story. I knew that I was making it better; I could see that as I worked. The whole process helped me to remember just why I love to write. When I write I get lost in a world that I have created. I get swept up with my characters. It inspires me to keep creating.

So what keeps me writing? It’s that excitement at exploring new ideas, solving problems and believing in myself. I’ve gotten this far haven’t I? Why give up now?

What about all of you? Is there something that keeps you doing the thing you love to do?

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Power of Suggestion

Have you ever been motivated to eat something because of a particularly well written story/novel?

A few days ago, I was reading this short story and there was a very vividly described chocolate cream pie. (It made sense in the context of the story.) Anyway, the description was so true to life, so mouth wateringly accurate that I instantly had a hankering for a big slice of creamy pie!

Now, this was the first time a story had elicited such a strong reaction from me. I fall prey to movies and commercials where food is concerned all the time. (I am particularly susceptible to chocolate; peanut butter cups are the major victims to my instant cravings.) But I’ve never had that reaction to the written word.

In any case, I did buy the pie, and I almost ate the whole thing (my husband snuck a piece). It was good. As good as the author described.

So you tell me, have you ever read something that was so well written that it made you want one? Whether it be to eat, to have, or to be?

Friday, February 5, 2010


I mentioned in my Seven Things You Didn't Know About Me post that I am superstitious...and even though I know it's foolish, and I have some restrictions (like I'm only superstitious about three things...pennies, umbrellas and ladders) I still can't get rid of that nagging feeling of impending doom when I fail to comply with my superstition.

I also must confess that I have another superstition that I do so often I can't believe I forgot to mention it...I'm a know, knocking on wood? Avoiding some bad luck comment from coming true because I tap on some hard wood...foolish, right? Whatever...I do it all the time.

I guess it might be because I have something going on at the moment that would require a bit of luck. Right now my superstition obsession is way up. I just don't want to risk incurring bad luck...just in case such a thing not only exists, but can be manipulated!

I've been more inclined to donate money and do nice things for people lately too...not to say that I'm normally a nasty person...but sometimes I get so caught up in my world of work and whatnot that I forget to share and help when I can. My conscience is unusually strong though and if I think about it at the time and realize I'm being selfish or rude, I try to fix the problem right away. I believe in Karma...seen it backfire too many times not to...what goes around does inevitably come around. Which is why I am trying to be super good.

It's silly really...I do know that it has no basis in fact and that I can't really control my fate, but I suppose in this world of publishing, where very little is in my control, (other than the writing part) it is my way of manipulating things in the only way I can. I guess it is kind of selfish of me to be super-sensitive to others only because I don't want to jinx myself...but it is what it least I'm trying to do good by it!

What about you all, do you have moments of hyper-superstition or karma related activities? Is there something that you really want that would drive you to attempt to manipulate fate? Does your conscience speak louder at certain times?