Saturday, July 26, 2008

What Happens Next?

Before I jump into this week's post. Big shout out for the Diviners and their wonderful celebration of my book. Please check out the blogs of Janet Lee Carey and Peggy King Anderson to find out more about the fun celebration. It's true I'm the keeper of the shhhhushhhing Nancy.

So this week's post is about the driving force within story. What happens next? This simple question is a good one to ask yourself. Is the set up for your reader so compelling that there is no way your reader can put your book down? Yah, your book better be that compelling. Direct your readers toward the true north. For there to be a magnetic force in you book, you've got to have a whole world of matter spinning inside it. My advice, look at your first chapter. Ask what is happening next. Is your character getting out of bed? Or is a tornado carrying your character up into the sky. Hey, which book do you want read?

Are you asking provocative questions that are impossible to ignore? I'm calling you up to a high place. This is the heart of mythic questions. I mean it. Who is your character? What do they want? Answer this! And consider this too. Are your characters charismatic? Really no one wants to hang out with annoying whiny people. Your job is to build that cauldron of sympathetic feeling in your reader.

I've talked about how bold you have to be to do this, but I'm going to add this: you have to be sure. To write meaningful books that are on a world-wide stage, you have to sure that you know what you are doing. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every scene, and every chapter must be executed with the best writing and most thoughtful intent. Yes, this is difficult, a daunting task. It's good to know this is done one word at a time. Also trust the voices: critiquers, readers, agents. The more stars you get in line the better off you are in terms of creating meaningful work.

Focus on creating a great story. Create a furnace, a star nursery, write your story. I hope this inspires you to be more.

I had to think about this. I hope you enjoy this doodle of the week. I call it Birth of a Star.

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 permission!

If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it's OK. But you've got to shoot for something. A lot of people don't even shoot. Confucius

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I have to shout out for the University Bookstore and Reading with Rover this week. They helped make my Book Launch Party a rocking good time.

It's funny how life and our stories reflect each other. Sometimes we will feel like our life is spinning out of control; our stories feel that way too. Other times, things feel slow and lazy; our stories can reflect that too. I think being aware of the connection between our stories and our life can help us with pacing.

When you put on your editor hat and read your story, open yourself to the heart the pacing. Have you spent five chapters on one day and the rest of the chapters take several weeks? Ask yourself why you've done this. I find if I feel stagnant in my real life some of that will sneak into my writing. Being aware of this connection, let momentum in your life translate itself into momentum in your story.

I write from a story telling tradition and this is only true for a small percentage of writers that I meet. I feel the connection with the rhythm of telling. This rhythm deals with pauses and expressions of the teller. When you write, you lose this part of the story. In writing you fill in the pauses with releasing the tension in the story. Word choice holds the expressions. Be aware of what might be missing from your story and compensate.

I hope that find something that helps.

I call this week's doodle Storybook.

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 permission!

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.

--Ashleigh Brilliant

Monday, July 14, 2008


Whoa, I have been might busy and life has been happening. Sorry this is a couple of days late. I have my Book Launch Party coming up at the University Bookstore in Bellevue,WA on July 16, 2000 at 6:30 P.M. It will be a fun time and an opportunity to support Reading with Rover.

This week I'm going to talk a little bit about collaboration. My best advice, work with people you respect and be open to differences. That's revelatory -- realizing that all the members of a team all bring something to the table. Being open to the idea that the sum of all the pieces is worth more than than any piece, this really brings creative energy to a group. Collaboration is a great way to bring freshness and vibe to your own work. Find some like-minded souls and see what you can do.

I have a doodle of the week I call Girl and Sky.

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 permission!

For my part I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream.-- Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, July 05, 2008


This week I'm going to talk about a difficult part of the writing process -- floundering. This is the result of mild success and a lack of direction. I feel torn in many directions toward many different stories. Getting myself to listen to the right true voice is difficult. I want to go on sweeping fantastic journeys, dip into my storyteller heritage, and also illuminate hidden moments in history. All these multiple tugs cause me to flounder.

Life also causes me to flounder. The car dies, the refrigerator breaks and life rocks. These events muddle my mind. It takes intense focus to write books and after 15 long years and not near enough sales to justify the time, all of this does a number on the noggin. In the midst of this storm I give myself permission to write. I tap out words and stop worrying.

I slip into a story like into a favorite pair of sneakers. I fill myself up with glory of imagination. I remember the first time I ever decided to write a story. I relive the excitement and finally, though not artfully, I get back into shallow water where my feet can touch the ground. Back to writing a poem or a letter, just to enjoy the wonder of words, the power of communication.

I take several deep breaths. I rest in the shallow water, rest from my floundering, before I head back out into the ocean depths to see where the powerful currents of imagination will take me. I hope that you find your way into those currents this week.

I do have a doodle of the week -- I call it Electric Sky.

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!

A quote to inspire

Only after many trials for strength,
Only when all stimulants fail,
Does the aspiring soul
By its own sheer power
Find the divine
By resting upon itself
Edgar Lee Masters