Meet Calder #2

Calder 2In my massive rewrite of The Narrator, I’ve just passed the midpoint. I was pretty worried about the scene, and kept putting it off and putting it off. But when I finally dove in, it was actually pretty fun.

And I owe it all to Calder #2.

There are two Calders in Narrator: the original, and the one the Narrator tried to make by changing his backstory. At the midpoint, the second Calder manifests (because of an enchanted forest) and the two Calders have a bit of a chat.

And that second Calder was a treat to “work with.” He was very talkative and came up with some great stuff, all without really trying.

(I know that to non-writers this kind of talk sounds crazy, but characters usually take on a life of their own. They can be complete chatterboxes, like Calder #2, or they can refuse to give up any information on themselves and frustrate the crap out of you.)

So this scene was going better than I expected, but still with a lot of false starts and backtracking. And suddenly Calder #2 was dragging his feet, and refusing to cooperate, and giving me a really crappy performance — until I put back some paragraphs I had removed. Once they were back in place, he was more than happy to talk again.

Things slowed down again as we neared the end of the scene, because Calder #2 knew this was going to be his only scene, and he was reluctant to “leave.” I could tell he was trying to stretch out his time. I felt bad for him, too, since he was (for the most part) so great to work with. But alas, I don’t think I’ll be able to justify bringing him back.

Even if it would be fun.


Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

If I Skipped a Week…

…would anyone notice?

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Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

My Little Inspirations

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A few years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to get a cover for The Narrator. It would be like visualizing the end goal — whenever I was having a tough time writing, I could look at it and feel inspired.

frameYou’ve seen this awesome cover before. One of my friends made it. Actually, he made me several, but this one was first and it’s my favorite. Unfortunately, neither of us can re-find the guy he used for Pennington. Keep an eye out, let me know if you see him anywhere!

A short time later, another friend printed out the cover and made me a lovely frame. This currently sits on my desk. (Although, I don’t use my desk. I had intended to use my desk when I placed the frame there, but…guess I should just move it down to the couch where I actually write.)

I also have something for my car. My writing group friends are a fan of that one!

notebookThose are all my Narrator-related inspirations, but I have a general writing one as well. It’s not music or a location or anything like that. It’s actually very simple: a blank notebook page. Especially a blank first notebook page.

Nothing’s better than the promise of an empty notebook! Now, excuse me while I go fill that sucker up with terrible handwriting.


Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

Musings, Musical Chairs, and the Muse

UnknownI’ve mentioned before how my writing process tends to go through phases. Sometimes I write best on the computer, sometimes I write best in a notebook. Unsurprisingly, the same thing happens with my listening preferences. My muse tends to play musical chairs with what music will help me write.

Most of the time, I can get by with listening to my Pandora station. But it’s not ideal for working on Narrator, because the songs are based on my upcoming series, Shadows, Echoes, and Reflections. The stories aren’t exactly similar.

Of course, if I want songs that remind me of Narrator, I’m out of luck. (Unless you know any songs about books within books?) So instead I use songs that remind me of the anime Princess Tutu, which has a lot of similarity to Narrator in plot and themes. Those songs are from Swan Lake and Nutcracker, both by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and both used heavily in Princess Tutu.

When I get sick of that, I listen to music that would have been played on the Titanic. Some of that comes from the Titanic soundtrack (full versions of what the band plays in different scenes), but I also have a CD that my dad picked up just outside Cork. Don’t bother looking for a connection to Narrator, there isn’t one. I just like the Titanic.

And then we come to my latest phase, which is television. Lately I’ve found it extremely difficult to write unless I’ve got a show playing in the background. I stick with something I’ve seen a bunch of times before, which makes me less likely to pay attention. I don’t know why this helps me write. I don’t know if it’s the people talking or the familiarity of the plots or what.

Also, they tend to be murder mysteries of some sort or other: Murdoch Mysteries, Rosemary and Thyme, and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (what I’m using now). I like murder mysteries, but I’ve never wanted to write one. Huh.

So yeah, we’ll see what my next phase turns out to be. As long as I keep writing, no complaints here.


Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.