Tuesday 18 January 2011


Last week was a good writing week.  I met (well, almost met) my self-imposed quota of pages for what I am calling a "final first draft" of a story I wrote a couple of years ago.  There have been a few changes: it is no longer set in a large, modern North American city, it's now set in Eighteenth Century London; and it is no longer for Young Adult readers, but for middle-grade readers.  I'm starting to understand what one so often hears, about a story writing itself.

This is the notebook for this project.  The postcard is one from the Museum of London, and is an oil painting depicting London ca. 1630.  It's a bit before my story's time, and the Great Fire of 1666 would have destroyed a good many of the buildings in the painting, but it still helps pull me away from our time, into a more distant one. 

Because of a particularly bad computer-ate-my-writing experience, whenever I finish writing for the day, I try to print out what I've written and add it to a binder specifically for that story.  Now that my characters have moved back in time almost three hundred years, I've had to give them new, period-appropriate names.  I've done this for most, but not all of them.  It's proving very difficult, especially when a character has lived with a name for so long.  Somehow, radically changing other fundamental things about the characters as a result of the temporal move has not been nearly as difficult.

I have also been reading some of my research books - though I haven't got nearly as far with that as I had hoped.  If I leave my reading for the end of the day, I can't seem to get past a couple of pages before sleep carries me away.  I should do it in the morning when I'm fresh and caffeinated. 

One of the books I've started to read is proving fascinating.  It's a biography, written by Kathryn Shevelow, of Charlotte Charke, actress and one of the Eighteenth Century's most colourful and original characters.  A very independent woman; she shunned, from an early age, the normal pursuits of a lady, and instead took to hunting, horseback riding, and wearing men's clothing both on stage and off.  She eventually left the stodgy theatres of Drury - where her famous father Colley Cibber had played the roles of actor, playwright, and manager - and turned to a new anti-establishment theatre troupe run by a young Henry Fielding - who would later write the classic novel "Tom Jones." 

When not thinking about the writing, I've spent some time organizing things for more collages.  I wanted to add a few more to the poppy series and worked on some sketches and drawings.

Though the drawings are stylized, I always start with photos of actual plants for reference.  One of my favourite jumping off points is a book I purchased a few years ago when we had a garden, and before I realized that, as much as I love them, I am hopeless with plants. 

Getting ready for these collages was an opportunity to look through some of the papers I've been collecting, hording, squirrelling away for years.  These gorgeous marbled papers are from Florence (the photo doesn't do justice to their rich colours and fabulous patterns).

Some fun, tie-dye looking Itajime Papers from Japan (alas, purchased in Toronto).

And my favourites, an assortment of Japanese Chiyogami papers, a couple of miscellaneous ones from Italy, and a few others which I purchased, also in Toronto, so long ago that I'm afraid I've forgotten their country of origin. 

I've been asked, from time to time over the years, whether I collect anything.  The answer has always been "no" as I tend to be whatever the opposite of a pack rat is - to a fault.  But, I think if I'm ever asked that question again, the answer will have to be "paper."


  1. I, too, love paper and have a very small store of paper set aside for nothing in particular. Envelopes are fun to keep an excess of too ... for all the cards that I thought that I'd be making.

    Cards have definitely taken a back seat to the internet, but the idea of them is still near and dear to my heart. And occasionally the idea translates to reality.

    Will you be previewing some of your written material here Lynn? Don't mean to step on toes, just being a curious rabbit.


  2. as a collage artist I have to confess that I have a love affair with paper- though I lean towards papers with textures and not much color- or papers with patterns like dots, dashes, text or numbers- I also collect cards and envelopes, old tags, maps, letters and postcards and stamps-- old books... okay I will stop here as I can go on an on..
    I like your blog very much.

  3. I have also found, Jan, that I don't send nearly as many letters or cards as I used to because of the ease of electronic communication. It's a shame, as there is nothing more lovely than to sit down with pen and paper and write a note to someone (unless, of course, it's to receive one, especially a hand made one). Cards are nice as they can be written relatively quickly - though I find I do even that all too rarely these days.

    Thanks for your interest in my writing (no toes were damaged in the least!) For now, I won't be posting any parts of the story that I'm currently revising (I'm terribly secretive until I have a draft that I feel is up to being released for brutal critique). But I have toyed with the idea of releasing short works - either whole or in parts. Must mull that over a bit more...

    I love the papers you use in your collages, Donna. The muted colours and subtle but rich textures are gorgeous. And the way you put them together is masterful.

    It was my love of paper which led me, just recently, to start making collages. Most of the papers I have were purchased back when I was learning book binding and were used mainly as cover papers. I'll thrilled to be putting them to use again, this time for something quite different.

    I'm so glad you're enjoying my blog. As I'm still quite new to this, it's lovely to get positive feedback!

  4. Lynn, ow fascinating to read about your writing processes. something i would love to do one day is write a book!! I love too your poppies. thank you for visiting my faerietale blog sorry it has taken so very long to get bak for a visit, x ruthie

  5. Thanks for your visit, and your comment, Ruthie!

  6. Hey, nice site you have here! Keep up the excellent work!

    Oil Painting