“Story doesn’t allow us to escape reality but navigate reality.” – Lisa Cron, Story Genius
Excuse me, while I blow the dust off of this blog. I’ve been gone the past few months finishing up writing two brand new books and diving into extensive edits. When I go that deep into the hole, I step away from social media and too many distractions, so it’s nice to be back in the world. I’ll have a few regular blog posts now lined up for the next few weeks, so let’s get to it!
I’ve been thinking about this quote lately as I navigate my own life and my writing. I remember back in the day, critics would warn women about the dangers of romance novels, citing how we will forget it’s fiction, and believe some dashing, romantic pirate will steal us away from our lives of boredom and give us a happily ever after.
That still pisses me off.
Even before I heard the well thought out and rational arguments, I remember thinking it was bullshit because when I read Stephen King or Sidney Sheldon or even Jackie Collins, I didn’t necessarily believe monsters were under my bed or I’d turn into a jewel thief or become a sexy mogul of a hotel empire with men dropping at my feet.
I mean, I WISH.
But story is such a powerful vehicle for people to heal fragments inside themselves and realize we are not alone. That to be human is to love, hurt, hope, fear, and dream mightily. It pushes us to the edge and then sometimes over. It saves us the same exact time it destroys us. Within the pages of a book I read, and the stories I craft, I’m consistently looking for that element to tie everything together, so when the last page is finished, someone will not only feel more connected, but a bit changed. It offers a new viewpoint – a lens into the world no one else may see except me.
That’s powerful stuff. It’s the stuff of legends and magic and we can’t forget it during the endless tedious hours of editing line by line, and feeling frustrated and blocked by the Muse who taunts us.
The hours put in gets us to the magic. There’s no mysterious portal we get to step through in order to reach the end of a well written book. It’s mostly blood, sweat and tears, but when we hold the finished book in our hand, the cover glossy, the pages clean and crisp and smelling of sweet paper, our name in raised font scrolled in brilliant color—it’s all worth it.
When I’m in the weeds, I go back to the heart and soul of what I’m creating which is built on emotion and being essentially human. Flawed. Yes, grammar, and plot, and theme, and well-crafted dialogue is needed to bring it all together, but the core is always the guts, the messy stuff, and as Lisa Cron teaches, the STORY. The more we practice and write, the easier we can recognize when we’re there and learn how to let go.
I just wrote THE END on my forty ninth book, which means I will begin writing my 50th book in August. *Stay tuned because I think I’m going to launch a huge book party celebration with all of you!*
This doesn’t count the 8 books I wrote that will never see the light of day in during my learning process.
That’s a lot of writing. And a hell of a lot of stories that guided my way these past fifty years.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.