Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Heart and Soul of Story: Joy

Hi, folks, I'm continuing my series on the heart and soul of story.  This week I'm going to chat about how joy fuels the heart and soul of story.  To me, joy is much deeper than a feeling of happiness, though it is that. Over the years, a state of mind has developed within me as I write and draw. It's resistant to the storms of life, like I've been surrounded by a giant levee keeps me from ever being flooded with despair for too long. The drainage is good. Flood waters recede quickly and all the buildings are sturdy and stay put in catastrophe. I might weep for a night about another rejection, but then I wake the next morning ready to work again.

Every time I learn a new skill as a writer, or overcome a plot problem, or unlock a new character trait as I am creating, I feel a surge of joy.  After writing for so long, I feel like I've turned toward the true north of my creative heart.  I've settled on my journey, finding confidence and hope.  Where is all the joy coming from? The saver of souls for me. The world seems so unsettled these days. Fear sends folks skittering one way and then another. We are inundated by floods of information in this age of information. And yet we can find shelter in this flood. We can connect with joy and write stories that make a difference.

Here is my little recipe into that joy. Work even when you are hoping against hope. Work even if there are voices real and imagined  telling you writing is a waste of time. Resist the desire to write about the "hot topics" and write about what is bright and beautiful to you.  Write about what is great and strong to you. Be fearless. Open yourself up to learn from all the people in your in life, especially the people who rub you the wrong way.  When you do these things, you will be surprised by joy. Truth: that joy that comes to you, that joy is your strength. Let it permeate everything you do.

I hope you come back next week as a start a new series. I am so glad you have dropped by.

Here is a doodle for you.

I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do. Arabella Katherine Hankey

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Heart and Soul of Story: Grateful

Hi, folks. I'm continuing my Heart and Soul series.  I'm so busy right now that this will be a short post. I find being grateful helps me tap into the depth of stories. It's especially helpful to be grateful when I am not feeling it. Sometime I forget to grateful and my friends help. I'm deeply grateful for those who give me perspective. Recognizing that failure contributes to my success is one of the best things of all to be grateful for.

Is it taking you a long time to complete your novel, art, etc?  Writing a story is not a race.  Be grateful for the time it is taking you. So be grateful for the gift of creating art.  Be grateful for mistakes. Be grateful for the long and winding road to a complete work. Be grateful that you can share your story even if your work will touch one heart and that heart is yours. One heart can be a very big deal.

Gratefulness in you will infuse your story with strength and power.  You will take the risks your need to. You will dig into things that you must. Gratefulness will give you the fortitude to complete your journey.  I hope that you are grateful this week and let those good thoughts guide you on your way.
I will be back next week with more of this story.

Here is a doodle.

A quote for your pocket.

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years...Emerson

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Heart and Soul of Story: Survival

Hi, folks,

Finding the heart and soul of your story is no easy journey. Last week, I tossed the Monomyth your way. An ancient path is truly a wonderful way into your story. Learning about the theory behind story will help you understand what you are trying to do.

This week I've been crazy busy. The day job, B-fest, TEENS PublishQueryKombat, the demise of my fridge, and now apparently, my stomach is not a happy camper, so this week is about survival and the heart and soul of story.

One reason we love books is what they make us feel. Every book has an emotional journey. An this is an important part of your story. I'm not talking about the emotional journey of your characters, but of your readers. I'm going to get science-y here. Emotion is a survival mechanism to meet survival needs. Good writing is going to throttle readers in a useful way. Lots of my writer friends have made me feel uncomfortable (Ha,ha, if you are a writer, I just think you are my friend.) They write about stuff that is foreign to my experience, but their books make me more.

Here is some serious stuff. Children's fiction is out there to help youth survive.

Children's authors know if the right book is not put in the right hands, well, that child might not survive the degradation, confusion, and hate that is trying to rip him or her apart. Noble stuff. Yes, I love you, my peeps, I love that you are trying evoke the necessary emotions to make this life a more accepting and tolerant journey.

Play the heartstrings. Let those kids know that they are not alone. Rock the boat, shake the ground, or shift the paradigm.  Don't stop.  I will be next week with more heart and soul of story.

Here is a doodle.

Here is a quote for your pocket.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. John F. Kennedy

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Heart and Soul of Story: Monomyth

Hi, folks, this summer I am coaching TEENS Publish at Ringer Library in College Station, Texas. And in conjunction with that class, I'm going to write about the heart and soul of story over here at the blog. This week I will focus on my understanding of the monomyth, which is part of depths of story.

The monomyth also know as the hero's journey is all about a hero who goes on an adventure, and in an-end-all-the-battle crisis defeats a malevolent power. The hero returns home but as a new person, forever changed by the journey, Old things have passed away for the hero and all things have become new.

Why is mankind chasing down this hero? Why do we focus so much of ourselves on the this journey in books, films, TV shows, campfires--wherever stories are told? Life is tough and full of vast contradictions. Every generation wants to make its mark, and it also wants to make sense of their world in way no previous generation has. But a few see a troubling a pattern.

A few folks have noticed that mankind tends to make the same mistakes over and over. There is a heart's cry in these few for the madness to stop. Hence the obsession with the hero's journey. Perhaps following  the ancient path of story will make us recognize our present state and try to be more. Perhaps a story will offer each person what he or she needs to change the direction of a 1000 generations of their family for better. 

The choices we make are important. Learn of the choices that lead us all to higher more spiritual plane. This is work of the monomyth. This is what I understand so far on my journey. I will be back next week with more Heart and Soul.

I am glad you came by!  Thanks!  

Here is a doodle for you: Pug.  

I hope you place this excellent quote in your back pocket.

“Not all who hesitate are lost. The psyche has many secrets in reserve. And these are not disclosed unless required.”
― Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces