WELCOME TRISHA SLAY
Trisha Slay is a writer with a passion for storytelling. She has studied at the Institute of Children’s Literature as well as furthering her skills through online workshops. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and the Atlanta Writer’s Club. She enjoys participating in writing groups and spends a great deal of time improving her craft. Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away is her first novel.
Tricia hopes Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away would be compared to Looking for Alaska by John Green and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. She has said that “If those two books had a Star Wars-obsessed little sister, I’d like to think she would be my novel.”
Tricia lives between the Atlanta metro area and the North Georgia Mountains, but hails originally from Ohio…by the way of the San Francisco Bay area. When she is not working on her next book (tentatively titled Sometimes We Strike Back), her interests include: 70s pop culture; unsolved mysteries; Star Wars (original trilogy); historic movie theaters; haunted history; reading (especially YA novels); nutrition/weight watchers/healthy vegetarian cuisine; hiking (exploring the National Forest trails with her guy); yoga/meditation; miscellaneous crafting projects (that rarely turn out as envisioned); and writing letters she never intends to mail.
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I am one of those annoying writers for whom ideas flow freely. Characters and half-formed plot lines seem to spring out at me from every direction. I never, ever struggle for a new story idea to develop.
Does that sound like bragging? Many talented authors have trouble finding the seeds of inspiration that will easily bloom into narrative, so my declaration may ruffle a few feathers. That said, my intention is not to boast. Oh, no. The truth is, a surplus of ideas is not always a good thing.
At any given time, there are four or more unborn stories pinballing around in my head, competing for my attention. The constant cacophony makes it rather difficult to focus on any one idea and nearly impossible to maintain the level of attention required to finish the first draft of a novel. I am constantly being tempted to abandon a writing project to pursue the Next Big Idea. And yet, resolutely ignoring new inspirations for weeks and months at a time doesn’t feel like a good solution. After all, story ideas are a lot like snowflakes…each one is beautiful and unique, but they can quickly melt away.
That is why the care and feeding of ideas is such an important topic for me.
The most oft-repeated piece of advice in every creative writing class – Always carry a notebook – is not bad advice, but it’s incomplete. While it seems absurdly obvious, the notebook will not do you any good unless you also have a writing implement and a free hand to scribble out those wild, fleeting bits of fantasy. I commute an hour to work (each way) and I cannot tell you how many plot twists have popped into my head while navigating through heavy traffic. This is where the voice memo feature on my iPhonecomes in handy. Once I’m safely parked, I’ll play back my own excited babble to see if I’ve captured something worth being transcribed into my trusty notebook…or something that should be deleted and quickly forgotten.
Which brings me to another, fairly obvious point. The practice of faithfully jotting down ideas day in and day out quickly results in page after page of vague, half-formed bits and pieces that may or may not support a full story. So, the next logical step, is to regularly go back through those pages to determine if anything tempts the writerly brain to explore and expand.
If I find any treasure among the flotsam and jetsam in my notebook, I’ll sit down with pen and paper, set a timer for 30 minutes, and free write. There’s only one rule for this exercise – keep the pen moving for the full 30 minutes. Write, write, write. Do not stop. Do not read. Do not edit or censor anything. If I find myself losing interest or feeling blocked, that’s a good indication that this little spark of inspiration that seemed so promising will burn out quickly without producing a finished story. However, if I’m still excited by the possibilities after 30 minutes, I move on to the fun part.
This is the artsy crafty phase where I allow myself to get a little weird. Some of the things I do to feed and grow my inspiration may not appeal to everyone, but here’s some of the projects I’ve used to build the creative fires:
- Create a collage or vision board for the story
- Design a front cover for the finished novel.
- Search Pinterest, Google Images, Flickr, Photo Pin &/or DeviantART (my favorite) for characters and/or settings in my story
- Write the back cover copy (yes, before writing the story)
- Write letters from the main character(s)
- Using only doodle drawings (arrows, circles, stars, hearts, flowers, etc) map the main plot
- Draw a map of the setting
Now, I love these types of projects a little too much so I have to be careful not to get stuck in my arty phase for too long. But it can be equally dangerous to rush into the first draft too soon. Usually, I’ll reach a point when I feel near to bursting with the need to start writing the story. Then and only then, will I launch into the first draft.
One warning…in the earliest stages of nurturing a new inspiration, I strongly recommend keeping your project a secret. Don’t discuss it with anyone. The earliest stages are so very fragile. Discussing what you want to create prematurely is the surest way to destroy it. Trust me. Nothing kills a promising concept faster than premature feedback.
ABOUT THE BOOK
It’s a terrible thing to live under a question mark….
When Erika’s best friend, teen beauty queen Cassandra Abbott, disappears during the early hours of Memorial Day 1977, Erika isn’t exactly surprised. After all, they’ve been plotting and planning Cassie’s escape for months. But then Cassie’s departure unleashes a whirlwind of questions, suspicions and accusations that Erika never expected.
She’s lying to the police. She’s being bullied by older students. Worst of all, she’s starting to doubt she ever REALLY knew Cassie Abbott at all.
Under the weight of scrutiny and confusion, Erika struggles just to breathe…until a strange new movie transforms her summer with A New Hope.
For Erika, Star Wars changes EVERYTHING. So she volunteers to do chores for a local theater owner to gain unlimited access to a galaxy far, far away from her current reality.
At the Bixby Theater-a beautiful but crumbling movie palace from a more civilized era-Erika discovers new friendships, feels the crush of first love and starts an exciting new romance with Super 8 film making…but she can’t hide in a darkened movie theater forever.
As the summer wears on, tensions escalate over the unsolved mystery surrounding Cassie’s disappearance. Someone seems to think Erika knows too many of Cassie’s secrets. Eventually, Erika must step out of the shadows and, armed only with her Super 8 camera and the lessons she’s learned from Star Wars, fight to save herself and the theater that has become her second home.
Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away is a quirky, contemporary, coming-of-age novel set during the earliest days of the Star Wars fan phenomenon.
Print Length: 316 pages
Publisher: Deeds Publishing (May 1, 2013)
THANKS TO CRYSTAL AT WOW!,
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