It’s Arrived!

The anthology that includes my short story, Summer Memories (written in 2015), arrived today!  I am very excited to see, for the first time, my words published in a book!  Here are a few pictures I took of the cover, first page of my story, and the back cover. 🙂

mind trip anthology cover
first page of summer memories in anthology   back cover of anthology with my story!

Yea!

What did it feel like for you when your work was first published?

 

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Guest Blog Post on Dialogue

Writing the past few days has been quite painful.  Not emotionally or physically, but creatively.  Nothing good is formulating in my head to my fingers to the pencil onto the paper.  The text is wooden, mechanical.  Heck, reading a car manual is probably more exciting than what I’ve put together lately.  I think the culprit is my inner critic butting into my creativity and writing abilities.  Oy!  So, while I’m feeling like what Hemingway says,

hemingway quote 1

I’m sharing a blog post from WOW! Women On Writing Blog. A piece by Sue Bradford called, “Dialogue: 5 Tips for Dazzling Dialogue,” because we can all use a little help, I think, in writing dialogue and all things pertaining to writing fiction.

As I work through the pre-writing on my mystery and get closer to actually writing, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to fiction. Truth be told, mostly, I’m obsessing because I’m getting really worried about writing dialogue for my characters. Because of that, I’ve taken a brief class on dialogue and been doing a…

via Dialogue: 5 Tips for Dazzling Dialogue — WOW! Women On Writing Blog

 

**I wrote the above post in the middle of last week but am posting it today.  My writing has improved a bit since then, as I continue to work on shedding my loud inner critic who doesn’t belong anywhere near me while I’m scrawling down my WIP’s first draft.

 

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What You Learn When Writing About Yourself

finding peace

When I began to write again in September 2014, the first story I attempted to write and did not finish was a fictional piece where the main character was loosely based on me and my life experiences.  In doing this, I found that some of the events from my dating and romantic relationships in my early twenties weren’t what I’d always thought they were.

As I wrote scenes in which my main character reacted to the boyfriends and men in which she had crushes, this became apparent to me, especially for one intense relationship I had.  I’d spent twenty-five years seeing it all through my perspective and believing I’d been wronged and the guy was a jerk.  As if everything I did was wonderfully good and considerate and his was absolutely bad and apathetic.  Not so.

This narrow view expanded to a more balanced and clearer picture.  It was a bit of an epiphany . . . a painful and stunning discovery, mixed with regret and shame, in which I’d been so self-absorbed only caring about my own feelings and never considering or understanding his.  Now, it’s true this one boyfriend didn’t volunteer any of his deep, personal feelings with me, so I wouldn’t, couldn’t have known.  But twenty-five years later, it’s quite evident that there were problems that neither of us knew how to deal with and didn’t have the knowledge and relationship tools in which to figure it all out.

This first writing endeavor truly turned the mirror on me and my behavior in my early twenties, for which I’d been selfish, naive, and clueless.  But writing what I did brought about a catharsis for which my past hurts and whatever disgruntled feelings or misunderstandings and frustrations I’d felt so strongly then dissipated and resolved four years ago, leaving me with a sense of understanding and peace within me.

Having experienced this, I wonder if this happens to other writers, especially those who write memoirs.  Writing truly is an outlet to self-discovery and catharsis.

 

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Writing Away From Home

waiting room

I’m a creature of habit and tend to do the same things every day.  Spontaneity visits me on rare occasions.  With regard to writing, I prefer to write in the morning hours.  But sometimes I write in the evenings.

At home, I usually listen to some music quietly in the background.  The music often is instrumental relaxing piano or jazz.  Sometimes it’s just old pop rock favorites from my youth.  Whatever the music, it’s set at a low decibel so that I can concentrate on my story and what scenes and words are formulating in my mind to be transcribed by my hand scribbling with a pencil onto paper.

Last Wednesday, I did something I’d never done before.  I took my notebook to the waiting room of the dentist while my son had his teeth cleaned and a couple tiny baby teeth removed for the start of upcoming orthodontic work.  My iPhone was dragging at a low battery level, so I’d left it in the car to charge (I don’t think it really charged much, though…unfortunately, it’s just about time to upgrade my phone).  I brought my notebook and a positive attitude of putting down words in sentences for my next chapter, but when I got into the office and checked in, I wasn’t sure I could do it.  There were three people sitting kitty corner to where my son and I sat, and were chattering up a storm, at a loud volume, and the country music (not a fan, by the way) practically blaring through the speakers in the room challenged my ability to concentrate.

Nevertheless, I immediately opened up my spiral book where I’d left off with my last notes and started writing two or three words, and it took off from there.  The talking, the music all faded away as I delved into my characters’ lives and the conversations they were having and the thoughts they were mulling over.  Three times–twice by the hygienist and once by the dentist himself–said my name, which brought me out of my fictional world to answer them and discuss my son’s cleaning and then the extractions.  In that hour and twenty or so minutes, I managed to write up a chapter and a half.  I had to close up my notebook when my son’s dental work was done and head home.

writing on the grass

I am amazed by the amount of writing I got done in such din and in a spot I hadn’t thought I’d be able to focus to write anything.  On the contrary!  I accomplished more, it seems, at a waiting office than I have on average in the comfort of my own home! I need to do that more often!  Maybe next time I’ll go to Barnes and Noble, find a cozy spot, and write to my heart’s content.  I can’t imagine what glorious dialogue, scenes, etc. I’d write at a beautiful vacation spot!

I’m guessing you’ve already written outside, or in other places than your home.  I’m just late to the party.  Questions:

1) Where do you usually write?

2) Do you write outside of your home?

3) Where do you write outside of your home?

4) Do you feel the outside atmosphere a good creative writing space?

5) What have been your experiences?

If by some odd chance you’ve not ventured outside your home to write in some other building or out in nature, do give it a try!

What a fabulous discovery! You learn something every day. 🙂

 

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Summer Memories in April

love of books pic

Last November 2017, I entered three writing contests FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, and was selected one of twelve finalists in one of them.  I am very excited and proud to have one of my short stories published in Scribes Valley Publishing’s anthology.  I can’t wait to see my story in their anthology! It comes out next month. Here’s the link to their website that shows the cover of the book in which my story will be printed, and the list of twelve winners. I, a newbie, am among seasoned, professional writers! What an honor!

 

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Why Do You Write?

writing in notebook a story

We authors have a variety of reasons why we create and write stories.  Perhaps the reasons have changed over the years.  Did you start writing stories at an early age?  If so, your reasons for writing them then may be different than now.  Did you want to be an author when you grew up?  I did, but the reality of a one percent chance of getting published and my parents telling me I couldn’t sustain or support myself when I was out on my own pretty much shelved that aspiration.  I then decided to attend business college because I typed very well and graduated with an administrative assistant degree in 1991.  A typing position had worked fine for me in my early twenties.  I didn’t hate my jobs, but I also wasn’t thrilled or totally invested in them.  They mattered for paying the bills.

Getting back to why we authors write, I think my reason when I started writing at age twelve was because I enjoyed immersing myself in the make believe world of my characters.  It was a pleasant escape.  It wasn’t until after the long nearly eighteen-year hiatus from writing and going back to college in 2014 that I thought of doing this seriously and full time.  Instead of writing only for myself and a couple of friends, I desired everyone who was interested in my genre, writing style, and storylines to read them.  Thankfully, with four classes left until I graduate from university and all the techniques and mechanics of writing I’ve been learning have not hampered my joy of writing.  Producing a story is more difficult because of what I’ve learned it takes to write a good story, but that difficulty is not something overwhelming or unachievable.

As I continue to wait to hear back from the publisher on whether they’ll want to see my whole manuscript or reject it, I know that no matter what, I want to share my works with everyone.  I believe God gave me this ability to create stories, and with this gift, I am to share it with all.

What are your reasons for writing?  Share your thoughts below.

 

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Centering on Character

woman writing in notebook

On Tuesday, March 13, I submitted the synopsis and first three chapters of my novel, Passage of Promise, to a publisher for which I felt my genre and style of writing would be a good fit.  According to their website’s submission guidelines, I should hear something within one to two weeks.  So I am in the nervous and excited waiting mode.  I also realize rejection is a normal and somewhat expected outcome in the process of submitting your manuscript to publishers/editors/agents, but I will deal with that at that time.

Meanwhile, I’ve delved back into my work in progress the past three days, and it feels good to be back in the lives of my characters, watching what they do, how they handle situations, and learning how to make them more developed.

Speaking of characters, what makes them interesting?  Are there several components that connect you to the characters?  Perhaps you relate to one of them, and the challenges they have mirror your own.  Is it that they are well-crafted, three-dimensional, and real to you?  Maybe you like one of the characters because they’re broken, clumsy, and endearing that way?

Well, for me, those elements are part of what I like about characters in the books I read.  I especially like characters with quirky personalities and unusual habits.  This particular trait is what I’d like to incorporate into my characters in my stories.

Do you need a lot of physical details describing how the characters look, or are a few basic features with maybe one unusual one sufficient?  It’s the latter for me.  I suppose the detailed descriptions depend upon the genre in which you read.

Characters drive the plot/storyline, and because of this, they are very important.  Through the fiction and creative writing workshops of my university courses, I’ve learned this vital fact, and carving out a well-defined and well-developed character takes practice.  For some authors, it’s not too difficult, but for others, it is quite a challenge.  I’m somewhere between not too difficult and a little bit of a challenge.  When I first started writing in my teen years, my characters were pretty much one or two-dimensional and lacked depth.  I’d like to think I’ve gotten a bit better since picking up writing again in 2014.

Therefore, in creating characters, you might want to:

  1. Have them possess quirky personalities with perhaps some type of pesky habit.
  2. Give ’em flaws.  Nobody can relate to someone who’s perfect inside and out.
  3. Produce words that come from their mouths that are natural, realistic, and perhaps echo a dialect in the area in which they live.
  4. Make sure each character is distinct to a certain degree.  If you can get to the epic point of writing dialogue with no tags and the reader knows the people speaking because of the way they talk, their language, and voice, you’re a star!
  5. Describe their looks with enough detail to give the reader at least a general idea of the appearance of the character, unless you’re writing in a genre like Romance where it seems that the more detail there is, the better.

These recommendations came from my memory through studying material and books I’ve read for my classes.  I hope they are helpful to my fellow writers as they have been for me.  It takes some practice, some work to create believable and relatable characters, but we can do it! Happy writing!

 

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