Check Your Joy Stick

Two friends

Hey, we are back to help you put smiles, like ours, on your faces. We love life and try to keep more positive thoughts running through our hearts and minds. The only other kind of thoughts are filled with negativity. These thoughts are self-induced and you do not get the full potential of life. Your thoughts are your actions. If you think on the down side of life, your actions become sluggish and irritating to yourself and others. Replace these actions with positive thoughts and you’ll see a change in your life and others.

Life is not just part of you, life is created by your actions and responses. When you share your joy of life, more joy will come back to you. Some live for the life of pleasure, and this gets you into trouble. Pleasure is a fleeting avenue. You feel great for a while, but it doesn’t last. Then you’ll need more and more of pleasure to get your ego stroked and this becomes self-gratification.

Happiness is an inner contentment.You cannot get happy, but you can be happy. Sure, life throws a lot of ‘stuff’ at you. Only you can make the affirmative decisions to choose how to deal with this. Manage your thoughts and emotions, and you will notice a difference in your health. Take good care of yourself with a lot of practice, practice, and more practice. This comes by learning to love and accept yourself as you continue to practice being a better you.

Look at exercise. When we exercise, we gather feelings of euphoria, which come from the release of endorphins. These contribute positive feelings through our body and mind, which can improve anxiety, stress, fatigue, anger, and self-doubt. Remember you are only a workout away from healthy mind.

Now, is the time to ‘Check Your Joy Stick.’ Get inspired with your positive thoughts and forget the should have’s and the what if’s. Check your life for connectedness, peace, love, self-respect and laughter. Do not forget laughter. Look at us. We would not win a beauty contest on the outside, but we would give you a run for your money for the inside contest. When you are happy, these smiles you make and give away, are making you beautiful from the inside out.

AND – never forget if you want to be happy, you have this power inside you. Keep your Joy Stick on the full level. Do things for others, take a long walk, get a good workout, and always smile. A smile costs nothing, but gives happiness to others.

Look at our picture, and smile with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did Your Story Lose Its Pop?

What did you say

This may be the fault of your characters and not the story. Go back and read aloud several chapters. Yes, aloud. Do the pages jump with vitality and visual information. You know the type, where you see and feel everything. If you can’t, neither will your readers.

What makes the story pop? Characters. What gives the characters their own flare? Individuality, but something else needs to happen. Give your story family their own senses. Let the reader know each one in smell, sound, sight, touch and taste.

SMELL – make your characters so unique that when readers begin the first chapter, they know them by a special perfume, aftershave lotion or even a special shampoo. Maybe a character lives in the city and brings the smell of gas fumes inside. What about pets? Some people need their four-legged friends as much as they need the two-legged friends.

SOUND – this acquaints your reader with all of your characters. Females have bracelets, which jangle, or high-heeled shoes and the staccato sound they make.  Males might find the necessity to click a pen off and on, or jingle coins in a pocket. A nasal sound or a whisper instead of talk, can give the reader a sense of which character is on the front line.

SIGHT – how do your characters move? Well, you need to people watch. The best place for this, along with your notebook, is a busy mall. Observe slumped shoulders, handbags clutched close to the chest, guys twirling key rings. Then hit the Food Court and watch body language. Look at a slight raise of an eyebrow, how many times do legs cross and uncross. Males have a habit of bouncing legs up and down and looking at each female passing by. Every movement shows a story in progress.

TOUCH – everyone needs a hug, a pat on the shoulder, a hand held in sympathy without endangering his or her own space. Watch the females as they brush hair away from their face or pick lint from their clothes. Males have  a habit of checking their jackets, straightening their ties and making sure the wallet is in either the jacket inside pocket or the rear pocket of their slacks. These small movements replace conversation. Can’t get to the mall? Not to worry. Turn on your television, turn off the sound and watch people at home. You can see what goes on without any talk.

TASTE – is another way to identify your characters. Sure you have steak, spaghetti, salad, fish…..you get the point. But look at another side of taste. One of your female characters strives for excellence in her life and home. She does not like things out of place, is frightened of people making a mess and never invites anyone to visit. A male character makes Waffle House his home for meals. Why? He does not like to grocery shop, has no idea of how the stove works and could care less. A female character likes jazz, opera, romantic music. The male goes into hard rock, country and hot music.

All of these senses create each character. Then when you have different views, you get conflict and conflict moves the story. Make your pages POP with actions, not words. Give your characters many pages to move forwards, sidewards and yes, even backwards. Keep the POP – POPPING.

WHERE DID YOUR IDEA GO?

Seasonal_Festivals

When you get up with an idea, it doesn’t matter what time of year or season. What does matter is ‘what you do with the idea.’

This new thought bounces, jumps and dances. You pour your first cup of coffee and start in on some normal household chores to let the new thoughts simmer. Then you sit down at your computer. Maybe you have a notebook where you write new thoughts before hitting the keyboard. Where did your ideas go? Where is the Muse hiding your thoughts?

Why should your Muse stay with you all night long, and then have to wait? You need to channel the flow of your thoughts. Your brain is primed to expound on all points, until you do your normal activities. Then, this person in your head (your brain) says ‘not important,’ and shuts the information down.

Don’t panic. Go write at a coffee shop you have never tried. Take a walk. Just do something different. Listen to all the sounds around you. Breathe in unique aromas. Don’t push. Let your creative juices flow in all directions.

When you least expect anything to happen, your mind opens and the vision of your dream appears. Your pen covers sheets of paper or your fingers fly over the keyboard and page after page appear. Your brain did not forget. You cluttered your mind all by yourself.

Remember to play with your imagination. You will have more ideas, words and a new story. Let go of hard thinking and enjoy the new creativity. Your Muse will stick beside you, when you listen to her say — Creativity is not work. Creativity is fun. Come play with me.

Give your Muse a  big hug.

A REWIRE ENCOUNTER

Book CaseAs I wrote  the previous post, the rewire in my brain kicked in. “Find it. Find it. Find it.” was all I could hear. What was IT? I did not keep my ‘bic,’ but got up and begin to pace around my living room, still full of papers for tax time. My mind and soul began a deliberate internal search. Why was this so important?

I could not get comfortable. A warm shower. Yeah, this is what I need. But the water did not dislodge any thoughts in my head. I crawled into bed and took the deep breaths in and exhaled in the same manner – deep. My mind produced a picture, but how can you look at something so out of focus.  After tossing and turning, my body craved sleep.

I woke up with a startled picture of IT. This became focused. I got out of bed and looked at the clock. We will not mention the time, but I had to search quietly so my neighbors could sleep. This was not their problem. Now, volumes of paper covered my bedroom floor and bed. It has to be here. I have to find it. Then my mind recoiled….no find them. Oops, I’m in big trouble. Even at this e-a-r-l-y  h-o-u-r, a fresh cup of coffee sounded great. A hot cup, of the black liquid, in my hands, I returned and there in the middle of my bed, they rested. Two poems I had written many years ago, were the start of the rewire of my brain.  May you enjoy and may these words jump-start your writing.

PAPER AND WORDS by Patricia E Patterson

Sterile white sheets of  paper, void, empty. My pen caresses the open space with long, black sensuous strokes. The affair starts.

The pen rushes to capture words out of control. Fast, jerky slants fill each line. Anger, bitterness, frustration – words stand tall and bold..

Without warning, timid, delicate strokes appear like an apology for a jealous outburst.Soft angles emerge to create gentle words on paper.

–The end–

I have found the second and will send it out to you in a few days.

May you enjoy and even try some poetry yourselves.

Sweet dreams.

A REWIRE IN PROGRESS

An IdeaLet’s rewire the creative side of our brain. What? I am a writer not a doctor.

Every day chores feel like we are in a quagmire. We get distracted when the mundane activities cross our paths. Today is the day for changes. Are you ready?

Make writing your TOP priority. Whether you write first thing in the morning or after the day settles down, this is your choice. Do let others know this is YOUR time without any distractions.

Create new breath into your work. No television, no cell phones near, no e-book reader to draw your attention away and NO CHEATING. Keep seated and devour the sounds of silence. Let your emotions leave the pit of your stomach and roll around in your head.

Invite your creative process to get a jump start as your brain engages and think only of your writing. You might encounter bright colors or strange sounds. Would these fit into your story? You feel excited and let your fingers run across the keyboard. Do not look. Keep going.

Then you notice a slowing of the mind and fingers. Hey, this is a new process. Your brain is experiencing a new release from you. Keep the session short the first few times, and then be prepared for endless opportunities. Our creative sides, once rewired and unleashed, will want more and more. Dig in and be prepared for new outlets.

Look at your new writing. Are your characters more alive? Do the settings feel like you can touch them on the page? If so, you are on your way. Something new has happened and it is up to you to keep this rewired connection in place.

Write and feel the energy.

The Crirtique Girls Are Back

Two friends

Yes, we are back and ready to tackle a few more critique items. We’ve been together for so long, we think alike and wanted to read what other ideas we can incorporate into our critique process. This will give us more points to ponder and a lot more ideas to argue back and forth. This is what happens when you get a great critique partner. You never want to give up the trust and ‘idea’ bopping with each other. So, what’s next?

Let’s look at setting. Does the story give enough description to paint a picture for the reader. Do you feel transported to the time and place? Did the characters convince you of the era and did they behave in a manner consistence with the era? Or, was there so much description, you, as the reader, forgot the story?

Characterization is another point to check. Do the people seem real? Are the facts accurate and consistent? Did you get a sense of family, friends, job and worries? Did you feel the emotions and values of each character? Did you have to read many flashbacks to bring you to the present? Did the protagonist grow? Let your critique partner know about these areas.

Dialogue can present problems if the conversations do not seem real. Do you see the personalities of the characters by the words they use? Can you feel the conflict and attitudes in their choice of words? What about power or sexual, political or social areas of their lives by the words they fling at each other.

POV – Oh yes, you know these abbreviations – Point of View. This gives the reader the knowledge of who is writing the story. Can you see when the POV changes or more added? Most novels are written in third person POV. A lot of short stories and memoirs are in the first person. Whichever one you use, STAY in that POV.

As a reader, do I get the feeling you are telling me a story? I don’t feel any sounds, hear any sights and never can I smell what time of year this is, taste any of the traditional foods or get arms wrapped around me in a spontaneous gesture. Show me, the reader, the feelings I should get from the characters. And, watch out for adverbs and adjectives full of inflation. I need to read your story and see what brought this on, how the character acts and makes, me the reader, feel and why.

One last area – spelling and grammar. Forget those “!” points. This is telling. If you need to scream – just do it. If the character gets excited, have this character jump up and down, run in circles and play in non-territorial areas.

Turn your characters loose on the pages and let them roam, skip, jump, dance, laugh, love and not always at the most convenient times. Let them run across the pages so fast, your fingers cannot keep pace. Enjoy your writing. Enjoy your story. AND, do not forget your critique ladies will be back and check. When we last talked, we felt this might be a good home for us to keep.

We know our names, but how about you blog readers creating new names for us? Until next time, happy reading and great critiquing. (Oops, got a couple of gerunds in on the last try.)

BACK TO THE CRITIQUE PROCESS

Two friendsSmiling critique partners.

Happy New Year. Are you ready to get back to work? I hope so, because Critiquing is work for the person doing the critique and the person receiving the critique. We have looked at a simple critique process, and now we are ready to get into the middle of the process.

As you read the story for a critique, you need to look at a few (oops) no a lot of different avenues to help your critique partner. Then you can realize what you will also receive in feedback.

Opening – do the first few sentences grab your attention? Each chapter needs to end on a “what’s gonna happen” and the next chapter must grab a reader to the end of that scene.

Conflict – mental or moral struggle caused by incompatible desires and aims. Does the main character have emotional baggage? Do the secondary characters have more conflict like greed/revenge/ fear/desire? Are there too many conflicts that never get resolved?

Plot – is the main plot clear and believable? Did the story start at the right place? Do you know the time and place soon enough?

Subplots – Did you get confused about what was happening and to whom? Did all of the conflict and tension come to some reasonable ending or were you left hanging? Did the author indicate a sequence?

Pacing – does the story move too slow? Does it race as if the writer is in a hurry?

Okay, here are a few things you can incorporate into your critique process. Are we finished? NO. I’ll get busy on the next six items for later in the week.

Then, if there are any subjects you want to share and discuss with me, please let me know. This is my blog, but this is OUR blogsite.

Happy New Year and blessings, surprises, great writing to all of you.

Patricia