Where is a Book Born?


Where is a Book Born?

By Natalie Bright

For bestselling author Jodi Thomas, it begins with a walk on the land where her story is set. Here’s a link to a video that explains her process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG4IeXueJDA

The pictures were taken by me during the Spring and Fall roundups on our cattle ranch located in the Texas Panhandle, where she has done most of her research. Hope this inspires you!

For more information about Jodi Thomas and her Ransom Canyon series, go to jodithomas.com

Left Behind


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Left Behind

By Nandy Ekle

 

From the outside the building stands tall and quiet. It’s been there for nearly a century, resting, as it slides back to the earth. The windows are dark, the brick is crumbling, and the doors are tagged with graffiti.

As I stand on the doorstep, the oppressive heat consumes the air and I feel as if I am suffocating. I reach up to wipe sweat from my brow and the door on the bottom floor of the old building clicks open.

Peeking inside I find a room with no furnishings whatsoever. The concrete floor is covered with plaster which has fallen from the sheet rocked walls. All around is gray, except the spots directly across from the dusty windows. These spots sport bright sunlight which magnify the dust motes floating through the space.

I turn and walk deeper into the building. The heat is just as harsh without the benefit of a breeze. However, there seems to be plenty more air than existed outside, but the mustiness causes couches to bubble up from my lungs.

The first sight I had of the dark and dilapidated room was that of ancient decay. But then I see movement in the far corner of the room. I follow the line of sight and notice the only color in the place, the only sign of life present.

A single red balloon floats ten feet high as its string descends to the dirty gray floor.

Now, Dear Blog Follower, your job is to finish the story. How did the balloon get there and what does it mean?

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

 

Author Intrusion


Author Intrusion

by Adam Huddleston

 

The literary device we will be discussing this week is: author intrusion. It is not commonly seen nowadays as it has fallen out of favor. It is defined as the practice of having the author cease telling the story and directing the prose towards the reader. This changes the perspective from first or third-person to second-person.

This technique may be used to reveal specific plot points to the reader that may otherwise be unknown to the protagonist. I personally have never used this device, but its inclusion in your writing may help change things up a bit.

Happy writing!

Just Right


Outtakes 253

Just Right

by Cait Collins

 

 

I believe in doing my research when writing a story. In fact, I drop a bundle in Barnes and Noble with nearly every manuscript. In my current work 3×3, my hero is a gemologist and jewelry designer. So naturally I can’t have him facet a gemstone that is normally cut and set as cabochons. Nor can he purchase a green colored gem that is not found in green. Of course, I enhance my knowledge by studying cutting, settings, wax carvings, gems and their localities. But do we reach a point in research where too much knowledge detracts from the story?

For example, would the reader be more satisfied with the description of the finished product or does he want the step-by step process from the design to the showroom? Let’s face it, if I began describing the time spent either at a drawing board or computer painfully creating the drawing, then the wax carving, cutting, faceting, and polishing the stones, a reader would put the book down and wonder if he could get his money back. In fact, too much knowledge leaves little to the imagination. I would rather visualize the design than plough through its creation.

At times too much knowledge can lead to over-thinking which can lead to characters without emotions or with exaggerated emotions. They are no longer real. And the reader cannot relate to them. Without a relationship between the reader and the characters, there is no story.

Using our knowledge of a subject and applying our research is akin to Goldilocks and the three bears. Papa bear’s soup was too hot and his bed was too hard. Mama bear’s soup was too cold and her bed was too soft. Baby bear’s soup and bed were just right. Yes, knowledge adds to a work, but we must be careful to keep these details “just right”. Not too much or too little, but that fine mix that keeps the story on track and adds flavor to the work.

Ok, Where’s the Title?


Ok, Where’s the Title?

By Rory C. Keel

 

Many good projects have been written with a “working title”. That’s a temporary name given to your piece while you are still working on it. When the writing is done, you will want to give your masterpiece the perfect permanent title. Often, this can be more difficult than completing the actual piece of work.

When choosing the best title, consider these two basic points.

First, the title needs to fit within the theme of the story or work. Consider using the name of a person, place, or thing within your story. A specific kind of action that takes place in your writing could even make a good title.

Secondly, make the title easy to remember. While there are works that carry long titles, the shorter it is, the easier it is to remember. One exercise to help with this is to try and describe your story in one word. Can you do it? Consider the theme, the action, think about the people, places and things and boil the idea down to one or two words.

With this basic formula, you can have the perfect title.

#amwriting Despite Myself


#amwriting Despite Myself

By Natalie Bright

Self-doubt. I hate when that snarky voice in my head creeps into my work about the time I’m gung-ho in the middle of a new project. The fear of judgment. Is this good enough? Will this book appeal to readers? I can’t write this.

Sometimes it’s impossible to type THE END because of my self-doubt and the battle raging within my own mind. Its so senseless and aggravating, causing your daily word count to come to a screaching halt. Does that ever happen to you?

“Now that I have given myself permission to let the raw side of me loose on the page, I’m finally finding my true voice.” So admits Joanna Penn in her book

THE SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR MINDSET:

A HANDBOOK FOR SURVIVING THE WRITER’S JOURNEY.

I want to share these words with WordsmithSix peeps and how this book has re-energized my goals in regards to my writing. I keep reading the highlighted portions over and over. Ms. Penn covers all of the horrible things that crowd our mind when we should be using that brain power and creative energy to write. She gives readers a glimpse of her own struggles by sharing portions of her personal journals.

Ms. Penn states the problems most writers face and the antidote in clear, concise common sense language. It’s an eye opening read for any writer and a must for every writer’s reference library.

Find out more at the thecreativepenn.com

The Story Teller


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Story Teller

By Nandy Ekle

Last Friday I promised to carry on with the subject of point of view. And this certainly goes along with that. In researching exactly what I want to say I came to realize that for your story to be effective, you have to make some decisions before you ever put a word on paper. One one the most important decisions to be made is who is telling this story. This is a very important choice because it can make or break your story.

Last week I defined the different point of view. And I really think some genres work better with certain types of viewpoint better.

the romance genre works better with a third person POV, which is the female character and the male character. If you love romance stories, you probably want to know what she thinks and perceives, and you probably want to know the same about the male character. Because you know what the two main characters are seeing, thinking, feeling, wanting, you can understand their dilemmas, and why they fight against their relationship, even though everything in the world says they should be together. However, if there are more points of view than those two, you might get lost in who the main characters are and what their goals are.

Thrillers and suspense are two other genres you might want to limit your number of points of view. These two types of stories work on building up a mystery and then the answer explodes. Sometimes the reader knows what’s going on, sometimes they are as surprised as the characters. And that “punched in the gut” feeling is what this audience of readers crave. So if this is what you’re writing, more than a couple of heads becomes too much to deal with while also trying to hold on the chain of events and the list of characters.

Mysteries are a little different from the thriller/suspense genre. And sometimes the main character (and the reader by proxy), experience the events at the same time. This creates a very satisfying puzzle for the readers. This is why the first person, and the limited third person POV work best in this genre.

Next week we’ll look at a few of the other genres and points of view.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Malapropism


Malapropism

by Adam Huddleston

 

Here’s another quick literary term to add to your repertoire: malapropism. It is defined as the use of an incorrect word (with a similar sound) for a correct one.

Why would you do this?

It can be used to show that the speaker is confused, upset, or otherwise impaired. It is important to understand that in order to be effective, the two words must be similar in sound or structure.

For example, in “Much Ado About Nothing” a character states: “Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two auspicious persons.” In this case, the speaker substituted comprehended for apprehended.

I hope this helps in your writing!

Officially a Senior Citizen


Outtakes 252

Officially a Senior Citizen

by Cait Collins

 

I had a wonderful evening. Four of my five sisters and I sat down together to celebrate my birthday and Sis Number 5’s birthday. We talked for several hours about a wide range of topics. Sometimes I wonder how these women who were pests and hindrances and I can now be the best of friends. I’m blessed by their presence in my life.

I admit this year had been difficult. I’m now a senior citizen eligible for Medicare. I kept putting off applying for benefits because I was not ready to admit my age. But when I began trying to put a more positive spin on getting older I found a silver lining among the gray clouds. You see, as a writer and story teller, I have more experiences to draw from.

My generation saw medical science all but wipe out polio. Jets were tested by pilots like Chuck Yeager. We saw Alan Shepherd make the first flight into space and were glued to the TV as John Glenn orbited the earth. My father took us to the airport in Bangor, Maine to see President John Kennedy leave Air Force One and walk out to shake hands with the people in the crowd. In a matter of weeks, the President would be assassinated. The Civil Rights Movement was gathering momentum. Desegregation of schools and bussing of students for educational equality began. TV went from black and white to “living color”. Transistor radios were the rage.

The Beatles invaded America. The Twist, Monster Mash, Bunny Hop were popular dances. Lava Lamps and Danish Furniture decorated our homes. Computers were born and evolved. Now computers control much of our lives. The good old days merged with computer generation. I have history and experiences that provide background, characters, and motivation for hundreds of characters. With that in mind, I need to get back to work on my novel.

 

Ok, Where’s the Title?


Ok, Where’s the Title?

By Rory C. Keel

 

Many good projects have been written with a “working title”. That’s a temporary name given to your piece while you are still working on it. When the writing is done, you will want to give your masterpiece the perfect permanent title. Often, this can be more difficult than completing the actual piece of work.

When choosing the best title, consider these two basic points.

First, the title needs to fit within the theme of the story or work. Consider using the name of a person, place, or thing within your story. A specific kind of action that takes place in your writing could even make a good title.

Secondly, make the title easy to remember. While there are works that carry long titles, the shorter it is, the easier it is to remember. One exercise to help with this is to try and describe your story in one word. Can you do it? Consider the theme, the action, think about the people, places and things and boil the idea down to one or two words.

With this basic formula, you can have the perfect title.