After weeks and weeks, months actually, of deep research and culture immersion, here is the first paragraph of my newest obsession.
The trumpet sounded, signaling the beginning of the paseillo. Iliana sat next to Ricardo in the presidential box and watched the horses trot into the arena followed buy the three toreros and their cuadrillas, their supporting crews. The roses in her lap smelled beautiful as they cooked in the midday sun.
And so, Nandy fans, get ready for an adventure!
Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.
The literary term this week is: dialect. This word is simply defined as the pronunciation, grammar, and spelling of a particular people. Dialect is one facet that separates groups of people from one another. Using dialect effectively increases the level of characterization and leads to more enjoyment by the reader.
Many authors have used regional dialects well. The first author that comes to my mind is Mark Twain. If you’ve ever read Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn, you can almost feel Southern speech dripping off the page. My favorite author, Stephen King, uses speech patterns and phrases often heard in the northern New England states.
One word of advice: if you give a character a specific dialect, be cautious that it is one generally understood by your audience and not what you think it sounds like. For example, some may believe that all Southerners use the term “ain’t” or drop the “g” off of the ending of words. Many do, but don’t fall into the trap of stereotyping.
Hopefully, the proper use of dialect will flesh out your characters. Happy writing!
There are days, like today, when I stare at my computer screen and beg my thoughts to gel and flow to my fingers and then to my Word doc. But no matter how much I try to force the words to come, I’m blank. Whatever I write is lackluster and worthless. So instead of banging my head against the desk, I turn to favorite writers for inspiration.
Sunrise Crossing is book four in Jodi Thomas’s Ransom Canyon series. This is a great read. Sweet and sentimental as well as dark and dangerous. I had trouble putting it down.
Dragonmark, is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s latest Dark-Hunter novel. The author brings myth, magic, dragons, humans, Greek gods, immortals, and Olympus egos together to craft a tale of love, loss, honor and revenge. Try explaining to your boss that you were late for work because a dragon held you captive. Seriously, I was never late, but it was close a couple of times.
This past week Liar’s Key, a Sharpe and Donovan novel, by Carla Neggers was released. I can’t wait to get into the story.
A few years ago, I was fortunate to attend a presentation by author, Craig Johnson. I bought my first book at the event and have been a fan ever since. Number twelve in the Longmire series, An Obvious Fact, was also released last week. It’s on my must read list. You can’t go wrong with a Longmire novel.
Some might say I use favorite authors as an excuse to abandon my writing projects. Not so. In fact taking a few minutes to recharge my creative juices in the pages of a well crafted story fires my own creativity. It allows me to return to my work refreshed and productive. I wonder how many pages I can write tonight.
Are you advancing towards your writing goals this year? We are fast approaching a new year. Have you thought about what you hope to achieve in 2017?
OLYMPIC SIZED GOALS
Joanna Penn, with TheCreativePenn.com podcast, challenged her listeners to think about their goals in four year increments. How can you define your writing career this year, while the 2016 Olympics occurred in Rio? In 2020, the Olympics will be held in Tokyo. Where will your writing career be by then?
This makes perfect sense to me because the wheels of publishing moves so very slow. It’s difficult to realize tangible measurement year by year, but when you look at your accomplishments over a longer period you can see some results. Consider financial goals, completion of a series, or rough drafts of several stand alone novels that have been inside your head. Can you accomplish those goals in four years time? Of course you can!
FOUR YEARS AGO
Four years ago, in the Fall of 2012, I cut my hours to a part-time day job and signed with a literary agent who shopped my middle grade westerns. I’ll never forget that same week I worked the Scholastic book fair at my son’s intermediate school. I noticed that historical titles were missing from the bookfair shelves. It was concerning because the year before there had been an entire section. I asked the librarian about it, and she explained, “They just didn’t send me many this year.” That was the year dystopian, vampires, and with the release of the movie, Hunger Games ruled. My cause for concern turned out to be reality four years later. The stories I loved writing had gone nowhere through traditional publishing route. During that time I hadn’t stopped writing though. In fact I completed three more novels, but it felt like everything had come to a screeching halt.
2016 Rio: What a Party!
In 2016 I made the difficult decision to mix it up yet again and researched Indie Publishing. Seriously, I feel so relieved to be back in control again. There have been so many changes since I first self-published a book in 2010. Moving onward.
Let us know what goals you hope to achieve in the next four years. We will see you right back here by Tokyo 2020!
I stand here in this room listening for any sounds at all. Nothing. Dead silence. I do hear echoes from past rants and raves, parties, fun, news casts, but all is quiet now.
The room is dark, but a little light comes in from the hallway where there are thousands of lesser doors. The bit of light sneaking in behind me shows confetti, glitter, tissues, and even candy lying on the floor as a reminder of the phantom cheers and cries of the characters that are normally here. There is a table near the podium in the corner covered with sheets of paper that contain words—happy words and lonely words, funny words and mad words, velvet words and loud words.
Where are the characters that inhabit this room? There was someone in here not long ago, but they are all gone now and the silence is deafening.
Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.
There are days when I’ve put in hours either writing and reviewing correspondence for my company or working on lessons for my Sunday school class and my mind will not switch to creative writing. This is one of those times. I’m not going to pretend I have words of wisdom tonight. I’m going to admit I’m tired and unable to think. So here’s my one thought for the week.
Don’t force yourself to write when the words aren’t there. There are times to take a break. The trick is to know when you are unable to write productively and when you are just being lazy.
“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”