Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Visual Inspiration: Getting Back to My Roots



I have a confession to make, internet.

I haven't been blogging this summer... because I haven't really been writing this summer.


I don't know if it's because of pregnancy-mandated caffeine withdrawal, or because Little Pierogi is pirating my mental bandwidth, or just because I've been putting it off in favor of other pursuits over the past few months, but there it is.  Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, I had wanted to churn out a rough draft of my nascent wedding mishap novel, The Backup Bridesmaid, and get started on an additional project.  Instead, I'm about 3,000 words in.

Three thousand.  Three.

I wrote that much in a 24-hour period during NaNoWriMo last year.  Heck, I've completed academic papers longer than that in a few days' time.  So what's wrong with me?

I've finished three reasonably cohesive novels, so it's not some kind of second-story-paralysis syndrome.  It's not an issue of the ideas not flowing.  I have character sketches, chapter plans, plot arc summaries...  I love the concept and all the details I've lined up, and I have a blueprint of the whole story.  So why can't I get going on moving that taunting little cursor across the actual Word document?

Whatever the reason, I've decided to set this one on the shelf for a little while.  If it's as fun and as solid a story as I believe it to be, it will be there in a month, too.  But I'm not going to let myself just stop writing altogether and "get back to it."  I will not let a surge of hormones, a lack of caffeine, and a little frustration atrophy my imagination.

So it's time for something new.

Rather, something old.

I'm picking back up my first novel (The Keeper of Hawthorn Garden) and re-working it, following a lengthy meditation on what will make it stronger and more driven as a narrative.  The changes to Lily's family history and personal back story will add complications, and even some damage, to her outlook and actions.  She'll be less of a participant and more of an adventurer.  I can't wait to spend more time with her -- it's like revisiting an old friend after a long absence, and seeing how they've changed (and how you've changed) since you last parted ways.

I'm also switching up the setting, from Victorian England to early-1910s American Deep South.  I've quickly fallen in love with the new cultural and atmospheric possibilities that this decision will bring, as well as the updated, untamed feel it will give to the fairy tale mythology.  To give you a feel for what the new setting will look like, here's some visual inspiration: images I've collected from Middleton Place in Charleston, SC (a still-functioning Southern plantation) and a visit to Eden Gardens State Park in North Florida with my mother-in-law last winter.  Enjoy!

It's time for a new journey, and a new destination.












Oh, the possibilities!