Quilling a Dragonfly

The finished quilled dragonfly rests on a blue ripple of water. I may add something to the bottom right to balance the composition.

The finished quilled dragonfly rests on a blue ripple of water. I may add something to the bottom right to balance the composition.

This year has gotten off to a slow start and most of my writing projects are mired in various stages of incompleteness. It’s quite frustrating and I’ve decided I need some art therapy to let myself relax and play, and I really do believe that one form of creativity sparks other forms of creativity (mental cross-training and all that).

Many years ago my father bought me a quilling kit from a hobby store. The kit included an egg-shaped piece of Styrofoam and instructions for making a goldfish. After I finished the fish I played around with three-dimensional quilling and eventually made a dragon. Then I more or less put quilling aside until a couple of years ago.

I bought some supplies with an idea for doing a specific project, but that fell by the wayside when I got busy with school. I am still busy, but this week I bought Paper Quilling Chinese Style after seeing some fantastic photos from the book on Amazon.

The book arrived today and I decided to try making the dragonfly. My skills are rusty but I’ve managed a decent first project, although I’m not entirely happy with the composition. The card it’s sitting on is Strathmore multimedia paper. I’ve used Ranger Distress ink pads in Tumbled Glass and Weathered Wood, applying the colors to the paper with a foam applicator. For the edging on the card, I used a Faded Jeans color mini ink pad and simply wiped it against the card. The dragonfly’s eyes are 5mm rhinestones glued on top of tightly rolled quills.

The yellow eyes are done, and one wing is finished. The paper clip is holding a set of wings until the glue dries.

The yellow eyes are done, and what will become the head is just to the right of them. The paper clip is holding the wings until the glue dries and above that is the abdomen.

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 130

This morning I found myself wrapped up in reading old diary entries. Now my childhood wasn’t very exciting, unless you count watching drug raids on the apartments across the street or running home from school to avoid riots. I did not grow up in Yuppieville, but we managed. Anyway, in reading through I found this entry:

July 25, 1969: I really don't know what to do.

Unfortunately I seem to be reliving that day today. I have plenty of writing projects on my desk, as well as some craft projects to finish for gifts, yet I sit here trying to decide what to do. I think that’s the real problem: there is too much to do and I’m having problems prioritizing.

So, how can I turn that into a writer’s prompt? Simple: the task this week is to take a sheet of paper or index card and write down all your current works in progress. It’s okay if you only have one thing on that list.

The first step is to number them in order of priority, whether it’s a deadline-driven thing or not. If you don’t have deadlines for projects then you need to make some.

Second, take another sheet of paper or card and write the name of your priority project on it. Then list the first three things that you need to do with that project. It’s best if these are clear-cut goals, such as “figure out a name for the main character’s pet canary,” rather than “decide protagonist’s backstory.”

And step three — you got it — get to work on the first item on that list. If it doesn’t take long you can work on the other two, but make it a goal to finish at least one item.

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 129

The strength of the gravity well of inertia is directly proportional to the comfort of a particular chair.

The strength of the gravity well of inertia is directly proportional to the comfort of a particular chair.

So, it’s NaNo month and most of my writing friends are busy getting their word counts up. I’m not doing much writing this week because I’m taking a break. I just submitted four encyclopedia articles and have another one to revise next week, then another eight due in February. I’m also revising my novel (again) and starting work on a nonfiction book. But this week I’m goofing off, caught in the gravity well of laziness and growing steadily dizzier as I whirl about the vortex.

This year instead of doing NaNo I decided to focus on trying to get an existing work in progress revised and edited so that it works. I bought three books on writing craft, including two on plotting, to help me figure out where the weaknesses are. Actually, I kind of know that, I just need to learn how to fix the problems. And already I’m irritated with one of the authors. Hey guys, don’t insert politics into your work unless that’s the topic you’re writing about. Readers don’t like opinions stuffed down their throats, and it’s unfair to take advantage of them knowing they have no way of arguing your point. Okay, I’m ending my rant here — and don’t make me repeat it!

Let’s talk about this week’s Thursday Writing Prompt. Figuring out what motivates a character can be difficult. I seem to have no problem with my secondary characters, but I’m having problems identifying what my main character really wants, and as a result he’s wishy-washy. I’m going to try having him write a letter to explain himself. So, that’s your task this week, too. Not to write about my character, but one of yours, of course!

Have one of your characters write a letter. It can be to another character in the story, or a character offstage if that works better for your situation. The letter should indicate your character’s desires and what he or she wants. It’s a letter, so it can be emotional, and it might serve you better if it is. Take one or two pages to figure this out. The more neatly you can sum up the character’s feelings the easier it will be to write them onto the page. Good luck!

November poll-a-rama

Many of you writers are hard at work on your NaNo novel. I know you don’t have much time to spare for reading long blog posts, but for a bit of fun, vote in the poll below and let me know what genre you’re current work is in. You can pick multiple items or add a genre of your choice in the “Other” box.