Thanks to Jessica for sharing her experiences and reminding us that although things might be different, there's an underlying sameness to the basics of our lives.
A while back, fellow author Patricia Stoltey mentioned seeing some cow street art in Colorado. I was reminded of a LizArt project here in Orlando some years ago, in which artists created sculptures using basic lizard "templates."
As I Googled my way to digging up what I could find on the LizArt project (not knowing its name slowed me down a bit), I couldn't help but think about how this relates to writing. After all, for a writer, everything relates to writing.
There are writers who refuse to divulge anything about a project until it's published. I've read and heard comments from writers who won't enter contests because they're convinced the judges will steal their ideas.
I remember the first "brilliant" scene I created for my first manuscript. This was years ago, and cell phones weren't commonplace. How clever, I thought, as I wrote the following:
“It’s all right. Let me be there for you. Please.”
“I want to.” She wondered if he could hear her—she could barely get the words through the lump in her throat.
“Let me in, Sarah. I’m here for you.”
She sniffed. “I do want to, honest.”
“Open your door.”
Sarah walked to the door and peered through the peephole. Across the hall, cross-legged, leaning against the wall, sat Randy, talking into his cell phone. That lock of his hair still hung into his eyes. She longed to brush it back. She went to release the deadbolt, but her hand shook. Weak-kneed, she sank to the floor. “Not yet,” she whispered.
Of course, I felt totally betrayed when I saw this kind of a scene on television for the first time. I still get defensive whenever I see one. Hey! I thought of it all by myself. First.
There's nothing all that new out there. Just as no two of the lizards were alike, if you give ten writers the same setup, you'll get ten different books. How many "Cinderella" variations have you read?
A very common workshop will instruct participants to write a paragraph or two, either using a prompt or a picture as inspiration. When they read them to the group, no two are alike. The same prompt might end up with a comic take, a dark edge, or a paranormal bent.
As a writer, you have to trust that you will be putting your own creativity, your own spin, your own voice into every story you tell.
Most of my readers will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. I wish everyone a special day, and ask that no matter what your cultural background might be, that you take a few moments to give thanks. We all have things we're thankful for, whether we set aside a day to celebrate or not.
Tonight, my "other" daughter (the triathlete you met earlier) will be flying in from Colorado to spend the holiday weekend with her husband's family, who are spending a week at a nearby time share. Although we'll be joining them for their Thanksgiving meal, my daughter has insisted that I contribute "our" family stuffing to the dinner, in a blend of traditions.
Speaking of traditions: On Twitter yesterday, someone asked about family traditions. I mentioned that one of ours was "Alice's Restaurant." She wanted to know if that was where we went out to eat. I forget how old I'm getting! Anyone my age knows it's not the name of the restaurant…
So – anyone who can tell me how many 8x10 color glossy pictures there were (with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one) can have a copy of our family stuffing recipe. Just email me the answer to terry (at) terryodell (dot) com (link on blog sidebar and website) with your email address, and I'll send it to you.