Thursday, March 15, 2012

Getting the Adventures Started in the life of Marge McGugan

Rule # 20 – Draw inspiration from anything and everything.

<Scene Summary>

I met B. at the Bay to Ocean Writer’s Conference in late February. We sat next to each other in one of the many fantastic sessions. We got to talking about our work and exchanged blog information. She asked me to guest on her blog and discuss some of my Adventures of an Author writings and how I work.

<Present time>

Inspiration is having a hard time settling in my brain. There’s a lot going on around the house – recent trip to Jersey, great spring weather giving me the fever, 18 year old hound going downhill at a more rapid rate. Focus is not one of my current virtues. A big problem that I share with my hubby is that we are both hopelessly addicted to NCIS -the original, not the Los Angeles version (although some LL Cool drooling is always good). Hmmmm…..

<Bolts to computer and starts typing furiously… faster than in high school typing class on those old Royal typewriters>

I start my own Leroy Jethro Gibbs rules. These are rules for writing right. The blog can focus on a different rule where appropriate. GENIUS!!! Ok, stolen idea but still genius!

<Applies Gibbs-style head slap to self> <not too hard!>

You see, when I started writing about 2 years ago, it was because I needed something other than retirement in my life. I quit my job as a middle school Family and Consumer Sciences. It’s a job I did for almost 20 years and, yes, there was a true burnout element to the job change. I started writing by taking some online writing courses and found out something really surprising about myself – I was always a writer. In my job, I wrote lesson plans and curriculum guides. I’ve also done curriculum work for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. I’ve done the content and layout editing for my church newsletter. So this writing gig is nothing new.

So here sits a budding children’s book writer at her trusty Cyclops (computer) pounding the keys like a jazz pianist in love with his instrument. And it’s fun!! I can be other people through my characters when I write (Rule #30 – all behavior has a purpose). I can get into a child’s mind when I search for a 3-year old’s way of talking about dogs and the way to behave around them. I can pretend to be a Philadelphia rabbit chef at a soul food restaurant who is moving to Canada to be with family. At this point, many of you would recommend the name of a good psychiatrist to me right about now. It’s cool – writers can unleash their inner crazy (Rule # 25). WHOOO HOOOO! I am no longer bound by Maryland State Assessment instructional criteria!!! I’m free! (ok, sort of… the language does have rules I need to follow).

<Insert solitary hand clap and whoopee index finger twirl>

I can write about my travels… what will I see? How can I make the places I go into children’s books? How can I follow my passions (Rule #1) and make the stories readable for little kids?

<Insert deep worry music here>

It’s all a learning process. Just like life. And it’s all a fantastic journey. Check it out at Adventures of an Author, brought to you by

<You knew there had to be a commercial somewhere>

And as for this crazy format???  I used Rule #24 – Practice all types of writing. So much for the screenplay….

<Smiling while typing> <wrap scene><pour another glass of wine and celebrate>