Friday, May 17, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Painting by Georges Pavis - May 1886 -1977
Engrossed in Research

One of my favorite parts of the writing process is the research required before one ever puts pen to paper. Right now, I'm writing and researching at nearly the same time. Since a story set in France burst upon my brain, I've been busy penning a first draft. However, I'm at the point where I need a more in depth knowledge of my story's setting and the time it's set in before I go any further.

These two non-fiction books by professor Matthew Cobb are exactly what I need to educate myself about the French Resistance during World War II. That being said, they aren't exactly "light reads." So, I write each afternoon, and read after dinner each night. I love this routine, but I know it's a bit much. Once I've finished these books, I'll get my life back to normal.

These books are just two of the resources I've tapped into so far for my current work in progress. I've also listened to an audio broadcast by the BBC from 1989. In it, adults who were little resisters in WWII, are interviewed. That was a real eye-opener, and extremely helpful. There have also been several online articles that have helped me as well.

Do you enjoy researching when you're working on a new project?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Ataraxia - (n.)
the state of blissful and serene calmness.
Example: After battling - and subduing - the malevolent neighboring kingdom, a state of ataraxia fell upon the archers of the guard.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

Caterpillar Summer
by Gillian McDunn

Flap Copy Description:
Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond--Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a "meltdown" she's the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She's the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together.

But even the strongest glue sometimes struggles to hold. When a summer trip doesn't go according to plan, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they never knew. For the first time in years, Cat has the opportunity to be a kid again, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken or strained relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another's shoes.

My Thoughts:
Caterpillar Summer is a spectacular debut for Gillian McDunn. The in depth character development in this beautiful coming of age story makes the middle grade novel especially engaging. The interplay between the young protagonist, Cat, and her little brother, Chicken, is particularly heartwarming. I highly recommend Caterpillar Summer to readers aged eight to twelve; it would make the perfect summer read. Congratulations, Gillian McDunn!

Click here to learn about the author, Gillian McDunn.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Music as Writing Inspiration

While I've penned a post before on how my past experience as a musician has impacted me as a writer, today I want to reflect on how listening to music inspires a writer. Most writers have their favorite tunes to listen to while they craft a story. (As I'm working on the world building for my middle grade novel I'm listening to classical music.) But why do we choose to listen to the music that we do?

While I can't speak to other writers' motivations for their musical preferences, for me, it has all to do with matching the music to the type of story I'm writing. Most days I like to listen to classical; it seems to inspire the drama I'm looking for in my stories. Some of my favorite sound tracks are: The King's Speech; The Lord of the Rings; and Cloud Atlas. While most of my stories are fantasy or magical realism, my current work in progress is historical fiction - it's set during WW II in France. Consequently, I've been enjoying the music of the iconic French singer, Edith Piaf. Listen to her signature song, La vie en rose:

Does music inspire your writing? If so, what genre?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Mardy - (adj.)
moody or miserable.
Example: The mardy matriarch made everyone around her miserable.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

The King of the Golden River
by John Ruskin - illustrated by Quentin Blake

Flap Copy:
The King of the Golden River tells the tale of the Black brothers: the kind-natured eleven- year-old Gluck and his two nasty older brothers, Hans and Schwartz. For Gluck, play is cleaning the floors, and his education consists of a wholesome quantity of punches. One stormy evening, Gluck is left at home to prepare his older brothers’ dinner when an extraordinary-looking little man knocks at the door. Having been warned not to let anyone in, Gluck watches as the little old man stands drenched and shivering at the door. His soft heart tells him to ignore his brothers’ advice, and so Gluck’s encounter with the mysterious King of the Golden River begins. Appearing at first as a beggar, then the Southwest Wind, and finally as a dwarf, the King of the Golden River issues Gluck a challenge: to climb to the source of the Golden River and throw into the stream three drops of holy water. If he can achieve this, the river will turn to gold.

Ruskin’s Victorian tale—first published in 1842—of good’s triumph over evil is a gripping adventure for all ages, and is brought vividly to life in new, never-before-seen illustrations by the celebrated Quentin Blake.

My Thoughts:
While The King of the Golden River was first published in 1842, I found its message of kindness overcoming greed to be very relevant today. The exquisite illustrations by famed artist Quentin Blake make this Victorian tale, and beautiful book, a wonderful addition to every library. (Due to two references to physical discipline, I recommend that parents of young children read the book first to ascertain whether it is appropriate and acceptable for their child.) I highly recommend John Ruskin's The King of the Golden River to readers aged seven and up!

Click here to learn about the award-winning illustrator Quentin Blake.
Click here to learn about the Victorian writer and art critic John Ruskin.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Prioritizing My Projects

While I've mentioned before how much I enjoy working on multiple projects, that approach does present a challenge: there's a risk that I'll never fully finish any of them! So, even though I have four projects right now, I primarily work on one at a time. Here's how I prioritize my projects:

#1 - If I'm really excited about one of my projects, that's the one I work on. There is no substitute for passion when you write. You don't always have that luxury, but when you do, it makes writing a dream.

#2 - I always like working on one of our Lindstrom Wintertime Tales during the fall and winter months if I can. Writing a winter story during the spring and summer months isn't nearly as much fun!

#3 - If I'm going to attend a writing conference where I might meet a literary agent, I always hope to have my manuscript ready so I can submit it to her. (Unsolicited submissions aren't usually accepted.)

Currently, I'm working on a new middle grade novel due to point #1 - the concept seemed to magically drop into my mind. I can't seem to think about anything else! Also, since it's historical fiction set in the summer of 1944 during World War II, and this summer marks the 75th Anniversary of D Day, I feel extremely connected to my story.

August 25, 1944 - Liberation of Paris - French Embassy
This vintage photo has inspired me, and my story, so much!