The writing getaway was a success. The first draft of my novel is complete.
A gathering place for wordsmiths of all levels
Monthly Archives: April 2013
One of the items on my bucket list was to see petroglyphs in situ. As a reward to myself for finishing the first draft of the novel, I went to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada and saw a collection of over 800 specimens in the Mouse’s Tank region.
(photo from Mr. Silva, Wikipedia, in the public domain)
A tank is a natural well in a depression in a rock formation that collects rain water and holds it over a long period. The tanks were used by native peoples as a source of drinking water in the desert. Summer temperatures in Valley of Fire can reach 120 degrees.
Seeing the petroglyph above, and others nearby, thrilled me. I can scratch that item off the bucket list.
Flash, Micro, Sudden, 55-Word Fiction–a Mental Disciple
Not many every-day folks know about the world of abridged, compressed or ultra lean writing known to some as the short short story. It is a lovely genre for its intensity, poetry of language, and voice. There are different sub-genres that include exactly 33-word, 55-word or 100-word renditions of a story. A laxer variation says anything under 300 words qualifies as a shortie.
The concept is to write a story (beginning, middle and ending) with a few, well-chosen words. It’s like smelting ore to refine for gold. Usually, the story, once distilled, packs a wallop.
Practicing writing ultra-short stories is a mental disciple. Take 15 minutes now to try it. Using the words “sentimental,” “pool,” and “sandals,” write a short story of 55-words (exactly).
I did the exercise, too. Here’s what I came up with:
Think of You
by Fay Moore © 2013
You left. The air is as blistering as my emotions. I turn off the radio as I sit by the pool. No sentimental songs today. Illusory reflections in the water conjure your face. Your sandals, carelessly tossed into the grass, elicit memories of playful times. Damn it. In spite of myself, I think of you.
Guest Post from Author M. S. Fowle
WordPress has allowed me to meet wonderful people. One example is author M. S. Fowle. She not only is a prolific author, but also is proficient in technical skills.
Today she has agreed to show us how to add a Twitter Feed to our blogs. Thank you for guest posting here today!
Blogging Tip: Twitter Power!
Let’s face it – just because we’re blogging, it doesn’t mean we always know what we’re doing. A lot of us just learn as we go. But I’m here to tell all you “not-so internet savvy” folks that it’s not as difficult as it looks.
Today, let’s talk Twitter. If you’re on Twitter and you’re blogging, the two should be playing off each other. When you blog, you tweet about it. But you should also make it easier for your blog readers to find you on Twitter. So I’ve provided two helpful visual aids to walk you through it.
The first image will explain how to add a Twitter feed to your blog, by far the easiest way to go about intertwining the two social media worlds.
(Click on the image to enlarge it.)
The next tutorial will explain how to add clickable links to the sidebar of your blog. Now, to some, this one can seem a bit intimidating. But I will gladly explain a few things in a moment…
(Click on the image to enlarge it.)
I know, I know – you’re looking at that last step, shaking your fist in the air and cursing my name. Please, just simmer down and listen. Have a look at the text below:
Simply copy and paste that into your “Text Widget” as it is. THEN, open a new window or tab to your social media profile, Twitter for example.
Click and hold to select the link, aka website address, to your profile
Right-click and ‘copy’ your link
Now, select the ### (NOT the quotations) from the text I provided above
Right-click and ‘paste’ in your link
Next, click and hold to select the XXX
Type in Twitter, or Follow Me on Twitter, or whatever you want it to say
You can do this again and again, right in the same widget with multiple links, such as Facebook, Linkdin, Goodreads, etc. Wherever you want your readers to find you, you can now give them the ability to do so in one easy click.
So, get to it! Nothing can stop you now! 😉
To learn more about our Guest Author M. S. Fowle, please visit the links below.
Blog – http://msfowle.wordpress.com/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/msfowle
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ms_fowle
Taking Inspiration from Another’s Work
A few days ago, I read a powerful 100 word flash fiction piece from an individual who I think is a masterful writer. In reading his story, a novel unfolded in my mind on the spot. The trouble is, the novel needs his words –his idea– to open it. The other author’s words are that powerful. Without his opening, my idea disintegrates.
I thought about the ethics of this. I could re-write the opening to make it my own, but the whole idea of the book exploded from reading the work of another. Legally, there is absolutely no trouble in doing what I’ve suggested. Ideas aren’t copyright-able. But ethically. . .
Maybe it is because the original work belongs to someone I “know” that this whole thought line even started. But it is the first time I’ve given it a thought.
I know, I know. . .there is nothing new under the sun. In truth, the story told by the other writer isn’t new. The human story isn’t new.
But those words of his, they haunt me, even now. And that is exactly why I think they are the perfect words–even re-written–to open a novel.
I wrote to encourage the writer to do just that, expand his flash fiction piece into a full-blown story. I hope he does. Maybe then the urge inside me to explore that story will be quelled. But then, I know his full length story would not be the full length story I want to tell.
So there we go. I am back to start of my dilemma. Any thoughts?
How To Prepare a Speech in 5 Minutes
Have you been asked to make an off-the-cuff speech at the last minute? Benjamin Ellis of Redcatco offers tips to help you prepare a speech in 5 minutes.
First, you will need eight sticky notes. Don’t have them? No problem. Take a full sheet of paper, fold it in half. then in half again, then once more. Tear along the fold marks.
On sticky note # 1 , create your introduction.
- who is your audience
- why is what you have to say relevent to them
Is there an expectation of what you will talk about? Meet it.
Use the remaining pieces of paper to list your main ideas on the topic (write one idea on each sheet of paper). Stick with a limit of five to seven main ideas. If you have more ideas, winnow the weaker points out to present no more than seven main points. Check the points you have written against the expectations of your host.
Ask how much time you will be required to speak. An ideal speech length is seven to fifteen minutes. It feels substantial to the audience and is fairly easy for the speaker to deliver.
Lay out your pieces of paper. Arrange the ideas topically, chronologically, or spatially. You now have a natural flow to your ideas.
You have your sequence, so how will you make each point? How will you bridge between the points? Jot down reminders or your proof points or any other tickler to help you lead naturally from one thought to the next.
Your conclusion should draw on your main points without adding any new ones. Conclude with a call to action. You are there to make something happen. Say it.
The Newspaper Interview Is in Print
RE-RUN OF MARCH POST
JUST WANT TO REMIND YOU, YOU CAN BUY THE ANTHOLOGY USING THE LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.
OUR 30-YEAR-OLD MEMBER MISSED THE PHOTO OP. SHE IS VERA SINES-KLANK.
Wow! In my little writer’s hideaway, I got a phone call to tell me the newspaper interview was published March 3. Not only was it printed in the local newspaper, but it is available on-line, too. The link is above. I don’t know how long they keep on-line articles floating in web-space, so look now.
(The photo was taken by staff photographer Joe Crocetal of The Herald-Mail newspaper in Maryland. The dark-haired one on the top left of the overhead shot is me.)
We received 5 pages of publicity in the on-line article. How lovely!
In case you are hearing about this for the first time, let me give you background. I am a member of Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe. We published an anthology in late December 2012. The book is available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble (on-line only) at a very affordable price. If you have an interest in a sneak preview, click the Amazon link below. The Barnes and Noble link is also available for you with Nook readers.
Change, Change, Change
On Twitter, I read about Deborah Mitton, who is writing a series of books based on a poem from the 1600’s. Her plan intrigued me. I wanted to read the poem, so she gave me leads to find it.
1 for sorrow
2 for joy
3 for a girl
4 for a boy
5 for silver
6 for gold
7 for secret never to be told
8 for wish
9 for kiss
10 for a time of joyous bliss
11 for letter
12 for better
13 lets start all over again, together
Then I found this Counting Crows song.
Guest Post from Lauren Carr on Grammar
Now, every editor has a thing or two or three or dozen, in which they will not trust their knowledge, but will look it up in their style manual every single time. For me, the question of a proper name ending in “s” and used in possessive is one of those things. The Chicago Style Manual called for this possessive to be “s’”, not “s’s”.
Well, the author said I was wrong and that it is supposed to be “s’s”.
So, I looked it up again, not just in the Chicago Style Manual, but several sites on the Internet. Not only did I discover that the answer varies in the Chicago Style Manual depending on which edition you use, but I also found a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States had gotten involved in this very argument while writing a decision on a case! Even the justices disagreed! Clarence Thomas (who should know since his name ends in an “s”) declared that it is “s’”.
I let the author have the last word and changed all of the possessive references for this character to “s’s”.
Then, upon proofing the book, the author brought in his daughter, a technical writer, who declared that it should be “s’”, without the extra “s”.
So I had to change it back.
Many people who are not in the business of writing, editing, or publishing fiction fail to realize that many of the grammar and punctuation rules that we were taught as being carved in stone really are not—especially when it comes to fiction.
Since working with new writers on their first books, I have been amazed by how many have friends who are grammar teachers, or professional technical writers, who suddenly come out of the woodwork when it comes to proofing (not editing) their buddy’s first book. These friends are more than ready to criticize how the book has been edited. Unfortunately, these friends, who are well meaning and probably have the apostrophe rules down pat, are not experienced editors of fiction, which is as specialized, and different, as technical editing.
If you needed a heart transplant, would you ask your neighbor, who happens to be a brain surgeon, to perform the operation or to stand by in the operating room to second guess your heart surgeon?
My point in this post is not to gripe (maybe it is), but it is also to educate new writers, and readers and reviewers, that when proofing, or reading fiction, what we would call “basic grammar and punctuation” is not really so basic when it comes to editing fiction.
Example: Can you imagine Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn written in the Queen’s English? Well, it isn’t. If a high school language arts teacher had gotten her hands on that novel …
Editors of fiction have to take the author’s voice, the character’s point of view, the reading audience, and how the general population reads novels into consideration when it comes to editing a novel. YA audiences read present day erotica differently than readers with a more educated palate will read a sweeping historical epic. As a result, the editing needs to be adjusted accordingly.
Sometimes, due to the character’s point of view and the circumstance—like a climactic scene—the passage will call for fragmented sentences that would make your eighth grade language arts teacher’s hair curl. Or maybe another passage will call for long run-on sentences.
Now, this is not to say that when it comes to writing that we should toss out our high school grammar books and let anything go. No, that is not my point.
When reading fiction, I have found that I have grown to become more forgiving of what previously I would have viewed as blatant grammatical errors, because maybe in some style manual somewhere this error is not incorrect. Unless it is a glaring misuse of the words there, they’re, and their. That I cannot forgive—or is the Supreme Court of the United States arguing about that, too?