Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Can We Capture a Dream?

The following is a guest post by editor and writer, Elizabeth Simons.
Can we ever capture a dream?
Whether it’s a daydream or a night dream, it is ephemeral. It’s a place with an other-worldly quality to it, filled simultaneously with hope and despair. Hope that the best of what we see will come to life and despair that our own inadequacies will always stand in the way and prevent its coming to birth.
When I was a child the dreams were so sweet because they took place in a realm that never existed in my everyday life. In my early years I was a fairy tale princess with a pure white horse, living in a castle where suffering was not allowed. Later, I was just a girl who was cherished.
Funny how things change.
Or they don’t change at all. My situation didn’t change, no matter how much I wished it would. The loftiness of my dreams expanded while my life spun out in a carnival ride of hopelessness.
There had to be a better world, and when I was 18 I left home to find it. I was young enough to believe that things could change, but too foolish to realize that fantasies could not transform people and situations. I could not wish a world into existence, no matter how tightly I closed my eyes and longed for it.
So I turned to writing about it. I scribbled furiously in my journal every night, analyzing my dreams from every conceivable viewpoint. I was eloquent in my despair but incoherent about hope. Why were things this way and not that way? Why did I feel chained to circumstances I could not control? When did the dreams become the reality while the real world retreated? Why was I unable to control them? More to the point: Why did I believe that, in the end, my world had always been and would always be an irredeemable still life?
I was tired. This kind of writing was not a way out but a retrenchment, a fast track to egocentrism. It was eternally repetitious and embarrassingly boring. And it was too easy.
I had to change the dream. I had to step inside it and transform it. As long as I allowed it to shapeshift into unfulfilled expectations I could never hope to see it clearly, not only for what it was but for what it could become.
Again, I turned to writing. I had to look at the dream as a stepping-stone, a paradoxical path to becoming more awake. I could not deny its sweetness nor decry the reality I wanted it to replace. I had to embrace the whole picture of my life as bent but not broken, dream-filled but not oblivious, and hopeful without being in denial. This kind of writing was anything but easy.
I am not master of the dream, but I am master of myself. I love that the dream is born outside time but comes to life within it. As I write, its gossamer qualities bloom on the page. I try to bring dream and reality together. Anything is possible.

In the end I did not capture the dream. I set it free.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Advantages of Associating with Other Writers

I go to a local writer's group. Each time I go to a meeting, I feel motivated anew to write more regularly and to make writing a higher priority in my life.  Meeting with other writers is encouraging and gives me new ideas.  It also gives me a sounding board for some of the ideas I have running around in my head. Moreover, it's fun.  I love getting to talk about one of my passions with others who are just as passionate about it

With a houseful of kids, however, blessed as I am, it can be difficult to make it out of the house to meet with other writers.  Sometimes, the best avenue available to me is the telephone or e-mail.
Occasionally, I'll call a fellow writer and professional editor and bounce ideas off of her.  Not to mention, I always enjoy hearing how her projects are progressing.

Sometimes, I shoot an e-mail off to a fellow author in Austria, an imaginative writer who is also a great sounding board for marketing ideas.  Not to mention a person whose unique perspective on things is pretty much always encouraging.

Occasionally, I simply tweet fellow authors. That also can lead to new ideas, end writer's block, and get the gears in my head turning.

Basically, whether it's through e-mail, phone, twitter, or a writers' meeting keeping in touch with others who share my passion keeps me motivated and keeps the new ideas flowing.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Writing Your Author Bio

Currently I'm working on rewriting my author bio. I have one up on Amazon that's perfectly acceptable, but I'd like to update my information for a website that a local writers' group is doing, since I've accomplished more since my bio first went live on Amazon nearly three years ago.

What I don't understand, is why it's so difficult for me to write about myself.  I have no trouble cranking out many pages of fiction, be it in the Young Adult genre, or children's picture books.  I equally have no difficulty writing about my favorite actor, Steve Byers. Why then, is it so hard to write about myself?

Since I naturally know more about myself than anyone else, it seems this should be an easy task--not so.  I just got back from my local Writers' Guild meeting were I asked about this and found that I'm not alone.  Everyone seems to be in a similar quandary. 

Why?  Well, I guess that while I know more about myself than anyone else, trying to figure out what would interest others is more difficult. I'm going to try to focus not only on my writing accomplishments, but also on the more unique aspects of my personal background.  I'll write a little about how I've traveled to many different countries, the kinds of subjects that interest me, my hobbies, and my family.  It sounds easy, doesn't it?  Unfortunately, it's not, at least not for me.

I won't give up though, so hopefully I'll be sharing a new bio with you soon :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Making Your Own Book Video Trailer- Part 2

I put off making my book video trailer for a long time.  Why? Because first, I had no idea what to put in it, I mean, I'm a writer, not a film producer. And it's not like I have lots of actors at my disposal.  But I was determined. I already covered the issues of photos, etc. in the a previous blog post. 

This brings me to a second issue.  How do I bring these still shots to life? Music. Now, I had ideas for music in my head.  I thought of the movies I've seen and what kind of soundtrack I'd want running in the background. Basically, I thought about the kind of music I'd hear in the background if my book were a movie. 

I had to think of the mood I wanted to create. For my early reader, I wanted something upbeat, catchy and cheerful for "The Dog in the Bog."  I needed something that would appeal to young children.

For my young adult novel, "Destined Love is Immortal,"  I needed music of a completely different genre.  I was thinking of sword fights in major motion pictures as I listened to a multitude of options of music.  The music had to be reminiscent of a sword fight, of action. 

The next issue? Where do I get the music? 

Well, this was much easier than I'd ever thought.  I got the music through Youtube.  Fortunately, if you make a photo album/slide show through Youtube, they provide a vast array of music you can choose from free of charge to put your photos to. 

I had to listen to quite a few tracks to find the right one, but in the end, I was pleased with the result.  There's also an option to fit make the slide show fit the length of the music.  I did this and it worked out pretty well.

I'm certain there are many other avenues for obtaining music to go with your book video trailer, but for me, using what was freely available on Youtube was by far the best solution.