Writing with kids around is hard.
Writing with my kids around is next to impossible. Even simple tasks such as putting on socks becomes a triathlon of bathroom breaks, tantrums, and cannon-fire.
I’ve heard of miracle babies who play quietly and only cry when seriously injured. I’m not sure such lacklustre angels exist. And I know I’m not alone in experiencing the delights of having high-intensity children.
I write this entry in abject misery, sitting in a coffee shop during lunch break from my soul-sucking job. You know, that thing you do so you don’t actually starve while being a starving artist. Yeah, that thing is especially important when you have kids to feed, too.
I was a bit late out of the gate when I finally (re)turned to writing. Like many story-tellers, I loved writing when I was younger. My imagination was so vivid, sparked by my mother’s love of all things Lord of the Rings and my father’s love of all things Star Trek. As time passed and pressure to ‘pick a career’ mounted, I put aside the writerly tinkerings of youth and worked on … well … work.
But story ideas never stopped percolating in my brain until, at last, I realized I just had to do it. Put one word after the other and see what happened. Tell the story that spoke to me.
Then a terrible thing happened.
Well that’s a fancy word.
I paid good money to take classes where they talk all about fancy words, but this is one of the few that ever stuck with me past final exams.
Learning about intertextuality was one of those lightbulb moments where I realized there was a word for a concept I’d subconsciously understood, but didn’t know how to explain.
So what exactly is it?
The word ‘hook’ is powerful. It immediately conjures a mental image of that curved, pointed object, used for one purpose only: to snare something so it doesn’t slip away. Use it for fishing, for lugging meat (you know, creepy meat-locker scene), or to dangle earrings. But if you hook it, you won’t lose it.
Who doesn’t want to hook their readers? Trap them with words so powerful, they’re helpless to do anything except turn the page and read on. All night if necessary.
*cue maniacal laugh*
When I was a kid, I loved playing with Legos. Still do, come to think of it. Those boxes of unassembled joy promised hours of entertainment … provided nobody put the dragons on the pirate ship or the spacemen in the wolf-army castle. This was NOT ALLOWED!
That hasn’t changed because, for me, the world is very discreet, just like each Lego set had its own orderly universe. And that universe mustn’t be disturbed.
If there was a compelling reason why dragons would exist in the same world as the pirate ship, I might be inclined to hear you out.
I’m gonna do it. Here it comes. The words that make your mother cry:
Darn it all!
Well isn’t that just a nilly-tickle!
Um. Sorry, that was lame. My character would never say that.