Posted in a bit of seriousness, humor & fun, writers, Writing and Poetry

A New Award–I’m Honored!!


Thanks to Jenny Keller Ford, I’ve been awarded The Paperclip Award. Here are my questions to answer:

1.When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Famous. Lol. I just always wanted to be in the lime light–an actress, dancer, singer. I used to write my speeches out in acceptance of awards–who knew that I’d be accepting them today as a writer?

2. What is your ultimate favorite place to be?

At home with my family. I enjoy learning about their days and sharing precious time with them.

3.Name one famous person who inspires you (just one).

In a previous award, I named Stephen King, so I’ll go with Marion Zimmer Bradley. I just loved her fantasy novels and when I submitted to her magazine, she actually wrote encouraging words to me. That she took a moment of her time to do so, remains with me all these years after her death as do her intricate, magical worlds.

4. Tea or coffee? I used to revel in tea for my morning drink, but cappucinos came along and coffee has become my all-time favorite.

5. If you could be any other person for 48 hours, who would you be? J.K. Rowling, just to know how she approaches her writing, to learn about her as a person (I’ve heard she’s done some fantastic charity work), and to know what’s it’s like to live in a castle. Lol.

6.What is your earliest memory: Gosh, my memory is thatthick (lol). Um, I was convinced I was adopted. My family was just way to normal…lol.

7. If you could ask anyone, living or dead, anything, who would it be? And what would you ask? I’d ask my grandfather on my mom’s side about his family as I work on genealogy and it’s so frustrating to find such slim leads. I would about his Cherokee mother and her story.

8. What is the scariest thing you have ever done? Walk away from a world of violence.

9. What is your favorite book? Different Seasons by SK for The Body story within.

10. Briefly explain one of the weirdest dreams you have ever had.

Hm..Well, it involved cougar teeth, a creature that tore flesh of a skeleton ate it and also slurped up the blood. Yes. It’s where I get my ideas. Lol.

11. What song best describes you? (Feel free to post a utube video.)

The above song reminds me of growing up in the country. It’s sad though.

Then there’s this ones which lifts me up to being a little risky in life:

12. Pen or pencil?

Pen.

13. Is 13 an unlucky number or not?

Not for me. My daughter was born on Friday the 13th.

And here’s who I’m passing the award off to:

Jody Hedlund

K.M. Weiland

Lisa Lail Green

Rek

 

 

 

Posted in a bit of seriousness, humor & fun, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry

Are You Making an Impression with Your Character?


The Hunger Games (film)
Image via Wikipedia

Are Your Characters Making an Impression?

Traci Kenworth

 

When we set off to write our story, often the characters we choose are flat. They have no substance, no reason for existing yet, they’re a blank canvas. Oh, we might see them as a grand creation in our minds but they’re not ready, not yet. First drafts are rough, weak, often to the point of being hopeless, we think. But the truth is, they’re not. It gives us the skeleton, the bones with which to work.

So you didn’t get your character to spring to life in it. There’s still a chance. I can’t stress getting to “know” your characters enough. They need to become the very air you breathe, so to speak. Of course, I’m not suggesting you ignore your regular job, family, and friends. Your creativity will ferment like yeast and produce larger –than-life characters if you concentrate on them in the time you do set aside for your writing.

Have you done in-depth interviews with your character? Writing their backstory, answering their present, past, and future questions as to who they are, who they will become? It’s important to flesh out your characters as much as possible. That little side story about the touchdown that won the championship back in 1997 might seal the deal on who your person is, what they stand for, his ideals.

As you get to know them better, what once was a frame for your story becomes fleshed out and clothed. For example: I took a girl who was running away from it all and gave her something to stay for, something to fight to keep. That running quality in her is her Achille’s heel, love is her savoir. She was a stick figure when I began, the urge to run the only thing important in her life. Slowly, when she gained others to care about instead of herself, she became a whole person with weaknesses and strengths. By the time I reach the final draft, you can no longer see the bones sticking out, only the polish of a fully-formed character. She could step off the stage.

Sometimes it is a quick balance of the plot that brings the character to the forefront in our mind, solidifies them for us. For example: I had struggled with one character as to who she was, why she was the way she was, until a twist in the plot defined her. She went from barely there, to vibrant in the story. The setting, too, can influence who your character becomes. Look at your background. What kind of a person would live there, what would it take to succeed?

Ask the hard questions and you will discover who your character is, who they’re meant to become. What are some of your tricks to making an impression with a character? There’s no one right way to do this, whatever works for you is proof that all Muses work differently and yet when their finished with the process, we’re left with characters such as Stu Redman in The Stand, Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and so many more.

 

Posted in a bit of seriousness, humor & fun, Reading

A Subject Close to a Parent’s Heart


Complete set of the seven books of the "H...
Image via Wikipedia

A Subject Close to a Parent’s Heart

Traci Kenworth

 

I’ve read recently (as well as roundabout for a while) that boys aren’t reading like they should. Girls seem to latch onto books like goldfish to a pond. It’s natural and easy for them. Boys, on the other hand, struggle with the desire to crack those pages. Is it because of too much stimuli (video games, TV, outdoor activities—not saying anything of these are necessarily bad for them if done in moderation. With the exception of the last, which should also be encouraged.)? But, I’m wondering if our boys aren’t getting left behind.

My daughter reads (and writes J) up a storm. My son is the opposite. He barely wants to dive into any reading—unless it’s video game magazines, hunting, or guns. And I don’t mind him being interested in this material because at least it’s something. But I worry about how his selective reading might inhibit his performance in school. Through the recommendation of a friend of mine, when school starts, I plan to help him by letting him choose what he wants to read book-wise and reading a chapter to him at night, and allowing him to read another one. This back and forth experiment will hopefully broaden his horizons.

So much can be learned from books. There are adventures to take, a journey to self-awareness, and enjoyment that gives back. I hate to see the younger generation particularly boys miss out on that. I think part of this problem is there are so few male protagonists out there for them. Harry Potter, yes. Series such as Star Wars. But overall, there is a lacking. I think it’s time to encourage more diversity in books and better reading habits for our sons. Only by joining together can we give them a better future.

What are your thoughts? What are some of the things that helped you encourage your son to read more? Do you feel that boys do their fair share of reading equal to girls? If so, why? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Posted in writers, Writing and Poetry

How to Breathe Life into Your Characters Part V


How to Breathe Life into Your Characters

V

First versus Second versus Third

 

This is where we get into narrative mode or First, Second, or Third person.

For years I tried unsuccessfully to write in Third person. I had come to the writing table thinking it the “easiest” version to tackle. But it was like trying to shove myself through mud. It didn’t feel or sound “right” to my ear. Others remarked how stiff, unnatural it sounded to them. I came to agree. In Third, your reader experiences the story through the viewpoint of one character, your hero or heroine.

That means that anything that happens without their presence, can’t be shown or knowledge that the character retains. Thus Bob can’t know Judy just dribbled poison onto his oatmeal. He can smell an odd odor, taste an oddity, but he can’t be positive that it’s there until he’s clutching his throat, flailing in the attempts to keep himself alive, while Judy looks on with glee.

Third is the most common narrative. It can also be broken down into Third-person limited, omnipresent, and plural. Limited, of course, means one character’s(not necessarily the character with the most to lose here)viewpoint. Harry Potter begins as third-person limited. Omni means that you tell the story from more than one person’s view. Again, later on in the books, the Potter novels switch to several’s in order to get the “full picture” of the story. And finally, plural ranges with chapter-by-chapter switches from one viewpoint to the next. Sometimes these go from first person to third person.

Second Person is the “You” narrator. Honestly, I don’t “get” the plucking down of the reader in this mode. It seems off-putting to me. There are very successful authors who write in this fashion though, so that’s not to say if you prefer this, it’s wrong. It is just another version that felt wrong for me personally. And, hey, you have to go where your heart leads you. It’s the only way to go.

When my crit partners encouraged me to give first person a try, I was amazed at the comfortable fit. To me, it was like coming home. All those years I spent wrestling with third person because it was the most popular viewpoint, swept away. At last, I could express myself the way I wanted too. For those of you who don’t know so, First is the “I” pov. Recently, I’ve begun to go back through my books and re-write them in the first and it is paying off big-time, I think.

I can have fun again. I can stretch my writing muscle, I can soar above the clouds. So, if you’re struggling to fit into a narrative that just isn’t doing it for you, flirt with the others. Find the perfect fit. You might be surprised. I was.