A Girl with a Pencil in her Hand

I found Eden Glenn’s blog through the keyword “story”. Having learned the first thing about writing a story, I decided to stay a bit longer. Soon I knew that Eden is an aspiring author who is learning the craft of writing and sharing both her knowledge and experience. A short time later I discovered that Eden is a very hospitable, warm-hearted and outgoing person. To my great joy, Eden agreed to an interview. 

Olga: Eden, as far as I understood from your blog, you have not always been an author. How long have you been writing and how did you start?

Eden: 2005 was an interesting year. Our house was destroyed by the Hurricane Jean and Frances that rolled through Florida. We were living basically homeless in a friends’ travel trailer for three months. We struggled through the year dealing with the aftermath of that natural disaster. In the spring I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctors’ words were something like, “We have cause to be gravely concerned.” My life was crumbling around me. I turned to writing as an escape from everything. While I was writing I didn't have to think or feel anything but the story I immersed myself in.

The good news is I survived it all. My marriage ended while I was going through surgery and cancer treatments. My three children and I became stronger. Stuff can be replaced and doesn't essentially matter in the long haul. The relationships in your life are all that really matter when the day ends.

I wrote this monster of a book that was sorta erotic, science fiction, romance, space opera kinda thing. I think it is around 156,000 words. Totally unpublishable. It is the author's first book that hides under the bed and.... yes that is exactly where it belongs. I didn't have any concepts of ANY of the skills of good novel craft.

2007 the children and I moved to north Florida. I started looking around with what to do with this "book" I had written. Gratefully, thankfully... I found Romance Writers of America RWA and the local chapter First Coast Romance Writers FCRW. www.firstcoastromancewriters.com. The association with those men and woman and the educational programs the chapter hosted helped me begin to learn the skills necessary to create marketable genre fiction.

Olga: Oh, what a story, Eden! Sounds like a ready plot idea provided by life itself. I strongly believe that after a long period of difficulties always comes success, and the deeper were the downs the higher will be the ups. What are you dreaming of as an author?

Eden: Ummm Let me see. As an author I dream of writing stories that readers can be engaged in and willing to take a wonderful journey with my characters through the worlds I create. I want the reader to feel emotions with my characters...the love, the loss, the joyous happy ending. And yes, if it's not asking too much..... I want them to laugh out loud in all the right places.

Olga: I wish all your dreams will come true! Eden, do you think anyone can become a writer? What does a person eager to write need besides pen and paper?

Eden: Oh I have to believe anyone can become a writer. All you need is pen in hand and some imagination. That is not to say that everyone has interest in becoming published. There are sacrifices necessary to become a published author.

Most authors continue to work a day job well into their writing career. Being published isn't usually an economic magic bullet. So writing has to fit in between the cracks of life. I have a friend who writes on her lunch break at work. Another friend is a young mother who gets up at 4 a.m. she runs, showers, writes until she has to begin her day with the family.

Writing is an occupation. Creating a novel 80,000 to 95,000 words in commercial genre fiction is going to take diligence. There are craft techniques and skills to learn. Then, nothing can replace time in the chair writing and editing until you have a finished product.

When I am working on a piece I write several hours every day seven days a week. When I don't follow this schedule, I am not able to be successful. I usually have one book in the draft process of being written while I have a second book in the editing process of being re-written and a third book in the final stages of being polished and contested. In addition I am working on short stories and novellas simultaneously with the full length novels.

While you write alone with the ideas and thoughts from your imagination, you don't write in a vacuum. I joined a writers group to learn. From that I found a great critique partner and joined good critique group.

Writing thoughts in a journal, blogging, writing for ones own enjoyment are wonderful and relaxing pursuits. I have enjoyed the process whether I ever get published is yet to be revealed. I enjoy learning the writing craft. I cherish the friendships I have made along the way. Being able to write my stories in a way I find enjoyable adds something to my life and helps me feel good about who I am. At the end of the day, I'm just a girl with a pencil in my hand telling stories.

Olga: It was an interesting insight into writers’ life. Eden, in one of your blog entries you call the story “the engine” and “the Sun” of the novel. How often does it happen that a short story develops into a novel?

Eden: My universal disclaimer for our discussion is I can only tell you how I do things....what works for me.

My creative process is very organic, in that someone will say something, I'll see an object or hear a snippet of conversation and before I know it I'm imagining "what if" questions and a character with a story starts to unroll. Short stories or novella's are their own specialty. It is really hard for me to write short. Yet, at the same time, if I am writing a full length novel....something has to be happening for it to be worth the reader's journey.

The novella’s I have been working on (20,000 to 30,000 words) are more targeted at a short conflict and resolution. Whereas a novel length work involves a larger scope of conflict with shorter problems that get resolved along the way. It also generally has secondary characters and sub plots. The process is somewhat the same. There must be plot and character arch formation. The beginning, the middle, the awful thing that happens and then the resolution. The simple way to say it is a novel is just a bigger story. Somehow that doesn't describe it very well at all. lol. Okay, visualize this. It is the difference between a half hour t.v. drama and a full length feature film.

So, the way my writing muse works for me is that short stories don't generally grow into novels. The story is either big enough or it isn't. Most of the time short stories and novella's come out of supporting characters or walk on's that made an appearance in one of my novels.

For example here is what happened while working on Dragon's Mark. The novel is an erotic menage romance between two bad boy shape shifters and the beautiful dragon guardian. They need to awaken her powers to help them save their dying world, but will they loose her in the process?

While working I had two supportive male characters make an appearance. Before I knew what was happening I was off and running with about 8,000 words of story line on these two supportive characters, their situation, their evolving romance. Certainly their story is not essential to the original work. But, there were great characters and had a wonderful story of love, healing and redemption to tell. With a little more character and story development I had a great m/m erotic romance that  easily stands alone as a novella.

As I said it is a very organic process for me. One day I picked up a piece of quartz. I imagined it made into a necklace. Then I though for just a second. Who was that woman customer who brushed by my male hero leaving the store in that scene in the beginning of Dragon's Mark? Another novella sparked from that encounter.

The creative process is something that I don't trifle with.

Olga: Eden, thank you for your answers. It has been interesting and instructive. I’ve learned a lot.

Eden: Thank you Olga. Readers can find me at http://edenglenn.wordpress.com and on face book at http://facebook.com/edenglenn. I also blog at Sensual n Secrets blog on the second and fourth Fridays monthly, http://sensualnsecret.blogspot.com

I feel like I’ve made a new friend out here in the blogosphere. Keep me posted on your own writing progress. Olga, remember if you can read you can write. At the end of the day, I’m just a girl with a pencil in her hand.

edenglenn аватар

Thanks Olga for the chance to tell you about my journey. When I read the interview, my life sounds more like fiction than my real fiction does. lol

Come visit me at my blog http://www.edenglenn.wordpress.com for Fantasy Man Monday, Coloring Box for Writers, and Wednesday’s Confessions or Lies.

I am also over at Sensual N Secret today at http://sensualnsecret.blogspot.com/ blogging about “Keeping Caliente’ between the Sheets” lol

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I haven’t read your fiction but your life story touched me very much. And I enjoy the writing tips on your blog. Thank you, Eden!

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