WHY DO I WRITE?
Since I was a little tot, I've written stories in my head. Being an only child, and not having siblings to interact with, forced me to fantasize. Of course, my fantasy stories always had happy endings, which isn't real life at all, but they were stories nevertheless. I'd imagine how wonderful it would be to look like Elizabeth Taylor and how marvelous I'd feel married to Elvis, if nothing more than to just hear him sing in the shower. ;-)) No point in denying it, I'm a real fan of his slow, romantic songs...his sincere tone...his raw talent. He and I even share the same birthday, January 8, which is a big advantage for me. Every year, the day before, and the day of, Elvis' birthday, radio stations play his music. That's when my friends and family take notice and say, "Uh oh, gotta' hurry, it's her birthday, too!"
I've always been an avid reader, and over the years, after completing a book, I'd come to one of two conclusions; either, "Oh, I'd give anything if I could write like that," or "Well, my goodness -- I can do that!" Once I started writing Silent Revenge, I realized that writing was more than a casual interest. Now I can't stop writing and spend as many days as I can churning out page after page, book after book.
So, with the burning desire to one day be able to do with words what one of my favorite authors, Eugenia Price, could do, coupled with the feeling that I knew I could write much better than some of the books I'd read, I took the plunge and haven't stopped. The challenge of knowing that there will always be another story to tell and more characters to give birth to excites me.
WHAT DO I WRITE ABOUT?
I don't write glitzy, and I don't write fantasy. I write about everyday people, folks readers can identify with, feel sorry for, love or despise. I write about the trials many women have to go through before they're able to dig deeply into their inner souls and find that enormous storehouse of strength that has always been there, waiting for a reason to be unleashed. I love putting female characters where they must use their will and wit to confront a situation they've never confronted before, always finding love in the process.
I write about the emotional ties that bind families together, as well as sometimes tear them apart. My writing goal is to write stories that will touch readers' hearts and linger in their memories.
HOW DO I WRITE?
Now's the time for all the fiction instructors to get out their wet noodle and give me twenty lashes, because I do not use an outline. Each new story begins with one central character, a main plot and the ending. All the other characters come into view as the story unfolds and as they're needed. Something happens and the story just pours out on the screen. On the good days, that is.:-) And because I don't work with an outline, my stories often end quite differently than I first envisioned. The characters take on personalities of their own, many times quite unlike my original plans for them.
They become very real to me. I delve deeply into their emotions, motivations and what "makes them do what they do." The characters I create come alive for me. I know them. I feel their pain and rejoice in their happiness. I actually miss them once I've completed a novel. They're my neighbors, my family, my friends, as well as those I don't want for friends.:-)
Coming up with new characters is never a problem. I'm extremely out-going, and as a result, I have known many different types of individuals. I'm also a people-watcher, which helps tremendously.
I know when I've hit on an idea for a good story. Something clicks. My heart skips a beat. I get butterflies in my stomach. It's almost like falling in love. The adrenalin starts rushing, and pretty soon I'm at the keyboard, pounding away like a madwoman, bringing those characters to life so they can tell their story, and I just hang on for the ride.
WHERE DO I GET MY IDEAS?
I look and I listen. Simple as that. This world of ours is full of stories to tell, characters to create. I get ideas from everything I do, everyone I meet and every place I go. Traveling, which I dearly love, has had a tremendous impact on my work. It's built-in research and available whenever I need to pull from it. Having been raised in a small town, coupled with a vivid imagination and all the tidbits of gossip a small town has to offer, only adds to my storehouse of ideas. I've always had a curious nature, especially when it comes to people; how they react to certain circumstances, how they go from weak to strong, their inner drives, desires and ambitions.
When my fingers fly across the keyboard, I'm at peace with the world, probably because I've removed myself from it. Many times, I don't think I'm a part of my conscious mind because it's so natural for me to write. Afterward, when I go back and read what I've written, I can hardly believe what I'm reading and often wonder, "Now, where did that come from?"
I'm a writing junkie. Once I get started, I have a hard time stopping. It's like I have to keep on writing to find out what happens next. I must admit that I've been known to add a "flowering touch" when telling a tale.:-) By tradition, Southerners are great storytellers. I've always felt that when they lost the Civil War, they'd lost so much that all they had left was a vivid imagination and too much time on their hands, time they used telling tales.
HOW DO I HANDLE WRITER'S BLOCK?
Well, that's one thing I don't have to handle. I have no idea what writer's block feels like. There's never been one moment since I started writing that I couldn't think of something to write about. That may go parallel with talking too much! And that, I'm surely guilty of! An agent once asked me why I liked to write. I told him that I have a lot to say and I want people to listen. And, if I couldn't get them to listen, maybe I could get them to read what I've written.
I've never not been in the mood to write. Now, if you want me to talk about not having enough time write every story I want to write, then I can say plenty about that. There's always a new story to tell...a new book to write.
WHAT DOES MY WRITING SPACE LOOK LIKE?
I'm meticulously neat. No, let me tell the truth. I'm a neat freak! I have to have everything "just so" and every tiny little thing in its place. And it has to be pretty. Only then can I function properly and tell the story that's brewing inside. Across the top of my monitor is a thin strip of paper with the words, "And then what happens?" I printed it out in huge letters and taped it there. It's the first thing I see when I sit at my desk.
And yes, it's a great big desk instead of a computer station. I have to have "spreading out" room because I'm extremely claustrophobic. Another necessity in my work area is a window, and it can't be behind me. I have to be able to look out. Fortunately, I have a magnificent view of a large river and can stare and gaze at seagulls, pelicans and beautiful sunrises until my heart's content.
WHAT DO I DO WHEN I'M NOT WRITING?
At heart, I'm a history buff. I love reading about the times shortly before and after the Civil War and can spend days going from one 1800 era Victorian house to another. I never get my fill of looking at every tiny little thing in an antique shop. Every object, every piece of furniture, every painting has a story to tell. I'm a compulsive interior decorator and never tire of rummaging through thrift stores and yard sales looking for that "one special thing" that doesn't look as if it was just brought home from the store.
And I love to dance! Having spent many years studying and teaching dance, I drag my husband, Jake, out of the house at the slightest mention of a dance floor with a band. That's not much of a chore though, since he's a very good dancer himself. I love being around people; large groups, small groups...doesn't matter. Yet, I have the ability to work alone on my writing, day after day, without coming in contact with another living soul besides my husband and Rusty, the "Poodle-person" who lives with us now that our daughters are grown and have families of their own.
Writing is hard, tedious work and the difficult part for some writers is getting started. There's no secret to putting words on a blank screen. I firmly believe that 90% of writing is "applying the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair." ;-)
Will I ever run out of stories to tell? Never! I have enough storylines in my head to last several lifetimes. I write because I read, and I read because I write!
Writers must read...and read...and keep on reading!
Enough about me. Thanks so much for taking the time to read GLENDA'S TIDBITS. And as I promised on the main page, below are pictures of my devoted assistant, Rusty.