Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sequencing human interaction #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

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.

Thank you Raimey!

***

When we speak, a series of steps has already occurred:

  • An external action
  • An emotional reaction
  • A thought blooms from the above mentioned steps.

The result is return dialogue or reactive action.

It’s human nature.

Writing scenes and paragraphs should ideally follow the same logic we use when we speak or react.

Writer’s Digest suggests: “… get your reader to invest emotionally in your character, and you’ve laid the foundation for every action scene.”

A year ago, I came across a writing article on sequencing sentences. I hadn’t thought about the pattern of action, emotion, thought and reaction. I didn’t know how much it mattered until I wrote for it. I wish I could find the article and share it today. *Big shoulder sigh.* I lost it in the move to my new home over the summer.

Consider two examples:

Example One

    The moment Henry stepped out of the door of his apartment complex, he shivered with a chill then violently sneezed three times. With his shoulders arched up, he froze under the awning. Germs. He hated them. They hated him. Or at least he’d pictured it as an even exchange to survive.

   Henry’s hand trembled as he reached into his back pocket for his hand sanitizer, but stopped short with his thumb resting on the ridges of the cap. Something in the wind drew him. A cry so soft it couldn’t be a man or woman. A lamb? No, not in L.A. 

   He listened, shuffling down another couple of steps to the paved walkway.

   There. In the shadows. The barely there cry came again.

Example Two

    The moment Henry stepped out the door of his apartment complex, he shivered with a chill then violently sneezed three times. He removed his sanitizer from his back pocket and shuffled down the steps. Cars zoomed past the street. The wind tickled his nose. He shuffled backwards and peered around the corner of the building. He swore he heard a sound. A cry. Soft, like a lamb, urgent and hungry.

What’s Different?

    In the first example, Henry is moving, leaving his apartment when an outside irritant stings his nose and he sneezes (external influence/action).  He hates sneezing (thinking). He reacts to his phobia of germs and reaches in his pocket for his hand sanitizer (result of what we are thinking).

    In the second passage, we go from action to action to action. We miss a point about the character. We miss his phobia. We miss the connection between the first action and the second action. Then we miss the reason why he turned and went back to the building.

   So as we write, don’t forget motive, intention, and the process which leads our characters into action. Write for logic and sequence.

Celebrate the Small Things: Manifest Self-Miracles #FridayFeeling

Fridays are all about celebrating the Small Things thanks to a weekly blog hop created by author Lexa Cain. Joint co-hosts this week are authors L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog The mission coincides with what I’m hoping to do with my own writing, inspire and focus on the light when those slippery shadows creep around our shoes. Want to sign up? Click Lexa Cain’s link to find out more.

***

Do you make lists?

Do you write notes to remember tasks you need to do?

Have you ever made a list about all the good things about you?

I’m revisiting an old blog hop called Celebrate the Small Things. It’s a wonderful way to remember all the sunshine in a day when skies seem dark and the wind is so cold you can’t seem to find any warmth, on the inside.

This week I’m picking self -miracles. Those choices you’ve made in your life because you believed in yourself and the work you knew you’d have to do, but you did it anyway.

The idea for today’s post came from my son’s homework assignment. I’ve spent the last two days home with my son who’s had a fever. He had a reading passage on Jackie Robinson, a famous American baseball player, and I enjoyed reading it and reflecting on the questions as much as my son did. Mr. Robinson believed in himself. Mr. Robinson inspired me. I’ve been reflecting of specific choices I’ve made to focus on being a mother these past almost 10 years, and to also live a few of my deeper passions by giving up some larger less weighted ones.

So how am I manifesting self- miracles?

I’m celebrating two accomplishments this week. On the work side, I built a bridge in the office and really listened to what others were saying in order to develop graphic concepts that mattered to a team and not just me.

On the personal side, I’m celebrating my choice to leave a fast-paced traveling career so I could be there as a mother for my two little ones. My son has had a fever for half the week and I’m thankful I’ve been home with him. I’m thankful my current job is so understanding. I’m thankful I’m a short distance away from my kids’ school so I can be there in the event of any emergency. So I can have lunch with each of them once a week. So I can meet all their friends and be involved with their lives.

The key to self-miracles from what I understand, is believing in yourself so much, you “bet on yourself.” You realize what you want and love and need, and you go for it.

As a result of “betting on you,” tiny miracles begin to grow. Faith begins to grow and take over. Before you know it, you’re growing too.

Happy Friday, all. Make that list 😉

“This ain’t fun. But you watch me, I’ll get it done.” ~ Jackie Robinson

Conquer Your Rain With A Clear Umbrella #IWSG #WednesdayMotivation #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]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Olga Godim, Chemist Ken,Renee Scattergood, and  Tamara Narayan!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

***

I think it’s fair to say, most of us have lost that shiny feeling about where we are or what we are doing at some point in our lives. Whether it’s personal, professional, or just a block we can’t seem to see through, life, writing, anything might very well seem too large to conquer.

I recently finished something new I didn’t think I’d like doing at all. But my writing friend challenged me to try it. Excited along the process, I’d send her snip-its and she’d text me, “I can’t wait to read this book!” Her excitement was one of the pivotal points I found in an article on how to motivate yourself from time.com :

  •  “Get Positive”
  •  “Get Rewarded”
  • ”Get Peer Pressure.”

I finished my new manuscript in the middle of February and since then I read a fantastic new book as a reward and now I’m getting back on an old horse, an old manuscript I’ve fought with for years.

So this month’s IWSG question asks:

“When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?”

My answer:

  • Work hard.
  • Try until it hurts then keep trying.
  • Giving up doesn’t exist.

Sure, I hurt. Sure, emotion sucks me dry some days, but with the force of optimism there’s no chance I’ll stay in the clouds and the rain for long.

I found this one on Totes.com 🙂

By the way, did you ever have one of those clear plastic umbrellas as a kid? It was the best tool in the whole wide world to me. I could look up through the rain and watch it pelt the top of the plastic umbrella and my hair and face were both still dry. That’s what it takes. See through the rain. It still may pour, but with shiny bright eyes, and a dry head of hair, you might surprise yourself with what you can do. 🙂

And while I’m talking about optimism, I’m really excited about Tick-Tock coming up!

Have you heard about the new anthology? If not, be sure to check it out when it hits Amazon and the book shelves in May because …

The clock is ticking…

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting…

Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime

Anthology

Mystery/Crime/Thriller

Print ISBN 9781939844545

EBook ISBN 9781939844552

Release date: May 1, 2018

Last note of the day:

The Fascinating Human Character Arc #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

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.

Thank you Raimey!

***

Would you agree, human nature is an evolving process based on experiences and decisions made in the course of one’s life?

I certainly believe it to be true, though I must admit I’m not in love with all human events that have transpired to me or around me.

In writing, every character should experience an arc, a change in the fundamental core of what drives our actions and goals. Shifts may happen to our character in any number of ways:  mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally. The key is to show these shifts to the reader based on challenges in the plot.

While researching character arc, I came across a couple of great articles. The first article by K.M. Weiland defines three arcs our main characters may experience:

“The Change Arc.”

The most popular choice where the main character is unfulfilled by life and personal choices and jumps through a series of hoops which constantly challenge these beliefs and the world he or she lives in. The result is change, usually for the better.

“The Flat Arc.”

The main character is already sound and strong. They still go through a series of events with the implication that other characters around them need them in order to change. These minor characters change.

“The Negative Arc.”

This character transformation is not positive, but leads the character into a downward spiral.

The Second Exceptional Article

Melissa Donovan wrote a phenomenal article on character arc and gave me some great writing exercises. I’m sharing her first one below:

“Choose a character from a story you know well and plot the character’s arc, noting the gains, losses, and transformations that the character experiences as the story progresses. Make sure you note the corresponding story event with the change that it effects in the character.”

I’ll use a recent book I am absolutely in love with, Panic, by Lauren Oliver.

In Panic, we see two characters in a split POV format, Heather and Dodge. For the interest of time I’ll look at Heather.

  1. Arc
  2. Gains and Losses
  3. Transformations

The Arc.

Heather, an 18-year old going nowhere senior in high school, wears her insecurities whether or not she articulates them. The oldest of two girls with a bum mother, she is desperate for a life other than repeating the patterns of her going nowhere but prison, mom. She enters Panic, a secretive adrenaline-drunk game, the police and parents in the community try to track and shut down. She’s not scared of survival for her life, but she is scared of survival for her younger sister and establishing a better life for the both of them. With the $67,000 reward this year, she could secure a place for her and her young sister to stay. She could maybe start school post high school graduation. She’d give her and her sister a real chance to survive the life her mother lives. The problem? She’s aware of how tall and awkward she is. She believes tiny girls get all the breaks. She’s been dumped. She has to face people who live life much larger than she does, and who have real places to go. These peers are also at this game either as spectators or participants. The idea of a public display in front of everyone haunts her at each elimination battle, until she finds out those friends she doesn’t think she can live without, push her away, humiliate her, and make her question if she can truly rely on anyone but herself to win. Heather is left with nothing but the hope of winning Panic to save her sister from her mother.

Gains and Losses.

Gains

  • $67,000
  • Respect from her peers
  • A safer better life for not herself but also for her little sister.

Losses

Through lies to keep the game a secret, she loses her two childhood friends who are also trying to live their dreams and find the money to define themselves away from their parents and the stereotypes the town and their peers believe them to be.

Transformations.

When her sister’s safety is threatened under Heather’s mothers roof, Heather sets aside all human feelings for anyone but herself and her sister. Heather shows her character arc in physical, mental and emotion manifestations. She slims down. She walks with a different gate. Her kid humor and innocence shifts with the constant adrenaline challenges in the game and in her own personal quiet life. It shows in dialogue, her ability to face any form of humiliation and survive it. She has no choice but to the win the game.

The last point on character I’d like to note came from an amazingly brilliant tweet on Monday by V.E. Schwab.

The success in writing character stems from three things:

  •      “What do they fear,

  •      what do they want,

  •      and what are they willing to do to get it.”

Coupled with a phenomenal character arc, how can you go wrong?