Tag Archives: write owl

The Write OWL

Finding Story Ideas

Finding Story Ideas

Djuna Shellam The Write OWL Episode 22

finding story ideasFinding story ideas can be perhaps the most difficult task of a writer. Sometimes. For me, fortunately, finding story ideas is the least of my struggles as a writer. Finding the time and that perfect sweet spot is my biggest struggle.

However, even in finding story ideas, my original plans are usually vetoed by my bossy and always right “Muse.” No matter how great I might think a story idea might be, she’ll come along and make it better. I love her.

But, without finding story ideas in the first place, she won’t come to work. I have to do the ground work first. So how do I do that? Well, often, ideas come from my life; rather, my observance of life around me. It might be a news report, a scene in a movie, a story someone has told me, something I’ve overheard in line at the grocery store, a story from my grandmother, or… you get the idea.




Finding story ideas, though, is the very first step of my writing. I’ve been writing a series for many years, so for me, new story ideas are always considered as to how they can be woven into my series. Sometimes, however, I’ll come up with an idea that I know won’t fit into the series and it will go onto the “after the series” pile of ideas. It’s a big pile. I have no idea what will become of those ideas once I begin work on them. Isn’t that exciting?

My current series, The Em Suite, began with an idea that bears little resemblance to what the series is now. Even the third book in the series, Prairie Fire, was supposed to be something entirely different, but when I began writing, my Muse stepped in and guided me to a much better story.

I think the point to finding story ideas is to just start with something, anything, and let the magic of the writing process guide you. I don’t remember offhand who this “quote” is from, but the writer said, essentially, until you actually sit down and start writing, your muse won’t take you seriously and won’t show up to work. From a personal standpoint, I know this is 1000% true.

I have a vlog episode planned on the muse concept, so I’ll leave the subject for now. The bottom line to writing, whether a muse is a factor or not, is that finding story ideas is paramount. How each writer does that is a learning process all its own. My goal with sharing my process is that perhaps I can help another writer solve a problem or get a new idea somewhere along the way.

The Write OWL

Moving Part 2 — DJuna Shellam The Write OWL — Episode 19

Moving Part 2

DJuna Shellam The Write OWL—Episode 19

This week’s Episode 19, Moving Part 2, is a little different from the episodes previous, as it is my first “Driving With Djuna” installment. Yes, I love to drive my little car, so I thought I’d make some episodes while driving. Why not? Shake it up a bit, eh?moving part 2

I’m continuing on this week with the theme of moving, only because it’s all I’m doing. Since last Wednesday, I’ve been packing, packing, packing; yet, I look around and nothing seems to have changed. I expect that any moment now, I’ll look up and realize I’m done. Right?

Meanwhile, I fantasize about completing my writing projects. I imagine what Dot’s going to do once Em, Eve, Prairie and Liam arrive at her home in Palm Springs. Oh, you haven’t gotten that far yet? That’s alright, because that’s all I plan to give you in regard to Dot in the Weeds.

I’ve also been mulling over “my,” that is, the Djuna Shellam, official autobiography. I wonder how much I should tell about Djuna’s life. There are some dicey bits, so you know, I don’t want to get her in trouble in the process of sharing her most extraordinary “life.”

Meanwhile, I toil with packing; making sure everything that can fit into a box ends up in a box. And those things that don’t fit into a box? Well, I have to make sure they don’t get damaged in the moving process. It’s tedious. I’ve never been one to handle tedium very well, and this moving project is testing every little bit of my resolve to move. But move I shall. I can’t turn back now. My house is, for all intents and purposes, no longer mine. Technically it is, but to cancel the sale now would be disastrous. And anyway, why would I? I’m toiling, poorly, I might add, in 115ºF heat with summer right around the corner. I’m convinced I live on the Sun.




Well, while I’m preparing to hit the road with all of my belongings in tow, heading for the Great Northwest, check out The Em Suite if you haven’t yet. Let me know in the comments section what you think will happen in Dot in the Weeds. Who knows—you might be right!

djuna shellam

Evil “Real Writers…” Lists—Djuna Shellam The Write OWL—Episode 11

Evil “Real Writers…” Lists

Djuna Shellam The Write OWL Blog—Episode 11

Once again, I’ve decided to take on the evil “real writers…” lists where some people feel compelled to define what makes an artist, a writer, a musician, or any other vocation that requires creativity “real.” And yes, I do consider them evil for the potential damage they can do to someone who doubts their talent.

In this episode, the silly idea that real writers write everyday and read all the time is the primary subject matter. I share my thoughts on that in the video. I liken lists as a way of trying to pour everyone into the same mold. Balderdash! What makes art interesting is that it doesn’t always conform to what’s expected or required. Can you imagine a world in which all writers were alike? All artists? All filmmakers, musicians?

When I hear that someone may be the next Madonna, or Jackson Pollock, or Elvis, or George Lucas, or JK Rowling, or… some artistic genius, I want to scream. If any of those geniuses had conformed to some “real artists or writers or filmmakers or musicians do this” list, they would never have been the originals. And someone who is deemed the “next” will never achieve what the original did.




My point is, that it’s important, in my humble opinion, for artists to pursue their work and not be so flippin’ ready to conform to some anonymously written list.

I’m passionate about this subject because I allowed myself to be affected by “real writers…” and “real artists…” lists and, I hate to admit it, but they did make me feel inadequate and unsure about who I was for far too long. So many years wasted worrying about other people’s definition of what a writer is. Tsk tsk.

Even today, in today’s Amazon world, there are still those who look down their noses at writers who haven’t been published, and especially if not by a major publishing house, and declare those writers not “real” writers. Pffft! 

Reminder: My third novel in The Em Suite series, Prairie Fire, is now available for presale at Amazon. It officially releases on May 13, 2016. You can check it out HERE.