JC McDowell is a romance and non-fiction writer, and although she is best known for her Love Bug series on wattpad. You may remember McDowell from her guest post "Writing the Romantic Hero" back in August. Well - here she is again, with a sample from Dragonfly Redemption.
Firstly, I should point out that she is not contributing a romantic story to the anthology, LIBRARY OF DREAMS. McDowell is also writing her grandfather's memoirs, an experience which is deepening her skills and appreciation for her writing, and the story that opens the anthology is The Typewriter.
In a way, The Typewriter is the perfect story for this series. McDowell's tale of a little girl and her grandfather, who helps her to discover the medium through which her story-telling adventures will begin, is heartwarming and delightful. It brings to life the idea that dreams are given life and voice by the written word, and the tools of the writer's trade are treated reverently and reflected upon with a sense of sensitive nostalgia.
I can't think of a better opening for an anthology with the theme of 'dreams'.
You'll notice that McDowell's style is very different to Petrik's (see this post for a sample of his writing), whose story Dream Job is also in the anthology.
I love anthologies with different contributors, because it's very much like an exhibition by different artists, as opposed to rifling through a portfolio of one artist's work. I do like to do that, too, as it happens - Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories is one of my favourite short story collections. However, my taste is so eclectic that I love to discover new authors and check out new styles, to see what I would like to read more of. It also helps me to think about my own voice and style, and shows me where I can improve and what is good or unique about my own work.
Here's a sample of McDowell's writing, taken from her novel Dragonfly Redemption:
The waterless beach surrounded me for endless miles only ending with the pitching Afghan mountains in the distance. The lush, green mountains of home were a distant memory as I stood at attention inside the command tent with the sand swirling outside in the ensuing dust storm. My platoon and I wore the matching uniforms of the desert as we awaited our orders from Lieutenant Colonel Sharpe. While feeling the anxious hum from my spotter, I tried to remain focused and remember who I was. I was a Marine, but not just any Marine. I was Teague Harris.
I wonder what images this conjures up for you?
How do you find writing in the first person, and what difficulties have you encountered when trying to differentiate between your narrative voice, and the character's voice? Who is successful at this, and who isn't? How successful have you been, and what is the story of your journey?
I'd love to know the answers to this!
She now also has a separate facebook page for her alterego, Jaycee Ford, under which pseudonym she intends to write Harlequin style romances.
I'm looking forward to reading her very different opener in LIBRARY OF DREAMS... McDowell is more than just a one-genre pony!