Friday, June 27, 2008

Slow and Steady

Hi folks, I'm still in Texas, so the post will be short. I had a fortune cookie today and was pleased to learn that my destiny is 'slow and steady will lead to success.' This has been the absolute truth for me. Writing is a line upon line process. It takes patience. You have to be willing to wait to see the fruit of you labor somewhere in the far future. If you only work 15 minutes day, you have no reason to be ashamed. Take pride in your efforts.

Open up your heart to way of the turtle. If you are American, I suggest that you toss off that 'results now philosophy.' Get rid of that 'cash in the pocket' philosophy, too. This week I'm going to compare novel writing to the gorgeous cathedrals that grace the European landscape. These cathedrals took generations to build. The architects, builders, and designers had long term vision. Their goal was to create something ageless, something meaningful.

As you write consider the ripples in space-time you are creating. Consider that to create something that will last, it takes a vast amount of time and effort. I hope you take time to make sure you are on the slow and steady road this week.

Big shout-out for the Georgetown Public Library and Ms. Rosa. I had a great time sharing about my process and my new book, REMBRANDT AND THE BOY WHO DREW DOGS (Barron's, 2008).

Sorry, no doodles until I get home.

Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not.
Ieyasu Tokugawa

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Hi folks, I'm on the road so the post will be short. This week I've been down to the Johnston Space Center in Houston and toured the simulators and checked out mission control. I've also kept my eye on the Mars landing and the possible discovery of water on the red planet. Those images of Mars are haunting. It's red, rocky and desolate. Everything about the space program inspires me to reach for the stars, but most of all it's the astronauts who make me think anything is possible.

I'm so inspired by the tenacity, fluidity and single mindedness of the astronauts. It takes all out efforts to get into space, and that strength to do whatever it takes helps me get up each morning and sit in that chair and make the magic happen. It also takes a person who goes with flow and moves with the ebb. This fluidity to lay hold of the task at hand lends me great strength. Last of all, you've got to sleep, eat, and taste that mission objective. That's the attitude that I want to bring to my novel writing. I want to wrap my mind around the mission objective and get it done.

And to bring this all around, my quote of the week:

“That some achieve great success is proof to all others that we can achieve it, as well.”

Abraham Lincoln

Doodle of the week: Some Bunny

Remember: ©Molly Blaisdell, all rights reserved. If you want to use my cool doodles, ask permission first. It is so wrong to take people's doodles without permisison!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

One word at a time

My posts will shorten over the summer. It's time to enjoy lazy summer days.

One word at a time, that's how novels are written. I have worked a lot this week. I've thought some about pacing and what you can do with it. Some books are roller coaster rides with rapidly changing scenes, zinging one liners and crescendos of action. Other are slow like lazy rivers, meandering from one gorgeous setting to the next, the dialogue is spare even cryptic, and the writer seems very intent on capturing odd, angled details. I find pacing is important in terms of the mood and tone of a story.

Pacing is basically drawing the reader along with story. Your reader matches pace with your story. They feel the organic evolution of events and their disbelief stays willfully suspended. If your character is facing a challenge, your reader is there facing the challenge. The reader is not skimming words, flipping ahead a chapter or putting the book away. A well paced book keeps the reader in the energy of the book and the end brings the reader to a satisfying conclusion.

Join me and think about pacing as you work this week.

In other news, I have an appearances coming up in Georgetown, Texas and another in Bellevue, Washington to celebrate the release of Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs. Come out if you are around.

Here is my doodle for the week. Chick out of control.

©Molly Blaisdell, all rights reserved. If you want to use my cool doodles, ask permission first. It is so wrong to take people's doodles without permisison!

My quote for the week. I've been doing some marketing stuff, so:

There is more similarity in the marketing challenge of selling a precious painting by Degas and a frosted mug of root beer than you ever thought possible.

A. Alfred Taubman

Friday, June 06, 2008

Musing About Story

I was down in spirit and ranting last week. Vijaya, thanks for the encouragement. I have found that part of the journey is frustration. This week, I'm less weary but still feel that I really need a rest.

I had the chance to go to Eagle Rock School in Duvall. I had lots of fun with that. I'm always blown away by the hunger that children have to learn. They just soak up information.

I'm also reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. This book is provocative, and I think it might help you find your original voice.

It's pouring down rain here today and it's cold. I find it hard to find summer fun in this dreary weather. It feels like a reflective day and that said I thought I would write an idea or two about story. I have always found a connection between story and music. I like books that are like symphonies with movements, phrases and crescendos.

There is a deep rhythm to stories, and in the end I think that they are driven by a need to let others know what has happened. If I don't like a story, it's because the author didn't dig deep enough. I want to feel the ancient rhythm of the beginning, middle and the end. I want to feel the happiness and the sadness. I want to know the hope and the despair. I want to reach beyond and dig deep within. My soul searches for this.

There is completing in me when I hear a good story. I usually know something about myself that I didn't know before. I'm more aware. Those connections that lead from one scene to the next - those connections bring sense to the senseless universe for me. I can tell this hunger for story dwells in many of us.

Many are hungry. Pick up your pen. Open your laptop. Let the next great story flow.

So my doodle of the week is TREES. Trees remind me of stories too.

©Molly Blaisdell, all rights reserved. If you want to use my cool doodles ask permission first. It is so wrong to take people's doodles without permisison!

I find the following very true:

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story.

Max Ehrman