There’s More to Me Than …


A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, I mentioned in passing the personalised story I’m writing. I’ve never really addressed that little talent in the past. That and my spontaneous storytelling done in the classroom (and libraries). I can’t imagine why I haven’t. Me thinks it might have to do with “time”… my two or three looming deadlines and what little spare time I do have is usually spent recovering from all my craziness.

So, why on earth am I bringing it up now? Now, when I should be diving even deeper into getting my already-published books republished and my needs-to-be-edited book published. Now, when I should be learning how to market said books—why now?

I believe that the time has come to begin marketing them so that when I finally have the first four or five books of the Scymaria series in the virtual bookstores, it will be time to get serious about reintroducing the storybooks and storytelling. Storybooks and storytelling cannot be mass-produced like my fantasy series. They take time—boy … do they ever take time! My storybooks are handmade, from the very first word, all the way through to the printing and binding. And I can only work on a few of them at a time. I think I’ve been a bit optimistic in promising a finished book in 6-8 weeks. And my current storybook’s deadline is hanging over my head. I may need to adjust that. I’ll see how I’m doing in a week before I notify my client—hmmm … perhaps sooner than that. I probably should not have started it until I had the edits done <insert eye roll … serious eye roll> but there’s nothing I can do about that now. I think future applications will be tweaked with an “8-10 week” production time …

The oral storytelling isn’t much different. About a half hour is carved out of a day to introduce the idea, to glean names, characters and descriptive words from my audience—anywhere from Kinders up to Middle Schoolers. Then the magic begins. For the younger ones, it’s simply a fun story. I take those element shared by my audience and weave them into a short story. For those beginning to learn how to create stories through classroom lessons, it’s an added teaching tool for the teachers, and for the students it’s a “learning diversion” from their usual class work. A win-win for teachers and students alike. For me? Well, whilst helping teachers and students, it’s just plain ‘ol fun! But, again … I cannot do more than one or two a week. I still have other creative endeavours waiting in the curtains. This is easier to keep manageable—I can schedule them on the calendar as time allows.

I can hardly wait to get this one I’m working on finished. It’s been so fun writing it—very different from my Scymaria series, since this one is for 4-7 year old age range. I am creating the art that will go on the pages also. This is what will take the most time. I am excited with the direction the story is taking itself. Yes—still seat of the pants writing <insert grin> with my all of my writings and storytelling.

I guess you could say that these storybooks are limited editions. One of a kind. And not many made within a years time. I think I like it that way. It keeps them sweet and charming … and fun to read—way beyond the day that they are received. Keep an eye out here and on my Facebook page for more information about when I’ll be making them available to the public!

I must get back to my writing, but before I leave you—three more days till we ring in the new year, so I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year. Out with the old 2018 … and in with the spankin’ new 2019. May it prove to be positively unforgettable. Stay safe and I’ll meet you here next week, in 2019 to bring you the first blog of the new year.

H A P P Y    N E W    Y E A R  !




Flash-Fiction: An Art Form

I’M AN OLD-FASHIONED STORYTELLER … definitely not a flash-fiction kinda gal, where the story is boiled down to its raw elements. I absolutely love many of the flash-fiction bits I read, but think I could never coalesce my thoughts so succinctly (well, I probably could, but it would take far too long). I prefer the drama of drawing things out … peeking around corners to see what’s next, rather than cutting to the chase.

I applaud those that are able to work this magic. Each and every Friday, a group of writers (and even some that don’t consider themselves writers) post their work onto Dan Mader’s Unemployed Imagination blog to join in the flash fiction frenzy at his weekly Two Minutes. Go! (#2minutesgo on Facebook for more) Whenever I have time, I read a few—they are amazing. Some are a wee bit too dark for my taste (and sometimes the language can be a little rough), but still … they grab me through the way the words tumble onto the page. Some leave chills running up my spine. Others fill me with joy … and yet others leave me completely surprised. It is amazing.

Writer-folk or not, it is fun to give it a try—so please do. If nothing else, take some time to read what others have written. Take the time to comment. Thoughtful comments are always appreciated. Perhaps it will inspire you to draw upon your dormant writing muse—that muse, dancing in your mind … waiting for you to ask, is eager to show you what you are capable of …

Be brave … you have two minutes. Go!

Maybe … just maybe, someday—when I’m “between” an edit or story, or my blog—I’ll even give it a go. Until then, I wish you all a blessed week, whether dealing with rain, sleet or snow … may there be serendipitous gems awaiting you.

Word Weaver

WRITER, STORYTELLER, WORDSMITH…those are only a few words one could use to describe someone that is obsessed with putting words to paper — or in this day and age, to electronic paper…

But I have another word:  word weaving, which I like immensely because (at least for me) it describes me perfectly when I do storytelling with children.  It’s an interactive form of storytelling, where, most of the time,  I have a very basic storyline in mind.  I glean names, descriptive words, sounds and animal characters from my young audience, then the magic of a new story begins.  I take those words and ideas, creating threads and weave them through the warp of an invisible loom, producing a visibly textured story, with the children providing sound effects, such as screaming in fear, growling, running, laughing — whatever the story requires.  They love it — especially if we are in a library, where they’ve been taught to “use your inside (whispering) voices, please”.  Loud talking, let alone screaming, is “verboten!” (except, I let the librarian know ahead of time & receive permission for boisterous participation).  Always, I  feed off of their enthusiasm, wanting to draw the story out, but am usually limited to about twenty or thirty minutes from start to finish because of time constraints in the school schedule.

We are all sad that it’s over, but their imaginations have been given a magical jump start.  Now, they see that they can create their very own stories.  Of course, it certainly helps to have thousands of stories crammed into your brain from years and years of reading and experiencing life.  But they can use what reading and life experiences they’ve crammed into their short lives and create something amazing, too.

That’s my lesson for these brilliantly pliable, open young minds.  As Dr. Seuss said, “Oh, the places you’ll go!  …And the magical things you can do…”   I’m just there to open the doors for them to go through.


Sucked-In to Writing…

MY NANOWRIMO ML (municipal liaison) kept telling me (and everyone else) to kill a character.  For the past two years I’ve attended, this seemed to be his mantra.  Kill a character.  And he had a method: with a shovel.

Well, you don’t kill characters with shovels in a kid’s novel, right?  I had a number of people point to Harry Potter and a few other kids’ books for examples of multiple brutal killings.  Well, not in my novel, you don’t.  And that’s that.

Well, I found out last year that characters have a mind of their own.  They do not go where you planned for them to go.  They don’t “stay with the script” that you’ve planned out in your head.  They go, do, and say what they need to as a character.  And I am fine with that.  It has helped me grow as a writer.  It has helped my story line, and it has helped my characters.

But, I was frustrated with where they had taken the storyline.  I needed them to be back at home.  But, noooo.  They had to go traipsing off to their ‘Never Land’…I was driving down to the last Write-In, having already reached my 50,000 word goal–such a wonderful, euphoric feeling in itself–when it dawned on me how I could solve several problems at once…not only get them back to where they needed to be, but help one of the characters do a little bit of growing.

And then, I laughed.  I was going to kill a character?  You’ve got to be kidding!  No.  I could not possibly kill a character. I did much soul searching.  This started as a children’s book..that now reaches up to the middle school age group, not unlike the Harry Potter series.  I don’t want to be responsible for younger kids’ nightmares!  What to do…listen to the character or my alternate storyline…

Uh, oh…spoilers?  Well… I guess you’ll just have to wait till the book is published to find out, won’t you?

But, what I really wanted to talk about was how my characters have pulled me in.  I don’t know if all writers feel this way, but when I write, I feel my characters’ joy, their pain and frustrations.  I laugh at the things they do and occasionally find myself a bit sad.

It is a beautiful thing, to have such alive characters — at least in my head.  I know I have much “fleshing out” of each character to make them more believeable to everyone else.  It is only a first draft.  There will be more to come before I am comfortable in showing it to an agent (if I can find one) or someone that can help constructively to polish it into a final product that I might just self-publish.

I am thinking about them, day and night.  An obsession?  Who knows.  This is one obsession I don’t mind having.  I’ve been working on this for so long.  I started it just before my mother died and tried to write as I took care of my dad, but ended up shelving it for quite awhile.  I’d occasionally pull it out, trying to edit it, then do some writing, but couldn’t get motivated.  Or captivated by the story or the characters.

Finally, I’m captivated.  I believe I have invested my heart and soul in the characters in this story.  The last two years (and especially this last month), I think I’ve managed to dive in and create what may be the beginnings of a trilogy…or, at least I think so.   And my mind is not done with this story.  No, not by a long shot.  And that makes me happy–and frustrated, because I must find some sort of ending so I can say it is done.  Done, but left ‘open-ended’, so that I can easily continue it on. That way, I can stop what I’m beginning to call the ‘never-ending story’ and begin the process of editing my first draft.   I will keep making notes when thoughts arise for new material (that means continuously), but my focus must be on completing this one first.

I love my characters.  How can I not?  I’ve been told to focus on one, dump the other–I have two.  They are too engaging to get rid of one.  They work very well together.  I was told to write from the viewpoint of one.  I chose to write from multiple viewpoints…it was necessary.  If you ask me who my primary character is, I am not be able to tell you — at least not now.  Maybe after re-writes, I’ll know.

Like I said before, I think about them all the time.  How can I get them out of the trouble they always seem to get into?  What characteristics do each have?  How can I grow their characters as the story progresses?  All of this seems to float around in my brain all the time now — especially during and after NaNoWriMo.  I’m excited about this story, as I should be.  But…

Perhaps, I just might, sometime in the future…yes, I just might post some excerpts.

I will now let you get back to your normal lives — away from the rambling of this deranged woman.  Sorry to have kept you for so long.

Peace be with you as we get closer to the frenzy the World calls Christmas.  May you find quiet, and the real reason for the season.