novel writing

That Time When a Rock Star Inspired the Creation of a Character

It was one of those moments I will never forget.

Mr. LaVeaux and I were watching Led Zeppelin’s “Celebration Day” for the first time in December of 2012.

Holy crap, this band.

THIS BAND.

I’d grown up listening to this music but I’d never really seen the band perform before…not until we put the “Celebration Day” DVD on to play.

At this point in time, I’d been working on my first novel and needed a love interest for the book’s protagonist.

Cue Jimmy Page.

What better choice than an elegant, older man with style and English swagger to woo my heroine on the haunted, historic streets of Savannah, Georgia?

Thank you, Jimmy Page. You inspired the character Nigel Blackmore in my novel, Velvet, and all these years later I still think you are amazing.

The point of this short post? Never overlook anything in life. Most anything can be an inspiration for you. Whether you are a writer, artist, poet, chef, sculptor, dancer, musician…keep your eyes and ears open.

You just never know.

Photo credit: jimmypage.co.uk

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The Urge to Write: Finding the Time

If you write for a living or – like I do – as a hobby, do you often find yourself struggling to fit in the time? I do, and it can be quite frustrating.

Working a full time job takes most of a person’s energy. It’s so easy to come home from a long day at work and veg out in front of the television or any number of little electronic screens. So many days, the Muse will nudge me to write a little. Just a little. But my body and my spirit do not want to budge.

How do I deal with the urge to write in the midst of exhaustion?

It’s not always an easy thing to answer.

Lately, I have had three novels stewing and brewing in the back of my consciousness. These are stories I’ve planned to write for a very long time. One of them came to me in a dream last year. The others are from ideas conjured up in my head back about 25 years ago.

The problem I’ve had, it seems, is that I have no desire to sit in front of a computer after working in front of one for eight hours a day.

So, instead of writing, I’ve spent a good deal of my time recently reading books by other novelists. Some are classic, some are contemporary, but all are well-written stories that have captured my imagination. They gave me a spark and have inspired me to put something down on paper.

Anything.

So, just last night, I did that very thing.

After my shower, I grabbed a notebook and pen and started scripting out the plot of the dream story.

(It has a title, “Beyond the Blue,” and should be out by the end of the year if all goes well.)

Surprisingly, the fifteen minutes I carved out of my before-bedtime hour yielded a wealth of material from which to work. My scribbles started with one stumbling block after another, blocks I had not noticed until last night.

Questions started forming in my mind:

  1. What is the plot of the book?
  2. You know the dream you had. How are you going to expound on this?
  3. Who are your characters?
  4. You have your protagonist fully fleshed out. Who is the antagonist?

These are questions I had yet to answer. The information flowed from the pen and in a short time I had four handwritten sheets of paper.

Afterward, I laid my head down on the pillow and turned out the light. I felt in some way lighter and focused. Sleep came easy.

I knew I was on my way with this new book.

When I was in the process of writing Velvet, weeks went by where not one word was written. I’d hit the proverbial “wall.” No way out, no idea where to go next. And it was during those times I would read books. Somehow, the act of reading another’s words helped open up my storyline and give me the clarity I’d been seeking.

When you are too close to your project, or you feel in some way unable to write, try reading a book. Anything, fiction or nonfiction, seems to help me get my creative juices flowing. Maybe it will work for you, too.

How do you find time, or make the time, to write? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Photo credit: SelfPublish StreetLib

Such a good reminder for anyone with the desire to write. Just write.

I can remember 30 some-odd years ago when I realized that I had a gift in the area of writing. Having made straight A’s in English from my earliest school years through college, I discovered a bit later in life that I could use this innate ability to express myself.

More than anything, I wanted to write.

Back during the summer of 1996, while the Summer Olympics were being played out all across the metro Atlanta area, I was taking the MARTA train to and from work. During the Olympics mania, I was writing what would become my first novel idea.

What enthusiasm I brought to the project. Looking back, I can’t help but smile.

I was writing a story based on a real-life experience I’d had involving an 80’s rock star. I worked and worked on that story for nearly ten years but could never finish it. There was no good way to conclude it. And to top it off, our house was burglarized and my computer stolen. (more…)

Creative blocks

Sometimes, as a writer, I find myself in a state of flux. One day, the words may flow freely. The next day, I find myself dry as a desert…not one word to put down on paper toward my next two projects.

I feel so stifled on those days. My mind is parched and no amount of wishing can bring the flow I so desperately think I need.

Yes, I did say “think I need.” (more…)

Post-novel writing boredom blues…

Here I sit with nothing to do, looking at a computer with unblinking eyes.

Some days I’m so bored I can’t stand myself.  Other days, I’m so consumed by interests that I don’t know what to read/watch/do next. (more…)