Saturday, August 29, 2009

Screaming at First Chapters

Hi folks, well, I guess you can tell that the writing has not been going so well this week.

Oh, my gosh, I want to toss all my work-in-progress books out the window right now. I'm not going to do it, but the feeling is there. I'd don't know if I can write a great first chapter. I can write a perfectly adequate first chapter, but a stupendous sizzling first chapter seems to be beyond my grasp.

A first chapter is really the last chapter of a book. It serves as the cornerstones. Most people create that last chapter after they have set a whole universe in motion. The first chapter makes the promise, hooks the reader, and sets the bar for what is to come. I can square up my books, but it's nothing fancy, like my house, a big brown box of a house. It's design is truly the "cardboard box." I want more, but it's all I can seem to achieve.

I have little advice for you this week. Howl at the moon. Kick against the pricks, ouch!. Hit the wall. But don't give up. One thing you might want to do to get past this is bump in the road is to envision what it's like on the other side of that wall. Remember that feelings are fickle, and next week, eh, this will be a forgotten memory. Last of all, be nice to yourself.

I copied this off a petroglyph at the Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico. Writing books is like this. I call my doodle, "Juggling Guy".

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!

The playlist hit this week is Brendan James and "The Other Side". Yes, the journey makes us stronger.

And last, a quote to tuck in your heart for the week.

Hear the other side. St. Augustine

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Gift of Today

Sorry this is a little late, folks. Whew, life is busy. I've got many irons in the fire.

One of the great life lessons for me is the gift of today. I've run into some whirlwinds along life's road that have made me so aware of my mortality. These storms, more than anything else, have opened me up to change and have put me on roads to better places. As a writer, this sure awareness of what a precious gift each breath is has sharpened my storytelling skills. When the storm clouds part, the unimportant stuff is gone, and the stuff that remains, this is the sturdy stuff you can depend on.

Ultimately after the storms, I know what I want. This knowledge helps my stories find their way. I want to be happy, I want to be free, I want to make a difference. It simple, isn't it. I went digging around in my files the other day. I keep idea files with short written explorations that have come to me on my journey. I laughed at lack of focus the further back I went. I winced at stories that I had sent to editors. What was I thinking? Ah, ignorance, be banished be from me and let wisdom's light flood even my darkest corner. Yay for life lessons! Yay for the gift of today!

Days like this I wish I were a poet and could really spin out some words. Sigh.

Wrapping up, next time you are going through the wringer, I hope you remember something of this post and let the stuff that can be shaken be taken away by the wild winds of change, aftewards, write your heart out. Seize the day. It's a gift.

Last week I featured J2's doodle, this week I will feature J3. I'm calling this, "Thinking Man."

The song of the week is Brendan James and "Take the Fall." We are all ordinary with extraordinary reasons.

Today's quote for the day is an arrow piercing my soul. So true.

In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.—Albert Camus

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Keep the creativity fire burning

For the first time since June, I had a paying gig this week! Yay! This week's post will have to be short because my brain is sort of fried from work and birthday mayhem. Yep, I'm a year older.

One of the most difficult things I have to face as a creative person is the never ending journey of keeping the creativity fire burning. I will be honest. I usually feel overwhelmed, half-baked, and in treading water mode. Writing is difficult, time-consuming work and for me not exactly lucrative. Let's just say the minions of McDonalds receive pay that I only dream of and they get benefits, too.

This season of life has been particularly tough. The recession is steaming rolling over us here in little Woodinville, and many of my friends are in the same boat --unemployed and trying to survive on a teacup worth of life savings. I'm trying to keep breathing and creating.

In general, my success is so-so. I keep the fire burning by surrounding myself with the best and brightest talent on the planet. I try to have fun every day. I take a moment each day and let the beauty of the world soak into me. I hug my cat, my kids, and my sweetheart everyday. I keep breathing.

I send a hug to everyone out there. Times are hard, but keep your creative fire burning!

Hey, I got my scanner working so doodles are back. For my birthday, I'm posting one of the Js drawings. The Js are my kids. From J2: "Girl". I pulled this out of the trash. I really have to monitor our trash.

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 playlist hit is the number one song on my birthday and one of my fav feel good songs, too: "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles.

My quote for the day:

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, August 09, 2009


This week, I'm going take a stab at the need for brevity in writing. We live in a age when children slog through thick fantasies like the Potter and the Twilight series and others of that ilk. I don't mind a long book if its needed to tell the story, but when the little "editing" sprite in my brain is tapping my noggin with her red pen as I read, enough is is enough. It's the fashion to not save a tree, to waddle excessively in the words, and take ten ponderous chapters instead of two brief ones. My editing sprite is just worn out with her imaginary editing. She keeps finding wordy sentences, redundant paragraphs, and unnecessary chapters in every book. She's not sleeping at night. Did I mention "she has fix your crappy writing" insomnia? Enough already! Enough I say.

I'm going to let the little "editing" sprite in my head take her red pen to the above paragraph to prove my point.

This week -- my stab at the soul of wit, brevity. Must children slog through thick fantasies like Harry Potter and Twilight? Why waddle in words? Why take ten chapters instead of two? Save a tree! Listen to my "editing" sprite.

"Wordy, redundant, unnecessary!" she screams. "I suffer from crappy writing insomnia.
Edit your work! Enough already."

Have a great week. Get out those red pens! My "editing" sprite thanks you.

No doodles this week, sorry.

This week's plays list hit a special version of Julie Andrews singing "Do, Re, Mi." Reminds me of good times in college, specifically, Devo. We just brought the singing, but it was glorious.

Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief.

~William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Sunday, August 02, 2009

World Building

Hi folks, I've started world building on another sci-fi project, and thought I would talk about some of my process. I'm a random thinker, so I get a pack of 3x5 cards and begin to write my scene ideas. They come to me in flashes. I see vivid "movies" of the work in my head, and I keep a pencil handy for describing the scenes. Strangely enough, this happens for me when I read books. I forget everything and all I can see is the book playing out in my head. It's a very intense experience.

Another step, I also get a OneNote Notebook going and a real paper notebook. Here I fill out character charts, plot charts, playlists, back story sections, setting sections. This list is long. The goal is to know as much about the world I'm creating as possible. I play the what-if game. I up the stakes over and over again in this document. I make sure everyone suffers! I know what every character is carrying around in their pocket. I know what they are going to do when they grow up. I understand the shape of my plot.

It's a noodling process. Turning the idea over and over. It's like refining clay that will be eventually used to make a pot.
World building is a place to refine the kernel of an idea. I hope you have the chance to refine an idea this week

No doodles this week, sorry.

My playlist hit is from ShineDown and is called "Shed Some Light."

My quote for the week:
Hell is yourself and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person. Tennessee Williams