Friday 20 April 2012

Guest Post: Anna White

Today I am pleased to host Anna White, author of new YA book 'The Light & Fallen:

Lucian isn't sure what to expect when he steps over the banister separating Heaven from Earth. He opens his eyes in a new body, one with no wings, no knowledge of the future, and no special powers. All he remembers is his mission: to find a mysterious key. When he meets a human girl that he can't ignore he is forced, for the first time in eternity, to choose between duty and the pull of his heart.

Anna is an author and counselor. She lives in Louisiana with her husband and two daughters, and can usually be found reading or writing something with a cup of tea nearby. She is currently at work on Divide the Darkness, the next book in the Chronicles of the Nephilim series. Proceeds of her work support the nonprofit organization The Water Project.


Becoming Real
by Anna White

“He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like.”     -The Velveteen Rabbit

I have always wanted to be a real writer. This has seemed like an attainable, yet far fetched goal. I have always imagined real writers to be isolated Heminway-esque characters, generally unkempt people that hunch over a computer typing furiously. Cups of tea and saucers with half eaten snacks perch precariously on the corners of their desks, and papers flutter to their floor. Real writers may or may not have bottles of alcohol stuffed into the corners.

I thought a real writer wrote, and nothing else, because writing was like breathing, and you can’t ever stop doing that. I imagined them being swept along on the tides of inspiration, without an outline, of course. Instead sentences and ideas flowed fully formed from their fingers and piled themselves into fabulous stories. And I knew I couldn’t be a real writer, because I am nothing like that.

People that like me say that I am tightly wound. People that don’t like me say that I’m a control freak, or worse. I was recently having a conversation with someone about the process of writing and they said, “Writing must be difficult. I mean, it’s not like writing a term paper.” To which I responded, without thinking, “Yes it is. It’s exactly like that.”

My process of writing is neat and orderly; it suits me. It is fueled by a spark of inspiration at first, the love of a shiny new idea. I, however, insist on picking the idea apart and outlining it in great detail. Then I make lists of my characters and think about them until they start meeting in my dreams. This is difficult, because all I want to do is dive into the story, but I force myself to wait. By the time that I am actually ready to write, the manic excitement is long gone. In its place is a seven page, scene by scene outline.

The image of a writer sitting down each day with a seven page outline, typing slowly, and praying their kid doesn’t come looking for a snack is not very romantic. There’s not much whimsy or mystery in that. It just looks a lot like work.

Writing is work. That’s the truth most people don’t want to hear. There is no magic wand, no muse whispering in my ear. There is only a white screen and a blinking cursor and hour after hour of sitting in the chair getting it done. So does the fact that, for me, writing is work make me less of a writer? Does it mean I can’t ever be real? Or is it my illusion of what a writer should be that isn’t real?

The Velveteen Rabbit asked his friend the Skin Horse this question. “Does [becoming real] happen all at once…, or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become.”

I think he’s right, that wise old horse. Every day that I choose to sit down and write instead of watching reruns on t.v., every time I scribble an idea on the back of a napkin in my purse, I’m becoming. I think we’re all, myself and every writer that aspires to be greater, in that process. So let’s all keep working. Let’s all keep pushing our imaginations out onto paper. Let’s keep searching for inspiration.

Let’s become.

Where to find me online:
Twitter @annawhitewrites
Buy the book:

 Thanks Anna! :D

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