I’m very pleased to present a guest post by Jackie Gamber, author of a wonderful series about dragons (dragon stories have a special place in my heart – but that’s a post for another day).
Redheart, the first book in the series was one of my favorite summer reads last summer. I recently added Sela to my iPad and can’t wait for school to be out so I can get started on it – maybe I won’t wait. To celebrate Jackie’s guest appearance at Booklady’s Booknotes, I am giving away a copy of Redheart. The contest is open to anyone who lives where Amazon ships. Just leave a comment/question for Jackie by May 1st for a chance to win. (Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you are the winner.)
Now for the good stuff – Jackie’s post!
“Of Process and Influence” by Jackie Gamber, author of REDHEART and SELA, Books One and Two of the Leland Dragon Series
Some of the best advice I was given as a budding, struggling writer, was “finish it”. Whatever it is; poem, novel, short story, script; the writing advice works. No one, in all of history, as ever gotten an unfinished work published.
Well, except the occasional famous person who has had writing discovered after their death. But I’m not holding out for that, in my case.
I’ve taken this counsel to heart. I have shifted my entire process around it.
When I first began writing the Leland Dragon Series, with REDHEART, I dabbled at it. I’d pull out a chapter, move things around, maybe add a new scene. Then I’d rise from the chair, happy to announce I’d “written today”. Or I’d be struck with inspiration for a short story, and rise early in the morning to get the idea down, rough form. Call that my writing for the day.
What I was really doing was dancing with my fears. Sure, I was following all the steps, and I was even graceful, in my own way. But I wasn’t leading. That was Fear’s role.
Then I realized my stories were never going to be read by anyone else unless I took them, and myself, seriously. I set my mind to finish. Once and for all. Whatever it took.
Weak paragraph? Keep going. Blank transition? Write “something exciting happens here” and move on. I allowed my first drafts to be a bit clumsy.
And my productivity soared.
I even find the editing part enjoyable! That is when I dig deep; hovering on a scene or dialogue for days, just to get it right. I can afford the time, because the piece is already done! Editing isn’t procrastinating, it’s refining. Mark Twain said:
The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say.
For me, words to live by. No matter the subject matter, whether I’m writing dark fiction, science fiction, or fantasy.
I’m often asked about my fantasy work, and about dragons, in particular. The honest answer to why the Leland Dragon Series is populated with characters as dragons is because that’s how they introduced themselves to me. Kallon Redheart, at first. Then others. And in my mind, the world filled in around them, and Leland began.
I’m not aware if I was pre-disposed to dragons in particular. I do love the idea of how they fly, how they can overpower, how something mythical has managed to capture our imagination for eons.
And I remember one of the first books to have influenced me at a young age: MY FATHER’S DRAGON by Ruth Stiles Gannett. I love that book, and I still have it on my bookshelf to this day. It’s crumbling along the spine and edges, but it’s as comfortable as an old blanket or a stuffed animal.
The books of my youth helped unlock my dreams; gave me picture language for the developing thoughts in my head. I cherish books for that reason, and, likely, the dragons of REDHEART and SELA came through a door in my mind left propped open enough to shine a light left glowing from my childhood imaginings.
Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of “Redheart” and “Sela”, Books One and Two of the Leland Dragon Series, now available! For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit http://www.jackiegamber.com
And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world wide web at: