Saturday, September 27, 2008


Hi folks, this was a good week. I received a letter of merit for my contemporary novel from SCBWI. Special thanks to the judges Walter Dean Myers, Donna Bray and Richard W. Jennings who judged the contest and felt there was a spark of something in Plumb, my irreverent take on chick-lit. Jazzy. This is a real boost to my creative heart.

My picture books are due on Monday and I'm ready to turn them in. I'm pleased with what I have and hopeful that my editor will feel the same way.

I think we all need a boost sometimes, so here is a list of those recent moments that have lifted my creative drive. Nature has been inspiring me since I was a young child. Glorious Washington State is chockfull of uplifting scenery. I'm driving my son to school every morning at 6:30 a.m. It's dawn. I see pink tinged mountain, cool morning mists dragging through the valleys and breathtaking vistas. I cannot express how wonderful it is to see the sunrise over the Cascades. In the afternoons, the fall light makes me want to throw down my pen forever and pick up paints. It happens every year. There is the golden hue that makes the air look sliceable. Fall is the fullness of the seasons. The time of the great orange moon, carving pumpkins, and the richness of the harvest -- the wealth of fall fires me up creatively.

The stars inspire me. I’m reading a book about modern cosmology and it makes me feel the great loss that humans have suffered in the century. We’ve invented artificial light and that light pollution has taken the stars away from us all. Our children grow up without looking into the sky to see the milky swath of our galaxy every night. They do not see us rhythmically moving through the cosmos. They do not know where they are. Stars are a great engine of imagination for me. We are star stuff. That connection, well, it's one of the reasons the pen keeps sliding across the paper.

Another big booster in my world comes from the wonderful people that I know. My writing friends endlessly encourage me to keep my eye on my readers, to write out my heart and to believe that my goals are obtainable. I also get a boost from the many teens that come over to our house. I love their open spirits. They always have ideas for stories. Their endless energy and fathomless hopefulness drives me to write more and more. Last, is simple, the power of love. Loving people involves pain and persistence. There’s a healthy sea forgiveness in there too. Loving is the center of life for me and opening myself up to love; it’s like a explosion of imaginative energy that infuses everything I write.

So my message for this week is simple. Open up open up to nature. Open up to love. See how you rise up creatively.

Here's my doodle of the week: Three Trees and Golden 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!

And last, the quote of the week:

Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding line, and no way of knowing how near the harbor was. "Light! Give me light!" was the wordless cry of my soul, and the light of love shone on me in that very hour.

Helen Keller

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A space to work

This week's post is about creating a space to work. I'm going to be upfront about this. You do need an office. I have an office. You need place with an in and out box, supplies, a place to stash all your writing books, and working files for various manuscripts -- this space is invaluable to you, so make sure you have one. My office has led to many sales but not to much writing. For me, an office lacks a cerain joi d'vie necessary for creation.

I need a place to work that invites me to be creative. Here's my secret, for me, I write in bed. I don't really like writing while in bed, but my hip is bad and it makes it difficult to sit in chairs for the hours of time required to produce books. So I spruce the area up around the bed to make it feel more conductive to creative energy. I have fancy embroidered pillows and a selection of water bottles and a cell phone within reach. I have a box of my favorite books, a pile of the books I'm reading, and I also have a little computer lap desk to give my little space warmth and specialness. If I feel cozy and content, I produce better work.

I also go to the library for extra creative charging. They have these giant chairs shaped like eggs in my local library. I love these chairs. They surround you on most sides and somehow I feel "cool" in an egg chair while writing books. I'm not sure what it is about that feeling of awesomeness that leads to better writing, but for me it absolutely works. I also like to go to coffee shops. The cool factor is there too. And there is endless tea and cake!

I find that I write better if I when I am cozy. I live in the Seattle area, and we have many of these great days where it all gray and yucky -- cold, blustery, and wholly miserable. The air smells terrific and the weather just screams, "Hunker down and slip off into imaginary worlds." Probably why so many writers live here.

With all my chat of wonderful environments, I must confess that I have written many things sitting at the kitchen table with four kids running around me like electrons around a nucleus. It's not always about environment, but a conductive one helps. You can still write in chaos, but try to carve out some writing time in some corner of the world that makes you feel special, unique, balanced. You might find a super charge of energy and create something out of this world for your readers.

My doodle for the week is "Perfectly Gloomy Seattle".

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!

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
A. A. Milne

Saturday, September 13, 2008


This was good week. I received my galley proof of my upcoming picture book If You Were a Comma... (Picture Window, 2009), part of the Word Fun series. What beautiful illustrations! Sara Gray is just such a talented artist. It's always a joy to see what creations spring from the inspiration of my words. The process is always surprising and delightful.

This week I'm going to take a minute about synthesis. One part of the writing job is something I call synthesis. You can have a great story with fantastic characters but that alchemy of putting all the pieces together: this is the heart of synthesis. I often find that I reach a frustrating place in writing. This is the point that you know you have said everything that you have wanted to say within a story arc, and yet something is still missing.

What is the missing ingredient? I find time and again for me it is the lack of synthesis of the piece. Stories need cohesiveness. Each one needs to come around a central structure to create the impact desired by the author. Stories are bounded, and yet they are extremely fluid. Stories are not limitless in their ability to relate information, but are basically containers of a finite portion of simple truth.

I find it is important to take time and shift around the order of events and the fine-tune the voice of characters in stories. This is the kind of crafting that brings a mediocre work up to great work. Take time to mix around the scenes in your book. Don't be satisfied with an early draft of a work. Take time to look at the thing from various angles. You might open up a new dimension. Enjoy.

My doodle for the week is called Abstraction.

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!

Be obscure clearly. E.B. White

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Hi folks, my book signing at the local Barnes and Noble was today. Fun. fun.

I'm about to dive back into novel writing, and this week I'm thinking about that central character of every story -- the hero. This is going to be my experience with the hero, so a narrow view.

For me, strong heroes must be flawed. A little naivety doesn't hurt either. I think it is important for the hero to suffer. Take the hero to a very dark place, that always seems like a good plan. I also think that true heroes begin with false beliefs and the mix of their journey (i.e. personal experience) and their 'spirit to be more than they are' always results in a refocusing of belief. I love for things to work out for the hero. Yes, a few disappointments are to be expected, but my hero is going to be in a better place to be in the end.

I want to cry with my hero, but I want to laugh too. I want my hero to endure a thing or two. I also want my hero to struggle with dealing with an enemy. Missteps are welcome. I want my hero to feel what others feel. I search for that universal connection, the everyman, not some golden god. I also want my readers to feel like that they are wearing my heroes' shoes. A great hero is going to make a reader say isn't that just the way it is.

I hope that my thoughts inspire you to create believable heroes that readers will follow them to the very last page.

So folks that is the up and down of things.

Here is my doodle of the week. I call it Window of the Soul.


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!

My quote for the day

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author. G. K. Chesterton