HELP! I LOST MY WORDS

Yes, it has been a while since my fingers crept across the keyboard. I still can’t run them over the keys because I lost my words. Instead of writing, I’ve been on a wild journey. Picture yourself trying to remember where you ‘stored’ something of great importance to you. Why is it we always try the refrigerator last? This time I went straight to the fridge and search every storage drawer, every shelf, and yes, I did not forget the freezer. Nothing but food and containers; no papers.

This led me to the closets and corners of each room. Nothing, but I did get things pulled out and taken to Goodwill, dust bunnies no longer laugh when I open a closet door. Instead they try to hide or race out to unknown places. The extra hiding areas I’ve developed are now empty and again, no papers or words. The only peace I find is reading others words. I became so desperate, I go to bed with a book, and wake up with the same book. Thank goodness, I’ve finished two. The words are familiar, but I still have problems putting them on my own paper.

The book I am writing came to a complete STOP. I”d read everything from beginning to the point of no words and begin again reading the same material. At least I have made some revisions and feel better about those, but it’s not the same as writing new ideas and moving the story forward to publication.

The harder I try to get words out of my head and onto the keys of my computer, the harder it is to remember what word I should use. So, to help me out, I began to take pictures with my camera. I am not a picture taker, but managed to get some decent shots of familiar people, objects, and places that might bring back the words I need on the tips of my fingers and not hidden in my head.

A friend told me to forget everything and not work so hard at nothing. “Go out for walks, hit the coffee shops, and listen to others. No, not snooping, just listen to the words.” And then, she suggested we take in a matinée of a silly movie. I got caught up in the show and never realized I was laughing until the end. Something clicked and I wanted to get home and write. Maybe. But the silence almost destroyed the progress in front of me.

Now, I can once again find words with my CD’s. Music gives me energy, energy makes my fingers move, and soon words appear on the page. That they all do not make sense, so what? The delete key works, the backspace key backs up, and the music keeps playing.

When we stop because of worry or the need to do things ‘more’ better, it freezes our ability to be free. So, I’ve made a promise to myself, when things get out of whack, go for a walk. I’d love to run, but those days are over. My knees told me this, and I follow these requests.

May your weekend be filled with friends, fun, flowers. I am now back on track so see you soon.

Happy Writing,

P E PATTERSON

 

Little Bowl-Big Bowl-Super Bowl

Say Hi to my great grandson, Emery. He loves to pose for pics and this was taken a couple years ago at a Thanksgiving in the North Carolina Mountains. Didn’t even have to ask twice…once and this is what my camera showed. His arms are up into a football touchdown, but I did not get it all together. Hey, I tried.

Here we are ready for Super Bowl 2017 in Houston, TX. Know matter where we are from, our age, or sex, the TV set will have a lot of eyes watching the screen.Some of you may have had the opportunity to see this Super Bowl in person and what a great experience. We all want OUR team to win, but what I want most of all is a fair game, neat umpires, and a safe ending to the fourth quarter.

All of this suggests, Spring is on the way, and what a funny winter pattern we have had. AT lease, here in Atlanta, we’ve encountered spring, a little of summer, wet weather, tornadoes, and pot holes!  With all the cold, icy roads, and then heat, the pavement is an obstacle course.

I am still in the process of retirement. Some days leave me with so much time and other days night gets here before I want it. Still, attending classes for Yoga and Pilates and love both. Instructors are great and members friendly. Meet with my friend Kevin every couple of weeks for our writing sessions. Getting comments, suggestions, thoughts from a male writer has given me more to revise and think about. Did have a female writer/editor give me a few suggestions on revising parts of a novel. She has had a few novels published and has made some great finds.

Know I shouldn’t push forward, but Spring sounds so great. We are having a lot more farmer markets spring up in different parts of town. Look forward to seeing what all they bring to their tables.

I’m walking more and enjoying every minute. Still careful which direction I go, but meet a lot of walkers. I’d love to get a walking group together and see how we can work through everyone’s different ideas. I tend to walk and look at the world through a writer’s eye. Thoughts for a new story or to clarify something that has been bothering me. Others, see a walk as a way to communicate with the people they walk with, talking and stopping, and questioning everything. Something to think on. Any suggestions or ideas?

I want to thank all of you for your comments on previous posts and I have followed a lot of your writings. Please continue to follow me, add comments, and I am always open for suggestions.

Also, you may have some new ideas on books you have read. I made a note of a new author, Ruth Ware, and finally got a copy of her book, “In A Dark Wood.” Quite a thriller, and she also has a book out “The Woman in Cabin 10.” I think it is a great idea to promote new women writers and even the older women writers. Not meaning by age, but how long their work has been on the shelves.

May each of you enjoy the month of February and have a beautiful Valentine’s Day.  See you next month or maybe even the end of February.

Happy reading. Happy writing. Happy you.

 

Patricia

 

 

WELCOME TO THE NEW YEAR

I don’t know about all of you, but this past year was full of surprises that crossed different avenues for me. I RETIRED!!! Never thought I’d give up my Silver Sneakers(R) Exercise Group, but after eight years, needed to let go and give the group some new instructors and new choices. They are still in full force and have added new members. Sometimes, it is the right thing to do and help the members grow and learn new moves/exercises.

Thought, this would give me an opportunity to dig further into my writing, which I have done, just not as much as I wanted to accomplish. The ideas are there and my fingers try to hit the ‘write’ keys. Some days are better than others.

Been hitting our little library a lot and going back over some of the old books again. Got interested in reading the classics and older books. Jeffery Archer had a new book out, “This Was A Man,” and I could not just get this without going back over his other novels. It was the seventh book in a series and I needed the background information. Still working my way through the series.

We had our annual meeting and good attendance. Found out our CMA, Office Manager, is being transferred to a new property and we have a new CMA coming in to keep our place in order. Will not know for a while, as he starts this coming week. New opportunities, I hope.

I find myself at ends, but not for long. It takes a while to wind down after working all your life and at times two jobs. Still, I find new avenues to travel and include my writing. I am thinking of doing some volunteer work with The Atlanta Humane Society. Since we have a “NO PET” rule at our Condo, figured this would give me something new to volunteer and give myself a pet for a while. I’d been there to an open house months ago, but couldn’t work and do this type of volunteering. I’ll let you know how this goes.

I had a quiet New Year Eve celebration and watch all the crowds gather at Underground Atlanta for the annual Peach Drop. It was cold, windy, and a little of the sprinkles falling down. NO, not the white kind that stick, only the wet, uncomfortable drizzle. Then learned this would be the last Peach Drop at Underground. Guess it has been sold, so have no idea where or what will happen–upset a lot of attendees.

My wish for you this new 2017 is to be happy and share your happy thoughts with friends, neighbors, and yes, even strangers. Be Inquisitive. Be Inspired. Be Kind.

I’ll see you in a week or so. Until then, keep yourselves busy and have fun.

PATRICIA

R + R + R

Yes, you are busy revising, but now you must add to this. WHAT?  Revising, reading, and revising are all part of the process. You might revise, but until you read these revisions, you will not know if your changes are as strong as they can be or if there are wasted words? Read your work like a reader and not a writer through this time. You need to recapture the feelings you had while writing your draft. Are they in place, or did the revisions take them out?

So, I’m revising my revision? Yes. Have you done enough research in your first draft? Look again and see if there are any places you might have missed. Research is vital to your fiction’s correctness. A wrong street in a certain town or the church on the right corner, when the church sits in the next block on the left corner.

But, I cannot get to all the places: too far away, not enough time, and the cost is too great. How can I get all of this correct? Go on-line and get information from the State you are writing about. These departments are willing to share their history along with maps, photos, and people willing to talk about their homeland. Do not be shy. Take any information you may receive, AND be certain you include this in your acknowledgements.

Visit the net for information, in your state and area, for weather years ago or current. What songs came from a jukebox, radio or television. Check out everything you can find. Your story takes place fifty years ago. You could destroy your creditability if you put in a current day’s song. Keep all of your research and backup material with your story as you progress from first draft to the tenth revision. This is your backup to your story, whether fiction or non-fiction. If you know the facts, you can massage the fiction.

Go back through again and check where you stop showing and begin telling the story. Make a list of these areas, and then turn off your SENSOR. Write a new paragraph to show all the possibilities for your characters. Do not apply pressure to them, only to yourself to make the characters shine. Add details, delete tell words, let your mind lead you to your character’s interest.

You will feel the release of power with the words and your revision will stand out. Your characters will show what they want and you are in the position to give them their place in your story. They will dance to get on the page. Invite them for a second dance and you will be on top of the world.

Revisions completed? Only you will know, and then you are on your way. Look at revisions as a way to improve your writing, bring new life to your characters, and give the best you have to your story.

Happy Writing

TOXIC CHARACTERS

AudienceWhy not have some fun today and play with toxic characters? This will get your mind spinning, your fingers dancing on the keyboard, and you might end up with a new thought, story or character for your next book. There are many versions of toxic characters, but here are a few that came into my mind.

TAKERS – want everything and will try anything to get their wants fulfilled. They take and take and take, but never give back. Can’t you picture this character in your mind? Remember, these toxic characters are both male and female.

ABUSERS – abuse your friendship, your friends, your family. No, they do not go around with a sledge hammer, and sometimes you have no idea you are being abused. They nit-pick, start rumors, make confusing statements., They are aggressive and not bothered by their actions.

DEPENDENTS – are needy characters. They need apprval to do about anything and want you to be there with them. They depend upon you for information, friendship, love and whatever else they can think will make them a better person. They cannot make a decision on their own without talking about it over, and over, and over.

LISTENING – this character pretends to be so intent on every work you are saying, and remembers word. This listening practice gives way to rumors. You may have said something, but the character turns words around. A listener is a great booster to an ego until the moment is over, and then chaos reigns.

SNEAKY – you can’t forget about these characters. They can prod information from you and you’ll never know, until it is too late. They want something, like the TAKERS, but they sneak to get everything. Bits and pieces of information are all they need. Then, they ad lib their own thoughts and sneak into whatever crowd is around

POOR ME –  brings even an upbeat attitude down. This character is never satisfied with life, the weather, the group, or a dinner at a neat restaurant. They always have problems bigger and bigger than anyone else, and want sympathy and a hand held. Watch out….they will pull you down faster than quicksand.

Okay, these are my versions of toxic characters. I’m certain you can add different toxic names and more descriptive definitions. So think.

Put your creative mind to work. See if you can write a short paragraph about some of these characters and how you might incorporate them into your writing. You might have a lot of fun with Toxic Characters.

Happy Writing..

CRITIQUE GROUPS – ARE THEY FOR YOU?

9776003-audienceWe have all heard horror stories about critique groups, and there are some difficult groups out there. Yet, critique groups exist and thrive. Why? As writers, we need feedback on our work from other writers. Family and friends are not a true test of our writing.

Check libraries, other writers, writer groups and online for groups in your genre. It is a good idea to stick within your genre. If you write fiction, stay with fiction; if you write romance, then find all genres of romance. One is sure to be your match. Some genres cross over, especially in the YA groups. Mystery writers have their own groups, which include thrillers, spy and espionage. Non-fiction groups deal with more facts than fiction. As a fiction writer may feel out of place dealing with facts rather than raw imagination.

If you have long work hours, a weekly group might present a problem. Try a small group, 5-6 writers. Then everyone can be critiqued each time. A monthly group might be too far between reads. Remember, if you are in a large group, you may not get your story critiqued every time. Do not hesitate to ask about their processes. Online groups may fit your work and writing schedules, but there obstacles you must address. These include not seeing the people in the group. How do you know if anyone has published or is this their first attempt at writing. You need to ask the right questions at the beginning.

These are choices you, as a writer, have to decide. There is no right or wrong decision. You may have to try several groups and do not hesitate to try many. This is your writing and you want peers of the same genre to assist.

Once you find your critique group, your writing will improve. Also, in critiquing another person’s work, you are in a learning process. Try a group out. You just might find the ONE group for you. Or, there could be three of you that form a good fit, as long as you take these critiques in a professional manner.

Let me hear from you about your process for finding your group. I’d love to get your point of view on critique groups.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will discuss Rules of Critiquing and Rules for Being Critiqued.

Happy Hunting.