Moving ~ Thinking ~ Writing

YogaDanceBeachMy writing involves movement. I think in a dance step, a yoga pose, or a tai chi move. These modes of movement help provide clarity of thought when I write. Some people can just sit and write, but I find it hard if I can’t get up and move around.

I have practiced lyrical dance most of my life, started yoga about ten years ago, and recently discovered tai chi within the last year. I incorporate all of these in my life so, it is quite natural for me to include them while I’m writing. The meditative nature of lyrical dance, yoga, and tai chi is what enables me to think and tap into my creativity from the flow of movement joined with holding a finished step, pose, or move.

Exercise while learning and studying has proven to be beneficial so, it only makes sense that it can be that way for writing, too. It’s amazing how more focused I get from exercising while I write!

 

 

 

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Let the Music Play

MusicMusic moves us in a lot of ways. For me, music helps me write. Just as many have playlists for when they exercise, I have a playlist for when I’m writing. It changes over time and is largely influenced by the content I’m writing about. Certain songs trigger me into a writing mode, much like muscle memory in exercising.

I listen to Contemporary Christian music and lately, I’ve attributed most of the writing I’m getting done on my novel by Rend Collective, a Northern Irish Christian band. Their music is presently moving my pen, which I find both inspirational and enlightening.

Rend-Collective

I love all their songs, but these are the top ten that I listen to the most:

“Build Your Kingdom Here” – Campfire (2013)

“My Lighthouse” – Campfire II: Simplicity (2016)/The Art of Celebration (2014)

“Every Giant Will Fall” – Campfire II: Simplicity (2016)/As Family We Go (2015)

“More Than Conquerors” – The Art of Celebration (2014)

“Boldly I Approach” – Campfire II: Simplicity (2016)/The Art of Celebration (2014)

“Strength of My Heart” – Campfire II: Simplicity (2016)/The Art of Celebration (2014)

“All That I Am” – The Art of Celebration (2014)

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” – Campfire II: Simplicity (2016)

“10,000 Reasons” – Campfire II: Simplicity (2016)/Campfire (2013)

“Joy of the Lord” – Campfire II: Simplicity (2016)/As Family We Go (2015)

Ultimately, music has a way of motivating and inspiring me. It helps to organize my thoughts and ideas into something that I am proud to put on paper. And, it will continue to be an important part in my writing process.

Hail to the Women Heroes!

wp-image-661354345The rise of the female hero has moved rampantly in our culture. Wonder Woman is a prime example. Growing up she was one of my role models and it was creator William Moulton Marston (Charles Marston) who gave us Wonder Woman over 75 years ago. She was created to stand for equality; feminist ideals based off of Margaret Sanger who was a notable feminist of the time. The unconventional liberated woman is what Marston was aiming to portray. She never was meant to be a sex symbol, but somehow she has been morphed into that. However, Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot who have played Wonder Woman in television and film have done an outstanding job in keeping her close to what Marston envisioned. Wonder Woman gives strength to women everywhere and she continues to be my role model.

Being a woman, it has been incredibly hard to prove myself in this man-driven world or to be taken seriously. I’m still seeking this, even after everything I have accomplished. It’s a continuous battle. I spent nearly thirteen years in the Army and personally felt the inequality next to my male counterparts. I feel this way in the workplace, too. Inequality still exists today whether or not people want to believe it. Wonder Woman tackled inequality, giving women like me hope and inspiration. Therefore, I do know my worth no matter if others acknowledge it.

Like many, I’m writing about a woman who is a hero. In Reconciled, Marie is not charged with saving the world or even humans. She is saving fallen angels. In God’s eyes they have value, even though they sinned against Him. She is a hero because she is doing something that not just anyone can do. God chose Marie to be the advocate for the fallen angels, just like He chose Jesus to be the advocate for humankind. However, Marie’s mission to accomplish what God charged her to do is a lot different than what Jesus did on the cross. No one is crucifying Marie, but there are those who are trying to stop her. Reconciling fallen angels takes time and Marie has found that not all of them want to be back with God. She is faced with all kinds of challenges, both physically and spiritually. Also, some of the angels who are helping here don’t have confidence in her abilities. She has to continuously prove herself as the hero she was meant to be.

The Beverage-Writing Cycle

wine coffee teaCoffee, wine, or tea? They each play a part when I’m writing.

Coffee is my motivator. It gets me started when I’m writing in the morning or late at night. The aroma alone is motivating. I live in Washington, which is the birthplace of Starbucks and the coffee capital of the world. I might be bias on that, but Washington is known for its coffee, right after being known for its rain.

Wine is my encourager. Should I put this in the story? Of course! Should my character say that? Definitely! Should there be purple ninja teddy bears? Wait…too much wine. Honestly, wine helps me keep writing no matter how silly the idea gets. The point is to get it all down on paper and edit later.

Tea is my voice of reason. It is what I drink when I’m reflecting and editing. This is where I generally throw out half of what I have written. Maybe not that much, but it feels like it. It is during this time that I realize something I wrote doesn’t work and changes need to be made.

This is my beverage-writing cycle. Right now, I’m in the coffee-wine part of the cycle. It doesn’t look like I’ll be drinking tea until the Fall.

purpleninjateddybear1And, just for clarity…there will be no purple ninja teddy bears in my story.

Get Lost in a Book and Read

ReadingI grew up with a love of reading. A large part of my childhood was being lost in a book. Of course, I have continued reading into adulthood and I just can’t imagine a world without books. I have always made time to read since it helps feed my imagination, and it’s my imagination that keeps me going.

I am currently reading Prey by Michael Crichton. He is one of my favorite authors because he makes his knowledge of science into intriguing stories. In Prey, he brings us into a world of nanotechnology, adding a twist that can be catastrophic to humankind. I’m halfway through this story and I can’t wait to see how it resolves.

MCrichtonPreyIn the Nevada desert, an experiment has gone horribly wrong. A cloud of nanoparticles–micro-robots–has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive. It has been programmed as a predator. It is evolving swiftly, becoming more deadly with each passing hour. Every attempt to destroy it has failed. And we are the prey.

~goodreads.com

For the most part, I moved on from reading YA novels; however, I enjoy the storyline that Cassandra Clare has developed with The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series. Therefore, I feel compelled to continue with The Dark Artifices series and read the first two books that are already published, Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows. The last book in the series, The Queen of Air and Darkness is expected to be published in 2019. CClareDarkArtificesThe basic premise of this series involve a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons. It’s right up my alley in the book that I’m writing so naturally, I would be drawn to them. I’m looking forward to reading these books after finishing Prey.

 

Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series recently caught my attention. I heard her speak about her books and writing at Norwescon, which is a science fiction and fantasy convention held in the Pacific Northwest (SeaTac, Washington) every year. I am fascinated by the paranormal elements she has woven into her books. This most likely will be the next series I read when I’m done with Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows.

KRichardsonGreywalkerFollowing a savage, near-fatal attack, private detective Harper Blaine discovers that she has become a Greywalker, and now has the ability to move between the ordinary world and a mysterious, cross-over zone populated by monsters.

~goodreads.com

It looks like I have my reading list taken care of for the rest of the year…maybe into the beginning of next year. There are so many good books out there that I hope one day my book will be one of them.

 

Making Geeky & Nerdy References

geekyandnerdyBecause I enjoy many geeky and nerdy things, they have found their way into my book. I think it works well, considering the content. It just makes sense to reference Dungeons & Dragons, Supernatural, The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Legend of Zelda, and even Star Wars since my story has elements from these fandoms. It adds comic relief and many readers can identify with most of the references I use. I know when I’m reading a book and my favorite fandoms are identified, the story becomes more interesting and it brings me closer to the characters. Isn’t that the goal? You want readers to engage and be able to relate to the characters. I believe this is a fun way to do that.

Dungeons & Dragons

Alexander picked up a book off Marie’s bookshelf. It was the D&D Monster Manual.

“You might want to acquaint yourself with this book.”

“D&D monsters are real?”

“Where do you think these ideas came from?”

“Great. It’s bad enough these monsters get me in the game. Now, I may be dealing with them for real.”

Supernatural

Marie grabbed some salt and threw it at the creature, which appeared to anger it more. Vincent gave her a strange look.

“What? It works on Supernatural!”

The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings

“You know, he can easily pass as Stryder from Lord of the Rings,” Katherine remarked.

“Just tell everyone you are hunting orcs and you should fit in.”

Nathaniel grumbled, “Let’s keep moving.”

“See…he is already in character.”

I even make references to fun scientific facts that people don’t generally know, but I don’t pull a Jules Verne on the reader. For anyone who doesn’t know what I’m referring to, read Mysterious Island or Journey to the Center of the Earth. Really, any Jules Verne book. Am I right? I understand back in the day this was how people learned about things, but we now live in the land of Google. I’m not an encyclopedia, but I do know a lot of information that probably earns me the title, Encyclopedia BriTanyaca. After all, I do have five degrees. More than anything, I want to put things in my story that are fun, entertaining, and relatable to readers. The geeky and nerdy stuff works, but if it doesn’t…then, I edit.

Character Creation

CreationThe characters I create are conglomerates of people I know, have known, or would like to know. This makes the characters real to me and I can interact with them in the inner musings of my mind. When people see me deep in thought or laughing about something out of the blue, most likely I’m entertaining character dialogue. I virtually write when I’m unable to physically write.

Marie is the main character in my book and it’s no surprise she is a representation of myself. Being one of the characters makes it easy to interact with the other characters with genuine feelings. In the story Marie operates much like I would, delving into my mood and mannerisms. She has a lot of my ambitions, particularly in helping others resolve conflict. I have a Master of Arts in conflict resolution and since I’m not currently using my degree, I figure someone should, even if it is a fictional character. Because Marie is helping to reconcile fallen angels back to God, being a conflict resolution specialist only makes sense. My intention was not to go through an entire master degree program just so a character of mine could benefit, but at least my education isn’t going to waste, right?

Most of the characters in my book are angels or fallen angels, aside from Marie’s best friend, Katherine and her husband, Joe. They ultimately are the only ones who know about Marie’s mission and are there offering her continual support. There is also one other character, Jon and he is Marie’s once-upon-a-time boyfriend who just made his way back into town after retiring from the Marine Corps. Jon doesn’t know about Marie’s new life as God’s mediator for the fallen angels. Marie finds that keeping her secret is challenging as Jon tries to rekindle their relationship that was lost years ago.