Monthly Archives: February 2014

Author Recognition and Some Fun…


grapes-of-wrath-novel

Yesterday Google celebrated John Steinbeck’s birthday with a doodle. You can view it through this link – http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/02/27/john-steinbeck-google-doodle/?iid=nf-article-mostpop1

Literary heroes are celebrated and rightly so, but shouldn’t they have as much postive fanfare when they are alive? When we list literary greats, many had conflict and dire circumstances in their lives. Would optimistic recognition have helped them or made their particular troubles worse? Some obviously did become the target of media frenzies in modern times but what of earlier authors? Just to take one female author – Charlotte Bronte. She had to write under a man’s name in order to be published and ‘recognized’. In this digital age recognition, whether good or bad is immediate but for these authors they never knew their fame. http://www.policymic.com/articles/62651/9-incredible-writers-who-only-became-famous-after-death

FunDayOn the subject of fame I cannot omit this quote, which in itself is famous!

In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. ANDY WARHOL

Fame or infamy, either one is preferable to being forgotten. CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI
And now for your fun prompt – You are a sudden sensation and the media are camped outside your home. How do you handle it?

Are You Utilizing Your Notebooks Properly..?


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Notebooks are a writer’s best friend. They capture ideas, characterizations and plot arcs. We may have a compulsion to gather them and set them aside for a future project. Notebooks are available in a multitude of designs and styles, so there is something for everyone.

We treasure our notebooks as they record that moment a new story or character is revealed. From those humble beginnings a narrative is born.

Do you file your notebooks in a particular order? Genre, first to last or by other themes?

Where do you keep them?

However, do you use one just for observations of human behaviour? Yes, an interesting concept and one I had never thought of before. I always think I will remember that old man’s comments to the waitress or the young mother’s dialogue with her baby. I hope you find this article as interesting as I did.

http://thewritersalleys.blogspot.ca/2014/01/the-writers-notebook.html

notebook

Are You Making the Most of Your Memberships..?


Many of us have memberships to organizations but after the inital enthusiactic blush of newness there seems to be a decline in involvement.

Why is this?

We have paid good money for an annual membership, why not ultilize it for the whole year?

I volunteered at a local event both days of this past weekend. The Arts Expo is held annually and show cases local artisans. However, many of the members did not attend, whether as participants or visitors to support their fellow members. I find this extremely sad. Organizations strive to support and promote their members at every opportunity, so why does it fall on the same few members time and again?

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WFSC banner

A membership can give so much if we get involved. Not only it is an opportunity to promote our own work but also network and form new friendships. During the weekend, I got to know several members of my writers group, the Writers Foundation of Stathcona County a great deal more. It was an enjoyable two days and I am glad to help at all the events laid on for our group, my publisher, Dream Write Publishing and the Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona County (ACCSC) who promote all forms of the arts, from weavers to potters to authors and a good deal more. Don’t forskae your memberships – use them to your advantage.

DWP logo

The more we are involved, the more we get out of our membership. Consider your memberships and make the commitment to utilize them to their full potential, after all you paid for it!

We are lucky to have a proactive mayor, Rxanne Carr, who is commited in making culture accessable and promoted within our community. The more we do, the better the results.

Get involved.

Arts Expo 2014 WFSCArts Expo 2013Joe Arts 2014

Save That Bookstore and Write a Story…


bookshop

I recently contributed to a fund to help buy a book store. Even though it was thousands of miles away from where I live, I felt it was important to be proactive. Happily, the store was saved from closure by a local person, who has taken over the lease. The lure of ‘one stop’ shopping is hard to resist in a hurried life but once you experience a ‘local’ store and become a regular, you will see the benefits are wide ranging. There is a personal connection, something that is lost in a vast warehouse style mega store. The proprietor will remember you and may put aside books they feel will be of interest to you. There is time to chat and browse without rushing through a shopping list of multiple items.

This week saw a famous author use a large sum to assist small book stores and I think that is not just excellent on his part but also hopefully the spear head for others to follow. Thank you, James Patterson.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/business/media/james-patterson-giving-cash-to-bookstores.html?ref=booksandliterature&_r=o

Quotes: 

Nothing leads so straight to futility as literary ambitions without systematic knowledge.  H. G. Wells

To understand a literary style, consider what it omits.   Mason Cooley

FunDay

And now for the fun part: Write a short story about the little bookstore above or your local one.
 
Support your local bookstore. Keep these delightful realms of adventure from closure.

Do You Cluster..?


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Any idea, tip or advice regarding the creation of our narratives is always welcomed. If you have not heard of clustering before it is a type of prewriting, which explores numerous ideas as they occur. Utilizing a graph similar to the above, you choose a central word and then brainstorm ideas that arise from it. Make sure you write quickly without editing and continue until you have exhausted your thought processes. For example if your main theme is barrel racing, then logical words will automatically appear, such as horse, saddle, paddock etc. but also note words that are not so logicial to broaden the theme.

Heidi M. Thomas

Cluster Diagram “Clustering” is a type of brainstorming or pre-writing that can help give you ideas either before you start writing or when you get stuck. With this technique you can map out your thinking using circles and lines to display“branches” of your ideas or connections between your ideas.

Choose a word, for example the name of your main character. Write it down and circle it. This will be the center of your cluster. Then randomly as each new word or phrase comes to mind, circle it, and connect it with a line to the word that sparked it. It can be other characters in your story, or a physical description, or inner characteristics. Attach each word that seems like an entirely new direction to the center idea.

But don’t allow that ugly inner editor to intrude–don’t get hung up on which words connect to what. The idea is to let thoughts…

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Can You Create Your Own Myth..?


In the world of make-believe, writers have the ability to create a believable world of their own making. Research into the ‘known’ myths and legends will assist in the ‘format’ of creating their own tale. From fantastical creatures to other worldly habitats to super powers, everything is possible.mythical-creaturesTaking an idea from conception to fully developed narrative is the path every writer wants.

Whether  utilizing a known god or goddess or a creature, or using your imagination to make one from scratch, compiling a ‘life’ around them is the focus.

Asking questions, being inquisitive and ‘seeing’ alternatives will result in an idea that an author can run with.

The questions need not be deep or difficult. Maybe ask where the consciousness of the Phoenix goes when it is between egg and rising? How a unicorn cleans it horn? Do mermen serve the mermaids?

A childlike curiosity is a writer’s best friend when creating magical elements to a story. Even if the novel will be for adults. We all love to be transported into another world. That is the joy of books.

Maybe you have a favorite mythical creature that sparks your imagination. Why not share?

I coupled my love of wildlife and magical creatures into my children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue. The woodland sprites live within their forest home to help the animals that reside there. Research into sprites, pixies, elves and the like was fun and I got to read through my gnome and fairies books too.

Ockleberries

Show the Love Every Day Not Just Valentines…


Let’s show the love today and remember not only those nearest and dearest but also that this is the Year of  Reading Women. Grab a novel from your favorite female author.

readwomen2014

http://publishingperspectives.com/2014/01/is-2014-the-year-of-reading-women/

Although, historians are not positive on the exact origins of Valentine’s Day, the Catholic church did honor the martyrdom of St. Valentine. He was jailed for performing marriages in spite of a ban made by Claudius, the Roman Emperor. Two men called Valentine were executed on 14th February in different years of  3rd century A.D.

Valentine

There is also evidence that in Roman times, men would literally hit on women during the feast of Lupercalia, celebrated from 13th to 15th February. A goat or dog would be sacrificed and then the hides were used to whip the women. The women believed this practice would make them fertile. At the same time young men would draw names of women out of a jar and couple with them for the duration of the festival, some would last longer depending on the love match. In the 5th century, Pope Gelasius, combined St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia in an attempt to expel the pagan ritual. To add more confusion the Norman’s celebrated Galatin’s Day. The name Galatin means ‘lover of women’ and thus was muddled into the ‘loving day’ too.

William Shakespeare and Chaucer further romanticized the festival in their writing. Hand-made paper cards became love tokens – du-jour – in the Middle Ages and so began the multi-million industry for cards, flowers and chocolates.

For good measure – Sonnet 18:

sonnet-18

Today’s prompt should, of course, have a love theme.

Choose one line from Sonnet 18 and create your own love poem from it. Feel free to share.

Invitation to a Writing Conference…


If you can make it, my writing foundation is hosting a conference. All welcome. There are plenty of nice hotels for those traveling to Sherwood Park, Alberta. Details here and Early ird Prize draw deadline looming…get in quick!

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My 555 blog post – just saying!

Have a great week…

 

We got a mention on Danyelle’s Links – grateful for that –  http://paper.li/DanyelleLeafty

Keeping Track of Time


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Today’s re-blog is from Ingrid’s Notes. The subject keeping track of your writing time. I am the first to put my hand up and say I never do this for my writing or for my volunteer hours as secretary for my writers foundation. Yes, I know I should but…
Do you keep track?
What methods do you use?

As my freelance work increases I am well aware I will have to keep track of projects and the time they take, so I am taking notes, Ingrid.

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Ingrid's Notes

Infinity-Time1 One of the big struggles with writing is time. It takes months, and often years, to complete a novel. I find that a lot of fear gets wrapped up in that time investment.

For example, the idea of revisions after completing a draft is often met with a sinking sense of desperation. Not because we’re afraid to revise, but because it seems like we will never be done. We aren’t afraid of the work, so much as the time it will take to complete the work.

But how much time are we actually talking about?

I’ve started to wonder if our fear is due to the ambiguous nature of how much time we spend on a project. I can guarantee you that a novel that took eight years to write, wasn’t worked on every day. Most of us have full time jobs, families, and other commitments that demand our time. We chip…

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Digging Stuff Up or Archaeology for Those in the Know…


Archaeology is defined as the scientific study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments, and other remains.

Fascination with the lives of humans that came before us has been around for decades. Preservation of artifacts and intensive research into the daily life and habits of these ancestors has increasingly revealed lives we could never imagine. From simple stone tools to impressive structures, such as aqueducts and pyramids, to technological inventions, homo sapiens have evolved at an incredible rate.  As you can see from this graph, although it only spans until Shakespeare’s time. We have taken even larger leaps since then.

Cultural history

Technological advances have exploded as you can clearly see here.

technology_through_years

Actually digging on an archaeological site is fun as the anticipation of finding something keeps you picking away at the soil, even in poor weather or baking heat. I have experienced a couple of digs and attended archaeology classes as well as explored numerous historical sites and houses in England. These visits are cataloged in many scrap books. I incorporated my knowledge of archaeology into my novel, The Twesome Loop, where a gruesome find in the villa grounds is investigated.

Excerpt from The Twesome Loop 

Her parents’ friend, James Buckley, was in charge of the new dig at the Thornwood villa, he had been only too pleased to welcome Caroline and his old colleagues to visit. Caroline had investigated so much on the Thornwood estate but to actually visit it, was a dream come true. Through her own research she already knew a great deal about Lord Thornwood. He had bought the land near Agagni and commissioned the restoration of the Italian villa on the site. It was built on the highest point, giving extensive views across the valley. As part treasure hunter and part historian, the English Lord spent decades digging his land and finding numerous Roman artifacts, which he unashamedly sold to the highest bidder to finance his other obsession, gambling.

As the years passed, the locals thought him mad as he was always in dirty clothes digging up the land, followed closely by a manservant with a wheelbarrow and water jugs. When Lord Thornwood died, his family sold off the villa and its land in job lots to pay off his large debts. Caroline had also researched the man who would be their host, Edward Beecham. She discovered he had inherited the villa and its extensive gardens. With investment he had commissioned a total refit of the villa, which transformed it into a large family home with separate accommodation for guests. It comprised of eight bedrooms all with en suite and traditional balconies. The web site showed the decor was sympathetic to the age of the building and all the fittings were reproduction to the era when the villa was first built. The photographs Caroline had found online gave stunning views across the valley. She was excited about exploring the home and grounds of her ‘champion’. Lord Thornwood had lived his passion for artifacts, and although he sold the wonderful treasures, they gradually found their way into museums all over the world.

What fascinates you about history?