Posted by: Kelly Deeny | February 26, 2014

The Love of an Aunt Holds No Bounds

Walking his own path

Family in its various forms inspired the creation of my premier novel.  One of the key relationships is the one between my protagonist, Gracie, and her oldest cousin.  More like sisters, the two bonded very early on.  They spent years apart yet they share a connection that could very well help heal their entire family.

I’ve spent a great deal of time forming and developing the relationship between Gracie and her cousin, Rebecca.  A caregiver at heart and an artist in spirit, Rebecca became a character I adored writing.  Then, I realized that I mirrored Rebecca after me.  A young lady full of music,  yet doesn’t know how to best use it to its full potential.  A kind spirit who cares more about the well-being of others that she puts her own dreams to the side.  A woman with a maternal instinct, yet isn’t a mother.

I have no children of my own; however, children gravitate to me, and I them.  I have an abundance of opinions as how to speak with them, nurture them, and guide them along their path.  Unfortunately, I don’t always verbalize those beliefs since I am not a mother.  I am proud to be an aunt.  It is a role I embrace with an open mind and a purity of spirit.  These beautiful, feisty, artistic, inquisitive children own a special place in my heart.  It is with them in mind that I created the following poem:

Sunshine on a rainy day

Beauty in the midst of chaos

Warmth immersed within cold

Complete and utter joy

 

Their smiles melt the deepest wound

Their hugs warm the soul

Their laughter fills the spirit

Their cries pierce the heart

 

Hold them tight yet let them soar

Guide them at every step yet wave from a distance

Remind them they are loved yet encourage self-improvement

Love them with every beat of your heart yet let their beauty grow within you.

 

Whether the relationships are bound through family or friendship, my role as Aunt/Nanny Kelly remains one of the most valued of my life to date.  This level of significance formed Gracie’s love of family, in all its compositions.

My Valentine's Gift

Posted by: Kelly Deeny | February 9, 2014

An Artist’s Dream

“I had interesting dreams last night.” Those words escape my lips at least 3-4 times a week, but I seldom write down the details.  Even now, as I sit at my laptop and draft this blog post, flashes of the dreams slow my typing. I believe very firmly in the power of dreams – not that they can always be taken literally.  If so, our cars would either be spinning out of control, have brakes that don’t work no matter how hard you press them to the floor, or speed in and out of lanes with no consequences.  Oh, wait – some already do the latter!

Though dream interpretation is more figurative than literal, there are some instances when my dreams have meaning, depth, and insight.  Those are the ones that feel so real that when I wake up I’m still envisioning what I saw.  I try desperately to close my eyes and continue but to no avail.  And when I don’t write them down, the intensity fades.  That is, until I lay  my head back on the pillow the following evening and the images form like a moving picture.

View of the Pacific Ocean from Terranea Resort in California. http://www.terranea.com/

Plenty of professionals study dream interpretation and the mind’s amazing inner workings.  I do not claim to be either.  I find dreams to be wholly fascinating and at times immensely spiritual.  As such, I’ve infused this belief into my YA novel.  “Gracie’s” journey is enhanced through her dreams, through visions that guide her, some that puzzle her, and others that feel so real that they can’t be anything but.

As we move through this existence we do so at lightening speed, racing through the day with little time to stop and relax.  To simply be present.  How many of us get to work early, eat lunch at our desk, make phone calls during break because that’s the only time we have, and go home to clean or make dinner?  Plus, if you have kids, there’s the added tasks of bath time, brushing teeth, and getting them to bed again and again and again.  By the time you finally get to relax, it’s 9 o’clock and you need to be up for work by 6.

Vivid dreams inspire creative work, excite interesting conversations, and give you the opportunity to actually ponder life’s hidden meaning.  If you believe there to be one, that is.  I don’t believe meanings are hidden; more so, we don’t give them credence because it could hinder our routine.  I don’t always take my dreams literally, but there are images, emotions, and circumstances when I am inspired.  For instance, I had a dream where I yelled at a priest because I didn’t agree with his tone or message he gave with children present.  I stood up for myself.  I stood up for my beliefs.  I woke up and felt immense strength and a bit of embarrassment that I’d clearly been hanging on to some spiritual resentment.  In my dream state, I felt no fear in voicing my opposing viewpoint in the presence of a religious leader.  It didn’t mean I was going to yell at the next priest I saw in the grocery store, but it gave me confidence and prompted a spiritual awakening.

Those are the instances that drive my character’s development.  Whether imaginative dreaming or something far more real, “Gracie” must find her own strength, her own motives, and her own purpose.  I venture to guess that many of us can say the same!

Posted by: Kelly Deeny | September 15, 2013

Ashes, Ashes, I Won’t Fall Down

Summer started beautifully.  My West Coast family came to visit for a few weeks, trips to amusements and NYC were had and healthy eating was all the rage.  Plus, I was making significant progress in my novel and looked forward to its completion.  Then, it nearly went up in flames – literally!

 

The apartment building that I lived in caught fire, leaving my belongings covered in water, reeking of smoke and starting to mold.  I was fortunate in that I was not home at the time but my belongings were, including my collection of hand-written stories over 20 years time.  When I realized that my laptop, with the most up-to-date version of my book, was sitting on my desk in my apartment the tears slid down and my hands shook.  “No,” I cried.  “Please, not my book!”

 

The days that followed allowed me the opportunity to retrieve some of my belongings, those that could be salvaged.  My laptop was one of those treasured items.  It was wet on top and likely soaked inside, but my father baked it in the oven, on a low temperature, and we were able to use it long enough to get my files off.  It hasn’t been used since as I do not trust that it’s safe to use.  Who knows how damaged it got on the inside, and I’m not taking another chance with my work!!!

 

While the work I’d put in on my novel did not perish, my mind has been focused elsewhere.  On dealing with insurance issues, figuring out where to live next,  and spending time with friends and family.  I don’t know about you, but I live a day-to-day existence.  As a result, I sometimes get lost in the present without looking ahead at what’s possible and being thankful the experiences I’ve already had.    

 

Having nearly lost the work that I’m very proud of, I felt the enormity of the project that remained.  As such, I stalled my progress and left “Gracie” standing alone in the forest once again.  The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and the opportunity is in front of me.  I just need to keep my fingers typing and my character moving.  

Image

*To be continued…

Posted by: Kelly Deeny | June 5, 2013

Third Times a Charm

It’s been a productive few months. In my prior blog entry, I wrote about how I somehow managed to lose the most recent version of Part 2 of my novel. Since then, I had to admit that I’d gone off-course. I got so intrigued by the secondary characters and their subplots that I made my protagonist take a back seat to the story.

I realized my error and re-invested my focus on the young girl who has so much to tell. Coming to that realization helped make it easier to cut what didn’t fit and add what was needed. Diligence, determination, confidence – that kept me working on Part 2 even when I got frustrated that more had to be done.

This weekend I completed Part 2 and eagerly moved on the third, and final, section. I am excited and re-energized with the work I’m creating. As anxious as I may be to have it finished and ready for publication, I won’t rush it. What I will do is give the story, and my main character, all the value so deserved.

All the best,
Kelly

Posted by: Kelly Deeny | March 16, 2013

Stuck in the Middle

Quite literally actually. This is very difficult for me to come to terms with but…I have misplaced the most up-to-date version of Part 2 in my novel. I have a version saved but I know that I made significant changes in story, tense and dialogue. I’ve looked in all the places I would’ve saved a new document and no luck.

As a result, I’m stuck. I became overwhelmed and despondent upon realizing how much I’d lost. I was proud of what I created and now I’ll have to start again. For weeks I’ve focused on other stories, blog posts and jewelry making; anything except dealing with the truth that I need to buckle down and return to Part 2. Because the longer I delay the further down the road the journey will seem.

Here are some of the lessons learned from this experience. Hopefully, they’ll not only help me in the future but all of my fellow writers out there.

  1. Backup multiple times in multiple locations – on your computer, on your USB drive, on a disc, email it to yourself, etc.  Don’t rely on just ONE folder or hard drive.  Your work is important so make sure you have it when needed.
  2. Keep moving - don’t stop when you hit roadblocks.  Maintain momentum when writing a story that way if you do misplace a section you’re more likely to recall what was changed in the version you lost.
  3. Glass Half Full – I know it’s difficult to think that way; especially if you’ve just lost a lot of great work.  But maybe, just maybe, you’ll come up with a result that’s even better than what was lost.
  4. Don’t take your frustration out on the story – You’ve got a great story there so nurture it.  Feed it.  Strengthen it.  It will go nowhere if you stew in your own misery and frustration.  So, get your butt in gear and give the piece the respect it deserves.
  5. Let it go - in more ways than one.  Accept what happened and move forward.  What’s done is done.  What’s passed is past.  As long as you hold  tight to what happened while keeping the story stuck in place you are doing a disservice to not only yourself but the readers who will eventually find great fulfillment from your work.  No one will read it until you FINISH IT!  So let it go.  Let it soar.

All the best,

Kelly

Posted by: Kelly Deeny | February 19, 2013

Character Representations

I visualize my characters as living, breathing manifestations of people I love, those I’ve met and artists who inspire me.  In that vein, because my characters are important to  the world in which the story exists I have certain actors and actresses that I can see portraying them when the novel is made into a film.  Notice the ‘when’, not if!

Some of the character/actor matches were instantaneous while there are still some that just aren’t clear.  And most of those early selections are performers well done and loved in the theatre industry.

Makes sense because of my long-time affinity for musical theatre but also due to the fact that this novel relies heavily on the creative arts and their importance in our personal growth.  Having beloved musical theatre actors/actresses portraying the characters I create would be a fitting and inspiring blend.

I just have to get through the editing, publish the novel and have it be a best-seller!  Hmm…or I could just write the screenplay myself.

Posted by: Kelly Deeny | November 4, 2012

One down, two to go!

Part one of three sections in my YA novel is edited and ready for family and friends to read.  I welcome constructive feedback, yearn for honest criticism and welcome both praise and “eh, it was okay” comments.

 

I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll reiterate it once again…I love, love, love the direction of this story.  I adore the characters, am engaged by the unique setting and remain proud that I’ve created a piece that’s a mixture of fairytale, family, empowerment, ancestry and spirituality all wrapped in one.

 

I look forward to getting responses from those who read the first section!

 

All the best,

Kelly

Posted by: Kelly Deeny | September 29, 2012

Assembly Required

My {Title Yet to Be Determined} novel is currently under construction.  As I near the end of the editing phase I am assembling all 3 parts of the story together; into one cohesive unit.  From there, I will re-read the piece from start to finish and stop messing with it!

 

All the feedback I’ve received from friends, family and rejection emails has helped me greatly along this process.  I remain steadfast in my love of the fairytale world and the characters I have created.  I can’t wait to make this story available to a whole new generation of strong, open-minded and artistic individuals!

 

More to come soon!

KELLY

Posted by: Kelly Deeny | August 28, 2012

Shouldn’t I be…

Shouldn’t I be spending all my free time working on my novel? That’s the question I ask myself as I write this very post. 

 The problem with the above is the word should.  What does it matter what I should be doing?  It matters more what I am doing.  And at the moment I’m writing.  ‘Cause that’s what I do.  I’m a writer. 

I’ve spent most of my time focusing on blog posts (like this one) and new story ideas.  I came up with a fitting way to clean up the residual issues with my novel and that meant a lot of changes.  As excited as I was about the outcome ironically enough the journey was my stumbling block.  It’s a very cyclical situation; editing your own work.  You find an area needing fixing, figure out how to repair the issue, that causes numerous other changes, and before you know it you’re re-writing most of your work.  Then, you become overwhelmed at the thought that your book’s not done and won’t be anytime soon.  So, you become frustrated and focus on other things instead; ones with quicker results.  Like blogging.

For the past few weeks, I’ve devoted more time to finishing this YA fantasy novel. Numerous title changes have occurred which is why I’m calling it “this novel”.  As I mentioned in the last blog entry, I’m liking the new direction of not only the storyline but the characters’ journeys.  It’s coming along bit by bit; as long as I don’t leave them stuck on the path.

Besides…I can’t dilly-dally too long or all the actors I envision in certain roles will no longer be of the ideal character age range.

All the best,

Kelly

Posted by: Kelly Deeny | July 11, 2012

Done yet?

Did I really think my novel would be ready in a year?

Yes – actually i did.  I thought the mere fact that I finished a book would somehow be enough good energy to push open publishing doors.  That people would flock to read my creation simply because I wrote it.  Sure, I figured there’d need to be some edits but overall I believed I had a solid product.  A story I believe in, characters worth rooting for and a tone that young girls could relate to.

That was about 3 years ago! Since then I’ve done multiple edits for content, formatting, sentence structure and cohesive story problems.  Along the way of fleshing out the plot and characters I ended up adding more supporting characters and giving them sub-plots.  The tangled web was weaved!  So many ideas that I was really excited about.  In doing all that work, I realized I had drifted away from my original goal; Gracie.

My current status?  By moving one chapter from the middle of the current draft I’ve realized that my initial instincts were correct.  I tried to do too much at once.  Too many characters.  Too many settings.  I needed to cut back and so I am.  As a result, any lingering transition problems or consistency issues are fading away.

So that’s where I am…editing away!  Though my novel may not be ready for publication yet there’s one constant that remains; my passion for, and belief, in the story I am telling.

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