Books and Affiliated, Raw

You Do You

I don’t care that my stories or even my characters may not seem realistic all the time. I write the kind of stories I want to read, and so should you.

How often have we heard that encouragement? “Write for yourself! You’ll find readers who enjoy your work as much as you do!” But how often are we hounded by the same gurus telling us we need realistic, heart-felt, raw characters, we need ordinary, everyday issues about life and personhood addressed and resolved, we should write about current events so readers will gravitate to our work?

I struggle with this idealism to make my characters real in a real way, and yet molding them into the heroes and heroines I need to propel the plot forward. Sometimes I write characters who are bolder than I feel. Some of them are shy and morose like me. I’ve been blamed for making shallow main characters who are only moved by supporting characters. Maybe sometimes I feel shallow and can only be moved by people around me. But on the flip side, I’ve also been accused of writing unrealistically brash characters who jump into action without thinking!

There’s no placating people. Everyone has an opinion, and someone will always tell you to do the exact opposite of what you are currently doing.

So, here’s my question: What’s your opinion?


Sometimes we have to refocus ourselves to the reason we write. I’ve been writing for so long, I don’t remember not being a writer. Before I started publishing, before I even shared my work, I literally only wrote for my sister – and maybe one or two supportive friends. I also wrote…for me. I loved my stories. When I get an idea in my head, it’s so exciting. I love the thrill of adventure! I love writing about young girls who get the chance to experience magic, who talk to fairies, who aren’t bound by family but go off willy-nilly without repercussions, scoldings, or groundings. I write to free my mind from my body, and I write to satisfy these urges to hop on a plane to who-knows-where and just escape!

In reality, I really don’t want to run away from home. Yes, I want to explore this world, but that’s not financially realistic – yet. Besides, I love my home. I love my stupid town. I love all the stupid people who populate it, the just and the unjust alike. I just want to experience adventure in a safe way.

And what better way to – safely – experience it than through a good book?


If I never publish another book, it won’t break my heart. I will continue to populate my personal bookshelves with my stories, and if that sounds narcissistic to you, then YES. YES IT IS.

Here is the only time I will tell you to fully embrace narcissism. Nobody is going to love your stories as much as you do. You will never have enough fans, enough adoring Tweets and Facebook messages to compete with the love you have for your own book. And you know why that is? Because you birthed the darn screaming, pooping, puking, colicky thing. You stayed up late and woke up early. You beat your head against walls and computer desks. You were stumped by its rebellion, but you overcame its temper tantrums. You pointed a finger at the notebook or computer screen and shouted, “You’re going to behave, grow up, and become a decent book, so help me God!”

Good parents will always tell you no one will love your child more than you will. It’s the same for books. No one will understand why you put so much patience and time into a few stupid words. Some will even tell you to trash something if it’s just being too difficult.

Well, that’s not what we do around here, is it? No, sir. You pick up that sniveling, snot-faced, puffy-eyed story, wipe away its pathetic tears, give it a few pats on the butt and tell it to go play on the swingset. This is your book. And this is my book.

So let’s write like we don’t give two fudgesicles about the world and its problems.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

 

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Raw

Quit Interrupting!

A little raw. A little unhinged. A little squeaky wheel.


Every editor I have ever worked with has told me the same thing – to expound more on different subjects within my writing. Mostly that’s true of every writer, not including the wordy, long-winded, elaborate storytellers out there. Typically, writers are in their heads so much, they forget that their readers don’t know what they are talking about. They write under the assumption everybody already knows the key details of a story, such as the background, the world-building, or the character’s history.

So editors come in and cue us when something doesn’t add up. They offer crucial insight and ask the questions every reader asks.


Growing up, I was a publicly loud-mouthed child, which my blessed mother curbed quickly. However, all the women in my family are loud. They talk over each other. They interrupt when they feel they have something more important to say. Since I was the only one curbed, I learned to be patient, kind, and attentive. I stopped to let others speak. I listened through the full story. I did not interrupt.

Do you know how rude it is to interrupt and how frustrating it is to be interrupted? If people would listen half as well as they spoke, there would be far less hurt feelings and confusion. That’s a soap box for another time, but my point is clear:

STOP. LISTEN. SPEAK.

In that order.

I am mostly patient when someone interrupts me. However, if it is a repeated offense, that’s when I bite back, because then I know my conversation partner is not listening to me and does not care what I say. Even if it’s a boring story about someone’s day, at least I have the courtesy to hear it until the end. All I ask is for the same respect to be applied to me.


Often, I write with that same mentality. I’m so used to being interrupted, I tend to speak the quick, exciting, important parts of the story and leave out a lot of detail. Even my thoughts are so curbed to this short-hand route, that I will begin a blog and realize I have nothing to say on the matter. Therein lies my main issue. I’m not superfluous – which is good, I suppose. I get by with what I need. I write only what is necessary.

However, when working with fiction, sometimes people want the extras. They want to linger. They want to spend as many moments in that world as they can, because every reader knows the story will be over all too soon.


So what have I left you with, readers? The rambling complaints of a partial-introvert? An invitation to fill your books with pages and, on the pages, words? A message to listen?

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

From Writing to Publishing, Raw

Self-Esteem

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This picture really states it all, folks. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when you write for glory, you receive emptiness, whereas when you write for joy, you receive satisfaction.

There’s a big difference between writing for the public and writing for the self. For years, I wrote stories because it was exciting, fun, and very satisfying to finish these adventures and have accomplished what so many only daydream about. Sure, I let my friends read them, but I never contemplated publishing them because I didn’t believe I could do it.

I didn’t believe in myself.

Then my friend and mentor sat me down with probably the best pep talk I have ever and will ever receive. She said “You can’t fail for trying, but if you don’t even try, then you’ve already failed.” And she was right. All those years telling myself I couldn’t do it – wasn’t worth investing in – I was just proving failure.

Flash forward to the present, I am now the proud author of three novels, all of which I have published, presented, and designed myself. I’m a small town girl, yet hundreds of people have read my books. After years of hard work and research, I can say I am an author. I am a writer.

But I discovered something along this road. Before I loved writing. I loved spending hours scribbling on paper. Now I have deadlines and speaking events, a blog, and book fairs to attend. I write less. I dream less. And the idea of sitting down with pen and paper does not excite me anymore. This is my present. The solution?

Stop writing for the public.

It’s true. I have one more book set to be published in 2017, but after that, I’m stepping back from the public. Sure, I love meeting new fans or hearing how my books impacted them, but glory is fleeting and leaves you feeling cold and empty when you chase after it. I miss writing. I miss dreaming. And hasn’t that been my motto to the masses?

DREAM BIG!

So who are you writing for and why? If you can honestly answer those questions, it will give you a lot of insight and maybe even clear a path for you.

Here’s another story for you. My friend who’s a brilliant storyteller finally discovered his gift for writing. He shared his work with a small circle of friends, and we raved over it. It was wondrous! We loved the story, we loved the characters, and we were so excited to read more. He rushed to publish the first book in a series he planned to write. We all bought his book. But then life took over. The fans dwindled. We didn’t have time to read everything he wrote. He stopped writing.

He stopped. Why? He had a gift. He had amazing talent and a brilliant story. His fans would have still followed him had he continued writing and publishing this series he dreamed up. But he chose instead to quit. Can you tell who he was writing for? Why do you think he quit when the glory faded?

I hope he picks up the pen again. I sincerely do.

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

Keep writing, folks. But write for the pure joy of the thing. “Because if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.” Stephen King

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

From Writing to Publishing

Literary Agents – Where Are They Hiding???

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You’re a writer. You have a novel – a manuscript, a finished document. You want to get it published. But what the heck do you do? If you’re like me, you know writing. You’ve done tons of research. You’ve edited. You’ve sweat, bled, and cried to bring this love-child into the world. But what do you do with it now that it’s here?

Let’s explore this foreign land. I’ve touched on this process before and you can find more helpful hints in Writing Help. But, honestly, finding and querying an agent can be a daunting task, so this series will break it down into a few small steps. We’re going to keep it as underwhelming as possible.

Let’s get started, shall we?

In this series, we are going to:
1. Moonlight in Bookstores
2. Stalk Acknowledgements
3. Investigate Leads
and finally,
4. Interrogate Agents (Politely!)

Let’s keep it fun, real, and lighthearted. After all,…this can be a scary process. But you can do this, because I believe in you, and you should, too.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

Books and Affiliated

What are you Reading?

Because reading is essential to every writer.

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What are you reading these days? Are you exploring outside of your comfort zone? Or are you revisiting old friends? I’m reading a little of both.

Science fiction isn’t my strong point as a writer, though I do enjoy reading it. Frank Herbert’s Dune series is one of my favorites. It has been compared to the scifi equivalent of The Lord of the Rings. The masterful world-building, culture settings, political and religious vices, and, most of all, character development, has me hanging on every word. I first read Dune while I was still a young teenager. It took me a year to get through it, and I really only read it because I loved the movies so much. Well, there are no more movies, but their ARE plenty of books. Like 10+.

I recently discovered that not only did Frank write more, by his son Brian also took over some of the manuscripts and completed what his father started. Their writing styles are similar, and you can tell Brian loved the world as much as his father did.

So here I am. While I wait for Brian Herbert’s prequel trilogy (Dune; The Butlerian Jihad) to come in the mail, I’m revisiting the original world of Dune. And I’m hooked. The best form of science fiction I’ve ever read.

What are you reading and why? Comment below.

Fanny T. Crispin