WIGGLE ROOM ON WEDNESDAY

images_064The weekend used and forgotten. Now, you are on the work path, complete with blocks, hefty upward climbs, and feel out of breath. Nothing looks level and no staircases lead downward appear. You need ‘wiggle room.’

“No, I need to get X, X, X, and X done in a hurry.”

“Hey, forget the list for a while. All those X’s will not disappear. Why haven’t you given your self a little ‘wiggle room’ to take deep breaths, make changes, take a walk, listen to some of your favorite music and enjoy a glass of vino?”

“Lady, you are as crazy as the bear trying to write with a big crayon.”

“Maybe, but take a look at, and I’m gonna say, HIS, face. This is a picture of enjoying what you do. Why can’t you?”

Because, if we allow ourselves time, we get nervous, fidget, squirm and excited. We schedule our live so close to the edge we have no room to wiggle or wag ourselves. Every second, minute has to be accounted for in making ourselves feel worthwhile. There can be no down-time, no room to wiggle our toes in the sand, or even in our shoes. Everything has to be done….NOW….and PERFECT.  Sound like we’ve heard this before?

Sure, our work as writers is important. We have contracts to fill, new works to produce, and marketing to all of our customers. This is important and we try to do it all. But, what about our family lives? The people who step back and give us room to do all of these things. They know how to wiggle. They learn how to dance around our schedules, enjoy life, and still be there for us. Step back for a moment or two and watch their actions. I bet you find some of the following attributes:

1. Action for fun.

2. Make room for research:  either on your computer or in person.

3. Have alternatives in place.

4. Enjoy downtime.

5. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh.

Sure, we have responsibilities, but when we let these take over our lives, we are not in charge. We program ourselves to open mouth and repeat, Yes. Yes. Yes. We cannot let others see our imperfections. We overextend ourselves, our lives, and sometimes our families.

I want to suggest to all of you, and me, slow down. The more on your plate, the more you end up forgetting or yes, screwing up. Our thoughts and writing become easier when we have room to think, walk, and scrutinize our surroundings. Learn how to wiggle your toes in your shoes and maybe the sand. Take a break and walk, outside, if possible. Setting for a long time deadens your feelings. Okay, you may have had the same idea, but not only the butt gets numb, but other parts of our body. Do not do this to yourself. Torture is not the antidote to your problems (and mine), just a way of avoiding what we need.

For the next week, schedule in some ‘Wiggle Room’ and see how much more you can accomplish with your work, family, and life.

Wiggle on Wednesday, produce greater works, live and love your life and…..

Happy Writing every day.

 

 

 

 

MOIST MONDAY

BlogYes, I am another day behind schedule. We’ve had rather moist days, which included Monday and the rest of the week. I wanted to get online and talk about how weather can hit our writing, but needed to stay off the keyboard.

Many thoughts ran through my head: could I write upside down and would my computer work in the wind and rain? Local news and CNN kept me informed and I shut down. Sleep? If you can sleep with both ears open for odd sounds, one eye, which did not close, hearing the wind howl, branches of trees screeching, and flashlights from heaven, in the form of lightning bolts, bringing daylight into your whole room, my hat is off to you.

This brought me to relate weather with writing. We all need some calm downtime to gather our thoughts, remove our worries, and make these distortions the smaller size instead of escalating. Storms are scary, even frightening, yet have you ever noticed your writing sizzle during these times. It’s like, get that hesitation, that fear, that feeling of isolation into your character. If your setting is in a bleak area and a storm is on the horizon, you have the experience of your storm to give to your character’s storm. You give yourself to the situation and do not hesitate. You now know what the wind sounds like and how it feels to see lightning streak across the room.

Storms can create havoc in your writing. You get to SHOW your hesitancy and can apply this to a character. Your anxieties do not hide, and you transfer these to your characters. You notice your breathing becoming short and heavy. Your hearing sharpens for any unfamiliar noise. Is it a panic attack or just plain nerves? I’d go for the nerve bit. However, if your character needs an attack of sorts, go for it. Weather can make us do strange things, and let your character do the same.

Clouds are once again gathering and the tree limbs nodding a little faster. So, a short MOIST MONDAY is in progress.

Chaotic Writing. Fantastic Writing. Safe Writing.

p.s. May all the victims of the recent and still to come storms be remembered

 

 

A SILENT WORKOUT FOR YOUR WRITING

images_028Yes, you read WRITE. Have some fun with your work and sharpen your skills at the same time. Sound intriguing? Let’s get started.

First you need to use your current WIP or one you just put up because nothing seemed right – or both, but separately. It might help to print out the first five chapters.Why? You are going to critique your own work and you need to be comfortable and have a red, yes red, pen ready for action.

When we write, we use our words to paint pictures. Sometimes, the pictures are cloudy, or we use the wrong color, or stick our fingers in where we shouldn’t. Maybe your reader cannot feel the painted words, or the color does not set well with the them. Whatever, the reason, we have not given our reader a true picture with our words. We can see them, but we need THE READER TO FEEL THEM.

Now, go to your video and pull out a movie. Your choice, but try to get one in the same genre as your work. All set, ready to go? Not quite, until you turn off the sound. I hear groans and why’s all over the place. Because, this is one way to see what you need to write to get the picture over to your reader.

In movies, we always see what is happening. In writing, we need to let the reader see what is happening with words. Watch certain movie scenes and, if any can match some of your scenes, hit the “STOP” button at any time and shuffle through your printed pages. Do you find yourself telling the reader what is happening? If so, grab your red pen  and mark NEED TO SHOW. Then go back to your movie and see if you can put into words what is happening on the video.

This may take several rounds, but once you get a handle on the movie scenes and your work scenes, you can have lots of fun, put new phrases together, and learn the art of showing by painting word pictures.

Now, when you get stuck in a scene or on a scene, grab a video. When you go to the movies, enjoy each scene with the recognition of ‘oh, that’s how they do that.’ And come home and see what you can do to your writing. Even movies have to have a written script, but it is the director and the actors who make the film come alive.

You are now the director, and all the actors of your novel. Make your words jump off the page right in front of the reader, or pull the reader into your novel with your picture words. You can do it.

Happy Directing. Happy Acting. Happy Writing.

CHANGE HATS AND JAZZ ON FRIDAY

YouI don’t know about you, but this has been a long, hard week. In fact, the month of April has been difficult. The expectation of Spring pushed back by rain, wind, hail, sleet, snow, tornadoes, earthquakes and mudslides. Gosh, when you list them, April turned into a monster.

Today, change hats and bring Spring back. You will need to go to your memory bank and dig deep. First off, tackle music. What? Remember Gene Kelley’s “Singing in the Rain? And the “April Showers?” song. Spring and I think about Tiny Tim’s “Tip Toe Through the Tulips.”

Okay, go on to hats: Easter bonnets, not just for the kids, but the big floppy hats for women. Men and their sons had small flowers worn on their suits and jackets.

Easter Egg Hunts? No, not the commercialized acre hunts for all the town. Rather  the start at home with boiling eggs with NO cracks. Getting the store-bought dyes the right color and not cracking the eggs as they settle in the dye mix. Then you needed the right basket, with fake grass inside for the eggs to call home. The kids helped on this project. After their bedtime, you have to find the right places to hide the eggs and baskets in your home and/or outside in the yard. Ya know, I can feel your smiles.

What about our Writer Hats? Do you dress the part of your character when you need a punch to your writing? If your setting is on a each area, have you ever dressed in shorts, halter, go barefoot while writing a scene. What if you are in a Western/cowboy setting? Do you have a big cowboy hat to throw on and catch your heroine? Or maybe a tight pair of jeans to taunt the hero.

No matter what genre you write, there are always hats, clothes, gloves, long dresses, short or even shorter ones to slip into while you bring the character(s) to life.

Be your character for one day or more. Put on their favorite color, aftershave, yes ladies, dab a bit on your arm. Or spray her special perfume behind your ear.

Then be prepared to hit those keys with VIGOR. Do not be surprised at what your character(s) write for you.

Big Hats. Big Dreams. Jazz up your Friday.

Happy Writing.

 

 

WEDNESDAY. WEDNESDAY. DO I HEAR AN ECHO?

images_080After a “Mad” Monday, everything got unsettled and confused. I’m tired of dark dreary skies, droplets of water, outside, and did I mention dreary skies?

How many times in our writings do we hear echos? We find a phrase or a couple of words and repeat them all over the page, or chapter, or chapters, or throughout the whole book.  “Well, this is the way to recognize my character.” But on every page? “My character speaks like this all the time.” Then silence your character(s) for a few pages.

Echos equal repetition and as writers, we are capable of creating such a vast entity of settings, words, descriptions, and conversations. We do not need ECHOS. Or do we?

If done in a subtle way, this can create a reference to a crime. Then the reader gets shivers knowing about the echo. Or you have a vicious love circle and the same phrase, “I’ll be late.” comes out quite often. Still not in every scene.

When we write, we need to get our ideas out, kinda like a free-write. These ideas are fresh to the writer. We can’t take the chance of forgetting one twist or turn. So we write, write, and write. Word fill up the pages and echos reverberate. Not loud enough we hear them, until revision time comes. Then, we shake our heads and start to worry how many of them did we put in?

A simple “Search and Find” can do the trick. If at any time you think you have echos or overused a certain word, hit the find and then the next, and next, and next. I’m always surprised and shocked. I don’t remember writing the same word that many times, but there it is right in front of me.

A gentle reminder to all of us, don’t forget about “Echos.” Your readers will remember.

Happy Writing. Happy Writing. “Oops.”

See you back on Friday.

 

 

MAD MONDAYS

images_005Yes, I can hear you now. One, this is Tuesday. Two, Madness goes with March and basketball. All of this is true, but when the madness hits, believe me, you will know how it feels.

After a beautiful weekend of sunshine and warmer weather, I wanted to hit the week at full speed. I needed to accomplish so much. Revising my second novel topped the list, followed by all the classes to teach, and the usual laundry, cleaning, cooking, and DREAMING. Yes, I consider dreaming as part of being alive.

Madness hit early Monday morning. I did not hear the alarm, which started the day out in a hurry. Running late is no fun; no keys played on my computer. Dressed and ready to tackle the day, the car keys are not in their usual place. I looked in all the areas I could think of, which are few in a small condo, and found nothing. Panic sets in. Where? They are not in the car as I need them to get inside. And, I am inside, right?

Ready to scream and let the neighbors wonder, I picked up my gym bag and heard a sound unfamiliar with tennis shoes, towel, and other necessities. I did a thorough search by dumping the contents on the floor, including the keys.

A deep breath for more air, as I raced out the door. At the elevator, I ran back to make certain the door locked. One good thing. The elevator was slow. Can’t waste precious time, so practiced some of the choreography of the class.

Now, inside my car and headed to the gym, all the traffic lights became red. Even the songs on the radio seemed odd and off-key. Lunch? I could see this sandwich in the fridge and my water beside the plastic bag. No time to run through any drive in.

Made it to the parking lot with a growling stomach, but no accidents. Maybe the madness is passing. Of course not, there were no small bottles of water to purchase, only the BIG ones. I searched the cracker rack for my favorite, which has peanut butter inside. None left. I couldn’t teach with a stomach screeching, so settled for crackers and cheese.

By mid afternoon, I was headed back home. As I locked up and opened the door, my keys dug into my hand. No way would I misplace them, today. Dropping the gym bag on the floor, I opened the fridge and pulled out my sandwich and a small water. Taking my lunch to the sofa, I sat back and relaxed. A small sacrifice, before the evening chores.

As the sun tried to hide behind the horizon, I took time for a small dream and found maybe these Mad Mondays are there for a purpose. To make one appreciate every day. Yep, it is Tuesday and I feel almost back on track.

Enjoy every day, even if it turns out MAD. It is one more day to conquer in a week, month, year of days to come. If nothing else, Dream your biggest dream on your MAD days.  Then. . . .

HAPPY WRITING. HAPPY DAY. HAPPY DREAMS.

Dialog Silence?

Lost ConfidenceYou don’t think I’d tell, would you? Look at my tie, the white-collar. I’m a gentleman and we do have our limits. Mine is holding secrets.

Hey, this is great, but what do you do in a fiction conversation?

What ever the character wants me to do, within reason. Sometimes, I leave out words, phrases, and make the character and the reader wonder. This makes the reader strain closer to hear what is being said by written words. Can you get your reader closer to the conversation by deleting something and giving your reader the chance to put the words, he or she, wants to come out of the dialog?

Let’s practice:

“Where is this hunk you told me about?” “What hunk? I mentioned a guy from my office.” “No, I’m sure you said hunk.” “You did not understand what I said.”

So who is filling who with what? Why would one person want to know? Is she a busybody, or trying to dig out information? Maybe your reader doesn’t need to know at this time.

How many times, in real conversation or in book conversation, do you drop words? Why? Maybe you do not want the other person to know everything about you or your character. You can do this anytime you want, but be subtle and not condescending. This becomes your secret to your conversations and gives your readers – I gotta hear this.

Do you ever wake up at night and think….Damn, that was the wrong response. Now, how do I retract and stick it to the right character? Go back and reread all this conversation. Is there some place where you zigged when you should have zagged. Do not worry. You are in fiction and you can erase and input whenever you want.

What about confrontation?  Look back at dialog fire and where you acted out your feelings and conversation with your character(s). Maybe a heated argument takes the conversations to  new level. Or, maybe one character does not take the bait to go further. Now, you do have moments of the pointing of fingers: You said..she said..he said..who said?

Look at how much fun you can have creating captivating conversations? Go back. Reread you work. Throw in conversations to entice you readers, stimulate your characters, and leave you smiling on a Saturday night.

Happy Writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DOES YOUR DIALOG SPIT FIRE?

ImageYes, you can make your dialog spit fire without burning you or your reader. You do this through your characters and their actions and your imagination. Go to the scene where you need the dialog. Read before and after these scenes. Get your mind wrapped around the tension, the happiness, the sadness, or the love.

Are you in the scene with your characters? Then let the words flow. Do not pay attention to hitting the wrong keys. Just write. You can clean up your work after all the words flow from your head and heart. Feel the conversation. You may find yourself writing a different scene than what you thought you needed. Why? Because you are in your character’s head and they have more ideas than you ever imagined. Pump up your writing juices and see what spills over onto the page.

Then make the dialog fire burn brighter. Instead of writing this time, read what you have written. Can you feel the fire? Can you see the fire between your characters? No? Now, you can have fun. Be each of your characters and act out their conversation. If this makes you nervous, check out a couple of movies from the library or go to your own video library. Watch for the dialog and conversations. Look at the movements between the participants talking. Forget the lips, at this time, rather check the way they stand, slump, bounce from one foot to the other. See their facial expressions. How do their eyes focus? What happens to the eyebrows? Take notes. Where are their hands? Do they shake at one another, or can you see the fingers tighten into fists. Does one person dominate the conversation or the other person back up?

Now be prepared for more fun. Put two hats on and become both characters. In the comfort of your own home, do the scene and include the conversation. Get into your improve actions. This is a heated argument, remember fire in dialog, and go for the best you can do. Yell, scream, stamp your feet, feel your body tighten, your shoulders tense, can you feel your face take its smile and replace it with contempt? Okay, you don’t want an argument, so choose what predicament you want for your characters. If this is a love scene, watch how different your improve actions become.

Practice. Practice. Then . . . write, write, write. Sure you will have revisions, but when you get the words, actions, expressions into your dialog, stand back because you will feel the fire. Please do not throw anything. You can picture this, but some practices must remain in the mind.

Happy Writing.

WACKY WEDNESDAY

What did you sayWhat do you mean, Wacky Wednesday? This is the middle of the week. Nothing ‘wacky’ about this. It means we’re half-way through another week and only a few days left until the weekend. Before we go any further, do you know all the uses of the word ‘wacky?’

Sometimes we use words we’ve heard so many times, we forget all the definitions that come with the word. When I started this blog, the sound of Wacky and Wednesday seemed to go together. Then curiosity got this owl. My Thesaurus came off the shelf and research became interesting.

No, you won’t get all the definitions. This blog would not hold them all, but take a look at a few and see what these mean to your Wednesday: foolishness, asinine, silliness, frivolousness, nonsense, craziness, madness, and eccentricity. These are some of the nouns. Okay, let’s look at some verbs: be foolish, horse around, make a fool of, monkey around, go haywire, do the crazy act are a few.

What I found interesting, the number of adjectives this word inspired: screwy, nutty, mad, insane, thoughtless, idiotic, unwise, absurd., bizarre, and the words go on and on. What surprised me? Adverbs. There are few and you will recognize them by the ‘ly’: foolishly, idiotically, blindly, senselessly,  and unthinkingly are on the list.

Okay, this is a free-write of my ‘Wacky Wednesday.’ Do not hold me accountable, but I am putting this out for all to see. Is it the truth? Is it fiction? Hey, I’m not responsible for what my mind conceives as I free write.

But, what I want you to try now, is make up a paragraph of your own ‘Wacky Wednesday’ using some of the nouns and verbs in this post. Forget the adjectives and the adverbs. As writers, we are to use strong verbs and nouns picture perfect so no adverbs or adjectives are necessary, correct?

Okay, I drove to work in freezing weather. The heater in my car had other ideas. This is assigning. My fingers turned white, my gloves did not help, but the cup of coffee did. Trying to hold on to this and driving in traffic, I endured complete madness. A go crazy mood encountered every driver I saw, let alone tried to pass. Who has time to monkey around on a Wednesday morning? Then at a red light, a lady driving an older model car (even older than mine) had the back window down. A pad covered the back seat onto the small part between the window rolled down. A dog’s face rested on the pad. His/Her, I do not know, but the nose did NOT go past the window. You saw nostrils breathe in and the warm air breath out. This pet was relaxed and comfortable. As the light turned green, I honked and gave the owner a “high-five.” Isn’t it great what we can learn from our pets.

May your “Wacky Wednesday’ turn into a day to remember, remember, and remember.

Happy Wednesday.