I've been writing for pleasure since I could make the shape of letters with a crayon. I grew to create short stories, poetry, experimental pieces, scripts, blogs (obviously) and more. It makes me smile then that every time I approach a new piece, task or genre, I feel like I am approaching writing for the first time - I'm embarking on something untouched and unknown.
I feel that way now. I've created plot outlines, characters and begun writing on my Pirate Girl trilogy and now I'm also beginning a story about a young girl who manages to solve mysteries while attending dog shows. I've been there before, what's the big deal?
This time it feels different. The first module of a writing course How to Think Sideways (go to the ink-fever page for the link and a discount) has arrived in my inbox and I'm just starting to read through it. This is exciting. This is not just a course, this is the course that will take me from scribbling down ideas and plots and stories to working on completing and publishing my novels for children.
I chose dog showing as the setting for my most recent project and a young junior handler as the character because my 11yr old daughter is embarking on this activity. Write about what you know - isn't that what they tell you?
You also have to write to propel the story, as dubious as it may sound my setting will host many mysteries. I also like quilting, but can't imagine that craft propelling any narrative, 'the two men boldly stood, ready for the battle about to take place. One of them would surely die. Sarah pulled out her Irish Chain patchwork quilt and with her size 10 needle threaded with the special waxy thread, she began to stitch. One tiny stitch, then another. It was thick fabric with wool lining so the needle did not slide through easily...' You can see why I don't write about quilting in my fiction, now if I was a sky-diver, well that would be a different matter!
One of the things that impressed me when reading up on the How to Think Sideways course, was the mention of listening to your muse. I've always imagined I would write for adults, and even started a crime novel aimed at that market. When I create my characters, they have different ideas, they start to place themselves. The Pirate Girl evolved from a picture book idea for young children, but Grace became stubborn and stomped her foot and said she wanted to be in a big girl's book. Once the fight scenes commenced and some poor sailors lost their lives, I knew she was right - never argue with red-head (I should have known better).
Now I am finding inspiration everywhere. By attending a Commedia dell'Arte (Italian comedy theatre) yesterday with drama students, I was struck with desire to visit Italy. The costumes and masks were so expressive and colourful. I've now decided my little dog show detective is going to travel the world attending famous dog shows and solving mysteries. I may have to travel to Italy for research - darn it.