WHAT’S YOUR SECRET?


WHAT’S YOUR SECRET?

By Natalie Bright

Everybody has secrets. Things deep, down they never tell about their childhood, fears, likes, dislikes, first loves…you know some.

Characters have secrets too. Those buried, dark secrets of your fictional characters, that only you as the creator can know, might lend itself to creating some interesting scenarios for your plot.

Maybe the character knows the secret, or maybe he doesn’t (Luke Skywalker’s father, for example.). Maybe the secret leads him to make wrong decisions. Perhaps the secret is so debilitating it affects everyone your character encounters (a serial killer, for example.).

Here’s a quick guide for creating complex characters:

What’s at stake?

Reason

Real reason

Secret

Greatest fears

Quirks

Dig deep, and don’t be afraid of what you might find.

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Have Confidence in Your Words


Have Confidence in Your Words

Natalie Bright

A wise, multi-published author once told me, “NEVER delete anything.”

I’ve tried to make it a habit to save everything, which is a difficult thing to do when your self-editor is vigilant. Thank goodness there have been a few times I made the effort to save a story.

Many, many years ago during college, I spent time at a friend’s ranch. The ranch foreman was an old cowboy that had a story or two to tell. Wise and weather worn from spending a life-time punching cows, I remember he had the most brilliant blue eyes and he was one of the most laid-back, happiest people I’d ever met.

A spark of an idea turned into a story about that cowboy many more years later for a writing class assignment. I never thought about it again, but I’m so glad that I kept it in my class notes. Fast forward another ten years, a callout popped up into my inbox asking for stories for a Christmas collection with a West Texas theme. That cowboy and his life immediately came to mind. Within 30 minutes of my submission, I got confirmation back that my short story has been accepted.

You never know where and when your words might find a home. Sometimes we write in one form and those words can take on a life of their own and end up as something entirely different. I love when that happens!

Instead of deleting, cut and paste unwanted scenes, dialogue, and chapters, and move them into a separate file. Give it a clever name on your computer, like “My Musings” or “Brilliant Ideas”. Keep an idea file folder for those story sparks that you’ve written on restaurant napkins, scraps of paper, or sticky notes. Never let an idea pass through your brain that you don’t write down. Keep an idea journal and jot down everything when it comes to you, whether it’s a setting, a character, or a bit of dialogue.

You can read my story “A Cowboy’s Christmas Blessing” in the anthology of more than 30 heart-warming and humorous Christmas stories—all set in West Texas or by West Texas writers.

west texas christmas stories

West Texas Christmas Stories

Edited by Glenn Dromgoogle

Abilene Christian University Press; http://www.acu.edu/campusoffices/acupress/

 

Merry Christmas Y’all! Thanks for following WordsmithSix.

 

Wayward Words


Wayward Words

Natalie Bright

Many, many years ago during college, I spent time at a friend’s ranch. Their ranch foreman was an old cowboy that had a story or two to tell. A spark of an idea turned into a story about that man many more years later for a writing class assignment. I never thought about it again, but thank goodness I kept it in my class notes. It was just a simple writing exercise.

Fast forward another ten years, a callout popped up into my inbox asking for stories for a Christmas collection with a West Texas theme. That cowboy and his life immediately came to mind. I reworked it that very day, and within 30 minutes of my submission, I got confirmation back that it was accepted.

Hang on to every word you write. You never know where that story might find a home.

Books make great gifts! If you know of someone who enjoys stories and memories about Christmas’ past, this anthology of more than 30 heart-warming and humorous stories are all set in West Texas or by West Texas writers. It includes my story “A Cowboy’s Christmas Blessing”

West Texas Christmas Stories
Edited by Glenn Dromgoogle
Abilene Christian University Press
Available at Amazon and at www.acu.edu/campusoffices/acupress/

WRITING DOWN THE BONES


By Natalie Bright

Add this one to your writing reference library: WRITING DOWN THE BONES, Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg.

Here are few gems from Ms. Goldberg’s book for you:

“Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go.”

“Writing, too, is 90 percent listening. You listen so deeply, to the space around you that it fills you, and when you write, it pours out of you.”

“The deeper you can listen, the better you can write. You can take in the way things are without judgement…”

“Basically, it you want to be a good writer, you need to do three things. Read a lot, listen well and deeply, and writer a lot.”

nataliebright.com

THINKING WHITE


THINKING WHITE

By Natalie Bright

Wholesome and pure white. In its most basic sense, white includes and equal balance of every color of the spectrum, expressive of both positive and negative aspects of all colors.

It’s reflective. Think about competent and sterile, and a doctor’s lab coat.

White can be sad and lonely, cold and isolated, empty.

White:

Snow, milky, marble, cream, ivory, porcelain, oyster, pearl, silver, platinum, bone, bleached

White is the color of the page that is waiting for you. Write on!

 

THE VERY BUSY SPIDER


THE VERY BUSY SPIDER

 by Natalie Bright

 

A recent Publishers Weekly article announced a new initiative involving publishers and more than 30 communities working to make popular eBooks available for free to children. The Open eBooks app is being developed by the New York Public Library. More kids reading and discovering stories is so exciting. I hope the ConnectED Library Challenge is a huge success.

For the Love of Books!

Remembering the joy I found as a child from my favorite books makes me think of Eric Carle’s THE VERY BUSY SPIDER.

My son loved that book. His father and I took turns reading it out loud. Every. Single. Night. Never mind that I joined a book club and received 2 to 3 new picture books each month. Our boy wasn’t interested. The sheer drudgery of reading Mr. Carle’s book over and over for many years became almost unbearable. My husband and I took turns talking in goofy voices for the animal parts, seeing who could keep a straight face the longest.

Being desperate, I offered a brilliant compromise. We would read two stories every night. One of his choosing and one of my choosing, from the growing pile of book club treasures. My son thought this over for several long seconds. “O-tay,” he says. “But we wead busy spider two times.”

So that’s what we did. One new book and then the spider book every night. Twice. Outsmarted by a three year old, I admit it, but who can argue with that logic when someone you care about loves a book that much?

Dyslexia Diagnosis

Several years later, when my son was in elementary school and struggling, we discovered he had dyslexia. After training sessions and classes which included parent’s participation as well, I understood his fascination with THE VERY BUSY SPIDER. It has clean lines, simple yet detailed illustrations, pages filled with white space; that book literally relaxed his over active brain. The story calmed him down after a day of sensory overload.

Honestly, I still cringe every time I see that cover. No matter how much I dreaded reading that book, what if I had insisted on reading the other books instead? His heart would have been broken, and his over-active mind would have never settled down for sleep.

Readers Have to Connect

As a writer I stand in awe of THE VERY BUSY SPIDER. I learned two lessons from my son and that book:

  1. Some readers may not connect with your stories. Every reader is different.
  2. Stop writing to catch the latest trend. If you’ve never reached the end, it might be time to start something new. If you’re not really into it, how can your readers connect? Write the kinds of books that burn in your heart and mind.

When I dropped the drudgery of writing to what’s popular, my clip file and pub credits grew. The characters that spoke to me gained me a literary agent.

Book Lovers to Do List:

Long before I was a writer, I was a book lover and reader. Here are a few ways we can all promote the joys of reading.

* Recommend a good book to a child or parent, even if it’s not yours.

* Post a book review for an author.

* Comment on an industry related blog and share the link.

* Keep writing the stories of your heart.

The Western Genre & Why I Write


The Western Genre & Why I Write

By Natalie Bright

Defined by Wikipedia as: a genre of various arts, such as film, television, radio, fiction and art. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, hence the name. Many feature cowboys, bandits, lawmen, soldiers and American Indians, as well as spectacular mountain scenery

Today’s western genre is not the stereotypical shoot ‘em up adventures from the past that you may think of. You can also find modern stories set in big cities, rural towns, or endless plains; not just mountain ranges.

You’ll discover mystery, romance and adventure. You’ll discover essay collections that celebrate the land and open spaces (“West of 98: Living and Writing the New West”). Books by authors who spend years researching historical events. Creative nonfiction articles and memoirs by people who have lived on the range, rode the bucking bulls, or ridden the mountain trails. Cookbooks and plays and songs…

The 650 member strong Western Writers of America includes screenwriters, song writers, historians, performers, poets, novelists, freelance writers, editors, agents—all types of professionals committed to crafting real stories set in the West.

My Inspiration

Being a part of groups like WWA and Women Writing the West are what inspires me to write. Their stories inspire me. I want to help you understand what it means to be a part of this vast land, how a Texas sky can take your breath away, or imagine what it’s like to stare upon an unblocked view that extends further than you can walk in a day.

“Western literature is of the spirit, our spirit, the spirit of America.” WWA

To discover books and speakers relating to the west, go to: www.westernwriters.org

www.womenwritingthewest.com 

Sometimes you can’t ignore the stories of your heart.

What inspires you to write?

Nataliebright.com

Wedge of Writing


We love books!

The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man, nothing else that he builds ever lasts, monuments fall; nations perish; civilizations grow old and die out; new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on. Still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts, of the hearts of men centuries dead.

–Clarence Day

Write on, WordsmithSix friends, write on!

 

The Semicolon


The Semicolon

By Natalie Bright

 

To separate two closely related sentences joined without a connective.

To separate sentences joined by conjunctive adverbs (e.g. however, moreover, therefore, or other transitional expressions).

To clarify the main break when sentences joined by coordinating conjunctions, which are ordinarily separated by commas, contain enough internal punctuation to obscure the main break.

www.nataliebright.com

SYNOPSIS


SYNOPSIS

Natalie Bright

A summary of the novel’s events and a cataloging of character development in narrative form.

Writing Assignment:

Write a two page Synopsis for your current work in progress. Keep it tight, concise and try to let your own “voice” and writing style shine through.

Elements of a Synopsis

The opening hook: what makes your story stand out from the rest?

Who is the main character?

Trigger Event.

What your main character learns.

Conflict/Resolution/Ending/Resuts.