Season 2, Episode 12: Layers

For anyone interested in joining Melanie, Abby, Kemlo, and Jennie (as well as the #AmWriting hosts) at a retreat in September, you can find that info here!

In this episode:

This week, Melanie is in a panic because she's been asked to do some public speaking. But beyond the actual Oh, S@#! feeling that public speaking induces, we talk about how it plays into the whole work/life mom/writer balance. Being asked to speak at a bookstore about writing is a fabulous way to put yourself out there as a writer. But the question is, would you bring your kids?

This naturally turns the conversation towards how our children perceive what we're doing. Writing a book is a long, arduous process with nothing at the end of a long writing stint to hold up in your hands and say, "Look what I made!" The final product comes way, waaaaaay later. So, how do we help our kids understand what we're doing?

We also talk about how and where we work. Melanie and Kemlo, being introverts, hole themselves up in private spaces. Abby, the lone extravert in this conversation, prefers to work in the midst of everything. She even bought a keyboard that connects to her phone by Bluetooth so she can work in the car, at the kids' acting/dance lessons, all the places.

So how productive were Abby and Mel this week?

Mel isn't happy with the chapter she wrote this week. She couldn't quite put her finger on why, and Kemlo points out that her MC was very wishy-washy, changing her mind a lot but never moving the story forward. Kemlo points out that we change our minds all the time in real life, so your characters can do the same, as long as we (the readers) see that decision making, see the shifts and understand why the characters are changing their minds.

Mel laughs because she says she might have written it, but she doesn't understand why her MC is doing what she's doing, either! Kemlo points out that what Mel has done is just put down the first layer: the action. Now she can go back and put down the second layer: the emotion.

Melanie fleshes out some of her upcoming writing talk with us. She realizes she can't just stand up there and say:

So, yeah. Writing… It's hard. *sits down

We talk about all the hours that writers put into their books, and Kemlo says she thinks the only difference between a great writer and an ok writer is the number of hours they put into their work! Writers work so hard to make it look effortless to their readers. And we, as writers, sometimes forget that when we read!

Kemlo says, "It just occurred to me that when you go to see a play, I don't think anyone sees a play and assumes the actors just walked on the stage and started acting because they were supremely talented and could just do it. But when people read a book, they do tend to think that. 'Oh, well, this is an incredibly talented writer. And I'm not that talented, so I can never write a book.' And so, I think the only thing that separates people from right really great books for people who don't is the number of hours they put into it."

And Melanie agrees, "I think writing is a skill like anything else, and it can be taught, and it can be learned, and it's just the amount of time that you're willing to put into it."

Lastly, Mel wrote a scene that confused Kemlo. A character grabs the MC. What was his intent? Kemlo thought the intention was rape, but Mel didn't intend it that way. Oops. It goes back to what they were talking about earlier in this episode. Mel didn't put the internal thought on the page. She left room for interpretation, and Kemlo interpreted it in a way Melanie didn't intend. Mel goes through her thought process as she was writing this scene, and she and Kemlo look at how she can fix it to make the scene to accurately reflect the emotion she wanted for the scene.

Mel also admits that she is trying to go back and layer in some of the romantic subplot that wasn't fully fleshed out in her previous draft. And she thinks that was in the back of her head as she wrote this, and while Melanie didn't intend for the scene to come off as sexual, she thinks she accidentally made it so while she was looking for ways to introduce it elsewhere in the book.

Mel reminds herself, "The writing of a book is layered, and nobody gets it right the first time."

Here’s the book our friend Monica Gokey Bequette was promoting at the bookstore talk:

You Do You (I Just Want to Pee Alone Series Book 6)
By Jen Mann, Kim Bongiorno, Galit Breen, Deva Dalporto, Whitney Dineen, Harper Kincaid, Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, E.R. Catalano, Sarah Cottrell, Janel Mills

Here are some shots from the bookstore talk!

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