Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sneaky Writers- Everyday Moments as Inspiration by Sandy Lender

Please welcome special Guest, fantasy author Sandy Lender!

Some of you may have heard me say this before. Writers are sneaky people. Terry Brooks says of writers in his book SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS: “Much of what happens around us goes into a storage bin in our minds for future consideration and possible use in a book down the line. What we observe is as important to us in determining what we write as what we know.”

When you’re around a writer, you need to watch your p’s and q’s (that’s pints and quarts to the English majors among us). Writers use everyday stuff that you might not think is intriguing and turn it into a plot device or bit of dialogue. If it happens in front of us, it’s fair game. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the presence of a non-fiction memoir-writer or a sci-fi/fantasy geek like me who makes up worlds that you could never envision a simple grocery store conversation ending up in. Oh, yes. Imagine my poor mom’s surprise to learn that a certain embarrassing moment from the early ’80s ended up in print.

I put this story on my brand spankin’ new Web site at, but I’ll share it here again because it’s so bizarre…and…well…Mom doesn’t read these things so I figure it’s safe. He he.

I was probably 12 or 13. Innocent. Na├»ve. We were in the check-out lane at the grocery store and I stared mindlessly at the tabloids. The headline on one about discussing a sensitive topic with your teens struck me as odd, so I turned to Mom at the other end of the buggy and asked, loudly, “Mom, what’s virginity?” Of course I mispronounced it. Long “I” on the “jine.” Virjinety.

Some people around us snickered, hiding their faces from my blushing mother. She leaned forward and said, lowly, “I’ll tell you in the car.”


Years later, that recalled scene struck me as funny, and I knew the young, precocious version of Amanda Chariss, the heroine in the CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS trilogy, had to pull some such stunt on her wizard guardian Hrazon. (I figured Hrazon would forgive me for it.) But the scene would have to be a flashback because my lovely Chariss is 20 years old when we meet her in CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS. She knows what virginity is.

So I wrote a scene from Chariss and Hrazon’s early travels laced with a little danger due to Chariss’s age and the condition of Onweald’s social system, but it just didn’t fit in the novel. There wasn’t a place to put it. Yet it was so charming that I wasn’t content to delete and forget it. I wanted to share it with the readers who had fallen in love with Chariss. I pulled it into a short story called “Joveran Border Crossing” for my short story chapbook WHAT CHOICES WE MADE.

That’s how an embarrassing moment for my mom ended up in print in a fantasy story more than two decades later. Seems so easy, doesn’t it? These situations happen daily for writers. We see something that may seem ordinary or mundane to everybody else, but it’s story fodder for us. When you see one of us whip out a notepad and start scribbling like mad, you know something’s going in the storage bin for a future book.

Thank you for checking in on the tour today, and please don’t tell my mom this is on the ’net again. He he.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”

Choices Meant for Gods - Blurb

Not even the gods noticed when Chariss was born with the mark of The Protector. Now she and her wizard guardian seek shelter from a mad sorcerer in a household not just full of secrets and false hope, but watched by the god who will unwittingly reveal her role in an impending war.

When an orphan sets aside a lifetime of running and fear to accept the responsibilities of guarding an arrogant deity, can she face the trials in the prophecies she uncovers? Will Nigel Taiman of her latest refuge dare to use his dragon heritage to bind her to his estate or to help her in her duty?

Thank you Sandy for stopping by! Please check out Sandy's other blog tour stops here. Sandy will be giving away an autographed hard cover, first edition of Choices Meant for Gods each week of her tour to one commenter! Good luck!


chekru said...

that's a funny story.

I need to start keeping a pad of paper on me at all times. Then just maybe I can actually write more lol.

Sandy Lender said...

Good morning, Christine! Thanks for posting my little story as part of the tour today.

And good morning Chekru! I keep pads of paper the bed, by the tub, on the coffee table, in the car, in the kitchen, in my just never know when you're going to need to write something down.

Sandy Lender
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

Christine Clemetson said...

Good morning!

Sandy, I loved your post. Congrats on your tour! I love your quote.."Some days I just want the dragon to win."

Thanks Chekru for stopping by.


Mags said...

Sandy -
I love that story (again!) So cute! Glad the tour is going well. I'm looking forward to getting my copy of Book II. And I need to take that advice as well. I have pads on my desk, but not in all the convenient places - tho someone needs to come up with a waterproof one for the shower.

Sandy Lender said...

Something like the Dry-Erase board that's impervious to condensation. He he he.
Thanks for stopping by!
Sandy Lender
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

Mysti Holiday said...

Sometimes even just one-liners are so amazing... your story definitely had "zing"! LOL...

Nancy G said...

I loved your story of how you used your own past to get ideas. I am looking forward to getting your book and I have really been enjoying the tour. And I keep paper everywhere too, but mine is for designs. I get ideas in the craziest places, and need to sketch them or I forget them ('cause I'm old, you see).

Sandy Lender said...

Thanks, Mysti,
Good to see you!
Sandy Lender
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

Sandy Lender said...

Is your profile picture one of your creations? It's very cool. I couldn't get it "larger" to view it any better. Rar.
And why didn't I know you're a fellow Duran Duran fan!?
Sandy Lender
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

Christine Clemetson said...

Sandy, I did use a dry erase board for a while. LOL! They had a huge one at work that they weren't using anymore. But at home, it got too cumbersome, so I took a digital picture of my plot line and uploaded it to the PC. A little fuzzy, but it worked. :)

Sandy Lender said...

I applaud your resourcefulness...good idea...
One of my author friends uses a spreadsheet like Excel so she can move the different "events" around for the storyline. I've got this big desk calendar from Office Depot with events on each day. It is heavy with white-out. Post-it notes stick off of it every-which-way...
Folks who don't write probably don't realize just what a commitment it is to keep all this stuff straight. :)
Sandy Lender
"Some days, I just want the dragon to organize my den."

M.Flagg said...

Very cute story, Sandy. And I love the line about the dragons. Boy. That's a truism if I've ever heard one. Best of luck with your book.

Sandy Lender said...

Thanks, Mickey,
I'm glad you could stop in today!
Sandy Lender
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

Christine Clemetson said...

Thanks Sandy for having me as one your tour stops. It was a fun day & your book sounds great!

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Hope you enjoy the rest of your tour!

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