**Read with Caution**
While checking my LiveJournal account, I tripped over an interesting prompt question:
"What's been your biggest influence in making you a better writer?"
Gee, that's a good question; one I don't think I've addressed in this space. So, here is a peek into my somewhat twisted psyche.
I started writing when I was 12 years old. Well, actually it was before that. I was in the sixth grade and I had the assignment to write a mystery short story. I still vaguely remember it; a hard-boiled (at least from my young perspective) detective going to investigate a noise old Mrs. Cahill heard in her basement. I had to read this aloud to the class and something magical happened: my classmates laughed at the funny parts! They listened to my story and were interesting in what happened to my characters. My fellow sixth graders were hooked on my words, my images, my world.... I had connected with a mass of people with mere words and it was an addicting feeling.
And the point.... I think one of my biggest influence in driving me to become a better writer has always been the reader. There is always this driving need to connect with my readers in a deeper, emotional way. The most intoxicating thing is when I can make a reader feel something with only my words. I want to paint images and worlds that they are totally lost in, that for a brief period of time, reality slips away and the reader's only concern is the main character and his/her plight. I want to make my reader think and face ugly dilemmas in an effort to broaden their own perspective and philosophy. I want to make the reader laugh and cry and scream; then I've done my job.
A second big influence has been the other great writers that I am friends with. I have a somewhat competitive nature and I constantly push myself to write amazing books like they do. They are always pushing the envelope, sucking us into a whirlwind of worlds and problems with fantastic characters. I've gotta find a way to keep up and the only way to do that is to be the best damn writer I can be.
And finally, I have an amazing agent and editor who believe in me. I will not let myself disappoint them.
That freaking chapter with the fight scene is finally done!!! I stayed up late on Thursday to finish it. Things didn't exactly work out how I expected them to -- ha! yeah, it got a whole lot darker and uglier -- but I like where the chapter went. I've got a few chapters of some relatively light edits before I hit another big chunk of next text. I have to completely a minimum of 10,000 words today to keep on pace. Keep your fingers crossed. This one is gonna be a photo finish.