Posts Tagged story

Fanning the Flame

The Source of the Spark

This is what I think about inspiration: that it happens all the time. We have these tiny spark moments where we think, “What if…” or “I wonder what that would be like?” Sometimes I see new books on the table at Barnes & Noble and think, “How weird. Here’s an author who must wonder the same things I do.”

Now there’s a scary thought.

So inspiration is happening all the time. But what I think people are really asking when they ask about inspiration is how you fan those sparks into something that can become a story. Read the rest of this entry »

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Guest Writers: Tosca Lee

Photo credit: Michael Gomez

I am pleased and very excited to introduce a new guest this week. Tosca Lee is the award-winning author of two novels (with two more soon to come). Havah is the story of Eve from a first-person point of view. Demon: A Memoir is a tale about a man who is stalked by a demon whose goal is to solicit the authorship of his own story – a tale that begins before the creation of the world. Forbidden, a collaborative series with Ted Dekker, comes out in September of this year. Rumors are that this story will eclipse Dekker’s wildly popular Circle series. Iscariot, Tosca’s third stand-alone work, will be available in 2012.

While Tosca’s prose is poetic and often ethereal, she is as down to earth as they come. She’s the originator of the “Writer Cam” on her Facebook page where you can see her at work via photos of the unglamorous side of writing (the mundane and grueling) as well as her humor and triumph along the way. (Loving this concept, I’ve adopted it with my own album of writer-at-work photos you might have seen on my Facebook page.)

Tosca keeps a blog on her website where she explores ideas about writing, spirituality and where the two converge. Watching her at the daily grind through Twitter and Facebook, Tosca has been an inspiration to me in my own writing.  Be sure to come back on Thursday for a glimpse into her life and to gain some insight from a successful fellow Creative.

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Things I Like: Survivor Stories

Confession: I tried out for Survivor…Three times.

I know what you’re thinking, “That real life soap opera show where they leave a handful of schmucks to fight for a million bucks and give them nothing to eat except stale rice, bugs and cows’ brains?” No, I mean the ingenious social experiment that gives daring contesters the chance to find out what they’re made of by isolating them and stripping them of all but the barest of necessities. (Okay, so maybe they are the same show.)

Survive or Die

Some concepts inspire me by their very nature. One I keep coming back to again and again, packaged in different wrappers, is the idea of a survivor story. Remember Cast Away where Tom Hanks had to endure four years on a deserted island with only a few (strategically written) random items in Fed Ex boxes? Or Life of Pi – the story about the boy adrift for weeks (or months?) on a lifeboat with limited survival gear and a ferocious tiger aboard his vessel? There are even similarities in the true story of Aron Ralston, the climber who got trapped under a boulder in a tight canyon and was forced to amputate his own arm with a pocket knife.

I like stories that make me dig deep inside myself and search for the extent of my own capabilities. How would I survive if I had to capture my own food? What could I do with a pair of ice skates and a broken piece of a porta-potty? Could I sever my own arm if I had to? The last one may be a little extreme, but these kind of stories make my mind reel in excitement because they force me to explore the depths of my own creativity (aka ability to solve extreme problems by unconventional means).

How Creative Am I?

We’ve built this cushy life with all of our creature comforts and techno gadgets that we’d never ever dream of giving up, but somehow… Sometimes there’s still that desire for raw human challenges that creep into our fantasies and end up in our books and movies and news stories. The ironic thing is that for me, if I peel back all those layers, it seems to all come back to creativity. When pushed, when forced by necessity, how creative could I be?

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Guest Writers: Courtney Cantrell

Courtney Cantrell, Photo Credit Julie V. Photography

This week I am pleased to welcome a dear fellow Creative to share some of her own inspiration. Courtney, the Vice President and Head of the Writing School within the Consortium, has a passion for creating. She has been writing since second grade and completed her first novel at age fifteen. In 1999, she graduated from Oklahoma Christian with a BA in English/Writing. To date, she has written eight novels, one of which will be published this spring. Plan to pick up a copy of Colors of Deception, available at Amazon.com April 2011.

Courtney’s talents transcend writing. An artist from birth, she’s been painting even longer than she’s been writing – as far back as she can remember. In college she discovered her medium of choice: oils.

On Thursday, Courtney will share how one artist’s work transformed her own method of painting, inspiring her when she least expected it. Come back to find out who that artist was – and to catch a glimpse of some of Courtney’s awesome work.

Until then, check out her blog at www.courtcan.com to whet your appetite.

 

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Collecting Ideas

Memory Failure

Ideas are tricky things. If you’re anything like me, ideas pop in and out of your head all day long. But I have a short term memory. My brain doesn’t hold on to much at length unless I make a conscious effort, and even then I’m not always successful. I’m not sure if having three babies is an excuse or a reason for memory failure, but either way, I juggle way too many things on a given day to rely on memory alone. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Is Art?

Art is about passion. Where does passion live? On the inside.

Creating art is difficult, because it involves accessing that innermost place where we have to face our deepest fears. We have to pass through all of our weaknesses, faults and failures to get to that hidden recess where our creative potential lies. When we get there, we’re deep in the midst of everything we love most, but we’re also surrounded by that which we despise in ourselves.

And if you can successfully battle the monsters within, reemerging into the outside world with a handful of precious stones, glowing with promise, you’ve only mastered step one. Step two is much worse: baring your creation before the public world. Did I say creating art is difficult? Sharing your art is even more frightening. Read the rest of this entry »

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Capturing Inspiration

Inspiration is a tricky thing. I’ll always remember the night I finished my first novel. It was a meandering, unplanned, angsty beast I spent most of my high school career working on, and I really had no idea where I was going. Then, one Friday night, I watched Empire Records for the first time. As soon as the credits started I turned off the TV, walked over to the computer, sat down, and finished my novel.

That ending took me nine hours and came out to about 15,000 words. By the time I finished, the sun was already shining on Saturday morning. I went to bed, woke up sometime in the afternoon, and realized with a feeling of great accomplishment that, after four long years, my book was finally done. Read the rest of this entry »

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