Tag Archives: #amWriting

Life Changes When You Start the Day Writing #MFRWauthor #IAN1

The first monsoon clouds from my terrace

On many summer weekends, Jonathan and I leave the city for our camp in the Skylands of northwest New Jersey. Two days later, unfortunately, we return from all of that relaxation with a list of city-life things to do long enough to bring stress barreling back big time.

The next day, an act of iron-bound determination will be required to make myself pick up my notebook or pop up a file in my computer and write. Too often the notebook and the word doc file lose out. The post-weekend lists seem so much more crucial to our weekday existence. They are about keeping our real-world life running on the smooth track rather than the bumpy one after all, which is crucial to the max. That is what I’ve tended to believe most of the time.

But something happened this past weekend at camp that disrupted my customary way of thinking. I started a new book, not an adaptation like my last two books have been. The first, A Vacancy at the Inn, a novella that was orphaned when I decided to leave my agent. The second, A Villain for Vanessa, a re-imagining of a previously published novel whose rights I’d reverted.

This new book is neither of those things. It is a brand-new story, fresh out of my creative brain matter and growing word after word into scene after scene like a miracle on the page in front of me. Maybe that is why, when I work up Monday morning, I ejected the To Do lists from their previous priority position and replaced them with a long writing session. Maybe the magic had me in its thrall.

When the same thing happened on Tuesday morning, my doubts disintegrated. I was enthralled indeed. Caught up in an alternate world of story that seems somehow more truly my reality than my day-to-day down-to-earth one. And here is something else equally enthralling. After each writing session, an aura of the magic remains. My mind feels less fettered. My worries press less heavily. The To Do lists have lost a huge dollop of their tyranny.

Voila. Because I start my days writing, my life has changed for the much, much better. Alice is in Wonderland again. What do you think about that? I think things are getting curiouser and curioser.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com/

– R|R

Book 5 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – A Time of Fear and Loving – will debut on Saturday, September 16th, our 45th wedding anniversary. A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Romantic Suspense Book 4and my other books are available from Amazon HERE.

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The Real Reason for Writers Conferences


Sunrise New Jersey imageI’m just now emerging from the sweet fog of a weekend writers’ conference.

Why a fog? Because that’s what the misty airlock feels like between conference world and my daily world. A fog of adjustment before re-entry. Why sweet? That’s a more complicated question. The sweetness of the fog is a carryover from the sweetness of the experience and the many nectars of its ingredients.

Is there a downside? Maybe the case of Crammed-Brain Syndrome many of us take with us from two or more days of workshops and panels. Or the soft brace I’m wearing on my wrist after scribbling like crazy in my notebook to capture every morsel of good information.

Otherwise I must begin my entirely personal sweetness recipe with three days and two nights in a hotel. I’ve long maintained  that room service and maid service are among the supreme triumphs of this or any culture. A twenty-four hour snack corner in the lobby runs a close third.

This particular hotel was superb by the way. The bed was just right for my Mama Bear body. The toiletries were top shelf and I did bring all leftovers home with me. Plus I awoke each morning to the glowing sunrise you see above.

The conference luncheon was great. Only a small strip of hotel chicken atop the tasty pasta salad. And the keynoter made this a standout event. Hank Phillippi Ryan is one of the most energetic and inspiring speakers I’ve heard. “You never know” she said. You never know what waits around the next corner. So keep trying. Keep hoping. Keep enjoying. Keep writing.

Of course book signings can be humiliation hell unless you’re a bestseller. I’ll never forget the time I signed next to Nora Roberts. R for Roberts. O for Orr and OMG. The P’s knew enough to stay away. But at Liberty State Fiction Writers Conference the fabulous O-P section placed me between L.G. O’Connor on one side and Caridad Pineiro on the other. Sweet indeed.

Which brings me to the delectable heart of conference world ambrosia. Writers – Writers – and More Writers. At meals. In corridors. In workshop rooms. In the bar. At informal get-togethers and more formal ones. New friends and friends in the making. All members of the writer tribe.

Writers talking. Writers laughing. Writers debating. Writers sharing. Everywhere I turned I found writers on furlough from the trenches encouraging one another to fight through and past whatever obstacles we all inevitably encounter.

So here I am post-fog. Facing the rewrite of Chapter Thirty today and the new write of Chapter Forty to come. Embraced and emboldened by the real reason I attend writers’ conferences. In order to return home afterward reminded of how blessed I am to do this author thing.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com               http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter                   http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks  .

RR

A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of my books are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/.

 

How I Almost Became Riverton Roadkill

A Villain for Vanessa ECover (1) 100 x 150px - 14.6KB - SmallThis boulder was a doozy. In fact it was the mother in law of boulders. Worse than a mother as mothers in law often are. I know because I am one and I suck at it at least half the time.

Back to the boulder. Did you notice how I was avoiding the subject? Because this subject is that painful. It’s about how an entire book died one day. How I got up one morning and knew my current beloved opus couldn’t be allowed to live.

I’d been writing merrily merrily down the plot stream for months. I have the dates somewhere to specify precisely how many months. I can’t look them up because it would make me want to eat my innards.

You know how it is when something you really care about is going smoothly. You chug on with heaven at your heels feeling as if you might break into song and dance at any moment.

Then that story – the one of this joyous experience – takes an unfortunate turn into a byway not even on your map. You had no idea this danger detour existed. If there was a warning sign you weren’t able to see it through your euphoria-tinted glasses. Here’s how that story went for me.

Once upon a morning the princess with a pen awoke in her cozy bed. The one just like her grandma used to make with downy coverlets and tatted pillowslips and everything so white and bright the world sparkled.

Princess yawns and stretches in luxurious anticipation of a creatively fulfilling day ahead. Then she commits her fateful error. The inciting incident that starts the narrative tumbling downhill pell-mell over euphoria smashed flat as Road Runner on the blacktop.

What was the princess’s error? She opened her eyes. Did she find a handsome prince gazing down at her with love and future promise aglimmer between his lush lashes? Fraid not. She found reality beaming ice blue laser shards into her warm reverie. Freezing it tomb cold.

“I can’t write this story,” she cries as the icy razor tip hits its deep down mark and opens the road to devastation.

I cannot tell you how I let this happen because I do not know. The only possible explanation is that an amazing scenario sunk its tentacles into my imagination. With pathos and tragedy and struggle toward redemption all happening to characters we can’t help but love. I leapt into that stream and let myself be carried blissfully onward by its ever-mounting momentum.

Except that – as the fierce glare of my morning revelation made abruptly clear – this wasn’t a story from my imagination. This was a story from my life populated by characters who weren’t characters at all. They were facsimiles of people I cared for who would cease caring for me if I published this book.

The ritual that ensued was fraught and perfunctory at the same time. Notebooks were discarded. Computer files were excised. Sticky notes were unstuck and tossed in the trash.

No evidence of my dumbass brain-fogged maneuver could remain in case I should succumb to a fall on my fat head. No writer detritus from this particular faux pas would be left behind to do its hurtful worst.

I don’t recall exactly how long I languished in the wallow that followed. The boulder continued to block that previous path and would not be moved. I had two choices. Quit. Or put the boulder at my back and begin again. I did the latter.

The result is A Villain for Vanessa – Book 4 – skimming toward you soon along the unobstructed lane of Riverton Road.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of my books are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/.