Number One: Can Chloe save Horatius
and change back the timeline to what it’s supposed to be?
Today is the day before my book launch, day Number One for the “Top Ten Reasons to read Chloe’s Odyssey,” a series of artwork designs Spencer created to go with little glimpses I’ve written about what a reader will discover in the third book of the series. As I finish my count down, Advent begins its count up to Christmas. Today is the first of four Sundays in Advent. I’m so excited that Chloe’s Odyssey is coming out right now, at the beginning of the Christmas season. The timing couldn’t be better because Chloe goes to the first Christmas and sees the Nativity, plus meets the shepherds and wise men. It was simply serendipitous and lucky that I got the book finished in time to launch in Advent, plus it was an accident that Chloe ended up at the first Christmas. That wasn’t in my original outline, but it worked out well when she and Kaitlyn decided they needed to get there.
Write On! Doing Whatever It Takes to Get an Eye-Catching Cover Even If It Means Getting Your Husband Out of Bed At Oh-Dark-Thirty
The cover for my most recent book, The Clone’s Mother (October 2015), has changed. After attending a seminar on cover design, the expert taught that each genre fiction has its own look, a style that readers look for and must find in that one-point-two seconds they see your cover when browsing books, or it’s sayonara baby, move on to the next selection please. After seeing all of his examples of the suspense/thriller covers coming out of New York, I did my own survey and found he was right. That meant I had to change my cover. To go for a new look.
Fortunately, I’m not suffering from writer’s block right now. I’m in crunch time trying to get Chloe’s Odyssey ready for launch. So I’m going to go work on that while you read about a time when I did have writer’s block, because every writer goes through this.
When a writer creates a story, it must be told in a way that allows the reader to "suspend disbelief." Readers must be willing to put aside their usual resistance to believing ridiculous or far-fetched things in order to enjoy a story. Normally, when navigating day to day life, we have enough cynicism so we can know when someone is conning us. But when processing stories, readers must decide if they will let go of their skepticism in order to go with the story, if they will allow the words to take them to new places and let them experience sometimes unimaginable things. If not, the needle on the record player screeches across the vinyl. The book is closed and set aside forever. The reader didn't "go with it," they didn't suspend disbelief.
Spencer, Molly, Charlie, and Pierce--at the zoo in Amarillo
(wearing their colors for easy identification).
The first book I wrote was a children’s picture book. It came to fruition only after my sister graciously let me come stay with her and her husband at their home in Amarillo, TX. I’d completed the written story and I needed some intensive work time to get all the illustrations done.
When a writer begins his or her book, there is always a little bit (and sometimes a lot a bit) of delusions of grandeur. You have visions of amazing things that will take place in the future: your guest appearance on the Tonight Show, accepting that Oscar for best something or other (maybe they’ll make a new category just for your own type of book), or having Oprah read it and love it and tweet it out to all her fans.
When I write the last sentence of a book, it’s a huge relief. Not because I’m finished, because I’m FAR from that. But now I have a framework with which to work. I have the skeleton built on which to slap the meat. Once the story’s path is written from point A to point Z, I can have more fun and start doing the truly creative part. Revision and self-editing begins and inspiration is released in a new way.
Yesterday I hit the two-month point of my "366 Days of Blogging" and I nearly quit. But I didn't. So I'm back at my desk today trying not to quit. But it's a holiday. And I took some medication that is rendering me pretty loopy. So I'm thinking in order to keep from quitting, maybe I can re-post something from the past. I found the very first blog I did, which I think might be very appropriate, since it's about starting, not ending, my blog. Hopefully this counts, and it should, since I'm making up the rules as I go. Most importantly, I hope it is of some interest to readers. If it does both, (count and entertain) than I've met my goal. :)
I think we all probably do it. At least I know that I do, and some of the homeless I’ve seen wandering downtown by Acacia Park. We have pretend conversations with people who aren’t there. I hope I’m discreet enough about it that others don’t notice that I’m doing it. But it is basically working through a problem, practicing the dialogue for what I might say in a given situation. I’ve been told by a counselor that it's a good thing to do. It prepares you for communication. It helps you explore ways to say things, how to respond to a variety of responses, and helps work out the kinks and find the right words. It also can give confidence to say something that is hard to say or going to be received poorly. It’s basically role playing all by yourself. It’s okay to do, as long as you know there isn’t someone else there. If you start hearing answers from your invisible role playing partner, or even seeing him, it’s probably time to visit a specialist.
Did you know that in midday, one can hear slow, relaxed music piped over grocery store speakers to help the retired community feel good about lingering in the aisles, making solid decisions about choosing or passing on the new soup flavor? But at about 5:00 p.m., when rush hour is full on, the music becomes quick and snappy, keeping professionals who just got off work and are looking for a quick solution for supper moving along to help minimize congestion.
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