Saturday, August 30, 2008


Good week. I hope you are running out to grab Ellen Hopkins' new book Identical. There is probably no author with a bigger heart for teens and her writing is fantastic. I had a chance to hang out with cool writer peeps this Friday, including Ellen and a few others, Randy Powell, Kevan Atteberry, Allyson Schrier, Cathy Benson, Megan Bilder and Conrad Wesselhoeft. We went to Salty's, a beautiful restaurant on Alki Point in West Seattle. The ambiance is perfect. Thank you, Holly, for suggesting it. Everyone shared a bit of their story. It was heartening to find we are all in the same boat really.

I was really struck by something that was said, something that dug into my heart. The question: Do you enjoy the writing you are doing? I do write lots of work for hire. And I do enjoy some of it but not all. It's basically a job, but it's in the neighborhood of what I like to do. I hunger to see my own creative stories in the hands of readers. Inside me it feels like great worlds spinning. It seems like they should spin out of me and who knows what will be drawn into the gravity well created and then what will spring out of it? I really do ache to have children connect with the heart of what I have to say.

I remember once a long time ago, I put out out one of the novels that I've written to a few blind readers -- i.e. some children I didn't know. A few months after I had gotten the manuscripts back, one of the children who had read my book came up to me at a social function. It was a boy about 9 maybe 10. I didn't know him. He hugged me out of nowhere and then looked up at with this big smile and said, "You're the author who wrote the best book I've ever read. Thank you, thank you for writing it."

The chance that there might be more than one child out there that feels that way about my writing; that keeps me going. That's why I have hope. I knew some deep joy in that moment. I find lot of writing is that -- what I enjoy about writing has not happened yet. But inside me those spinnning worlds whisper to me. "There's a force inside you, trust it like you trust gravity, a force of attraction between all masses in the universe; the force within you is going to attract the force in children, and what's next; well, that the glue that holds everything together."

On a last note, we have important work. Get to it, folks.

Here is a doodle I call Girl Under Shooting Stars.

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!

Some of the mutations will be good ones--wonderful things beyond our dreams--and I believe this, I believe this with all my heart, THE DAY WILL COME WHEN MANKIND WILL THANK GOD FOR THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL ENERGY FROM AN ATOM.
from The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-moon Marigolds, Paul Zindel

Friday, August 22, 2008


Sorry this is late, I've been busy. First, my news update, I will be reading and signing my book Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs at the Woodinville Barnes and Noble on Sept. 6, 2008 at 3 P.M. This is a Local Authors Gala and supports Hopelink literacy programs.

I also have some good news -- two more contracts with Picture Window Books for informational picture books. This time I'm writing about circles and quadrilaterals. For those of you who do not know what a quadrilateral is -- it's a four-sided polygon. My very first math books! There is extended glee within me because I'm writing about math.

On the creative front, I've been overbooked for a while. I have too many commitments and not enough me. It's time to switch gears, time to take a breath. I'm going to focus on the novel writing for a while. I need to slow the pace and really think. The only way that is going to happen is going to be by closing down the number of commitments I have.

I'm going to volunteer less. I'm going to sleep all night. No more gigs that suck up all my time and leave nothing of me. I'm going to apply myself to writing a novel -- a story that will make my readers cry with anguish because they are so sad the amazing ride has come to an end. I only have three jobs on the table and after that it looks like a few months of free time. Ooh, I want to spin around with joy. Free time. YAY.

I'll blog about my process over the next few posts.

I call this doodle RED STICK. I drew this over 20 years ago from a wildlife calendar.

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!

Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all. Emily Dickinson

Friday, August 15, 2008

Hot, hot, hot

Hello, intrepid readers. I must confess this has not been an on task week for me. The Olympics, my birthday, Henry Poole is Here, blueberry picking, my new love of Steven Augarde books, the "whopping" article due on September 1, and last of all, it is hot, hot, hot.

I have pecked at my own writing, but that is about all. The big writing thing I have been doing this week is noticing. I'm not sure exactly how to explain noticing, but it's basically opening my eyes and looking at the world around me. I have found that good stories seems to spring out of authentic details.

I went to the bog again today. It is near my home. There are acres and acres of it. Deer, coyotes, maybe a black bear or two, all live in the big tangle thatch of brier brambles, Oregon grape and wild blue berries. It's a magical place to me.

A poor snake had been run over by a car on the dirt road that lead to the bog. Even in its death, it was beautiful; I liked the sinuous curve of it. The blueberry bushes were heavy with fruit -- bunches of bloom-covered berries. The sweet tartness of their taste; the heavy sugary air surrounding me, the twinge of fear that always sneaks up on me when I am alone under a painful blue sky. The buzz of wasps and dragonflies drones on in me ears. I noticed everything. I could fill pages and pages.

The memory of a friend who noted that I could see, that I was very aware of the world around me, slipped into my present and I could feel that deep sense of connection that I have with everything and along with that -- the truth that sometimes it is in knowing others that I come to understand myself.

This connection with the universe makes me want to write. I wish to spin out my stories and let the world know about the web that we are all caught in. I hope my words make my readers feel the temporariness of spacetime and at the same time know the eternity of our days. We live and breathe and then someday stop. Who are we? What do we want?

So if your life is busy and the hours to write have dwindled down to a very few, take time and notice the world around you.

Enjoy your journey.

I call this doodle Blue Gull in a Purple 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!

It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, August 09, 2008


I'm on the road today so another short blog post.

First a big SHOUT OUT for Holly Cupala who sold not one but two books to Harpercollins this past week. Read all about it here!

I'm going to chat for a minute about transitions in novels. Transitions need to be seamless. A clunky transition will kill the narrative flow, knock your reader out of the willful suspension on disbelief and will cause your book to be put down or worse tossed into the bin. There is this annoying business of moving characters from scene to scene in a novel that is somewhat boring and tedious to deal with. If you write, you know the drill. First, the characters are at the fair and then they go to the house and after that out to the swimming hole. How do we make these changes in scene authentic? It's all in the details, and if we are mindful, we might even be able add a definition to our characters, theme, or plot with our scene transtions.

I find a few things help me make smooth transitions; I'll cover a couple of useful tips here. First, less is more. Often over-writing the scene transtion and then pulling back helps me make the that seamless step. Write out every detail of the transition and then go back and cut the flack and fluff. Next, try making maps of the origin and destination settings and also the pathway between them. I recommend drawing diagrams of the various "sets" the characters move through. This helps me write realistic scene transitions. This way the business of where the piano is in relation to the clown punching bag is always clear. And you have the bonus of the complete map if you ever return to that the setting location in the story.

I also look for ways to twist in theme when I make a transition. I like to have echos within the setting that reflect the purpose of my plot. If I'm writing a coming of age story, I like to have transitions that are sharp and contrast greatly -- like from a playground to a mosh pit. I'm always searching for the opportunities to echo themes. If my character is going from a place of darkness to a place of great light, I will echo this in scene transitions (i.e. going from a dark place like a cellar to a place full of light like a mountain top.) I think this helps strengthen the writing, giving greater substance to the story.

I hope that you try to improve your transitions this week.

My doodle of the week is called Promise.

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!

Not in his goals but in his transitions is man great. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, August 01, 2008


My post will be short this week. I've had a family emergency, but the boat is slowly setting itself aright.

I have a big shout out for a certain friend of mine!!! I can't stop clapping my hands. All I can say is good things come to those who wait.

On writing, sometimes there is no time to write. Sometimes our mind is so troubled that all the words come out wrong. Sometimes we need to curl up with a good book. Watch a movie. Look at some art. Just like bread is leavened, punched down,kneaded and then rested, we need to be in tune with the rhythm of life. Living life is part of writing. Embracing living will flood your writing with emotion, experience and earnestness. Earnestness? Yes. It is in living that we feel the preciousness of each breath. We truly connect with depth and sincerity of feeling. We discover intention, purpose and zeal. Let earnestness reshape you. Living serves as fuel for the engine of our creative lives. Don't see it as the enemy of your creative process. Open your heart to living your life and then write about that. Be addicted to reality.

I hope this helps you on your journey.

I hope you like this week's doodle. I call it The Possibility of Wishing.

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!

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Albert Einstein