Write From Creative Places #IWSG #AMWRITING

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here

Thank you to our awesome co-hosts this month: PaJenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox!

Check out our IWSG homepage for recent news and events.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂 

***

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. Rumi

One of my very favorite creative writing assignments back in college challenged me to come up with a free write creative piece. The class was assigned to think nothing, to take a walk, and let the world lead our string of thoughts. We were to piece them together and form a complete short story grounded in nature.

I couldn’t remember the last time I let nature take my mind for a walk. Elementary school at least. Back then as a young girl who loved nature, I spent most of my time walking through the woods, climbing trees and letting the wind and the world lead me instead of a carefully planned out course.

Today, I’m thinking about our minds as powerful forces in both defeat and victory. I’m thinking about how many times I faced both directions on the path to write and how many times I’ve found myself doubting whether I could ever turn out a full novel or not.

Today, I’m also cheering for you to find that field of grass and to become lost on that windy sidewalk in the woods with only the breeze tugging at your shirtsleeves, and you trusting that pull.

Today, I feeling more hope than doubt. Today, now more than ever, I’m hoping you feel that hope too.

Happy IWSG day. And never forget:

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Make Every Word Count #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #amwriting

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

WInston Churchill Quote

 

This month, I have to be brief. Daylight hours have slipped through my paint stained fingers. I’ve been doing so many projects around my home. I wish I had more time. I don’t.

Today, I’m thinking about writing tight action scenes, a skill I’ve recently become comfortable doing. The important thing as you write action is to write, then cut. Read, and cut some more. I found a great article to get my thoughts rolling by Write it Side Ways and feel free to visit it for more details.

What are the tips I’ve learned?

There are three I can think of:

1. Pick strong verbs.

2. Write quickly, pointedly.

3. Imagine the stress, the out of breath state your character(s) might be in, and make the dialogue or internal reflections brief to reflect this realist situation.

An example using all three points from my favorite book, A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (page 60):

It takes me another second for the pain to register. Blood is in my mouth. His hand draws back to hit me again.

I jab my arm down against his back. He jerks a little and his hand falls.

I stabbed him. I stabbed him.

Part of me wants to burst into tears.

A darker part of me wants to celebrate.

A personal example in the moment, using all three, and not quite as sharp.

Cautiously, I step through a darkened doorway. My heart hammers so loud, the pound of it echoes in my ears. I don’t see her. She’s here. I feel it in my blood. I can’t explain it. A sister knows a sister.

“Fight me!” Her scream echoes through the warehouse. Overhead, the metal ducts rattle with the fire in her voice. I shirk forward—turn.

A shadow shifts side to side. I hold my breath, waiting. My eyes adjust to the dark. It’s a bag. My shoulders release. A stupid boxing bag.

“Come on then.” I ready my hands, knowing she’s back there, somewhere. “Come get me if you want me.”

Happy Writing!

Writer’s Secrets Make Great Scenes #IWSG #AMWRITING

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here

Thank you to our awesome co-hosts this month: Pat Garcia, J.Q. Rose, and Natalie Aguirre!

Check out our IWSG homepage for recent news and events.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂 

***

Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine. Ludwig van Beethoven

  When I think of writing secrets, I always wonder about current authors and how their first book was discovered. I think of J.K. Rowling’s interesting story, how she faced countless rejections until a publisher handed her first draft over to his eight year-old daughter who immediately demanded the rest of the book. I think of secrets in general, and how we all have them, because our scars and our inadequacies about ourselves make character development in writing feel so real.  

June 3 question asks – “Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?”

I couldn’t decide what would be interesting to reveal about myself, tripped up over countless dark closets I’d like not to think about, so I turned to my daughter and I asked her, “what secrets do I have?”

She gave me two great ones from this past  year:

  1. Last fall, while riding on my son’s blue Razor Scooter with my daughter riding hers, she pulls into the driveway and breaks it way ahead of me. From behind her down the street, I decide to pick up the pace and coast freely down the hill—after a rain with countless puddles in the street (of course I wasn’t wearing a helmet) and guess what I did? I hit a hidden pothole filled with rain water and flew into a face plant. I jumped up, panicked someone saw me. Not a soul was outside. Not a single window curtain was drawn. I think I bowed, bloody hands and ripped jeans and all.
  2. During this whole cloudy COVID time, I decided to take my artist endeavors to a new level and buy my own nail dip kit. I have a Fine Arts degree and enjoy painting and designing things. I thought I could surely figure it out. The first time I attempted to remove the polish on my nails, I did the unthinkable. I reached for the remover and missed the bottle, sending it flying across my dining room table. It works! It removed the finish off my table in a very creative splat across the center. Thank goodness for table runners 🙂

I know my secrets aren’t writing related, though they may make some really fun scenes if they relate to the theme. I also know several of my writing secrets have been talked about in other posts. So here are my human mishaps. My children will always remember them fondly, and I love that. Happy IWSG every one. Keep your faith and courage alive. Spread kindness. We all could use it.

Writing Smelly Scenes #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #amwriting

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Fragrance is everything, a quote by C. JoyBell C.

 

“Mention a smell, and the scene comes to life. Mention two or three, and the reader is pulled into the scene as if it were real.”

~Ryne Hall from DIY MFA  

 

While scanning through some of my writing articles this week, I saw a quote from Stephen King on writing smell into  suspense. I couldn’t remember the article, but I do think it’s an important reminder for all of us to explore the senses, especially smell and sound.  

Why is smell so creepy?  

Ever come across a moment in your own life when you walked into a new atmosphere immediately overwhelmed with the smell? A house reeking of cat urine odor? A park with a sprouting garden of roses? The smell of an old fountain from the metal to the green moss in the water? What about the chlorine in a swimming pool and how the strength of it sticks to your skin long after a swim?

An unusual smell can unsettle our mind and our stomachs. We make associations with certain smells with specific memories both good or bad. I’ve heard from firefighters how important a can of coffee grounds is when facing emergency scenes on the road. Take away the smell and the mind releases some of the emotion and the scene doesn’t necessarily seem so bad.

According to the article by Ryne Hall, the best place to insert smell “is immediately after the point-of-view character” shows up at a new scene. Most of the time, the first impression is the exact place to insert your description. To help show you what struck me as vivid smelly scenes, I have three books with three small excerpts from Daughters Unto Devils, Hannibal, and IT.

In Daughters Unto Devils, one of my absolute favorite suspense novels by Amy Lukavics, chapter seven introduces a very hard turn of events. A family is traveling by covered wagon to hopefully find an abandoned cabin to refurbish as their own. The cabin they find appears great from a distance, but when making an up-close inspection, everyone in the family wants to immediately abandon it except their dad.  

As we approach the door, it’s difficult to ignore the putrid stench that seems to be growing heavier with each step. “Ugh,” I say and inch my nose. “What is that?” It’s too much for Hannah. She begins to scream, clawing into the air as if she wants to swim out of Ma’s arms and away from the door, and we’re forced to wait in the odor while mom runs to set the baby back in the wagon … (CHAPTER SEVEN)  

In IT by Stephen King, chapter two talks about the fear of a little boy George in the dark:

  “He did not even like opening the door to flick on the light because he always had the idea—this was so exquisitely stupid he didn’t dare tell anyone—that while he was feeling for the light switch, some horrible clawed paw would settle lightly over his wrist … and then jerk him down into the darkness that smelled of dirt and wet dim rotted vegetables.” {page 6}

In Hannibal by Thomas Harris, a great scene in chapter one uses smell to illustrate how alone Agent Starling feels in the center of her male coworkers while they wait in a van for the crime scene to unfold:

“Starling felt pierced and lonesome in this goat-smelling surveillance van crowded with men. Chaps, Brut, Old Spice, sweat and leather. A mental image: her father, who smelled of tobacco and strong soap, peeling an orange with his pocket knife, the tip of the blade broken off square, sharing the orange with her in the kitchen. The taillights of her father’s pickup disappearing as he went off on the night-marshal patrol that killed him. His clothes in the closet…

Yep. So smell is my tip this month. Use it. Scatter it in.  

“The mere mention of a smell evokes memories and triggers associations in the reader’s subconscious. “ ~Ryne Hall from DIY MFA