When I was asked by Pat Ruppel, over at Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom, to take part in a writing process blog hop, I enthusiastically agreed, even though I’d never been involved in one before and wasn’t entirely sure what it involved. One of the most unexpected, but valued, things I’ve gained in my blogging journey, is the support of a worldwide creative community, so if I can contribute to building that community in a small way, I’m honoured to do it. The way the blog hop works is that, first, I’ll introduce you to the wonderful Pat, then I’ll answer four set questions on my writing process and finally, I’ll introduce you to three more fantastic writers.
Pat Ruppel – Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom
Is it possible to make a difference in the world? Pat believes it is. One way is through writing to inspire and warm the heart. That’s what she hopes to do on her site at Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom, table stories. People always seem more comfortable wherever food and drinks are served, whether inside where it’s warm and cosy or out on the patio. We go to wherever we’re most relaxed to catch up on the latest with family and friends or open up to explore conversations with new people. That’s when magic happens. Pat believes, if we could find common ground and talk, whether it’s around a kitchen table or in writing a story, anything is possible. If there are problems or life issues, she thinks most could be resolved, if we could find where we most identify with one another and trust to tell our story.
The desire to connect and learn how differently people react and their opinion of things interest Pat. It probably comes from when she facilitated talking-stick workshops for her employer back in the late ‘90’s /2000’s. She’s always wondered why people have different attitudes in their approach to what they do and how they feel about life. Where does it come from and what is their story? It is her hope that you’ll pull up a chair, kick back and join her at her kitchen table at “Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom”, with a few examples of featured stories below. Maybe, they will warm your heart and take you to a similar place — familiar memory — or trigger a feeling within where you could tell your own story.
Ghost Stories From An Old House (http://plaintalkandordinarywisdom.com/ghost-stories-from-an-old-house/) ― It was the home where my mother grew up in a small beach town in Virginia, situated on main street and only 2 blocks from downtown. You wouldn’t think the house would be “haunted” just to look at it.
Young Love to Old Love (http://plaintalkandordinarywisdom.com/young-love-to-old-love/) ― Well, it’s official. We are now the elder couple with white hair walking down the street holding hands. I remember when I was in my dating years or married and chasing to my next errand I’d see an older couple holding hands and think, “Awhh, isn’t that nice. I’d like to be doing that someday.”
A Talking Stick and a Poem (http://plaintalkandordinarywisdom.com/a-talking-stick-and-a-poem) ― A post I read today from a fellow blogger, John Cali, started me thinking. He was asking the question, “How Do You Know If You Are Making a Positive Difference in People’s Lives?” Have you ever thought of that or, maybe, you’ve thought, “What’s the point to what I’m doing?” I remembered, one time, when I was shown how a talking-stick and a poem can make a difference. Here’s my story.
Pat can be contacted at her blog: http://plaintalkandordinarywisdom.com;
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/PlainTalkAndOrdinaryWisdom
Twitter — https://twitter.com/pcrupp1928
My writing process
Thanks to Pat for inviting me along, please go and visit at her table if you haven’t already. And now I’ll answer the four set questions passed on to participants in the blog hop:
My novel, The skin of a selkie is the novel I’ve worked on for more than twenty years. Though the basic story has never altered, it has undergone various revisions over time. But, after a last read through and polish, it’s finally time to send it out into the world. The synopsis is done, but I’m working on the dreaded query letter and trying to summarise the story in a sentence. It is the story of a mother and a daughter whose lives are fatefully entwined with those of the selkies, seal-people who, once a year, are free to take human form. I’ve no doubt that this sentence will change many times before I’m happy with it, but perhaps you can let me know whether it intrigues you enough to want to know more…
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write about women’s lives, in stories that are more character than plot-driven. But what I think makes my stories a little different to those that would usually be classed as general fiction, is that they tend to feature a hint of magic. I don’t write fantasy, but magic of one kind or another will seep in to the narrative. This may be an integral part of the story, as it is in The skin of a selkie, or it may be that there is a just a little more to the story than it might first appear.
I still remember the tears I cried when my mother confirmed that Santa Claus and the tooth fairy weren’t real. I remember, as a young child, that expectant feeling as the evening of Christmas Eve approached and I imagined that I could hear sleigh bells in the distance. I remember yearning to be a witch, before I knew that witches really existed. I still long for magic. I want the world to be more than it appears to be. And so I immerse myself in nature, the world’s everyday magic. But I’ve also spent many years seeking another kind of magic, primarily through a pagan path. Magic has influenced my life and I want to bring that into my writing, because I think we all need to feel that there is more to the world than what we see around us. Storytelling is also a kind of magic – the alchemy of bringing words together to create something that is more than its parts.
How does my writing process work?
I see an idea before I write it. Usually a character, a setting or both. I can visualise that character in that setting at a particular moment in time. Plot comes after, emerging from the character and their setting. I will ruminate on an idea for long periods. In my day job, I spend a lot of time travelling from site to site on public transport and I find this an ideal time for mulling over ideas. The mulling process will continue after I’ve begun to write and usually, other ideas that are helpful to the story will emerge over time. When I write, I type straight into the laptop. I can touch type, so I write as quickly as I think. Usually, I’ll know the beginning and the end. Everything in between evolves as I write and muse. Fragments of thoughts, dialogue, description, will find their way into notebooks and onto scraps of paper around the house, until they all come together in one narrative. Then, for me, comes the hard part. I love to write, but I hate to revise. Which may be one reason why Selkie took so long to be ready…
Three fellow writers
I’ve chosen three very different writers to carry on the blog hop, but what they have in common is that I love to read their writing. I hope you’ll spend some time visiting them so that you can enjoy them too.
Karin Van den Bergh – Ruby Slippers and the Yellow Brick Road
My name is Karin Van den Bergh, born in Belgium but currently living in beautiful New England, U.S. Having worked in the tourism business for several years and being married with a globe-trotting businessman, it’s fair to say I’m a cosmopolitan in heart and soul. I have a healthy curiosity for exploring and learning all about life on earth and beyond. I believe everything and everybody, from the mundane to the magnificent, can be a source of inspiration. My blog can be described as sort of an online journal, a walkabout on the ‘yellow brick road’, an adventure inspired by life as it comes and the many cross cultural encounters with beautiful people.
You can contact Karin at her blog, Ruby Slippers and the Yellow Brick Road: http://karinvandenbergh.wordpress.com/
Since she can first remember, Sandra Danby has loved reading. Hardback, paperback, e-book, new or pre-loved, borrowed from the library and friends, magazines and newspapers, she reads them all. She grew up on a small dairy farm at the bleak edge of East Yorkshire where England meets the North Sea. At the age of four she was making magazines full of her own stories. When missed by her mother, she was usually found in a corner with her nose in a book. She devoured everything from the Famous Five and Secret Seven to Swallows and Amazons, from Little Women to George Orwell and Mary Stewart. All this reading led her first to a degree in English Literature in London, then to journalism. Now she writes fiction full-time… and still reads at every spare moment. Her first novel Ignoring Gravity can be pre-ordered at www.britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/book/index/IgnoringGravity
You can contact Sandra as follows:
To pre-order ‘Ignoring Gravity’: www.britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/book/index/IgnoringGravity
Gemma Hawdon lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two children. She is frantically honing the synopsis for a Children’s Fantasy that is – finally – ready to start submitting (although the synopsis may take longer than the actual novel because she welcomes any distraction, even the ironing, to delay the tedious project). On top of that she writes articles, guest posts, web content and short stories as well as her own blog http://topoftheslushpile.com. She loves hot coffee, long walks and sneaking off to the movies when everyone else is at work.
You can contact Gemma at: