Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Get Writing With Image and Imagination

Writers are inspired by countless different things – or ‘nothing’ at all. Some can pinpoint exactly what inspired a story, where others smirk and shrug ‘I don’t know where the idea came from – it just appeared.’ Those unknown idea-triggers often started from a little kernel of something deep in their subconscious that had been buried by a zillion other thoughts – too many to dig through to find that originating kernel. But what does it matter? The idea found its way out, was put to paper (ya gotta move quick - ideas can disappear so fast!) and even then the idea can morph into something else entirely through the process of writing, discovery, development and again more writing.

An idea for a writer can be inspired by senses, a trigger for various emotions that can be transcribed on paper. The smell and taste of mom’s home cooking, the sound of a drill at the dentist, the feel of a handful of marbles – the possibilities are endless.

A story can also be inspired by a single word, a sentence, a phrase or cliché, and even by overheard conversations. There are countless words out there and with infinite combinations – make them count! It’s all about the words.

And then there are those writers inspired by a found object - something unexpected discovered at a thrift or antique store. The unique and often-rare treasures tucked in the shadowed corners of stores are priceless compared to the innumerable stories they can start.

Having the object in your hands and in your home to touch, feel, admire or hate everyday (yes, sometimes an object that gives negative feelings is needed to fuel the writing) will get the creative juices flowing.

Then there are my favorites – images. Picture clippings from magazines, old photos or postcards from an antique/thrift store, an old painting or an appealing photo you found online. As the cliché goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ There are no wrong or right words – they are YOUR words laid out in the right combination and order that YOU need to tell YOUR story. And no one has to ever see those words, if that’s what you want. Not every word written needs to be destined for publication. Whether it be journal writing or writing stories for your own enjoyment, any writing is perfectly acceptable to be considered a ‘writer.’ But if you want to be a published writer, unique use and order of those words will get you far.

I have found that using just an image as a prompt for writing can heightens my senses and imagination to describe the object and the emotion/memory/sense/idea it evokes. With an image you are forced to dig deeper into your imagination to get the words flowing – to describe what is being seen, felt (emotional), touched, or heard - as opposed to the object, place or person actually being right in front of you.

Whether writing poetry, fiction (any genre), short or long stories, personal essays or humorous slice-of-life vignettes, all these story-starters can kick-start ideas – ideas you might not have so easily come up with in the first place. Sure ideas are there deep down in your mind and imagination, but why not use a prompt, and specifically an image, to help coax it out?

I recently discovered ‘Image and Imagination – Ideas and Inspiration for Teen Writers,’ a writing-prompt book by Nick Healy and Kristen McCurry (Switch Press, an imprint of Capstone Publishing, 2016). This hearty book of inspiration has 150 images with accompanying inspiration-inducing text. The prompts are meant to stir the mind, prompt a story, dredge-up a memory, or induce an emotion to foster writing of all kinds – fiction, non-fiction, journalling, poetry – the possibilities are endless. The book has space to jot down notes or ideas, or you can save the note-taking for a separate notebook.

Although intended for teen writers, as an ‘adult’ writing for teens I have found the book a perfect inspiration for writing for the young adult market. Flipping through the thought-provoking images and accompanying text, I can tap into the teenage world of dilemma and introspective thinking teens experience during the tumultuous adolescent years. It’s been years since I was a teen (I won’t say how long ago), but these prompts bring forward feelings and experiences I had long buried in my memory, all fuel and fodder for story-building.

So be sure to grab a copy and get writing, and remember: a picture is worth a thousand words.

Visit Capstone Young Readers/Switchpress to find out more about 'Image and Imagination' - Nick Healy and Kirsten McCurry www.capstoneyoungreaders.com



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lovely to be Reviewed


A very kind reviewer at YA Insider took the time to review and write her thoughts about my young adult book, THAT NIGHT (Evernight Teen/Evernight Publishing). I am always very humbled when someone takes the time to read my book and then to share their opinion about it. Thank you so much the folks at YA Insider! Hope you'll stop by and have a peek at the review, and be sure to check out the countless other young adult books folks are chatting about!
www.yainsider.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I’ve Been Cataloged – At the Library

The Greater Victoria Public Library has created a specialty collection featuring fiction and non-fiction works by authors and illustrators specifically from South Vancouver Island aptly called…The Emerging Local Authors Collection. This year my young adult book, THAT NIGHT, is part of that collection and I am honoured to be part of the collection.

In May the library hosted a special celebration night for authors of this collection – snacks and bubbly (non-alcoholic) along with speeches from library executive and a great unveiling of the books made all the authors in the collection feel special. It’s quite something to start writing a book, a greater feat to type THE END upon completion, and then too-magical-for-words when it gets published. And to see your book cataloged in a library!? Wow!

For most writers books have always played a part in his or her lives. A library is often where a writer is born – where bibliomaniacs are created! It’s in the quiet reading corners of these book-infested buildings where books and their authors are discovered – worlds are escaped to between the pages of someone’s imagination. As a kid I made a constant beeline from my home in Richmond to the Richmond Public Library – I think I still have my old library card somewhere – so having my book available to readers to take out on loan at a library with other authors? Awesome!

At the special collection-unveiling gala evening, authors had an opportunity to autograph their books as well as a large sign prominently displayed in the library. Next year a new collection of emerging author’s works will be showcased for library patrons to discover. Hats off to the folks at the Greater Victoria Public Library for singling out local authors and showcasing their works!

THAT NIGHT, a gritty young adult contemporary teen fiction novel, is available for loan in paperback and ebook now! Be sure to take it out – but don’t forget to return it! Visit the Greater Victoria Public Library here.



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Little Free Libraries - Books Taking Neighborhoods by Storm

'Little free libraries,' 'neighborhood libraries,' 'book nooks' - whatever you want to call them, they're everywhere. On sidestreets, busy streets and everywhere in between. Quiet neighborhoods and busy urban areas have taken to the 'take a book/leave a book' idea and little libraries are popping up everywhere - and often when you least expect it. They're taking our neighborhoods by storm, and I'm loving it!

Someone, or often a group of someone's, builds a little box, erects it in a common area, and on the honor system invites folks to leave a book/take a book/borrow a book. The concept is to promote reading while fostering a sense of community. These little biblio-gems have been spotted all over the world in recent years, and even though I had heard of them in-and-around the city where I live, I had yet to actually see one.

And then I finally did.

We must have traveled down this particular scenic side-road a dozen times, yet never saw the little library there before. Maybe we had been so focused on our own busy lives and never noticed it, or maybe it had only JUST been recently erected, I don't know, but I was surprised when my husband said he found one on this particular road. Given my infatuation with books, I was beyond excited.

So the next time we knew we were to travel down this road, I was ready. With camera in hand and a few signed anthologies containing my work along with my young adult novel, THAT NIGHT, (Evernight Teen/Evernight Publishing), off we went - and at last there it was!

Complete with a latch, glass doors, decorative painting and gosh! - a shingled roof for all kinds of stormy weather - the library was open for business! So among the romances, a mystery or two, and a cookbook featuring salads, I tucked in my books with the hope that someone will enjoy them. I didn't take a book - if you only knew how I many I have at home - but the temptation was there! Instead I took a few photos (of course!), secured the latch, flicked away a leaf, and headed back to the car thrilled that I had, too, been part of the little free library trend that is taking our neighborhoods by storm.



Interested in more about these little libraries? Visit here and here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Guest Post and a Giveaway!

I'm a guest on the blog of fellow young adult author, Charity West. She writes teen drama with a humorous twist and also has a fantastic blog where she talks about her books and her writing life. Charity's newest release, THE BOYFRIEND DEAL, was published by Evernight Teen in February of this year. Congratulations to her!



Be sure to stop by her blog where I chat about my own writing and share an excerpt of my young adult book, THAT NIGHT (published by Evernight Teen/Evernight Publishing). And don't forget to leave a comment by JUNE 10, 2016 for a chance to win some books!

Click here: Charity West - Guest Post by Lisa McManus

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

YA Insider - Grand Opening!

YA Insider - an all-about-books site - is having their grand opening this month! If you love young adult fiction, be sure to stop by and check out their site - fabulous books and fantastic giveaways! Be sure to enter!

www.yainsider.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

In Print!

What a thrill! My young adult book, THAT NIGHT, published by Evernight Teen Publishing is available in ebook and print - and the print copies are now in my hand! So thrilled! To hold my book in my hand is such a thrill and an honor - I'm so grateful to the folks at Evernight Teen for believing in my work. I'm busy working on other books, but for now I will enjoy having this book in my hands.

What's the book about?

On what was to be just another Monday morning at school, Luke’s girlfriend Jessica is nowhere to be found. Names like ‘psycho lover’ follow Luke to his locker, even from his best friend. Luke soon learns Jessica tried to kill herself at a party from the previous Saturday night, and she’s blaming him. With posts on FaceBook feeding the rumors of what happened that night, the school has to investigate.

Torn between worry, guilt, loyalty, priorities, and an urgency to clear his name and protect hers, he has to find her—he loves her no matter what. The teacher in the middle of the investigation is also the same one to provide academic and character references for Luke’s college applications due by the end of the week. Luke knows he’s not to blame, but with no contact from Jessica and everyone blaming him for what happened, he’s at risk of losing everything—Jessica and his dreams of being a mechanic—all because of what happened that night.