Sodaro's Stories

June 24, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things — Inspiration

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:25 pm
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So, if you have read my blogs for any time now, you know that I find inspiration just about anywhere and by talking to anyone. I found a single rose in a parking lot and had about 50 potential ideas on how it got there (including it walking there and falling down in exhaustion).

There are people I have met that are a one-hit wonder…they inspire one idea…one scene…one bit of conversation…one secondary character.

There are some people who inspire many ideas and many stories. Who become a primary character… a recurring theme…a constant source of inspiration.

I am always amazed when I meet new people and they instantly become old friends…as if we have known each other in previous lifetimes…as if our souls can finally relax and say, “oh thank goodness…I found you again.” These are the people who teach me about friendship and love and all of the best parts of life. They give me hope and help me to write.

I am so grateful for the people in my life who are fodder for the bad things that can happen…after all what is a story without conflict? What is a protagonist without an antagonist?

I’m also grateful for the people who remind me of what I want to believe in and all the reasons to write a happy ever after.

I am grateful for the people who inspire me…



June 21, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things — Helpers

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:25 pm
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I have some idea-bouncer-offers that are absolutely fabulous for the help they give me in my times of need.

If I am in a good writing zone and don’t want to get distracted by the Bermuda Triangle that is Google, I will ask one of my idea-bouncer-offers and if none are available, I will mark it with a big circle on the draft to come back and fill in later. I have 4 that I ask random things of fairly regularly. They are fantastic and help me out when I don’t know the names for things (one day, “foyer” was nowhere in my mind for “what do they call that place right inside the front door of a place?”)

I also have subject-matter-experts who I ask about things I do not have any prior knowledge of…and yes, my job calls them “SME’s” but that sounds too much like Smeagol to me which makes me think they are somewhere holding up random preciouses…so I will just write out subject-matter-experts. They let me know about what a certain Harley is called or what is a really top-end stilleto shoe brand. What are some bits of hockey lingo.

SO my idea-bouncer-offers are amazing. I can’t even imagine writing my books without them.


June 10, 2016

30 Days of blogs: Author things –Solitude

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:12 pm
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I enjoy time to myself more than most people I know. There are some people who cannot be alone…cannot have time where it is just them by themselves without other people around. These people fascinate me (as all people do)

An author life demands solitude. You can (and need to) talk to and interact with other people about writing, about life, about adorable kittens and pups, about the price of tea in China (if such things are in your wheelhouse of conversation). You can discuss plans and give plot teasers and talk about your characters as if they are really sitting next to you (this gets varied responses, by the way…) But at the end of the day, (or beginning of the day as is my preference) it is the author and his/her medium of choice. For me, it is a notebook and a pen and my music…drowning out the world and its multitude of chaos and noise. It is me, putting pen to paper and allowing the magic to happen, which has to exist outside of the real world, because the real world is full of colorful, shiny distractions…and those don’t get the novel written.

The promoting and the networking and the selling of the book…that requires you to be around people and talking and smiling. That will use the same skill set I use for teaching. My extroverted, make a new friend if I am in an elevator for more than one floor, spread my positive sunshine, talk to strangers, be around people side of my life…

but the actual writing part…that is all me…all day long. And one of my favorite things, especially after showing everyone the side of me that is extroverted…is to have a little alone time with my words to make pretty novels and short stories and poems and essays.


June 8, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things – my brain

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:06 pm
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I love the way my brain works. Take for example, the ride into work today…

I saw a family of geese. There were grown up geese and baby geese and what I can only assume by their scruffy appearance, teenage geese. I immediately imagined the baby geese telling everyone to slow down and wait for them. “I have tiny legs.” The teenage geese wondering why they couldn’t go to the park when all their geese friends were going to the park. And the adult geese looking for some magical puddle of alcohol. This all happily played out in my head while I stopped at a stop sign.

People who say “I want to be a writer, but I don’t know what to write about” really make me  confused. Like I could say “I want to be a ballerina, but I fall down when I am walking in tennis shoes.” I have ideas about my ideas…and then I have some ideas about those. In four lifetimes I could never write about all of my ideas…because I get a new idea at a stop sign with some geese…or an abandoned rose in a parking lot. Or an overheard conversation “I’ve ridden around in the trunks of cars. I don’t like it.” (Perkins 26 Dec 2014).

It’s an odd and fascinating place inside my head…and it is absolutely one of my favorite things. There is so much to play with and so many ideas that will grow into a poem or a novel or an essay or a short story…and the ideas just bounce off each other and sometimes multiply…and it is absolutely amazing.

A downfall of this is that I often can’t find my keys…which then of course leads to a story about tiny imps who steal things and the amazing treasure troves they have collected over the years…and a young girl happens upon their lair…


December 26, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 12:48 pm
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I read an interview with an author who said she didn’t have time to read. I haven’t read another book by her since then. Stephen King says he tries to read at least 80 books a year, and my respect for my idol grew.
I make a goal to read 40 books a year. I am currently at 24, so it is unlikely I will get 16 books read between now and midnight, 31 December. This year has been an odd one to be sure, but I will keep my goal at 40 for 2016 because I know it is achievable even with my full-time teaching job and emerging author life. It averages out to 3.33333 books a month, and my life is much calmer now and much more full of time for me to take care of myself and my goals.
The best way I know how to be a stronger writer is to read and write every day.
Reading helps you see how words play together…how dialogue sounds…how characters and setting are developed. It shows what plot paths work. (It also does the opposite — shows you the awkwardness words can have…dialogue that sounds forced…characters that don’t seem comfortable in their own skin…plot paths that have too many holes or short cuts
Stephen King also earned bonus points when he said it was okay to not finish every book you start reading. I used to feel too guilty (and my OCD of liking to finish what I start would pipe in) and I would plod through every book I started. Now, I know there are too many books I want to read (and write) for me to waste my time with something that just doesn’t work for me.
So the writer part of me needs to read…but even more importantly, I need to read to escape, to grow, to heal, to…just for a little while…forget reality and just be entertained.

November 13, 2015

30 Days of Author Gratitude: Non-fiction ideas

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:48 pm
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So this year has been amazing for me expanding the world of my author life and I have been embracing some nonfiction ideas to work on, in addition to my novels, short stories, and poems…I have wanted to incorporate my experiences in education and writing and life in general. As with everything else, when I start thinking about a new thing, all of a sudden the flood gates open and suddenly I see ideas everywhere, which let me tell you, is a lot less creepy and more exciting than seeing dead people.

Education — I really feel I have learned a thing or two about teaching and adult learners with my Bachelor’s, Master’s, and (almost) my PhD in education, not to mention the almost two decades “in the field.” And some things have changed and then there are things that remain the same regardless of any changes that occur in education. So I am grateful for the 10-15 pieces that are in my current “to be worked on” pile and for any ideas which grow from what currently exists.

Writing — I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t writing. Through my trial and error (which so much of writing is–finding what works and doesn’t work for you) I have developed a system that maybe will help other writers or maybe just be a point of reference. So I am grateful for the 10-15 nonfiction projects in this category as well.

Life in general — I have learned a thing or two about life in the 40 years I have been around and maybe my life lessons could help someone else — or maybe they only help me and put my Master’s Thesis into practice and that’s okay too. So thank you for the 10-15 ideas here too.

It’s good to know that between my fiction and nonfiction ideas, I will stay pretty busy for a while. So grateful.

November 12, 2015

30 Days of Author Gratitude: Story/poem ideas

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:25 pm
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Sometimes I wonder about non-writer-people and how they go about their day. For example this picture…flowerI saw this single flower in a parking spot and in my mind, a rush of ideas fought for my attention. Was it dropped by accident? Was it thrown down in anger? Did the suitor arrive late and their love was driving off, so the flower fell as arms dropped in devastation? Did they flower miss its flower friends? What was it thinking as it fell? Did it run away? All of this and more popped into my mind as I saw this flower. What do non-writer types see as they walk by this scene? Do they even see the flower? Do they wonder about it at all? Do they give it a second thought?

People tell me all the time, “I really want to be a writer, I just don’t what to write about.” um, then sweetie, how do I put this delicately…you’re not a writer. :/

Writers have ideas, usually too many to ever get to all of them in one life time because every day just presents more ideas. I get ideas from overheard (okay, intentionally overheard) conversations in restaurants, like the one time I heard a girl say, “riding around in a trunk all day is no fun. Trust me on that.” Oh, I trust you on that, strange girl, and bet your ass that is going into a story somewhere. Ideas come from standing in line at the grocery store (why would they be buying those three things together)…from a glance shared by two people, strangers or no…from my dreams…from things I read…from a phrase in a song or movie…from silence…from something as simple as a fallen flower in a parking lot to something as complex as finding a cure for cancer…and for this constant on-rush of ideas I am eternally and consistently grateful.

For every idea, there is the line of questions…Is this a novel? A short story? A poem? An essay? Will it sit for a bit and percolate? Will it be something I need to work on now? Is it a new idea or will it fit into something that already exists?

I’m so grateful for the plethora (one of my top ten favorite words) of ideas that are in my awareness every day.
Keep ’em coming so I never, ever run low.

April 11, 2015

Ideas –How to find ’em and make ’em grow (A-Z) blog

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:32 am
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Orson Scott Card said, “Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”
People tell me all the time how they want to write, but they don’t know what to write about (Having taught every kind of writing for almost 19 ears, I can’t even tell you how many people are SURE they have nothing to write about). If I lived to be 1000 years old, I could never write about every idea I have and that is only considering the ideas I have in my head right now.

I see ideas everywhere. I overhear a snippet of conversation and put it in ColorNotes, knowing it will go in a story or poem somewhere.

The grocery store checkout line? A cornucopia of ideas. (What would cause a person to buy those three items together — a lipstick, a quart of oil, and fabric softener). What is the person behind me thinking about? The person in front of me just smiled at her phone — what caused that smile? What is the story of the person working the cash register? Heck, even on a slow day, there are magazines and tabloids to inspire ideas.

I see ideas everywhere. How do I do this? I observe. I like to mentally remove myself and just observe the people around me (if you have ever been out to eat with me when I get a story idea, you’ve probably seen the vacant expression on my face…and my apologies.)

I walked out of Perkins one day and saw a single pink rose in the parking lot. Was it dropped accidentally? Thrown down in anger? Who bought it? For whom was it bought? Was the flower sad to be on the ground? Did it miss its flower friends? Did it hurt when the flower hit the ground? All this from a single rose.

Each of us has experiences and feelings and thoughts which would fill journals of possible ideas we could write about. The problem is not having anything to write about…the problem for each of us should be having too many ideas and trying to sort out which idea really grabs us and claims it for its own.

(Oh and the people who have always wanted to write a book…when you find an idea, or it finds you…and you can’t shake it or forget about it….you’ll know…but be careful…once you start writing, you might not be able to quit.

January 12, 2015

So much to do…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:07 pm
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“Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do and only
So many hours in a day”

“Vienna” by Billy Joel

I love having multiple projects. I love that it keeps my mind alert and sharp. I can be thinking about one project and have ideas for another project that pop into my mind and keep me busy. I constantly have ideas bouncing around in my head like a bunch of ping pong balls, which is a delightful image. Or, if you prefer, think of a Bingo ball picker…all those ideas going round and round and round…which one is going to fall into the slot??? I rub my hands together in excitement as I wait to see which one it is.

The problem with this is that my mind is very seldom quiet, which makes for a very interesting conclusion to any attempts at sleep or meditation or peaceful calm, but I am so used to the chaos in my mind it worries me when it is too quiet in my mind.

Having so much to do is a blessing, of course. It means my projects are making progress and I am getting closer and closer to my goals. Constant motion forward is the solution to my dreams. My author life becomes more and more real with every chapter I finish, every page I write, and every novel I publish.

But Billy Joel is right…I need to take some time so I don’t burn out. Thanks, Billy…you have never led me wrong.

October 23, 2014

Ideas: Time

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 10:27 pm
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Okay, I think I have set up the concept of ideas and time as a ratio…if I am mistaken, please correct me. I have no problem admitting it’s been a while since I had to put anything in terms of a ratio…but my idea is this…I have an overabundance of ideas to write about and an underabundance of time (that’s not a word…but I write poetry, so…poetic licence).

I know some of you are saying, “oh you poor poor author, waah, you have too many ideas,” and your mocking would be justified, without a doubt. I don’t say this for pity though (I’m not that far gone for reality) but I actually say it just stating a fact (there is a line from the Friends’ TV show running through my head when Ross can’t decide between Amy and Rachel and Chandler makes fun of his stressful life).

I love that at any given time there are a bounty of ideas bouncing around my head like a bunch of ping-pong balls let loose in a ping-pong ball factory. I love this. I love that I am constantly thinking of what to add to this story or wouldn’t this be a good idea for this article and so on. I am not in the least bit complaining…the part of the ratio (I am just going to continue using or misusing that word) that is pesky is time.

I know that we all get the same 24 hours in a day…we all get the same amount no matter how busy or not busy we choose to make our lives. People don’t understand how I can have so many projects going on at one time; I don’t understand how people allow themselves to be bored, so it’s even.

I don’t mind having too many ideas; I do mind having too little time, so to remedy that unequal proportion to my ratio (did I use either of those remotely close to their intended use???) I am going to start making better use of my time, writing more, finishing more, and coming up with more game plans for such 😀  I tell my students all the time…if you want something badly enough, you find ways to get it done. So I need to do as I tell others 😀

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