The Raven’s Eye Sees Double


I want to thank JB for the interview at her blog  A Writer’s Group. It’s always fun to discuss the aspects of writing with a fellow writer. JB is a member of my writing group Sweethearts over at The Writer’s Village University. Her blog consistently features great topics with excellent links to other blogs or sites related to the discussion. If you want to learn something, get over there and take a look. She’s posted an interview with a hot author, J. A. Konrath. He’s been hopping from blog to blog on what is known as a Blog Tour which is a great new marketing strategy for authors reaching out to the public.

Back to the subject.

When JB asked me for the interview I felt a twinge of apprehension. Okay, I felt my heart slam into my tonsils and my gut instantly solidify into what I find next to my daughter’s computer when doesn’t finish her oatmeal and leaves the bowl there for a couple days. Who wouldn’t? Putting yourself out in front of an invisible audience is a daunting prospect. Putting your work on public display rates up there with showing up for math class in your birthday suit. I stink at math and my birthday suit would cause the words “forever etched into my eyelids” to take on new meaning for the unfortunate witness of that event.

So why the heck did I do it?

Well, for starters, it’s part of the game. A writer has to practice courage in order to face the bigger challenges ahead. What better way to practice than in the company of a friend? The atmosphere is friendly, the discussion civil. Another reason is that sharing is part of the writing experience. For some reason, this is very hard for writers to do.

Is it fear of looking stupid? Fear of criticism? Or could it be fear that someone else will steal the idea behind the work or the work itself?

These are all very reasonable worries. All of them have happened at one time or another, not always with regard to writing. The impact is the same, whether at work or over a work in progress. “Stupid is forever” I’ve heard said. I disagree. Stupid lasts only as long as the time it takes for you to learn of the mistake and fix it. Criticism is a critic’s opinion, not necessarily fact. Stealing work is unforgivable, but the practice is one which eventually comes back to bite the thief on the backside.

Nothing is as telling as a sentence, phrase, or paragraph jammed into a work which is obviously not on the same level of the writing in the story. A turn of phrase, out of context, is a red flag that the writer has snatched it from somewhere else in the hopes of snagging some of the glory. It’s petty, but it happens.

As for stealing the idea behind the work, that happens all the time. The thing to remember is that the idea can only take a writer so far before talent comes into play. A writer has to have some faith that personal vision is the key factor that distinguishes the story, not the idea.

I think writers have to make a choice. In making it, they need to understand that words are not unique, but how we combine them, stroke them or tickled them is. By law, an idea can not be copyrighted, the way in which the idea is expressed can. It’s great if you have a huge mushroom running through your story. It’d be even better if you’d let us know why so we could appreciate your sense of humor, your genius—your style.

Okay, so just to make sure you understand. This is NOT math class. I am not in my birthday suit. I’m wearing fleece slippers, a fuzzy, blue cardigan, one blue sock, one white sock, tan corduroys, and a brown top with brass studs across the bodice. Huh. Guess that says something about my style.

By the way, those two guys in the picture are my biggest critics. They insist on reading my blog every day. The other critic is chewing on my old thesaurus.  She says I need to update my collection.

It must taste stale.


6 Responses to “The Raven’s Eye Sees Double”
  1. Jbarwriter says:

    Love the critics they are both delightful beauties. The attire you are wearing is appropriate for the everyday mundane life of a wanna-be writer, artistically creative for the process.

    You did an excellent job with the interview, expressing your thoughts on the subject with much wisdom. Often, I would ask my more intelligent friends if I could ask a dumb question, more often than not the response would be, “only if I can give you a dumb answer.” The philosophy then is there is no dumb question, dumbness arises truly, when one thinks the question is dumb. Yes, I often stick my foot out, hoping it isn’t laughed out or ridiculed… much as I do my work (writing) thoughts and perception on writing topics ranging from pov to descriptions, learning as I go from the more enlightened.

    Stealing someone else’s idea for a story—a big no, no in anyone’s book, but it is often expressed by creative writing instructors to emulate an author’s style. But once we begin to learn the creative process we grasp a style of our own.

  2. ravenlaw says:

    Thanks for stopping in JB. I had a good time. Your questions made me think harder about what Butler is saying. That was my first interview, so it was a learning experience.

    Your blog is looking great. You choose great links with interesting topics.

    Good Writing my friend!


  3. Carmen says:

    Once again a well phrased blog. The “Stealing of Ideas” is a fair point. People often forget that their ideas are not the “Liquid gold” of the writing community. Others may strive to take a hold on them, and more than likely have previously done so before you even set pen to paper, or shall I say… fingers to keyboard. In assuming your story idea is completely unique is like writing a song and assuming that no one has ever hit a the key of C before. It’s the method by which you compose the music that makes the difference, a simple piano melody or an entire orchestra the music will be unique to you by the combination of notes (or ideas) not in the toneless tapping of your piano keys.

    Once again, an excellent point to all writers, those starting out, and those a little bit too proud for their own good.

    Don’t think I didn’t notice you mentioning my oatmeal up there, Mom. Ha… ha… ha… I do TOO clean up my dishes when I am done.

  4. ravenlaw says:

    Dear Carmen,

    You must have me confused with somebody else. I live on a yacht down in the Florida Keys. I have parties every night. Tons of champagne.

    I have no children.
    I have no dogs.
    I have no….

    Drat, it’s not working. There’s still dog hair on my shirt, dishes in the sink and those aren’t ocean waves, that’s another pin hole in one of my pipes downstairs.

    Grab a bucket and meet me next to the washing machine.

    love you,

  5. DuhhonnaSot says:

    Great site this and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

  6. ravenlaw says:

    Thanks for dropping in DuhhonnaSot. I’m glad that you are able to stop in and find something to tickle your interest.

    Please come again.


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