Thanks for joining us on our publication journey!


Thanks for joining us on our publication journey!

Natalie Bright

WordsmithSix Blog will continue with monthly topics in 2020. Join us in January for Book Reviews, featuring our favorites and a few of our own. And then stay tuned for all things writing as we write, critique, and navigate this crazy creative process of writing and publishing. We are so excited to have you along for the ride. We especially appreciate your comments, questions, and shares. Thank you!

It’s time to think about your goals and dreams for the new year.

FINDING INSPIRATION IN 2020

At the beginning of every year I mark a wall calendar with project notes and goals. As I’m filling out my new calendar, I always pencil in a few conferences. Let’s be honest, your family and non-writer friends will not inspire you to write. Every creative second will be hard fought, if your days are anything like mine. You have to recharge that well and you can do that by spending time with like-minded creatives. There are so many reasons to not participate, but you will be amazed at the change in your motivation, craft, connections, and the new opportunities that will come your way just by putting yourself out there and meeting other writers, agents, and editors. Not to mention the ideas you’ll come away with for promotion, blog topics, places to submit—the list goes on and on. But you cannot sit in a corner. You have to make the effort.

WHERE TO GO

Here are a few recommendations for writing organizations and workshops that I have attended.

Texas High Plains Writers meets every other month in Downton Amarillo. All genres, and guests are welcome.

http://texashighplainswriters.com/

Canadian River Valley Writers Workshop, early Spring in Canadian, Texas. Dates for 2020 are pending.

http://canadianartsalliance.com/sample-page/

Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, 1st weekend in May, Oklahoma City

https://www.owfi.org/conference2020

NOTE: We have an Amarillo area OWFI Affiliate. We meet in Amarillo. If you’re interested, comment below and we will send you more information.

WTAMU Writers Academy June 8-12,2020

https://www.wtamu.edu/academics/eod-writing-academy.aspx

DFW.con June 13-14, 2020, Hurst Conference Center, Hurst Texas. This is huge with every genre represented, amazing speakers, and a wide variety of vendors who can help you get a book in hand. This is an eye-opening, jam-packed experience.

https://dfwcon.org/

The universe is against you—just so you know.


The universe is against you—just so you know.

Natalie Bright

Ideas are everywhere, if you can learn to recognize them. And then the stories in your head won’t go away. Once you acknowledge to yourself that you have a passion for writing, the universe will seemingly turn against you. There has been a story lurking inside you and if you’re like most of us, probably your whole life, and this will be the hardest work you have ever done.

Here are some tips to push aside the static in your life and stay on track with your writing.

  1. Take note of those ideas. You can sort the ones you want to work on later. Write it down. Write everything down!
  2. Push aside the guilt and make the commitment to yourself, and then tell your family. “This is my writing time. This is important to me.” There will be a crisis at every turn, but you can persevere.
  3. Make a creative space with no distractions. A closet with a desk, a card table in the corner of your bedroom. Turn your back to reality and set foot into the visions in your mind.
  4. Remember the end goal. What is your end goal? A book in hand? Author events and talks? Manning a booth and selling your books at the local craft show? Don’t lose sight of the goal to hold your book in your hand. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world.

My co-authors and I were at a recent event selling books. A poet stopped by our booth. Typical of most writers, he’d had a story scrambling his brain his entire life. We encourage him to pursue that dream. Now is the time!

Be open to the ideas around you. Listen to your gut. It’s never been easier to realize a publishing dream. There are so many options and people out there to help you make it happen.

 

FICTION DEPENDS FOR ITS LIFE ON PLACE


FICTION DEPENDS FOR ITS LIFE ON PLACE

 

A few quotes about setting…

“Every story would be another story, and unrecognizable if it took up its characters and plot and happened somewhere else. Fiction depends for its life on place. Place is the crossroads of circumstance, the proving ground of, what happened? Who’s here? Who’s coming?” EUDORA WELTY

“I think I have a God complex, and I like moving mountains and writing stories that affect entire worlds, and it’s a bit hard to do that in a contemporary setting because you have reality intruding. Whereas, when you set your own reality, you can makeup your own rules and do whatever you like.” JENNIFER FALLON

“I never think of an entire book at once. I always just start with a very small idea. In HOLES I just began with the setting; a juvenile correctional facility located in the Texas desert. Then I slowly make up the story, and rewrite it several times, and each time I rewrite it, I get new ideas, and change the old ideas around.” LOUIS SACHAR

“I always strive to create a setting that leaves the readers’ imagination room to roam. That way, every reader sees the story through their own eyes.”  P.S. BARTLETT

“I think setting as almost a character of its own, influencing the other characters in ways they’re not even aware of. So much of the success of a good ghost story rides on creating a creepy atmosphere; details of the landscape itself can help create a sense of dread.” JENNIFER MCMAHON

WALKING THE LAND


WALKING THE LAND

Natalie Bright

Your story setting is the location, environment, or atmosphere in which your novel takes place. Some authors believe in getting to know the setting by walking the land.

Here’s the link to a Youtube video with New York Times Bestselling author Jodi Thomas explaining her process. The photos featured in the video were taken by me in the Texas Panhandle, and if you like cows and Texas sunsets and such, you can see more on my blog, Prairie Purview, at nataliebright.com or find me on Instagram @natsgrams and Pinterest @natbright

Video: Walking the Land with Jodi Thomas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG4IeXueJDA

 

nataliebright.com

CONSIDER FIRST PERSON POV


CONSIDER FIRST PERSON POV

Natalie Bright

My story about rescue horses did not come alive until I wrote it in first person point of view from the perspective of my main character, a rescue horse named Flash. This same story was written as a chapter book, a picture book, and an easy reader. Finally, Flash tells his own story and it works!

  

CHAPTER 1

The Worst Day of My Life

 

Everybody calls me Flash. That is not my real name.

At birth, I was given the name Snake Creek Rooster. I am a registered Tennessee Walker, which means that I come from fancy bloodlines.

My instincts are natural to me because of my parents.

From the Tennessee Walker lineage, I have a long, straight head. I am strong and agile, and I like people. I am loyal and kind.

The spots on my legs and chest are an important part of me too. Because of my coloring, I am recognized with a spotted saddle horse registry. I am double-registered.

I lived in a pen and had a wonderful family. My life was simple and uneventful.

One day my entire world changed.

My family had to move. They could not take me with them. There was no place for me in their new home.

What would become of me?

Where would I go?

I had never been alone before.

 

 

Writing is your journey, so go write!

POV Defined


POV Defined

 

Point of view refers to the perspective that the narrator holds in relation to the events of the story.

Point of view is the way a story is narrated or depicted and who is telling or narrating the story.

Narrative point of view is the perspective of that narrator.

Literature provides a lens through which readers look at the world. Point of view is the way the author allows you to “see” and “hear” what’s going on.

We’re blogging about Point of View all month long in September. Thanks for following Wordsmith Six.

Writing in your journey, so go write!

Nataliebright.com

PLOTTING A STORY


PLOTTING A STORY

Natalie Bright

Stuck in a rut? Look at your story from a different perspective by breaking down the plot structure. I got this at a writer’s conference and unfortunately, my notes do not indicate who to credit. Apologies.

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? As the writer, you must do everything you can to prevent them from getting it. How can you twist the expected outcomes and add something unexpected? Happy ending or not? You decide.

Writing is your journey, so go write!

Natalie
Nataliebright.com

PLOT TWISTS


PLOT TWISTS

Natalie Bright

 

We are blogging about plot twists all month long. So glad you have joined us at Wordsmith Six!

Plot Twists are defined as something is going on or is about to happen that we, the readers/viewers/players, don’t see coming; if we had known about it. When that story element is revealed to us, we are surprised, shocked, and delighted.

Common themes, or plot tropes, can be found in every genre. For example, in mysteries common tropes include absence of evidence, everyone is a suspect, hidden in plain sight, or you meddling kids.

In the romance genre, popular tropes include transformation from ugly duckling to princess, friends to lovers, reunited lovers, love triangle, or forbidden love. How many times have you recognized the Romeo and Juliet trope?

How about taking a romance trope and applying it to your science fiction, changling novel? How about using a popular mystery trope in your next historical fiction? You’ve the old saying, you have to know the rules in order to break them.

MAKING IT YOURS

Twist those old, tired cliché tropes into something new. Add the YOU into your story, make it unique, make it original. Now go write…

 

WRITING THE WEST


WRITING THE WEST

Natalie Bright

This month on WordsmithSix Blog we will be posting about the different genres we write in and why. This is a diverse group, and I think there will be something here for everybody.

This is my favorite topic so far this year. I had always envisioned myself as a romance writer because I am a huge fan of the genre. I also hold a great fascination for the American West and remember being enthralled with any book relating to the Oregon Trail at a very young age. When I turned my attention to writing as a professional, I reluctantly discovered that the stories in my head were not romance but set in the dusty frontier.

WESTERN WRITERS OF AMERICA

My author platform is solidly set in my mind. I’m not going to ignore the stories in my head any longer. Thank goodness I discovered the Western Writers of America organization through an author Dusty Richards. I took his writing course at the WTAMU Academy and he could not say enough good things about this group and the support they have given him during his career. The first convention I attended was held in Lubbock, not far from my home.

The most recent meeting this year was held in Tuscon, Arizona and I came away from that meeting with ideas for magazine articles relating to my research, a possible publisher for a new women’s fiction series set on a Texas Ranch, and many, many new friends. The weekend was packed full of inspiration and networking. Below, I have compiled a list of dos and don’ts about sending queries from an agent/editor discussion panel. I hope you find this useful.

QUERY DOS AND DON’TS

  1. DO NOT communicate about your work, the query, or your manuscript through Facebook.  This is not appropriate or professional.
  2. Send a very focused query letter with sample chapters. This will tell me if you’re a storyteller.
  3. When working with an editor on a possible contract, do not be afraid to ask every question under the sun.
  4. The Authors Guild offers its members a review of a publishing contract for free.
  5. Leave a one-page, short synopsis after your pitch meeting. Boil it down to three short paragraphs.
  6. Leave a business card after your pitch session.
  7. Be prepared to describe your project in one sentence.
  8. Understand what else has been published on the same topic and how your work fits in.
  9. Follow directions.
  10. Follow the proposed guidelines.
  11. Put your title in the subject line of your email, not “book”, “book idea” or “proposal”. My inbox is full of such emails and I don’t know who is who.
  12. Can you tell me why you’re the person to write this and what else is out there? Why is your project different?
  13. Do not send entire manuscript unless you are invited to do so.
  14. If you can’t write a legible, clear, concise query letter, how can we trust you to write an entire book?
  15. Always tell me if your book is finished or not and include the total word count in a query.

If  you are interested in the Western Writers of America organization, follow this link for how you can become a member: https://westernwriters.org/ and for a recap and pictures from this years conference, check out my blog Prairie Purview on the home page of my website https://nataliebright.com

Hollywood in the Desert


Hollywood in the Desert

Natalie Bright

 

The Old Tucson movie set continues to be recognized as the pre-eminent film location in the Southwest, after its construction in 1939. Hollywood legends have walked the streets from John Wayne, Dean Martin, Glen Ford, Elizabeth Taylor, and many others. It was the location for the show High Chaparral, which aired from 1967 to 1971 staring Cameron Mitchell and Mark Slade, among others. Films, television shows, commercials, and even music videos, have been filmed here. If you are a fan of westerns, as I am, plan a visit to the site. Located about a 30 minutes drive from Tuscon, Arizona there are also eateries, shops, and a great shoot-out performance with stunt men.  For more pictures about my recent trip to Tuscon to attend the Western Writers of American convention, go to my Instagram @natsgrams.