Thursday, December 10, 2009

"No Such Thing As Writer's Block" My W.I.T. - 12/09/09

"Appearing barren, the frozen winter earth mocks the writer who forgets the seeds of spring will emerge again." S.L. Whyte

Friday, November 6, 2009

Something About Reilly

Whenever I do a Sneak Peak Read of my novel Finding Tir Na Nog I always begin the discussion by asking the group, "Who loves to read?" Invariably there are one or two individuals, usually youth but sometimes adults, who raise their hand. Then I look them in the eye and pose this lighthearted but firm and confident challenge: "Tell you what, at the end of the presentation, I want you to be completely honest and let me know if something has changed your perspective." The adults smile and nod; the youth shrug their shoulders and scowl. And then something remarkable happens. Something about Reilly. He (the fifteen year old protagonist) jumps out of the pages--through my voice as I read excerpts--and into the hearts of those skeptical non-readers! Without fail, Reilly carries them away to a place of imagination which infuses a desire in them to not only want to pick up the book and read it, but more importantly ignites a real connection of desire within themselves. A desire to read...a desire to imagine...a desire to explore new ideas...a desire to let go of preconceived notions about themselves. There is a visible shift--perhaps even an awakening--in those people who profess to not enjoy reading as Reilly weaves his way into their souls. Yes, of course I'm anxious to have the book published but it's not for all the reasons you might think. It's because I know there's something about Reilly that can make a profound difference in the lives of all who read his story with an open heart and mind.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"A Breath of Energy" - My W.I.T. 10/22/09

"Excellent writing requires more conscious effort than breathing but the words should flow with ease and be filled with fresh energy." S.L. Whyte

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Author, Carol Cassella, Gives Great Advice

I first met Carol Cassella a year ago at a Field's End writer's seminar on Bainbridge Island. Carol's novel Oxygen had just been released. What impresses me most about this first-time author is her genuine heart, both as a human being and as a writer. (Her novel is a clear reflection of that, too!) After her presentation I introduced myself and told her a bit about Finding Tir Na Nog. I clearly remember the advice she gave essence it was this: Try not to listen too much to all the external input from those in the industry. Just write what your heart speaks. When you do that, you'll always know you're on the right track. It reminded me of the advice I give to first-time mothers at every baby shower I know, that point when guests are asked to give their own words of wisdom as an experienced mother! Yeah, right. I simply tell the moms not to listen to everyone's advice but just listen to their own heart and then they'll always know what to do. Uhm...Carol is the mother of two sets of twins. I wonder if she gives that same advice at baby showers.

I knew Carol wasn't suggesting that I disregard necessary technical skills, or that I didn't need to be well educated on how to write a query letter, or that naivety is considered an asset from the publisher's perspective. But what she said resonated within me because it is the core message of Finding Tir Na Nog. Whenever I do a "Sneak Peak Read", I usually end the presentation by telling the audience that the novel is really about sifting through all the noise in our world so that we can be still enough to listen to our own heart, and then have the courage to follow it. Although a YA magical realism story, Finding Tir Na Nog is about personal transformation.

Since that first meeting, I've seen Carol at other conferences, rubbed shoulder's with her at Eagle Harbor Book Store, and passed her on my morning jog. Call it insecurity or whatever, but for some reason I think I need to wait until my novel is actually published before I can tell her how much her words meant to me. How ridiculous is that? Obviously, an indication of my own ego out of whack! On the other hand, my heart tells me to send her a personal note immediately. I think I will.

P.S. Be sure to listen to Carol's inspiring interview with Author Magazine. It's available at the link listed under "Favorite Writing References".

"Balance" - My W.I.T. 10/10/09

"A novel lives and breathes when it is created with a perfect balance of required nourishment: passion, art and skill." - S.L. Whyte

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Emerging Colors of Autumn" My W.I.T. 10/01/09

"Welcoming changes in the editing process allows brilliant colors to emerge in the autumn of your manuscript."
S.L. Whyte

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Impending Words" My W.I.T. 9/24/09

"Change occurs continuously, no matter where you are or who you are. A change that will happen in the moment immediately following this very moment, is an impending change. Therefore, change is always impending," said Kokumo. (from Finding Tir Na Nog by S.L.Whyte)

Writing demands such change. It's called editing. Waiting to get that one affirmative reply from an agent who can't wait to read your manuscript is the impending part of the equation.

-S.L. Whyte

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inspiring Aspiring Youth Authors

On September 3, I had the opportunity to meet some wonderful young women at a Sneak Peak Read in Bremerton, Washington. One of my goals in holding these events is to encourage young people to consider their own writing abilities and to discover that they indeed have stories to share! I was thrilled to receive an email from a woman who attended the event with her daughter. She said her daughter had been quite discouraged about her own writing because her English teacher had been so negative and critical of her efforts to do so. However, after the Sneak Peak Read the girl felt a renewed energy and was excited to start writing again! I'd like to think it was Reilly (the protagonist in the novel) who actually inspired this girl. Here's a fun photo...the host served almond-glazed croissants. I had two! YUM!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"The Space Metaphor" - My W.I.T. 9/10/09

"Two spaces between sentences are there for a reason. The first one belongs to the previous sentence. The second one belongs to the next. Every sentence deserves a space before and a space after. This provides essential autonomy, yet keeps the connection of words authentic, understandable and flowing. Human relationships are like sentences. They need adequate space to function effectively and discover self." S.L.Whyte

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Mind Vs. Heart" - My W.I.T. 9/03/09

"Writing from the mind inevitably requires edits, revisions and complete rewrites. Writing from the heart demands honesty,vulnerability and courage. When mind and heart are unified true literature emerges."
S.L. Whyte

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Imagibility" - My W.I.T. 8/27/09

"Imagination breeds possibility...Possibility cultivates creative expressions in endless forms." - S.L. Whyte

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Authoring to Help Youth

Somewhere on about page 300 of writing Finding Tir Na Nog, I received an email from a fellow writer whom I met at a writing seminar. She put me in touch with David Cohen, a local photographer who was working on an artistic project to raise money for a nonprofit organization called Bainbridge Island Youth Services. David's photography is exquisite! He especially loves working with children and capturing their natural reactions to simple expereinces of life. David and I worked together on a book project titled Standing Here: A Gift for Bainbridge Island Youth Services which is available at Eagle Harbor Book (see link on Favorite Writing Resources). Eighty percent of the proceeds from the book are donated to BIYS, providing mental health services to local youth and young adults. The book is a collection of some of David's best photographic images with accompanying poetry and prose. I had the honor of writing four pieces of poetry for the book. The contributing authors chose an image from his portfolio--something that resonated within themselves--and wrote a piece to go with that photo. It was an exhilarating and rewarding experience! The poet in me continues to flourish...I look forward to writing for next year's edition, as well. In early July I participated in an author reading of the book at Eagle Harbor Book store...hence, the photos. (No, I did not know David was going to be wearing red! I think he looks like a young Santa Clause!) Watch for a future post with the published works. Thank you, David, for this unique's a pleasure working with you. - S.L. Whyte

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Favorite Places to Write

I take my computer with me everywhere but most days I can be found in one of my three favorite places to write: the beach, my front porch, or at "Lollipops"--the children's boutique where I work. All are places of creativity. The photos make it appear that I have exclusive domain to these alleged writing retreats but I struggle with the fact that people are coming and going at each of these locations all the time. Isn't it every author's dream to write uninterrupted...even for just a chapter? Right...only in our dreams!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Introducing "My W.I.T."

My W.I.T. stands for My Writer's Inspirational Thought. I will post a new W.I.T. message at least weekly and perhaps more often. Unless noted, the quotes will be S.L.Whyte originals but I may borrow some of my favorites from other authors and speakers. All will be a reflection of my site's tag line, "Writing to Inspire Creativity and Invite Introspection". I hope My W.I.T. helps you to believe in the creative process within yourself.

"Inspired creativity is an invitation from God to manifest the Divine within oneself."

-S.L. Whyte

Sneak Peak Reads

The novel is not yet published but I want to introduce it to as many people as possible, especially young adults. I believe youth are genuinely searching for permission to trust their own hearts and to imagine life differently than may be, in spite of external pressures and influences. This is the universal message of Finding Tir Na Nog. Following is a list of cities I will be doing a Sneak Peak Read of the novel. Updates posted as new reads are scheduled.


September 3, 2009 @ 6:30 p.m.
8200 Lariat Trail
Bremerton, WA 98311

September 24, 2009 @ 7:00 p.m.
2138 NE Mesford Rd.
Poulsbo, WA 98370

September 30, 2009 @ 6:30 p.m.
11070 Old Frontier Road
Silverdale, WA


October 6, 2009 @ 6:30 p.m.
2138 NE Mesford Rd.
Poulsbo, WA 98370

October 13, 2009 @ 7:00 p.m.
8677 Madison Ave. N.
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

October 22, 2009 @ 6:30 p.m.
14910 Central Valley Road NW
Silverdale, WA 98383


November 4, 2009 @ 7:00 p.m.
2138 NE Mesford Rd.
Poulsbo, WA 98370

I look forward to meeting you and hearing your response to the Sneak Peak Read.

Living with Joy,

S.L. Whyte

Writing the Novel

I have always loved to write. When skillfully written, words evoke intense emotion and convey insightful messages. This process fascinates me! I've kept a journal since I was fourteen, and I've written lyrics to songs since I was sixteen. I even dreamed of writing a book "someday" but had supposed it would be a collection of short essays about everyday life experiences that later emerged as being quite remarkable. But writing a 459 page novel was not something I had previously imagined I could do...until I wrote the first page, and then the next page, and then the next one. What I learned was this: a novel writes itself when there's a really good story to tell. The process for this novel began less than two years ago when the ideas and characters started taking up conscious and subconscious space in my brain. I jotted down notes in a cool journal one of my six sisters, Miriam, gave to me in 2002. I had saved the journal for years knowing that I wanted to use it to write something really unique. Then in November of 2007, I sat in a coffee shop on Bainbridge Island with another sister, Amy, to share my notes with her and try to make sense of the story itching to get out of my psyche. One morning in June 2008, I woke up and said, "Today I write the first chapter!" And I did. The summer became immediately busy with unexpected events in life, followed by an equally busy fall time. I didn't write anymore of the novel until February of 2009 when I committed not only to getting the story out of my head and into a Word document, but to my career as a writer. I joined a local writing group, attended author readings as often as possible, and participated in as many writing workshops, seminars and conferences as I could squeeze in. Now I can't get enough!

"Finding Tir Na Nog" a brief synopsis

Reilly McNamara, the protagonist of this YA magical realism story, is an unusual and sensitive 15 year old boy with multi sensory abilities. His best friend, Eilam, is an old guru from another time and place who owns a kayak hut. His worst enemy, Travis Jackson, is a billionaire scientist who owns the marina near Reilly's island home. After someone he loves dies in a tragic accident, Reilly is led to a magical stone which was used by his great-grandfather to travel back and forth to Tir Na Nog--a magical place of endless beauty and riches. Once Reilly learns the stone can bring to its rightful owner whatever is their greatest desire, he also begins a series of mystical journeys through various portals. Each time Reilly returns to the real world with enlightenment that guides him in his assigned task to help others find their own innate gifts. But Reilly must also prevent Travis from discovering the power of the stone and destroying the imagination of others with his latest invention of a time travel device called The ROCK--drug-laced-laboratory-fabricated-stones. When a beautiful girl unexpectedly enters his life, can Reilly continue to trust his heart without questioning what he wants most? With the help of an albino dog, a talking cedar tree, and ancient petroglyphs, Reilly discovers how and where to find his greatest desire. Finding Tir Na Nog is about understanding the universal connection between imagination and following one's own heart.

Today I enter the world of blogging!

I put it off as long as possible. But this morning after a long walk on a rocky beach--where I counted 82 purple starfish, and then sat on a log while I listened to my nine year old niece read part of a chapter book via cell phones --I decided to start a blog. Although I have some understanding of what a blog is and why authors need to have one, I'm still very confused by the word itself. Who decides these things anyway? Webster's posterity? Google CEOs? Was there a worldwide search for the best new word to describe personal online journaling? Somehow I missed it. Perhaps it's a subliminal acronym that means Building Lots-of Online Groups...or Brandishing Levels Of Gerund. But if one is referring to blogging on a blog would that be gerunding?? Now I really am confused! The brutal truth is this: I feel like a forty-something year old kindergartener on her first day of school. I'm excited about meeting new kinder-writing-friends. I'm looking forward to "sharing time" when everyone gets to chat about their accomplishments and ideas. I'm hoping we have "story time" frequently so we can learn about new books, authors, and that thing beyond elementary school, high school and college called the "real world"...otherwise known as the publishing industry! Basically, starting a blog and figuring out what to say on that very first post is almost as daunting as writing my first synopsis for my first novel.

Writing the novel itself was not daunting. It was exhilarating, free-flowing, focused and just plain fun! Probably most YA fiction writers would concur. But this post is only the introduction for my blog not the whole story. Check out the following posts: Brief Synopsis of the Novel; Writing of the Novel; Sneak Peak Reads; My Writer's W.I.T.; What, Where and Why I Write; and Favorite Writing Resources on the side links.

If this happened to be a pitch to a literary agent it would obviously be far too long, too choppy, and too random. (Pitching is a topic for another post all together!!) But for fellow author-bloggers I'm hoping it meets the criteria. Mostly, whoever you are and for whatever reason you happen to have found my website, I just want to say, "Welcome. And thanks for taking the time to add to your list of favorites."

Living with joy,

S.L. Whyte