Thursday, September 1, 2022


“Vision precedes reality.” Jayne Ann Krentz (said by a character in the novel ‘Amaryllis’) 

I want to be more like romance novelist Jayne Ann Krentz. 

Common wisdom says don’t compare yourself to others. I call bullshit. I think sometimes others can show you the potential you aren’t realizing. 

JAK does this in 2 areas for me. First, she’s incredibly prolific. She writes under 3 psuedonyms: Amanda Quick historicals; Jayne Castle futuristics; Jayne Ann Krentz contemporaries. 

She’s been accused of writing from a formula. Having read every word she’s written, in my opinion, she has several formulas and ALL of them produce good books. 

She’s proof of what happens when one sits down and puts their fingers on the keyboard and writes. Daily. For hours. I want more of whatever it takes to do this. 

The second area she shows me where I don’t live up to my potential is harder to explain. I’ve read some of the most profound truths in fiction. When characters in novels say things like “vision precedes reality” it’s better than non-fiction.

 I know I’m capable of writing like this. Again with the sitting…with the fingers on the keyboard – this time adding an engaged, active imagination.

 I want to be more like romance novelist Sarah Addison Allen.

 I can’t quote every word of her book ‘Garden Spells’ but I would if I could because they’re compelling. The genre is romantic magical realism but it’s beyond that. The main characters have magical quirks that form community and arc to fit together like pieces in a puzzle. And the apple tree in the backyard is one of the main characters.

 I know I can write like this. I started a magical realism genre trilogy. I still have pages on a jump drive somewhere. The guts of the story were all outlined in a red sketchbook that I was using to make notes about works in progress and ideas for other writing projects. UNTIL. I was on an Amtrak train and there was an idiot who locked himself in the bathroom with a gun. Everyone had to flee the train, leaving their belongings behind. I should’ve brought the sketchbook with me. We never made it back on that particular train and my efforts to locate the lost sketchbook were futile.

 I could have reproduced most of the background for the trilogy if I had made efforts at the time. Now it would be starting from scratch. Maybe someday.

 I want to be more like romance novelist Jenny Crusie. She’s written 20 best-selling novels and in the next 2 years she will be releasing 4 more. And all of them have snappy, snarky, dialogue-driven plots.

 From Agnes and the Hitman:

 Agnes: “Who is Carpenter?”

Shane: “He’s a man of many talents.” He looked up at her, and she remembered she was naked. “You might want to get dressed. He’ll be here in twenty minutes.”

“Is he going to try to kill me?”


“Already I like him,” Agnes said, and went into the bedroom.

 I’m not going to say I can write like this. I can write the dialogue. I can drive the plot with it. What I can’t do is what Crusie and Addison Allen are masters at. I can’t treat a book like a thousand-piece puzzle that all fits together and makes a beautiful picture in the end.

 But I’m confident that I could learn to do that.

 What I want is more time to write.

 So the question is: why do I waste the time I have doing other things?

 “Vision precedes reality.” I want my circumstances to lend themselves to my finishing novels and chapbooks. When I try to visualize what that reality would look like, though, no clear picture forms.

 Brilliant idea: I need to make a vision collage. Should I make it online? Should I do a cut and paste on poster board collage? Where would I get magazines with pictures to cut out?

 Snap – another reason why I don’t write more: I’m easily distracted like those dogs in the movie Up anytime there’s a squirrel.

 That was a great movie. Maybe I should watch it one more time.

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