Watching wild turkeys amble across the field the other morning I was struck by the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin. Are these not majestic birds? They strut proudly and stand tall. They travel in flocks and always keep the babies, called poults, tucked safely within the fold of adults.
I enjoy these native American birds more than any other wild life I see and I'm always struck by there ability to fly gracefully. After admiring them with awe my mind drifts to these:
Skeksis. From a favorite movie--Jim Henson's 1982 THE DARK CRYSTAL It makes me wonder what Jim Henson's inspiration for his fascinating creatures was...the mighty turkey, maybe?
I've decided to try a new approach to my writing--I'm actually going to possibly--outline--gasp, gasp--my new book. Something I have rebelled, resisted and wrung my hands over for years and years, the dreaded outline.
I've always been somewhat of a go-with-the-flow, stream-of-conscience, type of writer. Short stories only needed a first line or the speck of an idea and I'd run with the images, but and this is a elephant sized but, when I wrote my first novel and employed this attitude I found my story everywhere but where it needed to be. It took a long year of editing to reel it in and structure it into a plausible story.
As an exercise I'm dissecting some of my favorite books (see sidebar) with the hopes that the process will help me to focus on all the elements in my book. That's not to say that I've abandoned my free writing techniques--I've just learned that even creativity sometimes needs queues.
Cheating at Solitaire is another novel by Ally Carter I've read--not YA. But soooo much fun to read. I'm now looking to find her new card book--Learning to Play Gin--which picks up where Cheating at Solitaire left off.
Also, I do listen to many, many, many books on tape. Since I live in very rural, West Virginia, my car is my second home. Books on tape are my driving companions through all the hills and valleys.
I just finished listening to my new favorite YA book! Ally Carter has done a wonderful job of portraying the type of teenage girls any mother would love to have, any girls would love to call "friend," and any boy would love to call "girlfriend."
I appreciate her portrayal of girls who are not obsessed with MTV, body piercings, and sex. The book was a fun read (or in my case, listen) chock full of spy stuff--covert operations, breaking CIA computer codes, evapo paper, and cool gadgets. Contrary to the review by the School Library Journal, ITYILYBTIHTKY has warmth and depth and the stakes are high for these girls, especially Cammie Morgan, whose spy dad was killed in action, and whose mom happens to be the Headmistress of the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, the boarding school Cammie and her double life friends attend.
I will not give away the twists and turns, I'll just strongly recommend you read or listen to this well-written, page-turning, totally enjoyable YA book! And according to the author's website ITYILYBIHTKY has been optioned by Disney and a new Gallagher girl book is due out this fall.
While perusing the boob tube last evening I paused (rather then run to the kitchen for snacks) and gave Dennis Hopper my attention as he reminded me about my future dreams and retirement. Usually I just enjoy the awesome music as it flashes images of long ago teen happenings, this time I focused on the message.
What are my dreams? As he states, dreams don't retire. When exactly did I want to be a writer? Soon after I read my first chapter book. I have distinct recollections of sitting in Mrs. Lipnick's 3rd grade class, reading some book (pity I can't remember the book) and thinking, "I could do this. I will do this. I'm going to write a book."
I've carried those thoughts with me always. At times that goal/dream was hidden by subway rides to work, falling in love, semester exams, potty training, counted cross stitch, PTA meetings, fire ants, okay the list could go on and on forever. My point is I've always known that one day I would write a book. And I have.
Now I add addendum to my dreams: get that book published and write another and another and another.
My dreams haven't retired they have piled into my RV of a brain and are cruising for ideas!
Yesterday I picked up ALL the books I'd ordered from the library about Brooklyn. (I had to make two trips to my car there was sooo many.) I'd hoped to find insight into life in Brooklyn circa 1927. Well, I did find some amazing photos, which I am in the processing of learning how to upload to my blog so they're large enough to actually be seen and enjoyed.
After spending hours perusing these books of great knowledge I still was unable to feel comfortable submerging myself in 1927 Brooklyn. I must glean enough info so as to become my grandmother at 16 as she embarks upon this new and exciting life. I've given myself a deadline of the end of this month. Become a 16 year old German immigrant living in Brooklyn/Williamsburgh at the end of the 1920s or change the end result location of the book--to a place more readily available for research.
My character profiles are coming along and I'll post them as they develop.
I guess I must mention that if anyone out there has any sage words of wisdom or advice on my research dilemma, my inbox is alway open!
Speaking of the above less than 2 weeks ago I sent my middle grade novel to an editor. Well, a query letter, first two chaps and a synopsis. Now, I wait and wait. But the editor's response time is 4 - 6 weeks, not too bad.
While I am waiting I've started the research for my next book--based on my grandmother's emigration from Germany to NYC via ship in 1927. I really would like to set the book in Brooklyn during that time period, but I'm having a time finding info. I've come to the conclusion a trip to Brooklyn's periodical room and weeks of scanning their microfiche of the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper for the late 1920s would be my best option--research wise, that is. Realistically it's not a good option at all. Now I must rethink the whole concept and make some decisions. So, it's back to the great white board in my head.
I'm finally ready for my first post. I've been working on this blog for weeks and will continue to change colors and templates for a while before finally settling. So don't be alarmed if what's red today turns purple tomorrow.
My goals for this blog: 1. Write, write, write, every day no matter what. 2. Share my fiction. 3. Share my rejections (I've had quite a few) and acceptances (notably less than the rejections). 4. Learn from, experience with, immerse in and enjoy the world wide web of talented individuals.
I promise my blogs will be short and mostly sweet.