Snowflake Method (cont.)


Snowflake Method (cont.)

by Adam Huddleston

Last week, I began my attempt at using the snowflake method created by author Randy Ingermanson.  This week, I’ll continue with Step 3.

Step 3: Write a one-sentence summary of each major character and a paragraph summarizing their goals, conflicts, and overall changes.

Dwight Lara (major character)- A new baseball recruit uses black magic to lead his team to the championship.

Dwight Lara, a twenty-three year old center fielder from Nassau, Bahamas is drafted by the Amarillo Yellowjackets midway through their season when they find themselves at the bottom of their division.  Seeking to help his team, he secretly begins using black magic spells he had learned growing up in the Caribbean. The payment for each hex is the loss of a human life. As the season draws towards its conclusion, Dwight begins feeling more remorseful for each death he causes.  When his deeds are discovered by the manager, he resolves to stop immediately. The manager however presses him to continue, and prior to the championship game, has the player’s son murdered in an attempt to win it all. Although the team is victorious, Dwight kills his coach and performs his final spell, a deed which causes the entire stadium to collapse, taking the lives of everyone.

Stephen Craight (major character)- A losing baseball team’s general manager forces his new player to continue his deadly methods of helping the team win.

Stephen Craight, a fifty-six year old general manager of the Amarillo Yellowjackets drafts Dwight Lara in an attempt to resurrect their season.  He discovers Dwight performing black magic in a little-used area of the locker room but says nothing when he realizes that the team is now winning every game.  His new player has a change of heart near the end of the season, so in an attempt to win the championship, he has Dwight’s son murdered. Lara discovers what has happened and kills Craight once the championship game is over.  

 

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ELEMENTS OF A MIDDLE GRADE NOVEL


ELEMENTS OF A MIDDLE GRADE NOVEL

Natalie Bright

The following list of elements for middle grade novels was a handout from a writing conference. The name or origin of the information is not on the handout, so apologies that I cannot give credit. It’s a helpful list as you are crafting your story for middle grades, defined as a core audience of 8 to 12 year olds or 3rd through 6th grades.

 

  1. Drama!
  2. Imagination.
  3. Use humor.
  4. Write to the age level.
  5. Make place a character.
  6. Make each word resonate.
  7. Bring history alive.
  8. Mix genres.
  9. Craft prose carefully.
  10. Let joy spill out!

The Future


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Future

By Nandy Ekle

On a recent trip with my husband, I met someone who made my heart soar. I met a young lady, around the age of 18 or 20. She had brown, very curly hair, glasses on her face, and braces on her teeth. And her eyes told me she was very shy, but couldn’t hold her interest any longer.

“I heard you write stories,” she said in a small voice. She had sidled up as close to me as she dared, which was still a little far away for me to hear her easily (I have begun to wonder if my hearing might be going the way of my spike heeled shoes).

“Yes, I do. I write mainly short stories, but I’ve also got a couple of novels going as well.” I smiled nurturingly at her.

“I used to write stories when I was in junior high,” she said, just barely over a mumble.

I felt my face split with an excited grin. “Really? That’s when I started writing!” When I told her that, her face lit up as if the sun had risen, even though the clock said the time of day was after nine p.m. 

She and I talked for another hour about writing, stories, ideas, other authors, books to read for instruction, and books to read for fun. I don’t know how she felt at the end of the evening, but I know I felt wonderful.

I’ve always believed that young people who love to write deserve a special place. After all, writing is not a social activity; it can be lonely. And for a young person to enjoy writing a story instead of sitting on the hood of a car with a bunch of buddies, that’s a special person.

But more than that, I believe our youth is our future and it’s our job, as seasoned experienced writers, to encourage them with their craft. One day, we olders will be gone and the youngers will be in charge.

So when you meet these young folks, give them the encouragement you craved when you were their age. Always remember, you might just be in the presence of the next Stephen King, or E. A. Poe.

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

Snowflake Method


Snowflake Method

By Adam Huddleston

Over the next few weeks, I will be attempting to use the snowflake method created by novelist Randy Ingermanson to outline a horror story that I’m working on.

Step 1.  The one-sentence tagline

A new baseball recruit uses black magic to turn around his team’s failing season.

Step 2.  Expanding the tagline into a full paragraph

When the Amarillo Yellowjackets find themselves at the bottom of their division, they recruit a mysterious center-fielder in the hopes of turning their season around.  As their luck begins to change, a startling fact becomes apparent; fans are dying at their games. The club manager discovers that his new player is a master of black magic, and is responsible for the tragedies.  When the team makes the championship series, conflict arises between player and coach concerning the fielder’s role on the team. The aftermath of their feud results in the greatest horror yet.

Step 3.  Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each main character

To be continued next week!

 

Writer’s Block Remedy


Outtake 355

Writer’s Block Remedy

By Cait Collins

 

Robert J. Ray, author of The Weekend Novelist and The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery (Robert J. Ray and Jack Remick) had some excellent ideas for working through the rough spots in your story or novel. My favorite is free writing.  It’s a simple concept.

Write a sentence.

Set a timer for three minutes.

Ready. Set.  Go.

For the next three minutes write whatever comes to mind based on the sentence. Do not think. Just write.

Do not edit.  Just write.

Do not lift your pen or pencil off the paper.

When the timer sounds, stop.

Put down your pencil and review your work.

You’ will be surprised with the results when you allow your subconscious to control your pencil.

Another exercise is to write a sentence.  The next sentence begins with the last word in the previous sentence. The last word in the previous sentence is the first word in the nest sentence.  For example:

Winter arrives bringing the sailors home.

Home from the sea.

Sea waves crash against the shore…

Set the timer for three minutes.

Allowing your subconscious to momentarily control your writing frees you from worrying about the best word, proper punctuation, and is this going to work. Once you get the ideas down, you can make the corrections and enhancements in editing.  The point is to just write.

Let’s Start Here!


Let’s Start Here!

Rory C. Keel

 

Whether you’re just starting to write or you have advanced into the realm of an experienced professional writer, Quality writing is the number 1 reason people buy your books.

Here are some suggestions to get us started.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek advice from other writers, join writer groups and use editors.
  2. The old saying “Write what you know,” is still good advice. Use what you know as a foundation to springboard into further research on your subject.
  3. Add a different twist to a story. Approach a dilemma differently. Create a new dimension in time.
  4. Be realistic in setting your goals. Have you ever wanted to be a Best Selling Author, but you haven’t ever finished a book? Write it, Finish it!
  5. Write as much as you can—when you can. Schedule reasonable time to write, Publish and promote. Understand that achieving each of your goals for one day, each day, is being successful!

Writing Ideas


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Writing Ideas

By Nandy Ekle

I have a book of writing prompts called 300 More Writing Prompts, and I thought I’d share ten of them with you.

1. Name a novel you’d love to model your life after.

2. How far would you go to get what you want?

3. Have you ever been betrayed? If so, how?

4. Create a short story about your life that is complete fiction.

5. You’re in charge of a murder mystery dinner theater for one night. Describe the scenario you’ve set for your guests to solve.

6. How do you feel about secret admirers?

7. What is your idea of the perfect summer?

8. When you close your eyes, what do you daydream about?

9. Name something you’re never willing to risk or take a risk on and why.

10. What was the scariest urban legend or ghost story you’ve ever heard, and how did it originate?

Short Story Submission


Short Story Submission

By Adam Huddleston

 

Here’s a short story I submitted to WritersDigest.com. It was based on a picture of a young lady peeking her head over the edge of an office cubicle partition.

 

Macy’s head slowly surfaced over the edge of her home-away-from-home like a tiny periscope.

“There.”

“I see another one, over in Bill’s cubicle.”

The woman in the square opposite Macy’s rolled her eyes and took another sip of coffee.

“Girl?  What are you talkin’ about?”

Macy lowered herself back into her seat and spun around to face her computer.  Jessie never believed her, and why should she?  When you’ve only been released from the “facility” for a few months, people don’t want to put any credit in your perception of reality.

“I know it sounds…crazy, but there’s a little pink dog in Bill’s cubicle.  Can’t you see it?  It’s right over there, chewing on his seat cushion.”

Jessie made an over-dramatic effort of standing up and craned her neck in the direction of Bill’s workplace.  She gave his station a once over then plopped back down.

“Nope.  Nothin’ there but Bill, Macy.  Why don’t you get back to your calls?”

The brunette temp resisted the urge to poke her bottom lip out; a habit her parents had thought endearing when she was a child, but now came across mildly irritating.

Macy spent the next few minutes rearranging the office supplies on her desk, typing a few lines into the computer, and disinfecting her phone.  She hoped the urge to look again would lessen, but eventually, it caught back up with her.  Chewing her ragged nails, she poked her head over the cubicle’s edge again.

“Bill,” she whispered.  “Bill, its Macy.  Don’t turn around too fast, but there’s something in your cubicle.”

Bill Johnston had his earbuds in.  The only sounds he heard were coming from the iPhone in his pocket.

Macy watched in agony as the pink dog (she was pretty sure it was a poodle), nibbled ever-closer towards Bill’s backside.  It was inches away when she sprang into action.

In a rather impressive exhibition of athleticism, Macy hurdled the partition between their workstations and dove at the little canine.  She crashed into the back of Bill’s chair and the pair of them went sprawling onto the carpeted floor.

“Macy!  What are you doing?” Bill screamed.

When she finally got to her feet, she looked around for her prey but the cubicle was empty save for the two co-workers.

“I…I was trying to…help you.”

Bill stared at her with his mouth dangling open.  Gently, Macy reached over and lifted his bottom jaw back to where she felt it belonged.

A huge guffaw came from behind her and she spun around to see Jessie with her hand pressed over her mouth, wiping away tears.

“Wow.  Just, wow. I can’t wait till corporate hears this.”

Bill looked over his assailant’s shoulders at the woman laughing at them.  He popped the speakers out of his ears and tossed them onto the desk.

“Quiet, Jessie.”  Then he turned his attention to the temp.  “What exactly where you helping me with, Macy”

Macy stood in silence, her bottom lip slowly edging away from the upper.

“I thought I saw something.”

“What?”

“It doesn’t matter.  It’s not here.  It never was! I’m so stupid!”

Bill let out a sigh and slowly pulled the girl into a hug. He held her for a second, then approached the woman still giggling behind them.

“I wouldn’t laugh too much.”

“Why is that,” Jessie asked.

“Because something left a little pile of pink poop by your computer case.”

Let’s Start Here!


Let’s Start Here!

Rory C. Keel

 

Whether you’re just starting to write or you have advanced into the realm of an experienced professional writer, Quality writing is the number 1 reason people buy your books.

Here are some suggestions to get us started.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek advice from other writers, join writer groups and use editors.
  2. The old saying “Write what you know,” is still good advice. Use what you know as a foundation to springboard into further research on your subject.
  3. Add a different twist to a story. Approach a dilemma differently. Create a new dimension in time.
  4. Be realistic in setting your goals. Have you ever wanted to be a Best Selling Author, but you haven’t ever finished a book? Write it, Finish it!
  5. Write as much as you can—when you can. Schedule reasonable time to write, Publish and promote. Understand that achieving each of your goals for one day, each day, is being successful!

Lessons Learned


Outtakes 353

Lessons Learned

By Cait Collins

 

After years of writing for broadcasters, non-profits, and corporate training groups, I was finally published. Our Time on Route 66is now available..I had always longed for a chance to sign my stories. It sounds a little silly, but autographing your works is a thrill. It’s a way of acknowledging writing success.

I so enjoyed our two days in Shamrock at the Route 66 Festival. Not only did I get to sign our books, I had the chance to meet the real travelers of the road. They taught me to see the Mother Road through the eyes of those who built the new highway. I met people who had traveled the route from Chicago to Los Angeles multiple times. I learned their stories and their dreams for revitalizing the old road. One group had recently purchased the Dutch Windsor’s Painted Desert Trading Post in Arizona. They have no plans to reopen the site. The goal is to restore and maintain a piece of American history. Their shirts had the white and red “Cold Drinks” logo from the sign painted on the exterior wall of the structure..

I was flipping through their coffee table book Route 66 Sightingsand came across a picture of the Santo Domingo Indian Trading Post.  I had visited the post a number of years ago and even witnessed a trade between the proprietor and a Native American. Sadly the original structure has burned down. It has been rebuilt, but much of the history has been lost.

I met a Park Ranger who works at the Washita Battlefield near Cheyenne, Oklahoma. We talked about how the Sand Creek massacre triggered the Washita massacre. He said “If Sand Creek hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have a job.”

I was able to speak to children about rescue horses and how they have new lives because someone loved them and believed they could be rehabilitated. And Miss Route 66 spoke of her students and wanting them to learn more about writing.

It was a weekend of joy. Three of my sisters drove up to buy our books and get them signed. They will never truly understand how much their support means to me.

I photographed old cars. (I wish I owned the T-Bird.) And I relived a scene from my childhood. The Blarney Inn is an older motel built in the three-sided design from the fifties and sixties. From the outside the inn didn’t look like much. It has had a face lift, and the rooms have been updated. The place was immaculate.

I guess this is my long-winded way of saying the weekend was a success. I signed books, I made contact with others who love history and want to preserve the pieces that can be salvaged. I met with people who love to write and want to teach others to enjoy the written word. I rediscovered what I’ve always known, reaching out to new people and new ideas helps me grow not only as a writer, but also as a person.