We plant seeds to grow something. Sometimes it's something specific. Sometimes we don't know what will bloom, but we hope the seeds we plant will lead us to new and wondrous creations.
Here is where I cultivate the garden of my works in progress, my craft and my process and wait to see what seedlings will burgeon into stories, and which ones I will replant into a new plot.
I love heroes that are not perfect. How boring it would be to have that perfect hero overcome all conflict and ride off on a shiny white horse into the sunset. Not my hero. He's in for a rough ride where he will get bucked into the mud and trampled on a bit before he limps off into the sunset, dripping wet and cold, but all the better for it.
One of the best writing prompts I've done to date is interviewing one of my characters as a journalist. I chose a supporting character, one we know very little about to tell us about life in her town. It was tons of fun and allowed me to get to know her a little better, so that the reader can get to know her too.
One of my poems was recently published in Event Magazine 51/1. A little trivia: the poem The Curtain Rises, is about my great-grandmother and her life on the stage. Event Magazine is produced by a local institution, Douglas College. I attended Douglas College for my own theatre training, so it feels like destiny that this poem should be published in this literary journal.
Villains are intensely fun to write, but also extremely difficult. Mine arrived in one sentence born from a specific setting, and that one sentence launched a whole story. She was the first character I saw, and when I started digging into how her story affects the people around her, she introduced to me to my other characters and the eventual hero of my book. That’s the magic of writing.
In the wings, a figure of a woman, hands clasped in front of her chest, eyes closed, chin slightly lifted, mouthing silent words."
Family history is full of stories. Mine is a future historical fiction novel and featured in an upcoming poem for publication.
Sometimes, stories are born with us.
I have talked about it, I have written about it, I try to live by it when I arrive at the desk. If we're not having fun, why should we do it? Love the craft. Enjoy the process. Always go back to why you wanted to write in the first place.
The other day I was smashing some ice with a small pink hammer, and I suddenly saw one of my characters' doing the very same thing. This is the magic in writing, when we discover the unique traits we can draw on for our worlds.
It's November, National Novel Writing Month, and I have been away from my creation, the little town I built along the Crows Nest Highway, but I'm going back to visit this month. There's something bubbling beneath the surface of that little town, something dark. It's time to go back and unearth its secret.
October is my favourite month. Mother Nature dresses in her finest colors, the mornings are cool, shrouded in ghostly mists and the burnt light of the Harvest Moon shines through my windows. October is the harvest season for the earth, but it's also a harvest season for writers, as it's the season for writing festivals and conferences. I am getting ready for The Surrey International Writers Conference. This year, as last, it is an online platform with authors from all over the world coming for a week of workshops, connections, and gaining new techniques on how to improve our craft. I have a short story to edit, an essay to finish, and a novel to write, but the festivals and conferences are my inspirational tools to keep pushing forward when things get a little rough. It's a reminder to enjoy the work, even when we hate it, to find the joy in why we write. "This day we write".
September is upon us. The autumn is always a special creative time for me with writing conferences and festivals. But this year I can also celebrate the launch of a new issue of a local literary magazine featuring some of my work. These are the stories that are always in progress, the stories that won't leave me alone, that demand to be written, and so here I am, constantly digging through the weeds to find them a place to bloom.
If You Like What You See
Some people have inquired if there’s a place to donate on my blog. This is for those who would like to offer extra support for my work and I thank you for this.
A bigger thank you to all my readers who offer ongoing support simply by stopping by for a visit. I enjoy writing and interacting with you.
J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.