The best way to write on your fantasy novel: in a living room full of three kids, having a crumpled-up-paper war with the youngest (who is all dimples and impishness). And in-between settling disputes over too much impishness unleashed on the older brother, and the older brother not speaking overly nicely, and both needing to apologize. Complete with a Writers’ Digest magazine article spread out on the couch in front of you. Perfection.
Ever have absolutely no idea what to write about?
I found a robin’s egg today. Like a piece of the sky fallen to the ground. But then that makes me think that the sky is the womb of a bird. And that’s just weird. Too earthy. And weird.
I write that I like nice weather, but it brings people out in droves. Like minuscule flies swarming over a crab carcass. Nah. Too introverted (about the people). And just gross (about the flies).
My fantasy book is like a wraith. No. Phantom. Yeah, that was the word I came up with this morning. I figure when it starts showing up in my dreams, I’d better just start working on it again. Thank You God for not striking me dead when I told You I had other important things to do today.
I think about writing of the sweat crystals on my face as I trudged up the steepest hills in our neighborhood. Backpacking training and all that jazz. And how, as the water tumbled down over my face, I could still taste salt on my upper lip.
I feel the ache in my hand, and my mind drifts to the inevitable trip to see the doc. Oh boy. That’s the last thing I need right now. Maybe I’ll put it off a bit longer.
I think of winter. And lawns. And how rude it is (apparently. I had no idea. I see a yard, I cross it) to walk on other people’s lawns. You like buying good books? You enjoy gift shops? What’s WRONG with you?! (Thanks a lot. Forget I ever heard your voice).
Capitol Lake. There’s an invasive species of snails there. The lake is off limits to people. Way to ruin our native nature. Good job, invasive person. No worse, I suppose, than telling me I shouldn’t cross brambles in my fancy, new boots. Bird’s nests are boring, after all.
The birdhouse! There! That’s it. You cannot see it unless you creep between the tall, wooden fence and the trees. Its wood is grey. I lift the face of it. Whorls of spider webbing encircle the inside, blanketing thin air. Moss makes a soft bed below. I couldn’t convince anyone in the family to go baby bird hunting with me. I was convinced I heard a towhee’s babies over that fence. Instead, I found a robin’s eggshell. A bit of the sky.
I struggle with writing characters. And right now I’m especially struggling with writing a romance between my two main characters. I never write on my novel when I’m getting to know a guy in real life. My character always takes on his attributes, and I don’t like that. Afterward, I’m always glad that I didn’t write in those times.
I struggle the most with my two main characters–a guy, and a gal. For the most part, I like the trend of having girls be stronger. Since my nature is much like theirs, I can connect better. I never was very good at being on the sidelines. I wanted to be in the middle of things. And I like the guy valuing the gal for being strong. For being herself.
But then there’s the challenge of writing the guy.
He’s entranced by her. I like that bit. But I don’t want him to be weak or stupid. He’s certainly not cocky, but I also don’t want him to be too unsure of himself. And yet, he’s trying to figure out his path, so he’ll have to be a bit unsure. He’s gentle, and has a conscience, and he’s willing to put himself in harm’s way to fight what’s wrong. I like that.
I just don’t want to perpetuate the trend of dumb guy characters. Neither do I want to perpetuate the trend of a super-strong woman who doesn’t need anyone.
Oh the challenges of fiction.
It takes courage to publish–to put your life out there for the world to see.
I’ve heard a lot on the subject. “Your writings are too personal,” one guy told me. “Just be careful what you put out there,” another cautioned. “You can’t have both. Either be married, or be an author.”
Some have hints of wisdom, but most comments just make me scared.
I started this blog on a whim, wondering if I’d have any readers for what I liked to write about. It’s more than a bit scary, finally getting out there. I’d had rejection upon rejection upon rejection for the work I’d submitted to various literary journals. I wanted to finally have some readers. And I found a way.
I seem to find time to write in the spaces between. I tend to do things in spurts. I’ll throw myself into a very taxing job for several months, get burned out, and then move on. When I started this blog, I’d just quit a very demanding job, trying to preserve my sanity. I’d played around with WordPress once before, having submitted an author website plan for a class final. I knew the basics, and so, why not?
I plan to make this a regular thing now. I have a story to share, and people to connect with.
Look out world, here I come.
I went to see an author speak the other day at our local bookstore. He had come to the school where my dad teaches, and had done a presentation there. My dad had texted me about it. By that point I’d spent my whole day indoors (it was stormy) editing my book, and I was ready to get out of the house.
I stood in the back to watch, disappearing behind a bookshelf when an employee came to take a picture of everyone present. I waited, people-watching. Eventually this will be my audience: Kids like these, and the adults who sometimes read to them. But not yet. I have an adult story to tell first.
After a time, the author (Brandon Mull) came out. He had a grim face. I thought, “Oh great. Another author who doesn’t like speaking in front of people.” But then he got warmed up. He talked of his various fantasy series, and the crowd warmed to him as he warmed to them. These kids had lived alongside his characters, and they loved them. He laughed, and they laughed. Through a book, he had reached out and touched their lives.
I want to have an impact like that. I want to reach out and touch lives. I want to create a world for them to see and live in. I want to breathe life into them. I am made in the image of God, and God has made me creative. May I always use this gift for Him.
I’ve known it forever: There are a million stories trapped inside my memory, and at a touch of pen to paper they will flood onto the page. In times like that you hardly think–you just write.
I am at my desk. I stare at the row of books on my shelf, contemplating my fate. I stare at a mishmash of lined papers scattered around my desk. They are filled with the messy scribbles of my handwriting. I’m hoping they will look prettier when I type them onto the screen.
Some professors say I am aiming too high, others want me to submit for publication when my story is not yet ready, and yet others give me the encouragement and advice I need to keep on. Sometimes the professors give me a mishmash of all those things.
I’ve learned how to keep on; to fail, to pick myself up again, and to have another go at it. One of my friends once told me I’m dedicated; it’s quite true. I rarely give up.
Life is like walking a tightrope. You cannot go back, I tell myself. You must go forward. Leave the past behind- move on. Don’t give way to fear, the tightrope must not shake. Always keep your head; always keep your balance, no daydreaming.
You must be strong, you must hold on, you cannot give up; you are not allowed to fail. Each step is small, each is careful—though whether out of fear or caution, I can never tell. I am a perfectionist, God help me.
Sometimes I wonder why I’ve chosen this tightrope; there are so many tightropes I could walk. But all I know is I must go on. Jesus is ahead of me; my eyes are fixed on Him.
One step at a time.
For new bloggers (me included in that), this is an excellent article about blogging from a very talented blogger with a great writing voice. ‘Opinionated Man’ has a voice that I think makes a great blog: Humor and straightforward-ness.
Whether it’s 10 Things Not to Ask an Asian , 10 Reasons People Hate Me, Why My Blog is No Different From Yours or Why My Blog IS Different From Yours, it’s easy to see why readers keep coming back for more. As a new blogger, it was all the blogging articles that drew me in– from there I’ve been hooked. It’s fair to say I’ve spent a LOT of time reading articles on HarshReality the past few weeks…I think I’m becoming addicted to unfiltered, unfettered honesty. Welcome to our latest interview in our Interviews series…
Jason Cushman has had quite the journey– literally. From Pusan, South Korea to Jackson, Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee and now residing in Colorado (at least at the moment) with his wife and two young daughters, I was grateful that the blogger many of us know simply as Opinionated Man (“OM”) took the…
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I was referred to Problogger’s site by a fellow writer/blogger who has been blogging for a couple of years (and helping me out with dance teaching website stuffs. Thank God for friends who actually know about technology). You can visit his blog at:
Anyways, Problogger has some great tips, and here’s the one I’ve just found:
Problogger’s argument is that ‘content’ isn’t king, but that ‘usefulness is.’ I think this is very true. I know that for myself, I read nonfiction to get something out of it. For me, fiction is relaxing and something to enjoy (whether I’m writing it or reading it), but nonfiction is usually where I go to look for guidance and shared life experiences. The content in nonfiction is usually what draws me toward that particular book or post, but the personal usefulness of that content is what makes the books valuable to me. In this, I think problogger’s point that ‘usefulness is king’ is very valid.
I hope you enjoy this article as much as I have.
I’m a bit new to this whole blogging thing, so I’m still looking for fellow bloggers who have tips and information about blogging.
And here is one of my findings:
These give you the basics on what SEO is and how it works, as well as some advice from someone who’s been blogging for a while.
I write to connect to people, to share the human experience, and prayerfully give my readers what I didn’t have: Some real-life stories to help you in figuring out how to navigate your own life. I’m using this blog as somewhat of a journal–to gather my thoughts and see what I make of them, and what my readers make of them. Are they useful? Relevant? Real? Unique? I hope so. And maybe in a few years when I’ve walked a bit more of Life, I will publish these thoughts.
I suppose it could all be summed up in the title of the blog: Following Your Feet. In the movie ‘A Knight’s Tale,’ young Will asks his father how he will find his way back home again. His father tells him ‘You just have to follow your feet.’ I want to do the same, and I hope my readers will as well.
A Knight’s Tale. Directed by Brian Helgeland. 2001. Culver City, CA: Columbia Pictures Industries, 2001. DVD.
For more information on blogging (if you’re thinking of taking up a blog), please see this excellent post by ‘The Daily Post.’