Monday, October 31, 2011

Picture beginnings

For me, stories often begin with an image -- a short scene unfolding before my mind's eye. Usually I am completely unaware of what the "rest of the story" is, but the scene is so compelling that I want to find out. I do that by starting to write.

SHARRA'S WAR began that way. I had an image in my mind of a tiger telling a girl to follow him. Why was this tiger telling the girl to follow him? How could the girl understand what he was saying? What was their story?

The story unfolded as I wrote. It was a journey of discovery, not only for my main character, but for me as an author.

I think I am on the verge of another journey of discovery, if only I would dare to take the first step. There is an image in my mind that was inspired by the house in this picture. A teenage girl going into this "skeleton house" because she knows her brother would be there. Why has her brother gone into this house? Does he go there often? What is he trying to escape? What is their story? I want to find out.

Maybe this will be my NaNoWriMo project. But I don't think I will know for sure until I sit down to write tomorrow.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

To NaNo or not to NaNo

November 1st is two days away and I haven't made a decision yet. Do I go for the NaNoWriMo challenge or not?

I have ideas, so that is not a problem. A fantasy involving ancient coins, another one involving a mirror. And a couple others that have been bouncing around in my head for a while. Some are stories that I started to write before. But I didn't get far because I got sidetracked with other projects.

The truth is that I'm chicken. What if I decide to go for it, but I fizzle out? Or get too busy? Or annoy my husband by staying up late later than usual for a month straight?

I want to do it. But I am so full of excuses. I have kids. I have a job. I have other projects.

How hard can it be to write 1500ish words a day for a month?

Pretty darn hard.

So...should I or shouldn't it?

Monday, October 24, 2011


I rewrote a manuscript, so now it's stronger.
But here's the trouble: it's also LONGER.
So now I've got more work to do:
Cut 100 words (or two).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Making Faces

Today I found myself sitting at my desk, making faces into Photo Booth. Surprised! Scared. Ecstatic! Worried.

I'm sure it would have been a comical sight had anyone witnessed it. But comical or not, it was more than just a way for me to sit around being goofy.

You see, I have been sketching faces a lot lately in preparation for a new project. And that requires faces! I'm usually a "draw what you see" kind of artist, so I needed to see expressions in order to convey them with any semblance of accuracy (and confidence).

Here's one of my little practice sketches, to prove how goofiness really can be productive.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I am a Thief

Sometimes stolen moments can be the most exciting.

While at work yesterday, as I was contentedly shelving books, an idea struck me.

I had been thinking about monsters (not surprising considering all the Halloween books on display), when suddenly a very specific monster barged in on my thoughts.

The moment oozed with significance. "Grab onto this idea and DO NOT LET GO," I told myself.

I hurried to the computer to send a quick email reminder to myself. This was not a first for me, since I had been struck with sudden inspiration at work before. But this time was different. This time, I actually started writing a draft.

I felt like a sneaky little thief, stealing moments away from my day job. But I couldn't help myself. My little monster friend had me completely under his spell.

The spell lasted for about three minutes. That's not very long, but it was plenty to give me some momentum. And today I have a complete draft! Not only that, but also a rough story-board on the back of a used sheet of card-stock.

Who says being a thief doesn't pay?