Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Remodeling, First Drafts and Opportunity

Today I welcome Donnell Bell to Terry's Place. I first met Donnell on a trip to Colorado when I was out visiting my newborn grandson. I'm thrilled to have her as my guest, and to celebrate the success of her debut novel, The Past Came Hunting. She's got a giveaway, so be sure to read the post for details. Winner announced over the weekend.

Today is a two-fer. While Donnell is here, it's my day over at the Blood Red Pencil. Their theme this month is small press-indie publishing. I'm sharing my thoughts.


Good morning, all. Terry, thanks for the invitation to blog with you. Congratulations, also, on your starred review in Publisher’s Weekly for ROOTED IN DANGER. (See why I love her!)

My longtime critique partner hasn't written in a couple of years, thanks to the economy. Her husband literally had to leave town to work in Durango, and times were a little desperate for this family of five, with three kids, two of whom were/are in college. Robin pulled herself up by her bootstraps, however, and said, this is it, I’m going back to work. She did. Got into a business she’d long been interested in, which was real estate.

Turns out this has been a godsend for the Searle family and a smart move for Robin professionally because, while a lot of Realtors got out of the business because of the dismal market, Robin got into it out of necessity and is now starting to thrive.

What has this got to do with writing?

Many things. I can always use Robin & Peter’s perseverance and determination as great character traits. Also, she said something to me the other day, which gave me the idea for this blog. She said, I love what I’m doing, but I miss writing.


The good thing about branching out and doing other things in addition to writing, is that while it may stymie your time, it doesn’t necessarily have to make you any less of a writer. As a matter of fact, doing something different may actually enhance it. Think about it. Actors often research their roles by slipping into a character’s occupation or lifestyle.

It’s no different for a writer. We cannot write a book without research, and everything we learn in and around our other occupations is handy and fingertip-ready knowledge.

Robin talked about a house that had gone back on the market and would be in desperate need of remodeling. She sent me pictures, and I agreed it’s going to need considerable work. But what she has there in my opinion is a rough draft. Ever look at the words on your page and think this is garbage?

Well, maybe it is, like this house… for now. But as Nora Roberts says, she can fix an ugly first draft, but not a blank page. The beauty of writing is you can add or subtract, remodel even.

Most of us have to work. Let’s face it, writing isn’t exactly keeping most of us in the black. What do you think? Do you use your jobs as an opportunity, or do you lament that you never have enough time. I’d love to hear your stories. I’ll give away a copy, either digital or paperback, of my romantic suspense, THE PAST CAME HUNTING to one person. Happy remodeling & writing!

Donnell Ann Bell is a debut novelist for Bell Bridge Books. Her 2007 Golden Heart finaling novel The PAST CAME HUNTING, is #62 in Amazon, #3 in Romantic Suspense and #8 in Mystery and Thrillers, and her second release and 2010 Golden Heart final, currently titled Deadly Recall should hit shelves late 2012 or early 2013. She loves to hear from readers and writers. Check out her website at www.donnellannbell.com

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23 comments:

Jemi Fraser said...

I love my full time job too. I'm a teacher and interact with so many people (adults and kids) every day. It's an amazing opportunity to observe so many personality types. Love it! :)

Donnell said...

Good morning, Terry, and readers at Terry's place. Thank you for having me. Jemi, I envy you. I can't imagine all of the characters you see during the day. You're a half-full kind of person, I can tell. Well done!

Donnell said...

Also, if I make an amendment to my bio line, if I may. . .

Amazing what a couple of weeks can make. THE PAST CAME HUNTING is #1 in Romantic Suspense, #1 in Contemporary Fiction, and last time I checked #2 in Mystery and #14 on Amazon overall. This can change in a blink of an eye of course, so thanks for letting me share!

Happy Writing & Remodeling those drafts!

Sherry Isaac said...

We can fix an ugly page or remodel a dysfunctional kitchen. We can also tear down a house and start from scratch, and can do the same with our manuscript.

Great analogy.

Donnell said...

Thanks, Sherry, that goes for any creative process, don't you reckon? Thanks for stopping by!

Kristina Knight said...

Donnell - what an *awesome* update. Thanks for sharing!!

I'm writing full-time (non-fiction and fiction) and I actually sometimes miss going to a job, talking with co-workers, etc. On the plus side, when I did have a day-job, it was in TV news - so I have crazy character traits, stories and ideas for YEARS to come.

Donnell said...

Kristina, how right you are. I thought I would write so much more when I retire. I had to get out there. Muses need a foreman, don't you know? ; Thanks for stopping by!

Jerrie Alexander said...

Donnell, great post. I needed Nora's reminder, something to kick me in the backside so I'll move on with my current wip instead of worrying over the first draft!

Congratulations on the rise up the charts of The Past Came Hunting. It's a great read and deserves the recognition.

Jan Morrison said...

Great post - my husband is a builder and we designed and he built the house we live in - I often think of that as I write. Everytime we make a decision whether in our design or in our actual building - it affects everything around it. I have full-time work as a psychotherapist - I love it and I love writing. I just have to stretch it out as thin as it will go sometimes...

Donnell said...

Jerrie, I saw a great quote by Sylvia Plath yesterday... One of my favorite books of all time, The Bell Jar...


"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." ~ Sylvia Plath

You have that nearve, Jerrie, go get 'em.

Thanks for your lovely compliment about The Past Came Hunting.

Donnell said...

Oh, Jan, you know precisely what I'm saying. I just had a kitchen and den remodel, and it was such fun watching my contractor. It never occurred to me that he was an artist as much as me.

He could walk in the room and see his vision where I saw nothing but an outdated kitchen and dull.

My goodness, a pyschotherapist, you must be able to create all types of characters. I hope you'll try journaling so that the writing progresses!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Christina Lasswell said...

Hi Donnell! This is very encouraging to me because I've recently started my first fiction first draft~ and I lament coming to work most days because I'm now passionate about just writing! Why do I have to work? Boo hoo. But it's good to know I'm not alone, and actually, I have an awesome job for which I'm VERY thankful. I've already read your book and finally got around to leaving a review on Amazon. Congrats on all the success!

Donnell said...

Christina, good morning! First of all, have you ever heard that saying the grass is always greener.... when I was working, I thought oh if I could only stay home, my days would be spent filling the keyboard with .... yeah right.

When you work and you know your time is limited, you work harder (in my opinion)because you know you don't have all those XXX hours in a day. I'm glad you have an awesome job -- see there my half full kind of woman! Good things happen to hall full people, I promise you!

And I'm so grateful for your lovely review. I didn't respond there because I often don't know who the reader is, but I laughed out loud at your cute little "I" instead of the heroine and your appreciation for Joe.

Trust me, I appreciate Joe very much, too :) I so appreciate you stopping by Terry's Place today. Thank you for taking time to read the book!

Sandy said...

Love your post, Donnell. Both you and Terry are inspiring.

Donnell said...

Thank you very much, Sandy! Best wishes to you! Thanks for stopping by.

John Sharpe said...

Great blog, Donnell. I can appreciate your analogy because I have been both a realtor and builder. And now I’m a writer.

I’ve worn many hats in my life and every single sweat band has given me fodder for my tales.

And congrats on the great Amazon success. No one deserves it more.

Donnell said...

Thank you so much, John, great to see you. You got that right. When something seems mundane or useless, it's actually something we writers are storing away to use for later.

I appreciate your nice comment about Amazon. I'm on the #1 shock and surprised list! Thanks for stopping by!

Janet Kerr said...

Hi Donnell,

I use my studies (MA in Criminology) of specializing in victimology in my writing. This gives me information on victims & offenders. But, I still have to work so very long on my drafts!

I would be interested in reading your book.
Please enter me in the draw:
janet(underscore)kerr(at)msn(dot)com
Thank you!

Donnell said...

Janet, then I bet they're awesome drafts. What's that old saying, I will sell no wine before its time. It's the same with a draft. I think we know in our hearts when it's polished and ready. What a great background you have. I would love to enter you in the drawing. Thank you for stopping by!

Karen C said...

I liked your analogy and appreciate what it takes to 'construct' a novel for us readers! Congratulations on the success of The Past Came Hunting - so very exciting for you! And for us - sounds like a great read.

Donnell said...

Hi, Karen, I'm glad you liked it, thank you for your very nice compliment. Appreciate you stopping by! Have a great evening!

Kathy said...

Hey Donnell and Terry greetings from the night owl. I enjoy not working but I do know it is in my future to return to the workforce. I am limited on how much I can make though. I used to work in a convenience store aka gas station. After almost 15 years there I burned out at the end. I dreaded work more every day. I've decided after 19 years of retail I've had enough. I want an office job of some type or even something temp where I choose if I want to work or not. I did that in Hawaii and I loved it. I don't think I am actually getting all that much more writing done some days. Right now with adjusting to losing my husband of 40 year at the end of Nov and finally moving into my own place and knowing there are 2 storage units waiting to be emptied to decrease the bills I still put writing first.

Donnell said...

Kathy, good for you. Yes, I reached burn out at my old job too before I retired. There's a difference. If you hate your job, can you imagine what that can do to your writing. Look at all the bosses you may kill off as a result.

You've been through so much, losing your beloved spouse. Congrats on writing through all this and best wishes on finding something you'll love.