Monday, August 23, 2010

Imagining Like A Child

Justin and I went to the beach the other day. The waves were gentle, and they'd swept the sand into miniature cliffs. We'd barely even dipped in the water when Justin went back to the shore and started digging a trench to the cliffs. Before too long, he was scooping out sand beside the trench into a sea wall. I joined him and began building watch towers, dribbling wet sand around the top to make crenellations and stairs. Justin made a harbor behind the sea wall; I built boats from driftwood, leaves, and feathers and anchored them to a wooden post with sea grass. Justin made a breakwater of sticks to stop the waves from eating up the sea wall; I reinforced the walls with pebbles and bark. Then I began imagining this place with people, ruled by a proud king and a compassionate queen, and their history. I even built the "bones" of a feared sea beast a ways from the sea wall.

We spent 2 hours building that sand castle. Justin joked about how we were doing "kid stuff", which neither of us had a problem with. In fact, we've both agreed that when we have kids, we'll be happy to play like kids again.

That got me to thinking. My imagination has never really "grown up". Sure, I think about household stuff, my husband, his work, and plenty of other "grown up" things. But I also spend a good amount each day immersed in a fantasy world, fighting sorcerers, riding dragons, talking with elves and dwarves--and yelling at my characters of course. :0) I think being "grown up" is healthy for a person of my age. But I also think that adults should spend time being a kid too.

God gave us imaginations. I think we should use them. We shouldn't shut them up when we grow up. (Isn't there a quote like that in Raven's Ladder, the third book of the Auralia's Colors series?) I think its a wonderful thing when any adult can spend time, with or without children, imagining like a child.

*note* Justin & I will be gone visiting family in Missouri next week, so no post Monday. While I'm gone, think about what you'd like my to talk about on here. Any fun ideas or insights?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Frustration Followed By Joy

I'm going to say this quickly.

I stopped working on The Second Crown.

There, I made my official announcement online. Is anyone going to shoot me? I know that writers have to persevere and be stubborn. But I worked on The Second Crown for sooooo long (7 years this October, I believe) that I was beginning to assume I knew all of the story in my head. And I really didn't.

I was trying to rush to finish the final draft. Since I'd decided to rewrite the beginning of the story, I should've looked through the first draft more carefully. I didn't and I made a couple of big plot blunders that I didn't catch until I was editing chapter 6. Justin came home from work to me in tears of frustration, shoving The Second Crown folders back into their box, and pulling out everything for Night Sword. It was a good thing, since for a while I'd felt bored, like working on TSC wasn't what I was supposed to do. Writing just wasn't fun any more. Justin supported that notion every time I complained about writing. So I finally listened to my husband and God and started work on the story that's very close to my heart.

I can tell that NS is different. I'm usually pulled to the computer every day, eager to write more of this story. I've had it in my head for so long that I feel like I know the characters, especially the main characters, inside out. And its going super well. I beat my personal writing record by writing 2 chapters (about 4,000 words) in 3 days. Maybe that's not really great, but it was to me. I'm back to enjoying my calling! Yes!!

Other writing projects: Sometime soon I'm going to start editing Half Blood and maybe even Roliwyn. I'd never planned to pursue publishing for HB, but Justin and the members of Apricotpie called foul with that plan. So...you talked me into it! :0) I'm also thinking about two fun projects, an off-the-wall chick lit narrated by a pet cat, and my next Apricotpie project, entitled Raising A Princess. And I'm playing with an idea I've had for a couple of years--an epic poem of dialog between a guardian angel, his human charge, and a tempter demon. That last idea was inspired by reading Frank Peretti's The Oath and This Present Darkness.

Also, has anyone read the excerpt of Night Sword on my blog pages? What did you think?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Auralia's Colors by Jeff Overstreet

Storyline: An orphan girl is found by two Gatherers, outcasts from the House of Abascar. As the girl, who names herself Auralia, grows older, she discovers she has a gift—she can create wonderful, colorful weaves from what the forest has to offer. The only problem is that the king of House Abascar has forbidden anyone to wear colors.

The older Auralia becomes, the more she understands that she was sent to House Abascar for a purpose. Though reluctant, Auralia forges ahead in her task, aided by the Gatherers and some unlikely allies, including the prince of Abascar.

My Take:

I love the descriptions in this book. They are breath-taking, beautiful, and awesome. Overstreet makes his book shine with the vivid pictures of people, animals, and the world. Next to The Lord of the Rings, I think its one of the easiest, prettiest worlds for me to imagine. The characters are very real to me as a reader.

One of the best things (to me) was the fact that not all of the characters are handsome or pretty. A lot of books have beautiful main characters. I realized not long ago that I'm guilty of this very thing. While I think that Auralia herself was pretty, others--Krawg or the ale boy, for example--aren't, and I really liked that.

I also like the mysterious spiritual elements in the book. The Keeper, the Northchildren--all to me present mysteries that I ponder over even after reading the book. It reminds me somewhat of MacDonald's stuff.

There were a couple of things I didn't care for, but overall this was an incredible book.

Rating: five out of five stars

Monday, August 2, 2010

How Am I Still Alive?

Hello everyone! Since we last spoke, I've logged about 23 travel hours, slept on the ground, been talked into death-defying stunts, and gone back in history.

Tuesday through Thursday, Justin had a "business trip" to Minneapolis last week and was able to take me with him. The first night, we went to the Minnesota Science Museum and saw the Dead Sea Scrolls. It's my second time, and each time I've been inspired to quit this ill-paying writing job and become an archeologist. :0) But then I think about the heat and everything and think, "Maybe not." But I really do love seeing the history of Israel in those tiny fragments of parchment. So mysterious... We also walked around the science museum--very much Justin's thing, not so much mine. But it was still kind of cool, especially the weather section. Finally, demonstrations of all the things my husband's talking about!! :0)

We also went to Valleyfair, an amusement park. It was very much like a giant carnival. Lots of smaller rollercoasters. The best rides there were known as Steel Venom and The Ripcord. Steel Venom was a large U-track rollercoaster with a big corkscrew at one end. We got in front of the line for that one! And Ripcord...I'm honestly still trying to figure out how Justin talked me into going on the Ripcord. Basically, its a 200-foot swing with a couple of cables attached to it. You get hauled up to the top and dropped in a free-fall 'til about 10 feet off the ground, when you start swinging...very high. And the kicker on the entire ride is that you have to release yourself. Yeah. You get to pull the cord that drops you 200 feet. Needless to say, I made Justin pull the cord. :0)

Then he had 4 days off, so we spent Friday at home chillin' and preparing for a camping trip up to the Keeweenaw Peninsula. Yes! We spent Saturday & Sunday nights up there. I don't think my back is going to forgive me for that! We only took 2 big blankets...but beyond every joint popping when I got up, it was a lot of fun!! Justin's a very good campfire cook. We did some hiking, swam in the lake with some good-sized waves, and walked around the old Civil War fort we camped nearby. Oh yeah, and it rained last night. But the tent packaging miraculously wasn't lying when it said "waterproof"!

So now we're back at the apartment relaxing from our relaxing vacation. :0)

And how are your summer vacations/non-vacations going?

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