Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fantasy…or what a ten year old knows…

About ten year olds that I don’t.

I love talking to my kids. My daughter is ten; my son is seven. Their perspective on the world is so hopeful, curious and at times surprising. I read somewhere that the only power children have is their imagination (since my daughter believes that she runs the house…I’d add that by using it they can also learn to manipulate). My children both imagine.

Which takes me to what I love about their childhood that is different from mine. When I was young I could imagine being in control through reading a book or watching a television show/movie. Putting myself into the main character’s shoes suddenly I was in charge. Powerful stuff in a chaotic family environment. My imagination could wander into other scenarios or expand upon the original fantasy but mostly it was a passive experience.

My kids kill zombies (and other creatures), dress in amazing outfits, shop, design their igloos, earn money, plow fields and the list goes on. While they may get bossed around after school and told to do their homework on their time they design worlds. The experience is so active.

Asking my daughter about the story I’m writing (for a work project) from a child’s perspective she took me out of the school and put me into fantasy. Which makes sense. In school she’s told what to do; in a fantasy world her options are limitless. And that’s what a ten year old knew that her mother needed help figuring out.

The picture? Decided to support the Jasmine Revolution this morning.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chaos to clarity?

Or, is the jumble in my head leading somewhere?

I don’t have a hard time brainstorming and coming up with ideas. And they come out clearly enough that I can usually sit down, organize my thoughts and write them out coherently. My problem lies in having too many thoughts, ideas and light bulb moments. And I can seem like a disorganized (disoriented) mess when brainstorming. That glazed eyes and staring off into the distance with a smile look.

So I:
-Take my ideas for granted and not seriously

-Write them in a notebook then forget about them

-Never bother writing them down then eventually forget them

-Give them away

-Don’t have time to explore or build them all

-Make myself crazy by trying to frantically follow up on more of them than is realistic

Creativity is such a blessing. The world takes on a magical light when you dress up the realities around you. I romanticize everything and have since I was a child (also known as denial). This quality makes you an optimist (because if you don’t like something you dress it up internally and move on). It’s also a good one for a writer. I really see the beauty outside my window and how that might shape people, good or bad.

Visiting Watts last week had a profound impact on my imagination. Parts weren’t so easy to romanticize. There was beauty in the people and some of the interactions I saw, but the back drop was grim.

How do you dress up the realities that defy denial?

Busy…busy…and staying super busy I’m now sitting down to reflect on all of the people I’ve met and spoken with over the past week. Then I need to ponder what I read. Jumble up the mess with my brain storms and scrawled notes and you get chaos. But as I now just stop and search for the clarity within, pictures are taking shape.

What is magic? Wonderment or mastery? That’s part of the clarity I’m seeking in an issue still internally in chaos.

Picture from the Jet Propulsion Lab

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Every book starts with a word

Then a sentence follows. Next comes a full page.

That’s how to write a book.

It’s born in your imagination but takes shape by the hard work of writing it down.

I’ve been asked a number of times now about how I wrote Captive. The story remains the same and like so many other things in life it centers around discipline. If there is one issue I complain about constantly it’s the sunny Sunday afternoons that I spend at my desk writing. Life would even be better if I could take my research/reading outside and at least do that. My friends are enjoying the day; I’m working. And believe, me, today here in Santa Monica is lovely/

But that’s how you get just a little bit more done.

Today I won’t work on the book. I’ve taken a few weeks off to focus on another project. And, with the sequel, I’m behind on my research anyways. I’ll read later but have one more thing to do first (after this posting)

But last week I did do an updated outline. I know what happens (in Escape; Captive’s sequel!). I just need to write it in a narrative. Expect bombs and perhaps, I’m, weighing it, a Harold Robbins turn. Anyone remember those days?

And, if you can’t get past the idea, take a class like I did on novel writing. I did one online, at UCLA Extension. It helped me get past word one, and page one.

Happy Sunday!

The picture is morning...a few weeks ago