Order From Chaos


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Order From Chaos

By Nandy Ekle

The kids fight to see who will be in bed first, but after getting there and pulling the covers over their heads, they lay awake listening for every little sound. Is Santa here yet, they ask each other in whispered voices so they won’t get in trouble on this night when they need to be extra, extra good. Eventually each child nods off, snores and dreams of a special toy they had fervently asked for.

Christmas morning the sun peeks in through the windows and every kid wakes up with a deep breath and the feeling that something has happened during the night. They jump from bed and run into the room where the tree stands sparkling. Their parents follow them with tired knowing looks on their faces. The presents are passed out and the chaos begins. Ribbons and paper fly through the air as the children rip it from the boxes to find the surprises hidden underneath.

As a young mother I would watch my own brood tear through the paper in less than fifteen minutes and shake my head. I had been a meticulous gift wrapper and the destruction often left me wondering why I took so much care. Then I would look at the mess of tags and ribbons and gibblets of paper all over the floor I kept vacuumed and clean and wondered why I bothered.

But when all the frantic unwrapping and opening and string cutting and shouting was over, the clean up came and life became normal again. And the happy looks my kids wore on their faces reminded me what it was all about.

So where am I going with this happy memory? Well, it occurred to me that the pantser style of writing, which is the way I write most of the time, is a lot like Christmas morning. I get an idea in my head that buzzes around enough to keep me from sleeping the way I should. As I lay awake at night thinking about the new characters and what they want and why they can’t have it without an adventure, every thought from kids’ lunch money to laundry can have a bearing on my story. When I finally get to sit at the computer to tune in to the voices telling me a story, I tear through the words as if they were simply thin tissue paper covering a secret surprise inside a box and the only way to get to the center of the adventure is to violently rip every shred of taped paper and fling it away.

Once the story is revealed, I can look around the room. It appears as though an explosion took place, only instead of bright colored paper, it’s words. Then comes the job of putting everything in order—tossing out the trash, rearranging scenes and characters, making sure all the little pieces are still there without a lot of extra stuff that doesn’t fit anything. When it’s all done, I see the look on my readers’ faces and remember what it’s all about.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

An Inspirational Book


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

An Inspirational Book

It might as well be midnight for me. I get up very early in the morning, work an eight-hour job, cook dinner when I get home (and other domestic activities), work a couple of craft projects for friends , and then settle with the computer in my lap. And then it hits me. I have not written my blog and my brain has already counted down, said its prayers and gone to bed.

I reach for the little green book that stays near my writing space: The Pocket Muse, by Monica Wood.

This book is a life saver. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to Ms. Wood for help, and been sent on my way with a pocket full of inspirational ideas from the pages of her book. Just one tiny little nugget catches my attention tonight: “Write a piece – fiction or nonfiction, poetry, or script – in which three objects exist at the beginning and only one at the end.” I read it several times and begin to feel something inside my head split and unwind like an orange peel.

First, I’ll find three random homemade objects with absolutely no connection, then I’ll make up a connection for them. A couple of characters line up and their dialogue escalates the story into, um, a misunderstanding which leads to a couple of the children disliking each other. Two objects disappear and the kids must find them before the bell rings at 3:00 sending them home.

Now it’s your turn to write something from one of Monica’s amazing jam-packed idea book. Ready? Here it is:  “Write about a person whose reputation rests on the appearance of an inanimate object.”

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle

 

Where do you belong?


Where do you belong?

Where does your writing fit in the world of genre?

A genre is a “category” of literature or other forms of art and culture. Knowing the answer to this question will be a great benefit in every area of your writing.

Here is a list of the major writing genres: children, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, short fiction, thriller, westerns, young adults, mainstream, nonfiction. Within each of these groups there are multiple sub-genres.

You will find that your thoughts will be more focused when you write if you understand the genre where your project best fits. You will also have a greater chance of success when seeking the proper agent for representation. Remember that not all agents represent every genre. When submitting your work directly, choose a publisher that best fits your writing. Research the company to understand what genre they represent to ensure greater chances of publication.

To help you discover which Genre fits your writing best, we will explore each category in future weekly blog posts.

Rory C. Keel

Everyday Sights


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Everyday Sights

Look around you – what do you see?  Dirt in the sky during a wind storm?  Trees?  Stars in the sky?  A trailer house that has seen better days?  A room full of toys?  A sky with no clouds and so blue you think it’s made of water?

There are stories here.  The dirt in the sky during a wind storm:  What else is there?  Where did the dirt come from?  What sound does it make?

Trees?  Is it a forest or an orchard/grove?  What kind of trees?  Do they hide secrets?  What history have they seen?

Stars in the sky:  Do they appear normal?  What is normal?  What if they spelled a message?

A trailer house that has seen better days:  What better days?  Who lived there?  How long ago?  Is it abandoned?  Why does it appear empty?

A room full of toys:  Are there children?  Who are the children?  Why are the toys laying around?  What are the toys?  Where have the children gone?

A sky with no clouds and so blue you think it’s made of water:  Could it actually be made of water?  While you look up, what happens?  Do you fall?

There is a story in everything around us.

Congratulations. You have received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle

Where do you belong?


Where do you belong?

Where does your writing fit in the world of genre?

A genre is a “category” of literature or other forms of art and culture. Knowing the answer to this question will be a great benefit in every area of your writing.

Here is a list of the major writing genres: children, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, short fiction, thriller, westerns, young adults, mainstream, nonfiction. Within each of these groups there are multiple sub-genres.

You will find that your thoughts will be more focused when you write if you understand the genre where your project best fits. You will also have a greater chance of success when seeking the proper agent for representation. Remember that not all agents represent every genre. When submitting your work directly, choose a publisher that best fits your writing. Research the company to understand what genre they represent to ensure greater chances of publication.

To help you discover which Genre fits your writing best, we will explore each category in future weekly blog posts.

Rory C. Keel