Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Worst Writing Fear -- Kristen Taber





Kristen Taber

My Worst Writing Fear:
On Being a Shy Writer

When I was in high school, we were tasked with writing a horror story and delivering the lines in front of the class. Intended as a creative assignment mixed with a public speaking assessment, it held a far greater test for me. I hate standing in front of people. I hate blossoming from a wall flower into a spotlight rose, unfurling my pedals for everyone to see and analyze. I hate being dissected like a carcass in biology class.

But I stood in front of my fellow students, stared from face to face, meeting the eyes of my peers and spoke. I concocted a story about a ghost who wandered the halls of my prestigious high school, murdering teachers in vengeance for their cruelties. Not an eye moved from my face. Not a sound escaped from a single mouth.

And my pants fell down.

Or at least, that’s what it felt like. I stood there in front of everyone who mattered to me—or seemed like they mattered, even if they truly didn’t—as naked as I had been when I stepped out of the shower that morning. They loved the story. Students who had spoken all of three words to me all year told me I should write my story down and try to publish it. And all I could think about was trying to keep my lunch from spilling from my mouth onto the floor in front of them.

I am the true definition of shy. I’m the girl who crosses the street to avoid people she knows. I’m the kid who stutters when she stands in front of a crowd of three. I’m the quick-witted responder who thinks of the right words hours after a confrontation. I’m a recluse.

So naturally, I write.

It seems like such a contradiction. In my shyness, I find friendship in characters and homes in worlds that would not exist if I had been born an extrovert. I publish because I feel the need to share these friends with others. Yet I am terrified of standing in front of the critics as I wait for their reactions to my inventions.

As I wait for my pants to fall down.

It will happen, of course. Reviews reflect people’s preferences, and no two preferences are alike. For those who love Meaghan and Nick, the main characters from my Ærenden series, there will be those who despise them and wonder why I did not create them more assertive or funny or romantic. For those who rave about not being able to put the series down, others will claim they had to fight yawns through every chapter.

I do what I can to make the books perfect. I hire multiple editors and spend sleepless nights fine-tuning sentences until I can no longer see the words within the story (or the trees within the forest). I gather beta opinions and reviewers’ advice. I add sub-plots and delete scenes. I polish until my fingers are raw and my eraser is bleeding. I breathe life until I live beside the characters I’ve invented. Then I step beyond my fears and release my stories unto the world, holding my breath and hoping.

All while knowing I’ve just unlatched my belt.

My worst writing fear is my nakedness. It’s being myself in front of the world and hoping who I am is enough.

It’s simply being a writer.

~~#~~

Kristen Taber Bio 
Kristen spent her childhood at the feet of an Irish storytelling grandfather, learning to blend fact with fiction and imagination with reality. She lived within the realm of the tales that captivated her, breathing life into characters and crafting stories even before she could read. Those stories have since turned into over a hundred poems, several short tales, and five manuscripts in both the Young Adult and Adult genres. Currently, Kristen is completing the five-part Ærenden series from her home office in the suburbs of Washington D.C.
 
Now for the Arenden series that Tabor has written. The Amazon links -- The Child Returns -- The Gildonaen Alliance -- The Zuiihbu Master. You can also find the series on Nook. You can learn more about Tabor and her writing at her Website and her Blog. She's also active in the social media-a-sphere: Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest - Google+ .

Now the Excerpt from 
The Gildonae Alliance

Less than a quarter of a mile from their destination, the air took on the distinct smell of smoke. Although it started out faint, within a matter of minutes, Meaghan could see a heavy black cloud rolling toward them, chased by an unmistakable orange glow.

“Fire,” she started to warn Nick, but choked on the word before she could complete it. Nick glanced toward the advancing fury, grabbed her hand and pulled her along behind him, hastening their pace toward the cave.

It all seemed too familiar, like she had returned to the fire Cal had set in the field. But this time, though the sense of déjà vu made it seem surreal, she realized Cal’s power did not control it. They had no protection from the flames.

Her eyes stung. Her nose burned. She pulled the neck of her sweater over her mouth and breathed through it. It helped, but it would not keep her alive for long. They would only be safe when they reached the cave. Even if Cal had not yet arrived, they could teleport somewhere else. She did not care where, so long as they escaped the inferno chasing them.

She moved faster, watching Nick’s feet as the smoke grew thick, clouding her eyes. She recognized a boulder with a red vein running through it, and a stump shaped like a chair. They crossed the frozen stream, now trickling with new melt. A hundred yards remained. She could almost taste the clean air that would greet them when they found their way to the deeper caverns. The need drove her, and then something tugged at her awareness and she froze mid-stride.
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