Is it Possible to Wrangle an Epic Idea onto Paper?

by Michelle Griep

QUESTION:

“My story ideas always seem so different (better) in my mind. How do you get a story from your head to paper without having it freak out and become something totally different?”

SHORT ANSWER:

You don’t.

LONG ANSWER:

Don’t panic because of the short answer. I hate to be the pin holder bursting your authorly balloon into flying shreds of latex, but honestly, there’s no way you’ll ever capture the Cinemagraphic story in your head so that readers see exactly what you do . . . but that is the inherent beauty of every story. Just because your idea changes and comes out differently by the time you type THE END, that doesn’t mean that it’s bad.

But sometimes it is. Recently I read a Facebook status from one of my favorite authors, Travis Thrasher. He said:

“Hello, Solitary Tales fans. I wanted to let you know about this particular title that I had planned on releasing before the end of the year. Well, that plan changed, not because of busyness but because the story went places that I didn’t want it to go. Actually, Chris Buckley (that’s his main character) said that it was unbelievable. He told me he’d never do that stuff. He said that readers would be confused if I went in this direction. So yeah . . . I stopped writing and am now figuring out how to tell this story.”

Writers at every stage of the game continually wrestle with the beast of wrangling a story into words. At times it can be downright discouraging.

Do you really think this is what DaVinci
originally had in his mind when he
started painting?

All that being said, though, I’m still of the belief that change is good, and here’s why . . . even if you wrote exactly the story you wanted to tell, every reader who picks that book up will experience it in a different way than you intended. Why? Because readers come to the table with different baggage, a plethora of backgrounds, and assumptions galore.

Writing is art, and art is like that. For all we know, daVinci had a blonde-haired, blue-eyed vixen with a toothy grin in mind when he painted the Mona Lisa, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a beloved masterpiece.

Go forth fearlessly, little writers, and pen your masterpieces. Embrace change. And it never hurts to eat much chocolate along the way.

TWEETABLES

Is it Possible to Wrangle an Epic Idea onto Paper? by Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)
I’m still of the belief that change is good~ Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

Author Michelle Griep

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.


Embracing Fear


post by Michelle Griep

Fear is a negative word. A hateful word. And why am I such a hater?

Well, as much as I hate to break it to wannabe writers, the ugly truth is that fear is part of an author’s life. It never goes away. Fears such as:

  • What if I what I’m writing is a steaming pile of literary manure?
  • What if I can’t even think of anything to write today?
  • What if my sales numbers never pull out of the nosedive they’re in?
  • Sweet mercy! Will I ever be able to lose the 10 pounds I just gained from sitting around writing my last manuscript?
  • What if my book simultaneously releases when Suzy Awesome Author’s book comes out?
  • What if Ben & Jerry’s discontinues Chunky Monkey?

And those are just a few. Here’s the deal . . . writers are psychotic little rock badgers, all fidgety and tweaky. Why?

Because art is subjective.

Even to the artist. You may think that what you create on any given day is a masterpiece, then come back to it the next and have a little bit of throw-up in your mouth because you think it’s just that awful.

But you know what? A small amount of fear is a good thing. It keeps you on your toes. It keeps your head from swelling. It gives you an edge, preventing complacency. Too much fear will keep you from producing anything, but just a smidge is the sweet spot, spurring you on to bigger and better projects.

Recently I co-authored a book (Out of the Frying Pan) with a writerly buddy. You’d think working side-by-side with someone who understands the process would alleviate all those fears. Nope. Even teaming up, writelry angst still had a way of crawling in my ear and whispering, “You’re not good enough to write this.”
You know what? I did it anyway.

And you can too. Go forth, little writers, and embrace fear. Know that it’s part of the writerly game and that you’re not the only one a little shivery at the knees.

Unless, of course, it has to do with Ben & Jerry’s going out of business. Then all bets are off.

___________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.

What I Learned Co-Authoring a Book

post by Michelle Griep

Co-authoring really can be a fun adventure!
Kelly Klepfer & Michelle Griep
Sometimes you need to take a risk and dare peeking over the edge of your box, even venture just outside of it. But in writing my latest release, Out of the Frying Pan, I catapulted from my safety zone and took a freefall into uncharted territory for me. Not only did I switch genres, I buddied up to do it and wrote with a partner.
I learned a fair amount of survival tips along the way, so if you’re considering writing a novel with another author, here are a few nuggets of writerly wisdom . . .

Don’t edit the other person’s voice to death.
This was my problem. Big time. I’m the sicko who happens to love to edit. Soup can labels, dog food bags, you name it and I’ll edit it. Generally this skill comes in handy, but not so much when I red-inked my buddy’s scenes. The beauty of having two authors in one book is that the reader gets to enjoy two distinct voices. Resist the urge to make it sound like one.

Transitions are your new best friends.
When we finally put all of our scenes together, some of them didn’t mesh so well. Segues are a must, especially when there are two different brains thinking on different wavelengths. Just a sentence or two will do it at the beginning of each scene.

Have one main plotter.
My buddy and fellow Rocketeer, Kelly Klepfer, worked out the big picture for Out of the Frying Pan. Good thing, because too many ideas can spoil a novel. Not that we didn’t brainstorm together from time to time, but someone has to ultimately be in charge of steering the writerly ship.

Have loads of grace and buckets of mercy.

Sometimes I screwed up a scene. Sometimes Kelly did. We both had to go back to the drawing board when our scene didn’t work for the other person. Know that’s part of the game ahead of time so tempers don’t flare.

Divvy up the marketing chores.

Just because you finish writing the book together doesn’t mean the work is over. That’s when marketing begins. Don’t weigh down your partner with the bulk of getting the word out. Do what you learned in preschool: share.

Would I do it again? Sure. Writing a book together is a fun adventure. Just make sure to do it with someone you love. 

ABOUT THE BOOK ~ OUT OF THE FRYING PAN

When the chef of Sunset Paradise Retirement Village ends up dead, life for sisters Fern and Zula Hopkins is whipped into a froth. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective Jared Flynn. Should he be concerned about their safety or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts–especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Before the snooping pair gain any headway with the case, it becomes crystal clear that the sisters harbor their own secrets that take life from the frying pan and into the line of fire.

_______________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.


Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.

My Writing Journey: How the Bonfires of Beltane Was Born

posted by Michelle Griep for Mark Fisher

What kind of journey leads a person to devote years of their
life in front of a glowing monitor, pecking away at plastic keys, with no
expectation that the novel they’re writing will ever see print? What does such
a voyage look like?


Two Early Novels For Practice.

From an early age, I was an avid reader. And somewhere along the
way, I developed this crazy idea I’d become a writer of novels. Shortly after I
was married, I remember sitting down on the living room floor with a notebook
and pencil to write a novel. But I never finished it. My hands cramped. And
maybe there just wasn’t enough life behind me. Six years later, I sat down at
my PC Junior—today you’ll find them in a computer museum—and wrote what became
a massive, 600-page fantasy novel. It took five years to complete. It never
found a publishing home.
No sooner had I abandoned this project than I wrote a second
book, a novel of dark fantasy—this, of course, was before I was baptized. This
work was tighter, more polished, but it too failed to find a publisher. So I
switched to short stories, pumping out two dozen in the fantasy and sci-fi
genres, sending them to one magazine after another. But it was like fishing in
bad weather. A few nibbles that steal your bait. A few tugs on the line to let
you know that, yes, fish really are down there. But nothing’s biting today. For
a time, I gave up on writing. Fishing too.
Baptism, and a God-inspired Desire to Write.

Fast forward fifteen years to 2007 when I became a Christian,
read the Bible cover to cover, and was baptized. Then God seemed to light a
blowtorch to my desire to write. I wrote a half-dozen stories of spiritual
transformation and struggle. Then I convinced my church leadership board we
should publish a book, soliciting from the congregation spiritual short stories
(including four of mine), testimonies, and poetry. They agreed and we did. I
was a co-editor. We called it Tales from Calvary.

A Novel Is Published.

Then I revisited a story about a girl on an island under siege
from raiders. Ah, but the minute I sat down to write, she became a young man.
And the island suddenly situated itself a day’s sail off the coast of ancient,
Celtic Ireland. Then it struck me. Few people have ever heard the real story of
St. Patrick. How he was taken captive by Irish raiders and made a slave. How he
prayed to God, and God sent him visions. How he became a bishop and returned to
the island in AD 432 to confront the druids and spread the gospel across a
pagan land.
My story had become a 
novel of historical fiction. And my intrepid hero fought the druids, was
banished from his betrothed and his island home, and he landed on ancient,
Celtic Ériu
where he found St. Patrick. I dare say no more.
On June 20, Heritage Beacon Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse
Publishing of the Carolinas, will formally release the end of my journey. Check
it out HERE

Author
bio:

Mark
wrote his first twelve pages at the age of ten, complete with drawings of a
prairie fire, Indians, and a stampede. More recently he’s been writing
Christian historical fiction in an early medieval setting. His writing career
only began in earnest after his baptism into Christianity, after twenty-eight
years working for IBM as a computer programmer, and after completing a Masters
of Ministry. Mark and his wife like to travel, with recent trips to Japan,
Ireland, Italy, and France. When he’s not working for the church he helped
plant in 2012, he’s walking his dog or at his desk writing.

Novel
blurb:

In
his heart, Taran knows that sacrificing children to the sun god is wrong. He’s
heard of the one God they worship in distant Britain. But when he speaks out
against the druids who control his island home, they banish him to the sea.
Instead of a wedding to his beloved Laurna, there’s a tearful parting.
Beyond
the sea lies ancient, Celtic Ireland. There wait the Roman evangelist, Patrick,
and two kingdoms ruled by powerful kings and their druid advisors. But travel
through this wild land can mean slavery or death. And the druids will do
anything to prevent Patrick and his followers from changing their ancient ways.
Will
Taran find the spiritual truth he desperately seeks? Will he ever be able to
return
home and rejoin his beloved Laurna?