Kait Carson writes two series set in the steamy tropical heat of Florida and is crafting a new series set deep in the Maine woods. Like her protagonists, Kait is an accomplished SCUBA diver, hiker, and critter lover. She lives with her husband, four rescue cats and a flock of conures in the Crown of Maine. Learn more about Kait at her website.
How Writing is Like Pottery
When Lois asked me to appear on her blog, I jumped at the chance. Lois won’t remember, but way back in the dark days of 2010 I attended her online Submission Process class. I’ve been a fan ever since, and it was with her help that I landed my first publishing contract. So, allow me to offer you a very public thank you!
Crafting is a big part of my life. In high school and college, I seldom went anywhere without a sketchbook. On the first of every month, I filled a length of butcher paper with a collage that I hung in my dorm room. I moved from there to photography, sculpting, pottery, scrapbooking, and writing. What! Writing? Yes. Writing is a craft. In fact, it’s very similar to pottery, or crochet.
Okay, Kait. You’re getting a bit fanciful here. Pottery and crochet are not even distantly related. In fact, clay and yarn do not mix, then when you add in paper – what are you making? A sticky fiber decoupage? Hey, that’s not a bad idea. I may have to try that. Maybe later. For right now, stick with me.
When I sit down to throw a pot, I start with a lump of clay on my wheel. It’s nothing special, just a grey blob. But then I flip the switch, press on the foot peddle, and that clay is whirling between my hands. It’s still a lump at this point, but magic is happening. When the clay centers you feel it. From the center, you build your form. As you shape and pull, that lump of clay becomes a vase, a cup, a bowl. Something wonderful grows and takes shape between your hands. All that remains is the finishing. Cut in your designs, glaze, and fire the piece, and there you have it. A perfect bowl.
Writing is similar. I begin with a blank page and an idea – not as slimy as wet clay, but it’s worse in some ways. Gradually the page with words spins from my fingers to the keyboard where I shape and pull them into a form. Floppy verbs are strengthened, adverbs are discarded, concepts tightened, action increased. Like pottery, you know when it’s done. The story has a “feel.” Then it’s time to glaze and fire the tale. For me that comes with the voice of Word. Sounds…mystical. In truth, I let my computer read the story to me and edit until I not only like how it sounds, but want more of the story.
All well and good, but how does crochet figure into this? Writing fully occupies the mind, and there are times when the story simply stalls. Crochet is physical and repetitive. The repetition frees the mind to untangle the knot of the plot. Somewhere between single crochet and cluster stitch, the story becomes clear and the block dissolved.
2023 has been an uber productive year. Death by Blue Water re-released on January 24th. The book blurb follows. Hook Line and Sinker, the seventh Guppy anthology, released on January 27th and contains my story “Gutted, Filleted, and Fried.” My Writers Who Kill blog mates and I have a February gift for our readers in the form of Broken Hearted Killers. It’s a series novella that runs from February 1st through the 18th. My chapter is up on February 10th. Finally, my story, “Blood is Thicker than Water,” debuts in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Lessons I Learned from my Cat on February 14th. Whew – that’s a full two months and a lot of wet clay.
Death by Blue Water
A Hayden Kent Mystery
Warm tropical waters. A deep dive, a body.
Hayden Kent takes to the world beneath the sea to come to terms with her broken heart. Instead of peace, she discovers the body of her ex’s brother clad in a swimsuit and anchor chain. How did Richard end up in the wheelhouse of the Humboldt, and why do the cops claim she was the last person to see him alive? He never showed at Faulkner Marina, or did he? A vicious migraine robbed Hayden of her memory of that night. The clues she follows to save herself uncover criminal activity at the highest level. Can she find the killer before he drowns out her life?
I love this, and I total agree. Crafting, whether it be sitting at a potter’s wheel or quietly counting stitches while creating a colorful throw all take their lead from that unstructured side of the mind that never fails to surprise us.
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