Friday, October 20, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 12


     Hello, delightful friends! 

     I am continuing my fun event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from August through November.  Here's how it works:

IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Hang in There, We Can Do This


     I have been tempted to quit.  How can I finish this story in time?

     And I'm not the only one.  Thanks to Facebook I know several writers, with promising stories, who have decided not to enter this year.  Maybe they got discouraged.  Maybe other areas in their life took over.  Maybe they decided to finish their story and pursue another venue of publication.

     Those other stories sounded intriguing.  They had a chance of winning.

     But so does mine.

     Hang in there, Esther.  We can finish this story.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 11


     Hello, delightful friends! 

     I am continuing my fun event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from August through November.  Here's how it works:

IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Twelve Truths: The Answers to the Guessing Game

Hello, friends!

A week ago, I posted a guessing game with 10 truths and 2 lies about myself, and I challenged people to guess which was which.  Today, I give you the answers!




1. I am married.


     It's true!  I am pouring my love and passion and prayer into my marriage, and seeing it blossom delightfully.




2. I am 5 ft 3-3/4 inches tall.


     Nope.  Guess again.




3. My mother self-published a book when I was a child.


     That one is true!  It is called Bring Them Up.

4. I have read Plenilune by Jenny Freitag.


    True.  I like the "bigness" of Jenny's writing style.  And I relate to her main character more than I usually relate to female protagonists.




5. I wear glasses.


     Yep.  It's not exactly a super-power.  But...almost.




6. I ran over a toad with a car.


     Sad day!  I was still a new teenage driver.  It was a lovely summer night -- still cool from a passing rain shower.  The windows on my car were open.  The tires made a lovely swishing sound on the damp road.  And then...I saw him jump through my headlight beam and a second later I heard the pop as my tire ran over him.  I was pretty upset...calling back emotional apologies through my open window to the flattened shape on the road.  Very sad day.  This one was true.



7. I love the sound that crickets make.


     Totally true.




8. Clear blue skies are my favorite.


     False.  I like storms and dark clouds.  I like a sky covered with big puffy clouds.  I even like those little swirly clouds.  Give me adventure, give me brushstrokes, give me epicness!!!!

     Clear, blue skies are boring.

     That is my personal opinion.

     (I will say, for all you clear sky people, that clear blue skies are my husband's favorite).


9. I like dark green colors.


     Yes...like her shirt.  Mmmhmm.  I would wear that.




10. I am a midwife.


     Aannd, the answer is yes! (photo shared with permission)  This is one reason my life can never be boring.  Nor can it ever be normal.  Lol.  But I love being able to bring my skills and experience and calmness to a mother as she is doing one of the most amazing things she will ever do.




11. I used to live in Alaska.


     I did live in Alaska for 1 year.  It was amazing.  I could tell you about it but it would probably take me another year...yeah...I can be wordy sometimes.  :/  When I was little, I used to always ask, "Can I tell you a story?" and whoever knew me would sigh and ask, "Is it a long one?"

     Yes.  Yes, it is.




12. I love to eat spinach.



     Of course I do!  Who doesn't?  This stuff is yummy.  I like it fresh, in salads, on sandwiches.  I like it cooked.  I like it in dip.  Yummmm!!!!!  Good stuff!



So there you have it!  A little bit more about me.  Everything was true except #2 and #8.  And the fact that both Skye and Julian guessed #8 blew my mind.  How did you know?  You guys did great!  It was so much fun to see your answers!!!!  If you want to try it on your own blog, make sure to leave me a link so I can come comment!

See you later this week!

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 10


     Hello, delightful friends! 

     I am continuing my fun event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from August through November.  Here's how it works:

IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Ten Truths and 2 Lies: A Guessing Game


Greetings, gang!  I stole another idea from Scattered Scribblings.  She played a game of 10 truths and 2 lies, where she posted 12 things about herself, 10 of which were true.  And all of her readers got to guess which ones were lies.

Want to play?

Okay, here are 12 things about me:

1. I am married.

2. I am 5 ft 3 3/4 inches tall.

3. My mother self-published a book when I was a child.

4. I have read Plenilune by Jenny Freitag.

5. I wear glasses.

6. I ran over a toad with a car.

7. I love the sound that crickets make.

8. Clear blue skies are my favorite.

9. I like dark green colors.

10. I am a midwife.

11. I used to live in Alaska.

12. I love to eat spinach.

Leave your guesses in the comments below! Which are true and which are false?  I can't wait to see what you know about me!

And, if you want to play this on your own blog, leave me a link in the comments below so I can come guess on your page!

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 9


     Hello, delightful friends! 

     I am continuing my fun event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from August through November.  Here's how it works:

IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Is that a catastrophe happening, way over yonder?


    The next scene in my story is meant to be an important one.  Readers get to meet the dwarves in their own evil lair.  My heroine is tormented for their selfish purposes.  Big scene.

     But when I started writing it, it looked incredibly detached and boring.  "Yeah, look over there.  See those dwarves by the table?  They are tormenting our heroine.  Very sad.  The cottage is cute, though."  The scene just wasn't working.  And my story has been sitting in stasis awaiting inspiration.

     Last night, I flopped on the floor to daydream and snuggle my dog.  For a while, I let my mind wander here and there.  But gradually I came to my senses and realized that the first thing I felt on "awaking" was the hard floor.

     Suddenly, I was Moriah, regaining consciousness.  Hard floor.  Noises.  Light.  Hands on my hair.  And the scene came alive for me.  I could hardly wait to get up and start writing again.

     So, if your scene is too detached, try lying on the floor!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Flash Fiction Contest winners will be announced soon!


     I'm still pounding away at my draft for the Rooglewood contest.  And the deadline for submission is still 3 months away.  So I'm excited about nearer milestones...Savannah's flash fiction contest.  The deadline for entering is today, and she's announcing the winner on Saturday.

     Maybe it's an unhealthy use of adrenaline, but I get excited about these contests.  They play in the back of my mind, even on humdrum days.  Like the old-timers, plodding away in poverty and dreaming of their ship coming in, I perform my routine tasks and go to work with this little secret tingling in the corners -- "I could win a contest on 9/30."

     I haven't won a contest yet.  With the crash that follows such a high of anticipation, you might be surprised that I still enter them at all.  But the improvement in my writing skills each time makes it worth the effort, according to the logical side of my brain.  And the thrills of hope are sufficient to counter-act the plummet of disappointment, according to the emotional part of my brain.  So my contest-entering days are not about to end any time soon. And...someday...I'll win.

     Did any of you enter Savannah's contest?

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 8


     Hello, delightful friends! 

     I am continuing my fun event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from August through November.  Here's how it works:

IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Reluctant, Dutiful Wife

     I have a confession to make.

     I was grumpy.

     I was so excited about the opportunity to do a Word War.  It's something I have never done before.  But the idea of sitting down with a community of writers, pounding out material for your manuscript, and then sharing how far you got just sounded amazing.

     And maybe it isn't amazing.  I used to want to ride a school bus.  And I wanted to ride it so bad that, when I finally got the chance, the smell of sweaty socks and stale kiddy perfume was sheer delight.  But I'm sure that people who HAVE to ride the bus are not nearly as enamored with it.

    But, be that as it may, when I realized that I actually got the chance to do a real, live Word War, I was ecstatic.  The night of the War, I sat down and started typing.  Ready, set, here we go!

     And then my husband called.

    And he needed to tell me about his day.

     And I missed the rest of the Word War.

     I was so disappointed.  But the dutiful part of me knew I should set aside the Word War for the real life husband who loves me.

     He could tell I was sad about something, though.  And he wanted to know what it was.  (Isn't that sensitive?).  So I told him.  And he told me that it didn't really sound like that much fun anyway, and I probably wasn't missing out.  (Isn't that insensitive?  Lol.  He's a unique mix,  my man is.)  Which made me mad...and even more adamant that a Word War was truly the most amazing activity on the planet.

    But I recovered.  Or at least I thought I did.  And when a second opportunity arose for a Word War, my heart leapt.  I would get to do one after all!  My husband was at work -- not due to get off until later.  At last, the world would be set right, and I could experience the joys of a full Word War!

     Imagine my surprise, as I sit down to start, when my phone rings.  It is my wonderful husband.  He got off work early today!!!  And he wants to tell me all about it!!!

     Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

     Once again, that feeling of what-is-right rises up in me, and I close my computer down to talk to my wonderful man on his way home.  I know that I could totally tell him at any moment that I'm busy and he would quickly let me go.  He is considerate like that.  But duty tells me that spending time with him is more important.  And duty is right.

     But I'm still struggling with the grumps.

     1 Corinthians 13 tells me that I could give my body to be burned, but, if I don't have love, it doesn't do me any good.  In other words, when I make this great sacrifice for the sake of my husband but it do it with a grumpy-I-hope-he-appreciates-what-I'm-giving-up-for-him attitude, then it really isn't helping him or me or my marriage or anything.

     What I should have done is either to communicate effectively (aka, "hey, baby, can I call you back after this Word War?") or to change my attitude to one of gratitude, trusting that God will work out the Word Wars in the future.

     Which is what I'm going to do now because, oh, the irony, he is calling as I write this post.  Haha!   Now's my chance to practice what I preach!

     After all, reluctantly dutiful is not nearly as good as joyfully supporting. ;)

     I'm not the only one who shares my life with interrupting beings.  I want to hear about you, too.  How do YOU love your parents, siblings, children, roommates, husband, pets, etc. when you are writing?

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Post that You Should Read (and it's not mine)

Hi, guys!  I have been sitting at my computer, checking on some of the blogs that I follow.  This one was such a perfect post that I wanted to share it with you.  It's not long.  It's called: Stories are Remembered.  Go read it!

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 7


     Hello, delightful friends! 

     I am continuing my fun event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from August through November.  Here's how it works:

IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

All the King's Horses and All the King's Men

(Encouragement for the writer in the editing phase)


    No, no, no, no!  It's okay!

     It just looks bad.  See these broken pieces?  They are supposed to be like that -- don't cry.

    Do you know why this is good?

     Because this is how you make it better.

     It's a piece of art.  The broken pieces catch the light better.  And you can rearrange them into the most stunning visuals and thrilling patterns.  With the bits like this, we'll make a picture that will take people's breath away.



     That's why we sent our story to the beta readers in the first place, remember?  Here.  Take the  pieces.  It's going to be amazing.  I can't wait to see!

Friday, September 8, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 6


     Hello, delightful friends! 

     I am continuing my fun event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from August through November.  Here's how it works:

IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Visiting Another Blog + Flash Fiction Contest

      I stopped by Savannah's blog yesterday and found that she is celebrating her 1-year anniversary of blogging.  Hurray for her!  It's a grand accomplishment, and I feel like she has done better in her first year of blogging than I have in almost 4 years.  If you haven't been to see Scattered Scribblings, it is worth checking out.  I enjoy it.

     As part of her celebration, she is hosting a writing contest.  The rules are simple.  The wordcount must be between 500 and 2,000 words, the word "ink" must be somewhere in the story, and you must submit it by September 26th.

     As most of you know, I have been working on a Snow White retelling for the Rooglewood writing contest.  In fact, I worked on it for a while yesterday.  And then, yesterday evening, I saw Savannah's short story writing contest.  And I decided that it would be refreshing to write something different for a little while.

     I stayed up far past my bedtime.  Once I got started, I didn't want to stop for fear I would lose my momentum.  And my fingers danced across my keyboard to patter out a little story about sarcasm and ink.  I ran through a couple rounds of edits as soon as I finished and submitted it.

     Somehow, writing-editing-finishing-and-submitting a short story gave me hope again that I will be able to write, edit, and finish my Snow White story, too.  I CAN do this.  Even if my little story doesn't win Savannah's contest, it was worth it.  It's funny how much these contests help me.

     And, I'll be checking back on her blog at the end of this month to see if I won.  :D :D :D Such an exciting thought!


Friday, September 1, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 5



     Hello, delightful friends! 

     I am continuing my fun event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from August through November.  Here's how it works:

IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 4

 
     Hello, delightful friends! 

     I am continuing my fun event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from August through November.  Here's how it works:

IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 3


   Hello, delightful friends!  I am continuing my fun event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from August through November.  Here's how it works:

IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

House of Mirrors



     Snow White puckered her brows.  “I appreciate your concern for me, but there is no need to kill this man without a trial.”

     “It’s not my blood they want, princess.” The prince kept his hand on his sword.  “It’s yours.”

                                                                                                                                             ~The Blood of Beauty


     Sometimes a mirror lies.  Have you ever been in a house of mirrors?  Enemies lurk around you -- but where?  The mirrors cast the images everywhere until you don't know which to trust.  Are they in front of you?  Behind you?

    The mirror for the queen has been a secure source -- the only entity that she felt she could trust, the one who would tell her the truth no matter what the consequences.  But for Snow White, the mirror has been exactly the opposite.

      Beauty is being reflected in too many mirrors for Snow White.  The Mirror of Jealousy.  Of Envy.  Of Exploitation.  Poor Snow White doesn't even care about glass reflections, or who is the most beautiful.  She just wants to be herself, to be happy, and to make other people happy.

     But somehow she got caught in this house of mirrors.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 2

   Hello, delightful friends!  I am continuing my new event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from August through November.  Here's how it works:

IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Ticklish Procedure

          I. am. terrified.

     This next scene is supposed to be big.  It's supposed to be powerful.  Climatic.  Thrilling.  Intense.  The peak for the reader.  This is my culmination of everything.

       What if it comes out flat?

     I am genuinely worried about this.  It is so big in my head, but what if I can't make other people see that?  What if my Mona Lisa looks like a stick figure when I put her on paper?

        Ahhhk!

     I remember some famous author (I have forgotten who) talking about what a ticklish procedure it is to extract a story from your head and put it onto paper.  He warned that sometimes stories don't survive the transplant and sometimes he wondered if it was worth the effort at all.

        Please, please, please, turn out well!



[P.S. The picture is one of those encouraging phrases people use in birth.  I'm a midwife.  I have lots of pretty, encouraging phrases laying around.  Surely one of them will apply to writing, right?]

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Friday Quote: Part 1


     Hello, delightful friends!  I am starting a new event.  It is called A Friday Quote, and I shall play this game every Friday from now until the end of November.  Here's how it works:
IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
      Post a quote of something YOU wrote THIS week.
Or
Something you edited this week (of something you previous wrote).

    Don't make the quote too long because I don't want you to spoil your story.  Probably 5 sentences or so would be a good amount.  But that is a guideline and not a rule.

     You don't have to participate every week.  But you can participate any week that you write.

      And it will be so much fun to see everybody's quotes.

     And, for me, it will be a reward for writing this week.  :D

     Enjoy!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Who to Trust?


    Imagine your dilemma if you were in my Snow White's shoes. 

     She has been warned that her step-mother is evil and plotting her death.  This is born out by the fact that her step-mother tries to poison her on multiple occasions.  (Ah-hem...Perhaps the queen should have been a little more subtle).

     She has been warned that the dwarves are evil...although they have shown her nothing but kindness.

     A friendly old apple farmer stops by her house.

     And Snow White is rendered deep into a coma.  (Who knew apple farmers were so dangerous?)

      Fast-forward an unknown length of time. Snow White is suddenly awakened.  And not only are multiple parties present at her revival, but they are all apparently on opposite sides and ready to battle.  Some faces are familiar.  Some faces are new, offering her no clue as to how they seem to be so involved in her case (...a glass case, specifically).  With so many voices screaming for Snow White to rush into the "safety" that they offer her, who will she run to?

      Who would you run to?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Red Apple. White Core.


     It's just a rough draft.  It's just a rough draft.  It doesn't have to be perfect -- just finished.  Press on.

    Snow White has partaken of the notorious apple.  Things are starting to move pretty fast.  I think I will be pretty close to 20k words when I finish the first draft.

     We can do this.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Wee Monstrous Beastie


    So...it's not story related...at least not Snow White related.  But there was a big slug on the median by Food Lion.

     And I thought you should see it.

     That is all.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Importance of Expanding and Maintaining Your Vocabulary

Please enjoy this video of John Branyon reciting the tale of the Three Little Pigs.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OxoUUbMii7Q

Happy Beta Reader


     One of the honors of being in a circle of authors is the opportunity to beta-read for each other.  Writers bare their souls, sharing their precious stories -- sometimes in raw, unpolished format -- in hopes of receiving feedback that will help them improve their craft.  And, in exchange, they will read your own hatchling tales and provide constructive criticism for you.

     My husband was not familiar with this process.  To be honest, I only learned about it when I started a blog and heard about it from other bloggers.  But the value is real.

     It's so easy to be wrapped up in your own head when you read your own story.  You overlook misspellings.  You fan-girl over something clever that you wrote on page 9.  You weep over the scene on page 14 because it was a scene you promised your grandmother that you would someday write.  And you think everything you  have written makes perfect sense because you understand what you wrote.

     But someone else might see your story in a completely different light.  And if you are planning to be published, you need to write for the world and not just for yourself.  Which means you need to learn how to hone your craft.  A fresh pair of eyes will see flaws in your story, gaps in your narrative, holes in your plots, incongruencies in your characters, lack of logic in your motives, and complete boring flatness in your most exciting scenes.

     Which hurts.

     But you need to know those things so you can go back and make your story say what you really intended it to say.  Did you want this scene to be exciting -- How can you make it more so?  Were Sherlock's motives meant to be logical -- What clarifiers can you add to show that to the world?  Had you envisioned Juliet slowly falling in love with Romeo -- Could you add more scenes to build the progression of her affection?

       Don't get too narrow of a view, though.  Beta-reader feedback doesn't always instigate painful corrections.  Sometimes a beta-reader merely wants to express their faith in your story.  Does that mean your story is flawless and will never need editing?  No.  It just means that your writing so captivated that reader that she truly believes in the merit of the tale.  Raw and unpolished as your story may be, there was something more powerful than grammar and sentence order that captured the reader's attention and made her know that your story has great potential and that nothing fundamental needs to be changed.

     And that has value, too.  As artists, we are often tough on ourselves.  We know that we are partial to our stories, but we doubt that anyone else will be.  Or we read the story so often that it no longer sounds interesting, not even to us.  To have a fresh pair of eyes read it and recognize its potential will send us back to the story with renewed vigor.  Possibly with tears of joy in our eyes.

     I recently had the opportunity to beta-read the first chapter for one of the Rooglewood contestants.  It was indeed an honor and a privilege.  And let me tell you, folks...I was totally captivated.  I love her writing style, and I like the creative twist she put on this tale.  If the rest of the entries for this contest are like this one, you guys are going to love this next collection.

     I'm gearing up the courage to send my first chapter out for beta-readers.  I want to make this story the best that it can be, and the best way to do that is to have a little constructive criticism.  If you are interested in beta-reading for me, let me know in the comments below.

     Have fun with your writing!  And if you get a chance to swap beta-reading with someone, take the opportunity!


Friday, July 14, 2017

Story Snippet: Dwarf Song


     The sound of a mannish dwarf song began to filter through the forest.  Several voices raised in chorus, marching toward them through the forest.  Snow White’s face lit up with eager welcome.  Moriah’s thoughts spun and she reached into her pocket for the sleeping potion.

Friday, July 7, 2017

What Does a Mirror Know?


     I found it very interesting in the original Snow White tale that the honest mirror proclaimed the queen to be the fairest in the land.


     The mirror is supposed to tell only the truth -- a fact that is demonstrated by the fact that it switches to Snow White as she grows in beauty.  It was not swayed by the queen's position or power.  And I like that about the mirror.  Apparently the queen did, too, or she would have smashed it.


      But here is where I am confused.  Who is to say what beauty is?  Isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder?


     How do we define beauty?  Is it a set of physical features?  Is it that attractive quality in a person?  Is it measured by inner goodness?  What is beauty?

    If it is physical features, who dictates what those features are?  Haven't the ideas of "ideal beauty" changed through the centuries and various cultures?  For me, I look at each of these pictures that I have posted in this entry, and I see great physical beauty in all of them.  But do they all look the same? No!  I love all hair colors and lengths.  I like thick eyebrows and thin ones.  I like Anne noses and Tzeitel noses and every other nose.  I like mild facial features and bold ones.  Pretty much every girl that I see, everywhere I go, is gorgeous.

So if all facial features are actually beautiful, what else can define beauty?  Is it that attractive quality?  Somebody that you admire and want to be around?


We've all seen the perfectly painted girl who was no fun to be around.  She is so caught up in herself or in her own insecurities or in her lack of consideration for the needs of others that any elements of physical beauty fade away and you no longer find her attractive.


By the same token, we've all met people who didn't look like the current supermodel standard, but they were so fun or so caring or so happy or so confident that you couldn't help but admire them.
These kinds of beauty are the most attractive to me, partly because they don't fade with age or circumstance.  I could look at a pretty painting all day long, but if I'm going to hang out with the subject I want her to be pleasant and kind.  I'd rather have the homeliest friend in the world if she was happy and confident and truly cared about me.



So maybe beauty is measured by goodness?  We've all read tales of some plain-faced old woman who was so good and self-less and kind that, by the end of the story, someone pronounces her the most beautiful woman they have ever met.


     And, I know I've been talking mostly about girls, but let me say something about the menfolk, too.  Do you know what attracts me to a guy?  His attitude and demeanor.  Does he stand tall and carry himself with confidence?  Or does he slink in like a whipped puppy (or a slimy eel, for that matter)?  Will he look me in the eye?  Or do his eyes shift around?  Does he stand up for what he believes in?  Or will he just go with the flow?  Does he treat people with respect or does he belittle them?  Is he at ease or is he full of insecurities?  Does he look out for others?  Or can he think only of himself?
     My idea of a real man -- the sort I respect and admire (and the type that I am glad I married) -- has nothing to do with how suave his hair looks and whether his jawline resembles my favorite music artist.
     And the same applies to my idea of a real woman.  I think beauty is a combination of all these things: physical features, attitude, demeanor, values, heart.  And I don't think it can be achieved by only one person at a time.

       Which leads me back to my original question: what does a mirror know?  How could it choose one set of features to be more beautiful than another?  I find its logic very flawed indeed...

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Too Long or Too Short


     I hear writers complaining about their stories being too long or too short.  Particularly when you are writing for a contest or a specific genre that has a required wordcount, this can be a big deal.
     But the funny thing is: some writers find it easier to lengthen from their first draft and others prefer to shorten.
     For me, I find it easier to make a short story longer.  I think I'm a little bare-bones of a writer in my first draft, plus there is a lot of filler that happens in my brain and doesn't make it onto the paper.  In other words, I know the motives and scenes and backgrounds so well that I forget that my reader doesn't.  So when I send my stories out to betas, they tend to be caught off guard by how quickly a relationship buds or completely confused over why my king decided to go to war.  So I come back through and fill in the missing development and, voila, I have a decent story.
     Taking my long story and making it shorter is agony.  If you think I skimmed over the plot threads too quickly in my draft, you're really going to be lost in my shortened, edited version.  The only solution is to cut characters and the extra pieces of the plot that tie in at the end.  And that is no fun at all.  I honestly don't think I'm very good at it.
     But I have heard other writers say that they would rather write a super long draft and then polish it down to a nice story.  It brings to mind some nice collection of beautiful data, all written out and waiting for you.  Then you can simply look it all over and fit together the best pieces and, voila, you have a polished, streamlined, dazzling tale.
     I just have never had that happen so neatly for me in real life.  It goes so much more smoothly in my imagination.
     So which are you?  Do you prefer to lengthen a short story or shorten a long one?  And, if you like to shorten a long one, how does it work and why does it seem easier to you?  Everybody's writing brain is a little different, and I'd like to hear about yours!