Fill In the Blank


POST CARD FROM THE MUSE

Fill In the Blank

By Nandy Ekle

 

The last couple of weeks I talked about my need for organization in my every day life, but the total lack of structure in my writing life. And I’ve studied and been told and shown what an important tool outlining, planning, and plotting can be for a writer.

Let me just say, whatever your writing habits are, I will never tell you you’re doing it wrong, especially if you can successfully write “The End.” I very firmly believe each writer’s methods are right for them. But I also feel it’s important to have an open mind and trying something new to be sure you have the most effective way for your writing.

Last Friday I ended in the middle of telling about one story I wrote in a completely different way from my normal seat-of-the-pants method. This particular story, I did the plotting and planning, the story boarding and characterization, and the theme and each event. Even though this story is one I love very deeply, I didn’t have as much fun writing it as I normally have. The spontaneity was gone. The surprise was gone. I felt as though I was filling in blanks to a story already written.

But as I mentioned last week, something very interesting happened. The story was successful. I entered it in a contest, and it won second place and it earned the second spot in an anthology (available on Amazon). The other thing that happened was that the main character became one of my all-time favorite characters. And I think the reason that happened is that in my characterization of her, I realized she represents both of my grandmothers rolled into one.

Now, there’s another story I wrote in my normal way. This story, I had a theme and a situation. My character had a paranormal ability, but she didn’t want to reveal her talent, so she made up a story when caught using her gift. This was where I started. As I wrote, events of the story came to life as if I were a reader reading it. For me, this is the “funnest” part of writing. The tale unfolds in my head as if I’m watching a movie. In fact, as I headed into the final scene, I still was not sure who my villain was. As one of my “movie” scenes played, the secret bad guy turned his face to me and winked. This was when I saw the end of my story. To this day, I get cold chills when I remember the scene.

This story has not found a home yet, but that’s one of my resolutions for this year.

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

 

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Writing in “You Only Live Twice”


Writing in “You Only Live Twice”

by Adam Huddleston

 

The fifth film in the James Bond franchise, “You Only Live Twice” finds 007 travelling throughout Japan. Sean Connery, in his role as Bond, is tasked with discovering why two spacecrafts (one Soviet and one American) disappear in orbit. Each superpower believe that the other is to blame. Bond finds that S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is behind the disappearances and eventually runs into Ernst Blofeld, the evil organization’s leader. In the climax, 007 thwarts Blofeld’s plan to capture another American spaceship (which would lead to war between the two nations) and Blofeld’s secret base is destroyed.

I found “You Only Live Twice” to be quite a bit more enjoyable than the previous film “Thunderball”. There is a lot more action and the story line is more interesting. For example, Bond is seemingly shot to death in the opening minutes of the film. I won’t spoil the rest of the movie but it is definitely worth a watch.

Sleepless Nights


Outtakes 231

Sleepless Nights

by Cait Collins

Have you ever had one of those nights when you just couldn’t fall asleep? Or do you wake up at odd hours and can’t go back to sleep? Instead of tossing and turning, try writing. It’s strange how easily details appear when you’re in that state between sleep and fully awake.

This morning I finally met the older brother, one of the secondary characters in my new novel Three x Three. I knew Ben had to make at least an appearance, but was he a good guy or a resentful jerk? I discovered his true nature in the scene where he is reunited with his younger brother Sean. A part of me thought he would be a jerk, but instead he’s really a nice guy, He’s the kind of man you’d want your sister to meet and love.

At times we tend to force our characters into the rolls we think they should have. Unfortunately, we put them into the wrong role. Instead, we should let the role develop on its own. By allowing the character to evolve in to his own person, we build a better character and a better story.

Now if I can only keep my antagonist in line.

Stay Inspired


Stay Inspired 

Rory C. Keel

 

When I began my journey as a writer, I jumped in head first with an attitude of seeking to learn. I started reading how-to books and any instruction manual I could find. I set out to follow all of the rules to the letter and hope for success. I made a considerable effort to attend and get involved in local writing groups and conferences. Over the years, I picked up valuable lessons from other authors and publishers.

Thinking back on my involvement in these things, it felt that writing came a little easier then than now.

What’s different?

Attitude is the difference. When I surrounded myself with writer-ly people and places, my mind stayed focused on writing.

While it may have felt like it took time away from putting words on the page, I actually wrote more.

I challenge you to write more by continuing to learn from others and stay inspired.

TRUE GRIT TIMES TWO


 

 

TRUE GRIT TIMES TWO

By Natalie Bright

 

Writing Exercise #1.

Develop a new twist on the characterization of an iconic character.

On a cold, foggy Saturday this past weekend, my husband popped in True Grit (TG#2) starring Jeff Bridges. Later that afternoon John Wayne’s True Grit, from 1969, (TG#1) happened to be on television. Over dinner we talked about the differences between the two movies.

My husband made a good point in that Bridges played a meaner, darker version of a crusty, old Marshall, which is why he likes TG#2 better. Directed by the Coen brothers and released in 2010, I agree that TG#2 is more realistic to the old west. It never made sense to me that the Marshall would have walked that far in TG#1. In TG#2 they rode Little Blacky to death first and then Mattie was carried by the Marshall on foot to save her life.

On Sunday afternoon, we introduced my son’s girlfriend to The Cowboys (1972) with John Wayne. If you don’t own the blue-ray version of this movie, you must find it. Filmed on locations in Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico the scenery stands out as a character on its own. TV reruns don’t do these ranches and sweeping landscapes justice. Roscoe Lee Browne is my favorite character as the chuck wagon cookie, and I’ve had a crush on A. Martinez as Cimarron from the moment he defiantly proclaims, “I’m a mistake of nature.” This movie is so good. Tommy Lee Jones is reportedly writing a new screenplay for The Cowboys. I’m happy/sad about that news.

To sum up our weekend, my 18yo likes TG#1 and TG#2 equally as well. His girlfriend loved The Cowboys. Our 14yo tells me he’s not really into John Wayne, but he really likes that new Netflix show Lonesome Dove (What? I thought he only watched Walking Dead). I’m so glad new generations are discovering these “new” western type shows! When’s the last time you watched a good ole’ family western?

Writing Exercise #2.

Using one of your own characters, rework the description into something more… more dark, more funny, more brave. Dig deep into their personality and motives, and see what you can find hiding there.

Thanks for following WordsmithSix!

nat

Sunday Writings


For books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men lived and worked and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives.

AMY LOWELL

The Eleventh Hour


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Eleventh Hour

By Nandy Ekle

As I sit looking from my keyboard to the clock and back to the keyboard, I notice the hands on the clock seem to be moving faster. This writing piece is due on the administrator’s desk before midnight. The clock giggles as the small hand is on the twelve and the long hand is on the nine. In my head I’m running around searching for words. Any word will do, big words, little words, even made up words. Just enough words I can string together to call my weekly blog finished.

A movement in one of the corners of my brain catches my eye and I see the final letters of a word as they disappear under a locked door. I glance at the clock on the wall and the second hand clicks off another moment. Desperate, I grab the handle of the door I saw the word run under. Pulling it down, the door slowly opens to the whispers of all the words I have been chasing. I grab about 250 of the and toss them on the open page of my computer screen and begin the task of setting them in order. As I get the final word in place and poke the “period button,” the three hands on the wall clock click into place on the twelve and the alarm rings. I click “send,” and my blog flies through cyberspace to the administrator’s computer.

The pressure of the eleventh hour has worked its magic once again.

What is it about last minute writing that kicks my creativity into hyper gear? As I mentioned last week, I’m an organized person in the rest of my life. I am the queen sorter, the president of filing, the czar of outlining down to a double “zz.” But when it comes to my writing life, I’m a confirmed “seat of the pantser.”

One time I got an idea and decided it would make a good story. I thought it through, knew my main idea, and had a general idea of the events. But I decided to be organized and do it the way I had been taught in school. I wrote a bona fide outline. Then I went on to the characterizations. I had all the names picked out, their appearances, and their personalities, speech patterns, even what they each wanted by the end of the story. I felt complete. I was ready to put it together. What happened was very interesting.

And the alarm has chimed. You’ll have to come back next Friday for the next installment of The Eleventh Hour. Until then,

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

Writing in “Thunderball”


Writing in “Thunderball”

by Adam Huddleston

 

“Thunderball”, the fourth film in the James Bond franchise, stars Sean Connery in the protagonist’s role. The plot of this movie centers on Bond’s attempts to locate and secure a pair of atomic bombs stolen by the evil organization, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. It is eventually discovered that the main antagonist, Emilio Largo, has them stored under his yacht in the Bahamas and is threatening to drop them on an American city, most likely Miami, or somewhere in the United Kingdom. A climactic underwater battle between Bond, aided by the Coast Guard, and Largo’s henchmen ensues. One of the bombs is recaptured by the Coast Guard, and after Largo attempts to escape with the other, he is fatally impaled with a harpoon.

While not one of my personal favorites, “Thunderball” was still an enjoyable movie with decent dialogue and acting. One of my critiques, and one shared by some film critics, is that the underwater scenes seem to take a bit too long. It almost detracts from the flow of the picture. That being said, overall, I would recommend it.

Check It Out


Outtakes 230

Check It Out

by Cait Collins

I was rather upset by a comment made the other day regarding writers who do not check their facts. I was purchasing a number of books and magazines on gems, minerals, and jewelry making for more information on the career of one of my characters. The clerk commented I must be really into rocks and jewelry. I explained I was doing some research for my new book. Her response was “Thank you. I do some editing and I can’t believe how many writers expect the editor to do the fact-checking.”

Really? I can’t believe writers would put something on paper and not check the facts. I prefer to think that we take the time to learn what we don’t know. For example, would anyone start a story about a doctor and not know the basics of education, office set up and regulations regarding the practice of medicine? Would we be willing to tarnish our reputation just to get the book finished?

We are responsible for what we put on paper. I have a situation in a novel regarding the purchase of several tracts of land with the stipulation the former owners could buy the land back in five years. Only the buy-back did not include the water and mineral rights. Was this possible? Absolutely. How did I learn about this? Book and on-line research combined with discussions with experts in the field. And with on-line resources, it’s easy to do the research.

While we have more up-to-date information at hand, I still prefer books. I purchased a detailed book on gems, cuts, faceting, settings, and designs. While I have done some rock collecting and panning, I need details so that my character is real.

I also believe in experience. Writing a western? Go west. Sign on as a ranch hand, and if you don’t ride a horse, learn. Pick up the cowboy lingo.

Find a fee site and learn to pan for gold. (You get to keep what you find.)

Is your hero a rock climber? Find a beginner’s location and scale the cliff. Become familiar with the rigging and terminology.

Proper research builds better settings, richer dialog, and more exciting characters. By paying attention to details, we portray ourselves as true professionals who take responsibility for the words we put on the page. We make the editor’s job easier and we reduce the amount of editing needed to make a project press-ready. Good research permits the author to put one project to be and start a new work.

 

Stay Inspired


Stay Inspired 

Rory C. Keel

 

 

When I began my journey as a writer, I jumped in head first with an attitude of seeking to learn. I started reading how-to books and any instruction manual I could find. I set out to follow all of the rules to the letter and hope for success. I made a considerable effort to attend and get involved in local writing groups and conferences. Over the years, I picked up valuable lessons from other authors and publishers.

Thinking back on my involvement in these things, it felt that writing came a little easier then than now.

What’s different?

Attitude is the difference. When I surrounded myself with writer-ly people and places, my mind stayed focused on writing.

While it may have felt like it took time away from putting words on the page, I actually wrote more.

I challenge you to write more by continuing to learn from others and stay inspired.