Treasures. Where?

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If you hunt for treasures, you know they come in different places. Some of the best are the neighborhood garage sales or yard sales. You drive by and something grabs your attention. The next thing you know, you’ve parked and meandered up the driveway. Maybe this diversion will unblock the sticking point in your story.

As you look around, you see the same things from other garage sales:  clothes, dishes, ornaments, and tables filled with gadgets. Still, something nags at your mind and you continue walking around. Nothing. Then as you start to leave, in a small trash basket is a photo album. For some reason, this makes a special call to your heart and mind. You look at the sticker, 25 cents, and you pay the cashier as you walk out. There is a tingling in your hand as you carry this purchase out to your car. What is in here? You cannot wait to drive home, but sit in the car and open this album. Heartbeats are rapid as you look and see pictures and more pictures from years ago of a family. Your mind registers and you think…stories and more stories.

You hurry home, park, run inside and know you have found many treasures in this old album. But there is a problem…no names, no dates, no hand written information. As you continue through the photos, they are not the same people. Now, you are confused, but excited. You look at faces, landscapes, clothes, and know these are not all from a certain era. The excitement continues as you make notes and search the internet. Nothing comes up that will solve your questions, and you do different searches. Nothing.

You hear a whisper and your muse tells you a secret. “Here is your chance to make these people come alive again. Study each picture and give life to this album. It is your opportunity to celebrate each picture from the past with stories of the future.”

As you begin to study and write, each picture brings to you a sense of family and reality. You continue to write and write and write. All other avenues are closed, only the current street is open for you. Where you stopped on your story is where this story picks up. They are connected and you reach out and touch the album. Where you once felt excitement is now replaced with a respect and solitude for all of the people in the pictures. Your writing is tighter, the warmth you bring to each page is from your heart, and as you continue the pictures smile back at you.

Treasures from the unknown are giving you and your writing a push forward from the past. You keep writing and know that this Garage Sale is one you and each of the people pictured in the album will continue into the future.

Listen to your heart, use your head, and keep your hands on the keyboard or notebook. You, as a writer, make characters come alive and live today.  Keep Writing.

Happy Writing.  Happy You.

 

 

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REVIEWS?

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Reviews are part of the writing process, whether good, bad or indifferent. What writers do with them are sometimes a shrug of the shoulders. Let’s take a this to a different level. I have noticed more and more questions coming in from social media. What to do? How to handle emotions? Ignore? This is why I will take a stab at my own observations.

We write because of a fire that burns inside us. Stories we want to share. After months and months of research, writing, editing, searching for an agent or publisher or deciding to self-publish, we still keep plugging on making this the best book we can. Edits, edits, and edits are done over and over until the publisher or the author thinks this is the best.

The next steps are the cover and the ‘blurb’. You  look at the cover and decide if this entices you enough to look at the ‘blurb’. Then you notice your book is in the general “Romance” section, and you know it is romance and suspense. Sometimes, our books get into sections of a bookstore, or even online where we do not expect to see them.

A writer writes what she or he sees, feels, imagines, or has experienced. This may take a year or years to get the experiences onto the computer screen. Then  a publisher or agent comes in with their view points. Next, the bookstore puts the book into a different section.

As writers, we know our work is good, but we cannot please every reader. Each reader has an opportunity to express their thoughts on a particular book. However, I have found a lot of social medial avenues are not reviews on the books. Sometimes the reader has not even read the book, but wants to get their information online, so others will see their names on social media.

As writers, we have the option of reading and responding or not responding to these reviews. Why, we can see they have not read the book, ignore the content, or the genre of the book.

Just remember, a reader took time to bash your book and another reader took time to share a good report of your book.  Move on without a conversation on either the good or the bad. Reviews and Reviewers are part of the process. Your  part of the process is to KEEP writing.

HAPPY WRITING.  HAPPY DAY.  HAPPY YOU.

 

 

 

 

Fortune Cookies and Writing

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You’re kidding. What do these have in common with writing? Words . . . not just any words, but words with ideas.
Late one afternoon, a few of my book club members decided to go out for an oriental dinner before the meeting. Some of the members are writers and others readers of books. After the last course, Fortune Cookies became the centerpiece of the table. A ‘savage’ grab got our fortune right in front of us. One by one, we read our fortunes out loud. Voices got softer as each cookie not got read.
“Stop,” one in the group hollered. “These are all about kidnapping, murder, and death. Who did this sinister trick, and no, it is not funny.” We looked around the table. No fingers pointed to another. No eyes stared at a specific person. One lady, a writer of mystery answered, “This helps me know which character will go over the edge.”
“Why not put all of our fortunes together and see what we have,” I said. “We might be on to the beginning of a fantastic book.” All I got was silence and big eye stares.
After our review of the book for the evening, I returned home and begin thinking about fortune cookies and writing. They do have a lot in common. First, someone has written all of these proverbs, humorous sayings, statements, predictions, advice, and messages. Fortune cookies are not new and have been around for a long time, and remind me of words at play. Isn’t this what a writer does? Play with words until the right ones enter the mind and the fingers make this known on the keyboard. Here you get a good meal and at the end, possibilities for a new story.
The next time you open a fortune cookie, keep your message. No you cannot borrow or exchange your cookie with others. This was the message YOU picked up. It is YOUR personal message. Think of this as a prompt for your writing. Start keeping these fortune cookie messages in a jar, box, envelope, or what you have handy. Now, you have your own Fortune Cookie Prompt Jar. When you get stuck, dig in and find a new message. If you’ve used it before, replace and get another. Think of all the story starters these create and enjoy your Fortune Cookie Treasures.
Happy Hunting. Happy Fortunes. Happy Writing.
                                 HAPPY YOU.

 

 

 

 


					

BOOKS WITHOUT COVERS?

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How much time do you spend looking at Book Covers? This could be at an independent book store, in a small area of a department store, or online. What draws you to certain books or even a genre you don’t read? Does the cover ‘speak’ to you? Do the colors remind you of something or someone special?
What about children? I remember when bookstores had a children’s department. Many time I’ve heard squeals of delight at the sight of certain books. Why? Some of the young kids couldn’t read yet, but saw something on the covers that excited them.
On a recent day, I walked inside our branch library and watched a storyteller hold up a book, and then let each child have a moment to touch the book before passing it on to the next child. Some did and some did not want to turn loose, running their fingers over and over the cover as if mesmerized by either the picture, the colors, or maybe both
I meandered to the reading area. Men and women sat at tables or in soft chairs devouring magazines, periodicals, and different newspapers. Some would stand beside the magazines and stare before picking one up. I did notice the more colorful covers were the first to be read.
Next, I roamed up and down the aisles of books with only the alphabet of the authors in that particular section available and the covers of their books. I found myself pulling some out, looking at the covers, before sliding back in their special place. I began to laugh as I imagined all the books naked. No not really, but wrapped in brown paper bags without a special section or genre, only the author’s name. No bright covers, no illustration to give the reader a hit, and no title. What confusion this would be for the reader. What would this do to advertising for a book publisher, bookstore, and the author? How could a reader and an author connect?
As readers, we need not only to see the book, we need to feel the book and this comes from the cover. As a wonderful author, noted for a long time, or a new author attempting to break into the world of writing and publishing, the cover is the first introduction to the story inside.
May you always see bright, interesting covers on the books you pull down to checkout  or purchase. May young readers enjoy the covers of their books with squeals of delight. May books never dress in a brown paper bag or GO NAKED.
How would you feel? Let me know.
Happy Covers. Happy Reading. Happy Writing.

DO YOUR CHARACTERS APPRECIATE THEIR AUTHOR?

What a puzzling question? This came to me as I was revising some pages of a new novel in process. I read through and decided this needed to be changed, the flow might fit better if these paragraphs were moved to another section, and for some reason my character’s name became a prominent area. During the writing process, my character had grown up and was not happy with her girlhood name or nickname. Why hadn’t I noticed this before? Because my character and characters were quiet, letting me take them into uncharted areas. Not anymore.
As I attempted to revise, making notes as I changed a scene, I found my fingers did not flow over the keys. I misspelled words, left words out, and forgot dates that at first were SO important. My characters did not just play with me, they turned obstinate. I felt their heels dig into the page and no amount of pressure on the keys made them move. Giving them some room to realize their stubbornness, I paged forward to another chapter. Same scenario. Why do you hate me when I am trying to bring you to a new story and become ALIVE?
Now what? I’m one-hundred pages into this new novel, research done, a critique partner okay with the first fifty or so pages, so I saved this version and started a new version with a different title.
The story line I kept in tact, but changed the location Hey my fingers are flowing over the keys. Next, my main character showed up without an invitation and began crawling through my thoughts. I listened and learned she did not like her name, the color of her hair and was NOT a teenager any longer. When had she grown up? Because this was MY story to write and she was only a character. WRONG. At the beginning, I created her, but as the story proceeded into new and different areas, I forgot to grow my character and it was retaliation time again.
We took a trip together and became writer, character, and friends again. She let me know with keystrokes what she wanted  and if now, well you guessed. . . . my fingers hit the wrong keys. Sometimes, it is so hard to be a creator of characters, an author who follows some of their wishes, and in the end makes the story shine.
Make sure you give your characters a wide array of choices and let them lead your fingers to the ‘write’ keys. This keeps everyone happy and your story will flow from author to character and from character to author.
HAPPY CHARACTERS.  HAPPY AUTHOR.  HAPPY STORY.  HAPPY WRITING.

 

 

 

 

 

LET YOUR IMAGINATION ROAM

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It is a free day to think about everything and nothing. Remember the child inside you and let go of all the ‘work’ or ‘writing’ thoughts rambling around in your head. IT’S PLAY TIME.
Sure we use our imagination to plot a novel, to bring our characters to life, or create a fantasy, but we are still in the thought mode for our readers. Let go and you’ll reap big rewards.
Think back and picture yourself stretched out on soft green grass, and looking up at the clouds play hide ‘n seek with the sun. You get a picture in your mind of something new. Turn loose and dreams become part of this picture. Clouds turn into different formations and as soon as you attach to one cloud, it disappears and another formation takes over. Clouds do not care about first place or even last place. They move along with the flow, creating new adventures for us to see. Yet, we are sometimes too busy to watch and miss out on a lot of images we could use in our lives.
Imagination is creative ability. Our minds form a mental picture of something we’ve never seen before. If you keep your imagination active, it is like a movie in your mind. Things seep inside and you become more involved with people and things around you. You gain the ability to think of new avenues, new possibilities, and yes, they can even be fantasies. These are your daytime dreams pushing you into chartered territories. These moments help you deal with problems, find solutions, and become more aware of possibilities in your life.
Your mind is not on a leash, but running with you in your head. You can hear new sounds, see new clouds form, feel more alive, and more relaxed at the same time. Solutions to a writing problem become clearer and you know what to do with your characters. This could also be an actual situation and you realize the changes you need to make in your life. Don’t ignore these mental images, rather embrace them and enjoy the changes they make in your personal or writing life.
Your imagination is alive and working. Run with the new images. Play with new mental pictures. See through your imagination and have fun.

HAPPY NEW THOUGHTS. HAPPY NEW DREAMS. HAPPY NEW WRITING.

IS YOUR WELL DRY?

Have you ever sat down to write and nothing happens? The screen stays blank. You continue to stare at all the white space without seeing even a squiggle or a flicker. Why? You are ready to write and write and write, but you feel you have a leak in your head. Everything up there is escaping. Air whistles in your ears like a locomotive on the railroad tracks, but does not send thoughts into your fingers. “I’m lost,” and you decide to turn the computer off and give up. WAIT! Not so fast. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities and causes of this dry well. It did not happen overnight.
Sometimes, we have so much in our minds, on our to-do-lists, problems at work, problems with the vacuum cleaner, problems forgetting to say ‘no’ that we are over extended. But, you need to get the submission out, you forgot to answer an email, and you listen to your overloaded mind give you all the excuses you want.
Yes, you are right. We do all of this to ourselves to get more done, more completed, more new thoughts, more new beginnings . . . and you can name them for yourselves. But, does this get results or more problems?
We are not machines. We load so much into our thoughts, we need a mental reprieve. Stop for just a moment and ask yourself what is the worst that can happen, and then take a deep breath, throw your shoulders back, and look around. Better yet, get up and walk around. Your space might be huge or extra small, but a few steps, with the knees lifted high, is better than sitting in a chair with our legs crossed, tension running up and down our spine. Get up and take a walk in the rain, snow, cold sunshine, and if you have a pet, this would be a great time to walk the dog. Do not hurry and observe everything you see, hear, feel, and smell.  We get so bogged down with writing, we forget to be human. Our chores become routine, and before we know it, they take over our lives. Guess what? The well goes dry. This little walk, refresher period, or nothing time becomes the most important part of your day.
Think about how the air smells. Do you detect a scent of cinnamon, a big juicy burger, or strong caffeine from a coffee shop. In this short time, you bring your senses forward, your listening sharpens, and your head feels less empty. The well is working, not at full speed, but working.
Back home, do not go directly to your computer, but feel your body come alive with new thoughts and new senses. Tomorrow, you will watch your fingers fly over the keys with words you never imagined.
Never get bogged down again. Take a much needed walk. See. Feel. Smell. Enjoy. The well will fill up again.
Happy Walking. Full Well. Happy Writing. Happy Reading.
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A Happy YOU