Tag Archives: tears

Wednesday’s WIPs: Still WIPpin’ It Up for NaNo!

EASY AS A, B, C . . . from A, B and both C’s

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org) is a little over half‑way finished. How’s everyone doing? And if you’re NOT doing NaNo, where are you with your current WIP? Is it part (or all?) of your NaNo? If you could pick one line (well, OK, maybe two) or one idea for your WIP that you’re most proud of in the last two weeks, what would it be?

H.A. The Other Siders: I have crossed the half‑way mark at NaNo. I have over 20,000 words‑‑‑not quite half‑‑‑but it does equate to 76 new pages for November. We’re about to embark on the rescue of our Hero who has been transported to “the other side.” Her kidnap was a new idea that just “sort of happened,” when the story took off on its own.

B.B. gElf and the Legend of Jarra‑Jen: Since I can only send in 7,500 to 10,000 words for the Dark Crystal contest, and I now have well over 16,000 words written, I need to cut, Cut, CUT — judiciously, of course. I have now written to a little past where I want to end the contest piece, so that it leaves at a point of great tension. I want those judges to want to see more! My recent favorite moment so far: Three young boys are teasing gElf, our intrepid Hero in a very mean way. They take his big stick which he’s dragging through the desert toward the village for heating and cooking that evening. As they fight over the stick, he does an almost magical‑looking trick jerking his stick out of their hands, as he calls “Come on, Cudgel, you can do it.” As he drags it toward him by hidden strands, he says, “Good boy, Cudgel, good boy!” and pats the upraised, jagged top edge of the wood as he would a pet dog.

C.C. Ezzy Bear: NaNo is trying to kill me! I asked a friend the other day, if it was OK to take a day off. All I’ve done is sit in my room for two weeks from morning to night. I yell at the anybody who knocks on my door, because I’m in my own world called “NaNo” ‑‑‑ BUT I am making very good progress on my story. I think NaNo will enable me to finish it. I wrote a poem about Ezzy ‑ I didn’t even know I could do that. It’s surprising to me that everyone I have read it to is left in tears. What came to me during this last two weeks, is how to resolve the lack of tension at the end of chapter 1.

J.C. The Shadow Master: I have chosen not to participate in NaNo. I completed chapter 1, and re‑read chapter 2 which I found to be extremely boring, plotless, dry, with no action, no interest, no hope, no tension . . . and it’s no longer in my book. It looks like chapter 2 is a total re‑write. I shall begin!

See you day‑after‑tomorrow for Friday’s Friends!

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Saturday’s Softcover: My Mother was an “Elizabeth” Too!

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

My mother was named Margaret Elizabeth, but I never knew her to go by Margaret, or any of its wonderful permutations: Maggie, Meg, etc. In fact, she didn’t go by any of the changes to Elizabeth either—it was always full throttle: Elizabeth. And she loved movies. She felt very connected to two famous Elizabeths: Queen Elizabeth, who named her son Charles—my brother, almost exactly the same age, is named Charles. And she loved Elizabeth Taylor. So, when I saw Lu Ann Brobst Staheli’s book entitled Just Like Elizabeth Taylor, I knew I “just” had to read it.

The book is tender, frightening, angst-filled in part, funny, and ultimately— mostly—very happy,81N-fns-EuL__SL1500_ though I was in tears at the end.

Liz, named Elizabeth for the movie star, becomes Beth when she runs away from home. How will this young girl, not yet a teen, make her way on her own?  Actually, a lot better than she can do at home where her mother is too weak to give up the boyfriend who beats her, and Liz cannot fend off the boyfriend’s loathsome son.

Plucky girl that she is, she steals some money from the “boyfriend,” and runs away—but only as far as a fairly nearby town. She finds an abandoned shack at a winter-deserted K.O.A. place, where she manages to have bathroom/water/ electric amenities, ekes out her meager “savings” with school lunch and occasional lunch leavings from other students.

As the school year draws closer to an end, “Beth” must find a way to make a friend, save a lunch lady, let her mother know she is still alive, find a more permanent home, and bring justice to her “real” family, while maintaining a decent GPA so she won’t be “found out.”

At every moment, I was aware that the author had taught junior high school for years: she knew the angst, the failures, the desperation of some, the heartlessness of others, and the pluck of the brave. Just before the ending I was in tears: not because it was sad, but because I was so angry at what happened to “Beth” next: pulling all the threads together, the horrific scene had me crying for the unfairness, the drive, the caring this young girl exhibited. It was a fitting triumph, finally.

I know Liz, the lost girl. I know Beth, the loner. I know Elizabeth, the winner. I’ve taught those high school, junior high school and middle school kids too. Read it, and you’ll know them as well!

 See you day after tomorrow for Monday Moans!

A1YSS+kQ4cL__SL1500_BTW, the prolific Staheli also has a book, A Note Worth Taking, about “best” friends, surviving lost friendships, making new friends—you know, all those things we suffered in junior high or middle school. I’m reading it next—you should too: it’s on sale at Amazon for $0.99 through the end of July.

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Monday Moans: Slow down… Take it in…

Easy as A, B, C . . . from CC

April is one of my favorite months of the year. Not because it happens to be the month I was born. I am old enough to dread birthdays. The month is filled with new life, saplings breaking ground, breathing, reaching for the rays of sun, much like a surfer who’s been kept under a massive wave too long: surfacing… reaching for air… breathing.

Trees adorned with sweet blossoms. Mother Nature’s splendor to send off her dear friend, Winter, whom she loved and lost. She weeps. Her tears feed the green coverlet which warms the earth for new babes: fawns, kits, and goslings. The ground crawls with skittering things which serve a purpose, in spite of the trepidation we may feel.

Spring has sprung. April…the month of miraculous wonders, gifted to us. Take a moment… use your senses and admire the artistry painted with great skill. Grab your child by the hand and show him or her the small miracles happening whether we notice or not.

Sit on your front porch and take in the horizon, as the sun peeks, breaking into yellows and coppers, lighting the blue sky of a new day. Or experience the maroons, golds, and oranges, of a sunset you are sure have never been more beautiful.

Breathe deeply the morning dew, or the cleansing after an April shower. Nothing compares.

Remember as we mourn the death of winter, or a friend whose example will never be likened to another. Life must go on. We feel the world should stop…  notice… see… our excruciating loss.

“Don’t they know? Can’t they feel my pain?” are the questions we ask ourselves. The answer is… no… sometimes things are hidden, like the gifts of Mother Nature.

I ask you to take notice: with every birth as small as it may be, there is a death. Someone’s heart is breaking. Families and communities are reeling from shock and grief. We can do something about it. We can stop… take a moment… see the wonders put before us. Take in the smallest of miracles and know this is life, unfolding…birthing…dying, hand-in-hand. One can’t be, without the other.

See you day-after-tomorrow for Wednesday WIPs

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Saturday’s Softcover: The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley

EASY AS A, B, C . . . from BB

I read much of the day yesterday, finishing a work suggested by one of my two book clubs: The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley.  Do you like romance?  Epics from before WWII on up to the present day?  Family sagas which (finally) tie the generations together?  Family secrets with dire consequences for subsequent generations?  You might enjoy this book

I’ve seen Orchid House compared to The House at Riverton (which I’ve never read) and Rebecca (which I have been crazy about ever since I read it years, and Years, and YEARS ago—and loved the old Olivier movie too).  I like romance, if it’s integral to a grand story.  I like family sagas, especially when they are finally all tied together, generation by generation, by generation.  I like an emotional roller coaster with plenty of both weeping and joy as long as I can feel some personal catharsis along with the heroine.

Orchid House does some of these quite well (and it’s only her debut novel— she’ll get even better):

Can’t say how it ties in with House at Riverton, but I can see shades of Rebecca in the old family manse, some of the slightly mysterious characters.  There’s plenty of romance, both real and unrequited.  The historical sweep from England to the Orient and back is fun (if you don’t mind the almost antiquated “British” style of speaking).  Of course it’s somewhat antiquated: some of it’s pre-WWII!  The convolutions of the families—upper class Brits, their servants/friends/ wartime buddies, etc.—and their inter-minglings are fun in the way they provide that roller coaster ride.  There were times the sadness (or extreme happiness) brought me to tears—especially where it touched on my own experiences.  I’ll take a little catharsis wherever I can find it!

Sadly, for me (and I NEVER try to “figure out” the mystery as I’m reading or watching whatever), I found the “twists” completely predictable.  In all fairness. I didn’t see the last twist coming until about a page or two before it hit.

So, mixed feelings, though I did stick with it for all 447 pages.  But if you read more “romance,” than I generally do, and like it in a past-but-relatively-modern time—go for it.  Pick up a copy of The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley (be sure it’s hers, as there are several others with the same or very similar titles).

See you day-after-tomorrow for “Monday Moans

P.S.  Writers: did you know?  Titles cannot be copyrighted.  That’s why several books may have the same or very similar titles.  Still, I wouldn’t recommend calling your new tome “Harry Potter and the Sword of Damocles” or anything.

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