Novel Construction – Week 13

August 28, 2014 § 2 Comments

handmade chunky clay house - 1962

My hand built clay house – 1962

The summer before sixth grade I got to ride the bus by myself to the University of Washington campus to take an art class. This was a really cool thing. I felt very important, and confident that I would learn how to do everything -draw, paint, sculpt- perfectly. First time. After all, the instructor was a trained professional. One who knows everything.

Each class we worked with a different medium. When we got to clay I built this house. It had an awning over the front door supported by two pillars. That was the first thing to go wrong. I didn’t understand how to secure built-on parts so they wouldn’t break or collapse in the kiln. But the rest of my house held up well. Our professor warned us about rolling our slabs too thin…I made sure even the Big Bad Wolf wouldn’t crack mine.

super sturdy slab construction weighs a ton

Super Sturdy Slab Construction – weighs a ton

We were encouraged to make decorative impressions in the clay with tools. I used a pencil and my fingernail, eager to get on to the next step: painting. I don’t remember now if we fired our clay creations first and then applied the glaze, and fired them again (since I never made slab house construction my career), but I do remember how surprised and angry I was at the looks of the exterior of my finished house.

My favorite colors together were pink and orange – never mind the popular opinion that those two colors you NEVER put together, ever, because of The Clash. I didn’t care about popular opinions. They were all stupid. I wanted half my house pink and the other half orange, with an alternating pink and orange striped awning. So I dipped my brush into the shiny bright pink glaze and slathered away. Thrilling! Then I did the same with the orange glaze (also very bright and shiny in its liquid form). Whoo! Going to be the most beautiful clay house in the land.

The following week we watched while the professor unloaded the kiln. Nothing shiny about my home exterior colors, first of all.  Second – and worst – the orange had been obliterated by the heat, leaving behind this putrid, ash charred dirty white. I was sure the professor had tricked me on purpose. For a good laugh? So I’d never be as great a slab house builder as he was? Who knew? I didn’t have the guts to ask any questions at age 10. And if I had, I wouldn’t have known what to ask. Maybe he assumed I knew what I was doing (going at those colors with a passionate purpose). Maybe he told us all about the colors changing and I didn’t hear him, couldn’t hear, wouldn’t hear. Maybe he even had sample glazed & fired squares dangling on one of those silver ball chains, and assumed I knew what they were, why they were there on the table with the jars of to-die-for rainbow liquid glazes. I don’t know.


I do know this: “It’s best to have failure early in life. It wakes up the Phoenix bird in you so you rise from the ashes.” – Anne Baxter

TIP: Keep failing. The Phoenix bird still lives…even After 60!!   xo Pierr


Novel Draft 3 Almost – Week 12

August 20, 2014 § 3 Comments


Whee! Coming along. Getting there . . .

. . . you’ll notice the green tags 41 to 68. Those are chapters I haven’t written yet. I’m not absolutely sure all are necessary. All but chapter 41 are near the end of the book, pretty much right in a row (73 chapters total). Thinking they’ll be short, maybe combined somehow into four or five. Don’t know. But at this point psychologically?–I need to move on. So I’m going to punch holes in this draft, stick it in a notebook for easier reading, tweaking and tagging, and by next week I’ll be calling it working DRAFT #4.

Also exciting is the word count: 52,846 so far.  That’s a NA-NO!

This novel in the photo didn’t begin as a NaNoWriMo (writing 50,000 words in 30 days the month of November), as I may have mentioned, but I’ve been a NaNoWriMo “winner” four years in a row with other novel beginnings, so I can say with complete confidence it’s a good way to start writing one.

TIP: Get it all out of your head and down on paper any way you can.

That’s what I’m doing with the green-tagged chapters now. I have crazy wild sentences typed out that go with each chapter title to get me started again. So when I return to reading through the draft I’m not hit with a neon blank page. Who knows? More sentences might fall off the top of my head when I get there.

Draft #3 of YA novel - about 260 pages

Draft #3 of YA novel – 260 pages double spaced

XO – Pierr




Novel Detailing – Week 11

August 13, 2014 § 2 Comments

TIP: Take time to see important stuff.

unsnapping Raggedy Andy's shirt to find his heart

unsnapping Raggedy Andy’s shirt to find his heart – I LOVE YOU


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