Category Archives: Thursday’s Children

Thursday’s Children – Inspiration Out of the Blue

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There have been discussions in various Thursday’s Children posts about music and how that helps the writing process.  I think a lot of us (and by us I mean writers) have playlists or maybe certain albums* that we listen to more when working on a specific project.  Sometimes we create specific playlists for each story. 
But, have you ever been listening to a song and a line out of it speaks to you and suddenly you have a kernel of an idea forming?  Or maybe the whole story just jumps out at you from start to finish. 
This didn’t happen to me recently, but I’m still working on the story that was the result of it, so I think it’s relevant.
Raise your hand if you remember the group from the 90’s called Veruca Salt?  Anyone, anyone, Bueller?
I wasn’t a particular fan of the band, I’m not sure I could even name one of their songs to tell the truth.  But after they split up their lead singer, Nina Gordon, put out a solo album.  I adore it.  It has gone many places with me over the years on various travels and I’ve listened to it countless times.  One day, probably four years ago now, I was listening to it and a line from one of the songs drilled its way into my head and stuck there.  Mind you, this wasn’t an obscure track, this was maybe the one and only single so I had heard this song hundreds of times, easily.  The lyrics are:
                Down to the earth I fell
                With dripping wings
                Heavy things won’t fly
                And the sky might catch on fire
                And burn the axis of the world that’s why
                I prefer a sunless sky
                To the glittering and stinging in my eyes
                (Nina Gordon – copyrighted 2000)
               
I heard that and boom, story!  I pictured an angel falling to earth by choice to remove himself from the battle for heaven.  He thought he could be persuaded to join the other side and if he did, heaven would fall.
That was just my first thought, but the idea has grown from there.  I have two great main characters and a mostly fleshed out plot.  I’ve been working on it off and on for a few years now, but one of my 2013 goals is to finish the first draft, finally.
That was a lot of rambling to get to the point of this post.  Have you ever found inspiration from something that you’ve heard/seen/read a million times before?  Something that wasn’t new but for some reason it spoke to you at that time.  I’m curious to hear (read, I suppose) your stories of any similar lightning bolts of inspiration.
*Just a side note, but what are we supposed to call albums now?  I can’t remember the last time I actually bought a physical product for music, so I know CD isn’t appropriate anymore.  Welcome to the digital age where nothing is tangible anymore. *Sigh*

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Thursday’s Children – The Voices in My Head

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This week I’m not thinking about what inspires me, but rather what kills inspiration and how I can defeat those pesky harbingers of doom.  I’m thinking about the voices in my head.

I seem to have a multitude of voices distracting me from my life (as I think I a lot of writers do).  Do you ever feel like you need to tell them to just leave you alone?  Telling is a nice word, usually I want to scream at them. Sometimes they are helpful when it comes to writing, I’ll admit that.  There are those voices that turn into characters or are already characters that tell me where the story should go next.  Although mostly it seems like those pesky characters tell me that the direction I was planning on going is totally the wrong way.  There are voices of those who encourage, telling me they believe in me.  Sometimes I have so many voices shouting at me that I don’t listen to what’s going on around me.  And doesn’t that make for fun dinner conversations?  My husband has to deal with a lot “huh?” from me.

But in and amongst all those helpful voices are the evil ones; the ones telling me I’m not good enough.  The ones telling me this story is stupid, it doesn’t make sense, it’s not going anywhere, it’s been done before, it’ll NEVER GET PUBLISHED.  In case you can’t tell, I’m suffering with a crisis of confidence right now.  I know I’m not unique, I know every writer goes through this.  But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t flat out suck when you’re in the middle of it.

Those evil voices are the ones I want to learn how to quiet.  They may be right.  I might not be good enough and my story might not make sense to anyone but me.  And, in reality, there is a good chance I will never get anything published.  But that shouldn’t matter when I’m writing.  If those voices would just leave me alone I might be able to make some progress and move the story forward, instead of being paralyzed by fear and indecision. 

Do you have voices whispering in your ear?  How do you quiet them when you want them to let you be?  

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Thursday’s Children – A First Taste of Adventure

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I’ve been struggling with what to write about this week.  For some reason I’m not feeling very wordy, or poetic, or thoughtful.  But then I saw a movie advertisement online and inspiration hit!

Adventure.

When you’re a child, a towel tied around a your neck can become a cape that helps you fly or a bike ride through a cemetery at night becomes a harrowing escape from ghosts.  But, where do those ideas come from?  Would a child be afraid of riding her bike through the cemetery if she hadn’t read or heard something like that before?  I don’t know.  But, I do know that what we read informs our imagination and leads us on adventures.  So, what was your first taste of adventure?

I read a lot as a child (and still do).  I read a wide range of books, everything from The Babysitter’s Club to books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and one of my all time favorites, Little Women.

But when I was six, on the nights when he didn’t have class, my dad read The Hobbit to me as my bedtime story.  I can’t imagine a scenario where that book wouldn’t plant ideas of adventure in a reader’s mind.  Now, did I remember every detail of the story from when my dad read it to me?  No.  I was six.  And there were lots of extraneous conversations involved about “reading it right!”  My dad sorely wanted to do all the voices and I wouldn’t let him; I was a willful child.

But I digress.

When the book was finished and I started reading more and more on my own, I may not have remembered all of the details, but I remembered a group of companions traveling in order to recapture their homeland.  I remembered hobbits, who seemed to live wonderful lives in their houses with the round doors and fully stocked kitchens.  I remembered a wizard dressed in gray who provided me my first taste of magic; something I still enjoy reading and writing about to this day.

But most of all, I remembered the adventure.  The travel to distant lands, and the encounters with new people and species.  I remembered a man named Bilbo who went against the nature of a hobbit and stepped outside his round front door and went on a adventure.  How his life changed with that one decision!  And it had a lasting impact on him, and his family (although I wouldn’t know about Frodo until years later).  Just knowing that books like this existed made me want to keep reading so I could follow more characters on their journeys; and it inspired me to have journeys of my own.

So, I guess my question is this.  What was your first taste of adventure?

Thursday’s Children – Inspiration

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This is my first Thursday’s Children post, so I’m going to start off slow.  Below are a few pictures that are helping to inspire my current project.  The majority of it takes place in Grand Haven and the element of water plays heavily into it.  I’ve also taken to listening to calming wave sounds as I write, it seems to help me get in the right mood to get inside my main character’s head.  Water is extremely important to her family and they settled in Grand Haven because of that.

The first two photos show the Grand Haven lighthouse which has a role in the book.  The next picture shows a beautiful beach and while it isn’t from Grand Haven (or even Michigan actually), it just has a certain feel to it that relates to my main character.  The last picture somehow says power and peace to me at the same time, which is what my main character feels when she is near or on the water. It quiets her mind and gives her strength.

The Grand Haven Lighthouse


It’s odd, it wasn’t until writing this post that I realized something about myself and this project.  This book is, or I hope will be, the first in a four book series.  All four books revolve around the four main elements (water, fire, earth, and air) with a character devoted to each.  The true main character of the series is my “water” character.  She is a high school girl from West Michigan who finds solace in the water.  Without even realizing it, I picked for her the same element I would pick for myself.  The water is someplace I have always felt at home, it invigorates me and stirs my imagination.  I’m hoping this means this project was meant to be and that I’m on the right track.  For now, when I get stuck, I’ll think of water and imagine slicing through the waves on a sailboat.  Maybe that will help me get where I’m trying to go.