Monday, March 24, 2014

Michelle Conder: Words of Wisdom

Great things, words of wisdom. Not that I have that many of my own. I still feel too much like a newbie in this business and am bogged down in the middle of my seventh book. I know where I want to go with it but right now I think I’d have more fun prying my fingernails away from their fleshy beds than getting on with it. That said, once I sit down and immerse myself in the story and turn off my supersonic (I’m sure I could hear it from the moon) critical voice then the magic takes over. And that’s why I write. Apart from having a head full of character’s who love to talk and who make me want to daydream for hours on end, I love that process of losing myself in the story. Of feeling as if I’ve lost time when I raise my head hours after I started. The buzz is incredible and the adrenaline rush makes me feel like I could scale Mt Everest singlehandedly.

But when my supersonic voice gets a little loud I think of all the words of wisdom other authors and artists have given me and I always feel better.

So here’s a few I have stuck on my magnetic board.

1. Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it. (Salvador Dali, I think)
2. At some point in the process of writing your novel you will hate it and want to throw it away. (Alexandra Sokoloff)
3. The first draft is meant to be crap and up to 70% will get tossed in the bin (Can’t remember who said it but this is definitely me!)
4. Not knowing doesn’t hurt anyone except those who get hurt because nobody knows (Erich Fried)
5. Come up with 5 things your hero/ione would hate to have happen to them and make it happen (Nalini Singh)
6. To succeed in life is to be able to transform. (Hmmm, not sure…)
7. Athletes play hurt. Warriors fight scared. (Steven Pressfield in his book Turning Pro)

I also really like what Woody Allen said on a documentary TV show about his work – and I’m paraphrasing like mad here – but essentially he said that he makes a film and sometimes at the end when he watches it he finds that it’s not the film he had intended to make when he set out at the beginning. Knowing that such a prolific artist feels that way about his work was very freeing for me because I often feel the same way about my first drafts.

Initially I used to feel like I had failed when this happened but over the years I have learned to be kinder to myself and to go with what is in my heart to write and let the work be what it will be. I think my characters are much happier with this personal insight – as are my family!

And when I really feel bunched I read over my collection of words of wisdom and feel comforted that if I push forward the story will come.

Below I have included an extract from my next Harlequin Presents novel, Socialite’s Gamble, due out in June this year. I hope you like it.  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book!

AIDAN SAW A flash of pink hair and one long slim leg before the limousine pulled away from the kerb, its taillights blinking in the gloomy night.
Amazing. The woman he had thought a cheap tourist at best could afford a limousine. Or perhaps she’d had a rich lover waiting outside.
With legs like hers it was probably the more likely scenario. Long and golden brown. He had no doubt they’d be smooth to the touch and his hand would have no trouble sliding all the way up to those tiny shorts. He imagined her breathless little gasp as he slid one finger inside the leg of those shorts and teased—what the…?
He pulled himself up short as he realised he was turning himself on.
Rubbing at the space between his eyes he shook his head. He must be going mad to fantasise about a woman like that.
A woman who wore clothes that revealed more than they hid. Well, okay, her purple blouse had been loose and only hinted at the small, high breasts beneath, but it had been designed to make a man think about exactly what they would look like underneath. And those shoes? If they hadn’t been created with sex in mind, he didn’t know what was.
Oh, she had been advertising, all right, and although his body had perked up with interest at her wares he’d had no intention of taking the bait. He was in Vegas for one night and one purpose and it had nothing to do with bedding a woman.
He buttoned his jacket against the cold and glanced around for his limousine. His HR manager had assured him that it would be waiting at the kerb as soon as he exited the main terminal and he was a man who knew how to do his job.
Noticing a white sign on the damp pavement he walked closer and saw that it had his name printed on it.
His gaze narrowed. Why would a piece of cardboard with—? Son of a… She’d stolen his limousine!

***Michelle's winner is Cindy Hamilton! Please email with your mailing details!***


Cindy Hamilton said...

Really like the cover and excerpt!!

Mary Preston said...

The extract had me hooked & then laughing. LOVED it!!!

Very interesting words of wisdom.

Laney4 said...

I came across this pearl today: Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns. ~Author Unknown. It made me think of authors and all their kindnesses (i.e., giving away their books). Thank you for being so generous.
Last year, I bought DUTY AT WHAT COST? Oh my. I could feel the lust they had for each other ... and I enjoyed their "road to romance", complete with her defiance and danger along the way.
So? I look forward to reading your latest book (and others of yours) too. Thanks again.

Laurie G said...

Write what you know.
Always keep paper and pen on hand to write an idea down.
Pay attention to what's going on around you. You might find a great storyline by watching people and how they interact.
WRITE even when you don't feel like it.

Best wishes for continued success!