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Inspiration

I guess I'm glad I don't rely on my writing to pay the bills.  The past several months I have had little desire to create stories.  I'm sure it's happened before, but until I decided to start getting more serious about this writing life it never mattered.

I have plenty of stories at the ready in my head that I could work on, but when I lay down in my bed lately, which is where I do most of my composition, nothing comes to the fore.

Last week I had my godson, goddaughter, and her boyfriend out for a visit from Idaho.  I had never met the boyfriend before and it had been several years since I'd seen my godchildren.  We had a great visit.  We did several fun things, including going to Chicago, one of my favorite places in the whole world.  Do to a mishap in timing I ended up going with them to Indiana to spend part of Saturday with the boyfriend's family.  I am, by nature, an observer, so spending several hours with some wonderful people that I'd never met bef…

Am I Ready?

I just watched Under the Tuscan Sun. This is one of many movies and stories that make the writing life romantic.  Even, in this case, in the midst of writers block.  Movies like As Good As It Gets, and stories like Anne of Green Gables and Little Women contribute to the romanization of becoming a published author.  Even Misery, despite the terrorization of the author, makes being an author romantic.

That's what I'd dreamed of.  Not, of course, being so infatuated by a fan that they kidnap me and hobble me so that I have to continue writing about their favorite character.  But finding a story, writing it and have it picked up by a publisher, and then receiving my box of hardback copies of my very first book.

But becoming a published author is not romantic.  It's hard work.  It's grunt work.  It's self-promotion and being a salesperson.

I'm not afraid of hard work.  And I have no problem doing grunt work.  But self-promotion, I'm not so sure about.  Even doin…

Write what you know. Or not.

There's an old adage that says write what you know.  Then there's Jo March or Anne Shirley (I can't remember for sure which) or maybe both that says don't write what you know.

I just started reading Kinsey And Me by Sue Grafton. (Yes, I'm coming late to Sue Grafton)  She said that when she started writing about Kinsey Millhone she didn't know a thing about what being a private detective was.  She said she read everything from forensic books, to law, to medical books.  She said she took shooting lessons to understand what it would feel like to hold and fire a weapon.

When I started writing about Charles Worth in The Day the Ivy Fell, he came to life and I'm not really sure how.  I don't know what it's like to be a man, yet most of my primary characters are men.  And maybe any men that read my stories will say it's obvious that I don't know what it's like to be a man.  But then maybe they won't.

I don't know what it's like to f…

Continuing Legacy?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I blame my parents for my needing to write stories.

I've been going through some of my late parents papers (mother) and computer files (father).

My mother had notebooks galore.  She loved going to an office supply or stationary store or even Walmart and buying a brand new notebook, just so that she could find a quiet place to sit down and write in it.  Sometime what she wrote was lists; shopping, inventory, ideas, etc.  Sometimes she wrote journal like entries.  Sometimes she cried out to God in prayer during difficult times of her life.  She wrote a lot.

One of the things I found in her papers was a notebook from her first college experience where she trained to be a teacher.  It was only an associates degree.  One of the courses was College Writing.  The stories were interesting, but I saw that I come by my week grammar naturally.

In my father's computer files, he spent a lot of time, especially most recently reminiscing about his early l…

Why do I write?

The easy answer is that I can't NOT write.

I blame it on my parents.  For as long as I can remember regular trips to the library were a part of our routine as a family.  My parents were always reading; reading on their own, reading with us as a family or reading one on one with each of us.  Books were everywhere in our house.  Sitting around the table after dinner as a family my father reading to us The Holy War and Treasures In the Snow, none of us balking at the time without the TV, are two specific times I still vividly remember.

But not everyone who reads a lot becomes an author.  True.  I think the next step was my mother taking us to McDonald's or later to mall food courts and watching the people there.  She would tell us what she imagined each person's story was.  Later she invited us to do the same.

My father was a published author.  They were small pieces in Sunday School magazines, but he was paid for his work and maybe because of the smallness of his efforts, on…

Where do I get my ideas?

I remember reading once that most of Stephen King's ideas for his stories came from his dreams.  My first thought was, if I had his dreams I would never want to sleep.  That got me wondering where other authors came up with their ideas for their stories.  And if I wondered that about other authors, some day someone might want to know the same about me.

So I'll tell you.

With The Day the Ivy Fell, it began with the title.  I don't remember exactly how it happened, but I was talking with my sister (she's been the catalyst for several of my stories).  Somehow the words the day the ivy fell came up and I built the story around that.

Secondhand Keys was nearly identical.  We were sitting at Culver's for our Sunday lunch with our father and again Karen was talking about secondhand keys.  While she was talking about keys that open doors, the first image that came to my head was a used piano, and a door was opened to a new story built around the concept of a beautiful ol…

How I write

As I mentioned in my last post, most of my preliminary work is done while lying in bed at night.  This can be a blessing and a curse.

On the blessing side it usually helps me get to sleep relatively easily.

On the curse side, there are a couple.  One; I often 'write' the same passage over and over again because I don't remember exactly where I was when I fell asleep.  This does help me work out kinks.  Two; some nights I get going on the story and can't stop, therefore making it difficult to get to sleep.  However, this helps me know that I'm on the right track.

While this is preliminary work, it is essential.  To me, this is the building of the framework, creating a fleshed out outline.

What may be surprising is that I am able to keep it all in my head, despite the forgetting exactly where I left off the night before, so that when I actually sit down at the computer, it flows relatively quickly.

The other aspect is that I don't get bogged down by writer's…