Posts Tagged ‘Jeannie Holmes

22
Jun
10

The Voices in My Head

I, too, have been lax in posting. However, I can now happily report that last week I finished the sequel to Blood Law, which is tentatively titled Blood Secrets. (As with all things in publishing, the title is subject to change.) I handed it over to my editor on Thursday and was looking forward to a nice relaxing vacation, at least a week, before breaking out the white board and Post-It Notes to plot the next project.

The voices in my head had other ideas.

Don’t misunderstand me. The voices were very nice. They actually slept in and waited a full twenty-four hours before demanding my attention like the demons they literally are.

I forced myself to ignore them for the weekend and take a little time to bask in the glory of having finished my second book. However, the more I ignored them, the louder they shouted. Now, instead of spending the week organizing my office after a massive relocation effort, I find myself standing in front of a white board with a dry-erase marker in one hand and a pad of Post-It Notes in the other.

It sounds crazy, and perhaps I am, but even though this new project will be written in first person POV, I “hear” the other characters interacting with the protagonist and all have distinctive voices. With Blood Law and Blood Secrets, which are written in third person with multiple POV characters, it seemed natural to “hear” these other characters and give them a view-point. For the new project, however, it seems really odd.

As a reader, I like both first and third person, as long as the characters are engaging, and have even seen second person POV used effectively in A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans. As a writer, I think I like working in third a little better than first, but I’m comfortable writing in both. I try to pick the point of view that will carry the most impact for the story. Although, there are times when a central character simply steps forward and says, “This is my story and no one’s telling it but me.” That would be the scenario I’m facing with this new project.

So, my fellow writers, do you have a preferred POV from which to work? Do you switch them up depending on what best suits the story? Have you ever had a character dictate the POV of the story? Am I the only one who hears voices?

Advertisements
24
Feb
10

Confessions of a Twisted Mind

I am not what most people would consider “normal.” I’ve been blessed -– or cursed, depending on how you choose to view it –- with an overactive imagination. Okay, so that part isn’t uncommon. The uncommon part is that my imagination skews to the Dark Side, and I mean Stephen King-level and beyond. It’s a great resource when you’re a writer…and a guy…not so much when you’re considered “a good girl” in the South.

My love affair with all things dark and disturbing began at an early age. I was six when I saw the 1932 film adaptation of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. Vampires instantly fascinated me. The next time Mom took my brother and me on our monthly pilgrimage to the library I checked out as many books on the subject as I could, including a copy of Bram Stoker’s novel. From there I progressed to werewolves, demons, ghosts, fairies, aliens… You name it, I probably read about it.

As I got older, my interest in the supernatural continued, but I also developed an interest in psychology, particularly abnormal psychology. I read books on psychopathy, sociopathy, serial killers, cults –- pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I also read books on history, anthropology, and religion. This is all in addition to reading the fiction of Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft.

Books weren’t the only fodder for my imagination. Films sparked all manner of ideas, especially when I was younger. My older siblings let me watch scary movies when our parents weren’t around. Not a good idea. The Exorcist gave me nightmares for months, and after seeing Poltergeist, I was convinced there was a dimensional portal to Hell in my closet. (That was three weeks of hell for Mom that much was certain.) Then there was that unfortunate clown incident at the circus…

So, where does the twist come in to all this? The twist is that all these little things have accumulated in my brain over time and made me who I am.

For example, my husband and I live in Mobile, Alabama but my family lives in Mississippi. When we travel from Mobile to visit my family, the route we drive takes us past a couple of very lovely marshy areas. Mark, my husband, sees these marshes and says, “That would make a cool photo.” I see them and say, “That would be a cool place to hide a body.”

Another example: An innocent trip to the home improvement store takes a dark turn when I’m around. Others see common household and garden tools. I see murder weapons.

Even a walk through the toy section of a discount store gives me ideas. All those plastic ties that hold dolls and action figures in place in their packages? Others see annoyances that have to be removed quickly in order to stifle the demanding screams of a child. I see effective restraint points for a psychopath to use during a torture session.

My mind never completely shuts off, and I’m constantly composing scenes in my head for whatever book I’m working on at the time. The smallest thing can spark a full-blown creative fit. Does this make me “a bad person?” No, I don’t think so. Maybe a little creepy, but not “bad.”

So if you ever have an opportunity to meet me, and I seem to space out for a second or two, it’s nothing personal. I’m probably just thinking of ways to hide your body.

27
Jan
10

You must answer me these questions three…

Hello! I’m Jeannie, another of the newbies and today I’m going to talk about something every writer (especially first timers) should be willing to do — asking questions.

Why did I choose this topic? Well, mainly because I recently found myself in a situation that required me to direct a lot of questions to my agent. In December, my editor at Bantam jumped to another publishing house. She and I had worked very closely on my book through two major rewrites, and I’d gotten very comfortable with our relationship. Naturally her departure left me wondering just what the heck I was supposed to do about my pending release, not to mention the second book.

I peppered my agent with questions. “What does this mean?” “Is my release date going to be pushed back?” “Is my contract in jeopardy?” “Who’s my new editor?” “Do I even have a new editor?”

My agent was wonderful and answered all my questions. “This means you’ll have a new editor to complete the release of the first book and to work on the second book.” “No, the release date won’t be pushed back.” “No, your contract is fine.” “Here’s the name of your new editor, and yes, you do have one.”

The main point I needed to understand was that a changing of the guard is not unusual in publishing. People come and go. It’s part of the business and we, as writers, have to learn to be flexible and roll with the punches. One of the best ways to do this is by not being afraid to speak up, ask questions, and voice our opinions especially when it involves our careers.

This couldn’t be more vital to a first-time author. No one expects you to know everything going in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of other authors, your agent, and especially your editor. They are there to support you and guide you.

Above all, remember it’s your career, and you have a right to know where it’s heading.