Posts Tagged storytelling

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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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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Guest Writers — Aaron Pogue

Photo Credit: Julie V. Photography

Some of us have a hard time coming up with ideas. The blank page. The pristine canvas. That dreaded waiting, blinking cursor. But there are others with no shortage of ideas. Maybe you’re one of them, drowning in so many projects (and potential projects) that you can’t possibly complete all of them in one lifetime.

Maybe you’re deep into your work-in-progress and suddenly inspiration hits, plopping a fresh, new project right down into your lap like good ‘ol Mr. Stork. What do you do? Drop your W.I.P. or put the new bundle of promise on the shelf? If you decide to trudge onward, how can you gracefully capture the flood of infant ideas and preserve them for later use? There aren’t many things worse than birthing a brilliant idea for a story or book but failing to write it down. Ever killed a grand idea via forgetfulness? It’s tragic.

Aaron Pogue is one of those Creatives with no shortage of ideas. But he knows the value of protecting those precious gems. Aaron is author of sci-fi thriller Gods Tomorrow (released 2010) and Expectation (available February of 2011), the second book in the Ghost Targets series. He also maintains Unstressed Syllables, a website that provides writing advice for authors and other professionals. The founder and president of the Consortium, his passion is to support artists to be professionals within their own craft.

Along my journey of writing and editing my first book, Aaron has been an immensely helpful source of information and encouragement. Come back on Thursday to hear his strategy for preserving those bundles of joy and organizing your fountain of inspiration.

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Share Yourself

Writing my first book was a huge rollercoaster of emotion. With no training, I jumped in head-first and just went for it. It took me nine months to birth the first draft and in that time, I grew dramatically as a person and found out what it really meant to be a writer. I learned that not only does being a writer mean persevering when it’s work and not just fun, requiring huge amounts of dedication, but it also means putting your heart on the line.

Ups and Downs

When I first started, the adventure was a total rush. Writing felt amazing and I was on fire. I’d fly through fifteen hundred words like it was nothing. Piece of cake.

But then, something happened. As my novel approached 50,000 words (the midpoint for the story), I could feel myself losing momentum. First it slowed, and then one day it ground to a screeching halt. And after a few days…a week with no progress, I found myself in a state of writing depression. Fortunately, I was able to feed from the encouragement of some fellow writers and get back into the game. I even made it to that surreal moment when I was able to type the words “The End.”  But once the first draft was complete, I had a whole new animal on my hands. Read the rest of this entry »

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Create Limits

Infinite Possibilities

I love beginning a new project, but there’s something about that pristine page that can be very intimidating. I can remember many times (back when I used to draw often) sitting down with my sketchpad and pencil and staring aimlessly at the paper, trying to summon inspiration from its blank whiteness. I never won those stare-downs. That empty page means infinite possibilities, but the problem was, when something is infinite, it’s not definite. And that leads to…creative block.

Maybe there are some people who can work something amazing from absolutely nothing (take Michelangelo), but I am not one of them. I wish that I had an endless supply of creative thoughts stewing around in my brain and I could just spew one out at will. But it has never worked that way. My imagination can be very powerful, but before it will spit anything out, I have to give it something to chew first. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do the Opposite

My Work in Progress

My Story

A little over a year and a half ago, I decided to try a creative experiment. With no prior experience in the field, I wondered if I had it in me to write a book – a full-length novel – from start to finish. The question nagged at my mind like a dare while the very idea of such a massive undertaking thrilled me to the core. So I decided to take the leap.

The Idea

But before I put pen to paper (or more accurately, fingers to keyboard) I wanted to have an idea. Not just a generic plot, but that perfect, riveting idea that would keep me going long after the honeymoon of inspiration had worn off. To do that, it had to be unique. I could not be limited by “the box.” Read the rest of this entry »

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