Reflections from an emerging writer as she journeys through the creative process.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

IWSG-Your Story's Beginning

Welcome to Insecure Writer's Support Group March meeting on the first Wednesday of the month, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. To visit the website and find more participants, click HERE.

Your Story's Beginning

The beginning of your story, whether it be a short story or a novel, needs to do three basic things.
  1. The most important is to get the story going and show what kind of story it's going to be.
  2. To introduce and characterize the protagonist.
  3. Engage the reader's interest in reading on (plot).
Some beginnings do more than this. Some create moods; some create characters who aren't the protagonist, or one or more of the subordinate characters. Some will establish a norm the story will then depart from. A story can do more than the basic three things but should never do less.

These three jobs are absolutely vital. To the degree that any short story or novel neglects them, it's risking being dull, uninvolving and possibly confusing to the reader.

Why do I bring up such a very basic writing construct? Every once in a while we need to make a re-assessment of the beginning of our story. Is it doing all it can for our readers? Does it grab them and take them on the beginning of a journey that they won't want to quit reading? After not seeing my story for over a month, I got to see it with fresh eyes and found myself editing it to liven it up. You might try setting your story down for a time and then start at the beginning to see what you find. The results may be just what your story needs.

Monday, March 2, 2015

I'm Back in the Game!

For those of you who wondered why I took February off, it's because of illness that required my full attention. I apologize for not posting earlier, but a stay in the hospital prevented it.

I was able to get a lot of thinking done while laying in bed. I was reminded of my mortality and what time I had left. Funny how we get down to basics when the chips are down. Anyway, I decided that I wanted to spend time making sure my family had another book or two from me as long as I'm able to write.

One of the things that became evident to me while I was recuperating was that the attitude a person adopts will either make or break the spirit. And that will change the ability to be able to create. When we become victims instead of survivors, our flow of creativity changes. In my case, it was blocked. I found myself staring, like a deer in the headlights, petrified to move. But I have grabbed onto life and have decided to fight back. I decided to journal my fears and indecision so I can continue to work on my  stories without constraints. The hardest part, of course, is the actual writing itself. But that will come.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you. I hope they help someone.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Recommended Reading

I've been doing a lot of reading the last few months and the author that stuck out as an exceptional Young Adult writer was Tamora Pierce. Her writing has traveled the globe and caused readers to become fascinated with what seems to be her favorite subject, magic.

In her Circle of Magic quartet, Ms. Pierce introduced four unforgettable mages-in-training. Each mage develop as unique young people with as story of their own. The Circle Opens is about these same young people four years later when they acquire their first students in magecraft.

I'm halfway through The Circle Opens and am dazzled by Ms. Pierce's ability to create her stories. Her writing is a lesson in YA writing and inspires me to create my own stories with the same intertwined plots. Each scene she writes is woven into the next one until you realize you're almost done with the book. I recommend her to anyone interested in YA literature and hope you read her books if you haven't already.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

With the start of the new year many people are grabbing onto their New Year's resolutions and are beginning tasks to better themselves. In the writing community, some people will decide to take courses in writing to increase their level of skill. I know because I did that exact thing two years ago.

What I discovered from my venture was that I developed a dislike for long-winded lectures and a lot of homework. But at the same time, I found that my writing habits improved so that I was writing almost 1,000 words a day. That was because of the daily journal we were required to keep. At first I grumbled about it and complained that it was extra writing. Since then, I've stopped the journal and gone onto to writing on stories.

If you have trouble being motivated to write something or anything, start a daily journal. You don't have to go to school to get motivated, unless you think you need instruction in the skills of writing. In a journal you can write anything you want, as long as you write something each day. I remember one day in my journal, I wrote about how stupid it all seemed. I wasn't afraid to write that because no one else was going to read it.

Do you keep a journal? I'm starting to write in mine again this year with the hopes of getting back to my 1,000 words a day. Happy hand cramps (unless you keep it on a computer)!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IWSG - 2015

Welcome to Insecure Writer's Support Group and its first blog-hop for 2015. This group meets the first Wednesday of the month and is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. To visit the IWSG website, click HERE.

I was going to update everyone on what I was working on at the beginning of January, but as I sat back and looked at my projects, I realized I've stalled on them. Not because of disinterest, but rather, I have something rolling around in my mind that is wanting to get out. It's a story about a terrible time in a woman's life that almost took her life. Although I've jotted down ideas and a few scenes, I hesitate leaving my other work unfinished to begin working on this.

How do I work on one piece when my mind feels scattered and keeps going back to this new plot? Have any of you ever experienced this conundrum? I wonder if leaving work unfinished is okay? I can't seem to see the ending of the story I was working on. Perhaps if I let it sit for a while I can come back to it later with a better idea for the end. In the mean time, I can outline this new story and see where it goes.

After reading this circuitous post, can you see my dilemma? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

Happy New Year, 2015!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

As 2015 opens up, I decided not to make a whole lot of resolutions that I would stare at on a list and probably not finish. I like making lists when I have a job to get done, but not wish lists that I know I won't complete. Instead, I chose to use this thought, Be Inspired, as my motto for the year.

Allowing myself to be inspired frees my creativity and gives me freedom to try new things. I know that as the new year opens I'm refreshed to push forward and finish my stories I've been working on and start new ones as they come to me.

An example of being inspired came to me when I received a large pair of hoop earrings that I thought I'd never wear. But I decided to try them on. When I did, I felt as if I'd accomplished a new look and was excited about it. With this new feeling, I'm sitting here writing this blog post while I'm inspired to continue on this new year. Sometimes change causes inspiration. Now I'm ready to write.

I hope each one of you becomes inspired this new year and finds your own path throughout the year. If it's writing or painting, may you be inspired! Have a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Blessings

Here in Southern Oregon it's cloudy and rainy with no hint of snow for Christmas. But I'm filled with joy as I enter this holiday season because I was able to make most of my gifts even though my eyes are still blurry from my eye surgery.

To me, Christmas isn't all about gifts however. It's about giving something of yourself to others and sharing your life with family and friends. My eight year old granddaughter shows me the enthusiasm for the holidays that I hope to hold in my own heart. Her excitement over a cup of hot chocolate as we gather close together helps me remember my younger days when my zest for the holidays was at its peak.

It was one New Years Eve when my sister and I were in high school and our family life was turbulent. She and I decided to drive over the hill to Pasadena and stake out a place on the sidewalk so we could see the New Year's Day Rose Parade. We were absolutely thrilled with our adventure. The one thing that never crossed our minds was that our parents didn't know where we were. Since they were out for New Years, we figured we could stay out also. But when they finally found out from the lady staying with us that we flew the coop, they were frantic. We happened to call home in the wee hours of the morning and received a terse instruction to please come home. So, we missed the Rose Parade, but I came away from this adventure with the realization of how much my parents cared for me.

Now, since my parents have passed on, I take time to remember them, not only during the holidays, but when I visit with my sister and brother. This Christmas, I'm sending all my friends and family a special blessing, that you would hold your relationships close and remember to tell them that they are loved.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my family and friends!