Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snowglobes and Stories


When I was a child, I had a great uncle that seemed ancient to me. When we went to visit him he was always sitting in a chair in a room with bookshelves loaded with books and snowglobes. I was amazed by all the books and fascinated by the snowglobes, but of course, not allowed to play with them. Occasionally the uncle would show me one and let me turn it over and then right side up again so that the snow would fall down on the scene inside the globe. I was an extremely shy child and a bit afraid of my gruff uncle but I would have sat right there by his feet and studied those snowglobe if I had been allowed to do so.
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Fast forward a lot of years and get to this winter of the snows in Kentucky. Other places too, but we've had more snows this year than I can ever remember. Not deep snows. We've had snows that piled up more inches in one storm, but this winter the snows just keep coming. An inch here, two inches there until they say we've gotten over 25 inches altogether. I know that doesn't seem like much to you folks up north, but our average snowfall up to this time of the year is 10 inches. I'm getting used to the snow. I just go out and get in my car like I'm driving a 4-wheel drive truck and take off. So far I've stayed out of the ditch. So far.
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The snow we had the other day was a beautiful snow. One of those where the snowflakes gather in clumps in the air and drift down to cover everything. No wind much. Just thick snowflakes falling. So I told my Facebook friends that it looked like we were in a snowglobe. My dog, Oscar is looking out at you from the globe in the picture above. Anyway that got me to thinking about snowglobes and then that got me thinking about stories. All right, there's no logical bridge between those thoughts, but sometimes a person has to make her own bridge.
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Once I threw down that bridge, I got to thinking how stories can be so much like the scenes in those snowglobes. A creation of places and events by the writer. The writer comes up with an idea. He or she gathers the characters and designs the setting. Then she sprinkles in a liberal amount of snow (problems or challenges) and turns that snow/story globe upside down to get everything started. Perhaps that's why I'm a storyteller because I want to watch the snow drift down on my imaginary world. I want to be as fascinated with my created world as I used to be with those glass-enclosed worlds from my childhood days.
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I have to admit that it's a little disappointing to shake a snowglobe that doesn't have enough snow inside the globe. You feel cheated somehow. The same can be true with stories. Without enough story then you don't have the snow to keep the reader turning pages. That's why I'm struggling a little with my work in progress. I don't think I've given my heroine enough challenges. We love cheering for characters or maybe hoping they get their just deserts. (Google it - it's deserts - not desserts. It uses a meaning of desert - to get what is deserved.) So I'm shaking my story globe, trying to stir up the words so I can make a new story. A good story. A story that will captivate readers as they let the words fall down into their imaginations.
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If you live in my area, you can come meet me and Virginia Smith, a fellow Kentucky author, at Corinth Christian Book Store in Frankfort, KY this Friday, Feb. 11th at 7 p.m. I'll be talking about how I put the story of Angel Sister in a story globe book. Ginny will be talking about her new book, A Deadly Game. Then we'll be ready to field questions. One of us will be sure to have an answer - right or wrong. We'll have fun and no doubt do some laughing too.
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You still have plenty of time to enter my new giveaway described on my website's Event page. If some of you would rather win a couple of books than a gift card, that can be arranged if you turn out to be the winner. I've gotten some sister stories, but I'd love to hear more.
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Thanks for reading and I'm hoping we'll have some sunshine on our scenes in the next few days. Oh, yeah, and for the rest of the story, my uncle's house burned down and he lost all those wonderful snow globes to the fire.

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