Category Archives: Clancy Metzger

How Do You Write?

Some people have the luxury of being full-time writers and hopefully make a living at it.  Many, however, have to squish out time in the morning, evening, weekends, lunches, from the family, or whenever they have a few moments. All of these options are perfectly valid.  We all have to do what we can do whether it’s 20 words, 2000 or more.  Recently, I felt as though someone was disparaging my ability to produce with a comment about how much they produce daily.  I’m glad that this person has the ability to get the words out.  Right now, I am not able to.  It bugged me enough that I felt compelled to say to all my writerly type friends – to each their own. 

There are days when I am in the zone and not running a thousand errands and I am able to produce great words in good quantities or even good words in great quantities.  But, then there are times when I have family concerns, medical issues, time constraints (plug in whatever in life is slowing you down) and I am unable to produce anything.  When I can work, writing a short story might be no problem.  When life is in the way, I’m doing good to write an email or a blog. 

Is this a problem for someone who wants to write full time?  Of course it is.  And, do we all have to find that balance to have a family, day job, friends and… write.  Yes we do.  Sometimes, we even succeed.  Sometimes, we don’t.  But only we know if we are doing all we can or not; only we can hold ourselves accountable. 

The point, I guess, is – you know what you can do and when.  No one else is privy to the distractions, both serious and frivolous, that hinder you from you’re writing endeavors.  So, do what you can, when you can and don’t worry about anyone else.

Ideas are Cheap”¦ and Everywhere

“Ideas are cheap.” I heard this once from a panel of successful authors at a seminar, and I thought to myself  –  ‘No, that can’t be right. If I have a genius idea, it’s priceless.’ Right? Wrong.

     Then said panel proved it. Take any idea and give it to someone and their spin on it will be completely different than the next person’s and the next’s. So, any idea has an unlimited number of incarnations. Cheap. All our experiences create our perspective and that all plays a role in how we would tackle a topic. Cool. Cheap.

Whenever me and my CP are talking about something that happened to me, or I did, or I lived in the past, she says, ‘that’d make a great story.’ And, I think, DUH, why didn’t I think of that. Everywhere.

Really absorb these concepts, fellow Fictorians – anything, everything is an idea for a story and no two people will tell that story the same. Cheap and Everywhere.

How many of us have watched the TV show, Angel? Me? I own it, love it, discuss it… you get the idea. Yet I never had this moment of brilliance. What if you took the characters of Angel and Wesley and made them gay lovers with a BDSM slant to their relationship? No one have that idea? Wrong. At least one person did. When I found out the book I was reading was inspired by that very idea – I thought that’s freakin’ genius. The names are different and there’s a lot changed… because it’s through this author’s filter. But, knowing the characters that were the source inspiration, there were moments reading the book where I could picture them. I recognized some character traits. The author had an idea and explored it.

The point is that ideas are everywhere if you ‘get it.’  Tap into your inspiration and run with it. Ideas are cheap… and everywhere.

I challenge you – use the following idea, process it through the filter of your experiences, and where do you take that story? Share if you want.

IDEA: You just had several huge flower boxes built in your yard, and they’re big enough to hold a body or two…

To Continue or Not To, That May Be The Question

I just spent a full fourteen months working on my first paranormal romance.  My schedule looked something like this: Feb thru Apr– world-building, developing characters, and outlining / May and June – writing rough draft  / Jul thru Oct – rewriting and rewriting and rewriting (it had problems) / Oct – more character development (I realized I didn’t know my characters well enough)  / Nov and Dec – rewriting / Jan – more world-building (I realized I had a boring world with no conflict in it) / Feb and Mar – rewriting / Apr – put in virtual drawer indefinitely.

So, the question is – what prompted the last action?  While I have been writing my entire life, I have only been writing with the goal of being a writer since the beginning of last year.  I’d talked about it and done a few things with that goal in mind, but not until January of 2010 had I committed myself completely to writing as a career.  So, as a newbie, I consider writing this first romance book, all the critique groups I joined, all the books on craft I read, all the conferences and seminars I attended, all the writer friends I found, and the amazing critique partner I connected with  – all of it was my Master’s class in writing genre fiction. 

Many, or most, authors will say that their first book written was not their first book published.  In fact, it may never have seen the light of day again after being tucked away in that drawer of shame.  Or, it may have been pulled out later, whipped into better shape and offered to the world.  Either way, our first book (and possibly second through who-knows-how-many) is not good enough to be our entrance into the publishing world.  Do I think my story is good?  I do.  Do I think it’s great?  In all honesty, I question this.  I’m half way through final rewrites, and I don’t think it’s good enough to be great. 

Do I continue on this project or move on to something fresh that given my now more developed skills will be better from the first draft with the potential to be great by the final?  I decided move on.  Spinning my wheels and wasting more months on my first is getting me nowhere.  I don’t want to be that person who spends decades or even years on one book trying to make it perfect.  Nothing is ever perfect.  And this was not a wasted effort.  I learned a lot while writing this book and I will continue to learn a lot as I go forward in my career. One of the hard lessons – when to continue and when to move on.

Is it a hard decision to abandon my baby?  You bet.  But, it’s also the right thing to do.  Baby #1 has been officially stuck in the drawer.  And the process begins anew. 

Be brave, Fictorians… every step on this wondrous journey we’ve undertaken is worth the effort.