February's Inspirational Quote

"One Hour at a Time"
~ Laurie Wallmark.

Dear Laurie,
You might not recall saying this and perhaps I won't remember the specifics but you are our inspiration for the rest of February and maybe even March.

You and I were on the phone and talking about how hard it is to write a novel and as usual I was whining and feeling sorry for my long-a$$ journey. And you told me about how you were working and how busy you were so you wrote your novel one hour at a time. Astounded I said, "You wrote your novel one hour at a time?" And you said, "Yup." And I thought, "Wow... ... ..."

Often times we think we need - or I think I need - huge chunks of time set aside so I can write. Do you do that too? What if we gave ourselves one hour of each day? If it turns into two, well then fine, but if not, at least you still had your One Hour at a Time. So that is the motto of the month, thanks to ours truly, Laurie Wallmark.

We love you, Laurie!

Monday, June 16, 2008


So what is this lovable creature??? Yes the long awaited reveal is finally here... I promised you this would be a quick exercise on perspective and indeed it is. You all had some thoughtful ideas, butterflies, stick bugs, etc.

This is not a chrysalis or a cocoon, believe it or not. And the creature inside is not so lovable either. At least not to a tree. It can decimate a tree in a single season.

So what is it??? The suspense is killing you isn't it... It is a....

So what's a bagworm? Well, they are quite destructive, cunning, little creatures really. Their homes look like the tree they are living on, or feeding from really. The femails are wingless insects who rarely leave the shelter of their strange homes.

They are rarely ever seen out of their homes and rarely have ever been seen in full form. The females never leave their homes and carry them with them as they feed on the tree. I guess their foot, or whatever, is attached inside the bag and only the front half emerges to feed.

The best time to find these little buggers is when winter is turning into spring. Then as you see them, promptly remove the whole thing and place in plastic bag and discard.
My daughters and I discovered this one on one of our beloved crab cherry trees and waited patiently for it to reveal itself. We had others on pine trees that were made out of pine needles instead of bark.

When a tree expert came out to help me with a sickly tree he saw the bagworm and said, do you know what this is? I was so excited to finally find out, sure it would be some beautiful butterfly or Luna moth or some exquisite creature like that. When I found out it was a very destructive insect, I was thoroughly grossed out and my perspective was never quite the same again.

And so there in lies the lesson on perspective. At first we might look at something with understanding, sympathy, respect, reverence. And then we can shift our perspective and look at the very same thing with sickness, disgust, maybe even hatred.

Do you use this tool in your writing? Have you ever thought about your story from each character's perspective and how that might really change the scene, or your story in general? Are you stuck creating a distinct voice for each character? Try this exercise.

Pick a scene you are struggling with and re-write it from each character's perspective. If you truly are creating individual characters, each perspective should vary. Give it a try and see.


Patricia Koelmel said...

I never would have thought bagworm ... Double YUCK and EEEWWW! I have never heard of them before ... but now that I do know, I will be on the lookout from now on.

Sheri said...

They are pretty adaptable too. Like I said, on my pine trees, the homes are made from pine. I saw some pictures where teh homes were made from sticks. I've seen them on windowsills (Jeanne said she had one there too) and under eaves.

So two things to learn from the bagworm - adaptability and perspective - two things any writer needs to learn...

LEEZY said...

What a great title for a book: BAGWORM.

I could imagine crating a PB round this title. Mmmm... I think I might try that as my exercise, rather than rewrite a scene. That might be harder to do for a PB in my case, but this is cool.

I can already visualize a character.... something really creepy but oh-so-cool about this clever little bugger!