Thursday, May 23, 2013

Writing Inspired by Atrocities

Yeah, maybe that doesn’t sound very inspiring or like I’m a horribly morbid person, but atrocities were what I needed to help me work on revisions this week.

 The Devil’s Orchid, my WIP, is set in a contemporary Vermont city. I suspect most people’s image of a Vermont city is a large town with loads of picturesque old homes, tons of green space and quaint farm-folk and maybe some artsy-hippy types. This is true to an extent, but more true of Vermont in the 1970’s or 1980’s. To depict it as such in 2013 would be to leave out a vital element: atrocities.

 I’m not going into a history lesson, but over the last two decades the face of Vermont has changed because of several waves of immigrants. In my story Mallory, the main character, is staying with an aunt who over the years has been instrumental in revitalizing her neighborhood as a safe haven, particularly for Ugandan refugees.  Read More

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This setting is not only a more correct vision of contemporary Vermont, it’s an element I had firmly in mind when I came up with my story. But this idea had faded a little as I dashed through the first draft. As I revise,  I’m having to think once more about the atrocities the citizens of Mallory’s neighborhood have lived through.  It’s not the story’s main thread, far from it, but it is part of the story’s inspiration and something I can’t neglect.

 Thursday's Children Blog Hop is open to all. Simply post about what inspires you and then add your blog to the link below! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Inspired by my mother

For the last couple of weeks I’ve wanted to do a post about my mom, but I haven’t been able to find the right words—probably because I’m not sure what about her inspired me the most. Maybe it was how, as a very young bride, she raised two children and helped my dad regain his strength after he became partially paralyzed from polio. How--despite dropping out of Barnard College to marry her childhood sweetheart--she went on to mentor graduate students at Williams College. In the 1960’s, when men were still in charge of a majority of state and town programs, she headed up projects for a conservation commission in Massachusetts and was responsible for getting funding to establish nature study centers, a park and for expanding environmental education for children. She went on to do so many more things, painted decorative furniture and landscapes, wrote poetry, and raised four children in total. But most of all, she inspired me to never view anything as impossible for men or women. It is this same attitude that inspires the main characters in my stories. Sure there were struggles and difficulties in my mother’s life, many of them, but her focus was always on the beauty of the world around her and the limitless possibilities for anyone willing to go after and fight for their dreams.

Rest in peace, Mom.

Anna Wood Rice (October 2, 1921--April 26, 2013)

Thursday’s Children Blog Hop is devoted to posts about what inspires your writing. It’s open to all. Simply add your name to the link below.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Inspired by: Rings

Rings appear in pretty much all of my stories.  They speak to me on so many levels and materialize in my writing almost without thought.  The circle of life.  Membership rings. Families. Secret societies. Wealth. Power. Devotion. Commitment.  Jealousy. Love.  Magic.  They are even reflected in the circular story structure I prefer to use.

But enough esoteric stuff. 

Last weekend, I went to look at an estate (read that as old trailer in the boonies) and ended up purchasing all the vintage jewelry.  When I purchase a large lot, I don’t look at each piece in detail—that could take days. I focus on the more valuable pieces I can quickly spot, base my offer on them and figure the ‘junker’ stuff is going to be a large portion of the profit.  Any extra nice items I spot when I get home are a bonus.

 At any rate, a weird thing happened when I got back to the shop and started sorting the good, the funky and the plain ass ugly jewelry. There was a vintage poison ring that looked like the one in my gothic fantasy, which is about to go on submission (except it was a woman’s ring and the one in my story is a man’s).  The ring plays a large role in the story’s inciting event. Finding it felt like a good omen.

THEN, I dug a little deeper into the jewelry pile and discover a not so beautiful spoon ring—clearly homemade.  The cool thing is, in my current project, the main character is a teenage girl who makes jewelry out of silverware.  Once again, I found a ring that connects to a current story’s inciting event.  Good omen #2, I hope.

There also was a huge rather gaudy ring, which my husband dubbed: the super-villain ring.  It has an eye-like, yellow and red natural stone at its center, grasped by spidery legs of gold.  He wants me to sell it on Ebay as an evil ring, of unknown powers. I’m thinking have just found the inspiration for my next story.

Thursday's Children Blog Hop is open to all.  Add your name to the link below and tell us what inspires you!
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