Don't Worry About What People Will Think
One of the most important lessons I've learned about writing is to be true to my character’s voice AND, not to worry about what 'people' will think. When I was writing Beauty Beneath the Banyan (BBTB) one of my biggest regrets was my inexperience lead me to compromise this principle.
Be True to Your Character
One of my male narrators was an American Raven fighter pilot stationed in Laos during the Vietnam War. These pilots flew clandestine missions in America’s Secret War and unlike Vietnam where the pilots had to adhere to strict ‘Rules of Engagement,’ the Ravens were the cowboys of the airways where no such rules existed.
I had a fantastic time writing this mavericks storyline. He was a faded jean, untucked loosely buttoned Bermuda shirt, cowboy boots wearing kinda guy who was shall we say…was a little rough around the edges. In line with his personality, his language would be just as rough. Raven was the character who provided me with an opportunity to use all the bad words I had collected over my life time.
Embrace the F-Word
I did play with the ‘naughty’ words to a certain extent, but I could not bring myself to incorporate the F-word into Raven’s vocabulary. This was unfortunate because Raven would have used it and, he would have used it A LOT—especially given the war time setting.
When I was constructing Raven’s dialogue the F-word did make an appearance on more than one occasion in my head, but it never made its way to the computer screen. Can I just say…for me it was one thing to say the F-word out loud and quite another, to actually bring myself to write it. I couldn’t do it. Recollections of being a little girl who learned this was a VERY bad word and it should never be said, played through my mind as did…OMG! what will my Mom and her book club have to say about this? Sooooo my censor won, and Raven’s vocabulary did not include the F-word. For more information about how to turn-off your internal censor, please click here.
Don't Ignore Your Character's Voice
My advice to writers is to turn off the filter and write your character true to their voice. Do not let your censor get in the way of developing your character's voice. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, do what I did to Raven—I regret not having the confidence to have written Raven dropping an F-bomb when he felt like it.
Have you ever ignored your character's voice?
Don't Use Your Words
As writers, we love our words. We spend our days with words and we love playing with them. We also become very attached to words—I know I do. Often, when I'm reviewing a passage, I find myself thinking geez, that's a great word and I'll give myself a little pat on the back. But this is where I need to put on the brakes and consider...just because I love a word, it doesn't mean that my character would use it.
During the editing process, watch out for vocabulary or phrasing the jumps out at you as being 'your word(s).' Ask yourself...is that a word my character would say? If it's not, you have to replace it with a word your character would have in their vocabulary. This is critical for the authenticity of your characters voice.
I love it when artists share their behind the scene stories about how a song came together or provide a peak into what inspired them to write their novel. Because I love it so much I wanted to do the same. Along with a daily reading from Beauty Beneath the Banyan (BBTB) on my YouTube Channel, I will also give a glimpse of what ignited my creativity when the novel was coming together.
#stayathome, #washyourhands and #staysafe.
I made SO many newbie mistakes when I was writing my novels. Therefore, every Tuesday, I will post author tips and share these lessons so you don't make the same mistakes as me.
What happens when we're not paying attention?
I have been glued to the news for COVID-19 updates. While I have been immersed in getting through the day during these challenging times, I have been missing issues that are important to me.
Before COVID-19, the Indigenous people were in a battle to be heard. To keep me informed, I get updates from Unist'ot'en Solidarity Bridge in BC. You can sign-up for their newsletter too, please click here.
So, what's happening on that front? Despite the urgency of this crisis, TC energy (formally Trans Canada) is still going ahead with the Coastal GasLink pipeline. This infuriates me. As Canadians are being told to stay at home to prevent transmission, the company is sending more workers and federal police officers onto Wet'suwet'en territories. Why on earth are they putting these communities at risk? They're already vulnerable and not equipped to handle a pandemic. AND, they DO NOT have the heredity chiefs permission so why are they in there in the first place?
Today I learned, KKR is a US based equity firm that has expressed an interest in purchasing 65% of the Coastal GasLink pipeline with Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo). Today, Rising Tide North America has organized a digital communications blockade to flood KKR executives with calls, emails, and tweets, in request that they back away from financing such a destructive project.
I have offered my support. Here’s what you can do to join the KKR communications blockade TODAY and #ShutDownKKR:
The War on Wolves Just Got Bigger
This one almost slipped under my radar, on March 17 another wolf cull began, this time in the Northwest Territories. The intent is to wipe out 80% of wolf population. Now, I am all for saving the caribou, but I question doing it at the expense of another species; wolves also play an important part in an ecosystem. Here's an interesting article about what happened to the ecosystem at Yellowstone Park when humans interfered with it. What I'd really like to know is this...if we're killing wolves to help the caribou population...how is human behaviour being curbed to prevent the caribou extinction?
I don’t know about you, but I never thought I would be around when a pandemic ripped through the world. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong, and it’s only just got started here in Canada. I would like to say a BIG thank you to all those with boots on the ground who are ensuring Canadians are safe and have food to eat. My heart goes out to all and especially those who are already vulnerable.
A Little Positive Amid the Craziness
Nature is resilient. It’s amazing how quickly it can bounce back. We are seeing evidence of this in Venice, Italy where the country is on lock-down amid COVID-19. With the canals empty of boat traffic—the fish are visible, and the swans and dolphins have returned. My favourite comments on social media..."Nature just pushed the reset button" and "Mother Earth is slowly recovering from us."
Callout for Ongoing Support
Canadians have to learn how to listen to Indigenous people. Right now they are asking us to listen and for our support. Here's what the Unist'ot'en Solidarity Brigade has to say.