Monday, June 29, 2009

A Poem for Monday

What is Love?

There's more to love than meets the eye.
Give it wings and it will fly.
Sow it in the richest soil.
A tree burst forth with little toil.
Hold it in the palm of your hand,
mold it, shape it so it will stand.
Drop it in the widest sea,
it will flow through you and me.
Make it an instrument and it creates song,
carry you gently your whole life long.
Release it to the fragrant air;
surely it finds a heart to snare.
Give it freely, if for no reason;
it takes the form of the changing season.
Breathe it in and it will seep,
into your soul for you to keep.
Plant it firmly within your heart,
the seed of love will never part.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

The Storms We Watch

A thousand miles away I may be
the love of my father sweeps through me.
When storms they pass overhead;
my father and I watched with dread.

We knew the storm held danger within
but we stood there watching thunderheads spin.
I looked up at him with childlike zeal
knowing the lightning’s crash would peal.

Scared as I was I clung to his hip
his arm on my shoulder, I was tight in his grip.
The rain would fall in rapid procession,
we stood amazed, the storm our obsession.

All through life I road many a storm
knowing his love would keep me warm.
I carry his arm wrapped round my shoulder
with every storm as I get older.

I know he’ll love, protect and keep
the storms at bay so I may sleep.
In peace I’ll grow, his strength by my side
for me he’ll always have arms open wide.

Though we don’t see each other too much
you can rest assured I feel his touch.
With every raging storm that goes by,
I’m out there seeing him look in my eye.

A thousand miles away I may be,
The love of my father always sweeps through me!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Quotation Saturday

Many suffer from the incurable disease of writing and it becomes chronic in their sick minds.
~ Juvenal (AD 60-130)

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. ~Mark Twain

The expression "to write something down" suggests a descent of thought to the fingers whose movements immediately falsify it.
~William Gass, "Habitations of the Word," Kenyon Review, October 1984

Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.
~ Graycie Harmon

When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence.
~ Samuel Butler

When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.
~ Enrique Jardiel Poncela

I asked Ring Lardner the other day how he writes his short stories, and he said he wrote a few widely separated words or phrases on a piece of paper and then went back and filled in the spaces.
~ Harold Ross

The ablest writer is only a gardener first, and then a cook: his tasks are, carefully to select and cultivate his strongest and most nutritive thoughts; and when they are ripe, to dress them, wholesomely, and yet so that they may have a relish.
~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it 'the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.' The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of 'Artist.'
~ Edgar Allan Poe

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Poetry Sunday

I Asked My Soul A Question
I asked my soul a question.
What am I searching for?
Gently holding onto the knob,
It opened up a door.

Cascading tiny showers of love,
Embellished an aching heart.
Agony, ecstasy, shame and sorrow,
Each had there own part.

Strings of light came shining through,
Appearing as a sword.
Strumming sounds of destiny,
Each a blazing chord.

Prisms on the meadow.
My heart now plays a song.
The sword now clutched in my hand.
I know where I belong.

I asked my soul a question.
I found what I came for.
Gently holding onto the knob.
It closed the open door.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quotation Saturday

Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.
~Orson Scott Card

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it.
~Jules Renard, "Diary," February 1895

When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen. But if you have not a pen, I suppose you must scratch any way you can.
~Samuel Lover, Handy Andy, 1842

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.
~Isaac Asimov

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.
~Peter De Vries

Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind.
~Catherine Drinker Bowen, Atlantic, December 1957

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music the words make.
~Truman Capote, McCall's, November 1967

For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle. ~John Cheever

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
~Flannery O'Connor

Every great writer is a writer of history, let him treat on almost any subject he may.
~Walter Savage Landor, Imaginary Conversation: Diogenes and Plato

Friday, June 12, 2009

POV and tense shift

This is a much needed repost of mine. :-)

Recently I have noticed the biggest problem for new writer’s is not getting the story out, it is keeping the story consistent.

Consistency in POV and consistency with tenses. Sure I see alot of grammatical issues being tossed out there as a new writer, but POV is one tough element of the craft that needs to be honed and mastered.

Mastering the POV will help in keeping the work consistent.

We, f2k, had an exercise this week in POV and when asked to shift pov, alot of people wrote the same exact paragraph and switched the POV from “He said” to “I said”. To me, shifting the point of view changes the perspective and the ‘who’ is seeing what and from whose point of view.

Here’s an example of something I’m working on: Two pov’s and different perspectives arise.

POV 1 ~ First person
As I hover over my lifeless body lying below me, I wonder where I am. The aroma of a fresh garden surrounds me making me feel like a weightless cloud. I want to yell down to myself, but I can’t seem to communicate from here. I walk slowly toward the endless portal that awaits me. I float like a feather on an endless air drifting into the unknown. No claps of thunder, no bolts of lightning, just eerie warmth surrounds me. A gravitational pull sucks me like a huge non-existent vacuum of space and time. I turn away from the light and try in a motionless effort to reclaim the body I left. Suddenly, I awaken to the trickle of an ice cold shower that releases me from the warm safe haven. I scan the bathroom and wonder how on earth did I get in here?

POV2 ~ Third person
Look at her, a lifeless form in need of assistance. She has left her body only to discover the realm of the unknown. The bright light that has hold of her won’t let her go. She can wriggle and worm all she wants but it is pulling with an endless flux of gravity. She knows this is the end of the line, the place she’s heard about but never wanted to be at the cusp of her youth. She's grappling with fear yet releasing herself without a fight, letting herself drift into the aromatic garden that waits. As moments pass, time is of the essence.
She needs to be revived; it’s not her time. Wait; look; she’s in bathroom shower. How on earth did she get there?

The same paragraph but from different perspectives, and two different pov’s. This shift sometimes confuses new writer’s because they can’t see from anyone elses eyes. They are looking at the paragraph and thinking they need to write the exact same words but change *I* into *She*. When I shift pov, I see from someone else eyes.

I think we need to look at perspective as much as POV. Work on the POV, sifting through all the knowledge you can and retry the exercise and I can bet you’re perspective will change too. You’ll be seeing through different eyes in no time.

Now get moving, Write Right!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Are you Showing or Telling?

Joni’s going to write on her blog.

Joni sits at her desk, pencils, paper, stapler and paper clips 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.

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 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.”

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 morsel.

Creating a mental picture for the reader is important if you care for them to read to the end. Children love fairy tales where they don’t need a lot of the baggage that comes with imagery, they get picture books. 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 me telling you how I felt.

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 me padding the telling. You read that my dog died, I hurt, and I feel alone.

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

Give your reader something to hold onto. Give him a tale of beauty. Save the telling for the hairdresser.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Poetry Sunday ~ His Eyes

His Eyes
All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp
For you Steven!

He saw the setting sun at one time
gazed at the orb as if it was his last time.
With each passing day the sun set lower
and lower still until he could see it no more.

The moon rose and he saw it making shadows
with the branches of the trees waving in the wind;
every night the shades got dimmer and dimmer
he soon realized, the moon was the sun.

His eyes saw the breath of light dancing playfully.
A time came when the silhouette disappeared
he saw nothing. The beauty of the flower
gone, taken away in a span of time.

Torn from his view was everything we cherish
in the world. We see and can behold the sun
the moon,the afterglow, ripples on water.
In his eyes, he imagines that it exist and at some
point he realizes it does, just not in his eyes.
All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Quotation Saturday

For you to enjoy and deep thoughts~~

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
~ Emile Zola

I can’t help but to write, I have an inner need for it. If I’m not in the middle of some literary project, I’m utterly lost, unhappy and distressed. As soon as I get started, I calm down.
~ Kaari Utrio

My purpose is to entertain myself first and other people secondly.
~ John D. MacDonald
Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted.
~ Jules Renard

The only reason for being a professional writer is that you just can't help it.
~ Leo Rosten

There is more pleasure to building castles in the air than on the ground.
~ Edward Gibbon

Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.
~~ John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

“Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. Its the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors.”
~~ Rhys Alexander Writing Gooder, 12-09-05