Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Musings: Authentic Authoring

In our youth, we have all had our favorite authors. We devoured their stories like ice cream on a hot July, Sunday afternoon. We took them with us everywhere, while they took us to places we never dreamed existed.

In middle and high school, Judy Blume and V. C. Andrews were all the rage; graduating into Danielle Steele and others who wrote more adult themed books.

There were also the books that were forced upon us by our high school literature teachers. We groaned and moaned about the chore of making our way through the works of James Joyce, Henry James, D. H. Lawerence, Tennyson's plays, and a myriad of other classical authors.

In my quest to become a better writer, and dare I say author, I began to follow authors whom I could relate to, or had much more experience than I. One of those authors is Shawn Lamb, author of the Allon Series. The Allon Series, is an epic young adult Christian fantasy series. Apparently, my youngest daughter was well aware of this before I even knew who Shawn Lamb was. She also writes Christian Historical Fiction. This isn't a blog posting to sing the praises of a well known, successful author. She doesn't need my accolades to find personal fulfillment in her career. This is about authentic authoring.

I began cyber-stalking....ahem...following Shawn Lamb a few months ago. I'm not really stalking her, I'm learning from her, from a distance. I don't know her on a deep personal level; or any personal level at all, but what I have learned is Shawn is the type of author I hope to be one day. She writes in her own voice, adhering to her Christian values. Just because I follow her does not mean I want to BE her. I could never be, or even want to be, exactly like her, or even Debbie MaComber, whom I also follow for the same reason.

Some things I have learned from Shawn Lamb are: you have to know your subject matter inside and out for the story to be believable; just because something is reality doesn't mean it needs to be described with every detail - some things need to be left to the imagination of the reader; and find your own voice - never try to write like someone else.

Those are only a few of the things I have learned thus far. One thing I admire about Shawn Lamb is her adherence to her Christian values and never making apologies for them. In a world where profanity, sex, violence and darker things abound in literature, she makes no apologies for not using or including them. I can respect that.

In the infamous words of Judy Garland, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else."