I've got a new motto. It's THINK BIG. I've posted it above my computer as a reminder not to play it safe anymore in my writing.
I'm getting tired of the "wonderful writing, not in love with the story" comments I keep getting from agents and editors. I haven't been able to figure out what was wrong until now. I recently took an on-line course from Susan and Harry Squires, whose shoes I am not worthy to polish, and learned more in that four weeks about writing than I have in four years.
These two published authors took their time and considerable energy to comment on eight individual lessons from forty students while trying to live their lives and write their own books. Amazing. They were very complimentary to what I produced most of the time, but they were also hard on me, too, for which I was grateful. They showed their faith in me by making me work up to the level of my ability, and accepting nothing less than the best from me.
One of my problems when writing has always been to write small stories with strong characters, but I haven't thought big enough. I haven't made the consequences big enough so that huge things hang in the balance.
So I sat down at my computer and wrote two words at the top of the page: THINK BIG.
Then I started working. For my current WIP, The Justice Seeker, about an alien cop in pursuit of a former healer gone bad who then runs afoul of a female LAPD detective hunting the same man for crimes on Earth, I decided that instead of having my hero or heroine's life affected by the outcome of my story, I'd go big.
I came up with a blurb that showcased the emotions I wanted to highlight that would make this a BIG story. Then I worked backwards to figure out how to make that true. I visualized my story as a movie being advertised in a theater trailer spot. What did I want the audience to feel? What would make them go, "Ooh, I wonder what that is about?"
Here is my new blurb/tag:"When passion is a crime and trust is the ultimate act of betrayal...What you don't know can kill you. The Justice Seeker: The fate of two worlds lies in his hands."
I know it needs work, but it's a lot better than what I started with. It gave me better ideas for my villain's character traits, my hero's, and my heroine's. It raised the stakes. And now, people will care what happens because for the problem to be big, the solution has to be bigger.
Thank you, Susan and Harry. I'm so excited about writing again, I can hardly wait to get to my computer every day.
Wish me luck. I've got a good feeling about this one.