Blog Archives

Surprise Disasters Bring Sunny Outcomes #thursdaythoughts #amwriting

May the very best outcomes find youThursday morning, after feeding my new sweet baby rescue pups, I heard a loud crash come from somewhere inside my house. The pups and I looked up. My heart pounded faster. Quickly, I scoured the house and nothing seemed awry. Kansas City temperatures have been dangerously low these past few days and I thought a huge branch or something might have fallen on the roof. Yet, nothing turned up. Not until I stepped into the garage, hit the button for the garage door, and strangely the door wouldn’t open. After careful inspection, I noticed the spring on the garage door broke. I panicked for maybe 60 seconds since I couldn’t get to work, and this is not the time of year for me to be stuck in my garage. Not in public relations. Not when I’m in charge of some major academic and legislative events.

The good news? The panic has passed. The garage door repair company is on its way, and the lesson is right out there in front of me.

Some days, the day has its own mind. That’s okay. We just have to decide in a moment how we can change our hearts with the new direction. Lucky for me, my new direction involves edits on a second draft of my manuscript while I wait.

We can’t plan everything. Some days we climb hills, and some days we ski with a beautiful finesse right down them. No matter what happens today, may the very best outcomes find you.

Happy Thursday all 🙂

Reclaim Your Greater Story #IWSG #amwriting #Newyear

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome Co-Hosts:  J.H. Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!

Check out our IWSG homepage.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

You can find a new flow

As a writer, I’ve often questioned where I am. I’ve wondered if I can compete when I really haven’t gotten my feet off the ground very far. And now faced with another new year with more distance between my goals and the time, I admit, my heart has weighed in a little heavier than I’ve wanted it to weigh.

This past Sunday, something drew me to hustle the children out of bed, compelled to get them to church. Drained from a severe flu, I finally felt an ounce of energy, and my heart said get up, now is the time to leave the house.

We made it to church. I sat on the bench with my hands crossed in my lap, staring up at the pastor on the stage while my children colored on worksheets next to me. Then the pastor held out his hands, looked straight out at all of us and said, “You can find a new flow from an old well.”

I sat up straight and grabbed a pen. I wrote down every word thereafter and I haven’t stopped thinking about his words of hope since. Thus, I’m sharing them today because of what they mean, and how much they mean to me.

“Dig. Unearth. Take care of the well you already have. Reclaim that greater story. Hope again. Allow yourself to dream.”

I don’t often write about religion, but the words seemed timely, and they touched me in a force of inspiration.

So this year, I’ve decided to hold on to my writing dreams. And out of my brainstorming, I reached out to one of my great writing friends, happy to learn she recently moved back to town. We’re meeting for coffee this Sunday and I’m super excited to have someone to talk to face-to-face again about books, my first quiet prayer come true, already this year.

On another fun note, I saw a great movie with the kids: Bumblebee. It sure amazed the heck out of me. The soundtrack seemed really great too. And a new book? I found one! I went to Half Price Books the other day and picked up the murmurings by Carly Anne West. So far, I’m incredibly intrigued.

Lesson learned, not every minute will shine like you want. Love the minutes that shine as they come. Have faith the road you choose to walk will continue to show you brighter, shinier minutes along the way.

Question: Have you come across something recently that revived your spirit, your heart? A great new book or movie?  I’d love to hear it.

C.S. Lewis Quote

Focused Distraction Is A Creative Technique #IWSG #AMWRITING

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome Co-Hosts:  Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

Check out our IWSG homepage.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

***

Have you ever watched a child in an art room digging fingers in a ball of clay, smoothing water over a shape she’s trying to create with her own two hands?

Have you ever listened to a teen recite lines for a speech or a play, eyes lost on some space on the wall, hugging her arms in while the words slip out just as she hoped?

Have you ever sat at a desk and stared at a blank screen or piece of paper, wondered where to start and why it isn’t starting right now when you have the time, and maybe too much time to think?

Creativity is a beautiful science. Images. Voices. Blank screens of possibility. Puzzled thoughts and making choices. Learning basic formulas and mixing and matching the right ones for you.

This month’s IWSG question asks, “How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

I might have digressed in this post this month, thinking more of what I use to get through the evolution of creativity. I guess in remembering my own journey, I focused on what helped me work through the process, to keep going.

For me, distraction has kept me on track through time. How to use sensations to get past that chunk of clay, the cool water slipping through your fingers. The hugging motion I didn’t realize I used to get the words out.  And when I’m stuck on a thought or a blank screen, I always go to the gym. I solve everything on a stair climber or a spin bike in the spin room. Maybe it’s my busy mind unable to let go. So when I distract myself with other motions, sensations, I free the block. I’m able to start again.

Distraction has taught me to use my eyes and hands, to search with additional senses. Study expressions. Memorize color. Smile at the detail in eye lashes and dimples. Wonder, or wander. Over time my distractions have evolved into smarter, doable things I am choosing to use because they work.

We can’t always control a thought or where we are, but we can change our surroundings and what we see to dream again.

A few last thoughts on creativity by some creative writers:

Have a lovely rest of your week 🙂

Good Heroes Need Good Villains #authortoolboxbloghop #amwriting

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

***

At a writer’s conference a few years back, I sat with a literary agent and pitched my story. She mentioned my villain struck her attention the most. My villain had a goal equal in weight to my Lead. Then she mentioned lots and lots of writers forget to focus on the goal and the arc of the villain.

So today, I’m using some thoughts from The Marshall Plan Workbook. I’m focusing on the craft of the Opposition, a word Marshall uses in lieu of the Villain, and the importance of strength and equality for both the Lead and the Opposition. I’m also thinking of Khan as an example of interesting Opposition.

Four Basic Points From Marshall’s Plan to Consider

The Opposition As A Person

Marshall states, “Nothing stirs readers like person-against person conflict.” (Page 77)

I pondered all the books and movies I’ve liked the most. Avengers, The Archived, Panic, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Some of my favorites involve magical possibility. All of them involve human faces. Sure, some phenomenal stories have been written with natural disasters and animals leading the opposition, but largely I do agree with Marshall. I think human opposition does “come across most effectively.”

And Khan. Is he human? Or he is he a divine being without weakness?

Wikipedia states Khan is, “a genetically engineered superhuman.” Now I’ve never seen the first appearance of Khan with the early Star Trek movie. But I do like the new version of Khan. I like seeing a human figure as the shell to all his power.

Opposition And Lead Must Be Equal

This point made me think again. True, the reader wants a good fight. True, the writer needs enough action and reaction scenes to develop an effective plot. Marshal states, ”an opposition who’s an equal match for your lead is believable to readers.” If one or the other is so far advanced, why doesn’t the story just end? A fair point. A last fair point, “Think first of your lead’s special skills and talents that will help her achieve the story goal, then bestow your opposition with a large enough share of the same talents that your lead will be given a real run her money—a run that will keep readers turning the page.”

And Khan? I had a hard time justifying if Khan was indeed equal to the Lead, Captain Kirk. Khan seemed to win at manipulation with high stake issues. Kirk seemed to win with his crew and loyalty. He surrounded himself with talented people with different talents than the ones he seemed to have. Khan didn’t seem to need anyone, with a gift of regenerative blood. He seemed super strong. He seemed to evaluate weakness better than most. So it’s still a toss up to me.

Opposition isn’t Always Evil, Just Opposite

Marshall states, “The reason the ideal opposition is someone already known to the lead is that this is usually how life really works.” When I think back on all my own goals, it’s true. And Khan? I guess his existence was known previously to the start of the movie. Spock certainly knew him. His awakening was fast and public.

An Invisible Opposition Exists

Murder mystery genres face invisible Opposition. The lead does not know the opposition. The Lead is terrorized by an invisible opponent. The whole plot strives to uncover the opposition and solve a case.

A last important Marshall Question to consider:

Why would this character oppose my lead?

For more information on the Marshall Plan Workbook, here’s an amazon link to purchase the book. You’ll love the resource. I certainly do.

Any other Opposition thoughts? Any thoughts on Khan and Kirk? I’d love to hear them 🙂