Thursday, August 7, 2008

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

About a week ago, I was struck by a nasty culprit. It snuck up on me and before I knew it, the thing had me literally by the throat. I have a summer cold! And for those of you who live in the Midwest with all our heat and humidity, you know how miserable that is. Right now, I feel like I'm talking from the bottom of an old wooden barrel, and thanks to all of the cold medicine that I've been taking,(boy I wish I owned stock in Tylenol!), I'm having trouble stringing two coherent sentences together!!!

But I now have a blog to write-what am I going to do??? Even though my neurons are firing at about the same pace as a snail travels, I need to come up with something! A brilliant idea has struck my fevered brain! (Okay, so maybe it's not all that brilliant-remember I am on medication!) For the past few weeks, we've all been posing questions-now it's your turn. If given the opportunity, what question would you ask your favorite author?

That's it for now-I'm slinking back to bed, carrying my hot tea and blankie with me, but I will be looking forward to reading everyone's questions!!

Best,
Shirley

6 comments:

Katie said...

I don't have a question. I just hope you feel better soon! Summer colds are just miserable!!!!

Katie

SignFoo said...

Summer colds really do screw you over a big one, I am getting over having one myself.
My question is; How do you keep yourelves from getting discuraged mid book? I tend to get overwelmed if i have to write 25 pages, let alone 300.

Susan said...

Do you have a scene in your mind that you haven't been able to fit into one of your stories yet?

Feel better soon!

sidhevicious said...

Sorry to hear that you got hit by the nasty cold bug. :( I'm going into week 3 here and my coughing is starting to sound like a seal bark already. It's been the hottest days of the summer here and I'm conflicted about jumping into some water to cool off because I don't want to make my cold worse! LOL I've pretty much stuck to under a very thin blanket with the AC on. :)

My question is: when you're contracted to write a novel, do you find it confining or restricting to have to stick to the contracted story? Do you feel like it stifles your creativity a bit?

Shirley Damsgaard said...

Thanks to everyone for your best wishes!!! AND I am feeling better today! Also thanks for all the questions--right now, I'm a little pressed for time and I want to give each question some thought. If you'd all stop by sometime this weekend, I'll have answers for each of you!!

See you then!
Shirley

Shirley Damsgaard said...

Hey everyone...thanks for being patient! I hope below answers everyone's questions.

For SignFoo-How do I keep myself from getting discouraged mid book?

I don't-I get discouraged all the time...at the beginning, in the middle, at the end! (grin) My main problem is usually at the start of a new book. And, no kidding, typing "Prologue" on a blank screen always gives me butterflies! My contract specifies that each manuscript has to be 70,000 to 80,000 words in length, and when I stop and think about it, the task can seem rather daunting. But when I find myself stewing about it too much, I remember a favorite saying of my late husband's-"How do you eat an elephant?" Answer: "One bite at a time." As a result, I try and focus on one scene/one chapter at a time. That way, one chapter leads to another, and another, and another. Eventually I have a manuscript!

For Susan-Are there any scenes that I haven't been able to fit into a story yet?

Hmm, I thought about this one, and I really can't come up with a specific one. A lot of writers keep journals, or notebooks, where they'll jot down ideas, snatches of conversation, etc. as they happen, to be used later. But that's too organized for me (remember I'm a "grasshopper!")

The only thing that would come close would be a story I heard about a guy who got busted for making meth. At the time of the arrest, rumor had it he was wearing cowboy boots and a speedo-nothing else-just the boots and the speedo! (Oh, btw-he also happens to have a long ponytail and puts one in the mind of Willie Nelson...how do you like that for a mental image???) I've always thought that would be interesting to work into a scene someday!! Lol!

For Sidhevicious-I know what you mean about sounding like a barking seal...good description!! I sound the same way!!!

Do I find it constricting to stick to the contracted story??

No, and the reason is I have the world's best editor, Sarah Durand!!! She never insists that I write any particular story line. At the beginning of each book, I discuss the general idea that I have for the plot, ask her what she would like to see included, run some character development thoughts by her, and so on. She'll tell me what she thinks will work and what won't. (And I've learned, after working with her on six books, her opinions are always right on target!! Her input has been invaluable-Ophelia and Abby wouldn't be Ophelia and Abby without Sarah!) Then, after our initial discussion, it's up to me to take the ball and run with it.

I don't know if this is the way it works for other authors, but I'm very thankful that Sarah and I have the relationship that we do!

Thanks for the questions! I'll see you all next Thursday!!!

Shirley