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Showing posts with label analogy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label analogy. Show all posts

Monday, 16 May 2011

Island of ideas

In the middle of the ocean is an island. 

From above the island doesn't look like much. You probably wouldn't catch some celebrity sunning themselves while on a break from their box-office success. But, to me, the island is the best place in the world. 

Why?

Did you see the monkey? No? Look closer. You just missed it jumping from that tree. What tree? The big jungle over there to the left. Darn. Now the elephant's blocking my view. Hang on, I'll move around it. 

That's better.

If you squint (are you squinting?) you can see the golden temple in the distance. That's where the protagonist will have to go to find the treasure. But you know the villain will try to get there first.

Can you see the villain yet? I'm sure he's lurking around here somewhere. I can see his henchman behind that tent. What tent? The one on the beach. Did I mention the beach?

Why am I talking about imaginary islands? Because ideas are like an undiscovered island. There are hundreds of them, thousands, floating in the ocean of creativity. They might not look much from above, but your island can be whatever you want it to be.

You just have to look close enough. 

Monday, 8 November 2010

Repetition Is Delicious

I love that toddlers are like human sponges. I also like that they are kind of repetitive when the talk, especially when they find a few words they like.

Some words I've heard on repeat last week:
Delicious. Wow (which said by a toddler with curly hair and big brown eyes is adorable). Gosh. Yay.
No. I'm ready (said as soon as she's in the car seat before I've clipped her in). No. Clever girl. No. Hot dog, hot dog hot diggity dog. Mickey Mouse.

And it's the same in writing (come on, you knew I was going somewhere didn't you!) We all have our crutch words, favourite descriptions and phrases (I myself am having an excess word vomit of 'skin,' 'lips' and 'mouth' at the moment). We pepper them into our manuscripts without thinking because they feel natural to us.

It's kind of like word poop, but repeated a few times a chapter.

There's nothing wrong with repeating words. Sometimes it is an effective tool, sometimes it's just a mistake or a habit -- like stuffing in that extra cookie in your mouth while watching TV, or eating the crusts you've cut off your goddaughter's sandwich (I really need to stop that habit, btw). But the best thing about being a writer is finding new ways to describe or write things. Like a toddler sponge in the quest for the new, next time I find myself going for the tried and tested crutch word I'm going to stop, think and write something else.

Oh, and even though I'm sure you know it already, here is somewhere I love to visit for inspiration: The Bookshelf Muse

Because learning something new is just as delicious.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Writing, Writing, Writing...Ooh, Today's The Day

I've finally got the Hot Dog song out of my head from goddaughter sitting yesterday. Woot. So today I'm writing. Yes, I shall be in my happy space tapping on the keyboard. I've got blogs to read, a plot twist to finish, my ending to complete; I'm swamped.

Okay, I'm paraphrasing Prince Humperdinck from The Princess Bride there, but you get the idea. :)

One question though? Can you hear me squee? Yes, today is the Operation Awesome query chat with Elana Johnson. In case you need it, Kristal has posted a handy reminder form over on the OA blog. 

My love of spreading the awesome means I am to sacrifice my cookie/plot dreaming sleep to be awake at 2am. Fear not, I'm prepared. I've saved my writing procrastination episodes of this weeks The Vampire Diaries and Criminal Minds to keep me busy. Although you've seen where I write so I don't have to go far. I'll be the one moderating in my PJ's. I promise I'll brush my hair though. :)

There's also only three days to get your entry in for the beautiful UK edition white Twilight covers (bought and sent by yours truly). Contest closes at Midnight GMT.

And now other things.

Over the last month the goddaughter has started the copying phase. I rested my chin  on my hand, she did the same. I stood in the doorway...so did she (she even looked how my feet were positioned and did the same). If she had any sense she'd copy someone less of a klutz than her auntie, but I guess she's learning other actions. Other ways of expressing herself by watching me.

Then I realised that I do the same when I write. We all do.

We take our notebooks and jot down actions, moments and reactions we've seen and twist them to use for our own literary purposes. We magpie various tones of voice, facial gestures, traits and ticks for characters. We are the ultimate developing children who use our experiences to layer into our richly created worlds.

And that's got to help us learn to be better writers, right?

Hope to see you at the chat. :)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Learning To Swim

The toddler goddaughter loves water. She used to hate it, and I mean screaming hate it, until about three months ago. Now 'splash splash Auntie' is her favourite bath time game when she comes to stay (my friend only has a shower at her house). So with her being more comfortable in water now I'm starting to take the monkey swimming a bit more.

She's an independent little girl and, despite her age, always tries to let go of my hands when she's in the shallow pool (even though I don't let her - I'm a soft touch, not insane. lol) But her confidence always makes me smile.

And it got me thinking about writing (come on, you knew I'd take this to some writing level. heehee). Leaning to write and learning to swim are very similar.

There's the trepidation of dipping your toe in the pool or, in the writers case, the idea. The rush of cold shocking your body from your comfort zone as you move into the pool, or start to type.

You take your time at first. You stay in the shallow end, maybe you hold someones hand (in my Goddaughter's case that's me) -- for a writer it may be a mentor, a writing book, a forum. The hand holder helps you. They build up your confidence and teach you some of the skills you need to learn to swim/write.

You practice. Sure you may swallow some water/ delete lots of words, but you don't give up. Over time you gain the confidence you need to push out on your own. Dip your head underwater/start a new idea. You gain strength. Keep yourself afloat.

Sure, the lifeguard/crit group, mentor, writing book is always there. Always watching, waiting to jump in and help if you need/ask for it. You know you are never alone.

But you are stronger. You are braver.

It won't happen overnight. It may take weeks, months even to learn to swim/write. But you never give up. Because practice makes perfect.