Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lightbulb & Other Fun Moments in a Writers Life

I won't pretend that every other romance author has the same experience, but I've talked to enough to know that lightbulb moments when writing a book are a beautiful, beautiful thing. Me? I love lightbulb moments, no matter when they come. This past year plus has been a real struggle for me - healthwise, family wise and personally. So, the fact I've had a few really crucial lightbulb moments regarding my writing over that same period has been an utter blessing to me.

Like the time I was reading a review of another author's book. The reviewer was mad because the author had taken what she considered the easy way out in resolving a particular conflict that is pretty common in modern romance. I have no idea how dead-on the reviewer's views were in relation to that particular book, but I took her admonishments to heart and resolved never to dismiss that particular plot element as an any easy give. It's a conflict that comes up in both The Real Deal and Deal With This, each book resolving the conflict differently. Can you guess what it is? Anyway, several months later, I'm still keeping it in mind as plots develop and characters and I argue over the direction the book is going.

Jut FYI - the characters always win.

Another moment of clarity came when I was working on one of my own books and I realized I was listening more closely to my internal editor than I was my characters. The sad truth of it was, s/he was louder! Again, I can't speak for other authors and their internal editors, but my little monster has a personality disorder. That's right, Sybil eat your heart out - my IE has more voices than a busload of NY City traffic cops giving the driver directions to a Mets game. And they were all clamoring for my attention. I introduced IE to Elle, the heroine from my upcoming TGP book, The Spy Who Wants Me. Though gorgeous, Elle is tough. She drop-kicked the little monster into the deep, dark reaches of the wasteland beyond my imagination.

Whew, that was close!

Another recent mental lightening bolt came while I was reading one of my autobuy authors. She'd set up an really wonderful emotional conflict and then...resolved it with a single discussion and no follow-up scene to show the altered reactions of the characters. She's on my autobuy lists because she's so brilliantly imaginative. She's also a fantastic writer of sensuality. Her books are emotional, but she does the quick resolution a lot. She's incredible at building worlds and creating characters, but the emotional and plotlines of her stories aren't yet at the same level. When they are? She's going to rocket to the top of bestseller lists. I'm sure of it. But see, this lightning bolt singed me personally, forcing me to take an evaluative look at the imagination, characterization, emotional journey, sensuality and plotting in my own stories. And I realized I've got some real growing as a writer to do to bring some of those elements in line with one another.

A sobering but exciting revelation.

Well, I titled this post Lightbulb and Other Fun Moments in a Writer's Life. Maybe, I'd best share some of the other before you all get cornea burnout from all the flashbulbs going off. LOL

Seeing the first historical I'd written in print definitely counts as a fun moment in my life. I adore the heroine of Annabelle's Courtship. She's a sufferagette before the right to vote became an official movement. She's smart. She's strong willed. And she's lots and lots of fun. So, I'm particularly happy to see her book available in print.

I had more than one fun moment while visiting the Greater Detroit chapter of RWA and then attending Lora Leigh's Reader Appreciation Weekend afterward. If you want to read more about that, visit my blog.

But the best, most fun moments in my life as a writer? When I get a chance to interact with readers. So, thanks, Lee, for having me here to guest blog and thanks to everyone reading. Hopefully, you'll each take a moment and share your favorite or a recent lightbulb moment in your own life!

Hugs to all,


Marilyn Shoemaker said...

“What matters is that the moment arrives when that clarity of thought becomes so intense that you do realize that change is possible.”

I’ve had many……in college when I changed my major……when I worked as a PA and realized I wanted more than fetching coffee (not that there anything wrong with that; I just wanted to get involved in PR or Events). However, during the past three years, the most important one for me that was the realization that I could move forward as a woman (widow) alone and look back on my life with my husband with joy and love and not the bitterness of loosing him so young.

Here’s a cute one from Trish Wylie:

Jennifer Y. said...

Fabulous post and I can't wait to read the upcoming releases.

I can't think of any lightbulb moments right now.

Jennie Lucas said...

Here's a lightbulb that occurred to me lately: sometimes you have to be your own grandmother.

A few weeks ago, I was crushed when a beloved elderly pet died. My kids are too young to understand, and my husband, though sympathetic, was never particularly pet-centric. So the loss was just on me, and I felt so alone.

I realized what I really wanted was someone to give me a hug, bake me cookies, and tell me everything was going to be okay. Basically I wanted a fairy tale grandmother. Like Paula Deen.

And so I've tried to be more reassuring and loving--to others around me, but even more to myself. Giving everyone hugs. And baking tons of cookies, pastries and cakes. I'm trying to be my own grandmother and make myself comforted, and comfort those around me.

At the rate I've been baking, I will soon actually look like Paula Deen but that's strangely comforting, too.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world--Gandhi.

Sometimes you gotta let the cookies win.--Jennie

Liz Fielding said...

I'm sorry to hear you've been battling with problems, Lucy, but oh how I sympathise with that IE problem.

I've been battling with a scene for weeks and this morning I finally realised I just needed my heroine to walk out of it and leave than pesky editor all by herself.

Great post, Lucy. Good luck with the historical. It sounds fabulous.

Michele L. said...

I really enjoyed your post Lucy! I have had many light bulb moments, (Ding!), but can't remember them now. Drat! They happen mostly when I am at work.

Have a great week!
Michele L.