Facebook Page Promotion


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Facebook Page Promotion

By Nandy Ekle

 

Several years ago I met a crew of writers at a certain online writing community, which I will not name for a lot of different reasons. These writing friends and I have all left said online writing community, but we’ve kept in touch on Facebook. And that makes me a very lucky person, indeed.

One of my friends lived in Texas when I met her. Of course, the other friends who didn’t understand Texas thought we must just hang out together all the time since, of course, we both lived in the same state. What most of them didn’t understand is that she lived about 600 miles away. And that even though our state was big enough to hold both of us, it was still a huge distance away. So much so that you would never even believe it was all Texas.

A couple of years ago, she moved to the Pacific Northwest. We still keep in touch through cyberspace, and I’m very thankful for that because she is an amazing writer.

But more than being an amazing writer, Mrs. Heiser is also an incredible editor. In fact, my blog this week is about a new Facebook page she has opened called “Ask Midge.” On this page she invites the public to ask questions about writing (technical, structural, theoretical . . .) and she also gives some pretty good tips.

So, if you are on Facebook, you should look up the Ask Midge page. “Like” it, “follow” it, enjoy it.

And you can tell her Nan sent you. https://www.facebook.com/askmidge/photos/

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

 

 

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Bad Language


Bad Language

by Adam Huddleston

 

Relax folks. This blog is not an argument for or against the use of obscene language in writing. I simply wanted to give a quick reminder about the differences between profanity, cursing, swearing, and obscenities. Although most of us lump these words together, they technically mean different things. These are definitions procured from the Encarta Dictionary.

  1. Profanity-language or behavior that shows disrespect for God, any deity, or religion
  2. Curse-to appeal to God or any deity for harm to come to somebody or something
  3. Swear-to make a solemn promise or oath, sometimes calling somebody or something thought to be sacred as a witness
  4. Obscene-offensive to conventional standards of decency, especially by being sexually explicit

Whether or not you choose to use foul language in your writing is a topic for another blog. Maybe we’ll investigate that in the future. Happy writing!

Masks


Outtakes 219

Masks

by Cait Collins

Halloween is a fun time for me. I don’t hand out treats from my apartment, but I do participate in kid centered activities. Sometime I dress up, but for the most part I’m happy to just hand out the candy.

I often wonder what makes a child decide what costume to wear. For example, does an Astrid (How to Train Your Dragon) outfit make a shy young lady feel more confident and bold?

What about the cute, quiet little girl in a devil’s costume? Is she truly a little horror or is she as sweet as she appears? The family of birds made an impression on me. I cannot imagine the time it took to stitch all those “feathers” together to make the costumes. But the real question is, why birds? Is there a sense of freedom in the idea of flying? So if we chose to go around in masks on October 31, do we also use masks the other days of the year?

A multi-faceted protagonist has numerous faces. Maybe he hides his loneliness behind a mask of indifference. His unrequited love of the school teacher is masked by an affair with the waitress in the diner. The only time he feels confident is when brokering the takeover of a struggling company. Although he is successful in business, he has no sense of fulfillment. But the most surprising mask is his need for high-risk adventure. The trick is crafting these different traits into a believable hero. The treat is when the writer makes it work.

Pick a character crafted by a favorite author. Make a list of the character’s traits and the methods the person uses to hide his flaws and the attributes he dislikes. How would you write the character?

 

Oh, The Horror of it All!


Oh, The Horror of it All!

By Rory C. Keel

The term Horror describes an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. In this genre you will find stories created to stir these intense feelings in the reader. From the classic Frankenstein to The Blob of unknown origins, from the resurrected dead to the mad protagonist who never dies.

The stories in the horror genre make the nightmares of our childhood real by describing the horrific and shocking details in a way that bends them into a plausible scenario.

It has several subgenres including the following:

Aliens: which may also overlap with science fiction.

Creepy Kids: Involves possessed, ghostly or dead children.

Cross Genre: Horror that contains major elements of other genres.

Cutting Edge: Usually associated with graphic novels.

Dark Fantasy: Is the companion to human evil and strife, instead of monsters.

Dark Fiction: This is a term used in the horror genre to market stories without using the term HORROR.

Erotic: Horror that usually contains violent sexual elements.

Extreme (splatterpunk, grindhouse or visceral): 
When thinking of this subgenre think Texas Chainsaw massacre. It intends to be bloody and gross.

Fabulist: horror emphasizes stories in a specific place or old-fashioned style.

Gothic (English gothic, southern gothic): 
This subgenre is written in a ‘literary’ style such as much of Edgar Allen Poe’s work.

Haunting: Have you ever seen a ghost? You will find them in this subgenre.

Holocaust: tales involve mass deaths, or a near-future apocalyptic plague, whether past or future.

Humorous horror: The Macabre in parody such as the Munster’s.

Paranormal: These are stories that describe the battle against the evil supernatural.

Rampant Animals: Horror containing animals: birds, dogs, giant ants, etc.

Rampant Technology: Horror where machines take over.

Supernatural (demons, zombies, etc.): 
Stories of monsters persistent on consuming the lives of mankind.

Be scared, be very scared!

roryckeel.com

Five Baisc Elements of PLOT


Five Baisc Elements of PLOT

Natalie Bright

The plot is the thing that moves the story along. How you craft the plot can make a different between a best selling page turner to unforgetable and unsaleble. According to Donald Maass in his book, “Writing the Breakout Novel” one of the mistakes beginning novelists make is to write the sequentail activiities of a characters’ every day events. This makes for very dull reading. The goal of story craft is to hold a reader’s attention.

He lists the five basic plot elements:
# 1 – a sympathetic character
#2 – conflict
#3 – reinforcement. Conflict must twist, turn, deepen and grow.
#4 – climax
#5 – resolution

“Writing the Breakout Novel” is an excelent book on story craft. Be good to yourself and add it to your writing reference library.

 

Sunday Writings – Texas High Plains Writers


Texas High Plains Writers

Writers living in and around the Texas Panhandle gather in Amarillo, Texas on the third Saturday, bi-monthly in the odd numbered months to network and talk writing.

After lunching with the Program Chair this past week, I have to pass along information about upcoming speakers. What a great line-up! I hope you’ll mark your calendar and pass along the information.

November 21—Author Joan Sikes will talk about how she incorporated her life with a professional musician into an award winning fiction novel. www.jansikes.com

In 2016:

January 16Chimp Robertson is a poet, author, rodeo contestant, auctioneer, private pilot, rancher, song writer (songs recorded by Chris LeDoux) Texas and Oklahoma Real Estate Broker, skydiver, and U.S. Army veteran. http://www.chimprobertson.com

March 19—Dusty Richards, author, WWA Spur award winner and past president. I’ve heard him speak several times about the craft of writing. This man is an excellent teacher. www.dustyrichards.com

For more details on meeting times, location and to RSVP, check out their website: http://www.panhandleprowriters.org/

Eyes On the Prize


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Eyes On the Prize

By Nandy Ekle

 

Your main character is the most important person in the story. Your readers immediately love him for good reason. He’s just a normal guy try to better himself in some way. Basically, he’s exactly like the person who’s reading your story, and that’s why they love him so much.

He’s average, he needs food, shelter, and love. And he will do anything in the world to get those needs met. Every action he takes, every word he speaks lead toward this goal. And, since those are the basic needs of every person who has ever lived, your readers are involved from the first word.

Now, there is a nemesis who, for whatever reason, wants to keep one, two, or even all three of these needs from your main character. This nemesis could be another person, a government, a circumstance, a situation, or mother nature. He could even be against himself.

But our readers want our character’s needs to be met. Remember, the reader loves the person in our story and their heart will be broken if the story ends without so much as a slight struggle. And our character has a strong will to have those needs met, which makes him that much more lovable to our readers.

So we much have struggle. The character is willing to give up nearly anything to get those needs met. In fact, he has to go so far as to give up his life to attain his goal. And this is when he becomes a hero to the reader. Even he doesn’t actually every receive his prize, the fact that he makes the sacrifice to get within arms reach will make the reader love him even more.

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

The Thrill


The Thrill

by Adam Huddleston

 

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”

                                                        -Alfred Hitchcock

 

For works in the horror or thriller genres, the high point of the story comes with a bang; the killer is revealed, the hero is murdered by the antagonist, the kidnapped girl is finally discovered. Fans of these types of books and movies are usually drawn more to the build-up of tension rather than the climax. So, if someone were inclined to pen a horror/thriller short story or novel, what methods could they use to increase this anticipation?

  1. Give small bits of information as the story goes on. It stands to reason that the reader does not want the ending spoiled and feels more involved if they can try to answer the puzzle themselves.
  2. Make sure that the reader cares about the character that is in danger. The closer they feel to them, the more “terror” they will fell as the climax approaches.
  3. Set up the “thrill-causing” events of the story in order of increasing dread. By the time the bang arrives, the reader should be flying through the pages.

Hopefully, I’ve given enough advice to help you in crafting your suspenseful story. Happy writing!

Spooks


Outtakes 218

Spooks

by Cait Collins

I love the fun of Halloween. Kids and adults dressed up and pretending to be someone or something they aren’t is part of the holiday. I just don’t get the all the slasher, zombie, and thriller costumes. Whatever happened to doctors and nurses, cops and robbers, cute little witches and devils? It seems these days the more gruesome the costume, the more hefty the sales. What is the draw to being scared or grossed out?

Take books as an example. I’ve read good horror and I’ve read terrible horror. The bad novels are usually good for a laugh. In attempting to be frightening, the stories can become campy and silly. The good stuff I can’t read. Sorry, but I don’t like being frightened. I tried reading Stephen King’s IT. When I got to the description of the cellar, I had to close the book. King is so masterful with his description, he terrifies me. I could not only see the cellar, I could feel it, smell it, and taste it. That’s too real.

Think about it. What is more frightening; a zombie or a boy-next-door serial killer. I’m more frightened by reality, by something that could actually happen than fantasy characters. I couldn’t sleep after reading Helter Skelter. Charles Manson is far scarier than the Phantom of the Opera. Reality is makes good fiction because a writer has a plot and characters at hand.

I may not enjoy ghouls and goblins, but I appreciate the talent it takes to write good horror. The Stephen Kings, R. L. Steins, and Dean Koontz’s are rare and should be respected. That said; forgive me if I prefer my suspense and women’s fiction books.

 

Beginning, Middle and End – WHAT A RIDE!


A story has a beginning, middle and an end.

Make a brief outline answering these questions to create a story skeleton to build upon.

  1. The Beginning: What event happens to person, that creates a problem or a need?
  2. The Middle: What struggle does the character face in solving the problem or the need?
  3. The End: How is this person changed and what have they learned as a result of the struggle?

This is where the story is made. Imagine the process like a roller coaster. The reader’s attention is captured by the alluring promises made by the title and then they are locked into their seat at the beginning of the ride. Tension builds as the chain’s click-clack pulls them higher into the problem, and then drops them into the middle of the story where there’s no turning back. The reader struggles back and forth, and then up and down along with the characters to solve the problem. The ride then comes to an end where there is resolution showing a change created by the struggle.

Rory C. Keel

roryckeel.com