Monday, January 29, 2007


25 year-old Airborne in his horse show heyday.
He used to be hyper and wild. I used to have to exercise him for hours before he would mind his manners in the show ring. Over time he would relax and not be so rushed. In the jumpers he was unbeatable. Quick and clean. As time progressed he learned that fancy braids and polished hooves meant the hunters. Meant to slow down. Take your time.
And when the braids in his mane came out, it was Katy-bar-the-door.
It was a shining time and still brilliant in my memory.

6:30 am and 76 degrees. The tradewinds are howling outside. ORION is weaving and leaning. Restrained by her lines.
Fast or slow.
Happy or sad.
Long or short.
There are so many choices in story structure, mechanics, and process.
Some of us jot down a rough draft in a month. Others take years. Some write literary and others pen science fiction.
I worked with jumping clinicians from the mainland when I was obsessed with showing. One man, Victor Hugo Vidal (I am not kidding -- those of you who show hunters and jumpers will know his name) shared this advice. He would say, "Make a decision. Make a conscious choice. Don't let your trip in the show ring be happy circumstance or unhappy accident because of lack of planning. Make a decision. ANY decision! But make one!"
I have never forgotten his words. They come in handy for writers too.
Make choices.
Make decisions.
Take control of your writing. Let the words flow freely but be in charge.
Victor is dead now. He died of a stroke several years ago. I still grieve, as I knew him well.
He is sorely missed in the horse show world.
So for Victor.
What decisions will you start to make?


Maprilynne said...

I love making the first comment.:)

I supposed I need to do better in the decision-making role when it comes to genre. I have books in three different genres (classic fantasy, YA, Historical Romance) and only the romance was a decision I made.

However, after that, I have made lots of decisions. My fantasy will be a trilogy, my historical romance is a five books series, and the YA came out of nowhere and is a fluke at the moment . . . but I'm allowing that decision to be open.:)

On the other hand, I decided very early on that I wasnted to write for publication, not just for fun. I decided I definitely wanted to look for an agent before a publisher, and when my main book of the moment turned out to be flawed, I had to make some very difficult decisions and throw myself into them 100%

I didn't think publishing just happens. Sometimes books just happen:) but rarely publishing. If you want to go that route, there will definitely be many, mnay decisions that MUST be made.


ORION said...

You make a really good point maprilynne. Nothing just happens, well, maybe a car accident!
The genre thing is very important -- but it's not one you can't stretch a bit. One of my favorite authors is Kazuo Ishiguro. He wrote Remains of the Day - which seems like it was written by an English bard, and another of his books was Never Let Me Go which is essentially science fiction...
I am in awe of that.
I am a story teller.
That is what I am.
Commercial Women's fiction.
What are you?

Zany Mom said...

Suspense, romantic suspense, definitely.

I've always loved mysteries, starting as a kid, read everything Sherlock Holmes I could get my hands on, and then morphed into reading more suspense and thrillers (all kinds -- political, legal, medical, cop, forensic, romantic, etc). My fave TV shows are cop shows, though I don't write cop novels. I'm a CSI wannabe (being a forensic pathologist would be cool, except for the smell!)

I have a few ideas for middle grade/YA stuff, because that's what my kids read, and I always loved Beverly Cleary's stuff when I was a kid.

Heidi the Hick said...

I've decided to do an outline the next time I start a novel.

I've decided to achieve my Level 1 Western Coach certificate with the Equestrian Federation.

I've decided that I have to do both because otherwise I'm totally unbalanced!

Please let me go all horse talk for a moment! My half Arab (who sadly died last summer at 21) could have been ridden for hours and it'd just wind him up more. He needed a job. In the show ring he was all coiled up business. I had to learn to channel that energy. Very tricky. but just as your horse knew what the braids and hoof polish meant, my horse knew he had to settle down with a kid on his back.

Also I've made a decision to buy a new horse because I need to be in love! Now I must get back to work, deciding which agent to fling myself on next!

Holly Kennedy said...

Morning, Pat...I'm a perfectionist, as you know, and there are times when it not only drags me down, it locks me up and I don't write at all.

My conscious decision (call it a New Year resolution, if you like) is to write it, period. It'll never be perfect, and yes, I'm learning as I go (gulp -- under the scrutiny of readers) but that's a good thing. After all, how can readers see me grow if I don't put out more books?

Anonymous said...

What a lovely horse (and horse story!)
I've been making up stories since i could talk - writing them since I could write. Writing was never a conscious decision, I just write.
As for decisions, I find that with me, things just happen. I think I'll give myself to serendipity.

Therese Fowler said...

I decided to step over the commercial fiction line (from the literary-ish side) because I wanted a writing CAREER.

But I also decided I wanted to bring many qualities of literary fiction into my commercial efforts.

This gave me a precise writing target--much easier to hit something when you can see it!

Question, Pat: why do you consider LOTTERY *women's* fiction? From what I can see, it feels mainstream commercial.

ORION said...

I never said what Lottery is. I missed the /

Commercial / women's fiction


ORION said...

But yanno.
It is what it is.

Therese Fowler said...


Reverend Sumangali Tania Pink said...

Wow. What a challenge. What decisions, what choices will I make. Where will I take my power back? Thanks Patricia, I needed that!

adrienne said...

I've decided I am going to imagine everything is going to turn out okay. (easier said than done, but I'm going to try) I've decided not to panic. To just relax about the other decisions I have to make, and make them.

That's it! I've decided to make decisions!

Kim Stagliano said...

True. There's a saying "A boat in the harbor stays safe, but the bottom rots out." If you don't make choices and decisions the world makes them FOR YOU - and then you have little chance of it working in your favor.

writtenwyrdd said...

I've tried weaning off my migraine meds and that's not working, so I am really moody today. REading this post hit the nail on the head for me. Must. Make. Decision.

Bernita said...

I'm still trying to figure out the choices.