Research Made Yours: The Power Of Making Your Own Myth

There is a blessing in creating your own world.

And with all that creation, you need something that will hold it together. You need the thread that belief and myth provide.

When I began my writing career, I was in a sort of tailspin. I knew that I wanted to write, but I also knew that I wanted to write about a great many things!

(This is where I must plug the necessity for you as a writer to have a tribe or network by which you are engaged. It can be life saving! Don’t knock social media!)

I follow several writers on Twitter. None have been so gracious as the magnanimous Tananarive Due. She is a published writer (NYT Best Selling, mind you) and she teaches at UCLA. The fact that she would have time to even answer me, a struggling, have drowning writer in the social media ether was monumental.

I asked her about making time to write. I asked her about how she made time. I even asked her about research and work. Tananarive Due gave me a piece of advice that I will give to you:

“Make it up.”

She told me this in response to needing a myth, specific research for a topic. Her advice was if I didn’t see it, couldn’t find it, just make it up. Tananarive Due didn’t know that she had just shattered the glass ceiling of my imagination.

With imagination being my fuel and conduit to express my thoughts on the world, I did not know I could do that. I did not know I could make up what I needed independent of what I had seen in a book. I didn’t know I could do that–be allowed to do that!

In reminding me of what I am, of what I am allowed to do, that freed me is a writer. It let me explore with a more fearless stance. It allowed me to research, to read, not just to take as gospel fact–but to analyze. To bend. To reinterpret. To make my own.

As a writer, a teacher, I give you this same freedom. I free you from the staunch mechanics of your imaginations! You are a writer, so write. You have to absolute right to construct and deconstruct the worlds you create as you see fit! You must make up what you need, by simple virtue of needing it.

Go forth and create. Challenge your imagination, and see what the fruits are and become of it. Remember the guiding light from the Dark Tower of Stephen King as you do: “Do not come soft to the blank page.”

Writer’s Corner: Savan Robbins

The lovely Savan Robbins is an enigma wrapped with immaculate eyebrows. From the humorous to the erotic, she has a little bit of something for everyone. In her hectic schedule, she took time out to speak to our admin about what makes her tick. As well as what keeps her pen, and cursor moving.

When asked about the beginning of her writing resume, she admits she’s been writing since she was about 12. “I started with short stories, mostly dramas or horror type works, then later evolved into romance and more erotic type work (in conjunction with other genres) as an adult.”

Like all writers, Savan has her own writing schedule–crafted to her needs. She says her greatest challenge is overcoming life obstacles and just finding time to write. “It’s a never-ending challenge at this point. But in time, it gets easier.”

Take this critical piece of writing from Savan, given as only a writer can deliver it:

“My writing schedule is essentially write when you can. For some, having a specific schedule works. For others, life can get in the way and other things will be more important at times. So my advice with this is: if you’re the type of person who can make a schedule and stick to it, do that. If you can’t, just write whenever the mood strikes you. There is no right or wrong way to write. Just do whatever works best for you.”

From this rich advice, we delved deeper. It’s always easy to think the people whom call themselves writers never have an issue or problem, well, writing! When asked about this, Savan admits writing isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, she says it this way: “If you’re doing it right it’s hard.” When given the space to expound upon that, she says writing a book no one will read is easy; writing a book for others is hard.

Savan gives this additional gem:

“It’s more than just good grammar or stringing phrases together that make sense; it’s thinking about ideas, research and editing, finding covers, marketing, reading (and not absorbing) negative reviews…there are so many parts that go into selling a book to the masses that people don’t even think about. But if you are willing to do what it takes to make your dream happen, it will be the most fulfilling thing you’ll ever do.”

With the majority of her work published exclusively to Amazon, Savan says her greatest joy with writing is when readers let her know that they enjoyed the story or really connected with something she wrote and it resonated with them.

When asked about current and future projects, Savan is focusing more on editing at the moment. However, fear not Savan fans! She says there are some paranormal romance projects and some contemporary works she has in the works. Savan also said that she has some novellas brewing which should be published later on in this summer.

With all the gems given during the course of time together, Savan was asked if she had any other advice for new writers or those whom want to start writing again. As she has for the entire interview, she gives this last jewel.

“Just keep writing. If you get negative feedback about your writing, step outside your feelings – because writers are sensitive about criticism even if we say we’re not – and see if it truly applies to your work. Then figure out how to make it better. There are thousands of craft books and free and paid tools to perfect your writing. The only thing that will hold anyone back from being a great writer is their own ego. The sky is the limit…”

Indeed it is, Savan. See you on the Best-Sellers list!

Savan Robbins is a writer extraordinaire who is conquering the world one word and one page at a time. From romance to common sense soup for the soul, she’s got you covered.
You can find her for editing needs at theblurbdiva.com or check out her author page at savanrobbins.com.

Announcements & Encouragements

I have been a strong believer in the power of ink and paper.

And for that cause, twice a week I will be doing an Encouragement Page. These pages will be posted here with a corresponding link, to the video. And of course on the official Facebook page. Follow that space by clicking here.

These pages will be handwritten, and meant to be a support on your writing journey! You will be able to share these video and save them. Posting days for these pages will be Mondays and Thursdays.

Every writer needs a tribe, and encouragement to keep going. Consider this your oasis in your writing journey.

You can do it!

Bend The Pages.

-JBHarris

Encouragement From The Crates

Things I Ponder:

(c)JPHarris, 2014

One of the most upsetting things to encounter for those gifted to be scribes/writers is to be silent. It is dangerous for a writer to be silent. It is dangerous for our pens to be still, screens blank, skills dulled to the point of collapse. Our eyes seeing with no faith to believe for change, no words to create to draw attention. Words which have power to stir thoughts to instill or stimulate change. It is the artistry of imagination where possibility is created, exposed and changed. Writers are misfits. We see the unseen, name the unknown and touch what is hidden. Yet, these things must be seen and said. The atrophy of time must be rebelled against. We must race against the light given to us, race against it. We cannot curl up with the words, the word inside us. The unsaid, the unwritten must still be said…even in dreams.

[image from Kai Ellis, all rights reserved.]

Beta Readers: Pros & Cons (Part I-CONS)

As great, and as much as I sing the praises of Beta Readers, they do have a downside.

Beta Readers are the best weapon you can have for a new work especially when they read and get back to you. Beta Readers are the best when they read your work and get back to you. The crucial thing to remember is that communication is essential to any draft or revision.

If you give your baby that your carried for almost a year, and turn them over to someone your trust, only to have them tell you they have nothing else to tell you? Even after they have been with your child all day? You would be a little suspicious and a lot aggravated. You would think the horrible and the impossible all at once! The main thing you may think is:

“Did they even pay attention?”

The same with Beta Readers. The best Beta Readers are engaged, they are excited to read your work, give feedback and even criticism! As the writer, as the creator of any work, your primary job is to protect your work. Your job is to revise and finish your own work.

Think of a WIP (Work In Progress) as baking a cake. All the ingredients go into the batter:  milk, sugar, butter and flour. There are elemental things that go into it which are not to be disputed. A WIP requires imagination, time, a draft and a reader. These things are immutable.

One of the best metaphors I heard in regards to having an editor or another reader was:  “Would you do you own eye surgery?”

If you’re a rational, wise person, you wouldn’t. This means that you can’t always see what is the best thing to do! But this element of the draft process can only work if the readers do their jobs!

Beta Readers have to be engaged. They have to value your time, your intention and you work. If they cannot do that, if they will not do that, don’t trust them with your work.

You wouldn’t trust your baby with just anyone. A WIP is the same way! Don’t trust your baby to someone that can’t won’t talk to you. Those are the ones whom are most likely to take your work. Be ware. You’ve been warned.

Spring 2019-Writing Workshop

The second writer’s workshop is in the next 2 weeks!

The purpose of these workshops is to assist budding and aspiring writers with with manuscripts, ideas or works in progress! For 2 hours, there will be advice dispensed, questions answered as well as resources given!

I am excited for what this second workshop will bring and the work to be created from it!

Pushing writers is what I do, and this platform is one more way to do that!

Best,

JBHarris

Protecting The Work: Integrity In Chosing Beta Readers

The most important thing for Beta Readers is not the reading.

No, it’s not a joke.

Yes, I’m serious.

The most important thing for a Beta Reader is not to steal your work. Even if it’s a rough draft.

In choosing your Beta Readers, the best advice is to keep your number small and composed of people you trust. It also doesn’t hurt to have your Beta Readers sign a contract that dictates not to share/plagiarize the work you show them.

Intellectual property is still property! It needs to be protected to the fullest extent of the law.

Take pride in your work! Protect it.

There is nothing worse than having your work stolen by the very people you believed you would trust with it.

[image from ad-Martin.com]