Tuesday, October 27, 2009

(What Kind Of) Writer Am I - With Guest Pat Bertram

Daughter Am I Blog Tour 2009 - With Guest Pat Bertram
(What Kind Of) Writer Am I

I am thrilled to be featuring my first ever guest blogger, Pat Bertram, author of three novels published with Second Wind Publishing LLC.

This is an especially exciting event for me for a few reasons; one being that Halloween is only a few days away and I love Halloween. Okay, so blogging isn't exactly the stuff witches, ghosts, goblins, and all manner of things that say "boo" are made of. Well, unless your guest blogger happens to be the likes of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or Jeremy Shipp, that is. But blogging is fun and so is dressing up in a tacky costume and frightening little kids before bribing them with handfuls of candy so they hopefully won’t t-p my house a few years down the road. I’m not all that scary myself, but the assortment of screaming rocks, cackling witches, gravestones, and various dead creatures decorating my house are.

At first glance Pat’s new book Daughter Am I may not seem the stuff of Halloween. But when a young woman (Mary Stuart) finds herself on the move investigating her great-grandfather’s deadly secret with the help a group of former gangsters, and a killer on the trail anxious to dig up that same secret, things certainly could get a bit dicey. A little murder, a little mystery … what more could you ask for in a book to read around Halloween?

Another reason this is exciting for me is that my first guest blogger happens to be Pat Bertram, who also happens to be my first online writing friend and mentor. Pat has been an unending source of wisdom, support, and encouragement for me and many other writers who have met her. And, best of all, she hasn't complained about any of my silly questions. Not to me anyway.

I hope you’ll enjoy Pat’s blog post as much as I did. And don’t hesitate to visit Second Wind Publishing where you’ll find Pat Bertram’s newest novel Daughter Am I available both in print and ebook format.

National Novel Writing Month is coming up in November, and I am half in awe and half befuddled by those who enter. The writing of a novel takes me a year, and some of the research I’ve done has taken longer than that. But then, I am not an intuitive writer. I have to drag each word out of hiding and find its place in the puzzle that is a novel. I suppose two types could write 50,000 words in a month — the intuitive writers who spew out words, and the logical writers who have the whole thing outlined before they begin. Me? I fall somewhere in the middle. I so hate tossing aside my hard work that I habitually rework my writing as I write. (Though I have rewritten one of my novels four times, and deleted 25,000 words from another.)

I write slowly. Although Daughter Am I came easily to me, I still only wrote an average of 300 words a day. Not that the number of words matters to me, it doesn’t. The only reason I mention it is to let new writers know there are all kinds of writers. Some let the words gush out and try to type fast enough to catch them all. Some, like me, have to pull each word, kicking and screaming, into the world. Some have a compulsion to write; others make a conscious choice. How you write, how often, how many words you write per day are all unimportant, unless, of course, you are a writer under contract. But if you are a writer under contract, you would be writing, not reading this blog.

In the end, the only thing that counts is the finished story. The story doesn’t care how long it took you to write it. It doesn’t care if you wrote it in a month or in a decade. It doesn’t care if you bled words onto the paper or created it slowly, one puzzle piece at a time. A finished story exists complete and entire of itself, separate from the author and the author’s work habits.

Sometimes we wonder how our favorite authors write, but mostly we devour (or savor) their works, wanting only to immerse ourselves in the story. If it moves us to tears, makes us laugh or shiver, that’s what we care about, not how long it took for the author to create the effect. Being writers, of course, we might go back later and see how it was done, but at the time, all we are interested in is the story.

So, here’s the truth. You can call yourself a writer or not. You can write 50,000 words in a month or not. You can write every day or not. The only thing that counts is the story.

That’s what we are all aiming for.


Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Daughter Am I is Bertram’s third novel to be published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Also available are More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.


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