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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

I’ve gotten back to writing a bit. I’ve restrained myself from crocheting for a while. I’ve been reading this week though. I don’t get a chance to read very often. When I read, I tend to tune out the rest of the world, and if it’s really good I won’t take a break until I find a good stopping point. I can’t let myself do this very often with a four-year-old. This time I’m trying to spread it out over several days so I don’t completely ignore him.

A new book by one of my favorite authors just came out, “Raven’s Ladder” by Jeffrey Overstreet. His books are awesome, anybody who reads this should check out his Auralia Thread books. His writing is full of imagination, beauty, and fascinating characters. Every time I read one of his books, it inspires me to write more.

I don’t have much time to write today. I have to read some more, of course. Also, I need to catch up on dishes, etc. and still find time to play outside with my little man. The weather has finally become tolerable enough to go out. It’s been cold, icy, & icky for so long that I think he’s forgotten that the outdoors even exist.

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Let’s rewind to mid-November. I was actively working on my novel every day. I was optimistically hoping I could keep up the pace and finish by the end of the year.

Well, what happened? LIFE! A family emergency took my full attention for over a week. I tried to write a little in the midst of it all. I did manage to make a little more progress, but then Thanksgiving came. Suddenly I was responsible for an entire Thanksgiving meal, plus a couple of dishes to take to two more dinners.

We managed to make it through Thanksgiving. Then our car started acting funny so we had it checked out & dropped a couple hundred dollars to fix it. Immediately after that, my husband got sick & discovered that a nasty chronic infection that just wouldn’t go away was back with a vengeance. The next week the car overheated, almost stranding my husband on the way to work. He added water & barely managed to get it to the shop. We shelled out several hundred more on a new head gasket. My husband had to bum rides to & from work for a few days. We almost didn’t get the car back in time for Christmas.

The total car repairs for the month of December ended up being around $1,000! Gee, we could have gotten a new car if we knew that was going to happen, but we definitely couldn’t afford it now. We couldn’t even afford to buy presents for family. We’d already gotten stuff for our son, but we decided not to get each other anything. We consider our new computer that we had to buy to replace our lightning struck one to be a present for both of us. Sometime between car repairs, I got the idea to put my creativity to good use to make gifts for other family members & friends. I crocheted constantly, making scarves, slippers, even dolls. A few of the gifts had to wait till after Christmas since I had very little time to finish.

By the end of the year, we were ready for it all to be over, hoping that maybe, just maybe, next year would be better. The new year started okay, except that my husband still wasn’t better, despite three rounds of antibiotics. Then mid-January we all got a bad cold. Hubby got a new & different infection on top of his old stubborn one. He’s now taking the strongest antibiotic to date, but is still not better. My son somehow got strep on top of his cold, & despite the antibiotics he’s taking for that, his cough isn’t getting better. I foresee more doctor visits in our future. I’m almost all better, though, so I can’t really complain there.

I can complain, though, that our sickness just happened to coincide with the birth of my new baby niece. So far we’ve only been able to look at her through the window. I hope that, soon, I can convince my sister that I’m well enough to hold her.

Somewhere in the midst of all these happenings, I’d gotten so depressed that I didn’t want to do much of anything. Crocheting became my escape & my obsession. After all the Christmas presents, I made a cardigan & hat for my new niece & some cute Converse style baby booties for a friend by altering a pattern. Then I took on a new project to make a Yoshi plushie for my son’s birthday. I couldn’t find a free pattern, so I decided to design my own, which I’ve never done before. Then I made my husband a pair of Converse style slippers, once again my own design, because he was jealous of the baby booties I made.

So needless to say, with all this crocheting I’ve been doing, I haven’t done any more writing. I’m not sure what to make next, so maybe I’ll get back to writing. Then again, my mom gave me a sewing machine for my birthday, and I need new pillows and curtains. When will I write again? I don’t know, but I do know that I will…… soon.

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Well, It’s been over two months since I last posted. My computer got fried by lightning about two months ago. It was an iMac, and our back up computer is an old Gateway laptop. It’s just not the same. I haven’t gotten over it enough to get back to writing. I know that’s a really bad excuse. We’re getting a new iMac today, and I expect to get back into my writing again soon.

I’ve had a few good ideas during my off time, Most came in the usual way, middle of the night epiphanies that I’m too sleepy to write down. I’ve tried to remember most of it and bounce the ideas off my husband to see if any of them are actually good. If nothing else, I’ve gotten to know my characters better in my reflections.

I got one of my more unusual ideas just before my computer got zapped. I had an idea to actually name the chapters of my books. I wasn’t planning on this, because I have so much trouble naming things as it is, but I just got this idea stuck in my head. I was lying awake thinking about the first chapter, which I was adding scenes to at the time. Since I was sleepy, my thoughts kept wandering randomly, and a song kept popping into my head. It kind of became like a soundtrack to my thoughts. It was one of the songs my husband and I wrote. This gave me an idea that I wanted to test, so I fast-forwarded in my head to chapter two, and another one of our songs came to me. Then I realized that I could think of a Tiny Rain song that would fit, either perfectly or loosely, with almost every major part of the story. It also worked for the other book ideas I have for the series. So I decided that I would name each chapter after one of our songs, and if one didn’t fit then we could write a new one just for it. We need some inspiration to make new music anyway. Since I love writing, and I love music, I thought this would be a great way to bring them together. This idea also led me to a few other ideas, like book names, a name for my fantasy world, and also the idea to play up the role of music in the story.

I actually have to give partial credit for this idea to (I don’t remember who) who wrote (I don’t remember what) which used titles of eighties songs for the chapter names. I had started reading this book because of this interesting hook, but it didn’t otherwise grab me, so I stopped.

At some point I might share these ideas more specifically, but I’m not sure how much to reveal at this point. Until next time (hopefully not months from now), listen to some Tiny Rain songs at our Virb site.

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I actually did enter that NPR contest that I mentioned before. I surely don’t expect to win, but it was a good writing exercise. The only specifications for the contest were that the story had to be no more than 500-600 words long. I’m not so great at coming up with ideas, so I wasn’t sure that I could think of something to write about before the deadline.

I had almost given up when, one day last week, I was struck with inspiration. It was nothing special, just the first line. It was morning, just after my husband left for work. I was in that between awake and asleep state that I muddle through every morning when I must have dozed off for a minute. I woke up with a vague impression of a short dream and the sentence, “I assumed you forgot me.” Since I didn’t remember the dream well enough, I really didn’t have much to go on, but I thought that it would make an intriguing first line.

I had to go against my general preference of writing in third-person for this story, but I have been convinced that it is easier to write a very short story from a first-person viewpoint. I’d recently learned this premise from multiple sources, including the judge of the NPR contest, so I gave in. (Thank you to my husband for not teasing me about it after I recently criticized something he wrote for it being in first-person. It really was good. I just wasn’t feeling it at that time. He’ll probably never write again.)

Anyway, I took that first sentence and changed it just a bit, then tried to think of what to do with it. It had multiple possibilities, but I gravitated to one particular idea and followed it. Then my husband helped me to fine tune it. He is my toughest critic, but I think he actually liked it.

This story is different for me. I was a little out of my comfort zone, but I think it is still enough like me, though it may be a bit too dramatic. If I tell any more I’d spoil it. When the contest is over, I will post the story here for your perusal.

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Part of the “reading about writing” I’ve been doing lately is on the NovelDoctor blog. It’s a fairly new blog written by an editor, Stephen Parolini. While informative, it is also very entertaining. He recently had a contest challenging his readers to write a scene, 200 words, including a wristwatch. I decided to enter it, and though I didn’t win it was really fun. (I really wanted that Yoda Santa, though) I didn’t make the top 10 either, but he did feature an excerpt from my entry. He has also offered to critique it, so I’ll find out what he really thinks later. Anyway, I figured that since I actually wrote a “short story” I should post it on my blog. So here it is…

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The fire cast mirthless shadows over the face of a stranger. He was encircled by four armed men. A fifth man curiously appraised the unusual items that had been confiscated. One object was like a ring of red light reflecting the flames. Fascinated, the man reached out to nudge the object, half expecting it to be hot. He smiled as he held it in his hand caressing its smooth cool surface, captivated by each intricate detail. He stepped closer to the fire when he noticed unfamiliar markings on the circular centerpiece. As he scrutinized it, he noticed movement within. He tapped it sharply to determine if it was alive. Then he held it up to his ear, quickly dropping it, startled. When it fell, it began emitting a green light. Trying to regain his dignity, he carefully retrieved the object. He ran his finger over a small bump on its side. The stranger jumped to his feet shouting unintelligibly, but was quickly stopped by four sharp spears held inches from his throat. Unfazed, the man continued his study, pushing on the strange protrusion. A flash of light suddenly enveloped him, blinding the observers. When it subsided, he had vanished.

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I also found out about a contest that NPR is having this summer called “Three-Minute Fiction”. If I am struck with any inspiration, I may enter that contest as well. Inspiration is easier to come by when you have a specific assignment to spark it, though. Thank you to the Novel Doctor for that.

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Wow! I’ve been really bad. It had been so long since I even logged on that I had to reset my password. I guess it doesn’t matter, because nobody reads my blog anyway. (If you’re out there, leave me a comment so I know.)

What’s going on now? I’ve gotten sick of putting things off and I want to push forward with my writing. I really haven’t written much in the last several months, but I’ve started at it again. Though right now I’m kind of stuck in a planning phase. I had planned things out generally, but now I feel like I need to get to know my characters, settings, & plot even more and get all my ideas written down in some form.

I really don’t know how to go about this, but I’ve been spending a lot of time lately reading about writing. It’s probably a big time waster, but I think I’m learning a little bit. I’ve been “putting the cart before the horse” a bit too, reading tips from editors & agents. Today, I’m avoiding work on my story by blogging here. Now I’ve got to go fold some clothes, or something equally distasteful.

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After another sleepless night, I have decided that if I want to tell the complete story of my world I must write five individual stories.  The book I am currently working on will have two prequels and two sequels.  I guess I have plenty of material for the next four years of NaNoWriMo.

Also, my dad gave me some pointers based on some of his favorite fantasy novels, Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series.  This made me reconsider my approach to character development and simplify the plot a little bit.  So now I am working on a new introduction and minor changes to the parts I’ve already written.

I am really hoping that I will have the resolve to stick it out through this novel, and the other four as well.  If this one turns out well, I plan to try to get it and the others published.  If that happened, it would be a dream come true.

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