My guest today is Linda Bell Brighton, a new author whose Sidonia the Sorceress series has been intriguing me since Linda first mentioned it in one of my online writing workshops.
Oh, Mary! I’m so tickled to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
If it’s alright, I’ll tell your readers about the problem behind that call I made to you for a coaching session.
Plotting (finding) the theme for my books is difficult. So I get in touch with Muse using tarot cards. (You can read my two beginning “Plotting With Tarot” posts at From The Bootheel Cotton Patch and Nicki j. Markus.) To find the theme, I deal three cards across and make sentence (subject/verb/object.)
For the theme spread for Book 2 of the Sidonia the Sorceress series, THE WEB (due out October), I interpreted the cards as “Belief destroys judgment.”
I happily started to go through my scenes. I only had titles, i.e., Sidonia visits Ernst. In that scene, I noted how Sidonia’s belief that Ernst was poisoned had her make decisions she wouldn’t ordinarily make. But as I continued, I wasn’t excited. How is the reader supposed to be excited when I’m not?
I backed up and looked at the theme for a few days. (Okay, it took me longer to figure out to do this.) It was a good theme, I felt, so what was wrong?
What I finally understood was that I was applying the theme in too “small” of way. Showing the instances in each scene and chapter wasn’t enough. I needed to apply the theme to the entire book as a mind-blowing twist.
A year or longer ago, a friend had recommended books by David R Hawkins, MD, PhD. One is POWER vs. FORCE. The back blurb says, “Man[kind] thinks he lives by virtue of the forces he can control, but in fact, he’s governed by power from unrevealed sources, power over which he has no control.” Now that’s BIG.
So now, every person, including Sidonia at the beginning, thinks they live by virtue of the forces they can control by magic, intentionally or not.
That’s when I called Mary and asked, “Does her becoming a magician let her control power? Or does she learn one aspect of it?” My conversation with Mary was an enjoyable experience. I also got a “heads up” about the magic I was using at the end of the book, how it wasn’t consistent with the magic that came before. A discussion I’ll always remember.
I learned two lessons: 1) The Tarot gives you ideas; you still need to think how is best to use it. You still have to rely on your left brain to interpret it; and, 2) The Tarot isn’t consistent. Examine what it tells you about your world building with your left brain to organize it.
Forced to attend Princess Maria regent’s celebration at Wolgast Castle, 1560 Germany, Sidonia von Bork, fears her magical abilities will be discovered and she’ll be burned alive as a witch. When she discovers she is actually a member of an ancient shape-shifting race and the prophesied Golden One, she must face her destiny: to save the multiverse from the daemons determined to destroy all humans, and stay alive in the process.
Linda is giving away prizes, including an e-copy of her book at each blog stop on her tour AND three Grand Prize Giveaway of one Travel Mug, one T-Shirt and one Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with your choice of fan art, chosen from here: http://www.zazzle.com/sidonia_the_sorceres, shipped to anywhere in the world!
1) To win a book: Leave a comment on this blog post on what is your favorite theme to be entered to win a book. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends seven days after the post goes live.
2) To win the Travel Mug or the T-Shirt or the Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with Linda’s fan art of your choice, click the link to go to Linda’s website here http://www.lindabellbrighton.com/ and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. The three lucky winners will be selected by October 7, 2013.
My guest this morning is Cheryl Gorman, whose latest release is “The Rancher and the Event Planner .” I’ve known Cheryl since she was prepublished, and I’ve always admired Cheryl’s willingness to learn and test anything that would improve her writing. I also love her sense of humor–just one of the things that makes reading Cheryl’s books fun.
Cheryl Gorman is a multi-published award winning author of contemporary and romantic suspense novels. Her first novel, Wolf Island was a 2006 Eppie Finalist. She also co-authored the non-fiction book Ten Steps to Creating Memorable Characters. She grew up in Burke County Georgia whose claim to fame is The Bird Dog Capital of the World. Cheryl graduated from Georgia College and State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1979 and went to work at the Medical College of Georgia. In 1987 she moved to the beautiful state of Colorado and there her life truly began. On her arrival in Colorado, Cheryl felt as if she had finally come home after being away for a long, long time. She put fingers to keyboard, started writing and has never looked back. She lives in Highlands Ranch with her husband, their daughter and two little furry children named Pilot and Rocky.
And here’s Cheryl:
First, thank you, Mary for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. This is a real treat.
A few things about my writing process.
When I first started writing my process was to write any random thought that popped into my pea-sized brain with regard to characters and the amorphous story I had concocted with absolutely no direction. A lot of my characters stared at me with their eyes bugging out of their skulls and yelling, “I would never do that! I would never say that! What are you nuts!?” (Exclamation point alert) I kept writing despite turning my characters into contortionists and psycho split personalities while creating a stinking pile that had no hopes of publication. Then something both wonderful and horrible happened. I joined Romance Writers of America and Colorado Romance Writers. Wonderful because I discovered there were other writers out there trying to do the same thing I was trying to do which was write romance novels, sell them and become rich and famous.
Now for the horrible side of things. I realized what I knew about writing could fit on a flea’s ass. So much for becoming rich and famous. My learning curve began when I read tons and tons of how-to books and took umpteen writing workshops. I entered numerous contests, submitted to editors and agents. The result of my efforts yielded enough rejections to paper my bathroom walls and
Eric Maisel is a wise and generous mentor, the founder of creativity coaching, a man who has helped thousands of writers, artists and performers find their individual creative processes. In his new book, Making Your Creative Mark, Eric shares nine key ideas that would make every creative person’s journey more fulfilling–and fun. I have a fine collection of Eric’s books, and Making Your Creative Mark is one of my two favorite collections of Eric’s widsom.
And here’s Eric!
By Eric Maisel
If you want to live a creative life and make your mark in some competitive art field like writing, film-making, the visual arts, or music, and if at the same time you want to live an emotionally healthy life full of love and satisfaction, you need an intimate understanding of certain key ideas and how they relate to the creative process.
One key idea is that you must act confidently whether or not you feel confident. You need to manifest confidence in every stage of the creative process if you want to get your creative work accomplished. Here’s what confidence looks like throughout the creative process.
Stage 1. Wishing
‘Wishing’ is a pre-contemplation stage where you haven’t really decided that you intend to create. You dabble at making art, you don’t find your efforts very satisfying, and you don’t feel that you go deep all that often. The confidence that you need to manifest during this stage of the process is the confidence that you are equal to the rigors of creating. If you don’t confidently accept the reality of process and the reality of difficulty you may never really get started.
Stage 2. Incubation/Contemplation
During this second stage of the process you need to be able to remain open to what wants to come rather than defensively settling on a first idea or an easy idea. The task is remaining open and not settling for something that relieves your anxiety and your discomfort. The confidence needed here is the confidence to stay open.
Stage 3. Choosing Your Next Subject
Choosing is a crucial part of the creative process. At some point you need the confidence to say, “I am ready to work on this.” You need the confidence to name a project clearly (even if that naming is “Now I go to the blank canvas without a pre-conceived idea and just start”), to commit to it, and to make sure that you aren’t leaking confidence even as you choose this project.
Stage 4. Starting Your Work
When you start a new creative work you start with certain ideas for the work, certain hopes and enthusiasms, certain doubts and fears – that is, you start with an array of thoughts and feelings, some positive and some negative. The confidence you need at that moment is the confidence that you can weather all those thoughts and feelings and the confidence to go into the unknown.
Stage 5. Working
Once you are actually working on your creative project, you enter into the long process of fits and starts, ups and downs, excellent moments and terrible moments – the gamut of human experiences that attach to real work. For this stage you need the confidence that you can deal with your own doubts and resistances and the confidence that you can handle whatever the work throws at you.
Stage 6. Completing
At some point you will be near completing the work. It is often hard to complete what we start because then we are obliged to appraise it, learn if it is good or bad, deal with the rigors of showing and selling, and so on. The confidence required during this stage is the confidence to weather the very ideas of appraisal, criticism, rejection, disappointment and everything else that we fear may be coming once we announce that the work is done.
Stage 7. Showing
A time comes when we are obliged to show our work. The confidence needed here is not only the confidence to weather the ideas of appraisal, criticism, and rejection but the confidence to weather the reality of appraisal, criticism, and rejection. Like so many other manifestations of confidence, the basic confidence here sounds like “Bring it on!” You are agreeing to let the world do its thing and announcing that you can survive any blows that the world delivers.
Stage 8. Selling
A confident seller can negotiate, think on her feet, make pitches and presentations, advocate for her work, explain why her work is wanted, and so on. You don’t have to be over-confident, exuberant, over the top – you simply need to get yourself to the place of being a calmly confident seller, someone who first makes a thing and then sells it in a business-like manner.
Stage 9: New Incubation and Contemplation
While you are showing and selling your completed works you are also incubating and contemplating new projects and starting the process all over again. The confidence required here is the confident belief that you have more good ideas in you. You want to confidently assert that you have plenty more to say and plenty more to do – even if you don’t know what that “something” is quite yet.
Nine months ago, I committed myself to writing a short story a week for a year.
And then I spent that nine months on a sabbatical of sorts, doing all the things for my health and my life I needed to do before I could live up to that commitment.
I didn’t fall off the path. In the background, I collected and savored ideas, worked with other writers, thought about story and studied story structure, the creative process, the ways our minds make (and need) story. And I renewed my energy through and after a serious illness. Thank goodness that’s done :::dusting my hands:::
Nine months later, I’ve decided to change my life and start with an even bigger commitment. Some of those short stories need to be written, and so does a novel. After more than 40 years of psychic work, coaching, consulting and whatever came up first, writing in the cracks between other jobs, I’ve decided to make writing the big deal in my calendar and do as much psychic work, coaching, teaching, consulting and mentoring as I can without sacrificing writing time and energy.
That feels huge to me. My view of the last year is that I was dangling off a bridge, like an old railroad bridge across a high mountain pass. Dangling there, I worked on life structure, story structure, and shoring up whatever needed to be fixed to make the real creative journey successful.
The work was so personal and internal, I didn’t blog about it. Now the blog is back. I’m back. And the adventure began again today.
There’s no perfect launch date (except in fiction, of course). So August 8th started my short-story-a-week-for-a-year project. Astrologically, it was a good launch date.
I’m not quite two weeks into the project and still a story behind.
I knew I was going to do this in front of all of you…and that I’d already given myself permission to stumble, pick myself up and keep on going.
A good launch should bring hidden problems to the fore. Hidden problems were there all along; when you move toward a goal, they become visible so you can resolve them as part of the movement toward completion.
Ten days later I have a webmistress who’s going to save me oodles of writing time, new passwords everywhere because Facebook (bless their hearts) caught an attempted hack. I’ve been working deeply, making progress, working until I fell asleep night after night–and I don’t have a finished short story yet.
For One Year: A Short Story a Week
Ray Bradbury’s famous challenge to writers was to write a short story a week for a year. Over the years, I’ve heard writers who accepted that challenge talk about what it did for each of them.
Today I’m starting that adventure, and I invite each of you to join me. I’ll be posting a weekly blog about my progress, my wins and losses, and what I learn.
I just met a friend for Espresso–the kind you’ll find at your local library but not at Starbucks. Now I’m jumping up and down and wanting to visit with all of you about the “new espresso machine” that doesn’t make coffee.
I still remember the first time I saw blurry snowy black-and-white TV. A neighbor’s dad sold them and brought one home, and the whole neighborhood started hanging out at their house to see Dick Cavett on Omaha television. The men spent at least half their time adjusting the antenna until we learned that moving our chairs around the room improved reception too.
And now a new Espresso machine has shown up, and it’s as exciting for me as any of the other things that used to be science fiction before they became real.