Jilly: Did You Watch the Royal Wedding? Why?

I’m writing this post on Saturday morning. I plan to be finished around 11.30am UK time. Then I’ll grab a cup of coffee, fire up the BBC’s live streaming and watch Meghan Markle marry Prince Harry and become Duchess of Sussex.

According to the BBC television commentators, the global audience for Harry and Meghan’s happy day may be more than a billion people.

A billion? Why? Continue reading

Jilly: Which Story Would You Tell?

“Where do you get your ideas?” is supposedly the question most asked of successful authors.

I collect and hoard story starters from here, there and everywhere (Alexis grew from the juxtaposition of two fascinating anecdotes shared by my hairdresser), but my all-time favorite source is the BBC website.

Most weeks I stumble across something weird or wonderful that makes my brain fizz. I bookmark them in a folder called ‘story stuff’ and forget about them until I’m looking for ideas or inspiration or just something a little different to get the wheels turning.

I had one of those days today, so I took a stroll through my story stuff file. There are more than a hundred nuggets in there, but here are a trio of good ones.

A sci-fi classic: Continue reading

Jilly: Time Out

Time OutDo you ever allow yourself the luxury of an unscheduled time out? I don’t do it very often, but I’m declaring one today.

I’m really happy with the way my WIP is shaping up. I wish it would come together faster, and I have lots of discovery work still ahead of me, but I like what I have so far, and I have a clear idea of the remaining scenes that will get me to the end of the first act. I think it will take me about two weeks to get there, and I’m really excited to write it.

I expected to wake up this morning refreshed and raring to begin, but out of nowhere I feel drained and mentally lacklustre. That’s not a feeling I want to infuse my story, and once I get started, I want to write through to the major turning point without losing momentum, so I decided to award myself a day to recharge.

I might think about my story – I almost certainly will – but I won’t set myself any specific tasks. No word-count goals, no problems to solve.

My plan for the day Continue reading

Nancy: Borrowing From the Masters

In this terracotta relief circa 450 BC, Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, tries to make Penelope recognize him.

In this terracotta relief circa 450 BC, Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, tries to make Penelope recognize him.

There’s nothing new under the sun, or so say Ecclesiastes, Shakespeare, and conventional wisdom. When it comes to writing, there’s truth in that. You’re not going to be the first to write a love story, a murder mystery, or a journey into the depths of misery of the human soul. But, so continues the thought, that’s okay because you’ll bring something else to your story that no one else can – you.

Sometimes writers go even further and base a story on the structure and meaning of an existing work. In fact, they do it all the time, sometimes quite successfully (West Side Story, anyone?). Borrowing from existing works such as mythology, fairy tales, and Shakespeare allows us to learn from the masters as we write, and can give us guideposts for our own writing. And it’s not all bad for readers, either, as readers’ minds to attach to the familiar, even when it’s barely recognizable, and hopefully a story will bring enough new twists to surprise and reward along the way. Continue reading

Kat: Story Inspiration

Hopi House Grand Canyon

Hopi House Renovation
Grand Canyon National Park

This past January, I had the pleasure of visiting the Grand Canyon with two other 8Ladies—Kay and Jilly. If you’ve never visited the Canyon or have only visited during the high season, I highly recommend a wintertime visit. Yes, the weather can be risky in January, but the tradeoff is no traffic, parking woes, or mobs of people to elbow aside for a view. There’s also a very different vibe in winter—a quiet feeling of stepping back in time.

The structures scattered around the canyon reinforce the feeling, and while there, I assumed that Hopi House, Bright Angel Lodge, Hermit’s Rest, and in particular, The Watchtower at the north end of the park were hundreds of years old, built by some ancient people and abandoned. Here’s where the story gets good. Continue reading

Justine: Travel…Are You a Plotter or Pantser?

planeThe Eight Ladies have been talking bucket lists lately. My bucket list has only one thing in it right now – my trip to England in exactly a month (I arrive on May 7th for 10 days!). You’d think with such a big event, I’d have meticulously plotted out where I will go and what I will do each and every moment of my trip.

Surprisingly, I haven’t. In fact, Jilly, my awesome partner-in-historical-crime/tour guide/(and I hate to say it, but) chauffer have only (mostly) nailed down our accommodations today. Continue reading

Nancy: The Month of the Phoenix

The Phoenix: Mythical Beast That Rises From the Ashes

As this is the first Monday of a new month, it’s time for me to recap my writing progress (or lack thereof) for the past month, as I promised to do way back in January. (Remember January? We were so young, so naive!) This time, however, I want to spend less time looking back and more time looking forward. This might lead you to think my progress in March was less than stellar. You would be correct. But that’s not the main reason I’m going to focus on April

This shift in perspective came from reading Michaeline’s and Jilly’s posts Saturday and Sunday, respectively, here on 8LW. Micki pointed out the first quarter of the year is over, and she was wondering what she’d gotten done (I’m right there with you, Micki), while looking forward to the next quarter of the year and what she hopes to accomplish. Jilly wrote a poignant post about the very personal and happily triumphant wake-up call she and her husband had two years ago. After a weekend of thinking about the upcoming quarter, bucket lists, and not letting one more day go by without pursuing dreams, Continue reading