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After ten years in the wilds of eastern Indiana, where I fought the good fight as a book editor, I'm back in Illinois once more...for good. (At least I intend to make it that way!)

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Writing From "TV," Part I. (And, No, It's Not What You Think.)

Over the past few years, I've had a couple of what can only be called major transformations.
In my life, certainly.
But also, in my writing.
And in the process, I'm "refinding" and nurturing  roots I'd forgotten I had. 

Romance, for one. Specifically, happy, heartwarming romance. The kind of life I never lived in my family of origin (!), but the kind I lived in my adult years, once the mad percussionist and I came through the fire and emerged, out the other side, stronger, sweeter, deeper, and...ironically...on the way to becoming more and more who we were when we first fell in love.

Which is the cruel part about his untimely death happening when it did: that particular sun was just beginning to peep back over the horizon, only to set...too soon.

But, for reasons known only to the Almighty--and only happening by His power, I believe--even after Patrick's death, I've continued down the "revert" path...
...to the point where, literally, I've become once more the writer I was when I first fell in love. With writing, that is.

And that's where the title of this post comes in.
Yes, there IS "writing from TV" that, in fact, refers to "writing from (or for) television."
But that is not the writing I'm talking about now.
In this case, "TV" doesn't stand for "television," but for something way scarier.

Total Vulnerability.

What does that "TV" look like?

Short and sweet, it's summed up in the old wisecrack, "Writing is easy. Just sit down at your desk and open a vein."
It's writing that peels away layers.
Exposes your heart.
And isn't safe.

Don't misunderstand me, though.
I'm not talking about writing about so-called "unsafe" topics.
Or taking "risks" that are nothing more than painting depravity on a page.
Or illuminating "issues," righting wrongs, or making your reader uncomfortable by probing at her hypocrisies and forcing her to face them...
...all thinly disguised as fiction.
If you've read the CWC at all, you know how much I despise that.

I'm talking about writing that's honest. And terrifying at times. 
Writing that reaches into your guts. (Not that tries to challenge a reader's.)
Writing that goes over the top. 
The kind of writing we all do when we're about sixteen.
Melodramatic.
Intense.
Exposed.
Not "mature."
Not "sophisticated."
Not "subtle" or "eloquent" or "deft."

For a time, there, I tried to be subtle, and eloquent, and deft...and I ended up with people asking me ,"Where's the feeling in this?"
I thought it was there.
And maybe it was.
But it was being camouflaged under layers of what I thought "mature" writing was supposed to look like. Cool. Distant. Challenging.

I wanted to write cerebral, sophisticated stories. 
Whodunnits that would literally leave a reader gasping in surprise, then chuckling in admiration.
Romances that would leave a reader smiling knowingly, and even a little envious of the really, really cool people I'd set out there for them to emulate.

Nick and Nora Charles, if you would.
(Look it up.)

Only problem?
I'm not that person. 
And I'm not that writer.

The writer I've become now, however? Her, I like. A lot.
And the plus of this "reversion" is...now, I'm writing like (almost) never before.

What does this writing look like? And how is it turning out?
We'll talk about that in Part II!

To Be Continued...
Janny

Monday, January 11, 2021

Make that 64,585...

 ...being slowed only by my having had carpal tunnel release surgery on my right hand on January 5. Yeah. Six days ago, and I can almost type normally again.

Which, I suppose, says a lot for clean living. (!)

Added to this, of course, then is the latest invitation my agent has received from an editor for projects to fit a very specific kind of story--one I happen to be very good at. 

But NOT the kind I'm working on now! 
(Ayee)

More to come. Probably much, much, MUCH more...soon as my hand can cope with it.
Pray!

Janny

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

59,380...and counting

Okay, not to brag or get ahead of myself or anything, because I KNOW I've written some rabbit trails I'll have to trim and/or excise when it comes to editing and polishing...

...but MY BROTHER'S KEEPER is up to almost 60K words, and will reach that this weekend. More than likely, I'll blow right through to the tune of 2,000-3,000 more words before the New Year.

No, this won't finish the book; my novels of late are in the 85K+ range, and this one will end up that long for sure. But considering this is the THIRD book I will be tackling during calendar year 2020, I'm still not going to complain.

And, yes, I'm starting to get that "butterfly" feeling in the pit of my stomach. The one that's a mixture of wondering-if-I-can-pull-it-off and watching-myself-do-so. There's a creative fire that flares even higher at times like this--when you get that heart-stopping thought that maybe, just maybe--as the hero in one of my sweet romances says, This is gonna happen. Thanks be to all that is holy, this is really gonna happen!

People who don't create "stuff" out of nothing probably don't relate to this.

But I know a whole lot of you who...most assuredly...DO.

And with that, I must be going...
Stay tuned!

Janny

Monday, December 28, 2020

The Last Musical Monday of 2020!

Yes, I know...some of you can't wait to end this year.
BUT  Christmas isn't over yet, as you all well know. The celebration here, liturgically speaking, ends only at the feast of the Baptism of Christ--and at the Vatican, the creche stays up until Candlemas, which is February 2.

Yeah. 

So, in the spirit of continuation of the Christmas celebration, I bring you this.

This came not upon a midnight clear, but snuck up on me on WFMT as I was working in my office...and it blew me plumb away. I may be late to the party on this one; apparently, it's been around for some time... but I really don't care. There's never an expiration date on Debussy and Gruber.  Nor should there be.

Enjoy!

Janny

Monday, December 21, 2020

'Tis the Last Musical Monday Before Christmas...

 ...and there is no more fitting song than this one to share.

I was a little girl when I first heard this song...and it captured me.
I was a college student when I was lucky enough to perform this in an ensemble...
...and when another "little drummer boy"--born, coincidentally enough, on Christmas Day--captured me as well.

Both have held my heart ever since.

The original. The definitive. And, by far, the best version of this song. 
Ever.

May you always "play your best for Him."

Merry Christmas!

Janny

 

Monday, December 14, 2020

A Double Dip for Musical Monday!

Further proof that good musicians "borrow" (steal!) from each other all the time... 😊

First, the original, from Prokofiev...

The first one's rather more cheerful than the second, IMHO. But that doesn't diminish the memories--and there are plenty of them--that I have with the second song. 

Hallelujah...Noel!
More musical thoughts to come,

Janny

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Musical Monday on Wednesday! (LOL)

Never mind...it's worth it. Honest. 
When I was a baby music student, I fell in love with this second movement of the "Rhenish" Symphony...and in the process, with the entire piece as well.  Much of Schumann is equally beautiful, but this to me also has an extra degree of "sunshine" that you don't always hear in his work...for obvious reasons, if you know anything about the composer's life at all.  😔

BUT...if you've never heard this...take it in. Savor it. And then go listen to the rest of the symphony! 

You're welcome. 😄

Janny