Nearly two weeks since my last blog post here at One Word. I think that is a record dry spell. Time has not been my friend as of late. Hope a few of you are still hanging around.
So anyway a friend of mine recently brought me a t-shirt back from the Virgin Islands. A piratey shirt from a place called Blackbeard's Castle. The shirt reads ... SCARS ARE TATTOOS WITH BETTER STORIES
I wore said shirt to a meet-up dinner with a group of fellow writers last night.
I'm quite lucky to live in a community where there are so many talented and successful writers.
I enjoyed chatting with Anita Howard. You may not know Anita yet, but you soon will. Anita is fabulously talented. Check out her blog here. She recently landed representation with Jenny Bent and trust me when I say she has a stupendous voice. Her latest endeavor is a literary YA Fantasy titled, Splintered. Here is the trailer.
I also got to chat with Kimberly Willis Holt, author of My Louisiana Sky, When Zachary Beaver Came To Town (Winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, as well as School Library Journal's Best Book of the Year). And the Piper Reed series.
Then there were those that write adult fiction ...
Linda Castillo whose novel Breaking Silence, the third in a series starring Amish Country Police Chief Kate Burkholder is now available for pre-order and is already getting rave reviews
“In addition to creating exceptionally well drawn characters and crafting a gripping plot that takes some shocking turns to a heart-pounding conclusion, Castillo probes with keen sensitivity the emotional toll taken by police work. The third in this series of thrillers (after Sworn to Silence, 2009, and Pray for Silence, 2010) is another winner.”—Booklist
Linda organized our dinner and is she so pleasant to chat with it's almost hard to imagine she writes with such cutting edge suspense.
Friend, mentor and tormentor Deborah Elliott-Upton was there eating a salad right beside me. Debbie is a helluva mystery writer with an unnatural hangup for Johnny Depp. Besides having a slew of short story creds to her name she blogs every Thursday over at Criminal Brief.
And though I didn't get to speak with her as long as I would have liked RWA Hall of Famer Jodi Thomas was just down the table.
So what the heck does this have to do with my t-shirt. Well on the way home, I was thinking about writing. (That's the great benefit of hanging around other writers. They inspire me to write.) And I realized how true the shirt's saying is in relation to writing fiction.
It is the scars. The damage inflicted in the past that shapes characters. Makes them who they are. And like a scar how, when and what caused the damage is rarely revealed right away. It leaves the reader guessing, wondering.
Also tattoos are things we plan for. Things we don't mind showing. They can be interesting as can descriptions we writers directly parcel out to our readers but its those unexpected things that are slow or reluctant to reveal themselves that really capture a reader.
I have no tattoos, though I've long said I'll get one to celebrate and honor the first novel I sell. I do have a few scars however and yes, every one of them has a story.