CHEERS TO THE HOLDAYS

images_271This is the most fun-time of the year. Family members snooping in closets, under beds, and anywhere they can remember, from last year, where presents were hid. And yes, the trips to stores to drop gifts, unwrapped, off at the places for families who need gifts. This is the important part of the holiday season…sharing. Giving rather than receiving.
I remember years ago, my parents driving me and a backseat full of gifts to parts of town I did not know existed. When we stopped in front of homes, some of them did not have lights, but candles. I thought this was neat, until my mom told me the truth about their candles. Even today, I have problems with lighting candles, except at church.
Still we all know there are discrepancies in the lives of people we know and people we do not know. It becomes our cheer to give to those whose lives are not as fortunate
as ours.

One family we encountered had two little boys….all I could think of was balls, toys, warm clothes, until the oldest kept looking around and shaking his head. When I asked if he was okay, he nodded and turned to go still looking around. “Did you loose something?” I asked. The answer came back in a whisper…”No, guess Santa never heard me.”

“What did you want from Santa?”

“A new coat for my mom, and a puppy for my brother.”

My heart dropped down to my knees. He wanted for his mom and his brother but nothing for him. “Maybe, Santa had his sleigh full and couldn’t get these inside. If he doesn’t come back tonight, we will search for him tomorrow.”

“Really, you’d help me?”

My dad turned his head around and surprised me….”Of course, but you need to keep this a secret.”

The little boy’s eyes widened as he shook his head up and down.

“If we can find Santa tonight, we’ll be back; but if we have to wait until Christmas Day, we may be a little late.”

“Okay.”

No other response. This little boy believed both of us.

“Dad, what are we going to do?”

“Everything except the puppy. They can’t feed their own family, and certainly not a dog. But, you, my daughter, will take him to the Animal Shelter and let him play with all the dogs he and his brother can handle.  AND…This will be once a month for the next year.”

I noticed the change in my Dad’s voice and I knew what he meant. A promise is your word to another person and it cannot be broken.

The next day, we drove by their house. The candles were all lit, singing came through the cracks in the doors and windows. It was a happy sound, and next to me was a huge hairy dog. We opened up car doors and started toward the house. The singing stopped, and the family members met us on the rickety front porch.

“We found Santa,” my dad hollered, but he only had a few things left. “A new coat for mom, a new flannel shirt for dad, clothes for both of you boys, and a new part-time pet. Meet, “Big Boy.” We will bring him by every so often and my daughter will take you with her to help at the animal shelter. Santa smiled as he got his sleigh off toward the North Pole.

“Merry Christmas to all who believe.”

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RESEARCH? YES. NO.

more work
Yes, I believe we all do research to a certain point. We need to know the place where our story takes place and the surrounding area. Or do we?
As creative writers, we create, and in fiction we can make our characters our own. But does everything have to be accurate? Our creativity can come alive in a make-believe place. This is the place where our characters will live, love, argue, be torn apart by some event, meet again from our  own creative thoughts.
I enjoy making up my village, town or city.  I can name the streets whatever seems right to me and my characters. It can be in the mountains, by the ocean, a hot desert feel, and the stores are from creative imagination. It is like making a blueprint for your surroundings.
Sometimes, making up the place the characters become alive. Not the cookie-cutter characters. It is like you are giving them freedom to be who they are. Soon they realize this and watch out. Their actions and spontaneity are off the page. They like being unleashed.
They are in a new place, meeting new and different people, and they love the independence you give them. As a writer, you create emotions and your characters show your fingers which keys to hit. Go with them and see your story take twists and turns. The writer has an idea of who, what, when, and where the story/novel should go. When it takes off on another path, our characters run with the story and it is hard to keep the fingers moving so fast over the keys. (Don’t worry. You can edit later.) Let them have free rein to romp, run, and roam. Your story has changed because of the freedom you are giving your characters. You are writing fiction.
On the other side, Non-Fiction research is necessary and important. You need to know all the facts you can, and still give the characters a chance to show themselves as real people in a period unfamiliar to others.
HAPPY WRITING.  HAPPY CREATING.  HAPPY CHARACTERS.
                                            HAPPY YOU.

 

THE END OF AUGUST 2015

Video

images_063August is coming to a quick end. Did I not look at a calendar, or do the days fly by and I do not notice? Knowing me, I’d say I do not notice.  Why? Because life is a merry-go-round, and I want to keep the momentum going. Still, sometimes I have to step off and watch the horses go up and down for a few turns. A breather, you might call it. And I got hit with this at my last SilverSneakers® class. One of the members hollered, “Hey are we going to have class on Labor Day?” Labor Day, that’s next month and the hammer hit hard. No, That’s next week.  They are such a great group, we will probably take the Holiday and be ready to come back refreshed, renewed, rewound.

August came and did its heat on all of us. The humidity hit hard against the body and I can only imagine what the states with such outrageous fires are going through. Now, Hurricane Season sticks its neck out and we have Tropical Storms forming in many different regions.

This made me think of the process of writing. An idea forms, and we wait to see what this idea wants to do. Yeah, even in the middle of the night, these thoughts filter into our sleep. Sometimes, these are the most important filters to trap into our dreams. We are asleep and our subconscious takes control.  There is no censor on these trips, rather our naked nature and we roll with the punches.

I am working on a new book and thought I knew what would happen. Wrong.  My character’s all have different names, the location is out of my control and so are my characters. This all happened one nightmarish night. I woke up in the morning and my bedroom looked like a ‘war’ zone. Guess I was fighting the changes, but then could not remember what changes. No, there were no scribbles on my notebook, because I’d knocked it on the floor before I could scribble. So, I sat at my computer and went to the folder of the WIP (work in progress). What I encountered was nothing compared to my — encounter. I keep plodding in the old file, hoping my dream will return in a more prudent manner.  Life as a writer at times sucks, and then a times shines. We are hooked and never give up or out.

Proof of this is the Trailer of my book, Breaking Point, which is out in printed form. If the ‘gods’ are with me, I will try to have this video added at the end of the post. If it works, the big thanks goes to Carolyn Wren, a Secret Cravings Author, who has given up her time and energy to produce trailers. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

This is what writers do…help other writers. There is no industry in the world that has the help from one writer to another writer, Thank you.

p.s.  video did not work, but challenges are a part of writing. If you would like to check this out, please visit my website at http://www.patricia-patterson.com. I’ll work on this challenge ASAP.

 

 

 

 

CENTER OF CONFUSION

Video

Lost ConfidenceI wish this look could swipe over me. A form of utter calm and no worries. Have you ever been so overwhelmed that you want to throw the dishes in the garbage, the radio along with the dishes, the television hit with a baseball bat (if you have one), and the computer hidden and you can’t remember where? I’m sure we have all had these days, even weeks, and why? I don’t know about you, but I want things done and not have to wait until later. After all my years on the Planet Earth, I should be able to shrug and let pieces fall where they want. But, this is wishful thinking and you know what–I’m glad. It means I am still around and kicking. No make that writing.

Do you ever feel like things hit you dead center at the most inopportune time? My computer started hanging up. Nothing would work, except alt control delete or OFF. And this was right when new scenes were flying through my head for another book. Yes, pen and paper were handy, but my writing is not the best in the world. Since the computer, I’ve even forgotten how to make the writing legible. Any way, I tried and could not read my own handwriting. So, I waited a day and tried again. Nada.

Another idea hit…a tape recorder. Somewhere, I had put an old-fashioned one and knew how to operate this. Now where? A search of almost every drawer in my home became the focus point, and search I did. Until, the one drawer became evident. You know the one that catches everything. There it was hidden under scads of odds and ends and it worked when I turned it on.

Not to let the words escape me, I began recording what I could remember for the new book. It was like my fingers running over the keyboard, but instead my voice hitting the airwaves of the recorder. Then, squawk, squeak, screech, and nothing. Guess batteries don’t last forever. So, excuse me, as I need to get to the store and pick up a couple. No, wait a minute, look I am hitting the keys and my computer has returned to normal.

Yes, we all have our good and bad days. We all have interruptions. We all have intrusions in our lives, but this tells us we are alive and kicking. We do have time to get things done and complete our novel.

Head to your favorite writing corner, put on your coat of armor, and let the words fall out whichever way they can: paper, pen, napkins, tissue paper. You’ve got the words to use and this is what we are all about…writing.

Happy You. Happy Writing.

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

dog days of summerDid you know this period of August and into September is named after a star, Sirius the Dog Star. Looks like this Sirius is enjoying his air conditioner. The hot weather during this period seems to be hotter, no breezes, and robs one of their energy to be active. I’ve thought about this and remember, way back when, times of air conditioning did not exist. Yeah, they had means to cool businesses, but what about homes. We used fans, like in the picture, in our windows, rooms, porches, and we drank plenty of lemonade, ice tea, water and lots of ice in every drink. Never thought too much about the heat, until we got our first air conditioner. It was a huge, clunky box which my dad installed in one of our living room windows. It cooled the room where we stayed most of the time. Why? Our first black and white television was in this room. As I remember backwards, a lot of firsts entered our lives. Exciting to see pictures on a big screen and be cool at the same time. Then came the first washing machine, but not like the kind that you have in your homes. No, this was similar to the old washer and had ringers you ran the clothes through, after the rinse, to squeeze the water out. Only, this new washer had a motor that rotated the clothes you put inside the machine. You could watch the clothes move around without the use of hands or paddles. Then you hit a release knob and the dirty wash water ran down a drain. When it was empty, you filled the machine with clear water for the rinse, started the motor again so the rotation would rinse the clothes. Now, the final release knob and the water ran out again. Hands ran them through the wringer and they were ready for the clothesline. Wash day was a lot of work. No, I like the laundry days now, except…Oh, the clothes smelled so fresh as they were unpinned from the clothesline and folded up.  I’m happy to have had these experiences and when I do laundry, thankful for all the new technology. But, would love to smell the freshness from the outside, not from a rinse of different smells. It is good to remember what was and be thankful for what is now. Sometimes, we want things to go faster, quicker, and forget what we need is downtime from all our activites. During these “Dog Days of Summer” take time to relax, read, write, connect with friends, old and new, sit back and enjoy your Ice Tea, or Sweet Tea depending where you are spending your hot summer days. Just keep in mind, these days won’t last forever. Soon Fall and Winter will creep up on the calendar. At this point, you’ll remember  the hot days of summer. Enjoy your days, write about your own memories, and you’ll be surprised at what your fingers will dig up for you.

Happy Memories. Happy Days. Happy Writing.

CONNECTION

Two friends“Hey, Ethel, did you see the title of her new blog? Bet she got this from our friendship.”

“Edna, we gave her a great picture of connection. Let’s see what she has to say.”

Look at the blank page before you begin writing. Do you know what your mind has for your fingers to create? This is like a blank canvas and your mind can develop anything you want. But, have you thought out your picture? What about your story? Pictures and stories seem to coincide. Your picture can stir up thoughts of a story and your story can create pictures in your mind. Yep, they go hand-in-hand. Sometimes as writers, we have looked at pictures as prompts and encouraged to write twenty-five words about the picture. As an artist, we read a story and see everything in pictures or paintings. Some are lucky and can do both–me, let’s just say do not put a paint brush in my hand. I cannot do good on walls, let alone a small piece of paper.

What if you have started your story and had to stop. Do you go back and take the time to read what you have written. No, not just a sentence or two, but maybe a chapter. You need to keep the characteristics of your characters the same and plod forward. You do not want that meek character to turn into an arrogant creature in the next sentence. This is where you connect from reading a few pages back.

Once you are into your story and spend time with your characters, it is easier to pick up where you stopped. You now their behaviors, their dispositions, and their voices. Voice is important for all of your characters. Even without naming the speaker, the reader knows the voice. The character uses their specific words to express themselves and the way they articulate their words. The reader ‘knows’ this person you have created.

If you are writing a singe title book, the characters are there just for this book. But, what happens if this is a series? You will need to carry your characters over to the next book with some their same traits. Of course, they may change as you give them opportunities to grow. Guess what? Now you have more choices to make and more time with your characters.

This is where the pictures in your mind help you connect. Be free with your pictures and your characters will show you their other side(s). Most of all, have fun with your writing and let your characters lead you down different paths.

Happy Pictures. Happy Characters. Happy Writing.

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

An IdeaThis is a question where no real answer can be found. Why? It depends on the person and the field of creativity they choose.

We sometimes forget about the landscapers, home builders, clothing designers, or photographers. They also go through a creative process.

If you are an artist, your blank, white canvas can be over whelming. In your mind’s eye, you can see the colors and the vibrancy, but the brush held in your hand never moves. You are stuck.

As a writer, we open a blank page and stare.  In our minds, we know what we want to appear, but our fingers are sticky and do not slide over the keys. Yet, everything we do has a process and this includes becoming a creative writer.

First, you must decide what kind of writer are you? Is writing just a hobby to you or is writing something you HAVE to do, WANT to do, and WORK at becoming the best you can be? This is a crossroad only you can decide. When the passion of writing becomes your inner most desire, you can feel the need to improve and grow. This takes time and patience, and when this wears off, you turn to writing as a hobby. As a writer, you are challenged ever step of the way toward the best creative process for you.

You begin your creative process in learning the structure of writing, appreciate the skills you learn, and overcome the obstacles thrown in your path…frustration. Writing takes practice, more practice, and more writing. There are characters to develop, scenes to create, and yes, strong plots. You must have the conviction to start and complete your story. This is where confidence plays an important part of the process.

As the process continues, you must focus on grammar, sentence structure, story flow, and learn to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. This is where your passion to create pushes your forward. No writer’s block or waiting for the muse, will make you stop writing. However, if there is a missing part to your story or nothing seems to fit right, go have some fun. You can take a long walk, but do something fun and let your stress disappear.

Time is another part of the process for the passionate writer. You are excited to hit the keys and watch your story take shape with each additional chapter. Some writers have the opportunity to write as a full-time job. Others work outside the home and schedule their writing around work, home, and family. No matter where you are, keep to your schedule, because this is your desire and you are excited to be a writer.

If you feel stuck, get yourself out and explore something different. You can try writing at a library, coffee shop, or whatever makes you feel comfortable around other people. Writing is a lonely venture, but you can change this and feel new energy in your writing.  Exercise your body and your mind together on a long walk. You will come back refreshed and ready to hit the keys.

What I’d love to hear from you is YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS. WHAT KEEPS THE ENERGIZER BUNNY INSIDE OF YOU GOING, GOING, AND GOING?