Writing – follow your instincts.

Untold Stories

As the urge invaded, I decided to write a difficult, complex story.  Seraphim is a story of abusive love, losing faith and renewal of faith in God and people.  In the spring I begin to understand renewal, but am having difficulty reasoning ‘how’ my character might understand.

With difficulties of abuse (both physical and mental), being a young teen when she has a child and no financial means to support her child, Delaney’s life is understandably complex and difficult.  Brought up Catholic she has trouble believing God could be so cruel and harsh.  She has done nothing wrong in her mind to deserve such punishment.  Yet her husband, an older man, a sheriff (who knows and uses the law in his favor), continues getting his way with no repercussions whatsoever.  

At this point I was getting confused – what possible reason would make her leave her husband after twelve years and what might  make her realize it’s up to her to change her life? I shelved my story and waited for something to ‘click’ which I tried to accept might be never.

Then what seemed like a normal occurrence, turned into guidance.  I started reading The Forgotten God.  My confusion has lightened.  I am getting my questions answered by researching to understand.

I am discovering research is not only a way to get facts, but also to get the inspiration and emotions needed to write a good story.  Be open for signs.

Seraphim by Mary M. Forbes

Seraphim by Mary M. Forbes

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A sample – Seraphim by Mary M. Forbes

Seraphim will be available in May in both e-book and printed copy form.  Visit my Amazon site to learn more in May.

A small sample of Seraphim – by Mary M. Forbes

As a young girl she had believed if she was good, God would reward her.  If she was bad, God would punish her.  Everything in her life since leaving the orphanage indicated the opposite.  In her life now the devil, like the fury of the wind, whirled around touching everyone, allowing them to do evil at will. Meanwhile God did nothing.

“Why God… why,” Delaney moaned to the heavens.  But the heavens were blocked by the charcoal, dark clouds. She stared at the trees surrounding the rest area.  Their leaves rustled and slashed in the winds and rain.

Her eyes widened, playing tricks on her chaotic thoughts. A white glowing mist, sparkling sunbeams, made the parking lot look like a dome of light. She rubbed her eyes and looked up.  There was only darkness above.  The rain continued to slash its’ fury out of black, swirling clouds.

Seraphim by Mary M. Forbes

Seraphim – a new novel by Mary M. Forbes

To be released sometime in May, 2013.  Seraphim will be available in both e-book and printed format.  Visit Amazon in May to order.

Seraphim by Mary M. Forbes

Delaney Bayer wants to escape her marriage, but she fears her husband’s power as a Sheriff. She feels abandoned by her religion considering the hardships she is faced with for no apparent reason. She has no money, no skills and no one to help.

The unthinkable happens when her daughter is violated by the same monster abusing her. Delaney knows she has no other choice but to run. She accepts there is no God and there are no Guardian Angels. She must leave using only her own questionable ingenuity.

A white, mystical horse named Seraphim comes to her when all seems lost. Delaney is confused, believing she is insane like so many people say.  Is Seraphim her Guardian Angel or a figment of her imagination? Does she dare believe?

Seraphim – the title of my soon to be released novel.

In Isaiah’s call-vision in the Temple, he sees Seraphim surrounding the throne of God, singing praise to God; the “Thrice Holy” hymn.  In this instance they are angelic beings but in the Book of Numbers, seraph-snakes are sent to punish the Israelite. Some of the Seraphim are Gabriel, and Lucifer.

In writing my novel, I chose the name Seraphim as my heroine’s personal guardian angel, who comes down to earth in the form of a white horse to help guide her attempts to escape the abuse and  horrors she has been exposed to. This story deals with topics physical, mental abuse as well as grief.

But it is a fiction piece, with a romantic element as well as the hope that I love to create in all I write.  Seraphim will be available in print and e-book form sometime in May of this year.

   Seraphim by Mary M. Forbes

Dilemma of Modern Writing – Insecurity

Most writers are not fortunate enough to be born into a family of writers.  More often we are alone in our pursuit to create a masterpiece.  My experiences are that few except actual serious writers understand our passion and obsession with writing.  I find it fortunate when I discover and talk to serious writers.  Belonging to groups is a very good method of this so long as the group is not just gathering to socialize.  I have attended both the serious groups and the social gathering groups.  Be careful that the social groups do not prevent you from writing rather than the purpose of helping your writing.

But groups, regardless, are not with you on a day to day basis.  As you write, there will be interruptions, – always to the outsider, more important than your writing.  Don’t become irritated or angry as it’s a simple case of ‘they don’t understand’.  It’s you who must decide what is important.  I still feel my family and children will supersede my writing when a problem arises.  I however have ‘trained’ them to understand that my writing is important and shouldn’t be interrupted by something like ‘where is the toothpaste’ type problems. My husband believes my writing is a ‘hobby’ and has no problem with it.  But just the concept ‘hobby’ does not denote understanding or taking it seriously.  In turn, I must understand, he can’t understand and not be upset. But unless you are surrounded by other serious writers, I believe you won’t get the understanding that will alleviate your insecurity. You have to discover this yourself and ignore the would-be advice for what it is – lack of understanding (or even an inability to understand).

Seraphim by Mary M. Forbes

Seraphim – a story of abuse and domestic violence combined with hope and the knowledge everyone has the right to happiness.

I have written four romance novels and managed to complete them with a hectic life around me.  I had to discover my own methods.  My latest novel is a more controversial novel of abuse and domestic violence.  I feel confident I can write romance novels and can complete them.  Now again insecurities invade as I try something new.  I do not expect understanding from my family and friends. They will say it’s great regardless of whether it is or not.  I will investigate other serious writers to gain ‘real insight’ into the story.

So when we writers suffer the insecurities, my suggestion is evaluate and make your own decisions on your own methods of dealing with insecurities. Don’t expect the help of others. When completed, seek professional advice.  I have many friends who don’t read romance – all I ever hear are comments like ‘anyone can write a romance’ or ‘why don’t you write…’  if I dare deviate in conversations to something other than romance it gets much worse.

I have learned this is just the life of a writer. Don’t take it personally,   Follow your heart.

Writing – Keeping it Alive

For as long as I remember, I have loved cowboys and horses.  Growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere – my choice of leisure was to ride my horse and pretend I was a cowboy.  I wasn’t interested in housework and I wasn’t interested in farming.

When I was older and reality stuck me in a city (at least my choice was good – Calgary – cow-town – did offer much to keep my thoughts alive when trying to capture the illusive nature of a cowboy). As a child I wrote stories of cowboys and delved into the concept of combining cowboys and romance when I was a teen.  I listened to music and I played one song ‘Momma Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys’ by Waylon Jennings in particular.  Why not?  I wanted my babies to be cowboys – they were so fascinating and so perfect – that is a real cowboy – not a cocoa cowboy (there is a song for that too). But I needed to study their flaws too to make them right.

I found horses fascinating as well and I started painstakingly drawing – until I could say I was drawing a perfect horse. (Never happened – yet).

As I listened to George Strait or Alan Jackson the concept of a cowboy nature took hold.  I was ready to develop my characters.

Seraphim by Mary M. Forbes

My nearly perfect horse I drew and am using on the cover of my new story – Seraphim.

One Dance with a Stranger by Mary M. Forbes

My inspiration – George Strait and Alan Jackson for my hero Wade Hart in One Dance with a Stranger. One reader described Wade as hotter than hot. That’s a cowboy for you.

 

hidalgo

My newest model in my explorations to discover the elusive cowboy nature. Based on a true story – Frank Hopkins (played by Viggo Mortensen.

Now to keep my love alive I have a new cowboy in my life.  Viggo Mortensen in Hidalgo is my new study. I love that show.   I have written two stories using a Metis as my hero (Indians make wonderful cowboys).  Mortensen’s character is a Metis (If Americans called them Metis – which they don’t – Canadians do though).  He is half native and half white in the story.  Perfect for my ideas and I can only admire the man and cowboy in this show.(not to mention Hidalgo).

 

Resources – Genre Writing

There are questions and discussions all over about Genres. Should we push to change ‘their’ rules? Are their rules too rigid?  Does genre writing stifle creative juices?  I personally would answer ‘no’ to all the questions.

One Dance with a Stranger by Mary M. ForbesReaders of Genres expect a certain consistency in a genre.  For example I have had many discussions on the romance genre (my genre) as to whether you can write a romance without a happily ever after ending.  Of course you can.  It’s a free country for which we writer’s should get down on our knees and thank God every day. Unlike some countries we can write whatever we wish.  So write your sad ending – just don’t expect to have it published as a traditional romance.  Try to market it elsewhere.  It’s not a difficult concept. It doesn’t speak less of your work.

One Dance with a Stranger – a contemporary romance with a happily ever after ending  – because it wouldn’t be right without it.

diamond ring

But publishing companies know what their readers want.  Romance has a huge following  Publishing companies in the romance genre are not interested in controversy – they are interested in selling books which includes giving the reader of romance what they want.  There is a massive amount of branches in romance from contemporary, to historical to erotica.  We must just read about Harlequin’s success to understand the guidelines should be in place.  Romance sells.  Romance needs guidelines or becomes less successful. If a reader doesn’t get what they want – the will not continue reading that genre.

If you don’t like the rules, write another genre – or write ‘main-stream’ novels which covers everything in our countries of ‘freedom’.  Writing is a lonely, often frustrating profession.  Don’t fill your mind with unnecessary problems.

Write your story and don’t worry what the genre is if you don’t know.  Just write to the best of your ability.  Once your story is done to your satisfaction then figure out the genre and targeted market instead of trying to change a genre just because you think it needs changing. Who knows you might even be the founder of a whole new genre.

If you want to write an already existing genre – follow guidelines for any success.  Leave it to professional sellers to figure out what changes might be made.  And they aren’t always successful either.  Failure is just a ‘learning lesson’, not the end of the world.

Seraphim by Mary M. ForbesThe story I am writing now, although will have romantic elements in it – won’t be a romance ‘genre’ novel.  I will not market it as a romance genre novel or fight genre guidelines and rules.  Seraphim will find it’s own niche.

Resources – Motivation

I heard Debbie Macomber – romance author –  speak at a convention put on by the Alberta Romance Writer’s Association in Calgary.  It was quite a few years ago – yet I still remember – her ability to motivate was phenomenal.  She spoke with enthusiastic zeal and I found myself wanting to rush home and write – because I needed and wanted to.  I applaud her ability to motivate.

Unfortunately, Debbie hasn’t answered my requests to stand beside me and motivate me when I just don’t feel like writing.    So I need to investigate tools that might motivate me to write.  Although I find an odd variety of information I gain from researching helpful in new ideas and stories, what about the story I’m writing at the moment?  It’s easy to put it aside and start a new one.  But it doesn’t go towards helping complete a novel.  I often hear people, acquaintances, friends and relatives, who want to write a  novel.  I know of a rare few who do so although they might have a box of ‘ideas’ all ready.Seraphim

Everyone must find their own motivation.  Although other people can help – in the end it’s up to you to complete a novel, no one else can do it for you.  For myself there are various methods I use for motivation.  I have three contacts I often receive advice from which is motivation to me.  I was at a stalemate in writing my new novel – Seraphim.  I want to thank Lesley Fletcher – her subtle words, not intending to tell me what to do, motivated me.  Just a slight direction change and my creative juices started flowing.  Thanks to Lesley, Harriet and Sean, those three people who often keep me focused.

 

5 Pillars of the Gypsy

I have discovered that nature, a fun time with friends (like a group going to the Calgary Stampede) or a visit to a place I love (Heritage Park in Calgary) all motivate me.  I find  watching a child motivates me. Studying interaction between people I don’t know motivates me. I am a people-watcher without being obvious by just staring. Traveling motivates me. Spring motivates me.  Sunshine motivates me. Rain and rainbows motivate me.  Horses motivate me. Sometimes a movie or a book motivates me – either as learning what to do or what not to do.

Everyone must search their own methods for motivation.  Motivation –  will definitely help you complete your story.   Good luck.

Outside Calgary in the rain

Resources – Story Lines

I recently had a discussion with a fellow author about the right or wrong of taking another writer’s explanation of their work and insisting their meaning should be… (insert your own opinion).  I don’t dispute that is wrong.  I would hope the writer of a specific article or novel should know and understand their own meaning without dispute.  But to further expand on the subject, and since it can’t be denied that every story has already been written, I believe there is no reason not to take your interpretation and turn it into your own story. Done in your own words – with differences in plot, characters – would that mean – you have plagiarized another person’s work?  To return to ‘every story has already been told’ – I personally don’t think so.

How can someone logically say another author has plagiarized their work if they write of something common-place in stories.  I often wonder if the wolf in the fable of ‘The Boy who Cried Wolf’ was plagiarized and used in ‘Little Red Riding Hood.’

lightbulb

I personally use  ‘what if…’ which always changes the whole concept of a story in my mind.  I watch shows or read books and often say ‘what if’.  If I don’t like the twists or think of different characters in a story I say ‘what if…’ and have so many ideas in my mind I doubt I’ll ever get them all written.

Ironically, what if, applied to my life is annoying to me.  I often say – ‘what if – what if never happens‘ and believe in real life you could spend an immense time worrying about something that might never happen.  What if is a pleasure I reserve for writing only.

A man beats his wife to death was reality I saw in a true story and has happened throughout history. But I think ‘what if – she escapes instead of dying.’  The whole story changes.  I don’t feel I am stealing anyone’s story.  With a little thought and some jotting down, the idea becomes a story. I know exactly what I must research and carefully plot out any vague or omitted loose ends.    Voila –   My story ‘Seraphim‘ is born.

Front Cover - Seraphim

Reserve your what if’s to  tell a story and I guarantee you will never have writers block.