Sunday, March 30, 2014

A school visit

One of the most delightful aspects of being published is the opportunity to share my book, my research, and/or my interest in writing. This Friday, April 4th, I'll have that opportunity again. I've been asked to speak with 7th and 8th graders at Fell Charter School about the writing process and how to research. Of course, I said yes!

 I've got an activity planned, and I'll bring some of my primary research materials. Because of the target age group and the more general content of writing and researching (rather than specifically about researching and writing my book), my power point will be a bit different than the one I've used for my other venues. So I'm creating a new version of the basic presentation, tweaking the content as appropriate. I hope to be able to use it with other schools in the near future.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The organized mess

During the process of writing Risking Exposure, I learned two things about my writing style. First, if I outline too much, my characters rebel once I start to write. But if I don't create some structure for the book, it meanders like a ship without a compass.
I don't want to go through either scenario again.

I've started researching, organizing, and writing the sequel to Risking Exposure. For weeks, I've had a basic outline in my head. I've documented many ideas into the voice recorder that's always in my dashboard cubby. (I drive a lot.) I've read books and websites and taken notes. I've plunged ahead and written a couple scenes, one of which may become the opening scene. Now the time has come to create something more concrete.

So I spent yesterday organizing my basic plot points at the dining room table. Crazy, but this is my organized plot. The long paper is a timeline on which I jotted notes about historically significant events in late 1938 that will provide a backdrop to the story. The other piles are research materials on a historical figure and a 'way out' for the climax that will make sense in the story.

I also used a story map, and I sketched out one for my main character yesterday. Today's task is to create a voice journal for her, a longer and more detailed one than I had for the first novel. In coming days/weeks, I plan to sketch out story maps and create voice journals for the other main characters as well. This will (hopefully) help me keep track of who they are, what each wants, and how those personalities and wants conflict and intersect during all three acts of the book.

In the meantime, I have to move all this organization aside so we have a place to eat. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Scratching the itch

I've been feeling the itch to write more. But the practical aspects of living - spending time with people I love, working, taking care of my home and my health, participating in community and church activities, etc. - have left me precious little time to write.

Don't get me wrong. I am involved in each and every one of these activities because I enjoy them. They fulfill me in different ways, connect me to the bigger world and allow me to use different gifts and graces. But I find myself frustrated, trying to carve out small bits of time to jot down notes and read some background material. Honestly, it's not enough time to immerse myself in ideas and characters, and I need that to satisfy my muse.

Michael and I talked about it yesterday. I think we came up with a way to create a Writers Retreat of sorts. Not a physical place. More like an escape from other commitments which chip away at my writing time. So we're going to try it next weekend, and my hope is for a good 10+ hours of planning and writing.
I wonder if that much scratching will satisfy my itch. Part of me thinks it will ease the itch for a time. But I bet the overall effect will be like scratching a mosquito bite - I'll just spread the venom through my system and overall, the itching will increase. So be it.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Thanks for the support!

I'm touched and delighted with the turnout for my presentation today at the Dietrich - 43 people! Friends from my church and work and neighborhood lives, from the Writers Group and the Theater, and even more amazing, complete strangers who dedicated an hour or more of their lives to come and listen. Some scooted out before I had a chance to thank them personally, but I truly appreciate the attendance of each and every one.

Sharing my journey as a writer is such fun. I hope venues like this lead to more opportunities!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Connecting through multiple media

I don't know about the proverbial butterfly effect, you know, the one in which a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil which in turn creates a tornado in Texas. A bit overly dramatic for my taste. But what I do know is that consistent effort eventually brings a result. All I've got to say is - thank God I'm not shy. 

I began the week Monday with an interview on WVIA radio's Art Scene program with the gracious Erika Funke. I'd never been in a broadcasting booth before (okay, maybe on a tour when I was a Girl Scout sometime in the last century. That doesn't count.) After a quick sound check, Erika and I sat opposite one another separated only by over-sized microphones. In a friendly, gentle conversational tone, we began to talk about my book, my research, and my upcoming presentation at the Dietrich. I left there not remembering much of what I said, but knowing it had been a good interview. It's archived here as the February 27th broadcast. Warning: I say "Absolutely" far too often.

Wednesday's Wyoming County Press Examiner featured an article about my upcoming presentation at the Dietrich. In the next couple of days, I received an invitation to present to 7th and 8th grade students at a local school about writing and research. Then by email, I was asked by a middle-school-student who loves to write to participate in a "Career Interview," not about being a physical therapist, but about being a writer.

So, radio and newspaper, scheduling presentations and discussing writing careers. Fascinating.

And great fun.