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 🙂 

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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

Be Happy Where You Are #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:Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!

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

***

Happiness depends on what you think quote

 

Does writing make you happy? Is it the process of writing, the creative juices that flow as you find yourself spinning a new world, new characters, and all the possibilities? What is it about the craft that draws you the most?

I think for me, its the time I spend in another place, another head, and envision all the lessons I can share, or wish I would have learned for myself.  I think it’s diving into a problem solving world, and one I know I can control and change. 

Right now, I’ve spent the last ten months working with my editor to develop my manuscript into something I know I”ll be proud of one day. I’m not as far as I want to be, only 31K in. I wish I had twice the world count, but right now life is a balance. I can’t write all the time. I can have a schedule to help myself, but my schedule is sort of blown. 

This month’s IWSG question asks: : “Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

I’m finding new routines. I don’t write as much as I want. But when I do write, I write with purpose and each minute is maximized. 

My routine goes as follows:

I have to have a cup of coffee.

Then I grab a few necessary props:  A favorite book in my same genre and same voice as my own work, my rough plot outline, and most recently my iPad. Lately my dogs can’t seem to let me work at my computer station, howling and crawling up my leg until they are both plopped in my lap with one of my fluffiest blankets.

Once I am in my perfect spot on the couch, I always begin writing the same way. If I’m creating new content, I first read a chapter in my favorite book and decipher what works and what pace the author set successfully. After I’ve read the chapter I turn to mine. I analyze my plot sketch.  I study my own flow and consider whether I’ve been too wordy and need to cut description in order to maintain a reasonable pace. I reread and adjust words. I adjust dialogue and add writing tags. I usually go paragraph by paragraph, writing then rereading, editing, and then on to begin another new paragraph. This technique seems to keep the character motive fresh in my head. It also helps me analyze whether or not what I’ve written is true to character.  

I write maybe a couple of days of week. Would I like to write every day? Definitely. But I don’t beat myself up.All we can do is be happy and do what we can with where we are and with what we have.

Happy IWSG Day 🙂

Make the Best of Today

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.  

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." Quoted by Mother Theresa    

     Recently, life has taken on some sort of intangible new shape and I’ve got nothing brilliant to post this month. Next month, I promise to be back. I wish you all happiness, health, and good spirits as we continue to trot through these strange swirly times.

     Happy Hop Day.