Expanded creativity

May 15, 2018

I haven’t shown any of my paintings for a while. Mostly because I haven’t painted in a couple months.

However, recently I had a friend purchase some of my artwork and I’m fortunate enough to see how she used her own creativity to expand upon what I had done.

Sally had this extra frame she’d purchase, but she hadn’t known just quite what to do with it until she saw one of my blogs on my artwork. She asked me to show her what paintings I had for sale. Happily, I brought in my box for her to dig through.

She picked two which really spoke to her (as is a great way to pick art — gee, imagine that: you buy art that you want to look at. Simple. *grin*).

Here’s how she put it all together:

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“I like hidden things,” Sally told me. “I like things that make you think.” She said that my paintings reminded her of The Secret Garden and that she wanted to know what was behind the doorway. In her mind, it goes to a place hidden away where the swing is.

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Listening to her talk about it reminds me why I like to paint: I get to create my secret place, my hide-away. Writing gives me a place where I can have people dealing with strife. But painting is where I am completely alone in my own little mental exploration. I’m never alone on my writing adventures, but I am when I’m painting.

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It’s great to see something that I created be part of a larger piece of someone else’s creativity like this.

Thank you, Sally, for letting me share!

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Struggle to write or write to struggle

April 26, 2018

To those who are readers and not writers, please stay with me. I am mostly addressing writers in this blog post, but I hope it gives you a little insight, plus I have thoughts you might enjoy at the end.

While I was on Facebook within the last week or so, an ad for a writers’ conference came up. The following quote led the ad:

“I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as a dying friend. I hold its hand and hope it will get better.” — Annie Dillard

I literally stopped and sat there staring at it, dumbfounded. Seriously, people felt this way?

I went to look at the comments and so many people agreed with the quote. I really wanted to blast back with my own comment, but I refrained. (Especially since the little voice in my head said, “Don’t you have a blog for that?”)

I have struggled with books, yes. I have even struggled to write when I was at a strange season of my life (hormones?). I have ripped them to shreds and pieced them back together again hoping that no one would realize that I had created Frankenstein’s monster. But I have never had a book lie there dying while I am praying for it to live.

That, to me, is writing to struggle.

That kind of sentiment says, “Flail me now because I’m not worthy. I must be tortured and tormented. I am ‘an artist’ and I must suffer for my art.”

Here me loud and clear on this: that is a myth and if you are following it, get off the path now and go find something you enjoy!

Seriously.

Life is too short to torment yourself. You are meant to thrive, not survive in a bog. If you aren’t having fun writing, if you aren’t giving it your heart and soul while screaming with your hands in the air, then neither are your readers.

Now, I realize that Dillard is a literary author, but my point remains the same.

Struggling to write might mean forcing yourself to put your butt in the chair and do the work. It might mean getting through tasks so that you can sit down. For me, a lot of times, it means waiting not-so-patiently for that next moment when I get to write. I will snatch every spare moment I can. I’ve been known to write while standing in the line at the grocery store because I need to write NOW.

But writing to struggle is a whole other thing. Put your hand to your forehead and sigh. Oh, you are such a martyr. A victim. Fall to vices like drugs and alcohol because that’s what writers do, yes? I write, therefore I starve. Come, gentle reader, I will hold your hand while hoping you will recover. Aren’t we pathetic? Sob, sob. Choke, choke.

Yeah, please, lie down on the path now and let me step over you.

No, I don’t carry such ‘romantic’ ideals about writing. My vice is coffee because I like it and I like to have a cup (hot or cold) beside me while I write — it’s just a brain thing. I don’t write to be cherished forever and ever. I don’t want people having snooty discussions about the ‘meanings’ of my books (not to say that I haven’t already heard some quite inventive ones, and some of them might have been intentional). I write to tell a good story. I write to entertain, I write to give someone an escape and an adventure.

If you want to write, the choice is ultimately yours, but do know your reason for writing. Do you choose to be the drama queen who gets little done because you’re too busy letting your story be a victim to your tragic accident  of deciding to write a book? Or do you want to go from ride to ride, getting new and different thrills each time?

Readers: now I’m going to address you as I promised. Let me ask you which you think is better. Now, I do believe literary fiction can be quite fun, so I’m not going to nit-pick at literary fiction, which is usually the one that gets hauled out as an example of dramatic writing where writers are known to struggle. But, I think you know even in a genre (that’s your categories like romance, sci-fi, fantasy, western, etc.) fiction when a writer’s heart isn’t in the story they are telling. We’ve all seen flat stories. I bet you can name several. That is the novel as a dying friend where there is no hope.

Don’t you want hope?

Don’t you want people to enjoy reading the story with you?

Don’t you want to root for the characters?

I do. I also want more people to read and I think that one of the reason that people don’t like to read is because they think every book is this snooty piece with lots of ‘meaning’ to it that it takes an English teacher to decipher for them.

I, for one, want people to pick up one of my books, have a great ride, and decide they want to reach for another adventure (whether it is mine or another writer’s). It’s the story that counts. It’s always the story.

Notice in the quote that Dillard says book. Not story. That too may be a critical difference. She knows she is writing a book and I focus on telling a story (then I rip the book to shreds and put it back together – grin).

So, am I going to the writers’ conference? Heck, no! If that’s their ad, then I am better off staying home and writing my next story. The attendees at that conference can sit around and wonder why they aren’t writing. Meanwhile, I’ll be doing it.


Onesong – Chapter 40

April 25, 2018

This is another chapter not suited for the faint of heart. A warning, and so you have been.

I always knew that Rivic’s story would be difficult to write. Mostly because the period of this world’s history wasn’t very nice. It is to be dark. And I would have to lead a character into so really dank places if it were to work. Worse, I know I’m not doing this story justice because I don’t want to go to those places myself. I think that’s why I keep pulling Rivic back and why he had to start off so innocent.

Yeah, that probably makes me the wimp.

Along with romances, I also use to write horror. I totally dreamed of it being listed with names like Steven King and Dean Koontz. Oh, yes. It was going to be King, Koontz, and me — the trifecta of horror.

Let’s just say that I was a worse horror writer than I was a romance writer. Oh, I could make the reader feel fear. That part was easy. I feel that terror is one of the easiest emotions to evoke and manipulate.  Our automatic response is always survival, which explains why fear grips us so hard.

Heck, I can merely tell you that this chapter isn’t for the faint of heart, and many of you are wondering if you even want to read the chapter or not. Your heart is probably already pointing, spurred by curiosity and trepidation. Imagine how many people read that first line and went no further — I’m sure there were some.

And it is that same response that made me quit writing horror — I didn’t like finding out what jumped out of the dark at me. I have to be the first to experience the emotion. Only then can I convey it. I decided one day that I didn’t really like being scared and I didn’t like thinking about the scent of blood and guts all the time. So I stopped. I’m glad I had the experience, but I’m glad I moved on. It was easier to fall in love.

And honestly, that’s something I did too readily, so I stopped that too. (grin)

I told my son the other day that I really wanted to get home and lock myself away into one of my fantasy worlds where I knew I was safe.

That’s also a dangerous place for a writer to sit.

So, I’m a wimp.

At least I know it and when I come back to this chapter, it will get darker and carry a lot more tension as it should (I hope — if I do my review edits correctly). It’s already a chapter that didn’t make me feel very good when I was writing it. I do need it. But it wasn’t pleasant. I know I skimmed the surface of my emotions here and that I will need to get much deeper.

Everyone who is still along for the ride, put your hands in the air. The roller-coaster is about to pick up speed. Here we go!

Onesong is an epic fantasy story filled with action, adventure, and sword and sorcery. Chapter 40 is available for 1 week only! Then it will turn back into a pumpkin and a new chapter will appear!  Read the rest of this entry »


Onesong – Chapter 38

April 11, 2018

The chapter you get to read today is pieced together from three smaller scenes, so I hope they make sense all strung together like they are. I’m personally keeping the gap between them in my work in process document to see if I need to re-arrange something later. But for now, this will work. (I hope.)

I’m just going to let you get to it now.

Enjoy!

Onesong is an epic fantasy story filled with action, adventure, and sword and sorcery. Chapter 38 is available for 1 week only! Then it will turn back into a pumpkin and a new chapter will appear!  Read the rest of this entry »


Onesong – Chapter 37

April 4, 2018

I’m finally to the point where I’m nervous about Prince of the Ruined Land coming out in just a couple weeks. As of my writing this, I still haven’t quite finished the story after ripping it apart, but I’m close. I’ve made it a better story, much stronger.

I had to completely pull out one thread from the story because I didn’t like where it was taking Steigan. I didn’t even realize I was looking for something to replace that thread until I stopped with a, “Hey, wait a second!” thought and then had to try to figure out what my character was thinking, I had my “Ah-ha!” moment and went back several chapters to start weaving it in. Then, behold the fact that I had already written that in earlier. Funny how the idea had reached my subconscious mind first before truly becoming coherent.

I do love the process. Read the rest of this entry »


Onesong – Chapter 36

March 28, 2018

I feel like all I’ve done recently is take notes for Onesong. My notes page inside my file (something that I didn’t do until this novel — usually I have notes outside of my draft, which means I always have to go looking for it. I think this is a habit I’ll have to change because I do like having my notes inside the file) is growing. Most of them are simple little things, scenes I still need to write mostly.

But soon, I’ll be ready to get back to Onesong and I’ll have lots of notes to start with. I can’t wait. Read the rest of this entry »


Onesong – Chapter 35

March 21, 2018

This is another section of the story (two actually according to my navigation sidebar) that I don’t know if it fits in this section. I really can’t wait to finish up Prince of the Ruined Land so that I can get back to work on finishing this story. Of course, I figure Loki will be bugging me again soon too, but I’ll pretend right now that he’ll give me a bit more time. (grin)

I was asked about my blog on Monday where I said that I don’t keep track of what’s going on in my story and how I can keep multiple plots in my head (because I had said that I needed to tame my writer child self to only writing one story at a time). I admit that it was much easier when I was younger. But yes, I do not keep track. To me, it has always felt more like plotting if I start writing down what happens in each chapter. Since I write in the dark (without plotting the story out), I really don’t want it to feel as if I’m plotting and looking for the next logical thing to happen. I’d rather trust the process and rely on my gut telling me what I need to do next. Besides, when I do write it down, I then don’t have the details that I want when I need them. It’s easier for me to do a Find search on the document to locate a detail that I need. Read the rest of this entry »