Monday, June 16, 2008

Jump Starts

The are a few times in my life when the head is just... empty. It's roughly the same feeling I had in high school when asked to quote a few lines of Shakespeare. Emptiness is not a bad thing unless you're trying to write not just one blog, but two. That's correct. Tonight is also my turn to write the OhGetAGrip blog. With two blogs to write, emptiness is definitely not a good thing.

So--what to write about? I do not have a clue. Finally, I thought I will write about what I do when I'm stuck at at stopping point. I tried to explain it to a friend tonight. I write these little scenes. Sometimes down the road they turn into a book. Most of the time they don't. But I use them to allow my brain to roam freely and meander around. Call it an exercise. So here are some of my favorite paragraphs from my "jump starts".

Gerald was sweating like a troll. Seized in a massive heat wave, all of Avalon was sweltering and in a heat wave the woods was the last place to be. Grumbling beneath his breath, Gerald tripped over a fallen branch, stumbled into a bush and rolled down a rocky bank with his arms and legs flashing a fancy cartwheel, ending in the cool creek below with a resounding splash.

The scent of spicy aftershave drifted past in the seconds before the gun was pressed to his spine. Nik’s gut clenched as he watched his half-sister, Jade dancing gaily around the ball room with her new husband, Baron Llewellyn. They had waited a very long time to be together so why had someone picked their wedding to crash?

Penny moaned softly. “Next week when I turn twenty-one I’m moving in with you. The trust will be finished and Uncle Cyrus won’t have any hold on me. I can’t wait, Cage! I want to be with you.”

“Then plan your wedding sweetheart, because you know very well that Pa and Momma aren’t going to let us live in sin. That’s the way the Jericho family is. Marriage first.”

The switch caught and there was a flare of light from the tiny flame. He groped around in the shadows searching for a dry stick or piece of tinder. His fingers encountered a stick wrapped in cloth. He picked it up and carefully touched the flame to the edge of the torn fabric until it caught and flared with a rush.

With sick horror, he realized that the “stick” was a human bone. Just in time, he ruthlessly suppressed the instinct to throw it down. He needed the light and the human was long past the time when it was important to him or her. After drawing a long shaky breath, he shifted to a hunched squat and surveyed his shelter.

When he returned, he found that his estimate was off by several minutes. Maggie was out cold, lightly snoring as her lead lolled to one side. No longer under pressure to be the calm strong one, he collapsed in a heap and just shook with the fear that had been building since his first glimpse at their attackers. Something was not right and the possibilities terrified him.

Then the low rhythm of far off drum beats and chanting began.

Jump starts. Ideas that stream by, sometimes capturing the imagination, sometimes not. But at least it's writing, exercising the writing muscles in the most basic way. The neat thing is that the jump starts still speak to me, months later, luring me in, enticing me to tell the story. So... maybe, eh?






  1. This is a great exercize. You taught it to me and the next time I'm seriously blocked I'll do it. The one with the were tiger and the were rabbit could jar anyone's creativity, huh?

    Hugs, darlin'!

  2. I have a folder of 'possible stories' - really just notes and I look at them from time to time and think 'what the hell does that mean?'

  3. I can see how these would get your mind going again. They did mine.

  4. These ideas certainly get the mind moving. Wonderful exercise.

  5. I do these jumpstarts periodically except that they get me interested in writing a new book and I shove off another book. Looks like you have several to work from.