August 11, 2013

Aggressive In A Passive Kind Of Way

Posted in Writing tagged , , , , , , at 4:30 PM by Dawne Webber

I hate conflict.

I hate conflict so much I will do anything to avoid it. That’s tough because conflict is an inevitable as death and taxes. I usually handle conflict in one of two ways (here I go getting mentally naked in public again. Something in blogging brings that out in me.) When conflict rears its ugly head, I swallow down the anger, ruminate on and exaggerate it until it builds (usually way out of proportion), then I use the momentum from the built up anger to confront or annihilate the “conflicter.” Not pretty or healthy. Sometimes it’s easier to just get walked on; that’s the second way I handle it.

This impacts my writing and not in a positive way. This quote is from one of my pre-conference assignments shows how important conflict is to a novel:

You need tension on the page at all times, and the best way to accomplish this is to create conflict in the plot and narrative. 

In other words, no conflict, no story. But if I avoid conflict in life, there’s no way I’m going to confront it when I write. I prefer writing warm fuzzy scenes because:

  • I like my characters and I want to shield them from trouble. They’re my babies after all.
  • I like the warm fuzzies I get from writing warm fuzzies.
  • I hate conflict.

But I love conflict in the books I read. Gone Girl, The Help and A Visit From the Goon Squad all ensured that I was too busy to do anything but continue reading. I needed to find out what happened next or to put it dryly, to learn how the characters resolved their conflicts.

Flashback to writing my first novel, Unveiled. Oh, the climax was so tearfully beautiful, dripping with its warm fuzziness. I waited with anticipation while my friend read it; surely she’d have nothing but praise for it.  Thank God she was a true friend—brutally honesty— or my writing would never have improved.

“Boy, you sure wimped out on the climax.” Not the first words out of her mouth, but the ones I remember most clearly.

“No, I didn’t.” She was wrong. After all, I knew my characters better than she did.

“There’s no way she would’ve said that to him. You totally avoided the entire conflict.” Maybe she did know them better.

“But if I go there, I’m afraid I won’t be able to fix it.” And the novel I’d worked so hard on would crash and burn.

And that was my problem with writing conflict. After he was such a jerk, how could she possibly forgive him? And after she said such hateful bitter things, how could he possibly forgive her? I wasn’t good enough to get them out of that situation.

But I knew my friend was right so I manned up and, armed with a large glass of wine while my family slept, I rewrote the climax. In the wee morning hours, I realized it was a much better story.

And now, though I’m aware of the necessity of conflict and I even enjoy writing it, I find myself avoiding it sometimes. Actually, readers usually point out my cop outs to me. So thanks to the intrepid writers in my writers’ group who don’t let me get away with less than I’m capable of. And for their great ideas. I have some stuff brewing that I’m really looking forward to writing. Tonight with a glass of wine while my family sleeps.

relationship, couple, marriage, forgivenessThis may be the inspiration for my next novel.

August 6, 2013

The End Approaches.

Posted in Life tagged , , , , , , , at 9:37 PM by Dawne Webber

I’m still working hard to make the dream come true. I’ve been very blessed with the support I’ve gotten, but now with the last week of my Indiegogo campaign rapidly approaching, the clock is ticking and I’m appealing to you.

This is a letter I shared with my extended family. I’m sharing it with you because in a way, I feel closer to you. After all, you visit me here.

Hi Cousin/Aunt/Uncle (I used the appropriate name here),

We need more books by Polish writers from Michigan on bookstore shelves (I’m appealing to their Polish pride because, even though none of our parents were born in Poland, we’re quite proud of our Polish heritage. And I’m appealing to their pride in Michigan, which is a great strategy because the Tigers are on fire right now) and I have a great a way to make that happen (this makes it sound like the fate of all Polish authors from Michigan rests in my hands. Another great strategy) I have the opportunity to share my novel, A Certain Slant of Light, with editors from major publishers in New York.

The board of the NYC Pitch Conference for Writers liked the synopsis and writing style of my book, A Certain Slant of Light and invited me to their conference. Only 65 writers out of hundreds of applicants (okay, this is no exaggeration) are accepted to the conference each year.

But as you know (Actually, I’m not sure how many of them know this), I have five children and this trip is beyond our budget (to put it mildly). To get to New York I need your support (Seriously) so I’ve started a campaign on Indiegogo to get donations to help defray the cost of the trip. (A fancy way of saying HELP)

I have less than two weeks left to reach my goal. You can help by:

Making a donation by clicking the A Certain Slant of Light link on the right.

Sharing it on Facebook and other social media.

Letting friends and the rest of our family know about it.

I’ve already reached over $2100 in donations, but time is running out and I need your help. I really appreciate anything (seriously) you feel called to do. (Even if it’s to answer my email in Polish, Scott)

Z Miłości (This means “With Love” in Polish. I thought that would really move them.)

Dawne

family, clip art, five children

A surprisingly accurate likeness of the Webber family. Guess which one I am.

August 2, 2013

I Have a Muse. It’s Dr. Seuss.

Posted in Writing tagged , , , , at 4:41 PM by Dawne Webber

I took a college level course in creative writing over the summer. A few hours of class were devoted to reading poetry. Except for two tokens poems by Robert Frost, they were all free verse.

I liked some of the free verse but personally, I have a fondness for the classics: Tennyson, Dickinson, Frost. Free verse reigned supreme in class though.  A little bit of pompous literary bias going on, but I overlooked it.

Until we were told to write three poems. That was literally the extent of our instruction into writing poetry. I’ve made the foray into poetry a few times on this blog. Actually, it’s fauxetry because I have no idea how to write poetry. Except for the rhyming. I rhyme and meter with the best of them.

But rhyming was frowned upon. So I tried my hand at free verse. Words flowed out of me, oh so prettily and ornately, and to my credit, not one of them rhymed. And I thought maybe I had some good stuff,  until I got this advice from someone who is into poetry:

“Free verse is very complicated and hard to write. You really don’t know what you’re doing. Stick to rhymes and meter.”

Ouch. The message from all corners seemed to be: lesser poets rhyme. And that offended me. So this is the poem I turned in for class, written in bitterness from the depths of my offended heart:

En Vogue

I have a muse:
It’s Dr. Seuss.
His lyrical rhymes
Are not obtuse.

But

Poetry, writing, rhyme

Real poets have stamps.

Poems that rhyme
Can be sublime,
Though not now in vogue:
Tennyson, Dickinson, in their time.

Yet—

Critics claim:
Rhyme’s just a game
For ignorant babes.
So, who’s to blame?

While—

Dr. Seuss
Hangs by a noose,
His genius
Pissed upon.

My poet friend was not impressed.

 

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