Yesterday an artist friend of mine come home with a blank canvas and a new set of acrylic paints. As we talked about the project she wanted to do, I asked if she pencil-sketched first or just started painting. That’s when she told me about “white fright” – the fear that artists have when starting work on a blank canvas.
I don’t have white fright when starting a new non-fiction book or an article, but I definitely suffer from it when I even *begin* thinking about writing fiction. In thinking about it, it seems a little silly doesn’t it? I mean with computers, if something is rotten, just hit the delete key. And I guess (you artist friends correct me if I’m wrong) you can paint over the canvas if you make a mistake.
So what causes white fright? I’m not sure if it’s fear of making a mistake or fear that you’re not beginning to write the “right” book or paint the “right” painting.
I would love to know what you think. Thanks for leaving a comment below.
And I’ll leave you with a quote I recently found:
Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life. – Sophia Loren
And with a video of the artist VOKA, who does what he calls “spontaneous realism”. Perhaps something we could take to heart?
I’m working on a time travel book that takes place (partially) in Custer’s circle of influence. These are some of my favorite books for research and for reading: (This may take a moment to load)
Yesterday I posted the cover to my new #Kindle book – Vanquish Writer’s Block!. Due out in about two weeks it contains the techniques I’ve used for years: Images, Oracles and Brain-Hacks.
You already know what images are right – like the cool shot of the leaves above. Oracles you may be less familiar with; they’re tools used for divination, like Tarot or I-Ching – that kind of stuff. And no, in my book, Oracles aren’t about reading the future. Instead, they’re tools to lead your story in new directions or provide a bland 2-D character with an unexpected personality trait. Brain-hacks change a point-of-view or an attitude – simple suggestions to get us writers to see things from new perspectives. …
Although I’m working on a novella, I keep getting mixed up with my main characters’ genealogy. I know, I know – – for a short novel, maybe it doesn’t matter that I’m hazy five generations back, but since the oldest generation is critical to the story, I needed to sort it out.
Creating a Family Genealogy
Being a life-long family tree climber, I powered up my genealogy software and created a whole new fictitious family – starting with Sylvia, who was born in 1990, going back to Antonio whose birth dates to 1877. Now that I have the family tree down in stone, I feel far more confident to tell the story that straddles generations. (And, the truth be known, the crux of the story actually dates to the 1670s in the Pecos Pueblo, northern New Mexico.)
I think as a long-time non-fiction writer I’m far more comfortable when I know all the facts. That’s probably why doing a family tree chart was so important to me. Plus, I have to admit, making up the genealogy of a whole new family gives me even more ideas for where the story can go.
I can’t tell you much about the novella, except that it’s the first in the Holly Ginger series and it’s titled The Spanish Locket. I’ll be updating this site as the novella progresses – and hopefully be asking for your thoughts on book covers I’m having designed.
What Do You Think?
As you write your novel, how important do you think it is to know a lot about your main characters’ ancestry?
*Pecos Mission Vintage Postcard, pre-1915, courtesy National Park Service