Friday, July 8, 2011

Writing in a Foreign Land

I love writing when I'm in Italy, a place dear to my heart. But the sights, fragrances, language change, at times challenging navigation all seem to add to my stories. It is so different than using Google to do the research. I take pictures while I am there so once home I have instant memories that keep me in Italian mood.

I would love to hear your stories of writing in spots that aren't in your familiar territory. They don't have to be tales of heading to Europe or elsewhere, but what happens to your writing when you are out of your environmental comfort zone?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Welcome again! Winter is trying hard to hang on. It has been a long one. But I have hope that spring will appear. I can finally see the top of my five foot hedge along the front drive. But, my poor witch hazel is struggling to have its winter blooms after being shattered from ice falling off the roof.

But, a new book is in the plotting stage. I love the plotting process, the writing process and the editing process. I guess that adds up to the whole picture.

Each stage seems to take on a life of its own. Plotting takes me time. I worry about who the characters are. Why are they involved in this story? What are their motivations? How will I create situations that will force them to change? Sometimes I come around a corner of my house and run smack into one of my "people." They live here with me.

Then, I write. They seem to speak at times for themselves. My fingers and brain are almost separated. The fingers take over.

Then, I edit. We all do. I actually very much enjoy the editing. It seems to come in stages. First, does the story make sense? Where are the holes I missed? Then the next level--what are all the clutch words that seem to jump right in there on their own (just, push, pulled, ran, hand, and more). Could the sentences be shorter- tighter? Are the page breaks and scene breaks in the right places? Do I need an extra chapter? Again and again. I seem to do many iterations.

Letting go is hard for me. Relinquishing my "baby" to the world. Stephen King said it well when he described his first draft as one that stays behind closed doors- it was for him. The second draft had to be for the reader- public. I'm still working on that.

But, then there is always the next story waiting to be told.

Chime in. I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I am thrilled you are reading, don't stop. This is the inaugural posting to my website. Yes, my hands are a little shaky. It's like prom night without the dress or the flowers. I have been looking forward to the launching of this beautiful site for quite a while (thanks, Maddee, you are the BEST).

I never estimated how many decisions there would be in putting a site in place. AND, that's with a pro doing all the heavy lifting. I only had to point and say “okay.” When we renovated our house (100 year old stone and shingle complicated mess), my architect husband warned me there would be 1000 decisions for every room in the house. Ha! I thought. Not for me. I'm going to zoom right through this baby and really, how hard is this? The house is already there. We're only gutting it and completely redoing absolutely everything. We have a contractor and I'm the point person. REALLY. Piece of cake.

How na├»ve can one woman be? We were 18 months in a rental, I think there were more like 1500 decisions per room. We shoveled snow out of the second floor when the roof wasn't put on and there was a late winter storm in March, the furnace froze, they couldn't thread pipes through bedrock, there were unknown buried tanks in the front yard, there was…well, you get the idea.

Again, silly me. A website? This can't be too difficult. Well, I have heard that anything done well needs someone who truly knows what she is doing. Maddee James forced me to make decisions when I had no idea where to go. It was all about what I wanted, not what she decided I needed. She teased it out of me. I'll work with her any time. There was kind and gentle guidance from someone who is a true pro. I shudder to think what this would look like and work like if I had taken this on alone.

I know, many of you are shaking your heads. You have set up wonderful sites. You have figured out the codes using many of the do-it-yourself services that are out there. I applaud you. You are clearly far better at all of this than I.

So what are the decisions you had to make? How did you figure out your image? How did you put all the pieces together? I'd love to hear, for I have many writer friends who are working this through.

As for this blog, there are so many topics we can discuss. Coming in future postings will be topics such as:

  • How do we use social networking and how do we know what it gets us
  • What PR and marketing tools have you found to be the best, or the worst
  • Discussions on how you write. I have discovered one that works the best for me, but you'll have to come back to find out
  • Family, travel, jobs, self—how do we keep it together
  • What are the tools we use for writing? Software, good ole Word, sharpened pencils?
  • So much more
Join me each week as we explore these subjects. This is only the tip of iceberg. There is no end to the conversations we can have.

Thanks for stopping by. Leave your comments and I'll be back as fast as I can. A presto, Cassy