Diction


Diction

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week’s literary term is: diction. It can be roughly defined as an author’s word usage. Over time, a writer’s choice to use shorter or longer words, specific dialects, or even certain phrases, can distinguish them from their peers. For example, when attempting to affect a Shakespearian sound, an author may utilize familiar words from Old English such as thee, thy, and thou.

When analyzing my word usage, it seems that I prefer a mix of word length, southern dialects (surprise, surprise), and a lot of description regarding the setting’s temperature. I’m looking forward to honing my craft by altering my diction from time to time.

Happy writing!

If You Dream It, You Can Build It


Outtakes 289

If You Dream It, You Can Build It

By Cait Collins

 

My sisters and I attended the Parade of Homes this past weekend. The homes are a chance for local builders to showcase their work. Some of the homes were extraordinary, and others were a little cookie cutter. The ones that stood out had the builder’s stamp. Something that made the dwelling stand out from the others. For example an entryway. The house was set on a hill with a long cement staircase leading to the front door. It was beautiful, but I was exhausted by the time I walked in the door.

The next house was built by a friend. It well built and well staged. I could be comfortable living in that house. The next one had an impressive kitchen. I loved the gray color and white accents. My favorite was a totally modern home. The front door was not a rectangle, but the edge was a series of curves that fit into the door frame. Chandeliers were not traditional crystal styles. And one room had rhinestone drawer pulls. Loved the unique styling, but I wouldn’t want to live there. I kept going back to beautifully crafted home a friend built.

Writers have something in common with a builder. We begin with a concept. Then lay the foundation. Partition off the rooms. And then fill the rooms with our unique style. We add the color to the story with vivid details, emotion, drama, and resolution. We are architects of storytelling. Our words build worlds, and people. We are craftsmen and should be proud of the work we do.

Basic Social Media for Writers


Basic Social Media for Writers 

By Rory C. Keel

 

After mountains of research, hours of keeping my rear end in the chair and wearing out the keyboard, they expect me to do what?

Yes, that’s right, as a writer you need to have an internet presence on social media.

Recently, I was asked to present some basic materials about social media, to the Ranch House writers, a group of writers who occasionally gather for a meal and encouragement from others in the writing community.

This blog will be the first in a series of four, dealing with the basics of social media for writers.

What is Social Media

Simply put, social media is a varied group of internet based applications that allow YOU to create and share content.

Early in the development of the internet, most websites were static. In other words, much like a billboard on the highway, it was costly to change and no had ability to interact with consumers.

Today, social media platforms give writers the ability to create, share, discuss ideas, and publish user-generated materials.

These applications are often categorized into groups such as networking sites, blog sites, video Sharing sites and even photo sharing sites. There are hundreds of applications and Facebook, Twitter, Google +, YouTube and Flickr are just a few examples.

Will Social Media benefit me as a writer?

While there are many reasons an individual might use social media, for the writer it’s as simple as Business 101.

Writing is a business

Have you ever read the reviews of a restaurant before going out to dinner? Have you ever researched someone on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIN, before meeting for an appointment?

It is estimated that in 2015, 93 percent of all businesses will use some form of social media. For both consumers and businesses it has become the norm and is expected.

Using Social Media

Using social media as a writer allows easy communication between you and your readers. It is a medium that allows the ability to develop relationships by having accessibility to groups where individual time is not possible.

And finally, social media allows you multiple mediums to develop your brand as a writer. By blogging, posting, tweeting, google plus-ing, you can establish yourself as a writer and build a large readership.

Next Tuesday we will discuss which social media platform to use. See ya’ then!

roryckeel.com

Cardboard Characters


Cardboard Characters

Natalie Bright

One of the most difficult tasks for a writer is to create fictional characters that seem real and believable to the reader. I love books in which characters seem to jump off the page and ones that remains in my head long after the book is closed.

Much Like Cardboard

Are your characters more like cardboard; stiff, emotionless, without personality? They have names and faces, but they are just on the surface of your story and nothing more. The solution: dig deeper into your character’s motivation.

As an author, you must torture your characters. It is impossible to reveal deep character feelings and personalities without applying deep, intense pressure. The ways in which they react to that pressue reveals their temperament and psyche.

Using Character Profiles

Complete character profiles on both your protagonist and your antagonist. There are many great example forms available online.

Don’t stop at the name. Create a birthdate, a history of where they were born, family description, dominate characteristics, weaknesses, and physical limitations. Create historical events for your character that might have happened in their life such as school’s name, college, children’s names, etc.

Write A Letter

Many of my author friends write a letter in first person POV from their character. Don’t think; just free write. Let them reveal their secrets, desires, fears, self-image.

This trick worked great for me on the story I am working on now. My main characters are a young mule-skinner and a Comanche brave. I am alternating chapters between their points of view. I want to show the contrast between how very different their worlds are, yet they are both sixteen-year-old boys. They each wrote me a letter about their different worlds. One holds a great hatred for his father, and the other resents the physical limitations he has to live with. Now I have something to build upon and add the conflict. At this point, writing is more fun than work.

Keep moving forward and thanks for following WordsmithSix!

 

Q and A


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Q and A

By Nandy Ekle

 

Some random thoughts that, hopefully, will make your muse sit up and take notice. I’d love to hear your answers/reactions in the comments. ☺️

  1. Write about a single man who is asked to escort his neighbor’s daughter to a school dance. Or write about a kindergarten girl who wants her kindly neighbor man to take her to a father/daughter dance.
  2. Write about a woman who retired from an insurance company. She’s bored with retirement so she calls the insurance company once a month to try to catch them in a mistake.
  3. Write about a child who meets his father for the first time. Or write about what a man feels in the first 30 minutes after his first child is born.
  4. Write about a new widow only two weeks after her husband of 50 years has passed away.
  5. Write about a girl who finds out she is a fairy changeling.
  6. Write about a family who is traveling to visit parents in another state and their car breaks down, leaving them stranded on the side of the road.
  7. Write about how you would explain to your three-year-old daughter why milk is white, water is clear, and Koolaid is red.
  8. Write about a woman sitting next to her mother and suddenly realizing her mother has become an elderly woman.
  9. Write about a middle-aged man who suddenly realizes he has the super power of strength.
  10. Write about a young teen age girl who has a fantasy of her famous crush stopping at her house because his car died, his phone has no signal, and he’s going to be late picking up his date to the concert.

 

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

 

Diction


Diction

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week’s literary term is: diction. It can be roughly defined as an author’s word usage. Over time, a writer’s choice to use shorter or longer words, specific dialects, or even certain phrases, can distinguish them from their peers. For example, when attempting to affect a Shakespearian sound, an author may utilize familiar words from Old English such as thee, thy, and thou.

When analyzing my word usage, it seems that I prefer a mix of word length, southern dialects (surprise, surprise), and a lot of description regarding the setting’s temperature. I’m looking forward to honing my craft by altering my diction from time to time.

Happy writing!

April Snow


Outtakes 288

April Snow

By Cait Collins

 

Impossible! Snow on the last day of April. Spring began in March. Temperatures had been in the 90’s and now snow covered the ground. Taylor stood at the picture window looking out over rolling grassland wondering if she would be able to keep her lunch and shopping appointment with her sister. They were meeting to plan an engagement party for her niece. Ashley would be the first of the nieces and nephews to get married, and like all other family traditions, the event would set the pattern for future engagement parties.

Taylor didn’t envy the couple. Marriage had been difficult in her day, but with all the social changes and more relaxed ideas about fidelity and till-death-do-us-part, marriage didn’t have the same commitment as her vows had. At least she and Mark had a brief but good life. He was taken too young by a fugitive from prison. Mark had been a good cop. He died seven years ago during an April snow.

She turned away from the window. She needed to leave her house by 11:15 to meet Carolyn at noon. What to wear? Her sister would be dressed to the nines, but City Girl didn’t have to drive in from the ranch. She didn’t need to clear the drive before leaving the house. Carolyn had a husband and a couple of teenage sons to do that for her. Taylor wasn’t so lucky. The ranch was hers alone. Sure she had a couple of hired hands but they cared for the stock and the land. One more good year and she could hire more help. Taylor brightened. Her life was good. She had friends and family. The ranch kept her busy. And there was the upcoming wedding. And she finally decided what to wear for her afternoon with her sister.

Returning home at twilight, Taylor wished she had left earlier. The morning snow had ended about the time she reached town. But it started again just before she and Carolyn had gone their separate ways. The roads were worse than earlier and she battled to keep the car on the road.

As she neared the turn to the ranch, her car began to lose traction. Unable to get the car under control, she found it impossible to make her turn. Instead of heading up the road, the vehicle was headed straight toward the rock wall that ended at the gate.

The impact threw Taylor from the car and head first into the wall. A hand reached down to her. “Hello, Sweetheart, I’ve been waiting for you.”

“Mark. I’ve missed you so much.”

The ranch hands found Taylor Compton early the next morning. The expression on her face was peaceful; not pained. A red rose was clutched in her left hand. Both men had mentioned the shadow that often kept watch at the gate. And while neither was fanciful, they both believed the lovers had been reunited in an April snow.

What Is A Novel?


What Is A Novel?

Natalie Bright

NOVEL Defined:

A novel is a fictional exploration of a universal truth as viewed by the author consisting of narrative prose, a theme, a setting, and a plot.

A novel has a protagonist: readers must relate and care about someone in the story. One character that rises above the frey and accomplishes his or her goal against all odds.

The purpose of your novel: elicit EMOTION in the reader. Escape and entertain. Go for the reader’s heartstrings.

Readers remember images even when they are reading written words. Your job as a writer is to create vivid pictures, or images, in the readers’ mind.

The Saturday Morning Blogger – Travel Diary Israel


The Saturday Morning Blogger – Travel Diary Israel

James Barrington

I have heard it said that journalism is the first draft of history. I’m pretty sure that’s true, although in these days it’s more of a rough draft needing a lot of review and correction than a first draft fit to be printed.

That is a prologue to my Israel travel dairy note about ancient graffiti on the stones at the temple mount. If we can get a photo posted on the WordSmithSix blog site, you will be able to see a fourth century AD bit of graffiti chiseled in stone on the western wall of the temple mount. Translated from the Hebrew, it says, “Then you shall see and your heart shall rejoice and their bones like grass shall”. It is almost a quote of Isiah 66:14, which says, “Then you shall see and your heart shall rejoice and your bones like grass shall flourish.”

Our guide speculated that the “author” of the graffiti may have been chased off before he could complete his work. He also said that the difference between “your bones” and their bones” is one letter in the Hebrew. He further noted that at the time the graffiti was placed there, Jerusalem had been rebuilt as a Roman pagan city.

It seems that people have been writing and “editorializing” for centuries, even when it would have taken considerably more effort than simply typing on a keyboard.