Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Introducing CRAZY by Linda Phillips- Part II

Last week Linda Phillips shared the backstory behind her debut novel, Crazy. As Linda's close friend, one thing I have witnessed is how much she has learned and how she has not taken any part of this journey for granted. In this second post, she shares more of her insights.




After the initial excitement of signing with Eerdmans died down, patience part two was required with the dog of all dogs: revisions.  But I have to confess that I learned a ton about my own writing through that process.  

Here are just a few of my takeaways: 
  • One of the things I do best is repeat myself, especially if it has an emotional valence.
  • I rarely place the relevant pronoun immediately after its antecedent.
  • A large cast of minor characters is like trying to find a missing cat in dense fog.
  • There is such a thing as tragedy overload.
  • A little slang goes a long ways.
  • If you are writing about a specific year in time, be sure you research the etymology of words relevant to that year (how shocked I was to find that 1963 was not a “groovy” year).
  • If it serves no useful purpose, trash it.
  • Give your protagonist a spectacularly unique personality and then, like a good parent, make sure she remains true to character throughout.

Last but not least, I think I am beginning to learn not to take myself or my writing too seriously.  (hold me to this when the reviews start rolling in!)  This part I can do only with God’s help.  The writing life is such a roller coaster ride and I am admittedly already a roller-coaster personality type.  There has been and will continue to be many nail-biting, hair-splitting moments, and many with positive outcomes.  But I have had occasion already to remind myself that “this is just a book” and there is life beyond these words and pages that I have poured so much of myself into.  

So my learning curve right now includes seeking a balanced life that includes quality family time, good health, and continued writing success.  Repeat after me:  This is not life and death, it is just a book. 
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Here's a video of Linda reading "Nervous Breakdown" one of the poems from the book. You get one guess as to the name of her videographer and the beautiful setting in which it was "filmed"!

If you think Linda is sitting around twiddling her thumbs until her book comes out in October, then you're wrong. She's offering writing workshops and working on her next book about a teen struggling to understand the impact of Batten's Disease on her sibling. 

Remember, one of the ways we all can support new authors is by pre-ordering their books. Linda and Eerdmans will appreciate your interest in her book even before its October release date!

19 comments:

Barbara Younger said...

Appreciated learning about the term "emotional valence," a new one for me.

Carol Baldwin said...

Me too, Barbara. That's why I linked to it!

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

Thanks for dropping in Barbara. I'm chuckling about "emotional valence" because I guess I have "taken it for granted" that others were familiar with this term that I have often used without thinking about it!

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Emotional Valence is also new to me.

This is not life or death. It's just a book. Oh, yeah, well it's killing me!

I'm curious about the pronoun and the antecedent. Is this a writing style thing? Want to give me an example from the book?

Rosi said...

Thanks for sharing all of this, Linda. This is very instructive. Good luck with Crazy.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Joyce and Rosi. Now we'll wait for LInda's answer!

Linda A. said...

Linda,
Great tips and super poem! Can't wait for the rest.

Carol,
Thanks for the 2-part interview!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Linda A! I'm sure Linda P will be happy to read your comment!

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

I can't think of an exact example from the book about pronouns and antecedents, but it goes something like this. I might be talking about Joyce and Carol in a sentence and then in the next sentence I say "she said" but leave everyone hanging as to whether the antecedent is Joyce or Carol. I'm not an English teacher so let me know if this isn't clear, ha! All I know is I do it all the time (according to my wonderful editor).

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

Thanks Rosi and Linda A. for your faithful reading of this blog and your kind comments.

sheri levy said...

Linda, So exciting to hear about your adventures with revision. I am also trying to balance by writing time and my family life. With so many deadlines I get overwhelmed with getting it all done! Can't wait to read Crazy!!

miriam said...

Thanks for sharing, Linda! I never heard of emotional valence either. And yes, I totally agree about trying to keep all the roller coaster ups and downs of this process in perspective. So looking forward to reading your book! Miriam

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Sheri & Miriam. We're going to have quite a party when this book finally arrives!

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

Thanks for your kind comments Sheri and Miriam. Here's hoping we can all keep a good perspective and balance in our writing life versus "the rest of our life." I think with some focused effort, we can do it!

Young Authors Program said...

Congratulations, Linda! I am so excited for you. Can't wait to read your book!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Dorothy! One of our own--finally!

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

Thanks for your kind words, Dorothy and congratulations on your own writing accomplishments!

Kathy B said...

Congratulations Linda! and thank you for sharing your advice-and thank you Carol, I always learn something new when I read your blog!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Kathy. Glad it was helpful to you!