Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Do Walkers Write Or Do Writers Walk?


Author Barbara Kingsolver won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2023. The winning novel she wrote is titled. “Demon Copperhead”. In an interview she has said that her novel is the contemporary version of Charles Dickens novel, “David Copperfield”. It’s the “David Copperfield” of Kingsolver’s time and place.

I recently read a meme (source unattributed) that said:

“Reading and writing cannot be separated. Reading is breathing in; writing is breathing out.”

My favorite author, Jennifer Crusie believes and embodies this. Before writing her first novel, she taught high school English. She taught the gothic novel, “The Turning Of the Screw” by Henry James every year. When she taught it she thought – I could write this story better. So she did.

 Maybe This Time” is Crusie’s version of a gothic romance novel and, in my opinion, it’s better than Henry James’s book. I was lucky enough to see her speak and get my hardcover copy of this book signed.

Jenny has more than twenty novels, many of which are on the NYT bestseller list. She gets ideas from a lot of places but reading stories and watching stories definitely contribute. She has another novel that is, as yet, unpublished, titled “The Devil and Nita Dodd”. It is a novel spawned from watching the television series, Lucifer, and being annoyed by the bad writing for a show full of actors so skilled, she, and many others, me included, kept watching.

Of course, I can abuse anything, including reading. I have just started a second reread, back-to-back, of the sixteen books in Jayne Castle’s Harmony series. The current rereads are a response to the fact that she is coming out with  a new book in the series in May.

And, of course, I love that series. The first reread – okay. The second reread, procrastination my friends.

Jayne Castle doesn’t procrastinate. The author is actually Jayne Ann Krentz. She writes historical paranormal romance as Amanda Quick – love, love, love. She writes contemporary paranormal romance as Jayne Ann Krentz – again with the love. She writes futuristic paranormal romance as Jayne Castle – I think the rereads attest to the love.

Paranormal the Krentz way is not vampires or demons or werewolves. No. It’s people who have developed additional powers. For example, on Harmony, people can summon “ghosts” (not real ghosts just a deathly form of energy). They can set illusion traps which will scramble your wits if triggered. 

And they have dust bunnies as pets. Castle describes them as looking like a wad of dryer lint with eyes. The dust bunnies have names and personalities. For example, dust bunny Elvis has a cape and dark sunglasses and eats peanut butter with banana sandwiches. They are also fierce little predators who have a second pair of eyes in the back of their heads that come out when they think their human is in danger. In which case, they will use their six little paws to scurry up a villains body so they can bite their jugular vein.

One wonders, were those pets fueled by Castle finding dust bunnies under her bed? We may never know. This author doesn’t have a lot of time for interviews since, at seventy-five years of age she still puts out three books a year; one Quick, one Krentz and one Castle.

It’s well established that reading fuels writing. What are other things that further the efforts of getting a story sorted out and on paper or computer? 

I am a lover of trees and therefore ‘forest bathing’ is definite fuel for my writing. I need a whole blogpost to cover that subject alone. If you can’t wait to learn more you can go here and check out what National Geographic has to say on the topic.

Many great writers have said the only way to write is to sit your butt in your chair and put your fingers on your laptop keys. I wrote more on this in a blogpost titled Don't Wait For Inspiration. Go here for that blogpost.

 A lot of writers will tell you walking helps. The theory is that if your story isn’t moving, one solution is to move your body.  

Charles Dickens said about walking: “If I couldn’t walk fast and far, I should just explode and perish.”

Statistics agree with him. If you walk three times a week, forty minutes each time, the part of your brain that is associated with memory and planning increases in size.

Rebecca Solnit, author of the book Wanderlust; A History Of Walking said: “Thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing in a production-oriented culture, and doing nothing is hard to do. It’s best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking.”

I’ve recently started intentionally walking for different purposes. It would be nice if moving my novel along was a side benefit. That would require thinking about my novel in progress while I'm walking. I would have to think about what I'm writing instead of what I'm reading as I put one foot in front of the other.

That would be more easily done if I give up on my second reread of the Harmony series. But, but, but…

Longview by Green Day





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