Why I Need Tea

Morrocan mint tea

Lately I’ve been obsessing over photos of tea. Teapots and teacups. Tea in mugs. Loose tea in antique silver bowls.

I don’t get anything from cups of coffee. Latte’s with pretty pictures in the foam? Nothing. Not interested.

The reason is simple enough. I don’t like coffee. I don’t drink it. Tea, I drink several times a day. I love black, green and herbal varieties. I love the smell of chai, the look of vintage tea pots, and pictures of misty tea plantations. My favorite thing in the afternoon is a hot cup of herbal with a cookie.

Our brains constantly connect what we see with what we already know.

What I know is this: the characters in my novels read tea leaves not coffee grounds. When the outlook is grim, the local wizard boils water for tea. The outcast warrior drinks weak tea on recovering from a fever and a girl on a quest drinks bitter tea to bring on the Sight.

What about sweet tea with honey or blackberry tea? Why do your characters need it?

Get inspiration from collage

All you cut and paste glue stick junkies out there, get ready!

susan wiggsSeveral years ago at the Surrey International Writer’s conference, I took a master class with  Susan Wiggs on creative collage. Talk about fun! She is awesome, hilarious and wicked smart, AND she brought her own collages with her from past projects. We got to get our hands dirty (er, sticky) and cut, stick and collage to our heart’s content for like THREE hours.

Basically the idea is that you take the germ of an idea (or maybe start with a completely blank slate), and just start flipping through magazines, flyers, anything you can cut up, and start clipping images, colors banner ads, blocks of text. Anything that is visually interesting to you, cut it out. Don’t sit and ponder or fuss about it. Just go with your gut instincts (hmmmm, sounds like writing  a first draft, doesn’t it!). Maybe your clippings fit with the idea you had in mind, maybe not. But after awhile, what happens is amazing.

For me, I found myself swerving towards different ideas, and taking different directions that I had never even contemplated when I started. Without thinking consciously about it, you begin to make connections between totally unrelated things. And as authors that’s often what makes our work the juiciest. Think of it as visual brainstorming.

A few years later (again and Surrey International) I listed to  Jennifer Crusie talk about the same thing.  Her collages are epic–I mean really incredible three dimensional works of art. I think she actually has a degree in it or something!!

Robin LeFever has also posted on this technique on her blog which is what got me thinking about showing off some of my own. Robin’s collage is more structured, with groups of tarot cards arranged  with characters and story elements in mind.

As for my fairly humble mishmash, not very pretty I admit, but they work for me!

Here’s the one I did in class:

And here’s a couple if inspriation boards I keep taped to my wall for my current WIP.

Anybody else have some to share?