Archive for May, 2012


May 11, 2012

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May 8, 2012

“it’s just a sketch. that’s what it’s all about.”

i had just sat down outside. a man was sitting one table away. his gray hair was covered by a hat only a foreigner or an artist could pull off. he was both. he was speaking to a woman at another table, but who was leaning so far over in her chair, they were practically at the same table. two different generations. two different nationalities. two different genders. both interested in art.

and then there was me.

i was intrigued by this unusual pairing, but i wasn’t there to eavesdrop. besides, his original words gave me plenty to think about because here he was an artist and there i was a writer, but his words applied to us both. in any creative endeavor, or really, any type of endeavor, it’s all about the sketch, the first draft, the practice.

the beginning is the time to take chances, to try out new writing instruments (pens/pencils/oils/keyboards/word/scrivener) and structures and characters and words and make a mess and generally flail around. it’s when mistakes are allowed and confusion is abound and you’re doodling in the margins.

the sketch is the backbone of the final picture and is what it’s all about because you can’t have a finished product if you haven’t even started it.

his words were also directly applicable to my newest character, who’s a bit of an artist herself. sketches, in particular, are very important to her and i still can’t quite believe the perfection of that moment. me sitting, him speaking. it’s like i was in a movie where the thing i needed to hear was the exact thing that was said to me (or in my case, near me).

even though it’s nothing i haven’t heard before, his words were peppered with humility and honesty and were softly tinged with an accent not from nearby which made me feel like i was hearing this combination of words for the first time.

sometimes the best advice is something you already knew.

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conversations with strangers #31

May 4, 2012

i’m talking to strangers (or attempting to)… here’s why.

me: *places INSURGENT on the counter* *smiles*

her: oh, so you liked the first one?

me:  yes, very much. did you?

her: me too. i haven’t had a chance to read this one yet.

me: i’m pretty excited about it.

her: are you part of our customer rewards program?

me: yup.

her: what’s your last name?

me: mumford. *spells*

her: *types and types* *long pause* your first name?

me: abigail.

her: *types and types* *long pause* you said it was R-U-M-F-O-R-D?

me: oh, no. it’s MUMford with an M.

her: ah, yes. found you.

and with that second chance not to mumble, i was indeed found, rung up, and out the door with a book, which, incidentally, did not care how i spelled or spoke my last name.

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FWIS: literary heroes

May 2, 2012

FWIS (from where i stand) is a monthly feature i’m doing with jessica corra and bria quinlan. all three of us are YA writers in different places in our journeys. (check out their links for this month’s FWIS from their points of view.)

today’s topic: literary heroes

it turns out, i’ve already written a post about my writerly heroes. that post means a lot to me and i stand by every word i wrote, but i originally wrote it in november of 2011 and since then, i have two more additions to the list.

THE GRACELING by kristin cashore. the world building and character development and plot twists are so intense and real and fantastical and it makes you want to dive into the story (or at least i did). the third book in this “series,” BITTERBLUE came out yesterday and i went to see her speak last night. her story about how she writes her stories (by hand!) and how she plots first and hears the voices second, well, it was encouraging. i could see a little bit of me in her.

and then i said exactly what i wanted to say at the exact moment i had her attention (while she was signing my book) and that in and of itself was a minor miracle because (a) see the title of this blog and (b) i get very tongue tied in the presence of celebrities. i was able to tell her thanks for her words — both written and spoken — and that they’d meant the world to me.

spot on advice, wouldn't you say?

and the final addition is: laurie schnebly. i wrote about her last month and i feel the need to mention her again. her class and her wisdom and her energy wormed its way through the interwebs and into my brain and lo and behold, i’m now 6K into my new WIP, but more importantly, i’m having FUN.

those are some of my heroes (well, in the writerly world). now it’s your turn. how about YOU tell ME some of your writerly heroes? or everyday heroes? or favorite superheroes?

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think BIG

May 1, 2012

bria recently said: “Seriously, think big, huge and let other people rein you in!”

the comment wasn’t made to me specifically and i’m pretty sure it was made about writing, but i got to thinking about how it related to other areas in my life so here are some of my BIG dreams.

*become a storm chaser photographer. i mean, look at these! and this makes it seem not *too* difficult. forget the fact you have to read weather reports and do complicated math and have all sorts of photography equipment that i don’t own. this is totally attainable.

*see the northern lights

*go to thailand during Loi Krathong.

*own a pair of christian louboutin shoes.

*go backstage at a rock concert. CHECK!

what about YOU? what are some of your biggest, wildest, hugest, most outrageous, unrestrained and untamed dreams?