Donna at book signing

Writing novels…now that’s a trip! People have all sorts of preconceptions about what a writer does when she sits down to write a novel. Well, I don’t know about other writers, but I know what happens when I write. This is how I wrote both The Grave Blogger and Revenge Begins With Insanity.

First, I wonder what the heck I’m going to write about. Ok, staring at the blank white screen is probably something every writer experiences, so I doubt I’m any different there.

Second, I let my mind wander a little through the previous scenes of the book, until the magic starts to happen. Oh yeah, I definitely call it magic. There’s no way I am actually controlling what gets written. I may control the rewrites as I edit, but the words that get initially typed? Nope, there’s no control over those. They just spew out onto the screen like a drunk college kid spews out the Strawberry Hill he drank a few hours ago. The words just explode onto the screen, and there they are.

Characters I never planned suddenly exist.

Plot changes I hadn’t imagined have plopped themselves into the storyline.

The book actually writes itself, I swear. My only job is to come up with the initial concept, name a few major characters, and then edit everything once the magic has happened.

So if any of you ever wanted to write a book but were too scared, thinking you didn’t have the talent to do so, I say, “screw that!” You might need talent to edit, but hey, editors can be hired. But the story itself? It’s right there inside you. All you have to do is let the magic happen.

Try it. You’ll see.

Explorer of Life

Donna exploring

I call myself an explorer of life, but I think you might misunderstand that phrase. I don’t want to imply that I travel to faraway places, or hike up dangerous mountains, or even participate in local adventures. Not that I mind doing some of those things. (I probably wouldn’t hike much…that’s not my thing). But in all honesty, I don’t get out and about all that much. So when I use the phrase “explorer of life”, I mean it in a much more mindful way. Here are some examples of how I explore life.

I question everything, including and especially, authority. If someone or some group tells me that up is up, I question that. Is up really up? Or is it possibly down, but this group of people have simply accepted what they’ve been told by their authorities, and those authorities merely accepted what they’d been told by their authorities, and so forth back through time. But what if the very first authority told his child that up was up, when all along he was just playing a joke on his kid! He had no idea the kid would pass along that bad info to his kids, and those would share it with their kids, and one day, the whole world would believe up was up – all because some jackass played a joke on his kid centuries ago.

I explore thoughts. My thoughts. The thoughts of people I know. The thoughts of people I read about. The thoughts and ideas that I believe are in play during any particular major event that might be going on at any given moment. Thoughts are private things, so my exploration of thoughts (mine or others’) is shaky at best. I can’t explore what I can’t know as fact. But I can explore what I think might be. Don’t worry if that sounds like a bunch of hogwash. In some ways it is, but it’s a difficult concept to explain. Just know that my concept of exploration includes the kind of exploring that only exists within my mind when it attempts to connect to the thoughts of others.

I read, study, and learn. I try to read as much as I have time for, and yes, most of that reading is now via the internet. The internet is a wondrous thing. We get to see the lives of people in every corner of the world, right here, right now, at all times, at any time. I attempt to make use of that gift to explore the way people live, act, and think in areas I never even knew existed, and in towns just miles away.

There are many other ways I explore life, and those will be evident in time, as I blog about them regularly. Join me in the exploration. It’ll be fun.