Pearlescent

A little poem from my random Bursts of Words collection.

I once had a collection of pearls in an iridescent shell. Each one contained a piece of my heart. Some I wore on a necklace when I needed them while others were safe away from the cruel world.

They shimmered in the sunlight and brought me strength when I doubted myself. With so many, I occasionally gifted one to the people I cared deeply for. Sometimes, they gifted one back.

One day, a man came into my life and shared his heart’s pearls with me, so I shared mine with him. A woman soon joined us, and our pearls glimmered as if from the same shell. They were beautiful together.

That was until I stumbled, and my pearls rolled away. My friends did not reach out to catch them. Instead, they stomped and crushed them to dust until my heart had no joy, no laughter, only emptiness. Once there were no more pearls, the pair left me to pick up the pieces.

I collected all the dust I could and placed it back in the shell. For weeks, months, I stared at that shell with my broken heart, occasionally peeking at the destruction inside. 

Each time I did, I cried until I was out of tears for the day. Begging my friends did nothing, only left more anger and pain within me.

Those who broke my pearls did not take responsibility but blamed me until I blamed myself. 

Eventually, I stopped looking in the shell, but the memory of the cracking pearls haunted my days and nights. I was adrift in this fog with no strength or solace. 

I ached with more pain than I could handle. It drained me, stole the last of my hope. Days, weeks, months passed as my heart remained pearlescent dust. I wandered aimlessly in a fog, going through the motions as one does when they have little to live for.

I cannot recall what made me look in the shell one day. A speck of hope or desperation. But when I looked, a pearl had reformed, and a piece of my heart along with it. 

Now, I open the shell to find more reformed pearls. 

They do not shine the way they once did, but the pieces of my heart come back one by one. 

Image by Myriams-Fotos at Pixabay.com

Let Me Hate You

A little poem from my random Bursts of Words collection.

Tell me you need me and that you care.

Let me hear you say I’m your superstar, your favourite.

Take all I offer and more.

Give me all you are and will be.

Take my passion.

Steal my creativity and inspiration.

Use me, then throw me away.

Don’t say you’re sorry.

Just let me hate you.

Image by Peggychoucair at Pixabay

Organised Creativity and Creative Organisation!

Image by StockSnap at Pixabay.

I bought a beautiful planner. I used to buy one at Christmas, but since I started teaching, I’ve bought one in August in time for the new academic year. It got me thinking how there is creativity in organisation. 

Madame Butterfly by Paperblanks

My computer backgrounds alternate in themes from fantasy images, character inspiration, nature and space. Every time I open my PC, there’s beauty on my screen. So why not my diary? I use it multiple times a day and even make notes at the back. I want creativity in my organisation.

But what about organisation in my creativity?

I rave about Scrivener because I genuinely love it. But there are many ways you can organise your thoughts and intentions. 

Here are some thoughts you might want to consider organising…

  • Characters – Give each character a page for a full description or make a quick-view table. I have both in my Scrivener file. Their role, goals, family, appearance, backstory, maybe even an image. Anything that applies to your characters whether they’re MCs or secondary characters. Try devianart for portraits or fantastical character inspiration.
  • Locations – Main buildings with descriptions. A map of you can draw one or make a digital map. Research structures that apply to your book and use images for consistency.
  • Worldbuilding – Reality or fantasy, your world needs history, culture, religion, lore. Whatever it takes for readers to understand the world from your MC’s perspective. You don’t need to use every aspect of the world or culture you’re writing about. But you need to know it inside and out.
  • Abilities – This is more important for fantasy or sci-fi but still applies for a real world story. Magic, integrated tech, you need to establish what your characters are capable off at the beginning and at the end of the book. Your MC needs some special skills or potential skills that make them stand out. This can be something new or something that they already have but find new uses for. Detective skills, relationships skills, magical skills, new tech. It all boils down to the same idea of character growth.
  • Speaking of Character growth – Add this to your character description. Events that push them to change for better or worse. Make a timeline of key moments that cause these changes to various characters.
  • Outline – Make a table with columns. The chapter number and title if you use them. Write a synopsis for each chapter leaving a space for each scene if you have more than one. List the characters in the scene so you can see if you’re overloading the reader with too many people. Put the POV character at the top of the list for stories with multiple POVs. Colour code character actions if you want. 

I’m probably missing some stuff here, but you get the point. Organising your creativity can help keep those inspirational thoughts together, making way for new ones.

You’ve Completed Your First Draft, Now What?

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels.com

No matter how many times I do it, completing that first draft brings a sense of euphoria I can’t quite describe. It’s like winning the first race on sports day. Sure you have more to go, but at the end of the day, you have that one winning medal. I’ve drafted my pentalogy, and book one has had a revision. The rest is messy, but at least the main story is there for me to see its evolution.

Now I have my first standalone novel drafted. And it’s in pretty good shape for a first draft. Right now, I’m letting the revision ideas float around, updating my latest outline with more detailed notes. The entire structure is there ready to smooth out and decorate into a beautiful work of art. It WILL be a work of art when I am done with this story.

Here are some things to think about after your first draft.

Make detailed notes.

Whether you’ve had feedback or not, it’s always a good idea to make notes and update your outline. Add your changes and additions and POV swaps if you have multiple POVS. If you don’t do outlines, it’s still a good idea to make a list and tick them off as you go through them. I use the corkboard mode in Scrivener with the “to do” label for each chapter and its new synopsis, then change it to “done”. It’s really handy. 

Foreshadowing

Now you know where your novel is going, you can drop little clues for the reader throughout the story so any surprises don’t come out of nowhere. Explaining or showing possibilities of the characters’ actions early on can really help with this. 

Setup 

This is connected to foreshadowing but goes beyond that. You need your readers to understand the aspects of your story for it to feel like a satisfying conclusion. If you leave things too vague, then when it all comes together, it won’t have the same impact. Set up the pieces in a way that the reader understands what each one does. Show it in actions, have characters say it in dialogue, or have the MC think it. Just don’t bore the readers with long narration telling them about it unless you have to. 

Deus ex machina

If you’ve set everything up and foreshadowed well, this won’t be an issue. You have to avoid that sense of perfectly timed divine intervention just when the MC needs it. Build up to it gradually, show a little before. Keep it in the reader’s mind with casual mentions in between the more active reminders.

Character development 

With any story, real or fictional, the whole idea is that the characters change somewhat throughout. It could be a minor change that leads to the characters being more open-minded to a big life change, or it could be that the book’s major change is the characters themselves. Either way, having seen where your character ends up, you can now go back and let the character change little by little. 

And now…

It’s been ten months since I started writing Out of Ashes. I won’t deny that the inspiration for the storyline came from a place of pain and vengeance. But what prompted me to write it was a dream of fire and rebirth. 

I don’t want to say more than that in case I spoil anything, but this story was incredibly personal to me, so to complete the draft with fantastic feedback was an amazing feeling. Now I can mould is, shape it an sculpt it into a work of art.

I’m open to self publishing, but I feel like I stand a good chance with traditional publishing based on the current market. I didn’t write my novel to fit the market or adhere to it, but circumstances in my story choice have coincided with what seems to be popular these days. How lucky is that? 

I have to revise it, send it for beta readers, revise it again, maybe even again, and then I can think about whether it’s ready for publishing. This is all going to happen in time, and I don’t plan to put a deadline on anything. You can’t rush creativity. Also, nothing bad will happen if I don’t get it published this year. So cheers to the completed draft and its possibilities. 

In life, we often wish we had the ability of hindsight. In writing, your first draft is your hindsight. Use it well, and rewrite that story to perfection.