Spring is springy this year

This year, I bought a ring to hang outside that is full of nesting supplies: soft cotton, rag twine, feathers.  I hung it up about a month ago, and everyone was ignoring it–until now.  The thing is starting to show some wear, and yesterday, when I was out with the dogs, I watched a chickadee using it.  It made me feel really good, and I tried to get a picture of him, but once he knew I was watching, he didn’t come back.  At least, not when I was watching again.  -laugh-  So instead, I have a shot of the bloodroot again, this time in full glory, all opened up to the sun.  The larger, more established Trilliums are up, but the smaller ones are still safe underground.  And the red buds are blooming in the woods.  No Dogwood yet, which is curious, but they are usually after the redbuds.  I’m sort of anxious for them.

Work is going good.  I’m about halfway through my rewrite, and I’m going to have to start over.  This is a break from my usual pattern of plow through a rewrite, then go back and tweak, but I failed to make several emotional shifts obvious enough, and when enough of those pile up, it’s sometimes best to start over so you know how to handle the end instead of guessing.  I’ve done this before, so it’s nothing new, just unusual.  Which simply goes to prove that writing is a very elastic art.  You can’t get the same result by pursuing the same pattern year after year.  It’s vital that you can see what you need to get the desired result and shift your work to achieve it.  The good thing is that you’ve got everything you need to be a successful writer right this instant, you just have to practice using those muscles and honing the ability to adapt until it comes naturally.

So today, much like line editing is focusing on the logistics of the sentence and paragraph, I will be looking at one aspect of the story–the relationships–and shifting things until there is a solid flow of emotions from one realization to the next.  This part of the writing process is a hundred times more vital than most new writers realize, in a hurry to prove their talents.  This is where the writing shifts from laying words out on paper to telling a story, reaching into another person’s experiences, and making a connection.  Of making the experience come alive.

63 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

63 responses to “Spring is springy this year

  1. Andrea

    A note on the nesting supplies. If you have a dog that sheds, brush them outdoors. We do this every year and find little nests full of fur all summer long!

  2. Tiffany

    Hi Kim,

    I love the idea of your nesting supply ring. All your talk of spring and birds making nests made me itching for the outdoors, so I headed to Griffith Park for a hike today. Very relaxing.

    Thanks for your inspirational comment about writing too. Practice. Tenacity. I’m hearing you. And some good ideas came to me on my hike.

    So, you said that you are starting over so you know how to handle the end instead of guessing. Does that mean that you are changing the emotional realizations in this book in a way that changes the outcome? Or do you just mean that giving those realizations a more solid flow changes the way your existing ending will go down?

    Have a great day!

    • Hi, Tiffany. I garden a lot to let my mind untwist, and then the ideas come easier. Same result as your walk. 😉

      I’m starting my rewrite over so that the flow of emotions is smoother. I know how I want to end it, emotionally, but I need something to draw on, and that’s what I want to make sure is smooth. Hope that helps?

  3. john smith

    Heh, so many questions , observations… that I don’t even know where to start and I best leave em unasked.
    Listened to the interviews on youtube. 10 years from the moment you start writing to when it hits the shelves sounds like a scary long time(I suppose godlike powers are needed for the 7_day_per_world_built version).
    Finding our ways and – “training up the writing muscles” sounds great but usually the message suffers in the training up process. Heh, sometimes I think a character has taken on a life of his/her own and doesn’t even come close to what I was expecting he/she would be like.
    I wonder if it’s possible to hire a professional to do the book you have in your head that you’d want to read. Dreaming is so much easier than writing, alas I guess I’ll have to wait 10 years to figure out what happens in my dreamworld.

    • Hi, John. Writing is not for wimps, that’s for sure. As for hiring someone to write your dreams? I’m sure it can be done, but most writers have dreams of their own they want to see come alive.

  4. SeattleRobin

    I’ve been surprised our dogwoods aren’t in bloom yet either. We had a mild winter and unusually warm spring so far.

    Good comments about relationships and the emotional flow. I think that’s why many books that I have enjoyed reading while I read them never really stuck with me on any deeper level. They were lacking that emotional depth, connection, and flow. (And I’ve read some that have outright annoyed me because not only was there no flow, but the emotional parts seemed disjointed or illogical.)

    For other ereader owners who might be interested I got some pics up of the “book signing” Kim did for me last week.

    http://seattlerobin.wordpress.com/

  5. catherine

    OMG..i totaly get it
    with the whole emotional feeling..itz like a movie @O@
    my heart goez crazy with greif,sadness,joy and once i even cried
    u make those pages come to life
    YER ONE OF A KIND , truly a fabulous writer😀

  6. Marsha

    I think the unusually cold winter has delayed some things. Normally we have a glorious profusion of wisteria down here in March and it hasn’t started yet. Our dogwoods are just budding out now. In a month or two we will be covered in green kudzu. The joke down here is “How do you plant kudzu? Throw the seeds in the yard and run like hell!”

    • Jenn

      lol…you’re too funny! In my new yard, that wouldn’t work…I have too many birds & squirrels that would take the seeds before they had time to sprout!

    • marsha

      I’m serious Jenn. Kudzu has been know to grow six inches a day under the right weather conditions. If you have anything that will eat it, please send them down our way!

    • Jenn

      Holy Crap! That’s fast!!!!

    • HI, Marsha. I’ve heard that goats love Kudzu. Maybe you can put an add in the paper to borrow someone’s nanny goat for a weekend.

  7. Phil

    I love editing. Like fine-tuning, making little changes, sometimes bigger ones, cutting things out, putting things in. Sometimes you just wanna in back to your first draft. Lol.
    Do you rely more on your instincts when you develop relationships, knowing how your characters will or should react to different situations or people? Or do you fit them into a certain broad psychological profile and let them follow that? Or a little of both? Or nothing of the sort? However you do it, it works! Obviously!

    • Hi, Phil. I usually like editing, too. There have been times, though, when the story I want to tell is different from the story the editor wants to tell, and then it’s really, really, really bad.

      I rely heavily on instincts when it comes to relationships, but I have been known to bring out my very thick Meyers Briggs personality folder when I’m developing a character.

  8. Hey Ms. Harrison,
    When I was younger, I figured that the best way to write a good story is to really believe in it.🙂 That’s the difference between authors and good authors. The believe part is very closely tide to how believable the emotions are and how much the reader can relate. We can’t relate to anything that’s not… Well. Lol. ‘Real’ for lack of a better word.
    I believe that the longer you work with a character, the more ‘real’ they become and the deeper their character becomes, lol, (someone’s allowed to say ‘obviously at this stage’).

    For interest – today’s the last day before Script Frenzy kick off on the first of April! Script Frenzy is a sister project of NaNoWriMo. The challenge is to write a 100 page script in 30 days. I’ve never done anything of the sort, but because my fellow NaNo’s (and one best friend’s) doing it, i figured I’ll leap in as well, lol.🙂 So, I’m minutes away from a hectic month of movie script writing! lol.

    Have a great day!
    Alyss

    • mudepoz

      *Looks down, shaking head sadly*. Well that explains it. My life isn’t ‘real’, which is why no one relates.

      *returns to search for the missing 15 dozen fertilized eggs for bio lab and wondering how much dye necessary to color them for April Fools day*

    • I like my eggs unfertilized thank you…

    • mudepoz

      “This is what is going to lead to the extinction of mankind.”

    • SeattleRobin

      Good luck with Script Frenzy, Alyss! I got the email for it, but decided to pass since I never even finished my last NaNo and I’ve been spending time doing all sorts of fun planning things for my next NaNo. (Yeah, kinda weird I’m planning to do it again with not finishing the first one, but I’ve found the planning, imagining, and making stuff up part is the part I like!)

    • Hi, Alyssa. Good luck with the script frenzy! It sounds like lots of fun.

  9. JanisHarrison

    First, watching the progression of blooms is fun! Second: a whole ring of nesting materials? What a grand idea! Yes, when we combed out our poodle-mix and/or our cats in the spring, we’d toss the combings outside for the birds. I never thought to just “hang” clumps of it in the shrubs though. Much neater.

    • I tried putting out clumps of dog fur when we had a border collie, but Guy made such a face that I quit. The ring was a good meeting of the minds in the middle.

  10. Judi in NJ

    A ring full of nesting supplies??? How COOL is that?! And I thought I got a kick & a thrill leaving the seeds and suet! Did you buy it somewhere or make it yourself (I’m pretty sure I know the answer, Ms. Mistress of All). What a very sweet idea! You know I have a soft spot for the feathered-ones! >>kissing my Jenksie as she sits on my head<<

    • OMGosh, Judi. I hate to burst your bubble, but I BOUGHT the ring. I picked it up, saw the price, rolled my eyes, and dropped it in the cart, plastic wrap on it and all. What they hey. I spend that much on lattes in a week. –laugh–

      But the feeling I got when that chickadee pulled a bunch off and took it to a new nest? That was worth it. We take, and take, and take, so much as a species, that when I can give back, even in that small way, it feels good. Connected.

  11. Kylie Ru

    Good day to you, Kim-san! I guess the connections are what it’s all about. That’s why we keep reading, and when it gets close to the day the next one comes out, we get so excited. And if you’re like me, you jump around like a crazed monkey. What can I say? I love Rachel and her buddies. I want to know what happens next. I guess if there were no emotional connections, that wouldn’t be the case, huh? Not like I’m dying to know what happens next in my chemistry book.

  12. Chelikins

    I have little birds always darting in and out of my bushes. I never thought to leave them some “items” to help build. It is almost time for me to trim my dogs for their summer “do”, so maybe I will leave the left overs out.😉

    Also I love to read your writing process.. it is very insightful! So I agree with Mud.. could you please give us an example from an earlier book. Sorry about you having to rerewrite your rewrite.. lol!

  13. Jenn

    So…a shift in emotions in a relationship? Hm…I can’t wait! You are such a tease Kim…And we LOVE it!🙂
    The sun is shining here & after work I am going to go home & figure out where to put my garden in. Then maybe I can start outlining it. I think it’s still too early to plant anything here since we have gotten snow in the past in April. Any ideas Kim, Mud…anyone?

    • mudepoz

      Where do you live? I haven’t even started my seedling tomatoes in the greenhouse yet, so not quite ready in WI. I usually do my clients over Memorial Day weekend.

      Mine gets in…when it gets in.

    • Jenn

      I live in London, Ontario Canada. That’s a 2 hour drive from Port Huron MI

    • Chelikins

      I have noooooooooooo green finger. It is pitiful. I love to look at the flowers though. Have fun with your plantings.

    • Kylie Ru

      I can kill bamboo . . .

    • *laughs* I can’t even make weeds grow if that’s any consulation. I stick to things that can walk on four feet thank you.🙂

    • Chelikins

      LOL! Kill bamboo!

      Fourlegged creatures.. yes.. love all 7 of my babies!

    • Jenn

      lmao! You guys are too funny! I won’t ask you about my garden, but maybe my babies if I ever need to🙂 Mind you, my cats are pretty self reliant…

    • mudepoz

      Mmmm. Three springers. Two Cockatiels. Two Java finches. Two bettas that need their water changed and are staring at me with goggly eyes. A platy herd that needs to be thinned.

      And a few zillion plants.
      Oh. And the best thing I grow? Dust Bunnies with fangs!

    • Ooooh, have fun planning your garden, Jenn. My favorite year that I gardened vegies was the one I did pumpkins.

    • Jenn

      Thanks! Pumpkins? Hm…I’ll have to try that. If I remember correctly, they like to spread so I’ll have to put them on one end…lol

    • mudepoz

      Jenn, you’re just north of Windsor? (I know it from d)og shows of course)
      It’s slightly warmer than it is here, maybe cutting into zone 6, more likely 5.

      I would wait until after Mother’s Day.

  14. TIna ~ WI

    Finished BMS and was looking around for something new to read. I remembered your Truth series. Well I went to the library and took the first one out. Taking it for a test drive so to speak. I really liked it! So now I have to go and buy the series, but at least all the books are out! Thanks for a good read!🙂

  15. BA Shelby

    A couple of summers ago I was lucky enough to find a fully intact bird’s nest in one of my bushes….the nest was completely lined with the fur of my dogs that I had gathered up and left in convenient locations by bushes and trees for the birds to use. I bet those little birds were pretty darn comfortable in their little fur lined nest! I left it there so that others could use it. I always seem to have birds nesting in that one spot now.

  16. mudepoz

    Kim Said:
    *So today, much like line editing is focusing on the logistics of the sentence and paragraph, I will be looking at one aspect of the story–the relationships–and shifting things until there is a solid flow of emotions from one realization to the next. This part of the writing process is a hundred times more vital than most new writers realize, in a hurry to prove their talents. This is where the writing shifts from laying words out on paper to telling a story, reaching into another person’s experiences, and making a connection. Of making the experience come alive.*

    I’m running dense here: Can you maybe explain this a tad, maybe with an example from an earlier book. I THINK I understand this, but not totally sure. Is it movement from, for example, discovery, action, to reaction? Mud, the student

    • Hi, Mud.

      I’m just saying that it’s small nuances of thoughts from the character, layered upon layer, that make a believable relationship. And if you don’t take the time to make sure that there are no gaps or big jumps without just cause, then your relationship will sound contrived.

    • mudepoz

      If you’re playing in first person, how do you manage to convey the other person’s thoughts? Just actions? Jeez.. Or
      I guess I’ll stick with cookbooks. This is why I can’t write, I can’t Grok this information.

  17. lizzy

    That’s so cool that you left nesting supplies. I wish I could something like but my cat is a bit of hunter and would go after the birds.

    • Hi, Lizzy. I’m glad you realize that. We have two cats that roam the neighborhood, and the birds keep a sharp eye on them when they are in my yard.

  18. suzannelazear

    Do you ever write out backstory for your own personal use?

    I was trying to understand a character better in a story I’m completely re-writing. there was a pivotal even that happened eight years before so I decided to write it. Since it was for my own use, i popped it in third and am writing from various characters POVs, ones I’ve never written in before. Wow. Ok, there are some characters heads I don’t want to be in. This excercise it taking a lot longer than I expected, but I’m learning alot about alot of characters, including ones I’d never given much of thought to…I mean that are highly secretive, lol.

    Steampunkapalooza launches tomorrow. I need a nap.

    ~Suzi

    • Chelikins

      Writers amaze me.. and you are def included Suzanne! I never realized the extent you have to go to. I mean to really understand your characters and to develop your story. Amazing!

    • Hi, Suzanne. Do I write out backstory for a character? Yep. I call them novellas. -grin- That’s great that you’re exploring your characters in such detail.

  19. Sharon

    When I use to brush out our Siberian Husky, I would leave the hair in the yard for the birds. They loved that soft undercoat, I on the other hand hated it with a passion! It looked liked a large animal had been killed in the yard .

    • SeattleRobin

      LOL, Sharon! Same with my Canaan Dog. He was a medium size dog, but only weighed 34 pounds. I could never figure out where all that hair came from! And as soon as I was done it seemed like there was just as much left. I used to let it just blow around and it looked terrible. I didn’t think about birds getting good use from it. I’m glad something did!

    • That’s too funny, Sharon! Maybe that’s why Guy made such a face when I would put out my border collie’s fur.