Today I have the distinct pleasure of entertaining here on my historical fiction blog an author from a different genre. Maaja Wentz is a Toronto writer whose joyous smile shown at left is heightened in her lively guest post below. Welcome to Maaja! Enjoy, Everyone! And don’t forget to enter Maaja’s contest.
Just before you begin Maaja’s guest post I have to mention that last week my website let me down and even though I wrote my usual Wednesday blog post it didn’t send properly. Consequently my readers didn’t get their notification. After you finish reading Maaja’s interesting words below please consider checking out last week’s post, War on Our Doorstep! It’s got loads of photos in it. Ah, technology! And now read about inspiration—
How Do You Keep Your Inspiration?
Guest post by Maaja Wentz
When authors speak in public, readers and newbie writers alike ask the same question: Where do you get your inspiration? This weekend I attended Toronto’s Ad Astra science fiction and fantasy convention where I listened to authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Robert J. Sawyer, Julie Czerneda, and Diana Whiting. None of them expressed difficulty getting ideas. In fact, Sanderson read us a story which he had written on the plane and in the airport on his way to Toronto.
There’s a little secret writers share. Most, myself included, have more story ideas then they have time to develop. Between life events, the news, and new discoveries in science and history, there will never be a dearth of story sparks. The challenge is to stay inspired through early drafts, revisions based on beta reader feedback, and multiple revisions after editorial review. For traditionally published authors this process often takes a year, leaving sequel-hungry fans waiting.
At least traditionally published authors have editors with deadlines to goad them into action. As an indie author, seeing things through to the end is lonelier because editors are freelance and deadlines are self-imposed. I love the exhilaration of writing a first draft. The blank page holds limitless possibilities and new scenes come quickly, but editing is a slow slog.
What is the secret to persevering from idea to polished book? For many, it’s the same element that drives actors, singers, and dancers — the joy of performing. Doing public readings where I can see the audience laugh or hold its breath is its own reward. On the Wattpad reading app my novel, Feeding Frenzy, has received over 124 000 reads to date. Winning a Watty Award and interacting with Wattpad readers online keeps me going because I know real people are enjoying my characters and their adventures.
When I can’t share my work, reading keeps me motivated. Writers get inspiration from the same source readers get entertainment and food for thought. We need to see what other writers are capable of, the creative challenges they set themselves, their differing voices and styles, and their solutions to technical puzzles. Reading fiction also helps us remember the pure pleasure of books from the reader’s point of view.
There is a danger inherent in this kind of inspiration according to Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer. At Ad Astra on Sunday, he read from his work-in-progress about the Manhattan project and the inventors of the atomic bomb. Sawyer said he wouldn’t read anything fictional featuring Enrico Fermi, Robert Oppenheimer, or Richard Feynman. He worried fictional depictions of historical figures might overlap with his own research-based ideas. For fear of accidental plagiarism, or of having to limit his imagination to avoid it, he is sticking to non-fiction for now.
Unlike Robert J. Sawyer, I’m still learning the craft and business of writing. My inspiration comes from reading my favourite genres: fantasy and science fiction. To stay current, and for the pleasure of reading, I purchased ten of the top fantasy and science fiction novels on the Amazon ebook charts. The idea is not that I will be inspired to write like these authors, but that their books will motivate me to keep revising, editing, and polishing to the end. If I never wrote another story, I would still have over seven novel drafts on my computer, waiting to be edited and published. All I need is sufficient motivation.
Want to win the chart-topping fantasy and science fiction novels I chose to inspire me?
Click on this link to enter the contest, but act now. Contest ends May 30, 2017.
Maaja Wentz is the award-winning author of poems, short stories, and her lighthearted supernatural thriller, Feeding Frenzy, coming soon. To find out more and get free stories, visit: maajawentz.com
The Loyalist Trilogy