One thing I've learned as I amble down the Writer's Road, is that we love to imagine who would best portray our characters on the silver screen. The only hitch -- if we go so far as to make our choices publicly known -- is this can also serve to interfere with the reader's imagination. This is not always a good thing. I can readily see how it might take away from a reader's experience; while the author creates a world and characters to explore, we want the reader to join us and imbue that world with life via their own imagination. This is why excellent books are called 'inspirational' or 'compelling', 'unforgettable' -- because the reader is drawn in, not simply shown what to see, or think. We become a part of the experience together, author and reader are co-creators. Instead of seeing it all in a full frontal, there is the tantalizing mystery that leaves us to imagine.

So I've wondered about doing any post on the actors and actresses I have considered to best emulate my characters -- obviously, I'm hoping that someday crazed fans will pour over this site to uncover all the angles and clues, the inspiration and anecdotes about my story, THE SOUL'S BELOVED. Do I want to taint the images in their minds as to how these characters appear for them? I want to leave some of that magical Mystery, right?

For now I won't be doing it, even though I know exactly who I would want to play Janus, for instance, and Klothos.

But what did occur to me as kinda cool is a PLAYLIST for one's novel. Music and lyric are powerful ways to convey a sense of a time, a person, a situation -- just as well as an image, in many cases. I have a whole bunch of songs that I listen to in order to 'get me in the mood' for working on my tale.

So, without further adieu, here are just a few vid's that fit the era and characters of THE SOUL'S BELOVED. It's a bit 80's, but that is the main era it is set in.

The Novel's Song: STORMS by Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac

This video has some awful moments (what does Stevie Nicks doing ballet have to do with this song, people?!), but it was the best demo of this song I could find. Close your eyes and just listen to the words, maybe?

Janus' song: SHAPE OF MY HEART by Sting

A haunting melody, the person described is Janus to the core.

Josephine's song: AMERICAN GIRL by Tom Petty

Micheal's song: WASTED TIME by The Eagles

The words say it all. For you writers out there, what video's or songs best convey your characeters, or even the breadth of your novel?

And, I tag Beth and Julie, Jen, Sandra and Jenny for this. There are some others I'd love to tag, but now I have to get back to writing...

Over at Paperback Writer , she has a great post about some unique ways for us writing types to use Wordle. With this program, you can see which words you may be using too many times, for instance. You can use this as a non-linear tool for inspiration (chapter title? Book title?).

Here is mine from a scene I am working on right now (in which I learned that I am not using any one word too much, as there doesn't seem to be one large stand-out in the mix):

Wordle: Untitled

If you really want to analyze a scene, you can see how the words play off of one another, or if there is a theme. In this scene, I realize there are is a lot around the body: bite, musk, tremor, aches, breath. Good, that is what I want here so this works well.

What's in your pocket? Your characters pocket, that is. Debi posted about this on The Pen Whore (the name of this blog alone is almost enough to elevate it to Crush Blog status) , and I couldn't help but wonder what is in my characters' pockets, anyway?

Let's start with Josephine, since I'm having issues fleshing her out...

Hmmph... not much, apparently. She's a working girl, after all, so she carries a purse with her everywhere. Maybe a tin of Carmex lip balm, and her keys on occasion. Always a lighter and if she can't carry her purse, a pack of Marlboro Lights. (People are always surprised to learn she smokes. She has an air of that outdoorsy, healthy girl about her, even when she's all dressed up in heels and hairspray for work. But she started young and... well, just kept it up. Bad habits die hard.)

Ah, and there's a little stone from her last trip to Hidden Beach out in Half Moon Bay - this one, for today anyway, is smooth on one side and is shot through with white quartz on the other. Josephine brings home various sticks and stones like stray pets. She trades them out like other girls choose their earrings for the day - her Worry Stones. She nervously fingers them off and on throughout the day, deep in her right front pocket when she thinks no one is paying attention.

When she has no pockets, she hides the chosen stone in her bra -- right in front, tucked into her cleavage. She wouldn't want you to know this, and she has never told anyone before.

Janus - well, Janus doesn't need pockets. He's a soul, after all - pure energy. But if he had them, he would most likely have two things: first, a ball of string. Not just any old string, but string that binds lives together, string that pulls you in and tangles you up. String that has that odd quality of not easily being torn in half, and yet frays and suddenly severs itself from unnecessary weight all at once...

Second -- a rather large seed pod, polished smooth after centuries of wear and tear. A valued reminder of life on Earth.

Michael -- he always has a comb in his right back pocket, and a pack of Marlboro Red's in the left (with a lighter tucked inside). His wallet is with the comb. No one has ever seen it, but he always carries a poem originally written on a yellow office legal pad, folded and unfolded so many times over the years that the creases have pinholes of light that shine through.

The poem is written in the flourished hand of a young girl under the throws of her first love. A bit of change in one front pocket, with some gum. And a small, silver key that was broken off from a chain he wore around his neck for years. Given to him by the same girl who wrote that poem: Josephine.

There are a few more people, but right now those are the three main characters. Most important in my mind, are the why's and what for's of these somewhat trivial items. Even the simple comb, for instance, reveals character. What do these items conjure up in your mind?

The smallest item that we choose to carry with us tells volumes about who we are.

Update: I recently discovered that when you click on these links, they don't take you necessarily to the exact image I chose. It seems to be a random generator of some kind. No mind, you can still get lost in them.

Yet another artist I stumbled upon today, turning over stones along the Writer's Way...

I'm just kind of speechless right now, but there is so much of her work that makes me swoon.
This is only a tiny, wee sampling:








and finally, because I can't copy the hundreds she has: Here.

weighty and effortless, originally uploaded by d.composed.

I use images that I set-up in my software writing program (Liquid Story Binder) to get a rise out of me, to set the mood or create an image in my mind of the scene I'm about to write.

I was on and last night I stumbled upon d.composed, who has some absolutely AMAZING photography. [swoon]

It is impossible for me to pick just one - they each have potent, ethereal atmospheres about them, yet are very grounded in a natural, urban sensibility. The world in his images have constant juxtapositions of the body assuming it's place in the reflections of the natural world. They are in harmony, yet undeniable separate.


This image for me invokes the weight of existence and how what we struggle to uphold or use as protection still finds a way to seep through and effect us.

And then: I love that the usually dense human form becomes a soil of light, the 'sky' above giving a counter-intuitive sense of the anchor from above.

In my story, THE SOUL'S BELOVED, my characters, each in their own way, struggle with what they are willing to do in order to experience life in it's fullness, to embrace the truth of Love. They struggle with their own sense of being, and what sets them afire.


I was blog surfing and came across The Pen Whore's post about Mary Sue characters (there's a test link in there, for those of us who can't control ourselves. Who creates all these tests, any way??).

One of my main characters, Josephine, is most definitely a Mary Sue - I don't need a test to tell me that, sadly (at least I'm not in denial - acceptance is the first step!). I was going to update my Character Spotlight with a passage about her recently, and realized I had nothing written that I felt truly conveyed her. Nothing that depicted who she is at her core, what she cares about, why she does the things she will do.

This is not good, for obvious reasons. At least I know what I need to focus on for awhile, right?

Worth watching: Wisdom

(Thanks, veedub)
Resolutions, I mean.

I hate resolutions.

It started when I spent the better part of my young adult life* attempting, every year, to quit smoking. I just could not make it happen, no matter how many times or how hard I tried. Good intentions are meaningless without will power, wise people say.

But I can tell you from experience that will power is impotent without the necessary courage to infuse one's power with action. (It may seem subtle, but there is a difference - I assure you. Think of the phrase 'some talk, others do'.)

What finally did it for me? I got pregnant. The moment I discovered that a life was taking form inside of me, it was no longer a petty struggle between my will power and my courage. There simply was no other option before me. My first step towards motherhood was to just not pick up another cigarette - a clear action - in the name of my child's future. That doesn't mean I don't think about smoking, or crave it even to this day. I most certainly do. But the reason for action finally outweighed the inertia. The fear. The what if's.

And I'm one of those people that once I make up my mind, nothing stops me. Nothing gets in my way; nothing can distract me from my set course. Nothing. A word often used to describe me is driven (and spaz, but we aren't talking about that today).

The problem is how to get to that place of Steeled Certainty. In the case of quitting smoking, it was divine destiny that interceded on my behalf. Therefore, when I consider what resolution(s?) I will have this coming year, the first thought that comes to mind is: what will bring me to a place of doing? What removes any obstacle in my heart or mind, and ignites the fire of clear action?

While I'm pondering such fine existential points, let's have a little round up of other resolution how to's and why's by people or authors in the blogosphere:

I was very inspired by Julie Weather's post about cultivating vision for the New Year.

Carol A. Spradling chooses to call them goals, not resolutions (I kinda like that, takes the pressure off, right?).

Sandra over at The Serendipitous Life scooped some of my goals! So I wish her a lot of luck in the coming year, we both need it. [lol]

Here's a lovely morsel from Sarah Hina, a brief glimpse into a couple's first morning of the year.
And bless you, Sarah, this post has nothing to do with resolutions.

Over at Simple Mom, she gives you an inspiring list to consider when making your goals (I'm going to have to do this one. I envision a new post coming on...). And by the way, if you are looking at getting more organized in 2009, this site offers some wonderful ways of getting it done. (Dominique, thanks for sharing Simple Mom with me. )

This is a great post by Tricia Molloy, for those of us who don't want to go the traditional resolution route. I got this link from the above post on Julie's blog (thanks!), but Tricia's commentary is so good I wanted it to have it's own shout out.

And I will end with my current Crush Blog, Elizabeth Stark's (almost) New Year's Eve post about one's mindset and how this effects our writing, attitude and life. Great post.

Happy New Year, everyone. I'm signing off to go write a little, work on taxes and dream up some GOALS for 2009.

~ K

* this is a euphemism for the more irresponsible years in my lifetime - I have a colorful past, someday you may get to read about it - and while, as I matured [cough] into my 30's I was no longer so out of control, I continued to struggle with smoking until I was 36.