Advice from writers about writing are WRITE. Write and then write some more. Write all day. Write everyday. WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
But how much is enough? How much is too much? How much is just right?
For each of us the answer is not the same. We are all unique and our creative juices flow at different times, at different levels and for a certain lengths of time.
Some get up really early in the morning and write. I am not a morning person. Some can write all day. That must be nice, my brain shuts downs and the words no longer flow when I try to write all day. Some write everyday. So do I, write everyday that is, but it might be a post on Facebook, an email to someone, a blog post, so technically I am writing everyday. I am just not 'writing' everyday when it comes to my stories. I find it's just not there everyday. Maybe, like me, my characters, my stories, have to take a break too?
I read a great blog post about writing in small intervals. I thought they hit the nail on the head. One item they mentioned was how our brain can come up with ideas or solve problems when we are doing mundane, day-to-day tasks. I have decided to dedicate all of my future books to my washer and dryer. A lot of my ideas, or problems are solved, when I am doing laundry. I could probably write a whole book if I worked at a laundromat.
Too much writing can shut us down. Forcing yourself to write daily and all day just doesn't always work for everyone. Write while the writing is hot! While the creative juices are pouring. Then take a break, regroup and let the creative juice build back up. Don't force it. Just go with the Flow!!
In a flash it was over. My 2002 Mini Cooper rolled onto its side and then skidded along the wet asphalt screeching to a halt. A myriad of colored stars exploded like Fourth of July when my head hit the window. Blood oozed from a gash on my head and a dull pounding started slowly behind my eyes.
It’s all my fault. I shouldn’t have run. I should have stayed put to face the music, but I was too scared. I was like that when I was younger. I would run and hide whenever I thought daddy was going to be mad at me for doing something bad. This time was different though. This time I was really bad and daddy will never forgive me.
When I was a little girl, I would sit for hours in daddy’s library reading from his vast collection of books. I can still smell it; leather mingled with his cigars, a sweet smell that always reminded me of cherries. It was my favorite room in the house. I loved listening to him as he typed out his mysteries on his old Corona typewriter. But after my twelfth birthday everything changed. I can’t seem to remember what happened then? My head is really pounding now and it’s making me feel fuzzy and sleepy.
This was one mystery daddy would never write.
“Miss?” the voice was so distant. “Miss, are you alright? I called for help so hang on.”
A blurry apparition peered down at me. They’re finally coming, I thought. It’s about time. If they would have taken me away when I overdosed two years ago things would be different and daddy would not be angry with me anymore. Maybe now I will finally find peace.
“I killed him,” I moaned in pain.
“Killed who?” the apparition asked.
IN A FLASH
A Flash Fiction story by Karla Locke
When the Magic Happened
For me, the magic is the writing—the days when all of a sudden two hours have gone by and I have written 1,600 words without even realizing it. Once, my mom came into my room while I was writing and I was so into my work that for a moment I forgot where I was. How magical is that? I believe I was writing a scene in my new novel, Dead of Knight, which comes out later this summer. So much of my time writing that book was like that. I connected with those characters more than ever before, which I think made all the difference.
These instances happen when I’m working on the first draft of a novel, still figuring out my characters and the storyline. I think it’s because, at that point, I’m there to play. I’m not worried about typos or consistency or anything like that just yet. I’m focused on the journey. I write in the quiet, so I can fully delve into my story and my characters. And, since I get so into what I’m doing, I never realize “the magic” is happening until later when I look at the clock and my word count. “The magic” is the reason I write; it’s a pretty powerful experience.
Author, Nicole Person
When Magic Happens
by Kathleen Kaska
Magic in my writing often comes in the form of coincidences; those serendipitous things I believe are much more than happenstance. Some are small affirmations that I’m on the right track, like when I decided to set one of my mysteries in southwest Montana. The story is about a rancher’s attempt to save a herd of wild horses. I later found out this very area is home to one of the largest wild horse population in the country. What an affirmation that was!
Another time, my husband and I were exploring the back roads around Hot Spring, Arkansas when we made the wrong turn back to town and had gotten lost. The road wound us deep into the woods, and while my husband attempted to get us out, I went into deep contemplation of a murder plot I was having trouble with. Suddenly, I spotted an algae-covered pond and the brain cells began gyrating. By the time we’d reached the end of the road, the entire plot was laid out before me as if I had been watching a movie. I looked up at the road sign as we turned onto the highway. I got chills when I noticed we’d been traveling on a road named Murder’s Row.
The most recent magical moment happened a few weeks ago. My frustration level over my current Sydney Lockhart mystery had become so high, I felt like deleting the entire 80,000-word manuscript and starting over. Instead, I decided to give my brain a break and relive our 2009 vacation to Maine. It was one of those trips where we had no plans, no reservations, and no schedule. One afternoon we drove into the tiny town of Kingfield, and seeing the old Herbert Grand Hotel, we stopped in. (By the way, historic hotels are where my Lockhart mysteries are set.) It was off-season, and the owner gave us a tour and recommended his best room, a suite with a fireplace and baloney overlooking Main Street and the Carrabassett River. But what caught my eye, was the picture hanging over the bed, it was of a beautiful redheaded girl holding an envelope and smiling (By the way Sydney has red hair, too). I called her "Little Sydney" because I imagined this is what Sydney Lockhart looked like when she was young. I told my husband that the message in the envelope was for me, and one day I would find out what that message was.
At the time, I’d set my current story at the historic Excelsior Hotel in Jefferson, Texas because I wanted to include a ghost element in the subplot and the Excelsior is known for its numerous resident ghosts. But, I soon discovered that the Driskill in Austin, Texas (Sydney’s home and mine for twenty-five years) was considered the most haunted hotel in the state. So mystery number four became Murder at the Driskill instead of Murder at the Excelsior. Well, the ghost thing wasn't working out and I was having a difficult time finishing this book. I began to wonder if I’d made the right decision to switch venues. To break the block, I decided to do a little more research into the ghost thing. I found this news story and YouTube video about ghosts at the Driskill, and in watching that video, the message in the little girl’s envelope was revealed.
The murder in my book takes place on the fifth floor in the Yellow Rose Suite. A portion of the video “coincidently” was shot on the fifth floor. As the camera panned on the Yellow Rose Suite, I noticed hanging on the wall right next to the room was that very same painting that hung over our bed in the Herbert Grand Hotelin Maine.
The story goes the painting is of the little girl was Samantha Houston who died at the Driskill Hotel in 1887 when she tumbled down the stairs chasing her ball. Her spirit had remained on the fifth floor since that time and she is often seen and heard bouncing her ball and giggling. The message in the envelope?—“don’t ditch the ghost.” I got busy writing and soon the plot problems disappeared and the book’s draft is completed. One big coincidence; I think not.
Incidentally, the painting is not really that of Samantha Houston, although it makes a great story for the hotel’s promotional literature. The painting is entitled Love Letters by artist Charles Trevor Garland. If you’d like to see the video, here’s the link: http://www.kvue.com/news/Special-Assignment-History-and-hauntings-of-the-Driskill-Hotel-174483061.html
Look for Murder at the Driskill early next year.
Thanks, Karla, for having me as a guest on Armchair Publishing.
The Author in all of us
There is a story inside. One that needs out and to be read by others. It's there and now it's time for it to flow from author to the reader. Join us as we celebrate Indie authors.