Thursday, November 29, 2012

Some thoughts on writing fiction...and J.K. Rowling

Writing fiction is no easy endeavor.  I mean, think about all that goes into it.  You have to figure out what you want to say, who your characters are, where your story takes place, when it takes place, what happens and what the plot includes, what the conflict is and how it’s solved (and that’s just general fiction).  And then, once you have that idea, you have to make each of these aspects real, believable, and of course interesting, or else no one would want to read your work.  Then you have to worry about word count or page count, tenses and grammar (of course those have to be accurate), consistency in the world you create (time, place, character) and so on.  And after all that is done, now you must edit and cut and revise (over and over and over again!).  And even after all that, there’s no guarantee that your “masterpiece” will even reach the bookshelves through publication.

But that’s okay, because, despite the struggle and time, those who enjoy writing, keep coming back to it.  Like myself.  We continue to challenge ourselves to see what we can create, and how we can make our work and ourselves even better.  We consistently allow ourselves to be moved by inspiration, and work to capture it onto our pages.  I am becoming a firmer believer about the importance of the process, the motion of what it takes to get there.  Like the words of India Arie’s song A Beautiful Day “Life is a journey, not a destination/ There are no mistakes, just chances we’ve taken”.  Of course, I’ll be excited to see what my finished product will be, but the unpredictability of the “getting there” is just as exciting.  A little daunting, and sometimes a little disheartening, but exciting nonetheless.

So, after thinking about all that it takes to be a writer, I sit in awe of those who have done it and who have done it so well.  Enter: J.K. Rowling.
I thought I’d write a little about J.K. Rowling because her work is awe-inspiring.  I have read the Harry Potter series and I have watched the movies over and over again.  And each time, I continue to be in awe of her work:  her characters and their quirks and imperfections; her settings and their “real-life feel”; her plot lines within each book as well as spread across seven books total; her creation of a new language (muggles, mudbloods, and so on) and of a new culture all together.  It’s no wonder why her World of Harry Potter has become such a world-wide phenomenon.  Her words have certainly had an effect on me that is difficult to explain; all I can do is sit back and continue to be enthralled in the world she created.

So Ms. Rowling, thank you for being such a talented writer.  Thank you for creating something that I have fallen in love with, something that me and my sisters have created so much history and so many memories with, something that I hope to share with my own kids one day when I have them, and something that inspires me to keep at my craft and become a better writer.  Thank you!

Now to figure out how to do it myself!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


The quickly approaching holidays always puts me into a nostalgic mood.  I reminisce about happy childhood times that I have shared with family and friends.  I think about the winter drives down Christmas tree lane where the streets were lined with impeccably decorated houses—lights twinkling brightly.  Or the short lived tradition of eating at IHOP (complete with hot cocoa stirred with a candy cane) before going to the tree farm to select the perfect tree—and all the eight-legged stowaway “friends” that also found their way into our home.   I think about family members coming from all parts of California to celebrate Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house.  Or going from one family member’s house to the next, and somehow finding a space in our stomachs to pack away a few more bites of holiday treats.  I think about New Year’s Eve sparkling apple cider, and seafood gumbo on New Year’s Day.  I think about the smiles we shared, the games we played, and the memories we built together.

 And as I reminisce about times that fill my heart, I endeavor to capture this warmth in the stories that I write.  How wonderful it would be that each time someone reads a story I write, they are filled with happiness, even though their experiences may have been different than mine.  Isn’t that a great goal to strive for?  Writing that captures and warms the hearts of all who read it? 

I think that if I am able to perfect infusing these happy feelings into my writing, that I will be forever preserving a childhood that I knew, and that was so wonderful to me.

But of course, I think that taking the time to reflect on my own happy memories is a great first step toward this goal.  Plus, it’s often an inspiration for new stories to come.

Happy November, everyone!