My Tastes as a Writer

As you can see from my sites (both the Author Site and Whispers of the Muse), I write … a lot. My tastes are eclectic and I work in several genres. Literary, urban fantasy, fantasy, mainstream fiction, erotica … and yes, I’m even writing a cookbook. 

Pulitzer Prize Winning biographer, Carl Van Doren once said, “It’s hard to write, but it’s harder not to.”  I can completely identify. My twitterdeck often pops up with a writer questioning: Where do you start? The chicken or the egg? The plot or the character? 

My answer to that is simple. Respect the muse, first and foremost. What’s she telling me? What’s she showing me? Is it a fantasy world or the Los Angeles Union Station? Is the place peopled or not? From there I usually start with a simple ‘what if?’ and the ball really starts rolling. But, for me at least, that’s never quite enough.

See, there are critics living inside my head, under my pillow, and snuggled between the sliced of whole wheat bread in the fridge. They slither out and mock me constantly. So I’ve adopted a suit of armor against them specifically for this stage of the creative process. I just shout out my weapon, loud and clear so that even the neighbors can hear (of course they already know I’m strange). My armor has only two words accompanied by stomping feet. “Why not?” 

I’m not sure of the strength or strain of other writer’s inner critics, but mine seem to simply shut the hell up when I bellow that question. They know I’ll win. Creativity requires more than great imagination. It must also have wonderful rebuttals and mine are golden. 

I hate a story that is solely plot and/or character driven. Those, to me are the luscious, all important icing on the cake. If I don’t have a severe twist to my basic concept, I lose interest quickly. As a reader I’m the same. Wow me, or warn me I won’t need a sleep aid tonight. Knock my socks off and make me wonder why no one ever thought of it quite that way before. 

Huh … is there a support group for this sort of thing?

About Deborah Riley-Magnus

Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising, and public relations as a writer for print, television, and radio. She writes fiction and non-fiction. Since 2010, she had two novels released. In 2013 her nonfiction, Finding Author Success (Second Edition), and Cross Marketing Magic for Authors were released. Her newest book, Write Brain/Left Brain, focuses on bridging the gap between the creative writer and the marketing author. Deborah produces several pieces monthly for various websites and online publications. She writes an author industry blog and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations. Deborah has lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and recently returned after living in Los Angeles, California for several years. View all posts by Deborah Riley-Magnus

5 responses to “My Tastes as a Writer

  • fred

    Looks like a nice site. I wish you all luck and good vibes.

    From our other contacts (ahem) you should know that I’m starting a major edit/revision of Ferris’ Bluff just this last few days. It’s a book out of your zone, but from what you’ve said, you like it. Good luck wih yur new kick ass site.

    I’ll be glad to weigh in, time to time.


  • Chili S Palmer

    I’ve READ…therefore I’m not…

  • sulci

    Hey Debs,

    I will simply quote author of funniest novel ever, Steve Tesich, that we write because “of the ongoing need to narrate our existence”

    Nuff said.

    Pirates and Phillies finally gettin’ it on and one of your steelworkers just pumped yardball (grrr)

  • Deborah Riley-Magnus

    SULCI! Good to see you here! Has anyone seen Marc Nash’s (sulci) super cool video?

    Watch “Playground Twist” on YouTube! The politics of playground popularity as played out by the parents


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