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Posts Tagged ‘Magic Dog’


And so we come to the end: I’ve said ‘thank you’ nicely. I’ve wrenched the star from the Magic Dog’s grinning jaws, fondled it one last time, cut it into four pieces, and sent all four baby stars bouncing on their way. All that remains is offer up ten things I do to jump start my writing.

The problem with this is that writing is such a part of my life that what I do might seem simplistic. Still, though, a promise is as promise. When I received the star award a I promised to send the star on, and to list ten things I do to prime the writing pump, as it were.

So, in the interest of keeping my word, here are my pump primers:

1. I dream. Often I dream stories, with plots, settings, and characters which do not include me. In the morning, when I arise, I strive to write these out. Often they become the basis for a short story, or even a novel. (The YA novel I’m writing now started that way.)

2. I IM. And when I IM, I get silly. Ask my good friend Gene, who was present and participating in the silly IM session that gave birth to Stanley, who became one of the central characters in my first published novel, Redeeming Stanley. (You can read about it here.)

3. I journal. Have done for years. My journals provide a rich source of what we shall call “fertilizer”, since this is a G-rated blog.

5. I listen. I listen all the time. I used to listen to my grandparents’ stories, which they told me over and over again until I could repeat them, word, intonation, and gesture-perfect. I listen to strangers in restaurants, on the bus, in the doctor’s waiting room–everywhere. Every voice holds a different kind of music, and if you listen long enough, you can hear it.

6. I write Finn stories. If you’re not sure what that is, you can read about them here. And it occurs to me that I’ve neglected to hold the promised drawing for a free book cover. Get your entries in this week, and I’ll include them in the drawing (check out the tab for specifics).

7. I talk to my son. It used to be that I invented stories for him. Some were lovely, and featured us doing fantastical things. Some were crazy, and made us laugh like hyenas. But as the years have passed, a wonderful thing has happened. He’s started coming to me. “I’ve got a good idea for a story,” he says. And then he tells me about his good idea.

“You should write it down,” I tell him.

“Nah, you do it,” he tells me. “That’s what you do.” And so I write the ideas down, and when I need a jump start, I go read them.

8. I do past-life regression exercises. The jury’s still out on whether I’ve lived before or not, but doing the exercises invariably results in strong, compelling images. I take my journal to a coffee shop, get something hot and sweet to drink, and start to write. When I begin, I have no idea where the image will lead. When I finish, coffee cold and hand aching, I have a story. And it’s good.

9. I live my life. I’ve always had a facility with words, but let’s face it; any monkey with a keyboard can put words on paper. The trick is having something to say. As I’ve grown older, I am starting to understand what that is.

10. I lie to myself. Stupid as it sounds, when I get stuck I trick my brain. I tell myself, “I’m not going to worry about writing this right now. I’m just going to think about settings, or character, or plot. I’m not writing. I’m just taking notes.” And so I begin “taking notes,” and before I know it, I’m writing again.

So that’s my top ten. The promise is fulfilled. The star is gone. The Magic Dog and I are saddened by its passing.

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…and the Magic Dog is hot on its trail. He grabs it, slides his back end in a one-eighty on our hardwood floor, and runs back to me, flat out, star in his mouth. When he reaches me he slows, drops the star at my feet, and then shoots off after it as it bounces away. He grabs it again and trots back, head high, tail wagging.

“Give it to me, boy,” I say, holding my hand down for the now-slobber-covered star. He sets it into my hand, shakes his head, and curves wagging and smiling around my legs, begging me to throw it again. I do, just to watch him pound after it. We could do this all day, but after the next throw I call a halt.

“Sorry, boy, it’s time to send this on.” I take the star, confine it in a box,set it on a high shelf, and throw him a rawhide treat instead.

And now, folks, it’s time. This little star has given us a lot of pleasure. Now it’s time to share the wealth. So where will it go?

That was a rhetorical question, in case you didn’t catch it. I already have four great blogs in mind. I take the star out of the box, cut it into four even pieces, put them back in the box, and sit down to write address labels.

The first star will go to Barbara Ardinger. Barbara, who blogs over at Women’s Radio, (and if you don’t know about Women’s Radio you should) gets this star for a several reasons. First, she gets it because she’s a great writer. She’s written several books, among them Finding New Goddesses, which I’ll be sampling here in the next few weeks. Just wait until you meet these new divinities.

The second reason that I’m giving Barbara this star is because I’m buttering her up. She’s also writing a series of reinterpreted fairy tales I keep beggin her to let me publish; one’s up on her blog at Women’s Radio now.

The third reason she get’s the star is because she’s my editor and, in her words, “keeps me from embarrassing myself in print.” Anyone who has read my unedited stuff knows what a hard and thankless task this can be.

The fourth reason she gets it is because she has Maine Coon cats, who I know will have as much fun with the star as the Magic Dog has.

The second recipient of the Star award is The Mighty Viking, who blogs not regularly, but well. These are the kinds of posts that you save and read again–they’re about being a dad, being a son, dying cars–no subject is too esoteric. So, one star bounces that direction, possibly to be impaled on a horned helmet, or possibly a monkey wrench.

The third star goes to the Dragon Lady who inhabits the Dragon’s Den. She’s a brand new baby blogger–so small she still can’t see over the grass in which the den is apparently located. Her blog is new, but I’ve been enjoying following her as she quits one job and begins a new one. So–a star goes here way. Let’s hope she doesn’t incinerate it by mistake.

The fourth star goes to a blog that isn’t really a blog; it’s a Facebook group page: The Voice (A Human Journey), run by Joe Brown. Sorry there’s no link, but go to Facebook and type the page name into the search bar, and Bob’s Your Uncle. I’m including this page because Joe is doing something amazing over there. He’s set out to create an international group of friends all committed to the idea that fundamentally, we are more alike than we are different. Every day he posts a reflection in the status bar, or an excerpt from his upcoming book in the “discussion” section, and his readers weigh in. Comments come from everywhere; a visit is like a visit to the United Nations, or the World’s Fair.

So that’s it–all the paperwork’s done. When the Magic Dog takes his nap I’ll slap labels onto the stars and send them bouncing down the road. Enjoy them, people! If one of them comes to your door, you really, really might want to spray it good with the garden hose before you bring it into the house. The Magic Dog has had his shots, but still…

(If you got a star, just click on the award image in this post, drag it to your desktop, and then insert it into your blog. But remember the rules–say “thank you” nicely, send it on to four people, and share ten things you do to jump start your writing. And no, I haven’t forgotten to do that–it’s the next post. Sheesh.)

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I got the “You Deserve A Star Today” award from fellow blogger and fantasy writer N.R. Williams. You really should check out her blog; she’s going great guns over there. And you should definitely buy her book when it comes out. I got to read a little bit of it when I was designing her book cover. It’s good.

But back to me, me, me, and my shiny new award. As with any gift from a realm where elves appear regularly–as they do on N.R.’s blog–this gift comes with conditions:

First, I must give it away. It’s hard, but there it is. This is not a star that sticks, like my first-grade teacher gave me for reading lots of books. This is a star that bounces. Four times. I’ll be bouncing this star, slightly grimy from fondling and sticky with kisses, out to four of my favorite bloggers .

Second, I must share ten things I do to help me with my writing.

So there you have it. This little star is going to shake all kinds of stuff loose before it bounces on to four new homes. For those of you who receive it, you might want to wash it before you handle it. The Magic Dog and I have been playing “Fetch” with it.

Thanks again, N.R.

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