Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Usually my Facebook posts evolve like this:
I write something
I think about whether it could be taken the wrong way
I edit it to make it clearer
I think about who is going to read my post and what they might think about it
I edit it again
I think about whether or not anybody out there in cyberspace really needs to know this
I delete the post without publishing it
But this time, I just wrote. I wrote because I was exhausted. I wrote because I had seen some crazy things and needed to let a little bit of it out. And I wrote exactly what was on my mind.
And, then, because I was too exhausted to care what people thought about it and whether or not they really needed to know it, I posted it.
And I got a lot of responses back from people. It meant something to them because it meant something to me.
My brother gave me this advice: Write when you are half-asleep...and half-awake...and emotional. If that is what it takes to let go of your fears and inhibitions, if that is when you tap into the deeper thoughts that we as humans related to, then write at those times.
Just let go and write.
Monday, December 29, 2014
My story is already in, but this will still be an exciting day for me. I feel like the judging begins in earnest now that all the contestants have arrived. I can picture my little story making the rounds through the various levels of readers, piled into Word Document folders along with many other brilliant stories. It's a fun thought, and I look forward to March 1st when the 5 winners are announced.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014
My siblings and I were talking about language. My brother mentioned some Star Trek episode where the universal language interpreter machine (a machine designed to quickly learn a new language within a few minutes of listening to it) was unable to make sense of a new language. It was able to come up with words, but the arrangement of words didn't mean anything to the crew.
In the end, they found out that every abstract word (failure, anger, friendship) was described by a historical reference. Essentially, the only way to understand this new language was to first know their history.
We could do this, too. For example, instead of saying "Let's be friends" maybe we would say "David and Jonathan." Or instead of saying "defeat" maybe we would say "the people of Ai at the second battle with the Israelites."
The more I thought about it, the more I thought of how we DO do this. We make a lot of references in our language that don't make literal sense or that would not make sense if you didn't understand the story of where that "saying" came from.
[But exploring that train of thought belongs in another post. I wanted to talk about what I thought about AFTER I thought that through.]
My brother went from that into a comparison of how that was similar to parables...which led me to a pretty cool idea:
Jesus liked to show instead of tell.
In other words, he could have just said "God cares about you," but instead He told a story about a Shepherd who left 99 good sheep in the fold and went out to find the one who was lost.
And maybe our abstract words are not as important as the stories behind them after all.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
“It’s a bad breach. We should have moved her before she made a scene.”
He pulled me down until I was kneeling in front of him. His sympathetic little face felt like a balm to my frustration. Then he reached out and touched my dry cheeks. “It’s okay to cry sometimes,” he said softly.
...Maybe they weren’t as dead as I thought.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Here are some places where you can see more about her book...while you wait for Thursday!
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Emily-Ann-Putzke
Book trailer: https://vimeo.com/111887753
"I've been so excited to see the stories coming in. So many great titles, full of intrigue! I'm looking forward to January when I'll be reading the stories that go on to the second round (though I rather suspect I'll end up peeking at all of them). I've had excited responses from several of the contest readers so far, which definitely makes me that much more eager."This makes me wish I could read all the entries, too. :) And it is fun to think that my story is getting read now, that A.E.S. might end up reading mine (whether it makes it to round two or not), that my story might make it to round two in January, and all the other things that a dreamer can dream about her work.
March 1st is less than 11 weeks away!
Saturday, December 13, 2014
This is going to sound lame, and I apologize. But this week in Broken Clouds has mostly been little one-liner edits that are not amazing enough to list as snippets. So, instead, I am going to refer you to my post earlier this week that I did for Chatterbox.
Ladies and gentlemen...
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Monday, December 8, 2014
Hadn't thought about it? I understand. I used to forget about seasons, too. But then I discovered how much a season adds depth and realism to your story. In my stories, there is always some connection with the outdoors -- a breeze through an open window, a dash across the driveway into his car, a stroll through a meadow, a hideout in the woods. In all of these, the story feels that much more alive when I can include the feel of the season.
For example, see how this scene changes:
A breeze gusted through the open window, toying with the rich, red curtains. Arielle lifted her head and inhaled the scents. But her heart squeezed painfully at the absence of the sea. There was not a single trace of salt on the wind to remind her of home.
An early breeze gusted through the open window, toying with the rich, red curtains. Arielle lifted her head and inhaled the scents - fresh-plowed earth, spring blossoms, and melting snow. But her heart squeezed painfully at the absence of the sea. There was not a single trace of salt on the wind to remind her of home.
A warm breeze gusted through the open window, playing with the rich, red curtains. Arielle lifted her head and inhaled the scents - roses and peonies, fresh-cut grass now drying in the fields, and warm-baked earth. But her heart squeezed painfully at the absence of the sea. There was not a single trace of salt on the wind to remind her of home.
A crisp, cool breeze gusted through the open window, making the rich, red curtains quiver. Arielle lifted her head and inhaled the scents - sweet harvests, musty leaves, and damp earth. But her heart squeezed painfully at the absence of the sea. There was not a single trace of salt on the wind to remind her of home.
A cold wind gusted through the open window, sending the rich, red curtains into a frigid dance. Arielle lifted her head and breathed in the smell of icy snow and burning wood. But her heart squeezed painfully at the absence of the sea. There was not a single trace of salt on the wind to remind her of home.
My point here is not to compare the seasons, of course. Instead, I wanted to show you that, whatever season you choose, it will enrich your descriptions and make the scenes even more real to your readers.
Try it. I bet you can do even better than I did. :)
Saturday, December 6, 2014
The boy on the other team took off like an Olympian, but the boy on my team took the baton and began to slowly limp toward the next station. Great. We had a cripple on our team. I rolled my eyes.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
I am Kelsey Harpman, a character in Broken Clouds. I am writing to you today in hopes of gaining your insight in the art of storycrafting.
Some time ago, my author sat down and penned my backstory. I think my backstory is important to the tale, as it will eventually help solve mysteries that have clouded my past for 8 years. But now, my author does not know what to do with the mini-book we created.
She was very proud of how she showed my past life. I suggested she stick the entire mini-book into the story somewhere, but she says it is too long to so easily dispose of it. She's afraid readers will be bored with a long flashback. I suggested she start the book sooner...so she can include the backstory at the beginning...but she sticks her chin out stubbornly and says she likes where the book starts already, thank you very much. Grrr. I suggested she turn it into a prologue. She thinks that would ruin the suspense.
I told her she should chop the backstory up into tiny pieces and sew them through the book. I also told her she could get off her "show-don't-tell" soapbox for the backstory. And now she's growling...or maybe she's groaning. Oh, look...there she goes crawling under the table. <sigh>
So, Readers, maybe you have some advice for her? Because I'm done with giving tips for a while. I'm hoping that you have experience to share from your own research in the art of storycrafting, and that she will listen to you better than she listened to me. She's going to have to do Something, whether she wants to or not -- even if it is something she already spurned. Thank you to one and all, in advance, for your help.
Monday, December 1, 2014
So, this is what I did. I printed it out and chopped the scenes up. Now I can play with the order, spinning them around to see what would be most effective. I can also scribble notes in the margins, changing the scenes to include more layers of my plot and making sure they flow from one to the next. It really does make it easier to get myself out of this mess I created -- plus, it makes me feel like a professional. :)
As a fun side note, my dad came in as I was busily sorting and asked me if I was deciphering a secret code.
"Why, yes, I am," I said, thinking quickly. "If I solve it, I become a famous author, and if not, my story drops into oblivion."
Not a bad analogy, if I do say so myself.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
He strode on without so much as a “beg your pardon.”
“Watch where you’re going, mister,” I shouted after him.
Brant stepped forward until he was eye to eye with me. “I don’t want you running off with him anymore,” he said, flatly. His eyes dared me to defy him until I felt myself shrinking under them as much as Mason had.
Friday, November 28, 2014
There are a couple Black Friday deals that I thought you may be interested in. Here they are:
Rachel Heffington's book, Anon, Sir, Anon, will be 25% off in paperback form on Black Friday. Here is the link to her post that tells about it: My Sister Gets to Keep Her Cat.
Elizabeth Ender's book, Ransomed, will be about 30% off on createspace on Black Friday, if you use her special code. Here is the link to a post telling more about it: In Which I Try to Sell You Cool Stuff.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Thanksgiving is a holiday in my country. It is inspired by a feast held by the pilgrims who came to this land long ago. They set aside a day to rejoice and to thank God for what He had done for them. Centuries later, President Lincoln set it up as a yearly national holiday.
Thanksgiving is celebrated in my family with a meal together -- with as much of the family as possible (and sometimes, a few extra people). Turkey is typically served, and, thanks to my in-laws, so is cranberry sauce. Pie, also, is sort of expected. J And there are numerous other delicious dishes that vary from year to year.
Before the meal is a bustle of women in the kitchen (the men go in the other room to talk or play guitar or they go outside to do stuff with my dad). It always amazes my dad how we can fit so many ladies in our little kitchen without crashing into each other.
After the meal, we split again. The cleanup is less of a bustle and more of a fun party of dishwashing. Dishwashing is not my favorite task, but there is something about a group of women determined to make the mundane chores exciting. It's so much better in a group like that. :)
Some time during the day, I will play with my nieces and nephews. There will be more music through the day. There might be something that has to do with target practice. And there will be time set aside to thank God for what He has done for us.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year!
Monday, November 24, 2014
So I haven't heard much about the Rooglewood contest lately (it is occasionally mentioned on Anne E. Stengl's blog and, of course, it is mentioned on Rooglewood Press's contest page). But from what I have heard, there are a lot of great stories being submitted. A couple of them in particular, I would be very interested to read -- and those are ones that I know about -- I'm sure there are many more. I am looking forward to this collection's release next summer.
Earlier this year, Rooglewood released the book from last year's contest. Have any of you read it? It's called Five Glass Slippers, and it is a collection of Cinderella stories. Here is the blurb for that book:
With such delightful twists as this contest obviously produces, you can't help but wonder what they will come up with for Beauty and the Beast!One Beloved Story - Five Exciting Writers - a Collection to Cherish!
What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball? Or when the slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined to oust an imposter prince from her rightful throne? Or when she is a cendrillon miner working from a space station orbiting a cthonian planet? What happens when Cinderella, a humble housemaid, is sent with a message for a prisoner trapped in a frightening fairy circus?
Here is Cinderella as you have never met her before, wearing glass slippers and off on unforgettable adventures!
For those of you who, like me, don't care for magic and fairy godmothers: in the Cinderella collection, two stories had magic and three did not. I expect the editors purposefully choose some of each. My own story that I am submitting this year for the Beauty and the Beast contest does not have magic in it. Just read the ones you like!
Writers who enter this contest must announce their intention to do so (in other words, submit an entry form to Rooglewood) by December 16. Stories have to be submitted by December 31st. And the winners are announced March 1st. For those who win, the publishing process (with its editing and so forth) begins so that the book can be released to the public in the summer of 2015.
For me, this breaks down into the following translation: 5 weeks 2 days until all the stories are in and 14 weeks until the winners are announced.