Inspiration: Where Do Stories Come From?

Stories. Where do they come from? What is that one spark that makes you traverse the long, windy road that is a completed story, whether it’s a poem, flash fiction, short fiction, or series of novels? That idea has to come from somewhere, right? It’s a question that authors get all the time during interviews and to be completely honest, that one “aha” moment can come from anything, anywhere, anytime.

Sometimes it’s a location that jogs the creativity. Or that couple walking down the street hand-in-hand. Sometimes it’s as simple as a sense-memory from your childhood or a dream or another book. Sometimes you have a really great one-liner that you just can’t stop thinking about. Sometimes—like in the case for Suzanne Collins—it came come from simply flipping through TV channels. Sometimes—like in the case for J.K. Rowling—a fully fleshed character walks into your mind like they’ve been there for years.

So, really, that spark of inspiration can come from anything, anywhere, anytime, and that’s the excitement of being a writer. You never know when an idea will smack you across the face and demand you pay attention. It can be the littlest of things that makes your creativity churn.

Case in point, here’s where the spark for the entire Cicatrix Duology came from. I had a short story due for my undergraduate writing club and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what to write about. Completely stumped. Then, these three simple lines popped into my head:

“We have come to collect you, Mia.” Her left hand twitched. “We have come.”

That’s it. Not the scifi aspect. Not the plotline. Not even Mia herself. Just those three little lines. But those were enough to spiral my creativity into overdrive and start asking questions. Who wanted her? What’s with her left hand? How long had she been running? Why was she running? After that, the scifi aspect clicked into place, then the scar, then the character, then…well…everything else.

So here’s a little tip: Pay Attention. Write those things down. Even if you can’t get to the idea right now, put it in a ToWrite folder and save it for later. You never know when you’ll want to come back to it.

If you’d like to read the Cicatrix Duology, you can get Finding Hekate here and the (newly published!!) Losing Hold here.

Until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Advertisements

A Reflection

I just finished applying to a job and that got me thinking. It’s amazing how much things can change in a year. Last year I had just completed the button-making party for Write to Publish 2016. I was nervous because I’d been working on this day since March 2015 and Chels and I wanted it to go well. (Spoiler Alert: It went well.) I had written a blogpost with the same title as this one and in it, I mused how things were different than the year prior and about how things would be different next year, too. I mused that I’d be graduated, that I’d find a job, and that I might even move to a new location. (While knocking on allll the wood, of course.)

Well, it is “next year” and yes, things are different. I did graduate last year. It was an amazing weekend and I’m so happy I got to share it with my family and friends. Turns out the wood knocking didn’t quite help as quickly as I would’ve liked because I haven’t gotten a job, yet. This fact is honestly the most disappointing thing thus far but I have to keep my hopes up that’ll it happen for me. I also haven’t moved, yet, which makes sense because I would’ve moved for a job. Even if I do get a job in Portland, I was thinking about moving from this location to elsewhere. I love this apartment and it’s been a good home for the past two and a half years, but it’s quite expensive and I don’t need to be near the university any longer.

Next year? Well things will change again, of course. I’ll have a job, I’d moved, and I’ll be facing another challenge that life will unexpectedly throw at me. It’ll be different, but I know I’ll be able to handle it.

For now, though, I have to be focused on finding a full-time job, something that’s been my obsession since I graduated. It’s getting harder with each month, honestly, harder to push on and apply to yet another position even though I’ve applied (and lost) so many before. But I’ll do it, of course, I have to. I’ll write all the cover letters, re-do all the resumes, and participate in all the interviews until I land a position.

Wish me luck!

I hope you’re having a lovely Tuesday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Because I neglected to post last week and…

work went crazy and I’m still a little miffed (even though I was AWESOME and calm)… here’s a poem.

 

Really?

I would really like it if
People would stop leaving coffee grounds in the kitchen
On the counter
On the table
On the freakin’ floor
Haven’t you learned to clear up after yourself? 

I would really like it if
People would change the toilet paper rolls
When they know it needs to be changed
Because it needs to be changed
Because we’re civil like that
And who wants to be sitting on the throne without a tissue? 

And I would especially like it if
People wouldn’t wait until the last possible second to get stuff done
And then want to change things in the midst of it all
And then change it back
And then add more text into the already massive document
Didn’t you just say no one would read it that carefully anyway? 

I would also like it if
People would stop messing with things that are already finished
Or harping about things that are done but are ‘handled’
No one will see that tiny fingerprint on the corner of the presentation cover
Or honestly mind that it’s there
Are you afraid they’ll disqualify you over a smudge (or your work)?

But mostly, honestly, truly,
I would really like it if
We all just celebrated the fact that today is Friday
And we’re done with the draft
And it snowed outside
And I plan on going sledding this weekend
Among other (exciting) things
Can’t we all just have some fun?

Have a wonderful winter weekend everyone.

Warm regards,
Kellie

Feathers in my Fedora

So I decided right after college I wanted to start my own freelancing editing business, a little thing, nothing too extraordinary, just an on-the-side adventure that would allow me to wet my feet in the publishing pool. And allow me to use my skill set as an English major too, over the summer I wrote (which was lovely) but as much as I enjoy my current job it doesn’t really test the boundaries of the written word. Anyway, I called my little freelancing thing Edit. Revise. Perfect. because of all the steps one must take in completing a written work, as we all know you can’t just slap something on the page and call it golden. (Okay, some of us can but that usually ends in bad writing, folks, I want nothing of it!) Well, it worked; within my first few months, I managed to lock down a full-length manuscript and several PhD level essays too. I was basking my success – which looked suspiciously like a little happy dance in my kitchen – and enjoying every minute of it. I even made a website for it: … just a simple thing that lined up well with my needs. (Isn’t it pretty?)

After a time, work really took a toll on me, I wasn’t that familiar with the whole 8-5 deal that actually meant 6:30-5:30 when it was all said and done, so I stopped promoting my business and thus, business dwindled to death. I didn’t mind though. With the combination of work and moving into the new place hovering over me, life was busy enough.

But about three weeks ago, I decided to start up again. See, I had adjusted to the schedule of work (demanding it might be) and moved into the new condo (mostly) so I decided I needed a change of pace and posted on craigslist that my services were available. Within a week or so, I got two gigs! One was for a completed poetry anthology and the other a work-in-progress chapter manuscript, both of reputable sources. Thrilling to say the least, right?

I was back doing my little happy dance, much to the chagrin of my two cats who were eating dinner at that particular moment. I got some pretty angry stares.

Then the work began. And I gotta tell ya, it was quite fun.

Currently I finished the poetry anthology and am in the process of setting up a meeting with the client sometime soon –possibly even this weekend! I just started on the chapter manuscript and I believe that will take more time, considering it’s a work-in-progress deal and I’m at the mercy of the author penning the anecdotes. I hope to get more jobs sometime soon, too.
All in all, for me, freelancing works.

It’s a built-from-the-ground-do-it-yourself sort of gig. Of course, like most things in life, there’s always help – word of mouth, support from friends and family, the teachers and professors who taught me my trade, for instance – for which I would not be here to even do the freelancing. One of the things that I really like about it is its flexibility, I can edit anytime I want, or not at all, as long as I get the work done in the time allotted.

But there are downfalls too. Right now the pay is sufficient but it’s not like I can quit my day job. It’s not at all steady since jobs trickle in when they may. Plus, there’s always a chance of not even having any jobs lined up at all, which is scary.

For right now, I don’t mind at all, the experience will last far longer. But honestly, I’m hoping I can turn it into a regular thing in the future, with clients lined up and such, a schedule and solid hours, a good paycheck.

My main concern is thus: what if people don’t want to use my services preferring instead a certified big-wig at one of the publishing companies? After all, there’s only one of me, but there’s a hundred of them… and they have a ton of credentials AND a reputable publishing company behind them. I, simply, do not have those… yet.

It’ll be hard work, I’m sure, and nothing worth doing is ever easy so I might as well just plunge right in and see where I dive to, huh? For now, I’m happy to have these experiences, as light as a feather they may be compared heavyweights at the publishing companies, and I will display them proudly for all to see.

Until next time…
Warm regards,
Kellie