Away With the Fairies

Oh it’s true… I’ve lost my mind. Or at least my focus… I haven’t been keeping up here at all. I’ve even missed posting for my own drawing challenge. I will do my best to get caught up this week. It’s a funny thing how once you get out of the habit of doing something, recreating that habit seems harder than starting it in the first place. But the purpose of the blog is to draw attention to the things I create. If I’m not creating anything, then there is no point in posting just for the sake of posting. Nevertheless, I’ve been reading. A lot. And reading always inspires me to write. Now if the fairies would just whisper a little something in my ear, I’ll be back to the drawing board soon.

Artwork: Queen Mab by Meg Sorick

Warring Muses

Adventures in novel writing. Internal chatter and trying not to sound like a crazy person.

Is it ever a bad thing to have too many ideas? To have more than one story whirling around in your mind? I guess that depends on how your brain filters and manages the internal chatter.

I was really excited to begin this year with work on my World War One story, Here Lies a Soldier. I’ve continued my research and note taking for points to include in the story but all the while other voices have been ‘whispering’ in my ear. (Not literally. I promise I’m not crazy. I think…) Small Cuts is a piece that was inspired by a dinner out with friends. A dinner in which I was left largely out of the conversation and free to observe the diners at the tables around me. (This is not a complaint about my experience at dinner, mind you. I am always a ready and willing observer of people.)

After initially writing the opening scene from one perspective, I expected to be done with it. But then another figurative finger tapped on my shoulder and indicated that she wanted to talk. Who am I to pick and choose when there is another side to the story? The same thing happened with the other members of this quartet until finally I’d ‘spoken’ to all of them, gained insight into what each of them was experiencing, feeling and remembering. Now I was done. Or was I?

I had no plans to pick up the thread of this story, but one by one, each of these characters began to continue their report of the events that evening. I had no choice but to listen and record. Yep, sounds crazy.

Such is the life of a writer. In your world, characters talk to you and to each other. It often keeps you awake at night. It makes your mind wander in the middle of a family gathering, a business meeting or during a class. Your family, friends, coworkers and teachers are not amused. Sometimes those internal conversations are so real to you that you continue them out loud, to the confusion of those around you.

The thing is, that internal chatter is essential to good writing.  “Hearing” the voices talking, listening to an invisible narrator spin a tale, visualizing the scene, debating the sides of an issue during conflict;  that is writing, writing without committing the words to paper.

But what if there’s a bunch of different ‘voices’ talking and shouting over the others? My dilemma is whether I should write both stories simultaneously or focus on one over the other. I have already delayed the writing of the war story to finish a novel in my series and I’m not inclined to push it off again. Can I successfully write both stories together? Perhaps. They are different enough from each other not to overlap in plot or dialogue. Each story would only be a first draft, but… how does the saying go? The only bad first draft is the one you haven’t written. So are two first drafts better than one? Do you see how I keep asking questions in this post instead of providing answers? This is me thinking out loud. I really haven’t figured out how to negotiate peace between the warring muses and let all the sides have their say.

Thanks for listening to the ramblings of a crazy writer!

Elusive Words

Since I’ve been writing, I’ve started looking for inspiration everywhere. I find inspiration in music, in art, and I draw on my own personal life experiences. Having your senses fired by external stimuli, often fuels your creative process. Nevertheless, some days the words just won’t come. Life, with all its anxieties can drown out the Muse, if he’s still talking.

My life has been especially busy and my mind has been a very noisy and messy place. It feels a little like I can’t catch my breath. Maybe even like I’m under water, trying to claw back to the surface.  I can fix this, I know I can. Yet, I ignore my own advice.

It’s time to take a break and find some quiet time. For me, that means getting outside, no matter the weather. Walking the country roads past the crumbling old walls that line the pastures, I let my mind wander. There’s a fallen down barn on the dirt road about a mile away. The red-tailed hawks perch on the half-rotted beams and watch for field mice and rabbits in the tall grass. The wind sighing, the birds singing, the chatter of the squirrels is the only music to my ears. Cross the creek, rushing with last night’s rain. The smell of damp leaves, the mud, all loamy and decayed.

Even better, when the world is quiet after a new fall of snow. It crunches beneath your boots as your feet plunge through the sheen of ice on the surface. When the sun returns, it sparkles like a spray of tiny stars on a field of white instead of black. The air freezes your nostrils but it feels clean and purifying. The red of the cardinal is in sharp contrast to the brilliant white of the snow clinging to the tree branches.

Breathe it in deeply. Inspire… Now, to go home and write something beautiful.