Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Re-Run #3

Continuing my revisit to blog posts that I made on blog tours, here's the one from The Heart of the Dragon Den, October 20, 2011.

Tell us a bit about yourself (50 words or less).  It’s no surprise that I love to write as I grew up with a dad who loved to entertain us with stories about his youth in a long ago era of lonely two lane highways and strong men protecting their families. With that rich history, I turned to writing romance.

How long have you blogged?  What got you into blogging?  Since 2006, I’ve been blogging with a handful of members from my RWA chapter, Southern Magic, called Romance Magicians (http://romancemagicians.blogspot.com). People often ask, what’s up with all the references to magic? Birmingham, Alabama, where we’re based, is known as The Magic City. History tidbit time: between 1881 and 1920, the population of Birmingham grew so rapidly, it appeared like magic overnight. 

As writers, the blog gives us an outlet to express our good and bad moments during our path to becoming published and afterwards. We talk about everything, and no big shock, most of it leads us back to our writing. One thing we make certain is that we keep our posts positive and we never pick on anyone. Well, maybe ourselves. Well, and maybe men. Men are easy to pick on. Besides, they know we love them. That’s why we write about them so much. 

I also post on my personal blog (www.carlaswafford.com) about three or four times a week. Most of the posts are short. Often they’re bits of information I come across or silly comments about working a day job and writing at night.

What is your favorite genre of books? Oh, my, that’s hard to answer. Let me place them in order of what I prefer to read, and you can include the word romantic in front of each one: historical (medieval, in particular), comedy, suspense, and paranormal. Yes. I know, not having suspense as first is strange considering I write it. But many authors avoid reading too much of the same genre they write for fear of being influenced.

Do you like E-books or Print? Why? Actually, both. I enjoy the convenience of having several books in one simple e-reader (I own a Nook). It works out great when you’re traveling. I can’t tell you how many times my suitcase has been held up because they want to search it. Something about those rectangle shapes looking like blocks of C4.

Yet, I love holding a book, paper or hardback, and seeing it sit on my shelf afterwards. Makes me look smart. Hey, I need all the help I can get.

If you get writer’s block, how do you fight it? So far, I’ve been fortunate and haven’t experienced true writer’s block. I’ve had scenes where I get myself and one of the characters in a sticky situation and can’t figure a way out.

When that happens, I’ll work out the bios of each character and sketch out the plot. I use several different methods to fine tune it. One is Mary Buckham and Dianna Love’s book, Break Into Fiction (http://breakintofiction.com ). I was so lucky to attend their workshop. They use well-known movies to break down the characters’ motives. Once you answer the questions in the book, you can figure out where you need to go next with the story.

Another book I love to use is Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat. It’s actually a screenwriting book, but the author’s light tone and in-your-face simplicity makes it so easy to apply to writing a novel.

Once I start writing all the back story information and sorting out the plot, I usually find the solution that includes moving forward or even redoing earlier scenes.

Another way to fight writer’s block is to move from your usual spot that you sit to write. I have three favorite places. Most of the time you could find me at my antique secretary’s desk next to French doors with the blinds opened. Love sunshine. Another place is in my large leather recliner in front of the television. Yes. I can multitask. And last, on my back porch. Of course, that’s seasonal but something about fresh air makes my muse perk up and take notice.

If none of the above works, I’ll walk away from it for a few hours. That’s when I like to pull out my favorite DVDs: Le Femme Nikita (TV series), Lethal Weapon Four, Live Free or Die Hard, and several others. Or maybe re-read a favorite book: Christy Reece’s Rescue Me, Debra Webb’s Nameless, Victoria Dahl’s Talk Me Down, Jennifer Echols’s Going Too Far, or Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Night Play, and many, many more. One of the benefits (or curses, according to how you look at it) of having friends who are prolific, my favorites are a mile long.

I can’t tell you how many times a great solution came to me after watching a movie or two. Not that I use their plot, but maybe a character will do or say something that sparks an idea and before I know it, I’m back at my laptop pounding away.

Funny thing, in my current book, I was at a spot in the book where I didn’t want Olivia and Collin to get too mushy … that is, not yet. What could I do? I wasn’t ready for them to be all lovey-dovey. That’s best saved for the end. I didn’t want some silly argument to keep them from working together. Around that time, I was watching some program about explosives. Perfect. So I blew something up. I like how it revved up the tension. What did I blow up? You’ve got to the read the book.

Yes. I can be downright mean at times. 

One point I would like to make, when I’m writing, I have no idea how the book will end, except I do know the hero and heroine will be in love and live happily ever after.

Now, the journey to that spot is an adventure I love writing.