Tag Archives: character

Struggling with the Internet at Days Inn – Summit in Birmingham

For my May 13 minimum GOAL: 3 hours YES! I DID IT! But just barely, and not as productively as I would have liked. I worked on my story for a while, then did something drastically wrong which took out ALL the spaces between words for over 30 pages. I didn’t notice what had happened until it was (I thought) too late to “undo” the damage. So I started working through a word, a sentence at a time. I added to that time the time I spent reading some more of the stories in the book GRIM, and actually had my 3 hours, but it didn’t produce NEARLY as much “new” writing as I had hoped! Then, problems with the Internet . . . AGAIN — so I didn’t post this. I’ll just combine it with what I do today, Thursday May 14.

For my May 14 minimum GOAL: 3 hours. YES! I DID IT! Wrote some new material for my WIP. In fact, I put in some 5.5 hours between reading and writing. That totally makes up for the lost time day before yesterday. And I managed it, in spite of the Internet connection being even worse than yesterday. Now need to work on melding that, what little I did yesterday and the two chapters I’d written previously together. New fairy tales I read brought me to having finished all the short stories in the book GRIM. There were about three that I really detested (two for gross and/or gruesome elements and one for the modern-day frat boy talk which I didn’t think worked well n an “old” fairy tale. But most of them were good and two or three I ABSOLUTELY LOVED!

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Update from BB in Alabama: May 8

Note from Herb: We’re visiting family in Birmingham, AL. The Internet connection at the motel is flaky at best. Bear with us as we try to get these updates out in a timely manner. Thank for your patience.

WRITING PROGRESS REPORT:

For my May 7 Minimum GOAL: 3 hours.

YES! I DID IT! Organized some notes (and took down some new ones) to help with my WIP, re-vamped some of the goals. Did some new writing for the WIP.

Every writer needs to be a reader as well. I’ve always known this, always believed this. I’ve also noted that some of my BEST ideas for writing have come while reading. As I am currently writing a fairy-tale type story, I’m also reading old fairy tales I’ve loved forever, new ones that are mock-ups of old tales in modern garb, and some which are just written as a “new” fairy tale. All of that is to explain why PART of my daily “writing” (3 hours) is actually reading: currently a book named GRIM (edited by Christine Johnson) containing short stories from “some of the best voices in young adult literature today.”

Stories Read:

TITLE ~ AUTHOR REACTION/IDEAS

The Key ~ Rachel Hawkins

1st person: Lana, teen & runner whose Momma acts as fortune teller out of their trailer home with some heads-up help from Lana who actually has some real psychic ability. Lana’s crush on Skye comes to a dangerous point when she “sees” him as a . . . Oops! don’t want to give too much away. Definitely a fun and somewhat twisted story, but too little “fantasy” element for me.

Figment ~ Jeri Smith-Ready

1st person from a non-sentient creature’s POV, whose “thoughts” can be heard by the “right” person, left to Eli by his now-deceased father, a former one-hit wonder musician. Interesting novelty to the POV! How could I make that work in my WIP? The “creature” can bring Eli fame AND fortune, if only he’ll respect the “creature’s” abilities. He names the 0creature “Fig” for Figment (of his imagination). Eli’s band becomes a success, but Fig knows Eli should go solo. The band breaks up at . . . There I go again, almost spoiling the story. . . but it’s a good one!

For my May 8 Minimum GOAL: 3 hours

YES! I DID IT! Double-checked that my COMBO file for Twisted Oaks Hollow had everything in it that it needed. Spent some time reading while visiting HA’s sister, Vickie. Wrote some notes on the reading and ideas that came up; will go back to reading to complete the last of my third hour, and hope to stay the full 3 hours in the motel tomorrow morning, working on Twisted Oaks Hollow, while HA visits family again. Will go with him in the afternoon for family time. Today’s reading covered:

TITLE ~ AUTHOR REACTION/IDEAS

The Twelfth Girl ~ Malinda Lo

Creepy, modern interpretation of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” one of my all-time favorite fairy tales. LOVED the forests of silver and gold trees in the original. In this case, the girls are in college together with an elite group living in The Castle. Only 12 at a time, though three,including the sister of the girls’ leader, Haley, have “disappeared.” Liv, a new girl, is invited to take the sister’s place. They go down through Haley’s closet and/or hole in the floor beneath her bed, enter what seems to be a night club at midnight, dance until 3 am., then return to the Castle “dorms.” A dark, unspecified, probably male, character lurks in the shadows. Eventually Liv looks for help to break the “curse” on the girls and . . . that’s enough! WOW! The best match to the original was the night club’s rooms of crystal, silver and gold leaf décor of three rooms. The old story is turned on its head. Would love to write my own version which would be as non-threatening (at the end) and magical as the original was for me.

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Updates on BB’s Status

For my May 3 Minimum GOAL: 1 hour

YES! I DID IT!  I continued working on the SITUATION/COMPLICATIONS. With only a 1 hour goal, I actually nearly doubled it by working WELL over the first hour.  Then I guess I flipped out, because I forgot to post it.

NOW, for TODAY, my May 4 Minimum Goal: 2 hours

YES! I DID IT!  I actually worked for six-and-a-half HOURS.  Went beyond the SITUATION/COMPLICATIONS. Added several new characters.  Came up with appropriate Welsh names for all of the well-over 20 characters, plus two French names, all appropriate to the character and the time period and place.  Came up with two important and key characters for the opening of the story.  Tomorrow, with a little clean-up on today’s work, (and packing to go on vacation Wednesday, getting meds. together, etc., etc., etc.) I should be able to rewrite the opening scenes with much more tension!

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BB’s (possibly stolen) PROMPT for 04/28/15

Last year, with Christmas looming, Carol commented in “Throwing Up Words” that we should write a scene “from your character’s POV about their favorite holiday.” For years, my favorite was Christmas. Then I grew up. My mother passed away the day before Valentine’s Day, so that became a “favorite,” and a time to remember. I got a divorce — a second time — and Halloween became my favorite, where I had every opportunity to be “witchy” and no one judged me. What’s your favorite? Write a scene about your character’s favorite.

YES, I DID IT! I wrote about preparing for “All Saints Eve.” Managed to work in a little magic, a lot of superstition, and it was perfect for something in the neighborhood of the 16th Century. The atmosphere of the heath at that time of year, the various preparations of food, drink, the celebratory drinking and entertainment, the crowd atmosphere, superstitious antics, charms and curses are all becoming a colorful part of the story.

(Feel free to re‑use my prompts, modified to YOUR specifications ‑‑‑ I “stole” them too from Carol Lynch Williams, AnnDeeCanDee, Cheryl, The ABC Writers Guild and others . . . )


WRITING PROGRESS REPORT:

April 28 Minimum GOAL: 3 hours — only made 2 of them, but finished cutting “garbage” out of my WIP. Good thing I got 6 hours in the last 2 days when I only expected to do 1 hour each.

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BB’s (possibly stolen) PROMPT for 04/26/15

When I was 10 years old, we moved away from Hawaii and returned to Utah. As we drove over the Pali on Oahu (you couldn’t drive THROUGH the Pali in those days ‑‑‑ the tunnel came much later), my mother said, “Brenda, look back, down the mountain. You may never see this again. You should remember it.”

“But why?” I said. “It’s just all green.”

Then Utah. Deserts. REALLY big mountains. Autumn leaves. Snow. That was some change! I guess I’ve never been big on “looking” at the real world. Would I rather read about it in a well‑written book?

So the Prompt for today is to take something of nature, be it what you can see right now out your window, or a scene remembered ‑‑‑ maybe as far back as childhood. How can you write that (for those of us who are less observant individuals) and bring it alive for a reader. What difference can it make to your manuscript, your story, your MC, the “bad guy”?

YES! I DID IT! I remembered a time, early morning, when the sky outside my bedroom window made the cream‑colored shutters glow in gold. I jumped out of bed, pulled on some clothes and went running outside to see what was going on.

A small excerpt of what I’ve written about that morning:

For days, the fog had made this December more dreary than ever — yet here it was, almost Christmas. Something new must be happening for this much gold to invade. Knowing “nothing gold can stay,” I rushed by the alcove, giving my favorite statue a tiny, finger‑tip kiss as I passed, pulled on my jacket, stuck my feet in the running shoes which lay by the door, raced down the hall and out the front.

The air itself was golden!

Fog and dew had frozen on the trees, which lifted their whitened limbs into the radiant air. From my front step, I could see only as far as the second house west on the circle. But, for a moment, the fog — not the dreary, depressing gray which had haunted us for so long — cocooned itself and everything else in a lustrous, golden mantle. . . .

I ran down as far as the corner, seeing one house, then another, slowly take form ahead of me in the shimmering air. Bushes, trees held out white‑tipped limbs and fronds, yet presented their stolid, black trunks and interiors as a sign of stability in this fantasia world. . . .

Now, tell us what you’ve seen and been able to slip into your writing.

(Feel free to re‑use my prompts, modified to YOUR specifications ‑‑‑ I “stole” them too from Carol Lynch Williams, AnnDeeCanDee, Cheryl, The ABC Writers Guild and others . . .


WRITING PROGRESS REPORT:

April 25 Minimum: 1 hr   2-3 hours’ worth of planning the new writing schedule – WooHoo!

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BB’s (possibly stolen) PROMPT for 04/24/15

Do you like acronyms? I think America generally is in love with acronyms. Teens use acronyms to communicate (LOL, ROFL). Companies use acronyms to advertise. The Military loves acronyms. (Now that I’m married to a Navy man, I REALLY get that!) And initialism. I’m not sure whether I’ve ever heard anyone use that word before (even the program I’m writing in doesn’t recognize “initialism” and is marking it in red as if it were misspelled!) ‑‑‑ but we use initialism (an abbreviation formed from initial letters), all the time, like FBI and company names.

Back in late December/EARLY January, like many, I made some goals. Then I scootched them around until they came together in an appropriate acronym, so they’d be easy to remember. My acronym was (appropriate!): WRECK! Because by the end of last year, I felt like one, when it came to writing and goals. WRECK stood for Write, Read, Exercise, Clean, Kind. I should Write, Read, Clean SOMETHING, do something Kind every day ‑‑‑ and Exercise at least 6 days a week. I did very well with a Post‑It which said “WRECK” stuck on the frame of my computer screen. For a while.

Then, today, I discovered the Post‑It is gone, and I haven’t thought about WRECK in weeks.

One quarter of the year is over. How am I doing?

I have written EVERY day ‑‑‑ because of 750words.com which sends me a reminder to write 750 words every morning. Sadly, not all are part of a novel or short story. Some journal, some junk. But, between reminders and online “badges” for reaching certain word levels, speeds, days in a row, etc., I am on a nearly 500 DAY streak without missing or writing less than 750.

I’ve been reading more days ‑ mostly because I want to read 100 books again this year. But I’m falling slightly behind.

I’ve been a little better at exercising (even lost 5 pounds according to my radiologist as of yesterday). But it hasn’t been nearly enough.

Clean something EVERY day? NOT even close! Do something KIND every day. OOOoooops, there too!

For your Prompt today, decide what you’d most like to get done today . . . tomorrow . . . this week . . . next month. Come up with an acronym; post it where you can see it EVERY day. Give it the Old College Try. Get it done! You’ll feel WONDERFUL if you make it (probably even if you come close).

YES! I DID IT! My acronym is still WRECK because it says so much about me. It’s on a new BRIGHT GOLD Post‑It. Stuck to the bottom of a framed fantasy picture I hung for inspiration above my desk. It hovers in my field of vision less than a foot above the top of my opened computer. I can’t NOT see it! Send us your acronyms and what they stand for. We’ll cheer you on!

(Feel free to re‑use my prompts, modified to YOUR specifications ‑‑‑ I “stole” them too from Carol Lynch Williams, AnnDeeCanDee, Cheryl, The ABC Writers Guild and others . . . )

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BB’s (possibly stolen) PROMPT for 04/19/15

As all‑but‑promised, I’m going to share what Rick Walton taught in his beginning picture book workshop some years ago ‑‑‑ still GREAT advice for today as well!

First take a look at the oldy, but goody, Goodnight Moon (and maybe all the current knock‑offs ‑‑‑ do they live up to the original?). The rhythms are almost hypnotic, like waves lapping against the shore. Soft words used within rhymes. Plenty of non‑threatening objects. Repetition is put to work saying goodnight to all the objects.

Be sure your first pages set the style: is this going to be verse? fantasy? Irregular rhythms or rhymes‑‑‑or entirely regular. Either way, will set up the expectation of more of the same In a sleepy time book like this, any humor will be somewhat muted, but repetition will be very important. Use what Rick referred to as “Morse Code Writing” with a VERY short story with VERY short words.

Other things that work well for children’s picture books:

  • A surprise or punch line at the end
  • Use the Rule of Three: 3 characters, 3 episodes, 3 trials, et.
  • Leave create space for illustrations (and CUT most of your description)
  • Use poetic and figurative language to good advantage
  • Most picture books have some kind of theme and are character based
  • Include foreshadowing as possible, and prediction
  • Write 13 to 27 “illustratable” scenes

When you’re NOT attempting to put the child to sleep, funny words will become important: Rick suggested wishy‑washy, and I had a favorite of my own: when my young grandchildren lived with us for a short time, I described a pair of slacks I had as “periwinkle” ‑‑‑ a slightly purplish light blue. All the grandkids that that was the world’s funniest word for weeks! Your Prompt: if you want to write a children’s book, use nephews, nieces, your own children or grandchildren. Try LOTS of words on them ‑‑‑ which ones do they find hilarious? Use several of them in a VERY short, possible, children’s ‑‑‑ in which you employ as many as possible of the “good” traits above.

YES! I DID IT! I wrote a children’s picture book about food. But all the food was in nature, like mounds of creamy cloud pudding, mountains of Jiggley Jello, etc. Give it a try! It was silly and fun!

(Feel free to re‑use my prompts, modified to YOUR specifications ‑‑‑ I “stole” them too from Carol Lynch Williams, AnnDeeCanDee, Cheryl, The ABC Writers Guild and others . . . )

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