Back Roads, Old Buildings & Inspiration

Image:  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Old_Gas_Pump.jpg
Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/ wiki/File:Old_Gas_Pump.jpg

Years ago, my husband and I pulled out a map, closed our eyes and randomly placed our fingers on a spot.  That spot was to be our weekend destination.  We loaded up our young son and off we went.  The only stipulations – no interstates and no national food chains.  This became the best weekend getaway ever!

We took time to stop at road side stands.  We visited a small town that time forgot.  If you can imagine old-time gas pumps and 5¢ candies in glass jars… It was wonderful and nostalgic and so small town America.

Freewill Baptist Church, Sneads Ferry, NC
Freewill Baptist Church,
Sneads Ferry, NC

I love small towns.  I love driving back roads, looking at old churches, abandoned barns and finding the occasional surprise.

There is something about old things that speak to me.  I wonder at the stories they would tell, the memories they would share – if they could talk.  I think back to my grandparents – how hard they had to work to support their families – sharecropping, laboring in the tobacco fields, working in the laundry.  Well, three of them anyway. One chose to make a living as a bootlegger – only he seemed to drink more than he sold…

One of those little surprises - a boat in the woods
One of those little surprises – a boat in the woods

Some people will triumph; others will fail.  And they leave behind them the ghosts of what was and what might have been.  I think it’s those ghosts, those wisps of memory, that draw me to by-gone places.

Those aging buildings, those forgotten places, tickle my imagination.  I see the spirit of a young woman pacing the front porch waiting for her lover to come home.  I hear the laughter of children as they splash in the shallows of a near by river.  I smell the perfumed air that announces the arrival of a fairy prince.  And if I’m lucky, a new character might just introduce herself…

So – What inspires you?

My Review of The Locket by Laurie W-J-N

the locket

Amazon Book Description:

It has been said that every locket has a story to tell. In these stories a very special locket shares the history of a group of women through the generations, stories of love and happiness, stories of struggles and triumphs, memories of the past and hopes for the future. The locket weaves itself through each story as a beautiful and personal memento of love and devotion, from one generation to the next.

What I Thought:

At only 31 pages, The Locket is definitely a short read but don’t let that fool you. This novelette incorporates five vignettes, focusing of five generations of women in the same family. With each episode, Laurie introduces a woman and plunges the reader into that woman’s life.  Each scene evokes strong impressions of the women’s misfortunes as well as their successes.

I enjoy the author’s writing style.

Perfect for a quick afternoon read.

5 stars

Best Decision Ever

If you’ve followed my blog then you know that my posts have been a little hit or miss this past year. There’s a reason for that and that reason was my youngest son.  It was the beginning of his senior year. I had just announced that I was going upstairs to work on my latest novel when he spoke up.  “Again?”

Now honestly, who thinks that a 17-year-old boy even notices that his mom is locked away, plotting out the latest scenario for her current WIP…  I didn’t.  He was busy playing online games with his buddies, going out on dates, working, etc.  I assumed he was happy with catching up at dinner.  I was wrong.  I’m sure you can imagine my surprise to realize that my teenager actually wanted me around.

At that moment, I knew I had a decision to make.

And so I chose…

I chose to put my writing on the back burner.

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Myrtle Beach 2015

Don’t get me wrong – there were times when I wondered why I was sitting in the living room, watching the television as he played a video game.  I still had a story to tell, a blog to think about and it wasn’t like he “needed” me. He was obviously occupied with other things.

But – there were times when he’d seek me out, just wanting to talk about his day and I was so glad I hadn’t locked myself away, that I had stayed available.

My son graduated June 15th and on June 28th, he left for boot camp.

And this past year, with my hit or miss writing…  Best decision ever. 

My Favorite Websites for Writers

The internet is a BIG place – full of fantastic sites for writers.  Unfortunately, we don’t always have time to cruise around in search of great information sources.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite sites with you.  These sites offer valuable tips/help and they’re only a click away!

1.  Writers Helping Writers  information

2.  Kristen Lamb’s Blog

3.  Creative Writing with the Crimson League

4.  The Creative Penn

5.  Insecure Writers Support Group

If you have a favorite site, please share it in the comments.  I’m always on the lookout for additional resources.

knowledge

Villains – Gotta Love ‘Em

televisionI think it began with Saturday morning cartoons – specifically re-runs of Scooby-Doo and Johnny Quest.  I absolutely loved watching them – until it was bedtime and my imagination kicked in.  I was certain some evil creature was lurking in my closet or hiding under my bed.

My fascination with shows/movies that scared me continued with Star Wars. I loved the commercials until Darth Vader appeared.  The combination of his mask and the sound of his breathing was enough to send me running down the hall. And yet, there was something about him that intrigued me.

As I grew older, Vader became my favorite character.  Not Anakin, mind you. I mean – What was there to like?  Nothing. Not until the very end – as he struggled to live.

Considering my fascination with villains, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when I realized that I loved bringing my “bad guys” to life.

I’m a nice person.  For real.  I may be one of the nicest people I know. 😉 Seriously. I like being nice.  I love sappy commercials and have been known to cry during touchy-feely ones.  BUT – there is something about being inside my villain’s head that is particularly satisfying.  There’s this rush when the scene starts coming together and my bad guy shares his secrets.  At times, I can’t help but shake my head at his devious plans while my fingers put his thoughts onto paper.

That’s the thing with villains. They help propel the story.  They give purpose to the hero’s struggles. They are compelling.

For some great advice and insights on developing your villain, check out the links below:

Kristen Lamb’s blog

Writing Forward

Script Mag

If you have a favorite site/link/book dealing with developing a villain, share it in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy writing!