Tag Archives: Kyra

Merry Christmas Days . . . Lots

Merry Christmas day #16
With the snow that’s (finally!) showed up, I think now is a good time to focus hard on sense of place.
Is it cold? Is it hot? What’s the weather like? Is the sky grey? Does the field next to your characters house smell like cow poo? Is there a rustle of wind off in the distance? Did someone blare their horn so hard that it broke? (I did this the other week, believe it or not)
I hate sense of place, but it’s needed to make a story great. So when I work on it, I really take a look around me, I try to focus on my character and imagine what I would be feeling if I was where she was. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. But at least it’s SOMETHING. And whatever I can do to get the story moving.
Merry Christmas day #17
Do you remember the first time your heart shattered into a million pieces? Do you remember the second time it did? Maybe it was because a loved one passed on. Maybe the person you loved didn’t love you back? Maybe your first born child got a tattoo? Whatever it was, do you remember that emotion? Do you remember that sinking feeling in your gut that you thought would never go away?
Use that. Put that into your story. Let your character feel it, too. (even if you don’t think she deserves it) Good emotion not only makes you feel, but it also makes your reader feel, too. (they might hate you for it, but at least you made them feel something)
Push that heartbreak out onto the page, and let those emotions run wild!
Merry Christmas day #18
Do you remember your first Christmas? Reach back into your brain and see if you can find that memory. Do you remember the excitement? The butterflies inside your belly? You must have been little, did you know what was happening at the time? Did you know why everyone was being so kind?
Maybe your character remembers her first Christmas? Maybe it was also her first memory with her sibling, or parents, or grandparents?
Write about it. Write about memories. Maybe a good flashback is what you’re missing, and you didn’t even know it!
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Character, writing process

Nana and the Last Days

Anyone want a little Bantam rooster and his best friend? Tiny and Runny need a new home. Tiny lays one little white egg a day. If you’re interested, please email me at carolthewriter@yahoo.com

Okay you NaNoers! We have today, tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday to finish up our 50,000 words.

Where are you? Me? I’m pretty far behind. But I’m trying for a big 4-day push. And why not try? “It’ll be fun,” she said.

I’m writing a little with Ann Dee, a very little with Kyra (she’s pushing to rewrite her fabulous Mermaid book) and then more on this adult novel. This mystery. That plays with time. And several characters. Including more than one killer. And a ghost. And . . . I chose this for NaNoWriMo?

What I’ve found interesting is as I’ve settled into the story (or sorta settled), a favorite character of mine showed up. My grandmother, Nana. This time she is a very fancy Southerner. Wealthy! But it was such a relief when I realized old Grandmommy is based loosely on someone I love. November 26 is Nanny’s birthday. She would have been 100 years old.

If you have followed the NaNo plan, you are right in the place where the character makes (or is getting ready to make) another choice that will change her life forever. You’re building to the reveal of that choice. What makes her say, I won’t do this anymore?Whatever this choice is will propel you into the climax of the novel.

And if you’re writing a mystery, you’re character is narrowing down and getting closer to the killer. Her life is literally at risk. Tension is rising in both stories. Characters are making decisions. All are life and death, as far as character goes. All are life and death, as far as genre. This part of the novel matters that much.

So!

Slow and steady wins the race. Keep writing. You’re almost to the finish line!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Three Thing Thursday

Cheryl

Last week I reread To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time since high school. I even read my high school copy, which is covered in color coded highlighter marks and notes filling the margins of every single page.

In case you’re wondering if there were any incredible insights to the novel in those notes, there weren’t. But it was fascinating to look back and watch myself learn how to analyze. By the end of the novel I was better than at the beginning.
Like anything else, learning to analyze literature takes practice. For me, it really helped to mark up the books like crazy. Breaking up the page into separate colors helped me to deconstruct what I was reading.
Once you’re able to analyze literature and understand what separates the good and the bad, then you’ll be able to analyze your own writing. That’s when you learn how to elevate your writing from a “fun story” to serious literature. 
Brenda
I’ve heard more than once that another way to really “hurt” your protagonist is to kill (of at least seriously damage) the person he or she most cares about.  Cruel, I know . . . but that’s what we need to do in order to jeopardize our MC in the most meaningful way.  We’re here to make his or her life DIFFICULT !
But which character to choose as the sacrificial lamb?  An ally or best friend?  An unsuspected antagonist?  A close relative?  Someone your hero would die to save . . . but can’t, in this case?
This can be used to push your MC to the max.  How will that make him act?  Will he step up and  do the right thing?  Give up?  Dissolve into tears?  Go hide away from both friend and foe?
And, whichever he chooses, what comes next?
Think of three very different characters in your current WIP who could be your chosen victim.  Write a short scene for EACH ONE, showing his defeat (whether death, disappearance, or whatever), and your MC’s reaction.   Does he hear about it later?  See the fated event?  Not find out for many hours, days or weeks?  And WHAT does he choose to do next?
Kyra
I have fallen back into my bad old ways.
I finished my newest novel, and now I’m suddenly not motivated. I have written one paragraph for Nano and that’s it.

My addiction to Ally McBeal has gotten the best of me.

I need help! I need motivation! Areergghhg.

What are your guys distractions?
How do you avoid them?

Carol
Brenda–I love you.

2 Comments

Filed under CLW, Life, Plot

Dreary Monday

However, I’m excited! Today will be my first day writing in my brand new office chair.

With a ten year warranty.

I can now say Books Written BC and AC.

 

Yesterday was my birthday.

My girls gave me this new chair, a container of sand from FL and a PERFECT shell found in the ocean, an expensive pillow, a sweet trinket, lamp shades for some rockin’ garage sales lamps I found a few years back (3 bucks a piece), and something that may arrive today.

I didn’t ask for the chair, which I needed most of all.

They could see what the old one had done to me, physically. And they heard about it. Finally I pulled in a kitchen chair, but the damage was already done.

Saturday night they surprised me with this gift.

 

Here’s what most important about this. Now in control of their gift-giving (and they have been for years), they paid attention and got me something that I needed.

 

While I am so grateful to be divorced, it’s hard to not have a partner, to always carry the burden. I’m always worried about money, about my children, about my friends, about deadlines.

And I’m lonely, sad, overworked and underpaid, lots of times heartbroken. The feel-sorry-for-myself-list goes on forever. I would have never purchased this for myself.

(It’s so huge and comfortable and soft. AND leather!)

 

I haven’t been this touched by a gift in, maybe, forever.

People listened to me with their hearts.

My girls did.

After they gave me the chair, I felt a little less lonely.

 

I could relate this to writing and talk about what’s important to your character and how does she feel now and how is she changed. I could ask about her family and her relationships and ask what does she need. But I’m not going to. I’m going to say I’m changed because my girls listened and because this gift showed me they love me. I’ve kinda needed this.

 

Thank you Carolina, Elise, Laura, Kyra and Caitlynne.

Thank you for caring.

17 Comments

Filed under Character

Krya Leigh, Queen Bee

My insomnia is coming back. With a vengeance. 

Usually I fall asleep around 11 PM on weekdays, and 2AM on weekends. 

But not anymore. 
Lately, I’ve just been lying in bed, with a large amount of thoughts running around. 

Where am I going to live? 
Will I find a job worth working? {maybe I’m snooty} 
Will I know which changes in this novel to make? 

Will I? 

How do you decide which changes are needed and are not? 

Does someone else usually tell you? 

My first novel is a disaster. I’ve read it so many times, and reworked it so many times, that I’m not sure I know how to change it. 
I put it away over a year ago, and I’m still not sure if I’m ready to look at it. 

Who do you trust to recommend needed changes? {besides agents and editors} 
Your mom? 
Your friend? 
Your sister? 

I need to figure it out. 
And when I do, maybe I’ll get some sleep. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fading Away . . .

Most writers I know believe that, for some inexplicable reason, it’s easy for other writers to get their writing done. I certainly believe this.

For example, I know that it’s easy for Carol to knock out a book in a few days, tinker with it for a day or two after that, and then ship it off to her agent. She’s publishing on a pace slightly more than a book a year, so that means she’s got about 50 weeks of free time in any given year.

Andy is cut from the cloth. She’s so disciplined and efficient that she can write a complete chapter between labor pains. She now has three boys and a house to take care of—no problem. Books appear in her head, fully-formed, and she just needs to find a few minutes each night to sit at a keyboard and download it all. Kind of like taking dictation.

Anyway, like Carol, Andy is awash in energy, creativity, and free time.

In contrast, I am a tortoise, and not the plodding, successful type featured in the time-worn fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” I am a prehistoric tortoise, one slowed not only by the weighty and cumbersome shell but also by the ravages of age. In the time it takes me to write a page, Carol and Andy will have popped out four or five polished chapters, baked an apple pie for their neighbors, watched three episodes of “Jersey Shores” and bossed around their yard boys for not keeping their lawns and sideburns tidy enough. In the time it takes me to finish a book, glaciers will have moved a mile closer to the sea. And it’s likely that my oldest granddaughter will be a graduate student by the time I can conceive and finish a new book.

I’m telling both of you this because I am officially retiring from throwing up words—and from writing blogs. To steal and morph a line from “His Coy Mistress,” “Had I words enough and time” I would be able to write a blog, teach my classes, grade my papers, and work on my own writing. But I’m not Speedy Gonzales or the Roadrunner when it comes to putting words together, so it’s time to conserve what feeble writing energy I have for writing a book project, not a blog.

So I’m going to fade away, to melt into the floor like Oz’s Wicked Witch, to ride off into the sunset, to crawl into a rocking chair with a 2-liter bottle of Geritol, to use what few lucid moments my brain can spare on writing books—and maybe playing with the grandkids.

Carol, Andy, and Kyra may soon be advertising for a replacement Junior Assistant Co-blogger for Throwing Up Words, and I’m sure they’ll have many fine, talented applicants.

Be warned, though, the pay sucks.

9 Comments

Filed under Chris

There’s Always a Turn. Always.

I Didn’t Sleep Last Night

But I wrote a post, marking the minutes as they passed.
It’s too down. Too depressing to put up here.
After all, this is the best time of year, right?
And I shouldn’t feel this way.

Once, when I was very young, my little sister and I heard Santa on the roof.
It was Christmas Eve.
We heard his sleigh bells.
We heard the scuffling of feet above us.
We were at my grandmother’s house.
We lay in bed then closed our eyes but knew right then and there that Santa did come to little girls’ homes when they were awake.

I love that memory.

In first grade I defended Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and some cartoon characters and the guy with the pot o’ gold and vampires almost to blows.
Second and third grade, too.
And fourth.

It’s embarrassing to find out in fourth grade none of those good things are what they seem for everyone else and so we have to fight
–for the right
–to par-tay.

And to believe.

So I taught my girls that we give because we love and that Santa was a great guy who lived a long time ago and gave to those he saw who had nothing.

Every year, no matter our own circumstances, we try to give to those who have nothing because, damn it, we have a lot.

Here’s what I know–a character who believes in Santa is different than one who doesn’t.
Make your character an individual.
One who hears the sleigh bells and punches the snotty dark brown-haired girl in the nose.
Or, make her the snotty brown-haired girl.
Either way, make her real.

Here’s an aside story.
When Kyra was just over two, a well-meaning friend got face-to-face with her (a big mistake in Kyra’s book) and said, “What’s Santa bringing you for Christmas?”
We were in a busy store. Lots of people milling about.
“Santa’s dead.” Kyra said this in a loud voice and with authority–the way she still says stuff.

Kinda the same voice she used when she asked me if we were in Satan’s church when we went to visit someone else’s place of worship.

Hmmm. Satan and Santa are spelled sorta the same.
And I believe in both those guys.
No matter–it was Santa on the roof that night.

Merry Christmas.

6 Comments

Filed under CLW