Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MAY #IWSG: Detours



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Detours:

If you followed me on the AtoZ blogging challenge this past month, you may remember my obsession with trains. I don't think any of us deep down would admit we like taking detours. If you're like me, I pride myself on getting from point A to point B as fast as I can. Sometimes I can be heard yelling at passing trains (and my kids) to hurry up. Sometimes I can be seen carrying five grocery bags, a gallon of milk, a twelve-pack of diet Coke from my car to my house to avoid making more than one trip.

A few years back, I was traveling on scenic highway 79, about a mile past the Mark Twain Cave, when I came across a train derailment. The accident had happened a few days prior (I later heard about it on the news). The twisted wreck of carnage strewn everywhere will always remind me of my love/hate relationship with trains. Of course, I had to get out of my car to explore the damage. The heaps of sleeping metal giants lay on their sides, toppled over. No other cars or people were present. It was as if I walked on to a movie set while everyone was on break.

My son must have gotten bored and sent me this pic.


The cause of the derailment, flood waters. The Mississippi River runs parallel to highway 79 and a set of train tracks. Some moron drove the train through the flooded tracks that had since receded when I came on the scene. I'm sad to report I have no pics of this disaster.

Sometimes we need a detour or a complete derailment to get our attention. One day last fall, I made a major decision to set aside my mystery series. I thought I'd write contemporary fiction forever. After much research and reading, I started writing my first urban fantasy, which consists of incorporating fantasy elements in an urban setting where magic isn't the norm. I'd never been compelled to write in this genre before. I don't know why, because I love sci-fi, paranormal and fantasy in books, movies, and T.V. series.

The day I decided to take a detour was one of the best days of my life. I've challenged myself to not write the usually tropes: demons, dragons, vampires, werewolves, etc. My goal is to bring something unexpected to the UF market.

Don't be afraid to take risks, take another route, try something new! Were you ever forced to take a detour or have you suffered a complete derailment in your writing? Did you get back on your feet, find your way again? Thankful for the detour? 

52 comments:

  1. When inspiration strikes, grab it. Something completely unexpected sounds very interested, looking forward to hearing more!

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    1. I agree! I started it last summer (b4 I switched genres), but I was only in a few thousand words. It took me one solid month to hash this story out. Once inspiration hits, you're right, grab it or it's gone.

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  2. A to Z was a bit of a detour; slight, but definitely came between me and writing. Hope to make up for that today.

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    1. Yes, yes, it was. But I'm looking forward to writing today too!

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  3. That's a good goal, Jennifer.

    For me, I like trying new things. Currently, I'm focusing on writing for different age groups. I find it to be refreshing and stimulating.

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    1. That is quite an accomplishment if you can write out of your target age group. Sadly, I've tried and failed, so I stick with upper MG:)

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  4. Floods can be very disastrous. That's why my F post for A to Z was...duh-duh-duh-duh...Floods! I've taken detours away from books I was writing to write one better. I don't regret it and I plan to finish those other books sometime in the future.

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    1. Usually around this time each year the flood gates get put in place. Then, sadly, the River is off limits for awhile:( Your confidence to put other books aside and write the one that inspires you is monumental!

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  5. Hope no one was killed in that train accident.
    My entire author career has been a detour. One I never expected to take. But I am really glad I did.

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    1. I don't think anyone was killed. It was only a cargo train. What a wonderful detour to take!

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  6. Oh floods can be horrible. Back in '97 in Colorado, a flood took out a train. Nature can be so powerful and scary.

    Your post is inspirational and thought-provoking. Enjoy your detour!

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    1. Yes, it can be! We see the effects of flooding all the time here. Thanks, glad you stopped by!

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  7. Okay, I remember that! That was back in 2008, if I remember correctly. I live a little more than an hour south of you in Dardenne Prairie (O'Fallon). I was going up 79, and the road was closed. I'm not dumb enough to drive through that stuff...even if I was in a train. No way.

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    1. Yep, that was it. The mess was moved off to the side of the road, but it hadn't been cleaned up yet. Didn't realize you lived so close! Thanks for stopping by

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  8. Okay, I remember that! That was back in 2008, if I remember correctly. I live a little more than an hour south of you in Dardenne Prairie (O'Fallon). I was going up 79, and the road was closed. I'm not dumb enough to drive through that stuff...even if I was in a train. No way.

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  9. Sometimes a detour is good indeed. But I am still lazy and carry all the groceries in at once lol

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    1. Me too. Every time. I look like a crazy bag lady.

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  10. That's so scary...not you setting aside your series, but the accident! Though setting aside something that is such a big part of you can be scary.

    Recently, I moved from my own urban fantasy novel which I've been working on for the past two years to a more realistic fiction piece. My intentions weren't to give up completely, but starting this new WIP has shown me how much is wrong with the other one. I think it's fixable, just a lot more development needed. It's interesting how taking a break from your MS can show you what's wrong with it more than working on it could ever do.

    Thank you for this encouragement, very helpful! =)

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    1. Yes, it can be scary, setting aside your work in pursuit of something else. But you can always go back to it with a fresh set of eyes and perspective!

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  11. I'm not sure I'm happy to read about that derailment, since I have recently started taking trains more frequently for writing events, but I do approve of detours that take us interesting places. Like when I laid aside my historical fiction manuscripts to try my hand at fantasy ...

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    1. It wasn't a passenger train car, thank goodness! I'm sure the odds are in your favor as you ride the trains. And you can always combine historical fiction with fantasy!!

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  12. Glad you're jumping into urban fantasy. There's so much you can do with it, and I love the idea of melding the magical world with the mundane world in intricate ways. Good luck with your story.

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    1. "Melding the magical with the mundane" = love this imagery!! I am beyond excited after finishing my first one and am ready to write more! Thanks:)

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  13. Sometimes a detour is necessary! Come to think of it, my current WIP is completely different from anything I've ever written before (I've just been working on it for so long that I forget sometimes!). It's important just to go where the inspiration takes you, even if it's new and scary.

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  14. Please bring something new to urban fantasy. I'm all tuckered out with zombies, but I seem to be alone out here.

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  15. Please bring something new to urban fantasy. I'm all tuckered out with zombies, but I seem to be alone out here.

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  16. I agree a detour is sometimes necessary to get where you want to go! My latest writing project is sort of a detour for me. Thanks for visiting my blog and your kind comments.

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    1. I'm glad the majority has taken detours in their writing!

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  17. Detours are like mini-adventures. They can either be something grand, or something horrible, but you typically come back with some little bit of life different. We just need to take the time to see it, right?

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  18. I don't tend to like detours but that's because I don't have the best direction sense and can get lost.
    I'm not a fan of being lost... while driving or while writing.

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    1. Sometimes I get lost, find my way back and vow never to get lost again. But it happens, especially in Chicago or St. Louis;-)

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  19. I love detours when they happen while hiking. Not so much during 'real life'. But I've been working on being ok with going with the flow..
    Happy IWSG day :)

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    1. You would enjoy the wonderfully diverse hiking trails we have along the Mississippi River here.

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  20. Hi, Jennifer,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today... It's nice to meet you as well... I like the fact that you changed directions and it worked well for you.

    Funny I was just the opposite. I started out writing fantasy and my latest novel is a edgy y/a contemporary.... Change is OFTEN GOOD!

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    1. Many people are resistant to change. I have to be forced to change directions:) I love writing contemporary! Nice to meet you too.

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  21. Something completely new? Wonder what it is.

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  22. Sometime that's the universe's way of telling you to try something new.

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    1. Especially when the road is blocked off and you can't go anywhere else but a different direction:)

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  23. I agree with Liz that sometimes its the Universe's way of telling us to take a detour and try something new and venture into unchartered territory.

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    1. Unfamiliar territory can always yield fun and new adventures!

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  24. We all grow and our tastes change over time. It would be odd to keep writing the same genre forever. Some old sayings are true - variety is the spice of life. Good luck on your UF books! :)

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    1. Writing UF has always been in the back of my mind. It was just time to act on my gut instincts and go for it. Thanks! And thanks for connecting on Twitter:)

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  25. Sometimes you just have to shake it up. It's interesting that those detours often take us on a path that turns out to be better than anything we imagined!

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  26. LOVELY POST
    NICE BLOG DEAR
    i followed your blog, please follow back
    http://melodyjacob1.blogspot.com/ #MELODY JACOBS
    thank you

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  27. Detours jar me, but they are needed. It's a change in activity and viewpoint. They often lead to better things.

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  28. I think I am on a detour right now. Good post! I am driving through on the A to Z Road trip. Nice to meet you!

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  29. Hi Jennifer - I'm glad they go through floods sometimes - I got home, but it was 'interesting' watching the sparks fly up either side of us ... water and electrics I guess don't go together like a horse and carriage!

    Well done - we need to stop and take time out away from the rattling train of life we're on ... good luck with the change of direction, but looks as though it's all going along fine ... cheers Hilary

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  30. Good post. Detours can be hard, but can often lead to greater things. I liked that you're talking about a train derailment, just because there was just a recent train derailment in Philadelphia - my city and in particular, my neighborhood. It was fascinating how one derailment brought the neighborhood/city together. Sometimes we need a detour to come out on top. Good luck with your new journey. ~Meg

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