A picture is worth 1000 words, or hopefully 80,000

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I have a story to tell. It’s all there, waiting for me to sort out the details and decide how much or how little to tell. It’s all there, waiting for me to compile its contents into neatly written chapters for others to consume.

I still needed inspiration though, or maybe it’s inspiration peppered with courage? Anyways, I found this picture on Twenty20.com, a forum for photographers to post their work. I was hit hard by a particular photo by Aliciadug, and she was kind enough to let me use her work. It may be naive of me to think that a publisher would allow me to design my own cover, but if I had it my way, this is what it would look like (or something very similar).

The photo tells my story, a young girl living a life of dysfunction after her mother is murdered. I plan to keep this photo around as I write, hoping it will provoke some emotions that can often be difficult for me to express. So thank you Alicia for kindly letting me use your work, it will serve much more purpose than just a cover to a book. Thanks again 🙂

Does anyone else have any tips for keeping the words flowing? I’m not new to writing, but I am new to writing longer works, novels, memoirs, etc., and I would love to hear any suggestions on tactics to keep my story alive, and growing! Thanks!

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We read to learn, to feel, to laugh, to understand others. We write to teach, express, communicate, to inspire others. I created Invisible Ink as an outlet of sorts, an area where I can organize the chaos; a place where hopefully I can be true to myself, and my readers. Writing is personal, it takes a brave and dedicated soul to formulate a piece and then share it with the world. That being said, I get just as much out of reading other's work as I do sharing mine ( I am always open to manuscript review swaps, just send me a message). Words read off a page evoke emotions. When taken out of context, or through an out of focus lens - anyone can mold the words, shifting their meaning to fit their agenda or distorted outlook. Staying true to form and myself, I won't censor my content, but I will censor my audience. Whatever lens you happen to be reading this through - I hope you enjoy!

3 thoughts on “A picture is worth 1000 words, or hopefully 80,000

  1. I’d like to offer some helpful tips if I can, but not sure how much my own personal experience will be relevant to how you write. Now that I’ve planted that disclaimer in your mind, I’ll continue.

    First I’ll suggest (something I’ve never done) that reading what other novelists have to say about the subject might help.

    Second, there is a John Steinbeck novel that is said to be semi-autobiographical called East of Eden. I don’t think that will help, but you never know. Really it’s simply a book I recommend to most everyone I know, and I get a sense that there’s a 97% chance you’d enjoy it. Hopefully it will give you some inspiration. I had a little problem when I first started reading it, the language being a bit outdated, but found that after a few chapters it sounded much more natural and then it didn’t bother me at all.

    Third…okay, my potentially irrelevant personal experience.
    When I first started writing and putting it online in 2001, my “posts” were primarily humorous rants, about a parapraph long. Not too sophisticated really. Suddenly they became a little longer, and eventually became a little deeper, and soon I stopped getting visitors who referred to my writing as “drivel” or saying, “This needs heavy editing.” It kind of happened without trying, really. I’ll chalk it up to a guess that practice caused it.

    I began writing political satire based on what I’d been learning about politics at the time, with an occassional fiction story. The longest story was about 3 pages long. Around 2010 I stopped writing.

    In February of 2014 I started writing again. I decided that posting things an hour after I wrote them was a bad idea. I reviewed my favorite grammar book, How Not to Write by William Safire. The first few stories I wrote were less than two pages long, one was about four paragraphs. Suddenly I had a story I couldn’t finish all at once. I went back to it a second time and finished it. Suddenly there was a story that took me three sessions to write. I put the stories aside for a few days, or a week, or several, did some editing, did some rewriting, then repeated the process. I still don’t have any “finished.” So I give them time between rewrites and editing so I can see them with fresher eyes and a clearer head.

    Inspiration? Oh, that’s easy, all you have to do is….

    Oh wait, no, that’s the Holy Grail of a creative writer. I don’t know where that comes from.

    No, seriously I might be able to provide some insight into that. Here let me try some out…

    Once upon a time there was a fair maiden from another land who had very long hair. A magical monkey came to her door and said, “fair maiden, what is you wish for?”
    “Oh magical monkey, I wish for the Golden Hairdryer to dry my lustrous locks, and silver outlet for electricity, a platinum record by the Beatles.”
    The magical monkey tilted his head in confusion, “Fair maiden, I can give you a leaf from this tree, but none of those things you asked for.”

    Okay, so I’m a little tired right now and that inspiration didn’t come up with much. But that’s one method. Just start writing, and hopefully you can come up with something so bad that it can be edited into something good later. Eventually it could grow into something longer. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing at all, but I sit down to edit and add to a story anyway. Nine times out of ten I can get something accomplished even though I thought I wasn’t in the state of mind or had any ideas before I sat down to do it. It starts out a little slow sometimes, but after a few changes, my gears move to where they need to be and the editing/adding/rewriting goes a bit more smoothly.

    So, perhaps I could sum that up by saying: a little blind faith or confidence in yourself during times when you feel you can’t write… try writing anyway. If after ten minutes you don’t get anywhere, then STOP, try again later.

    Most of the stories I write usually pop into my head. The grain of an idea. I roll it around a little in my head, and maybe it grows. Then at some point, I have an idea for the first paragraph, or an entire story (flash fiction, not what you’re doing). Often when that happens, I’ll get an irresistible urge to start writing. If I wait a day, I feel nothing and the story might never get written. Sometimes I write down the grain, go back to it later, and then roll it around from there. That doesn’t work as well though, but I have gotten a few good stories that way.

    Meditation is supposed to be good for creativity. Sometimes stuff pops into my head when I’m trying to meditate. Depending on how “deep” my meditative state is at the time, I sometimes won’t remember much of what I was thinking about during the meditation. So I have to make a choice whether I want to “let it go” or “roll it around” and see if anything comes of it.

    Also you asked about courage. There’s something to be said about working outside of one’s comfort zone, but often it’s hard to find the line. I’m more “courageous” now with what I make public because I’ve seen that many people put their feelings out in public. Same goes for using my real name. A lot of people do that, bloggers, journalists… etc…

    I’m side-tracking here a little to touch on the subject of anonymity that I read on your About page. I don’t know if it’s possible to anonymous and have a book published. I got “used to it” over time. Looking back, now I’d say it was a step-by-step process. Detailing those steps would create another side-track though, so I’ll skip it.

    I’ve had similar feelings about wanting to stay anonymous, even though I started using my real name, but I don’t know how realistic that is anymore.

    But there are some differences between you and I. You’re a woman and I’m a man. So if may address that difference diplomatically, hopefully without sounding like a chauvanist, hoping I won’t offend you or anyone else… I think generally–I’ll emphasize generally–women have a… right to feel more vulnerable than men. I guess if for no other reason, because it seems men prey or are violent towards women more than vice versa. Not that women are weak or unable to defend themselves. My mother is a woman as are my sisters, so was my grandmother, so I’ve experience with strong and independent women.

    Okay, so getting back to courage in general. Sometimes when I have to decide what I want to make public, and what I’m comfortable with making public, I factor in if it’s something I think is relevant, how much it adds to the story, and if it’s something that needs to be said so someone else can know they’re not alone. 😉 Courage changes over time. Struggling with a decision one day, you might find it easy to make the decision a week later. If your safety or that of a loved one is a concern, then leave it out, put it aside and review it later. You may have a different perspective on it with the passage time.

    It’s now 11:06 am CST, so I’m going to keep typing until 11:11. I always have more to say anyway.

    I don’t have personal experience with writing a novel. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child, but I never had any ideas that I could see becoming a novel. Maybe one day. My longest story now is… 2200 words. But actually now, for me, I feel like writing a collection of short stories would completely satisfy me. Just a book, to give to my nephews and nieces, something to put in my bookcase and have what would feel like a real accomplishment. That’s just where I’m at on that, not that I think you should “settle.” 🙂

    It’s now 11:11. Happy Birthday. Good luck, and let me know if you have any more questions. 🙂

  2. Glad that my daughter and idea could be an inspiration in any way. I love it when one creative idea inspires another. 😊
    Good luck with your writing!

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