Bleeding Themes

DSCN2151I was working in my creative journal on the premise to a story, pulling themes through the main  concept like threads in a woven tapestry.  I decided to use watercolor paint to make the threads (themes) stand out.

Duh uh!

I  learned that  watercolors bleed into one another. Quickly. When I first saw it happening on the page I screamed, “Oh Sh*t.”  Then I realized that the paint was telling me something. I know it sounds all woo woo, but it’s true. Themes blend,  are rarely pure, shouldn’t be pure, cannot be pure —the truth is in the mix.”

So that’s my wee  epiphany for the week from the paint in my journal.

In the end, my premise page (see below) is not pretty, but it was highly productive for me as a writer.

By the way, my working premise for this story (which you cannot read underneath my painted mess)  is: “Bad boy Sebastian meets his match in Sadie Stewart, a sexy smuggler trading Nazi looted art. Behind her model face is a complex and desperate woman willing to do anything to protect her secret baby. Can he stop her, before he loses his heart? Set in Holland, Italy and U.S.


Has the paint been talking to any of you lately?

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

About Jo-Ann Carson Where magic happens … Reports of Jo-Ann Carson’s death on a Gulf Island are greatly exaggerated or, at the very least, premature. The eclectic crew of ghosts that haunt her head spill onto the page in two series: The Gambling Ghosts and The Ghost & Abby Mysteries. A Viking with existential issues, a broken hearted Highlander, a Casanova man-witch and a Pirate with a secret are just a few of the males her strong heroines encounter in tales of fantasy, adventure and romance. A firm believer in the magic of our everyday lives, Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, walking beaches near her home in the Pacific Northwest and reading by the fire. You can visit her on social media: Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

6 thoughts on “Bleeding Themes”

  1. Based on your short blurb, you’re going to knock this one out of the park, Jo-Ann! I’ve heard you really should have these to start with and they guide the whole writing. “Bad boy Sebastian meets his match in Sadie Stewart, a sexy smuggler trading Nazi looted art.” One sentance, even a short sentance. Wow! I’m impressed. I try to come up with something at the beginning, but, they are always too long. LOL Wordy ol’ me.
    Love that you’re able to use your picture journals to help guide your writing. I’ve done a montage from clipped out magazine pics once. It was cool, resulted in adding two pups to the story, who’d never been there.
    I sent my second set of content edits back to my content editor this afternoon. From the first set, I’d cut and combined 2 chaps toward the end. She liked what I’d done. 🙂 I was sweating it. And I think it’s still around 85 K. I’d cut so much, I was afraid it would turn out to be more like 70 -75 K. Of course, more edits are coming, a line editor and then the publisher. Who knows what the end result would be. Based on this first experience, it’s going to be a lot better book than I sent to them. Keep you posted. 🙂


    1. Hi Marsha
      Yeah, well, I write short, so I’m actually better at writing premises than stories.
      Maybe we should collaborate eh? You’ve got that Texan warm voice that pulls the reader into your world and I’ve got the no nonsense Canook voice that wants to get to the juicy parts. lol
      Thanks for your kind words.
      I love hearing about your publishing process. It’ll be really exciting to read the final polished up version. Why did you choose this publisher by the way?
      Best always


  2. Last October I sent to 10 different e-pubs/print pubs who I’d noticed published books for on various loops I’m on who I’d not submitted to before. Everytime someone would post they’d sold, I’d note the publisher. If they pubbed stuff similar to what I wrote, I put them on the list. (I’ve been submitting for a while.) Way too early I now believe. But you know RWA encourages you to submit so you can be a PRO. I feel like I burned my bridges with some pubs, I might now like to now submit to. The mss are much improved over where they were when I first sent, but. . . Anyway, I was lucky and out of the 10, 2 made me an offer. I’d accepted MuseItUp before I received the second offer. But I’m really good with that. Their contract is very fair. Won’t necessarily get a print copy, but gee, I don’t read many print copies anymore, so big deal. The book will be out there where fortunately lots of folks can read it.
    I can’t say enough good things about the company. I’ve got a great content editor.Anyone who puts smiley faces by certain lines and calls a scene “a beaute” is a friend forever! The authors are really supportive. I’ll email you the list of everyone I sent to. I really believe it’s sheer numbers. I mean, jeez, Jo-Ann you’ve finaled in some fine contests. So you can definitely write. I’ll pull the list together and send. Have a good evening.


    1. Marsh
      You are a “beaute”. Thank you so much for this.
      Like you I don’t think my first work is as polished as I’d like it to be for a publisher, but I need to dive in sooner or later. I’m going to make good use of your list. You rock, my friend.


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