A Young Adult Fantasy Novelist on Writing from the Heart
The Dark Alicorn is a character in Sydney’s new fantasy novel for young adults, Chase, just released by Koehler Books.
“My 12 year old version of a Dark Alicorn”
“When I was in high school, I took a creative writing class. The teacher was an editor, and she submitted Chase for publication. The small press accepted it, and I started down a long three and a half year road that would end with Chase still unpublished. Discouraged but determined, I Googled “small presses in Virginia” to launch my search for a new publisher. That began my relationship with Koehler Books and Chase’s well-anticipated arrival into the world.”
From that experience, Sydney tells us on her blog, that “My passion is encouraging unpublished writers to follow their dreams.”
I first “met” Sydney in this strange world of online friendships, on Facebook, in the closed group for writers publishing with Koehler Books.
She appeared in the summer, just after the publication date had been set for her young adult fantasy novel, Chase. In March, I was a new Koehler author, so I remembered just how it felt. I don’t quite know how Sydney and I started chatting about writing as guest bloggers for each other, but last month I sent her a blog post which she published immediately.
The Home Page of her blog is gorgeous and I was thrilled to be featured.
Sydney is young and earnest and she believes in what she is doing and works hard at it. She succeeds because in so many ways, Sydney Scrogham is a writer who writes from her heart and a woman who gives us the images to see that heart clearly.
“If I’m not writing, I’m at the barn with my horse Snowdy.”
At first, Sydney expressed some doubts as to what a young adult fantasy novelist would have to say on my website–which is about my book about old ladies and God!!
I told her to choose any topic she liked. She has chosen to write about how writers too often let their fears override their feelings as they sit down at the keyboard.
It’s a lovely piece.
I don’t worry for a minute that Sydney Scrogham let’s anything override her feelings!
Beloved Friend and Partner
March 31, 1999 – March 12, 2015
Want to know more about me?
Read about my best friend Blue”
Enjoy Sydney’s post, take it to heart, and buy a copy of her new book, Chase, just out from Koehler Books.
WELCOME, SYDNEY, AND THANK YOU!
To Be A Writer, You Have To Feel (Something) Without Worrying About Its Being Wrong.
To be a writer, you have to let yourself feel.
Be an emotional writer in a world distrusting facts. Does that statement stir you up a little bit? I throw my fists into the air and scream YES, YES, YES… on the inside where no one’s looking, of course. I read the first chapter of Dwight V. Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer, and while Chapter One wasn’t full of techniques, it hammered home one brilliant idea.
To be a writer, you have to feel.
Okay, okay, maybe I’m stressing the point a little too much. But this gets me excited. Every day I’m surrounded by people who suppress their emotions–and to what end? Swain is suggesting that suppressing emotion destroys creativity–and I agree with him. As writers raised in this fact-worshipping society, we’re especially prone to have writing that (cough) sucks (cough) because we don’t write based on what we feel.
People pick up books to have an emotional experience. A reawakening of the emotion our culture has put to death. If people want to read facts, they can pick up an encyclopedia. Novels die when they’re full of facts but come to life with emotion… But how can we write about something we don’t have?
Writers write because they’re excited about a story, because they feel something. And if their job is done right, the reader feels that passion stirring in the writer. Writers especially can’t afford to distrust their emotions. Why would writers even start thinking feelings are, for lack of a better word, bad?
It all comes down to a fear of being wrong.
When a writer is afraid of being wrong, the emotion in the writing is going to die. By letting yourself write what you feel, you risk someone else’s point of view being different from yours (and that will most certainly be the case). And then, when your heart is written out, vulnerable on paper, the criticism comes.
“We’re sorry, but this manuscript does not meet our needs right now.”
“The characters fall flat.”
“The story structure doesn’t move.”
Whatever your criticism sounds like, don’t listen to it. Shed the fear of being wrong. Otherwise, you’ll never write another word. What you have to say is valuable. Your story excites YOU and that’s what matters right now. Let those words flow from the well inside you. Later, the technique will start to fall in place. You can get critiques, book deals, movie rights…
But only if you write from what you feel without suffocating under the fear of being wrong.