Thursday, April 5, 2012

Restocking the Pantry

Hey guys! I know it’s been a minute, but I’ve been busting my ass writing book three of The Cambion Chronicles. With that complete, I am now able to bug you guys good and proper and partake in what I like to call “Restocking the Pantry.”   

Stephen King calls it a “tool box”, but I call it a pantry, the metaphysical storage where ideas, cool phrases, and techniques are accumulated over time by research and reading. Yes, READING! Anything and everything—not just your pet genre. That’s pretty much the only way any writer can grow and gather more fuel, even if it’s just to learn what NOT to do in your own writing.  Mainly it’s just the ability to relax and allow a story to be told, for you as the writer to enjoy the ride and not have to drive for a while. It’s pretty therapeutic. And very necessary.

So yeah, between book 1-3, I haven’t been able to do a sufficient restock, which is at least 20 books, so I’m doing it now since all my obligations are met. Writing three stories back to back with very few breaks in between has left my pantry scant. Signs of an empty pantry is the following:

·         Repeating key words/ phrases/ descriptions
·         When dialogue goes around in circles until a plot appears
·         When characters’ traits are suddenly contradictory or are too similar to other characters
·         When the storyline is similar to one you have already done
·         You come up with a crappy ending that makes no sense to the story

That’s just a few signs of a tired writer in need of a reboot. In short, you’re recycling your old stuff. That is the worst thing a writer can do since “you are only as good as your last hit” is still a prevalent saying in the industry. I know you’re gripes, “I’m on a deadline! I don’t have time to read.” Well, Stephen King says “then you don’t have time to write.” (I imagine him rolling his neck and snapping when he says this—don’t ask me why.) 

Reading and writing go hand in hand.  Deal with it.

Though the literary world is an industry, the human mind and imagination is NOT an assembly line. Ideas are intangible, organic; there is no secret recipe or an instruction manual on how to put one together. You can’t hire a crew and work double shifts to build that idea. It’s a singular job that no one can force or manipulate to their will, and your effort to punch out as many words as possible with no substance will show through your writing. That’s how hacks are born.

So that’s what I’ll be doing for the entire month of April. I’m kicking back with a Coke and a smile and reading everything I can get my hands on, starting with the new releases from very awesome Apocalypsies authors (shout out!)  Once that is done, I’ll lock myself up again and create.

For those who loved Living Violet, there is a giveaway for Burning Emerald, book 2 of The Cambion Chronicles going on at Goodreads NOW! Enter and win a free ARC!



  1. Though I've not just finished a 3 novel writing marathon, I'm working to restock my empty pantry too. It's nice to relax and enjoy other novelists' interpretation of the craft--definitely good for recharging the writer batteries.

    Restock away, you've earned it! :)

  2. Graet post--and glad you finished Book 3! Now I'm off to go win your ARC...

  3. I've found that if my characters are too similar, that's when I start to see recycled dialogue tags.


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