WHO AM I?

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I think everyone has been asking that question once…what if you were to ask yourself that question once again, what would you answer?

I have been pondering on it for a while and came up with quite a list in my mind:

– I am a Child of God

– I am saved through my Lord and Savior

– I am a wife of an amazing husband (even if life is never easy-God never said it would be-we have a great savior as an anchor in our marriage)

– I am a mom of three (hopefully, God’s willing more!) awesome children

– I am a writer. i would spend my entire time writing novels if I could. (Time issues!)

– I am now a distributor of It Works products (Natural beauty products, awesome by the way! 😉 )

– I am pro-life and I stand for The Bible

– I am fragile and strong

– I am quiet and noisy

………………………….and the list goes on and on and on

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But truly WHO AM I?

As you create your protagonist, antagonist, and characters, are you making a list of how they are? Or who they’re supposed to be? Their evolution throughout your story?

KEEP IN MIND their evolution through the story, just like you & me, we grow as we move on, day after day.

Don’t make your characters flat with no flavor.

Don’t give all the information at once, give us some crumbs throughout the story so we discover the protagonist as we read along. Per instance, we see a protagonist as strong and determined, just to discover in the next chapter that he/she is fragile and have a nervous breakdown…you need to balance everything and give us a pallet of emotions!

As for the final “Who am I”, let us discover the big picture at the end! 🙂

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THE SEASONS – How to use them in your writing

How the seasons add elemental vigour to your writing

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Come rain or shine. At this time of year, we start to notice the seasons changing. Have you ever noticed how your moods often change with the seasons? The way we eat, dress, socialise – a lot of this is dependent on the weather. Use this in your writing.

 

Recently, I read a detective story set in a cold New York December. The writer used the elements in a way that added to his story in a dramatic way. The bloody body found in the snow, a grey sky, the detective’s black coat and red hair all formed a frame to set the mood.

In another romance novel, a family retreats to their island home for the holidays—but while the children run around in costumes and tan on the beach, the mother feels hot and frumpy in her dress. She yearns to be able to swim but she is self-conscious about her body.

 

For most us, we only think about the weather as a backdrop to the story. If we look at more closely, we soon see it adds a new vitality to the story—to colour emotions, to infuse the plot, to bring a character to life.

 

Play with extremes. Make it the hottest day of the year and your heroine’s car breaks down. The hero has to strip off his shirt to stay cool under the hood. What mood will this create? It’s been raining for days and the rain has washed the blood and prints from a crime scene? How will this affect a police inspector’s mood and his case?

 

A colourful palette. Each season gives a paint box to add tone and description to our stories. A bride in an ivory gown getting married on the family farm – her father has picked sunflowers from the fields; a page boy wears a gold bow tie. These touches of gold and yellow add to a theme or set piece. Think like an artist when writing.

Think tradition. For many of us, we mark the seasons with traditions both big and small. It’s winter so a grandmother starts her annual blanket-for-harity collection – but slips on the ice and is forced to spend time with her estranged granddaughter. A family goes on their annual summer camping in the woods – when one of the children disappears. How has the weather added tension or helped the plot along?

 

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BEFORE YOU START WRITING…

Ask yourself a few questions,

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1. The Reason

Why are you writing this?

 

2. The Result

What do you want?

 

3. The Reader

Who are you writing for?

 

4. The Reader’s Needs

What is your reader’s emotional state?

 

5. The Response

What response do you want to achieve? Sales? Credibility? Awareness?

 

6. Your Plan

What’s your writing plan?

 

7. Your Characters

What do they want? What are their characteristics?

 

8. Conflict

What is the conflict (s)?

 

9. Plots

Have you set your plots? See “structuring your novel”.

 

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TEN Quotes about FREEDOM

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  1. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. ~George Orwell
  2. You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once. ~Robert A. Heinlein
  3. Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another. ~Toni Morrison
  4. The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. ~Albert Camus
  5. People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. ~Soren Kierkegaard
  6. Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you. ~Jean-Paul Sartre
  7. Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say? ~Kurt Vonnegut
  8. What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist. ~Salman Rushdie
  9. The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything. ~ Chuck Palahniuk
  10. The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you. ~David Foster Wallace

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The Moment of Truth

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The Spanish call it el momento de la verdad. Hemingway made it famous. It is called the Moment of Truth: the point in a bullfight at which the matador makes the final kill.

It is a breathlessly decisive moment and it is not easy to watch. It is the critical moment when the crowd—and the matador himself—find out if he really has what it takes to make the kill. It is the culmination of a deadly dance between the matador and the fighting bull.

In a story, the moment of truth is just as critical. It is the moment at which you pit your character against his final and greatest challenge. It is the moment when your hero’s courage and skill is put to an extreme test. Does he—or doesn’t he—have what it takes to make the kill, either literally or metaphorically?

 

Brutal choice

A young princess must choose between the dashing but unpredictable man she loves and her role as monarch—to be queen, she must let her lover go and sever all ties with him and his family. This is a heart-breaking moment of truth in a historical romance.

 

Family blood

A grieving father realises that he loved the beautiful daughter who committed suicide more than his plain but resilient daughter and his only surviving child. When the father finds the honesty to share this with his daughter, it is cruel, yes, but ends their internecine war. A bleak moment of truth in a drama.

 

To kill or not to kill?

A detective hell-bent on revenge tracks down the serial killer who has murdered several women—including the detective’s female partner—to a deserted warehouse. He has the killer at his mercy, a shard of glass to the killer’s throat. Will his rage consume him? Or will he let justice takes it course? This is a moment of truth in a thriller, a moment you could use to show the truth about your character’s morality and strength.

 

Choose your moment as a writer

 

Game of Thrones

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What is a phobia?

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It is a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it. The word phobia comes from the Greek, Phóbos, meaning ‘fear’ or ‘morbid fear’.

Common symptoms associated with phobias include:

Dizziness

Breathlessness

Nausea

A sense of unreality

Fear of dying

Most phobias are classified into three categories. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), these phobias are considered to be sub-types of anxiety disorder.

 

The Three Types of Phobias

Social phobias—fear of social situations.

Agoraphobia—fear of being trapped in an inescapable place or situation.

Specific phobias—fear of a specific object. There are four major types of specific phobias: the natural environment, animals, medical, situational.

 

Phobias vary in severity. Some people can simply avoid the subject of their fear and suffer relatively mild anxiety over that fear. Others suffer full-fledged panic attacks with all the associated disabling symptoms. Most individuals understand that they are suffering from an irrational fear, but are powerless to override their panic reaction.

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TEN tips to get back on track!

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1. Go to the source. Stop. Look your character in the eye and ask what he or she is thinking. Free write his or her response to you. Has this helped? Can you use what has been given to you? Perhaps you have a new way to write the character out of the quagmire.

2. Add a few misunderstandings. Allow a character to miss a bus or not pick up an important call because a phone is on silent. Perhaps he or she could mistakenly delete a message, or misconstrue a meeting between two people. Your character’s reaction to this might provide the impetus to get you out of your rut and into the next scene.

3. Bring on the supporting cast. Add another character, the antagonist if possible, to the scene. There is nothing worse than leaving a character alone for a long period of time. This happens often in real life, but it’s a bad idea in fiction. Chuck Palahniuk says: ‘One of the most-common mistakes that beginning writers make is leaving their characters alone. Writing, you may be alone. Reading, your audience may be alone. But your character should spend very, very little time alone.

4. Is this really necessary? Are you sure what you’re writing really truly needs to be in the book? Sometimes writers get bored with parts of a story that should not be in the book. A common problem beginner writers have is including repetitive scenes. You may be adding one detail that could easily have been included in a previous scene.

5. Can readers learn something? Can you insert some interesting information about where a character lives, or about an occupation or hobby? People like to learn something when they read. You could have a friend asking your protagonist, a florist, about the meaning of flowers for different occasions. Be careful not to overdo it, though, or you‘ll sound like you’re writing a text book.

6. Make them uncomfortable. Force your character into the most uncomfortable situation you can use at this point in the story. This will ensure that your character reacts or acts. Raising the stakes is always exciting – for the reader and the writer. Look up body language for characters under stress. Adding these bits could help you with showing and not telling.

7. Give your characters something to do while they are thinking. A static character is boring. You could write about a character who is considering leaving his wife while he is grocery shopping. Use his actions and the setting to bring the scene to life. Chuck Palahniuk says: ‘Thinking is abstract. Knowing and believing are intangible. Your story will always be stronger if you just show the physical actions and details of your characters and allow your reader to do the thinking and knowing. And loving and hating.
8. Remember where they come from. If the character is stuck, think about the backstory you’ve created for him or for her. How would a person with a particular past react to what is happening? For example, a character from a broken home might react differently to one who comes from a stable family background, to news that another character is getting divorced. This will help you to consider if you’re bored because you’re using your own responses instead of those of the character.

9. Make your character want something. Michael Connelly was a guest speaker at one of my functions and he offered this piece of advice: ‘Make sure your character wants something on every page of the book.’ It’s good advice. It could be a drink or a telephone number. He might need to stretch his legs. He may want some fresh air.
Whatever you do, it’s important to keep the story, and the protagonist, moving.

10. Find some inspiration. If all else fails, take a break and read a short story by one of your favourite authors. Look at some of the techniques that the author employed. Can you use them in your story?

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