Wedge of Writing


Today’s Ponder:

 

what writers can accomplish is pretty amazing!

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions think.

–Lord Byron


Happy writing and thanks for following WordsmithSix!

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These Times Are Changing


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 

These Times Are Changing

By Nandy Ekle

 

One of my all time favorite books was written in 1975, or there abouts. I love reading this book and have read it many times. Besides reveling in the infinite layers of this story, it never ceases to amaze me how things have changed. The main character drives into town to use a payphone. He only has a ten-dollar bill, so he buys a magazine, two candy bars, and a bottle of aspirin, then has three of his left over dollars converted to quarters to feed the telephone.

The main character then moves his family to an isolated hotel for the winter. Driving up the mountain they have no stereo in their car, and it’s a standard shift transmission. Once they get moved in, the only connection they have with the outside world is a CB radio. When they talk on the radio, every sentence ends with “over.” And they were dependent on the local television stations for whatever show was being broadcast.

The first time I read this book, it all seemed so normal and familiar to me. I grew up during this period and I knew about having a phone on the wall with a rotary dial. I knew about not having music in the car, and I learned to drive a standard before I learned an automatic. The CB radio was a new fad, and we had to wait a whole year for the local television station to play run our favorite movies. And a ten-dollar bill went way farther than it does these days.

However, we now live in a world where we have phones in our pockets at all times, and they play tunes for our ringer, or they ring like an “old phone,” or they don’t ring at all, only vibrate. Not only that, but they are much more than phones. They are also our cameras, our music players, our mail receivers, our encyclopedias, our televisions, our game consoles, and our books.

The point is, we should remember these things when we are writing. Think of your characters’ ages and what they know and understand about the world they live in. If they’re older and can remember when life was not so convenient, then the lack of all our easy-living instantly gratifying life-style is not so unusual. In fact, that could be a component in your story, pitting an old-schooler with an up-and-comer.

But if your characters are young and hip, they should understand and use all the modern amenities. In fact, it would be very distracting to your readers who sit reading the adventures and thinking, “Why don’t you just dial 9-1-1?”

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

Publishing Lull


Outtakes 182

Publishing Lull

By Cait Collins

 

I love to read, so the new release slow down from November to February is definitely not my favorite time of the year. Some would say I should get a Kindle or a Nook and download new stories and E-Books. Sorry, but I prefer holding a book in my hands as I read. After eight hours in front of a computer screen, an E-reader has no appeal. So what does one do when there’s nothing new from favorite authors? Why not try a new author or a new genre?

One of my recent purchases was Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. The writing was well paced and the maps, photographs, and footnotes were welcome additions to the read. I also appreciated the Afterword detailing unanswered questions regarding the automobile accident that resulted in Patton’s death. Although I’m not one for conspiracy theories, the book did pose some interesting questions. The Postscript portion of the volume, brought closure for the key players among the Allied and Axis ranks. I do recommend the book to all students of history, World War II buffs, and young people who want to learn more about the heroes of WWII.

There are a couple of books on my bedside table begging to be read. One is Texas Mail Order Bride by Texas Panhandle author, Linda Broday. Nothing makes a better story than the vast beauty of Texas, a Texas cowboy with a past, his two brothers, and an unexpected woman to complicate his life.

God, Guns, Grits and Gravy by Mike Huckabee promises to be a great read. Only a good old boy could understand and accurately portray the unique places, people, and promises of the Heartland. Having read some of his earlier releases, I look forward to yet another look at America as it was; is; and what it could be.

These titles are not among my normal reading list. My favorite authors write romantic suspense, women’s fiction, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and mysteries. Barry Eisler, Craig Johnson, and Rick Riordan have a home on my book shelves. I also have a section devoted to animation, comic strips, travel, and science. My shelves are full and over-flowing, but there’s always room for additions to my favorites.

Functions of Dynamic Pairs


Functions of Dynamic Pairs

PROTAGONIST <—> ANTAGONIST

GUARDIAN <–> CONTAGONIST

REASON <–> EMOTION

SIDEKICK <–> SKEPTIC

 

Archetypal pairs represent a broad analogy to a human mind dealing with a problem. The Protagonist represents the desire to work at resolving the problem. Its Dynamic Pair, the Antagonist represents the desire to let the problem grow. As with the Archetypal Characters, we all face an internal battle between making decisions based upon Reason or upon Emotion. Like the functions of the Sidekick and Skeptic, will contain a struggle between Faith and Disbelief. And finally in an Archetypal sense, the Mind will be torn between the Contagonist’s temptation for immediate gratification and the Guardian’s counsel to consider the consequences.

Dramatica, A New Theory of Story — Copyright (c) 1993 – 2001

Plotting a Story


 

Plotting a Story

 

Once upon a time there was: _____________________________________.

Every day, _________________________. (regular world)

One day, ___________________________. (normal world changes)

Because of that, ______________________. (conflict)

Hero/heroine reacts how, ________________________.

Because of that, ______________________. (conflict)

Finally, he/she ___________________________. (resolution)

What does your character want more than anything in the world?

You, as the writer, must do everything you can to prevent them from getting it.

Happy ending or not? You decide.

Happy writing in 2015!

Natalie Bright

 

 

 

 

Getting Started


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Getting Started

By Nandy Ekle

 

I had the itch all day. As fellow writers I know you understand what I’m talking about. New characters screamed in my head and scenes flashed through my mind like movies on the big screen. I knew what I wanted to write and I couldn’t wait to get to it.

As soon as I clocked out from my day job, I nearly skipped to my car. All the way home I sang with the radio, but I have no idea what songs played. I stopped at a red light and as I sat there the muse tickled my brain to the point where I almost didn’t realize the light had turned green. I pulled into the drive way and couldn’t get in the house fast enough. Change to comfy clothes, boot up the computer, watch while the screens open and the cursor blips on the white page. Giddiness threatened to take over my consciousness as I typed the title of my new greatest idea.

“Oh, this is going to be so great!” I whispered to my fingers. “I’ve got most of it in my head; the roadblocks will just dissolve as we type this up right quick.” I took a deep breath and put my fingers on home row.

And so, there I sat in my special writing space, hands on the keyboard, cursor blinking at me like a teenager who thinks I’m as dumb as a block of wood. And it seemed I may have been. I typed the title and the movie screen in my head went dark. No more action, no conversation, even the face of my character disappeared.

I blinked a few times and stared at the empty screen. “Hey. What’s going on?” I yelled these words to the hallways inside my head. Just a moment earlier these hallways had been full of words and music, sights and sounds. Now they looked like the cob-webby walls of a haunted house.

“You waited too long.” The voice came from behind me. I turned quickly and caught a glimpse of a sparkling fairy princess gown as the wearer darted out an open window. “You should have started writing it as I was giving it to you.”

“But, I have a job to do, a day job. Without that job, I don’t get to buy fun or food.” I know I sounded whiney, but I felt desperate. All day I had to force myself to stay focused on my duties instead of going into my little fantasy world.

“Sorry. I only have so much time I can give you.”

“I’m here now, bring it all back.” The fairy princess returned to stand behind me. “I remember some of it. Bring the rest of it back. Please help me write this story.” I typed a few words.

“Oh, that is the worst place in the world to start. And you need a better voice. Here, delete it all and start over.”

So I tried again and only earned more criticism. It seemed that every time I tried to write my story, the muse was meaner and more cruel until she finally rolled her eyes, stamped her foot, and huffed. Then she turned and vanished.

And this is usually how my writing times start.

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

 

 

Write Every Day


Outtakes 181

Write Every Day

By Cait Collins

I’ve written often about writing something every day. I truly believe this is necessary. If an athlete does not train every day, he is not prepared for game day. So if a writer does not train or practice his craft every day, he is not prepared to endure the long days of production on his novel, story, or non-fiction work.

Let’s be honest, there are days when sitting down at the computer is a chore. There are so many interruptions. Our minds are clogged with the plumber ripping up the back yard to replace a section of pipe; a serious family problem; excessive over-time hours; or health problems. The book is not as important as dealing with life. And forcing words to appear on a computer screen is generally not productive. No matter what you write today, it will need to be rewritten tomorrow. Why not wait until your mind is clear to have that much need writing marathon? Believe me, allowing the opportunity to resolve some life issues before tackling the manuscript will make the writing better. There will be fewer mistakes to correct and a more polished piece to present to the critique group.

Instead of forcing work on a project, try a writing exercise. Here’s an example. Write a sentence. Begin the next sentence with the last word in the first sentence. The next line begins with the last word in the previous line. Continue along this line for five minutes. Write. Don’t think. Do not edit. Do not lift your pencil off the paper. You’ll be surprised at your creativity and imagery.

Another solution is to do research for your current work. Google that elusive fact you need for the next chapter. Or edit a section of your manuscript. Write a letter. Yes, write a good, old fashioned letter to a friend or relative. Address an envelope, slap a stamp in the corner and mail the letter.

The point is to write something every day.

It’s all in the execution


A poor plan properly executed, will work. It’s all in the execution.

By Rory C. Keel

As you step out on the stage of becoming a writer, there are many unknowns. Writers groups and conferences are helpful in learning the in’s and out’s of writing and publishing. However, unless this knowledge is put into a plan and executed, it is useless.

Develop a plan

Set short-term goals and long-term goals for your writing and put together a plan to reach them. Write them on paper or log them on a computer where you can physically see them every day to remind you of what you want to achieve.

Finding a topic or story to write about this week is a good example of a short-term goal. Set a daily, weekly, monthly word count to reach and a time management schedule in order to meet them.

Develop long-term goals such as setting a date to finish the first draft of your story or novel, research agents or publishers to pitch your book to or determine to submit your story to multiple markets until someone buys it.

Now execute the plan

You must execute your plan! Good or bad, no plan will work unless you carry it out. When you plan a vacation you use the knowledge you have available and make a plan. If you never move forward, you will never reach your destination.

What if your knowledge is limited or you realize your plan is not perfect? Move forward – adjust. Often we need to reread the map or take a detour to get to our destination, but we continue to move forward. Even a poor plan that is properly executed, will work, but it must be executed to reach the goal.

Roryckeel.com

The Basics


The Basics

By Natalie Bright

Noun – names a person, place, or thing.

Pronoun – takes the place of a noun, e.g. I, you, they.

Verb – shows action.

Adjective – modifies a noun or pronoun by telling how much, which one, what kind or describing it in other ways.

Adverb – modifies a verb similar to how an adjective it in other ways.

Preposition – shows a relationship between nouns or pronouns and is often used at the beginning descriptive phrase.

Conjunction – connects two words, phrases, clauses. The most common; and, but, or.

Interjection – often just one word injected into the sentence to show emotion, such as yea, uh-oh, or alas.