Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Journey's End


Is. 40: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
***
 Well I did it. I took the six-week free writing course. Yes it was the one I had sworn never to step foot in again but there was a reason I went back. I had to prove to myself that I was as stable as I was last year when all the attacks took place and put me on the outside, looking in.

The assignments were the same: Characterization via your character, conflict, dialogue, senses, POV, and the finale of a short story. Whew, what a seven weeks it was. The first week was getting to know people and the new site, and that was interesting to say the least.

I was locked out of all the classrooms, except one, so the fun and excitement of the course was wiped right off the slate from the get go. I met some new folk and caught up with some old who actually accepted my friend request after last years fiasco. I was feeling welcome until I realized everyone else had the privilege of running the halls and basking in the classrooms, getting to comment on others work while I was like a prisoner, a castoff set aside in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not, to be visited and gawked at.

This was a test of my stability of mind. I could have flown off the handle, damned them all to the pits of hell, but lo-and-behold, I kept my head. I kept my head and acted like a grown woman, and respectfully continued with the lessons. My classroom was active at first with 22 students eager to learn and I could not help but wear the mentoring cap that I had donned for seven or so years prior. I was in the student’s chair and had to remember that. Even as the mentor only appeared once a week, to give tips and answer questions, the intern had his/her own college studies to attend to; the classroom dwindled, while others were as active as week one.

As one week turned into five, I found myself published in the not so famous ezine, which is really a pick of the best lessons put on display. This is where I saw others work yet I yearned to see the other classrooms, my old friends, to be a part of a community, but there I sat, idle in my classroom, twiddling my thumbs, that had three people left (so many to choose from for the ezine, eh?)  By my fifth week I was feeling hurt that no one but newcomers (and one old friend) came and read my lesson, expecting me to do the same to them, but I bit my lip and told maybe two people, I was a caged bird.

I felt on the inside that all the mentors were well aware of my status, seeing that many did not want to return because of all the DRAMA that *I* supposedly caused? One mentor, a MAIN asset, bailed on this session and has told me he may never return, or at least not for a while. Even he was sickened by the treatment I’d received.

The funny part of all this is, I was not the dramatic one last session. If my memory serves me correct, I was attacked, they spit horrible words at me and all wrote the administrator to tell him I had lost it. So he believing them, set me free from the course, but allowed me to return this session as a student, but in a locked cage, protecting himself, the mentors and myself, from BIG BAD ME! Funny isn’t it?
 
Lesson six, the short story I had in my mind from the get go, Rapunzel, was woven and spun. While my lessons were about another short story I’m writing, Rapunzel was being saved for lesson six. I’d like to post it tomorrow, grammatical errors and all. I just wanted my readers to know, this bird may be caged, but on an eagles wings, I soar!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Poetry Sunday ~ I Am



Ps. 51: 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
***
I Am…

I am but a flower dancing in the sun
protected by light since my life begun.
I am but a flower blowing in the warm breeze
safely sheltered by the low hanging trees.

I am but a flower with a purpose in life
I grow and learn through trials and strife.
I am but a flower planted firmly in soil
too much water and my roots will spoil.

I am but a flower please understand;
my duty in life is to beautify land.
I can not be plucked and placed where one needs
I have to grow to nurture my seeds.

I’m am but a flower reaching up to the sky
some days I wilt and never know why.
I need some nourishment to replenish my soul
to make this flower feel beautifully whole.

I am but a flower rained on from above
given to life by my mother’s true love.
Although as I grow I have high ambition,
Remember this rose has a sweet smelling mission.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Quotation Saturday


WRITING

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”
~ Anaïs Nin

“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

“The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
~ Ray Bradbury


INSPIRATION

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”
~ Walt Disney Company

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”
~ Neil Gaiman

“It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.”
~ Lou Holtz

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
~ Vincent van Gogh

DREAMS

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
~ Oscar Wilde

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.”
~ Douglas Adams


READING

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
~ Groucho Marx

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
~ Dr. Seuss

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”
~ Oscar Wilde

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
~ Charles William Eliot

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Poetry Sunday ~ Soul's Descent

The Souls Descent
***
Plummeting downward I watched it fall;
the deep abyss the shadowed wall.
Gripped by pain and tidal emotion;
wrought with fear an inner devotion.

In this fissure of my being,
analyzing all I'm seeing.
The foulness of vengeance lurks throughout,
seeds of hatred sprinkled about.

Where once there lay a fluent stream,
drought and hunger fuse a team.
Lust it lingers in this pit,
I try to flee...but here I sit.

Liquid anger claws at me,
my very essence squints to see.
Howls and screams ~~ a wailing sound.
crimson walls melting 'round.

Fires racing torments edge;
keeping me from realities ledge.
I struggle within this master's plane,
as wilted red walls fall down like rain.

My soul has found a resting place,
torrents of tears stream down my face.
Trickling along like glistening sand,
I hold my pain in the palm of my hand.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Quotation Saturday


RELIGION


“God has no religion.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“Science and religion are not at odds. Science is simply too young to understand.”
― Dan Brown

“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.”
― Abraham Lincoln

PHILOSOPHY

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

“Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Teh Ching

“It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 "I never swim upstream with the fish. I swim downstream to see what everyone is running from."
-- Joni Zipp


POLITICS


“Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”
― Ronald Reagan

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”
― Ayn Rand

“Seven Deadly Sins”
Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Friday, October 19, 2012

Grip 'em! Grip 'em Good!



I like to think of what happens to characters in good novels and stories as knots --- things keep knotting up. And by the end of the story --- readers see an unknotting of sorts. Not what they expect, not the easy answers you get on T.V., not wash and wear philosophies but a reproduction of believable emotional experiences. ~ Terry McMillan
***
This week we’re learning the technique of utilizing conflict in a story. I think the above writer, Terry McMillan, has said it much better. It’s like tying your words in knots and placing the knots in the hands of your readers and letting them slowly do the unraveling of sorts until they walk away with an emotional experience for having read your words.

Conflict in a story? Sure you can call it that, but I like the knot theory much better. Conflict sounds so aggressive and can be. Do we want to write an aggressive scene or a scene that has your stomach in knots as you turn page after page? I’m leaning towards the knots, myself.

For conflict to be effectual, you need the inverted check mark is what I’ve been taught. You need to slowly build up the scene, place a few knots in the rope, or tension, as the scene grows and mounts the highest mountain.

Instead of having your character jump off the other side of the mountain, you need to bring your reader down slowly as if releasing the pressure out of a tire. It doesn’t deflate immediately; it slowly comes to a flat. But wait a second now, you don’t want your ending to be flat, you want vibrant life to be in the ending, so don’t deflate your tire completely. Give your reader an emotional release.

This is why I like the knot theory more than I appreciate the conflict. Sure you can give the reader an enormous amount of conflict but giving them knots is like handing them a fully inflated tire, and releasing the pressure slowly so that your reader is gripping their stomach in anticipation, the knot has been built and you’re slowly releasing them. By not allowing the tire to go completely flat you’re saving room for the completion of the heartache in the tale, the happily ever after, so to speak.

All in all your reader is what counts. If you can tug at THEIR heartstrings, bind them up in knots, and give them a welcomed conclusion by untying the knots, I think you’ve achieved your goal in your story.

Chapter by chapter should have elevated the heart rate so that they continue reading each and every word, dangling by a thread; they are waiting for you, the writer, to make them feel as though their visit to your world of words was worth every thread.

Giving them conflict, you might be giving them aggression. Giving them knots, you’re filling your work with the drama that carries the story. Remember that as you’re building your characters and story. Drama is GOOD; it is a writer’s best friend!


Book Bites:

Elements of Fiction Writing - Conflict and Suspense by James Scott Bell

Elements of Fiction Writing - Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble

Monday, October 15, 2012

Building a Novel ~ One block at a time


So you want to write a novel, eh?

I’d like to throw out some tips to you to get you started:

1)     Characters - You absolutely have to have characters planned out for your novel. Either in your head waiting to be birthed, or ones you’ve written for but never really gave them a home.

2)     Define these characters - give them hair color, skin color, clothes that suit them and facial features that define them. Give them personality and a voice that can carry a novel.

3)     Environment - Okay, so now you have characters, now you’re going to need a setting in which they’ll live or a world to wander through (You never know, you might be writing a sci-fi novel and you really need to discover the worlds in which they live)

4)     Premise - This is where you’ll define what your novel will be about. The beginning, middle and how you see it ending. You don’t have to adhere to the premise entirely but this will get you started in the direction you wish to go.

5)     Outline – You can, if you want, outline each chapter; again as you wish to see the story develops. You needn’t stick to this outline like crazy glue to your fingers, you just need a basic outline of all you see happening with each chapter.

6)     Timeline – As you work on the outline, this might be where you put forth a timeline. Have you missed years’ perhaps dates? Are they consistent/inconsistent with the rest of what you wrote?

7)     Editing – Not by paragraph, not by chapter, not even by the time you reach the middle. Save all edits for after you’ve written THE END can you go back and edit.

8)     Seek feedback – This is where a writing group comes in handy if you have one. I myself don’t have one these days, so my editing is done in my spare time. I read and fix things I think I miss, I read it out loud to myself because this is how the reader is going to hear it in their minds when they read it. Fixing things means my consistency and imagery and such.

9)     Edit some more- I go through each chapter doing the above. Making sure I have my handy dandy timeline ready for viewing, then I check for any grammar mistakes I may have made and tweak them to my liking.

10)  Edit some more - After the two edits to your liking, you’re going to want to give it another trip down the reading lane.

There you have it. Your novel should be a complete novel instead of a work in progress.  I know many writers do many more edits before being satisfied with a completed work, so be sure you’ve done enough to satisfy you. Then get searching for publishers! 

Book Bites: 



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Poetry Sunday ~ The Blind Shall See


Pss. 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

The Blind Shall See
***
Walking in darkness for three years passed
Gave rise to tension that had amassed.
Day after day guided by hands
Taking it slow as each morn commands.

Week after week our waiting was pained
The miracle would come; our bodies drained.
Visit upon visit to doctors we went
Until one was perfectly heavenly sent.

The cornea was ready; the day had arrived
Our hope renewed and now revived.
I anxiously waited for eight long hours
For things to be perfect like rainbow showers!

We patiently waited with the bandage intact;
For the glorious reveal of the eyesight impact.
It felt like a miracle as the Virgin Birth
He looked at life from newfound worth.

The family was eager and who wouldn’t be?
A blind man was given the blessing to see.
An infection crept in we bowed to pray
Our family, our Church made all fear allay.

Amazing thing, this circle of prayer
You could feel it ignite our very air.
It lifted us up and carried us through
Much of the things we were too weak to do.

The healing came in a manner of Grace
And left us standing with smiles on our face.
The year passed by in a state of wonder,
He got to see lightning dance softly with thunder.

A summer of gardening, a license renewal,
He held a new soul like a mystic jewel.
A job soon followed; now full of life
Our journey begins with new fangled strife.

Keeping stern faith is what got us through
Our lives are refreshed; we’re starting anew.
We walk with the Spirit of our dearest friend.
Our Lord and Savior, to the very end!
***
On Oct. 10th Steven celebrated one 
year of being among the sighted once again. 
Journey on.
ILU



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Quotation Saturday

TRUTH


A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
~ Mark Twain

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
~ Oscar Wilde

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
~ Winston Churchill


HONESTY

“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

“ It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”
~ George Washington

“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Hiding how you really feel and trying to make everyone happy doesn't make you nice, it just makes you a liar.”
~Jenny O'Connell, The Book of Luke

“Let's tell the truth to people. When people ask, 'How are you?' have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avaoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don't want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.”
~ Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter


DICTATORSHIP

“One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.”
~Bruce Coville

“Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.”
~ Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution”
~Aldous Huxley


VICTIM

“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.”
~ Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

“You are not a victim. No matter what you have been through, you're still here. You may have been challenged, hurt, betrayed, beaten, and discouraged, but nothing has defeated you. You are still here! You have been delayed but not denied. You are not a victim, you are a victor. You have a history of victory.”
~ Steve Maraboli

“You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life.”
~ Maria Eleven Minutes

“As a victim of dictatorship, I will not cower in fear, I will face the battle alone and cease all pain endured.”
~J

Friday, October 12, 2012

Truth in Fiction?


Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.
Mark Twain
 ***
Have you ever heard the statement ‘life is stranger than fiction’? I found the quote by Mark Twain and it says, “Truth is stranger”. This is so true! Just take a look at the debates of our politicians as they go head to head nit-picking each other apart. I think of another statement by Rodney King many years ago, “Can’t we all just get along?”

As I write fiction, for my readers it comes across as so real, vivid, lifelike in many ways. So is my life experience leaking into my writing? Am I divulging more truth than even they realize?

I love writing non-fiction but that is for the magazines that seek true stories. But what is a true non-fiction story. Is it your truth with a little coloring of adjectives or is it ridiculously painted lies to make it look like truth. Nowadays, I just don’t know anymore.

I’ve read some harrowing stories of some of my closest writing friends and their pain and angst are clearly evident as they trudge through this so-called life. I’ve also read snippets from people who have been in the limelight (I won’t deem them movie stars or politicians) that tell a markedly different story than the one we were led to believe. They write books years after the fact, and that is when the supposed truth, comes out.

Where does the truth lie? Somewhere in between? I see over and over people slinging mud at one another, claiming it as truth, yet I see over and over the person that it is slung at lie, claiming truth. I often get confused with who to believe these days when dear, respected, trusted friends turn their back on you, when people of power turn into dictators relishing the power, and when family surrounds you…from a distance.

What is wrong with that scene? I couldn’t have paved the road and put it in a ‘supposed fictional tale’ any better. When is it okay to lie? When it furthers your agenda? When is it right to tell the truth? To me, always but not all people are like me, they’re very different. Not whom I thought they were so they become a character in life, and as I portray them in fiction.

Is there truth in fiction? You bet. Stephen King has said in his book On Writing, that he was Jack in the Shining. Over and over parts of his life are written into his fiction but he adds a splendid twist to make himself look fictional. I wonder how many other writers are really writing their fictional novel, as a way of healing a part of them that they’d never allow the world to see. Stephen King is now clean and sober and his writing has taken on much different hues, giving us the real him, hiding inside his works.

What is my point to this post? If you’re writing fiction, then you too I believe, are filtering parts of yourself into your writing.  Whether it is truth or a lie, parts of you are being seen and the world is hanging on your every word.

The truth shall set you free. That is what I practice, in writing AND in my life. THAT is how REAL character is built!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Getting My Point Across!

Grammar Slammer!


While I am on a blogging roll, I thought I’d add this to the mix, getting my point across.

When we speak to a person, we have the luxury of eye contact, arm gesturing, head bobbing, smirks, smiles or grins. In the writing world we don’t have that luxury to help us get the point across unless the board has emoticon smileys all over the place as you can express yourself through them. Sometimes people OVER use them which makes me think they’re on a caffeine high of some sort, or just over excited, sitting behind the keyboard itching for human contact.

In the written world of words, like a hand held, real live paper-filled book with words, how is one to get the emotion across to the reader? I’m going to say punctuation. Because we don’t have emoticons in the publishing world, are you going to get your point across to your reader without that smiley emoticon? I sure hope so.

You’re standing on your own two feet, smiley abandons you and all you have is your words. When we write, there is no gestures, or timbres of a voice that the reader can pick up, so we fully rely on proper punctuation.

First there is the missed period. Sure it can mean you’re pregnant but in your writing it could mean a total misunderstanding of your words. The period is going to tell your reader that your thought is complete, and that you’re going to string together another thought. If writers forget the period, they have a run-on long sentence, (a big no-no in the writing world) or that the writer has an incomplete thought.

Example:
Sally and Joe went out to eat humans are a funny species eating all the time they also went window- shopping down the avenue for clothes they enjoyed each others company.

Sally and Joe went out to eat. Humans are a funny species, eating all the time. They also went window-shopping down the avenue for clothes. They enjoyed each others company.

Did you know that the second-most familiar punctuation mark is the comma; it is also the most misused punctuation mark. It’s used to indicate a minor but necessary pause, and its proper use is simply invaluable to good writing. The omission or misuse can cause worlds of confusion to your reader.

John ate furiously grandma for dinner was so relaxed.

A world of confusion ensues.

John ate furiously. Grandma, for dinner, was so relaxed.

I like this example:

When I’m eating people avoid me

People avoid me when I am eating. (sloppy eater)

Avoid me when I am eating people. (cannibal)

Do you see it? COMMA: people! Are you grasping all that punctuation can do for you? Sometimes in my writing even with the proper punctuation, I am totally misunderstood. Someone will say to me, “you sounded upset.” (angry, ungrateful, etc.) And I’m thinking, really? My words on a page have no sound, so how did you read that into my words.

I realized that not only with punctuation, misplaced words can lead the reader down a wrong assumption path.

Example:

He works long drawn out days. I have no car to rely on while he works. I’m in a sea of change and my routine is rocked. Minimum wage won’t pay the massive amount of bills.

That sounds bitter? Ungrateful? Pained?

REDO:

I’m so grateful for the long days of work. Minimum wage is better than nothing at all, in this day and age. If the Lord wants me to have an additional car, He’ll bless me with one. We’ll manage like we always do.

To the eye, certain words omitted means there is something the writer isn’t saying. But add a few words like: GRATEFUL, BETTER, ADDITIONAL, BLESS, MANAGE and the person might understand your true emotion.

Sure turns it around making the statement sound more upbeat, doesn’t it? Enjoy your writing, but most of all don’t miss those periods or comma usage, it could mean a difference in life or worse, death.


Book Bites:

Write Right by Jan Venolia

(I couldn’t resist)


Grammatically Correct by Anne Stillman

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Point of View ~ POV


The act of writing is an act of optimism. You would not take the trouble to do it if you felt it didn't matter.
Edward Albee


 POV or point of view, is the writer’s tool that is going to make or break your story.

The point of view in a story is the narrator’s voice that is telling the story. It is whose eyes the reader will be seeing through. Like Alice looking through the looking glass? Mad Hatter couldn’t tell you what Alice saw now could he?

In first person POV we will see through Jane’s eyes. What Jane sees, smells, hears, and especially what Jane thinks. (I think of Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill house.) This is an excellent portrayal of first person POV. But with first person POV, you have limited yourself to only Janes thoughts. The other character’s being introduced to the story will only be a mirror of what JANE portrays them to be. Again read the above novel by Shirley Jackson and you’ll get the idea of how paranoid her main character sounds.

Now trouble arrives when you try saying that John heard a noise that sounded like glass shattering. You have now shifted POV’s and this can be a dangerous line to cross when making it clear to the reader that this is Jane’s story and not John’s.

When you’re a beginning writer it is fundamentally important to learn the craft of POV.

I’ll try to make this simple, as if POV is ever simple. It can get pretty complicated but I’ll give you the basics. First person, second person and third person POV.

In first person, we’re going to use the word I a lot because I am going to tell you the story from my POV. Like many blogs that are written in first person POV, we use the word I to show that this is my perspective and not yours.

POV is basically, inside whose head are you going to tell the story from? You need to understand this factor of POV if you are ever to be taken seriously as a writer. Not understanding this concept can make your writing look amateurish to say the least and also make it look like you haven’t studied the craft long enough to understand.
  
Second person is a little, no A LOT trickier. I’ll let you read about it here, since I still get confused with it myself.

Third person POV is the point of view that most authors use. It is much like the first person, except you’ll use he saw the road crack before them instead of I saw the road crack. It is essentially using ‘he’ instead of ‘I’.

Now the tricky third person pov is the ever-elusive third person omniscient. Though omniscient is on occasion used in the beginning of the story, the writer switches to third person to get a tight grip on the main characters view.

Unbeknownst to me, Marge didn’t like the day that was about to unfold.

OMNISCIENT POV: This is where the reader is in everyone’s head and not really clinging to one character and getting to know him/her. You virtually give up the characters by using this point of view because no one can carry this all the way through a story and make it a profitable best seller. If you know of one author that has, then do tell! You can start a novel in this way, but really we switch to maybe a third person POV

The pov is tricky in writing so if you plan on mastering the craft of writing this would be a helpful tool to practice, read others work, and implement it into your own writing. By reading what others have written before you, you’ll get the idea of POV and you’ll also recognize WHEN the shifts occur and how to masterfully shift pov yourself.

The exercise I like to practice with most? Say we have a prompt of 500 words. Write the exercise in first person. Try the same story only switch to third person. Write it again in third person omniscient. (I NEVER tackle 2nd person and that is why I won’t touch the subject!)

Show your writing group your different pov’s of your stories. You ARE in a workshop right? After all my blogging about how important it is to surround yourself with other writers? SHAME ON YOU!

Your writing group will be able to help you see the difference, feel the difference and master the different ways to serve the POV to your reader. There isn’t enough room in a 500-word-blog to give you ALL of the details of POV, but trust me on this one. This is one tricky part of the craft to master. But once you have it licked, your writing will shine like the morning sunrise!

For further reading:



Book Bites:

The Power of Pointof View by Alicia Rasley

Rivet your Readers with deepPOV by Jill Elizabeth Nelson



“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Dreamer...you're nothing but a dreamer...

"The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth." -Psalm 145:17-18
***
“They say that history repeats itself. Which part of your personal writing history would you like to repeat?” Asked by a facebook post on Writers Write.

Well I would repeat that dream I had of slowly, apprehensively walking up to a book signing, fearing a no-show and loads of people are waiting outside forming a line, to see me; awaiting my arrival. The cheering begins as I approach and I go on to sign hundreds of copies for my dearest of friends, my readers!

Then the regime slammed down the gavel and forced me to wake up. Seems the dictator didn’t want anyone dreaming on his reign!

Did you ever notice that there is always someone out there that finds controlling people a way of filling the emptiness in their lives? They live in lonely abodes, with minimal amenities, but an entire world of riches right at their fingertips, the keyboard.

In the windowed world they are drawn to exercise their power whether it demeans, hurts, maims or destroys a persons dream; they clench their fist in triumph knowing they maintain POWER and control your every move!

I’ve had my dream squelched more times than I can count but I continue to go on dreaming as a way of release and healing. While others might use writing as a way of controlling something outside themselves because really they can’t really dig their claws into the writing life. They figure squeezing the life out of a dreaming writer is the route to go. They appear to be aiding, but deep inside, their plan to thwart is obvious.

I tried to go back and rewrite a part of my writing dream, by starting where I began in the first place. Starting anew was a way for me to begin again; a fresh start. Begin from the very first page of where taking hold of my writing dream began.

Some people decided to rein in my dream and control it from where they stood, not even knowing it was my dream they were quieting. It was like putting a bit into the mouth of a wild and free horse. You might train it to be docile but you will never control the dream of being wild and free.

No, a dream is the essence of a human being. You feel it in your bones brewing under the skin until it finally bubbles and erupts into an explosion not even you the dreamer can control. You see, there is no disciplining that which you wish to control. The illusion may be there that you maintain control, but really, there is a wild stallion beneath that exterior just waiting to unleash her words.

While they try to bridle the dream, they can never limit the dreamer! The rope that binds may only hold a portion of that dreamer but it is the heart and soul that will win the sway of the leadership and break out to dream all the dreaming that the young horse desires.

As I gallop down the open beaches of the Assateague, I am a dreamer who has the wind blowing through my hair, and no one will hold this mare back from riding off into the sunset of her writing dreams.

She’s wild, she’s free…no one has the power over her, but her!

What part of my writing history would I like to rewrite? Not one thing, because without all the hurdles I’ve managed to get over, bullets that I’ve dodged, mud that was slung in my face, I would not be the person I am today!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Showing vs. Telling

Joni’s going to write a blog post today.



Joni sits at her desk, pencils, paper, stapler surrounding her. A deep sigh leaves her mouth as she sits contemplating, ready to tap on the keys preparing to write today’s blog.

Aha! I think I’ll write about SHOW vs. Tell! In the first sentence I told you what Joni was going to do. In the second sentence I SHOWED you.

I often read from beginning writers, ‘What is the difference in show vs. tell?’ I read many mentor’s critiques exclaiming, ‘You need to show more than tell’.

Showing is more specific in terms as it lays out the picture for you. General terms are good when you need to tell when something is happening that is brief in the story. Whereas, showing moves the story along from point A to point B.

To tell a story, one only needs to say,

Mary went to the store.

To help in getting the picture across to your reader, the ones who are following your every word, you need to learn how to SHOW them the story.

Mary grabbed her purse, hurried out the front door to walk down to the corner store. The screen door slammed as her mother called from behind, “Don’t forget the bread.”

You can see Mary in your mind, can’t you? You no longer are holding a non-descriptive image of Mary, you now see a woman grabbing her purse and rushing out the door, only to be halted by the voice of her mother.

Think of yourself reading a book. You don’t start at the end, you begin at the first page. You take it slowly and read one page at a time so you can grasp the entire picture.

Taken out of context, you can speed read a page here and there but do you fulfill your journey of enjoyment? Showing and telling can give you the same information. But with the showing the reader gets to savor each and every word in a visual manner.

Creating a mental picture for the reader is important if you care for them enough to read to the end. Children love fairy tales where they don’t need a lot of the weighted down imagery; they get picture books to supply the images. But novels or short stories need to tap into the mental cinema of the reader’s mind.

Telling is fine for trivial things like it was a stormy day. If the storm is essential to moving the story along or part of the immediate scene then showing should be done. Don’t over do it with the imagery so no one says you’re padding your work. Showing should come as a natural flow to you.

I was sad when my dog died.

This is telling you how I felt when my dog died.

I was miserable when my dog died. It hurt so much I could just spit. I never expected him to die and now he’s left me alone and lonely for companionship.

This is padding the telling and not really showing you how I felt. You read that my dog died, I hurt, and I felt alone.

Now let me try to SHOW you how I felt.

Today I was utterly distracted when the puppies in the park were playing Frisbee, it reminded me of my Skippy. My friend for life or so I thought, until he contracted a deadly virus that took him from my life. No longer do I look at his bowls the same way as they still sit on the floor near the door.

This statement gives more specific details, without telling how I “felt”. You can read in my words that I miss him. You can read my hurt without using the word. You can read that I miss my dog and that I’m hurting just by getting the longing feeling from, “No longer do I look at his bowls the same way.”

The point of "showing" is not to drown the reader in a sea of details. Instead, you should pick out only those instrumental details that matter.

Give your reader something to hold onto. Have them frothing at the mouth waiting to read more of your pain and anguish. Give him/her a tale of beauty with ribbons of sensory and imagery. Save the telling for the hairdresser.

Give your writing some music and it will SING!

Book bites:

Showing & Telling by Laurie Alberts

For powerful and balanced writing

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Poetry Sunday ~ Autumn Glory


Autumn Glory

 I live alone inside my head
no one home, I’m left for dead.
Where have all the flowers gone
must I see the mornings dawn?

Shattered and shamed my life is only
but a waif wandering lonely.
Family is gone; no one to care
not a soul with words to share.

I’m like the leaf on an autumn tree
dangling waiting to be set free
from all that binds me to this earth,
perchance my seed will give new birth.

Maybe the Lord will have compassion
hold out his hand in a delicate fashion
He’ll catch me as I fall to the ground
into his hand with nary a sound.

He’ll show me that I’m never alone,
give me strength as I’ve always known
Lift me to the highest tower
rain on earth in a dandelion shower.

I’ll sprinkle love, wisdom and words;
the barren trees lined with birds.
Someone will feed off what I give,
The tree in autumn continues to live.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Quotation Saturday!

Quotes to fill your day with Sunshine!

 FRIENDSHIP


“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies.”       ~ Richelle Mead
And mortal ones!  ~ joni

“Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find.”
~ William Shakespeare

“The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away.”
~ Barbara Kingsolver

A friend is someone who’ll stand up for you, stand beside you and protect you from any harm. An acquaintance is someone who says they’ll stand up for you, but runs and hides in the face of adversity.
~ Joni Zipp

COURAGE


“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
~ Winston Churchill

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that
something else is more important than fear.”
~ Ambrose Redmoon

“Courage: the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.”
~ Maya Angelou

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  
INSPIRATION

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
~ Albert Einstein

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
~ Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
~ Helen Keller

HUMOR


“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”
~ Albert Einstein

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
~ Robert A. Heinlein

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”
~ Terry Pratchett, Diggers

“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
~ E.B. White


Silent Protocol

Silent Protocol
Angel Always...godspeed

Sunshine Award

Sunshine award