Indian Summer

Indian Summer Revisions – Mystical Trees

I’m working on revisions to Indian Summer, the prequel to The Field – adding more conflict and more mystical experiences. The story revolves around Eric’s younger sister, Marcie, trying to save an old growth forest from development, so I decided to give the trees a leading role. Here’s a short excerpt that I recently added.

The cool dimness beneath the canopy envelops me when I step into the woods. My footfalls are muffled by the carpet of leaves beneath my feet as I make my way between closely packed trunks and over fallen logs deeper into the filtered light. I’m not sure what I’m looking for or if I’m looking for anything at all, but I feel welcomed into this place by the trees. I place my palms on the trunks as I pass in a sort-of greeting or acknowledgement, I don’t know which.

            When I’ve gone about fifty yards, I come to a massive maple tree. The one we call Grandmother tree.  The kids use it for home base in our games of kick-the-can and sardines. Its branches extend far into the sky arching outward to create a protective shelter above me. I stand in front of it, or her, as I think of it, for a while and then feel compelled to walk up to her and place my palms on her rough bark. The whispering I heard in Jamison bay is strong here. Are the trees communicating with me?

            I put my arms around Grandmother tree and place my cheek against her bark. These woods and this tree are like old friends. They’re a part of my childhood. I don’t hear any words, but I imagine that Grandmother tree knows how I feel.

Butt In Chair

People are always telling me they want to be a writer or they have an idea for a book. They want to know how to do it. There’s a saying among writers – BIC – Butt In Chair. To be a writer you have to actually write! Obvious, right?!?! Those same people often come back to me again and again and say the same thing. The answer is always the same. Sit your fanny down and write!

I recently visited Creekside Middle School to talk with aspiring writers about What It Takes to Be a Writer.

Here are some highlights from the talk.

~Read – anything and everything.

~Observe – get ideas from people and places around you.

~Exercise your imagination – Einstein said imagination is more important than knowledge.

~Create a Good Story Arc and a Memorable Hero

~Write – obvious, right?

~Revise – Your first draft is never your last draft. It probably sucks!

The most important thing, though, is to get started. Revising is a lot easier that writing the first draft, but you can’t revise a blank page.