Monday, April 30, 2012

Of Faith and Curiosity

So, to continue the thoughts of my last post, wherein I talked about my writing fears, I wanted to take it a step further:  What is it that helps us (Me) overcome the fear of writing something really not good?

I'd like to say it is faith.  Faith that I can do it.  Faith that if I just work hard enough on it, the product will be good--it just has to be.  Right?

Wrong.  Working hard does not guarantee great writing (it DOES guarantee that you are becoming more of a writer, though).

There is nothing that guarantees great writing.

So, what then?

Well, I think what gets me out of my own head enough to follow the idea, even at the risk of writing drivel and ruining the very idea that once inspired me, is curiosity.


For me, that is the biggest motivator in writing. And my curiosity manifests itself in two ways.

1.  The Self-Challenge aka Can I Do It?  I read a recent interview of Stephen King by Neil Gaiman where Neil asked Stephen why he wrote a sequel to a certain book (I think it was The Shining, but I am not certain.  Hey, it's Monday night and I'm feeling too tired to look it up.  So let's just say, yes, it was The Shining.) Anyway, when Neil asked him why after a kabillion years he decided to write a sequel, Stephen said something about it being such a crazy thing to do, he just wanted to see if he could.

I have stories like that--stories I am working on just to see if I can do it.  One in particular is a picturebook tentatively titled BOOM!  which is told only in sound-effects, but contains a complete narrative (albeit short).  I just really want to see if I can pull this off.  I mean, what a fun book it would be to read.  And even if I try and it stinks, well, at least I won't be curious about it anymore.  I'll KNOW  if I can do it or not.

2.  The Follow the Story Challenge aka What is Going to Happen Next??  If I do a good job of setting up my story, then often the sheer curiosity of finding out what is going to happen next is enough to get my fingers typing.  I don't tend to outline, so more often than not, I am surprised by what happens on the page, and that curiosity trumps the fear.  I just have to know what will happen.

Most of my novels are like this.  I get so immersed in the story that I don't have time to be afraid of it.

What helps you overcome the fear of writing bad stuff?  (Or maybe you are lucky and have no such fears!)


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Some thoughts on fear

I am a bit worried. All I seem to write about right now is fear.

Every time I write a book, I am afraid.

Not only do I fear that what I write won't be as good as the last thing, but I fear that it won't be any good at all.  I fear these things because they are true and real things to be afraid of.  I know this because I have written things that are "not as good" as the last thing, and indeed, I have written things that I could not make come together...things that were  not "any good at all."
And when that happens, I am going to be honest, it stinks.  I want to always be improving upon myself, my goal is always to get better--not worse!  And happens.

And I wish it didn't.

There is no guarantee that when you sit down to write, something magical will happen.  There is never a guarantee. And since this is the case, it might seem like too much of a gamble, or even a waste of time.

And you never know until it's too late.  You never know until the time, the toil, the sweat, and the tears have been spent if what you have poured your soul into is very good.

I know I am not alone in knowing this, but it still feels lonely. Perhaps the loneliest time in a writer's life is facing the fear, head on.  Because really, even if you have a crit group, you are always battling the monster alone.  You use your own hands to pick up the sword and you take those tentative steps in your own shoes...

And I am writing this as much to myself as to anyone who reads this.  The fear is always there, but we cannot let it cripple us.  We cannot let it determine if a book gets written or not.

We have to be brave and try, even though we know that the battle might end in some seriously-not-good-stuff.  Better that than a blank page, I say.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Things I Like, the April Edition

1.  Play-dough-  It's been years since I played with play-dough and man, it is FUN! We were doing a lesson on economics in class (yes, play-dough economics!) and the kids and I made all manner of cool things.  Can't wait for lesson 2.

2.  Fuji apples-Usually I am a Granny Smith fan, but we just got the best batch of Fuji's.  So crisp!

3. Foggy mornings-Some people dread the impending May Gray (followed by the June Gloom), but I love it.  There is something about mist...

4.  Clear nights-Just got a grant for a telescope for my class and I can't wait to have an Astronomy Night.

5.   Thinking of new ideas for picture books-There is something magic about the picture book idea before you actually try to write it.  All of the hope in the world is there, swirling around, waiting for you to grasp it.  I don't know if it is like this for other authors, but I get MANY picture book ideas that I cannot milk a book from.  Oh, somebody else might be able to make it fabulous, but for some reason, I cannot glean the magic from the idea and it falls flat.  (Hmm...maybe I should have an IDEA GIVE-AWAY wherein I offer The Great Ideas that Fell Flat For Me....but I digress) I love that time, before I take pen to paper and the idea flutters just outside of my brain, tickling my ear, convincing me that I truly am a writer, for I must be if ideas follow me around.

And here it is, almost the end of April....sigh.  May is always a rollercoaster.  Best keep my hands inside of the car at all times....


Friday, April 13, 2012

Playing Around with Trailers

So, I am beginning work on my trailer for The Seven Tales of Trinket, but I thought I should practice a bit with the program, Windows Movie Maker, again because it's been a while since I've worked with it.

Sheesh.  It was shockingly easy to forget EVERYTHING I learned.  EVERYTHING!  I could barely open the program, folks.  But after stalling for several days (it's Spring Break!!) and then hearing the sands start to escape from the hourglass at a more rapid pace than I was comfortable with, I took the plunge and started playing around.  I made this trailer for my Good Knight Series:

My struggle was with fitting the music to the graphics, because this is going to be VERY important in the Trinket Trailer.  VERY.  (What is it with me and ALL CAPS in this post?)

After finishing this, I decided I had nothing to lose, so I began putz around with some Trinket images, pictures I took in Ireland, what have you.  Luckily, I have a bit of time, since the launch date is September 4.  But I guess I will have to have it out before then...or pay someone else to make one for me....hehehe.

And as for Spring Break, it's going delightfully well. I survived the Hunger Games inspired egg-hunt at the Thomas house.  Barely.  Cali was the self-declared "game maker" and let's just say that I ended up climbing a tree and hopping a fence in a dress in order to get the golden egg*, all the while having my eggs stolen by Noel.  It was a brutal and ruthless hunt, but luckily I didn't need my bow.

Hope your Spring is springing along!


*Inside the egg was a scroll that read, You are free from chores today.  Of course I wanted it!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

7 Tales of Trinket Inspirations: Fortune Telling

When I was little, I was fascinated by the concept of seeing into the future.  Could people really take a look ahead and see what was to come?  I remember  watching old Wolfman movies where there was always an old (or young) gypsy foretelling doom with a crystal ball or tarot cards. Or perhaps they chanted out wild, rhyming prophecies while eerie clouds covered then uncovered the moon.

And I always wondered if, given the chance to see into the future, would I dare?

(Okay, so I was the kid in class with the over-active imagination--the one who the teacher described as a" bit of a day-dreamer" in parent conferences.  I admit it.  I own it.)

And what if you only saw bits or pieces of a "vision", would you even understand it? Is it possible that our dreams are filled with moments from our pasts, presents, or futures and, since we cannot process what we do not yet know, we see them only as dreams? (When I read one of Stephen Hawking's books, I think it was A Brief History of Time, I was confounded by the fact that there is no scientific "law" that says that time must happen chronologically*.  What???)

So, could we have memories of stuff that has not yet happened inside of our brains and could they influence our decisions and guide our futures??

Yeah, it's early and I haven't had my tea yet.

But the whole idea of seeing's huge in literature.  The course of Harry Potter's whole life was determine by Voldemort's reaction to a prophecy, if not the prophecy itself.

In The Seven Tales of Trinket I play with this idea a little, for there is a character that sees the future--or does she? Or is it possible to create the future by claiming to already know what is to come, and thus influence the choices people make?

What a delicious conundrum.


*Okay, I will admit that it is possible that I completely misunderstood this part of the book and thus created an alternate meaning that blew my own mind, rather than comprehending the actual intended meaning.

**Yes, I have had the rare psychic moment where I dreamed something that came to pass...but I never realized it until AFTER the event happened.  Go figure.

Remember these fortune tellers?  Yes, I made a few in my day

Okay, so I have one of these, too.  Did you realize they've been around for 60 years??