Saturday, December 6, 2008
At some point, I decided I wanted to major in physics and become a nuclear physicist. When I got to college, I had to take calculus before I could take any physics classes. Calculus defeated me. I changed my major to English and never looked back. As an English major, all I ever did was write stuff, but none of it was fiction. I did try my hand at writing a children's story about a dragon that blew bubbles instead of fire. It was pretty cute.
When I was getting ready to graduate, (and expecting my first baby), I decided that I would like to write children's books. That didn't seem too hard. (Actually, it is just as hard or harder than any other writing and the competition is ferocious.) I told my husband, but I never did anything about it, never tried to write anything. My baby was born, and at that point I'd pretty much accomplished every goal I'd ever set for myself (college, marriage, motherhood). I felt kind of lost and depressed. I checked a book out of the library called, "How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy," by Orson Scott Card, mostly because I like Orson Scott Card, and not because I thought I could write sci-fi or fantasy. I was still stuck in , "I could never do that" mode.
I went to work frying doughnuts at a local bakery (yum), because Tracy was still in school and we were broke. One day while I was at work, Tracy noticed that Orson Scott Card was doing a book signing at the BYU bookstore. He went home, got one of my Card books and went and got it signed for me. Tracy said he just walked in and no one else was there. He walked right up to Card and got the book signed. This is amazing to me. I've never been to one of his book signings where I didn't have to wait in line forever. Anyway, Tracy brought me the signed book when he picked me up from work. I was excited. He told me that he told Card that I wanted to write science fiction. My first thought was "Why would he say something like that?" and my second thought was, "Wow. He's right." He told me all the good advice that Card had given him, like stop thinking about it and just do it. So I did. I started writing and submitting and writing and submitting some more.
Nine years later, I finally had my first short story published. The more I practice writing, go to conferences, get critiques, give critiques, talk to other writers and just write, write, write, the more I realize that I can do this after all.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The Lord is through the ceiling
And the rainbow that just came out,
And through the stars of night
And the sun of day.
We are just passing through its beautiful rays.
We finally reach his holy place;
We jump up and down with a smilie face.
--Angie Taylor, age 7
My first publication! You know, I can actually remember composing this poem in my head during Sacrament Meeting. It's funny that my mother-in-law had this. We lived in the same stake back then, but my husband and I didn't meet until college.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
My mom made me a wall hanging from a Mary Englebreit picture which says, "Inspiration is the act of pulling up a chair to the writing desk." I like that.
Here are some random thoughts of mine on getting inspired to write:
Music: I like to listen to music while I write. Some songs inspire emotions that I want to capture in a story.For instance, my short story "Ripped" was inspired by the melencholy homesick feeling of the song, Five Hundred Miles. (If you miss the train I'm on/You will know that I am gone./You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.)
Daydreaming: Heck, I love to daydream. It also helps me get to sleep at night.
Reading: Reading really great writing makes me want to do some of my own. Reading really crappy writing makes me think, "Hey, I can do better than that." Reading non-fiction often gives me story ideas, too.
I'll add more when I think of some.
I'd love to hear what inspires you guys!
Monday, November 10, 2008
As an editor over at Mindflights, I get to see the other side of the coin. That has added a lot of perspective. All magazines (and book publishers) reject waaaay more stuff than they buy. I've read a lot of really poorly written stories. Do I think the authors should never have submitted them? Not at all! Writers have to submit, have to keep working, have to keep trying and improving. Rejection is just part of the game if you want to be a writer. You just have to learn to accept it and go on. Send the story out again. Work on something new, but never give up. If I've learned anything trying to get published it is persistance, and persistance really works.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
It is very appropriate that I have a Nesquik folder, since I drink Nesquik every single day. I have Nesquik in my year's supply. I love Nesquik. I cannot live without it. Anyway, I carried around my novel chapters in this folder when I was making my revisions. Now, when I look at this folder, I see Caleb. Those of you who have read the novel will agree that the Nesquik bunny is in NO WAY an appropriate image for Caleb. But there it is. That's Caleb in my mind. Weird.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
This is the Christmas Story notebook -- my first attempt at decorating a notebook. It looks pretty good, but some of the snowflakes peeled off on the the edges. Bummer. I wrote one Christmas Story in here, and I'm saving the rest of the notebook for future Christmas stories.
The short story/novella notebook. This is the one I am writing in now (notice the pen in the binding). I am sixteen pages into "Consecrated." I wasn't paying attention and I accidentally got a wide ruled notebook instead of college ruled, so I have to write a little more than 10 pages per week to reach my actual goal.
The novel notebook! This is my favorite one. I think it turned out really nice. The black squares at the top say Always Remember To... Very inspirational. I hope to be working on a novel in it as soon as I finish writing "Consecrated."
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Long version: Last summer at one of our Loafer Ladies Writing Club meetings, Suzette asked us all to describe our ideal writing spot. I said mine would be in one the rooms on our top floor. They are attic rooms, and the ceilings are sloped. I love the cozy cabin feel. I said that as soon as I could kick one of the boys out of their bedroom, I'd turn it into my writing room. Well, we did some bedroom rearranging before Xander was born, and one of the rooms became Tracy's office. My friend (and fellow Loafer Lady) Wendy pointed out that the room was big enough for him to share it with me. So, I claimed half of the office for myself. I wanted to get a comfy chair for writing in, but at the time, it just didn't seem worth spending money on. Besides, I was about to have a baby.
Fast forward to this past summer. Tracy and I had a conversation about what was stopping us from going after our dreams. Fear and self-doubt topped the list. We both decided that we shouldn't let fear stop us. I decided I was going to really dedicate myself to my writing, and that meant it was time to get the comfy chair. So, I did! It sits between the two desks in the office, where I have a lovely view of Mt. Loafer out the window. I love it, though sometimes, I have to admit, the writing chair is just a little bit too comfy! Now, nothing is stopping me from going after my dreams.
So, what's stopping you???
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
1. Rubbish the rules! (Don't be afraid to take artistic risks)
2. Try something different. (Sing, paint a picture, write a poem, something you don't normally do)
3. Find the extraordinary in the ordinary (Ideas are all around us.)
4. Dive right in! (Go for it. Creating is fun!)
Though the article talked about fostering creativity in kids, I think it applies to us boring grown-ups, too. We all need to get into a childlike frame of mind to be truly creative.
To get your creative juices flowing, play with the Prelutsky Poetry Wheel. Here's a link:
Let your imagination run wild.
From President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
1. I want to start a novel. That was my original plan. I have a vague idea I could work on OR I could start a sequel to my first novel, Zion Rising. Incidentally (Lindsay), I don't have a whole sequel in mind. Just a couple of intriguing situations. I've just been so excited about the characters ever since I started revisions. Frankly, though, I'm kind of terrified of the idea of writing a novel again.
2. I want to rewrite a story that I wrote many, many years ago called "Consecrated." It's the story that gave me the idea for the novel. It's probably one of the first things I ever wrote, and it's dreadful, but I think it's a good idea and I'd like to do it right this time.
3. I found another cool word seek list. A story I wrote this year, "Sofie and the Night Eagle" was created from the following list:
actress, airport attract, breakfast, bulletin, cashmere, center, country, delete, devote, disrupt, eaglet, essential, fascinate, fisherman, fountain, guardian, ivory, mileage, nectarine, newscast, parish, pizzeria, premiere, ruler, science, somewhat, teacher, timetable, trampoline, treasurer, trinket, union, uproot, wonder
Those of you who have read "Sofie and the Night Eagle" probably recognize those elements.
Well this week, I found this awesome list:
ammunition, arctic, beanpole, birth, brought, cabdriver, colonel, corridor, cuckoo, despite, detergent, dribble, emperor, evaporate, everyone, hitch, homemaker, homestead, layman, mermaid, muddle, noblemen, nonstick, orangeade, prospect, rosary, saucepan, silence, sincere, sodden, stowaway, stuck, tarantula, triple
That sparks all kinds of ideas for me. Maybe I could even turn it into a novel. Who knows?
At the moment, "Consecrated" is the front runner for what I want to think about and work on.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
A little background: I have been writing a Christmas story as my gift to family, friends, and neighbors since 1995. We were pretty much broke that year. I thought it might be nice to write a story to give to everyone. That wouldn't cost me much except for time. Now, the tradition is in its fourteenth year. Most Christmases, I regret ever starting this tradition. At least until the story is finished. I plan to try and sell them all as a collection.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Besides the grace of God, I also don't watch TV. We have a TV, just for watching movies, but it doesn't get any channels. And, okay, I do own the entire series of Star Trek: The Next Generation on disk, but I don't even watch that all that much. This is such an amazing blessing. I highly recommend getting rid of your TV. The other thing that gives me time to write, which I can't recommend as highly, is that I don't do housework. Okay, I do some housework. The dishes are done every day, and the laundry, but as far as stuff like vacuuming, dusting, mopping, bathrooms -- those get done on Saturday, and the rest of the week I just don't worry about it. I figure I can have an immaculately clean house or I can write. I choose to write.