Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Why I'm (probably) not going to read "Go Set A Watchman"

Recently, a "new" book, Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, was released. If her name sounds familiar, it's because she's the acclaimed (read: Pulitzer Prize-winning) author of the fantastic classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird. It's one of the few books we were forced to read by English teachers that we didn't completely hate, partially because there was an equally enjoyable movie to watch when we were finished. 

Harper Lee has the odd distinction of also being the Baha Men of authors--a veritable one-hit wonder in the world of books. If I had a choice, I'd much rather have produced TKAM than "Who Let the Dogs Out?". 

So, Lee coming out with a second novel--did I mention she's only published one of note? No? Well, TKAM was it until recently--is a big freaking deal.

And, as of right now, I have no plans to read it.

Will I change my mind? Probably at some point, but let me explain why I feel this way.

While reports vary slightly, according to many sources, GSAW was a rough first draft of TKAM, recovered recently (2014?) by Lee's lawyer in a safe deposit box and brought to the attention of Lee's agent, who obviously passed it on to the publisher HarperCollins. And I'm not sure this is a good thing. 

My biggest issue: If it were me and someone came across early drafts of my work (very possible--I have drafts upon drafts in various stages of completion on my computer), I'd be smacking my forehead repeatedly into a table (or rolling around in my grave) if they saw the light of day.  My early drafts (affectionately and appropriately called "shitty first drafts") are not meant to be released--that's the idea.  And I think that's what gets me the most about this--that GSAW was meant to be what became TKAM, and was not meant to be released on its own.

Then, more disconcerting, there have been many reports that Lee has been in declining health in recent years (she was born in 1926), and she has said publicly over and over that she had no intention of writing another novel (or at least publishing one).  I know I'm not the first to question how much input she had about the publication of GSAW, and that makes author-me wince. How true any of this is...no idea. Just commenting on stuff I've read in the media.

Secondly--and this is author-me talking again--would an author really--really--want an early draft of a novel released? In one of the online posts I read (scroll down to 2015: Go Set A Watchman for what I'm talking about), the books were said to have been part of a planned trilogy--Mockingbird first, a shorter book in between as a bridge, then Watchman last. This is likely to be speculation, though, so I took this with a grain of salt. But if GSAW is (was?) an early draft of TKAM, how much was changed? It wasn't published at the time it was written, probably for a variety of reasons, but those will likely stay between Lee and her editor. A bit of this post on Wikipedia mentions that TKAM was birthed from the draft because the most compelling parts of the draft of GSAW were the flashbacks of young Jean Louise (Scout)--score one for a solid editor! But I wonder, was the draft (manuscript?) of GSAW released as-is, or was it heavily edited to make a more compelling story? Did Lee have input into that?  If it was just released more or less as-is, what was the goal?

Did Lee have full creative control over the newly published novel? She certainly could have (and we're likely to not conclusively find out whether she did or not anyway).  And could GSAW have been crafted into something amazing and separate from the early manuscript that became TKAM? Absolutely--it already became TKAM through numerous edits.

But I won't be finding out right at this time.

Have you read Go Set A Watchman? If you did, what did you think? Thoughts on these issues?

xoxo Sarah

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stop by my Editing Tips board!

Last week I posted about putting a widget (side-note: I love that word!) for my Writing Tips Pinterest board.

I also figured, why stop there!

I've added a widget that links directly to my Editing Tips board as well (check under the Writing Tips one in the sidebar).  

It's posted below as well.  I hope you guys find it helpful!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Stop by my Writing Tips board!

Greetings! I hope you all are enjoying the summer. Remember, wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water.


Since you lovely readers seem to enjoy my writerly posts (especially the ones about editing tips), I wanted to make it easy for you to find the same inspiring things I do. Pinterest has been a lot of fun and very helpful for exactly that.

Okay, I know I've posted about my being on Pinterest before, but I thought I'd get a bit more specific so you guys can find my (hopefully) helpful writing content on there without having to sift through my 40+ boards, which are mostly about food.

If you check out my right side-bar, I've added a widget just for my Writing Tips board. I've posted it below as well.  Happy pinning!

Follow Sarah's board Writing Tips on Pinterest.

xoxo Sarah

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Interview Time with Patricia Leever

Hello, everyone! Today we have the lovely Patricia Leever with us, but you can call her Patty. ;-)

Hello, my dear! Tell everyone about yourself.  

Okay, let’s see, I’m the wife of one, the mom of four skin kids (who are all dang near grown) and the caretaker of one really old, smelly dog and one little black lunatic of a cat. I believe wearing your “weird” on your sleeve is what brings happiness so I fly my freak flag high and proud. I love zombies, science fiction and tacos. I haven’t seen my natural hair color in many, many moons and I’m quite alright with that. I laugh a LOT, mostly at myself because I also believe that laughter frees the mind and heals the soul.

And now I want tacos. Thanks for that, haha.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about being a writer?

My favorite part is getting all the people running around in my head out of my head and onto the page so I don’t go completely bonkers. My least favorite part is trying to translate what they are saying inside my head into words that other people with understand. Does that make sense? I mean, I love writing, but if I could just plug my brain into my laptop and download all the crap in there it would be so much easier.

Oh, you have no idea how much I agree with you about all of that. We need to invent the brain-to-computer tool for writers ASAP.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other writers?

Have a thick skin. Like seriously, rhinoceros skin. Not everyone is going to love your work and that’s okay, not everyone HAS to love it. Some people say that you shouldn’t look at reviews, especially the bad ones. I say look at the bad review and see if there is anything you can learn from it, but don’t take what they say personally.

Do you prefer silence or to have music on when you’re writing? What kind?

That really all depends on what I’m writing. If I’m writing something serious I like to have silence, which is hard in my house. But if I’m writing a fight scene I like to have some really rocking music. 2Cellos are my “go-to” for fight scenes, they rock but I don’t have the distraction of lyrics because sometimes I find the lyrics of a song can take me out of the scene. However, writing the third book in the Divinity series, I listened almost exclusively to the Black Veil Brides album, Wretched and Divine. I found their lyrics to really match the tone of what I was writing and it really spoke to me in a way that it almost felt like that album was written as a soundtrack for the book.

How’d you get the idea for Divinity (Divinity series, Book 1)? How about for the series as a whole?

I know it sounds certifiable, but it all started as voices in my head. Not voices in the literal sense, but that’s the best way to describe it. Evie, the main character in Divinity, started niggling at me, poking my brain and demanding to be heard. That’s how my ideas start. There are always ideas rolling around in my head about one character or another and then one of them gets really loud and I have to, for lack of a better term, let them out. Evie started as a short story, just a little chapter to get her out, sometimes that’s all it takes to purge the “voice” from my head. But she wasn’t having that, she wouldn’t stop poking and prodding until I gave her a book of her own.

Characters love to do that!

Will there be more books in the Divinity series? 

There is a second book, Entity, which is out now and I’m working on the third and final book, Fidelity. Oh wow, I don’t think I’ve ever shared the title of that one yet.

Yay! I'm honored you shared that! Super excited!

And what are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on Fidelity. I’ve written the bulk of it but I was going about it in a completely different way that I had with the other two. I didn’t have a formal outline this time, I just sort of sat down and wrote what came to me. It was quite freeing actually.

What genres do you write in? What have your experiences been like?

I’ve written in both historical romance with Cat O’ Nine Tails and in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance/new adult with the Divinity Series. The big difference, at least for me, is that Cat O’ Nine Tails is written in third person narrative where as the Divinity Series is written in first person. It’s a different mindset to write in third person than in first person. Naturally, you have a broader spectrum in the third person because you have an overview of everything that’s happening and that can be a smoother writing experience. First person can be challenging because you are only looking through one set of eyes, if something is happening and that person isn’t seeing it, you can’t use it so that can be tough. I’m not going to lie, there were times, especially when writing the second and third books in the Divinity Series that I thought to myself, why oh why did I start writing this in first person?

What was your favorite scene to write?

I absolutely love, love, LOVE writing a fight scene! There is something so cathartic about vanquishing a bad guy or just beating the crap out of them.

What scene gave you the most trouble?

Oh goodness, I think that would be one a scene in Entity, near the end that I can’t talk about because, you know, spoilers and stuff. I will say that I struggled like crazy trying to get that part out and I have no idea why, I just couldn’t get into the right mindset for it, not matter what I did. Then one night, I had taken my son to school across town and on the way home a song came on the radio and the scene came to me in a flood of emotion and imagery that I couldn’t get home fast enough to get it down. The emotion was so strong that I can’t even listen to that song anymore without bursting into tears like a weirdo.

That's awesome, though! Sometimes the best stuff comes out of the blue like that.

Where can we find you on the interwebs?

You can find me on the Facebooks in two places:
I’m on the Instagrams: https://instagram.com/pattyleever/

Where can we find your books?