Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Writing with Crows

By Suzanne Rock (Guest Blogger)

Thank you so much for having me here on the blog! Today I want to talk about a major pest that has been plaguing me lately – crows.

If you’ve been writing for any length of time, then you’ve probably encountered these pests. They sneak up on you when you least suspect it and peck away at your subconscious. Sometimes it starts out as a small thought such as “I don't like this sentence.” Then it turns into something more. Maybe you think “I don't like this character,” Or a chapter doesn't feel right. Before you know it, you're throwing your computer across the room and swearing off writing permanently, convinced that you will never be able to form a coherent sentence again.

Everything I write is garbage.”

Why do I even bother trying?”

It’s pointless.”

I have a writer friend who has a name for this. She calls it the “Crows of Doubt.”

The crows can be crippling for a writer. It can keep you away from your manuscript for days or weeks, sometimes even months. Some people never recover. So how do you get rid of these pests?

Crows are depicted in mythology as “harbingers of doom” ( http://www.squidoo.com/crow1). They love to circle above death and carnage, looking for a meal. Once one crow finds a potential snack, others soon follow. Their loud caws are disturbing, and often distract people from whatever they are doing. “Once a crow arrives, they’re difficult to get rid of because they’ve found an adequate food source.” (http://www.howtogetridofstuff.com/pest-control/how-to-get-rid-of-crows/)

Boy, don't I know it.

So, the question is, how do you tell these crows to get lost, so you can get back to doing what you love – writing?

I did a little research, and here is what I learned:

  1. Build a scarecrow.

Surround your work area with your accomplishments. Maybe it's a collage of your book covers, or a picture of you with your close writer friends at a conference. Perhaps it's that thank-you note from a reader or a letter of encouragement from a friend. Keep them handy by your work area. The next time you hear the crows coming, pull out your accomplishments and go through them. Reflect on how far you’ve come, and how much you’ve learned about the industry and writing in general. Remember you are good, and you’re only going to get better. Believe it, and keep writing.

  1. Keep your surroundings clean

Don't clutter your hard drive and work space with non-writing things. They provide too much of a distraction. Keeping an internet window open to twitter while you write (or facebook, or your email inbox) might seem like a good idea, but it really isn’t. The temptation is too great. Many times these little distractions can feel innocent enough, but they can cause us to miss timelines, which in turn makes us discouraged. When we’re discouraged, the crows arrive.

  1. Use bright lights

Crows hate bright lights, so keep our work area well lit. Use plenty of lighting and if you can manage it, sit by a window or outdoors. Sunlight does wonderful things for your mood. Writing in the dark, or at a dreary desk facing the wall, will just make it easier for the crows of doubt to invade.

  1. Make some noise

If you feel the crows looming on the horizon, talk about it. Everyone has been there, so we all know what you’re going through. Maybe you just got your 40th rejection letter on your manuscript and you feel like you just can't go on anymore (been there, done that). Or maybe you opened that royalty check that just covers your morning latte – if you order a small instead of your usual large (been there, too). Whatever reason you have for doubting yourself, talk about it with others who understand. Sometimes just getting everything off your chest is a huge relief and can get rid of those nasty crows. (Just do it in private, not in public forums. You don't want these emotional outbursts to come back to haunt you, lol).

  1. Shoot them with a water gun

When all else fails, try target practice. Print out a picture that exemplifies your angst (a crow maybe? ;) ) and bring it out into the back yard with your kid's water gun. Go on, I won't tell anyone. Take aim, and give it your best shot. After ten minutes of showing the crow who's boss, you'll feel much better, and if not, at least you’ll have something interesting to write about. :D

So, now I’ve told you what I do when I begin to doubt my writing. What about you? How do you deal with the crows of doubt? Tell me about it!

Dark Deception by Suzanne Rock

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRw_BspWIXg

Blurb:

After being plunged into a chaotic and deceitful society, Maria Guerrero finds comfort in the arms Enrique Torres, a man she believes is innocent of her world. She keeps him ignorant about her inner monster, and the blood oath she took to save her brother's life. Instead she prefers to use their sexual play as an escape from her supernatural world. When her secrets catch up with her however, Maria is forced to confess her sins. Will Enrique find it in his heart to forgive her deception? He must, before her vampire master demands her to pay him his due. With the help of a disillusioned fey warrior, she convinces Enrique that vampires are real, and danger lurks around every corner.

Enrique can’t allow himself to fall for Maria charms, or he’ll risk revealing secrets of his own -- secrets which would not only scare her, but put his mission in jeopardy. He hopes that by forming a physical connection with the young vampire, he’ll lower her defenses and earn her trust, for she’s the only one who could help him bring peace to the Immortal Realm. As they play out their sexual fantasies, her true identity is uncovered. On impulse he gives her his trust, only to be repaid with her betrayal. Now he wants revenge… but what will be the cost? As the Immortal Realm descends into chaos, Enrique and Maria must choose whether to trust each other again, or fall victims to the dark deceptions that rule their world.

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRw_BspWIXg

Excerpt:

Got ourselves in trouble again, I see.”

Maria froze. “Carlos.” How did he get here? She was alone in the room and the door was locked. Her gaze tore away from the tall, lean vampire and settled on the open window. Damn, she knew not to be so careless. Knowing Carlos, he probably watched her whole exchange with Enrique. He would want a full report, but Maria was in no mood to give one.

The vampire crossed his arms in front of his chest. “So, you remember me. After not seeing you for two nights, I was beginning to wonder…”

She turned on her heel to face him. “I would never forget you -- or the kindness you’ve shown Frederick and me.”

He frowned, his perfect dark brow arching over his amber eyes. “You need to work on your lies, Maria.”

Her breath caught. Leave it to him to bring up her immaturity. She carefully schooled her face into a blank mask, as she was taught.

His features softened as he approached. “You're still a very young vampire and unable to hold you mask.” He stopped, his face inches away from hers. Crooking his finger under her chin, he turned her head first to the right, then to the left. A frown creased his perfect angular features. “You look gaunt.”

She jerked her head away from his grasp. “It is nothing.”

I've heard that you haven't been going to the feedings.”

They are innocent people.”

They’re food, nothing more.” He sighed. “At this rate you are going to collapse before your second year.” Reaching out, he trailed his finger down the side of her face. Maria forced herself not to flinch. “It would be a pity to lose such wonderful vampire flesh.”

She bit back a retort. Arguing would accomplish nothing. Carlos was a master of words and would only use her arguments to manipulate her. An image of her brother appeared in the forefront of her mind and she strengthened her resolve.

At her darkest hour, Carlos rescued both her and Frederick from the brink of destruction. The vampire leader was now securing their future. Under Carlos' protection Frederick would remain safe. She would remain safe. Frederick's dealings with the underworld had put her in danger more than once before. Now that they had the protection of the vampires, they wouldn't be touched.

Carlos slipped his hand lower, catching the 'V' in her dress. “You can't keep denying our desire for flesh and blood, Maria.” He leaned in close, his warm breath gliding against her cheek.

Maria shivered as his icy fingers danced over her skin. She was grateful for his protection, but would never...could never...

One night with me and I can take you away from all this.” His voice was soft and filled with promise. Maria resisted the stirring in her lower abdomen. “Think about it, no more accusing stares from the servants, no more chores...”

No more Enrique. She had always loved Enrique's handsome features, but now that she had spent more time with him her feelings ran much deeper than lust. He treated her like somebody -- somebody who mattered. He was so different from Carlos, who only wanted to use her body to further his agenda.

Maria stepped back from his touch. “Why do you have me stay here at all? I mean, you say you want to trap Enrique -- Señor Torres -- but wouldn't it just be easier to send in vampires to capture him?”

Carlos smiled, showing each of his perfectly white teeth. “Ah, my dear. It isn't enough just to capture him.” He took a step forward. “I want to humiliate him.” Golden flecks danced across his eyes. “Ruin him.”

Maria's back hit the wall. She was trapped. “Why?”

He stepped closer, his chest even with her head. Her skin tingled at the power before her. She felt her fangs lower in response.

Why?” He tipped his fingers under her chin and tilted her head up to his gaze. “Because I loathe him, Maria.” He lowered his head until his mouth hovered inches above her own. “As every vampire should.” His lips brushed against hers. Maria felt the cold press all the way to her toes. “The fool will destroy us all.” He kissed one cheek. “If he knew your real identity...” He kissed the other cheek. “He wouldn't hesitate to put a stake in your heart.”

No.” Enrique was kind and thoughtful. He loved her and...

And he only approached her after she became a vampire and used her charms on him. His caring words, his gentle touch, all of it prompted by the magik Carlos bestowed on her. Sure Enrique was always kind to her, but it wasn't until she became a vampire that his interest turned sexual.

Maria straightened and tried to pull away, but it was no use. The weight of her burden felt like an anvil on her shoulders. The only reason why she was even allowed at the Torres estate was because Carlos decreed it. At any moment the vampire lord could take the privilege away from her. Then what would she be left with?

Carlos' grip tightened. “You know it is true. Don't deny who you are -– or your destiny.”

Hunger, pure and raw blossomed in her core. Only a select few were allowed to feed directly from the vampire leader. Maria had no illusions as to why she was bestowed such an honor. Vampire feedings were steeped in sexual energy and it was no secret that Carlos favored her.

Her master tilted his head to the side. His long dark hair fell away from his shoulders and exposed the smooth ivory skin of his neck. “Now feed.”

Bio:

After over a decade in the scientific world, Suzanne needed a creative outlet. She tried scrap booking, cooking, crocheting, painting, and piano, none of which held her interest for very long. Then one of her friends suggested writing. Thrilled with the idea of creating her own worlds, she opened up her lap top and never looked back.

When Suzanne’s not writing, she can be found playing with her two daughters, testing her husband’s latest kitchen creations, or curled up with her favorite romance novel in her central Massachusetts home.

Backlist:

Spyder's Web, Loose Id

Up on the Housetop (Book 1 of the Kyron Pack), Loose Id

Cria, Loose Id

Down on the Boardwalk (Book 2 of the Kyron Pack), Loose Id

Dark Deception (Book 1 of the Immortal Realm), Red Sage

Links:

Website: www.SuzanneRock.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Suzanne_Rock

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/suzanne.rock

Embrace the Shadows Blog: http://embracetheshadows.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2982868.Suzanne_Rock

Youtube Channel (so you can see my other book trailers): http://www.youtube.com/user/SuzanneRock1

6 comments:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Suzanne,

What a great post! I definitely have my own crows. I basically try to ignore them, but I particularly like the idea of the "scarecrow".

Warmly,
Lisabet

Suzanne Rock said...

Hi Lisabet! Thanks so much for having me on today. I think a lot of us try to ignore the crows, but sometimes it can be hard. I try to remember that I'm not alone, and that every writer feels this way from time to time.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Suzanne,
Great post. Interesting concept about the crows, but very relevant. They are horrible things, and when the words won't flow, it is a horrible feeling, so yes the two go together nicely. I hadn't thought of it that way before.
Your cure is good too.

regards

Margaret

Janice said...

Aussie have a saying, "Stone the crows!"

Good luck with the new book. I wish you many sales.

Janice~

Margaret West said...

Crows, the bane of my life. I can write a whole chapter and then sit there and think actually that isn't good. This is wrong, that doesn't tie in...peck peck peck...then you doubt yourself. What do I do? Eat chocolate...lol...no, really I do. I eat and think about why I feel this way. Most of the time the crows get bored and fly away, but sometimes I have the odd stray, still pecking away. But there is only so much chocolate you can eat..so I move on and re-evaluate what bothered me another day.

Marie Harte said...

Great post, Suzanne. I agree. It's all too easy to let those "crows of doubt" weigh you down. I find, like you've said, that keeping my desk clear of clutter helps me a lot. And sharing with my writer friend Ayla is a good stress reliever. A reminder that we all have good times and bad times.

Your book looks terrific. Great excerpt! Good luck with Dark Deception, though from what I've read, you won't need it. :)

Marie

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