QUESTION: WRITE TO LIVE OR LIVE TO WRITE

I ask myself this question all the time, especially when I don’t have the energy to write a single sentence, let alone fill up a whole page to finish my current project:

The Last Merry Go Round

One day, not too long ago, when I had the time and even the energy to sit at my computer and finish a well-written scene—a question kept bugging me. Why do I write? Do I write out of habit? Do I write to create a best seller? Do I write with the vision of a movie option for my book? The questions kept coming, but not the right answer.

What I did was to step back. I took a few days off from my story. I needed to search for the answer–the right one for me (maybe for self-validation, or maybe because I was tired of the question following me around like an annoying gnat). 

I thought: I’ve been fortunate to connect with amazing authors all over the world. The friendships formed have been supportive. We’ve shared samples of our projects and thought-provoking dialogs about the process of crafting on-fire-page-turning-can’t-put-the-book-down-fiction.

Write to live or live to write?Further: What did we all have in common; whether just starting out like me, or established writers? 

One word comes to mind: PASSION, especially about our characters, translates into the joy of writing!

Sure, a writer’s goal and dream is to publish their work, build their audience, and even manage to make a living doing what they love.

But, if the first sentenceto the last sentence–isn’t written with passion, then the story (I feel, as do other authors) falls  F   L   A   T.

What is this thing called PASSION?

            A writer living in Australia I’ve been corresponding with for a long time put it simply: “Think of a book you’ve read. How long did the characters stay in your mind? Is this a book you told someone about? Is this a story you WISHED you, yourself, had written? If the answer is YES, then the author wrote with passion!”

I noodled over this statement–because it’s basically the way I’ve felt. The concept of PASSION ABOUT CHARACTERS shouldn’t be taken lightly.

This is why I write!

FOR ME: I love the creation of storytelling.  I’m in awe exploring human dynamics. I’m fascinated by the complex, contradictory, confusion, erratic, surprising, hilarious, vicious, evil— the list goes on… The puzzle of why two people are in a room CHARGES my imagination.

Writing isn’t all about the correct placement of a comma. As I’ve had time to think about it, it’s the placement of the word–and not just any word–the word that will make the reader cringe, hold their breath, laugh, cry, or even contact me and say–– I really love the way you write. You’ve inspired me to write a story I’ve been holding on to forever.

Telling a story worth writing, worth reading, and better still worth remembering, I feel, has to do with the characters’ voices being real. THIS IS THE PASSION.

So … now I know, I can finish THE LAST MERRY GO ROUND knowing for sure, I’m a writer who lives to write. I figured out, if I always write with passion, then I’ll be able to say:  writing allows me to live the life I want.

 

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Sleeping With My Characters

Fiction Writing emerges as my personal choice for many reasons. The most important one points to pure enjoyment.

A saying floating around forever (I wish I could remember its originator, but then, recalling the words seem more important):  DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND THE MONEY Will FOLLOW.  Now, I would not be 100% honest if I didn’t confess all the months of clicking away at my keyboard doesn’t spark a wish to sign a major book deal.  But in reality—it may not happen, or as quickly as I want.  I slap myself hard.  Every known author was once unknown.  Yet, this anguish (Many writers eat this ugly insecurity:  My writing isn’t good enough . . . I’ll kill myself if I get another rejection letter) dogs me into believing all my efforts are in vain.

But wait!  DAH!  There’s self-publishing and e-publishing, the two right here, right now options.  I’m not frowning on them—God no.  I’ve connected with some amazing writers who will go to their graves with massive, self-satisfying grins for not giving in to traditional publishing.

I chose to have my first novel, The Ears That Have Eyes, e-published.  The project, garnering 4-5-star reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles, gave me wonderful rewards:  smiles and accolades to weave a page turning story. No, I didn’t make a fortune (Gosh, my day counts to 24 hours.  When could I write and sleep with all the social media needed?).  But the satisfaction of knowing that strangers read my book and gave an emotional investment to my characters has provided me a greenlight gratification. Perhaps I do possess the talent to land a literary agent.

My formula is to create characters that walk off the page and sit down beside the reader—this resonates all I hope to be as a writer. I love mixing fire and light together like the brilliant Sedona, Arizona storms exploding the sky. They are ever so magnificent.

I gravitate to tormented people who devour the purity of their counterpart, I call the hero.  I want my reader to root for and close their eyes full of tears as the hero falls and struggles to stand their ground.  Now I call that a page turning novel. You never know when the storm is going to end, but you know when it’s over God reveals the sun’s rays of hope.  I believe we call it a rainbow.

I also believe we like peering through our binoculars into the lives of our neighbors’ dirt and drama. But know in the end, I am a writer of optimism. I just can’t allow the dark side to run ramped. There must and has to be justice. Growth in love, spirituality, and life (hitting a few bullet points) as valuable lessons learned through the trials set before our hero, to appreciate the rainbow, gain strength to choose a different path, find happiness, and ax the claws crushing their coffin shut.

Writing strong character fiction is like life in Paris for me. Each turn of the corner, each smell, each taste evokes an electric volt to my imagination. All bets are oRunning through fields of lavenderff when I unlock my inhibitions. I can visually run naked through my French field of flowers—lavender.

Keeping true to my character’s insurmountable challenges forces my brain cells to submerge deeper and deeper until my nails have dug into my flesh and blood covers my hands, dripping down my fingers, filling my lap and spilling into puddles around my feet.

My eyes and words are acute. I want to compel my audience into dialog, if not with others, with themselves. If they cry, laugh, grit their teeth…  but in the end—applaud my efforts and the hero’s bravery—then my personal choice, to write, has been fulfilled.

Since putting to paper The Last Merry Go Round, (see last month’s blog to read a snippet) I’ve connected with women all over the world. They are in awe at the depth of the relationships in this story. And have in sum said, “What you have portrayed merits a timely and honest reflection.”

My rewards are priceless.

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Intentional Fearlessness

As a writer I love to write fiction, and read it as well; my imagination soars when I begin typing. The best part of creating a story is making the characters realistic. I’m not so concerned with what’s in a room, but more of WHY a person is in the room. My technique of realism focuses on character-driven fiction, crafting a page turning story with a clear beginning, middle, and end.  I draw on life’s coloring book of dreams, goals, conflicts, and challenges, leading to a resolution the reader can identify with and appreciate given the characters’ story. Note:  I don’t believe in flat, happy-ever-after-endings. I do; however, trust endings bringing the characters full circle grasping and solving their dilemmas.

Watching British Television Dramas has been a pivotal classroom sparking my creativity. I believe the writing is intentional fearlessness. The storylines are three-dimensional plots giving the viewer a rollercoaster ride ending far too soon. My aspiration and personal goal is do the same with my own novels. I feel this is the same with the writers I’ve been networking with. Yeah, it’s the sales that count, but the story is the bigger fish.

Below is the first paragraph of the story I’m writing, called The Last Merry Go Round.  My completion target is this summer.

An excerpt from C.L. Charlesworth's next book, The Last Merry Go Round

I think within a short frame we understand and identify Diane and Richard’s relationship. The sentence I’m most proud of reads: And I can say with full honesty, sitting across the table from Richard, in our twenty eight years of marriage, the word yes has brought me little happiness.

This little passage I wrote in one sitting sets the tone for the whole plot of what happens to this couple. Believe me, the twists and turns are unexpected.

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Finish Line

Words flowed from my imagination onto my laptop. I stayed in the Zone all day. I hammered out scene after scene on my novel from early morning until the street lights came on. I smiled because not once had I peeked at the Internet. I’ve labeled it as my Curiosity-Addiction—an obsession with today’s politics, a devourer of my time, my sleep, and consumer of conversations.

The deadline I’ve set for myself to finish my novel, The Last Merry Go Round, has come and gone at least two times. It’d be pointless blaming the Internet when my finger has a mind of its own, connecting me in warp speed. I’ve confessed to friends I’ve spent hours reading about what’s going on in Washington and around the world. After which, my fried brain has become too exhausted to generate anything worth writing. Needless to say, I’ve been angry at myself because of the time wasted time when I could’ve been writing. Continue reading

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The Rabbit Hole

I believe solitude reflection has given me freedom to define my next steps as a writer. As I edge for a seat rejoining the poetic authors—I will pace myself and eat from the smorgasbord only what I absolutely need.Trying to reconstruct one’s life over a period of time sometimes proves difficult—not always because you can’t remember—but maybe the memory of past events makes you reflect—and you just shut down.

It’s been over a year since my last blog post. I’ve thought about it many times. Honestly, I didn’t have the energy, time, or thought process to write anything. Social Media, to me, is one big smorgasbord. Some feast hourly, daily, and weekly piling on plates full of opinions, ideas, and endless advice. The internet is packed like a rock concert—full of poetic authors requiring no reservations, just a commitment to come and join them. Continue reading

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Why did I write a romantic fiction story . .

Why do I write? This is a question all writers at one time or another are asked and have asked themselves. My answer is not complex or earth shaking. I’ve always come back to the same answer, played over and over in my head like one of those jingles you can’t shake. I write because it makes me happy—a simple answer for a complex journey.Why do I write romantic fiction?

As I’ve said before, I’ve been a closet writer for years, with a number of half-written stories stored away in boxes, always jotting down ideas on what happens next, or for new stories I’d like to write some day. Completing The Ears That Have Eyes was hard work, but I finally did it.  That makes me happy. So far the reviews have been good, too, and that makes me very happy! Continue reading

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Welcome to C.L.’s Blog

Welcome to my personal journal

The Ears That Have Eyes by CL Charlesworth.

How do I start? I guess, first, to say welcome to my world full of nooks and crannies, full of treasures, adventures, and secrets.

As a writer, I use my imagination to paint vivid imagery that’s page-turning fiction. My natural gift of storytelling was opened years before I thought about being a writer. It started in my hometown, Youngstown, Ohio. My father, a steel mill worker, had certain television shows he loved. Aside from our many family road trips — TV was Dad’s escape from a dangerous job that eventually killed him at age 52 after he contracted black lung disease. When his work schedule interrupted, Dad asked me to watch his favorite programs and tell him what he missed. I was finishing elementary school, when I perfected the on-the-spot-jaw-dropping- storytelling. I amazed myself at how I could hold Dad’s attention as if those television characters were our neighbors. Continue reading

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