Posts Tagged 'novel development'



Where I Get My Ideas

Sketch of the Grand Canyon’s Inner Gorge from Plateau Point

Last night and today I have been doing something I haven’t done in a very loooong time.

I’ve been updating my website. Yes, I have a website in addition to this blog. The link is in the margin to the right.  The last time I updated it was in 2009, when The Enclave came out and all I did then was put a notice on my home page and add a page just fro it. I didn’t even remember to change the “last updated” blurb in the header, so that it still said “July 2007” when I started to work last night.

I had no idea it had been that long. I’ve been thinking for some time that I need to integrate it with the blog, but that’s about all I’ve done: think.  And not much of that, either.  Too many options, too little knowledge and WAY too little time!

But with the re-release of Arena, and this month’s free e-book special of The Light of Eidon, I figured I should probably get back to the website and at least update Arena’s cover and mention the special.

In the process, I’ve found some fun things there; things that I’d forgotten.

Like the Arena Scrapbook I made to illustrate some answers to the question, where do I get my ideas?

Here’s the start…

“People ask where I get my ideas.  As with all authors, mine come from things I’ve experienced in my life, either directly or indirectly through reading, movies or things others have told me. Sometimes places or events surface that I think are completely original, only to discover later that I actually experienced them somewhere before.

It was a real shock to be walking down the upper switchbacks of the Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Trail some twenty years after the first time I’d done it and come to a spot that was “straight out of Arena.” Until then, I thought I’d made it up completely.”

To see the photos of experiences that spawned various elements of Arena, I invite you to visit my Scrapbook Page HERE.

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Dismayed, Dissatisfied and Overwhelmed

Yesterday I noted some of the things that came in to interrupt and distract me from writing daily. Today I’ll note what happened on the days that I did write — which was four days last week and three days — so far — this week.

Last monday I got into the office at 7:41am!  Hooray.  At first I hardly knew what to do. I wrote in my Morning Pages journal (from The Artist’s Way) then got down to work — for almost all day. I have stacks of notecards and papers all over the place, so I took one of the stacks which was on my main character, Talmas, and used it to update my character file on him, then threw the stack away.

Tuesday I got into the office at 7:26am, but then had to intersperse writing with other stuff. In the end I did three pages of back story on another character. I had a bunch of different notes because I’d kept changing my mind about how things were going to go, and finally pulled it together and into line with the other characters’ storylines. I waffled a good deal — is this really the relationship and sequence that makes the most sense and will be believed? I wasn’t sure. Then I realized I just flat-out liked it the best, so I went with that. It doesn’t seem like much progress, but it took most of the day.

Wednesday I thought hard about the book and got nowhere. I was all ready to rail on in my current journal about my frustration, dismay, lack of progress and sense that there’s both too much here and nothing at the same time, then discovered that I’d already done that. In my journal entry from March 1, 2007

Ahem. That’s five years ago. When I was starting The Enclave. Which was mildly alarming — the fact it’s been almost exactly five years since I started a book. Of course it doesn’t seem like I’m “starting” Sky because I’ve been picking at it for about four years now in between all the other things, and do have seven chapters written.  But since it’s been more a process of two steps forward, one step back, maybe it just seems like I should be further along because of the time, not the continuity of work.

Anyway, here’s what I wrote at the start of The Enclave, 5 years ago:

“[This morning] I was bugged, condemned and dismayed because I’d started to look through my notes and was not only dissatisfied — it’s not right, it’s not compelling , it’s not going in the right direction, I don’t like it — but overwhelmed by all the ideas and info and possibilities, and at the same time clueless as to which to choose. When I finished wrestling with it — and by then it was only noon — I was exhausted!”

Exactly how I felt with Sky. And still do most of the time. Trying to get my head around the world, which is only partially conceived, and the characters and some kind of actual plot  is both overwhelming and confusing. Yes, that event would be an okay thing to happen, and that detail of setting is cool, and this conversation would be nice, and yeah, I did have the idea that he would rescue people, and then there are the Mole People, those are cool, but I have no idea how they relate… and the ma’el– Should that be their name or should I change it? — and the Artifacts – how do they fit in? And…

AAAARG.

So I went off to Good Reads, which I’d only just learned about and read some nice reviews about The Light of Eidon

Ahem.

But I did want to set down one more quote from that same journal entry in March of 2007  because it also applies to me working on Sky. I guess it’s not surprising that I would wrestle with the same personal flaws and tendencies every time, but it always seems Amazing and Startling to me when I discover that I do.

So, continuing from the March 1, 2007 entry:

“I realized I’d had unrealistic expectations (ie, “see the entire storyline in pleased and confident clarity”) and that of course it would be like this (chaos, too much to process, nothing that seems good) and I should have set some sort of specific and reasonable goal like, “look through the material and see if anything occurs to me…” rather than beat myself up for reasons that are absurd and even… well… insane…”

So that is what I’m trying to do. Just look through the material and see where God leads me. Without expecting it all to fall into place at once. Or even in a day. 🙂

Wordless, Sort of

I seem to have been wordless for the last few days. Not wordless for my journal or my writing logs, but wordless when it comes to writing a blog post, or answering email, or working on Sky. I know I’ve been tired and it may be that is part of the problem. If being wordless is really a problem.

The biggest thing of late seems to have been to stop trying to do it myself, stop trying to figure out what’s wrong with me and focus on Jesus. We’ve been learning about being crucified with Christ. The old man, the old me, the me with limitations and the one that makes all the problems and fusses. The distractable me. The confused me.

I understand crucifixion — that is, I know what it is. I know that Jesus was crucified. I am familiar with Gal 2:20 which says “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered himself up for me.”

But I only sort of understand it. It’s not a literal crucifixion of my body. It’s a spiritual crucifixion. It means the old me has died, even though experientially it still holds sway over me. Which is kind of hard to understand. Usually if something is dead it just lies there doing nothing. But then, everyone born into this world is born spiritually dead and they don’t just lie there…

So it’s a spiritual crucifixion. And while the old me can have power over me, it doesn’t have to. If I don’t want to be under its power, I don’t have to be, though it seems awfully hard a lot of the time not to fall into it anyway. To even recognize it, is sometimes hard, because not all its impulses and suggestions are obviously bad and evil and sinful. Some of them are good, humanly speaking. Some of the things the old nature can do are the same things the new nature does in the power of the Spirit. Outwardly they look the same. Inwardly, they can too, if my inward sight is not clear enough.

Anyway, I’m grappling with how one goes about living in the fact of having been crucified with Christ, and how that relates to my writing problems… if it does, and finally yesterday I just gave up trying to figure out what I need to do better or different or what have you and just took it to the Lord. “You do it,” I said to Him. “You’ve promised to make all grace abound to me, so I’d have all sufficiency in everything, an abundance for every good deed. If you really want me to write this book, You’re going to have to do it, because I am not able to.

And at the end of the day I looked at the work for about an hour and began to gather various notes on scraps and pieces of paper into a document on the computer. Stuff that might happen in Chapter 6. Stuff I know about the situation in Chapter 6 — a dinner party. (That may be most of my problem. A dinner party is not inherently full of conflict and action…) I know many of the people who will attend. I know in general what may be discussed. I know some secrets to reveal…

Today I added to that document, interspersed with continued reading in my book about life in ancient Rome. I’m getting glimpses.  Small interchanges, images, a sense of place… it’s starting, slowly, to come together.

I have no idea what will happen tomorrow but I’d be an idiot not to go to God again and say, again, “You do it. I can’t. Show me the way I should go here, for to you I lift up my soul.”

More and more He’s showing me — it’s to be a moment by moment thing, where I go to Him, ask Him, stop trying to do it myself… I have limits, I have blind spots, I have no idea where we’re going. He does. And He doesn’t have limits and He has no blind spots. Trusting Him for it all, I think, is living by faith in the Son of God… Faith He’s there, faith He will come through.   Because “Faithful is He who has called you and HE will bring it to pass.”

 

 


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