Saturday, 30 September 2017

There's no writer's block; there's only distraction. —Carolyn Chute

I am writing, although I have not mastered my daily schedule. I'm optimistic that I will return to a solid routine this coming week. With my second YA novel launching in two weeks, I have been distracted by aspects of promotion. It is this writer's bane, as I far prefer sitting in self-enforced solitary confinement and babbling through my fingers onto the page.

Here is my latest promo effort, a short trailer for Color Me Gray. I'm hoping its simplicity is appealing. I may play in Movie Maker to create a longer one, but when you stray from images owned into the plethora online, you risk infringing on copyright. Hunting down free-use images or permission is another rabbit hole that I've been trying to avoid. We'll see. I may tumble down it yet.

In the meantime...

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Saving the cat, one story at a time.

I’m finally dipping into Save the Cat this weekend. Written by Blake Snyder, it’s a craft book for screenwriters that is highly recommended for writers of fiction. Basically, the concept is that if you want people to invest themselves in your novel, your protagonist needs to do something fairly early in your story that makes your reader feel sympathetic or empathetic towards him or her. It has to be meaningful enough to provide some insight into why a reader should hang out with your character for a few hundred pages.

We watched St. Vincent the other night, starring Bill Murray as an alcoholic curmudgeon. The writer starts Save the Cat moments very quickly tapping into Murray’s grumpy quirkiness as he feeds the neighbour’s son sardines, insists the kid buckle up in the car, and funds a hooker’s ultrasound. As a result, you’re rooting for this loser to find his way out of the quagmire of his life.

In Cutting to the Chase, Lizzy is not a likeable protagonist. She’s not meant to be. Told through her point of view, she is an angry teen submerged in pain. Yet she has a Save the Cat moment fairly early in the story. We get a glimpse of Lizzy’s core when her father bails on her brother’s basketball tournament. She steps up and goes to the tournament in place of their father. Interesting that it’s there even though I did not consciously choose to insert a Save the Cat moment. Of course, as Lizzy’s life unravels, we get more and more insight into what is going on, but the tournament is where we first see clearly that there are layers to this unhappy girl.

There is much more to the book and I look forward to exploring Snyder’s concept of beats. For now, my husband is thrilled because I actually want to watch another movie this weekend. He loves movies and I’m just not a big fan of sitting and watching television. So he will be getting his fix, while I get to apply and analyze the craft of scriptwriting. It’s a win-win!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Writers keep writing and publishers publishing - it never grows boring. —Michael Dirda

Many of you have read this news elsewhere, so I apologize for the repetition. However, I have some people who only check in here so I’d like to ensure they have the most recent update on my writerly life. Mags’s story has officially been picked up by Evernight Teen Publishing. Color Me Gray should join Cutting to the Chase out in the world in October.

What does this mean for my writing goals? More energy, more drive, and even more enthusiasm. It was incredibly affirming to see my first novel in print. To be fortunate enough to have two published? Well, darn it all, it makes me feel like I just might be a real writer!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Oh, Spring! I want to go out and feel you and get inspiration. —Emily Carr

I’ve always loved hot weather—the hotter, the stickier, the better. But the last few weeks of 30-degree-plus weather, combined with the haze of smoke from forest fires on the mainland, knocked the stuffing out of me. I was lethargic and unmotivated. I continued to walk my hour a day but switched it to early morning before it got too hot. I still worked for a couple of hours in the garden each day, but it was sweaty, uncomfortable, and not remotely fulfilling. Fatigued by heat, I could not summon much enthusiasm to be productive in the afternoons.
Last night it rained for the first time in two months. Not a deluge, mind you, but some honest-to-goodness splattering on parched soil. Today the skies are blue, the sun is bright and the air is refreshingly cool. I’m sure I can hear the flowers and trees burping in contentment. My energy is surging along with the rivers and ideas for writing are popping up like the neon green buds in the pasture beyond our property.

I guess I’m no longer a summer girl. I’m more of a spring woman, appreciating the gift of new opportunities for growth whatever time of year they arrive. Thank you, Mother Nature, for nurturing the land. And now, riding on the high of crisp smoke-free air, I’m off to cultivate the fallow field that has been my mind these past two weeks.

Wishing everyone a little spring in your lives! J

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. Omar Khayyam

One day young,

Next day old.

What happened in between?


I wrote this…I think. It’s in my notes dated March 22, 2017. I usually attribute quotes, so I’m pretty sure it’s mine. If not, please correct me. I tend to jot down short poems, single stanzas, isolated sentences, capturing random thoughts, transient memories, elusive emotions. I scribble them in my notepad or dictate them into my iPad. They are everywhere—a writer’s chaotic comfort.

This is the third time I have to apologize for my delinquency. I haven’t even kept up with reading blogs that I love to follow. Blogs, not just of interest, but written by people I want to support because they are good and kind and talented. I apologize for that too.

Alas, I have been busy with the “in between.” I’ve been enjoying a season of gardening and outdoor living, editing the final copy of Mags’s story, relishing in the company of good friends and struggling with personal loss. Life.

I think I’m back now, ready to move ahead on so many projects, including returning to historical fiction and historical romance. I still have some YA stories that need to be told, so I suspect I will be playing in the writers’ playground of see-sawing genres and spinning on the carousel of ideas. It’s an enticing vision and, like a child, no doubt I will exhaust myself and go to bed each night dizzy, weary and smiling.

So third apology. But third time’s the charm, right?