Updated: Jan 24, 2022
Oct 18, 2020
Dear Friend and Reader,
I want to talk about the magic of writing!
Is there such a thing and what is magic anyway? It is Harry Potter or Narnia? Or is it real in our daily lives? I think it is the alchemy we sometimes create with story.
For the next months, I’ll be sneaking you little insights and hints about my newest Spring release Surviving Savannah. Here’s a little magic about my new novel (or what I call magic): When I first sat down to write about the true and forgotten tale of The Pulaski, there was scant information. I started to dig and plot and try to find the door into the story. About three weeks passed when I sat down at the computer one morning to read STEAMSHIP PULASKI WRECK FOUND 100 feet deep, thirty miles off the coast of North Carolina! The ship I was writing about had just been discovered and divers were bringing the treasure and artifacts to the surface.
Now that is what I call magic.
It might not be a wardrobe door or a door in a train station to Hogwarts, but it is magic.
Friends are also magic.
I spend a lot of time talking with NYT bestselling author pals JT Ellison and Ariel Lawhon about the craft of writing, about theme and plots, and character development. We send each other articles, inspiration, encouragement…and questions. Lots of questions.
We realized that we each responded to the same question from different perspectives and personalities, influencing and deepening the answers with our varied outlooks. And we thought—why not answer some thorny questions for you?
So now we are starting a monthly ASK US ANYTHING about the craft of writing and the writing life. Each of us will answer two questions every month in our newsletters.
Feel free to send questions to email@example.com
Interested in Ariel 📩 and JT’s answers? Sign up for their newsletters here for their insights...
For our first installment of WRITERS ON WRITING, why don’t we start by discussing the elephant in the room:
How do you write consistently in the midst of a pandemic?
PCH: When the pandemic first hit, I was set to go on book tour, but of course, that didn’t happen. And after the initial panic and then the hunkering down, the question was: How do I stay focused on what matters with my work, with my stories? The first thing I did was reach out to fellow authors and say, “Okay, let’s do this together. Let’s not lose focus. Let’s find our way together. Part of that was with Ariel and JT and our daily emails, and part of it was starting the web show, Friends and Fiction with fellow authors, Mary Alice Monroe, Mary Kay Andrews, Kristy Woodson Harvey, and Kristin Harmel. I believe that the daily touchstone of the work, and of what matters: the power of story – is what keeps us going. A very deliberate and focused attempt to keep me from spinning out of control with the fires that I can’t control comes with a daily-ness and accountability. It also helps that my work sustains me. C. S. Lewis once wrote that ink is the cure for all ills. Of course, you know what he means – don’t drink the ink – but taking our words and our concerns to the page allows us to alchemize all that is happening in our world! And what if – just what if – those words help someone else?
If you knew that the book you are currently working on would be your swan song, the last book you ever published, how would you approach the story itself and the daily work?
PCH: I would write this exact book I am writing. I try to think this way with each novel. There are a few times, a long while ago, where I was scared (all writers are, BTW) to write exactly what pulled at me. But that changed with time because I do believe that when we write what is nudging our subconscious, we are also writing what is nudging someone else. But the thing also is – my books never, ever come out exactly the way I think and believe they will. In the end, each book takes on a life of its own and becomes something more, or maybe less, than I imagined. I don’t think we ever really know what will be our swan song – but if I did know, I hope I am swanning right now. I hope every book is my swan song.
Speaking of Writing Finding the Soul of the Story. . .
VIRTUAL EVENT | The Flourish Writers Conference FLOURISHWRITERS Conference: 6 days, 34 speakers! Dream. Write. Publish! Registration open thru October 23rd. I will be speaking about what I call The Soul of the Story! With everything from writing to publishing to editing, this is your online conference. Register