Garden of Magic

WheeeeeeWhat does this have to do with writing? Everything. When you stimulate your readers with your words, thoughts, feelings, and, of course, love, you are creating magic. As you begin your novel, or even if you are half-way through, stop. Yes, stop. Think of what you are writing, who you are writing for, and can you give this a little pinch of surprise?

Think of your writing as a garden. Some things will stay the same, but when the weeding starts, watch out. Gardeners do not want weeds crowding out their flowers, vegetables, or shrubs. Each has a place in the garden and needs room to grow, sun to brighten the day, and rain to keep them alive.

Now translate this into your writing. You do not need adjectives and adverbs crowding out your words. You need a fresh approach. So, take a walk and feel the sun on your face, enjoy the warmth, bright light, and return home with a different perspective on your story. It might be cloudy with thunderstorms expected in the afternoon. Take time to sit and watch as the clouds form, the wind increases, and observe the activity. Think about your writing. Could you increase some tension with a storm? Is there anywhere for the characters to stay dry?

As your garden grows, look at the shape of the flowers, the different textures, and yet they are all in the same garden. Do the same with the vegetables, if that is your garden. Each vegetable has certain characteristics. If you’ve planted new shrubs, look at the roots and see if they are entangled with the other shrubs. The shape of the leaves can be different even on the same type of shrub.

Keep all of this in mind as you run your fingers over the keyboard, or push a pen across the paper. Do your characters now have their own special look, feel, voice? Your characters are an extension of you and your thoughts. They need their own place in your story. No one character has the same make-up or the same flaws. Yes, flaws. Remember your garden. If everything you planted came up the same, this would be a boring place to visit. Don’t you think your characters would get tired of being the same? Give each character their own traits and flaws. This makes a great way to keep your characters fresh through the next, say four-hundred pages.

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
CONFUCIUS

Happy writing in your garden of characters.

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RESTLESS NIGHTS

Two friends“Hey, it’s been quite a while since we checked in with Patricia. Maybe too long.” Edna sounded worried. “With this title, we should have kept in touch more often.”

“What’s wrong with right now?” Ethel answered. “If we read this post, we can figure out how to help.”

How many of you have gone to bed so tired it hurts to pull the covers up? You lay in complete darkness and silence. Too dark? To silent?

Our lives are primed for ‘go.’ The absence of activities creates unrest in our bodies and minds. This causes us tossing and turning, and the need to roll over to ease the tension. Useless movements. Now what?

Turn these tensions into story ideas. But, we are supposed to sleep. Which would you rather do: be aggravated or mesmerized with new ideas?

Close your eyes, open your mind, and hear or see the chaos. Maybe both. Sometimes this comes with a faceless image in your dreams. Put them to work. Make them tell you what they want. Are you breathing harder and faster? Are these images running from something or someone? As the mystery seeps into your being, keep going. These dream characters may want to show you important clues

You feel cool breezes on your face. There is a sense of grass, street lights, and ripples of water. A park with a lake shows up on your dream screen. The images stop. You stop as they point to an object floating in the water.

Your eyes open wide. The dream breaks into many pieces. You roll over, switch on the light, and grab your pen. After a few scribbles on the pad, your body relaxes. Your pillow cradles your head and you drift off to sleep.

The story inside you wanted the attention you either did not feel or could not see. Your unrest became the only avenue for the characters to get your attention.

“Whew, this was a long night, but glad we were close by if she got stuck in the dream.” Ethel nodded to Edna. “Now, we can take our nap.”

“And dream,” Edna giggled.

LISTEN TO YOUR RESTLESS NIGHTS AND REAP THEIR REWARDS.

 

 

BRIDGES FOR WRITING

Two friends“Edna, do you get this thing about bridges?”

Ethel, “No, and I am not going to sit on a bridge and write.”

What brought this to my mind? Watching the weather channel on television. There are so many disasters hitting people and countries, it would take too long to list every one and every place. However, we can connect to all these unusual events with bridges. Okay, why not include writing? We write from any available place: a computer on our desk, a laptop in our car, a worn out journal, a piece of paper, a napkin, even the back of our hands. If an idea hits, ya gotta grab it like NOW.

But how do bridges work? In a disaster, if there are distances between and a bridge is still standing, the teams sent in to do search, rescue, and get supplies to the affected areas, can use bridges. I came up with the same idea for writing. Here we are struggling to get an idea from the beginning to the end. Instead of getting all bent out of shape, pardon the cliché’, try a bridge method.

The story begins….a character needs to expand to another area….use a bridge. You can place your character(s) at the beginning of The Bridge and see what they do. Some will take steps forward and even venture to peer over the side. Others will see the long walkway with no safety net and back up. Then, you have a character who chomps at the bit and takes off for the other side. An adventure is awaiting their arrival.

The Bridge brings out the best and worst of a character’s attitude and altitude. You learn how your character reacts to heights, being alone, clinging to another character, unable to encounter the unknowing of what’s on the other side.

Push your characters to their limits and see how they handle situations. Once they are on The Bridge, a different side appears. You can give them a choice to return, if they are not past the middle. This is the place where the bridge can open, if a ship needs passage under. If your characters went to far, can they still cling to the side and hold on for the bridge to close. You learn another dimension of your character’s strength in hard places.

Okay, everyone is now headed down the other side of The Bridge, but what awaits them? This is where you get the tension flowing. Readers either turn pages fast or hesitate. They don’t want anything to happen to their character(s). This could be a no return. Each character needs either to rely on someone or shrug and go off in another direction.

With The Bridge, you took your characters from the normal, to a possibility, to an ending only they can decide. How will they react? How will your readers react? Remember, you can always throw a rope into the novel for a safety net.

Now you know your characters strengths and weaknesses. Make them shine and surprise, not only you, the author, but the reader

CROSS BRIDGES WITH CAUTION. HAPPY WRITING.

“See there, Edna, we worried for nothing. She’s not going to let us down.”

“Yeah, Ethel. I’m so happy. You know I don’t like heights.”

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