Time to Prioritize

I have been spending way too much time in other pursuits like studying and writing papers for a class, trying to figure out what to do after retiring as a college prof, writing a sequel to a book I have online, downsizing from a large home to a smaller condo, and so much more.

I need to take a month off and get my priorities straight again. I’ll be back in a few weeks, and in the meantime, please check out my Author Page and catch up with me.

Do you need to take time off from whatever keeps you from your writing? I strongly encourage this for all “creative” persons.

~ CLMcK ~

“What Genre Do You Prefer?”

Up to this point, I’ve primarily talked about writing fantasy in this blog, but another favorite genre for me is mystery. I’ve written mysteries and I love the puzzles they bring along with the story. Perhaps next week I’ll write a little about the mystery genre.

For instance, in the book I’m writing now, I had the murderer all figured out when I outlined the story. But try as I might, I couldn’t think of a single reason why this person would do such a crime against the victim. Back to the drawing board, as they say!

When I figured out all the signs I’d planted throughout the book, the solution came to me, so now I’m rewriting the final quarter of the book to make it clearer to me as well as to the reader. Now it all makes more sense to me, and I honestly don’t know how I missed seeing it as I wrote.

Isn’t that the way with Life? Too often we think we have it all figured out, only to realize that we have been on a different path all along. In writing a book, we can go back and edit the story. How do we edit our lives when we realize we need to make a few changes in order to keep going?

More About NaNoWriMo

  • Ever since I was a “winner” on NaNoWriMo, I have been editing and adding to the words I continue to write.

    Editing isn’t always fun, but I do enjoy it when I find a section of the writing that needs a little propping up. It is so easy for me to get lost in the “story” that I don’t add all the other surrounding aspects of a particular section. Editing for me is when I take a paragraph and expand it into several more, maybe even several pages.

    When I write, I seem to hear the conversations first. After that, I look around and check out the place where this is taking place. There is so much to see, and I want the reader to see it all, too. Other writers say they do a lot of description first, then go back to include the conversations, or dialogues.

    Another area where writers differ is in their approach. Some are strictly “seat of the pants” writers (“pantsers”) and just let the story go where it will. Others have a lengthy detailed outline of where they want the story to go. I suppose I’m a combination of those (“plantser”). I write a vague outline that is sparse and general. Within that, I let the characters tell the story they want to tell and I go along for the ride.

    No matter which kind of writer you are, I encourage you to set aside a time each day to write. This is something I need to remember, too. I find it is too easy to get caught up in all the requirements of my “real” job and not take time to do what nourishes my soul.

    TIP: It’s time to plan for NaNoWriMo in 2021! Begin thinking and planning today!

Opportunity Coming Soon!

National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner for 2021! I invite anyone who is interested in writing fiction of any sort (romance, fantasy, Western, mystery, etc) to take part.

If you’ve been meaning to start writing, this is a good way. I entered for quite a few years before I actually finished the required 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. Once I did that, I found that words came easier and easier.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have to struggle! No matter how many times I start a new book, I worry that this time I won’t make it. Once I begin writing, however, the story seems to take form.

My suggestion, whether a new writer or a seasoned one, is to make an outline before NaNoWriMo starts. Have some vague idea of what you want to write about, perhaps even write a few character sketches. Then when you finally start writing on November 1, you’ll be more prepared. The first time I entered, I waited until November 1 to even think about what I wanted to write. Bad mistake!

I’ll see you in November in NaNoWriMo. If you want a virtual writing companion, let me know. We can give each other encouragement! But you need to register early. That can’t wait until November 1, either.

TIP: Go to https://nanowrimo.org/ and sign up right away. If you have ever wanted a good incentive to begin writing, this is classic.

~ CLMcK ~

Don’t Fear the Dragon

Dragons seem to be synonymous with fantasy. The most famous of fantasy authors rely on at least one wonderful (or dreadful) dragon in the stories.

What do dragons signify? They are one of the signs in the Chinese Zodiac but it doesn’t come up for another couple of years. We are currently in the Year of the Ox, and next year will be the Year of the Tiger. You might check this website to find out where you are in the lineup.

I prefer to think about what the dragon represents in fantastical tales. What are the words you think of when dragons come to mind? Fire? Passion? Mystery? Something primeval? A mythical creature? A dragon is all of that and more, but the dragon will always have meaning for each of us individually.

Ursula LeGuin wrote: People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons –
from within.

I am so intrigued by dragons that I may need to start writing about them.

  • TIP: In your idea notebook (you do have one, don’t you?), jot down all the ideas and meanings that come to you about dragons. How can you use these ideas in a story?

~ CLMcK ~

It’s All Fantasy, Isn’t It?

I started this blog several years ago in a different place, but a few weeks ago, I decided to use a different platform for my blog, so I’ve moved here. Please tell others about it, if you wish. I really have been writing, however, and not just sitting around playing with my cat, as much fun as that is.

Recently, I began fantasizing about writing in a new genre, as well as fantasy. I love writing fantasy and what I want to write next is still fantasy in the sense that I described in my August 15, 2021 post. In other words, fantasy is something that has not happened – yet.

So, my fantasy is that I will explore writing in a genre known as “cozy mystery.” For now, the characters are all fantasies in my mind. They live ordinary lives, and yet may become involved in extraordinary mysterious events. As a rule, in the cozy mystery, nothing is solved by detectives, but by ordinary people like you or me. Stay tuned.

Part of the reason behind this blog is to encourage others to begin their own writing journey, not merely to market my own writing. However, if you are interested in finding my fantasy writing, watch for Darcy de Sahba on Kindle, about a young were-tigress and her journey quest. Soon, I will tell you how to find it.

  • TIP: Look around you at the everyday people in your life and fantasize about how they could become involved in solving a small mystery. Take one or two and write a scene.

A hui hou!

~ CLMcK ~

Where Do Our Fantasies Originate?

In the truest sense of the word, all fiction is fantasy because it is something that has not actually taken place. My last post talked about the wonderful imaginings that are behind fantasy writing.

Yet the question remains, “where do our fantasies originate?” From childhood we have made up stories. Somewhere along our educational path, we were told to stop making up things. Parents and teachers called them “lies,” but we knew better. We knew we were creating a fantasy world, one that the adults could never enter.

Fantasies are the stuff of our early dreams. If we have not allowed anyone to take those away from us, we have the makings of a terrific fantasy tale right inside us. 

My suggestion is to simply start writing – anything. I believe that if we start writing down our current dreams, we will begin to retrieve those stories that lie buried in our unconscious.

TIP: Pick an image that pops out of your thoughts and write a brief outline of a story. If you put enough of these stories together, you may start to have a viable story line.

~ CLMcK ~

What Determines Fantasy Writing?

In psychological terms, a fantasy is something that hasn’t happened yet. We might say to a client, “What is your fantasy about this situation?” In other words, “How do you see this event coming about in the future?” or “What do you think is going to happen?”

In literary terms, we might think of fantasy in several different aspects. We may create entirely new worlds, with new financial terms, new ways of preparing and eating food, new vocabulary, new creatures that are not human the way we know humanity. The plants and geography may be totally new creations. 

Our fantasy might occur in an imaginary world of Little People, talking animals, magic and witchcraft, dragons and unicorns, vampires and werewolves. These fantasies take on whatever form our thoughts make of them, and often they are ruined when put on the movie screen.

Time can be suspended, we can be taken on the “way back” machine, or placed on fast forward to a time that hasn’t been revealed to us. We can take humans and project them into another millenium in our imaginations.

TIP: Go back to your favorite fantasy fiction and list everything in it that is new or different from your ordinary world here on Earth. 

~ CLMcK ~

COVID Doldrums

Have you ever been caught in the doldrums while out sailing? It’s a hard place to be, isn’t it? Waiting for the wind to lift your sails and send you on your way can feel like such a waste.

Surely, I’m not the only person who found herself with time to write but ended up worrying about COVID instead! The doldrums hit, and I just couldn’t find the energy to do much writing. All that time spent washing my hands, social distancing, putting on a mask, and sanitizing seemed to destroy any creative streak that was trying to surface.

I have been vaccinated, and I still wash my hands, social distance myself, wear my mask, and sanitize frequently. I’m venturing out more, and I think I caught my creative muse trying to send a little puff of wind around the corner, so maybe she didn’t die after all. Resurrection can happen!

There is a fresh breeze blowing offshore, and perhaps we’ll have full sailing ability soon. Yesterday, after all this time of COVID and a blank brain, I came up with four or five new ideas and plots for fantasy books. Maybe it’s because the past eighteen months allowed space for a breeze to blow through the windows of my mind, but for whatever reason, I’m writing again!

  • TIP: I’ve heard that whistling can bring the desired wind, so if you are in the COVID doldrums, go “whistle down the wind!” and get back to your computer.

~ CLMcK ~