Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Weather Affects Our Writing

July 9, 2020
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July has been a wet month so far here in Alberta. Walking my little rescue pup, has left us often soaked, but when we do manage to escape a thunder storm and finally catch a break in the clouds, we enjoy the sunshine to the fullest. Sammie is an enjoyable addition to my life – my step count have gone through the roof! Another good point in our writing life – bum off seat for exercise.

BBQ SAMMIE

The weather can affect our writing too. Sunny days draw us out into the warmth away from our usual writing spot. A patio or deck, balcony or beach or mountain retreat become our new inspiring spot. Cold weather has the opposite effect – cozy in front of a fire, huddled in blankets and fluffy socks. Whatever the weather, our writing changes ever so subtly. We may not even realize it.

Do you write more in the colder months or does creating outside in the sunshine increase your word count?

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Do your character’s situations reflect how you feel? Frustrated not to be outside in the warmth? Or happy not to have to trek through snow drifts?

Are your characters experiencing your weather or climate? Does it change how you write the scene? Or does it inspire you to accelerate their situation to extremes of weather?

With the effects of COVID19 across the world, we have either found writing to be an escape or a block on it. Maybe, we cannot find the inspiration for a narrative but our journal writing has increased. A record of our experience for future reference.

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Have you written a scene a certain way because of the weather you were experiencing at that time?  There are ways weather can be used in a narrative. It can give a mood or be symbolic, or even complicate the character’s situation.

I have currently returned to a manuscript, where the main protagonist escapes into the wild and the current storms helped set the mood. I could feel the intense foreboding, the expectation, the fear of the next thunderclap.

What weather inspired writing have you experienced in 2020 so far?

Genres of Literature -Bildungsroman

November 19, 2018
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Bildungsroman

The genre is characterized by a number of formal, topical, and thematic features. The term coming-of-age novel is sometimes used interchangeably with Bildungsroman, but its use is usually wider and less technical. It’s meaning encompasses  “education”, and “roman”, meaning “novel”;  “novel of formation, education, culture”; It is a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood in which character change is extremely important.

The term was coined in 1819 by Karl Morgenstern, a philologist in his university lectures and later reprised by Wilhelm Dilthey, who legitimized it in 1870 and popularized it in 1905.

The Bildungsroman genre or term is normally dated to the publication of Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship by Johann Wolfgang Goethe in 1795–96, or to Christoph Martin Wieland’s  Geschichte des Agathon of 1767.

Although the Bildungsroman genre arose in Germany, it’s extensive influence spread through Europe and then throughout the world. After Goethe’s novel was translated into English in 1824 , many British authors wrote novels inspired by it. Spreading in the 20th century to Germany, Britain, France, and other countries around the globe.

Examples include: Great Expectations, To Kill a Mocking Bird and David Copperfield to name a few.

Do you enjoy the coming of age genre?

Have you written this genre?

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Excerpt #1 – Willow Tree Tears

January 15, 2015
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As writers we all know the struggle of editing and revision once the first draft is completed. I am continuing to ‘polish’ my western romance, Willow Tree Tears. Today’s excerpt centers around my protagonist, Madison. She is thrilled about seeing the delicious Italian again but also discovers something is wrong with her father. I would welcome comments regarding how this excerpt relates her relationships and if it gives you an idea of her personality.

Madison’s excitement kept her awake. Today, Lucio would be revisiting. She admonished herself, trying to sleep. You will look absolutely awful tomorrow with great big bags under my eyes and sallow skin. Fall asleep, damn it. Eventually, she gave in and took half a sleeping tablet fearing a whole one would have her sleep in. The crash of a pan downstairs frightened her awake at seven o’clock. Was that Pops? She hurriedly grabbed her rope and ran down the stairs into the kitchen. She found her father scooping scrambled eggs off the mat and swearing under his breath.

“Frightened me half to death, Pops. What happened?”

“Damn thing slipped right out of my hand. Darndest thing.”

“Sit down, I’ll clean up the rest, Pops, if there’s anything to clear up Bandit seems to have managed most of it. Are you sure you are okay?”

“No need to fuss, girl. It just slipped.”

Madison bent down to mop up the grease off the tiles. From the corner of her eye she could see her father rub his left arm and then smack it as if it were numb. He’s keeping something from me. Maybe Doc wasn’t out this way for someone else the day I passed him on the road.

             With the floor clean, Madison made a new batch of scrambled eggs while her father began to make a pot of coffee. Bandit slumped down under the kitchen table satisfied with his early morning treat but kept one eye on Madison just in case there was another spill.

“Pops, how about using only two scoops this morning?”

“It’ll have no taste, girl.”

“It certainly will, Pops, and my heart won’t be racing afterwards and neither will yours.”

Her father didn’t argue. There is something wrong. He would have fought for the usual four scoops any other time. I’m going to talk to Doc the first chance I get, patient confidentially or not. I need to know what’s going on. Breakfast was served and eaten almost in silence apart from the scraping of cutlery on plates, as father and daughter were lost in their own thoughts. Madison carefully watched her father ascend the stairs. He’s leaning to his left and favoring his right arm, I hadn’t noticed until now.

             On her way to her room, Madison peered into her father’s room. He was sitting on the bed rubbing his arm again. Does it hurt? Should I say something? I’ll talk to Doc first then I’ll know what I need to do. In the meantime I need to take more notice of what he’s doing.

Copyright 2015 – Mandy Eve-Barnett  – Willow Tree Tears.

Dour Can Be Good…

August 14, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Dour – definition: sullen, gloomy, severe : stern

One of the more enjoyable parts of creating a story is the creation of the characters that populate it. Apart from the main protagonist and antagonist, there is a wealth of supporting ‘actors’, who bring the story alive. Character traits are great instruments to build these bit players into the minds of our readers. Two well known ‘gloomy’ persona’s are from the Harry Potter novels and movies.

character-development

Alan Rickman played Severus Snape. He is the ultimate flawed, tragic or anti-hero character. The Snape persona has considerable complexity. We can all remember his coldly sarcastic and controlled exterior, making him disagreeable to say the least. However, during the story’s progression, clues to Snape’s real nature are glimpsed. He conceals deep emotions and anguish. His back story only disclosed at the end of Harry’s journey. (Image: Harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki)

Emma Thompson played Sybill Trelawney. A delightfully shabby, slight woman resembling some sort of insect, with huge thick glasses, which magnified her eyes. She was always draped in a large spangled shawl and wore gaudy bangles and rings. Her misty voice and sudden loud declarations of doom were predictions of the future – some of which came true. (Image: Harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki)

Who is your favorite ‘gloomy persona?

A favorite of mine is Wednesday Addams. A pale, dark-haired, grim-looking little girl, who is fascinated with death and the macabre. Seldom smiling and raising spiders as a hobby she is also a ballerina, of all things! Her favorite toy is a  Marie Antoinette doll, which her brother insists on guillotining. Wednesday also paints pictures; one of which was a tree with human heads hanging in it and writes poetry, dedicating one to her favorite pet spider, Homer. She is totally unfazed with people around her and quite happy to deliberately scare and freak them out – this is trait is the one I love best. She is secure in who she is, even if that’s strange.

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Are You Overlooking Something..?

April 15, 2013
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Nadir – definition: 1) the lowest point; 2) the point of the celestial sphere that is directly opposite the zenith and directly under the observer.

Aurora Borealis observed in Norway on 2006-10-28.

Aurora Borealis observed in Norway on 2006-10-28. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I could relate star gazing experiences or the fantastic moments I have witnessed the aurora borealis here in Alberta but my mind went to the characters and parts of a story we can overlook. When we are engaged in writing about our main characters and their story they are our primary focus. We can neglect what is literally under our noses. The interaction with secondary characters can be an artful way of enhancing our main character. Their reaction to someone else will illustrate their personality more effectively than using endless descriptions. Of course secondary characters can also be important in their own right not only implementing momentum in the story arc but also as individual characters with their own ‘lives’ that are affected by the circumstances they and our main character find themselves in.

Take a look at this post:

http://crimsonleague.com/2013/04/11/creative-writing-tip-character-traits-in-secondary-characters/

Even the smallest detail can eject your reader from a scene. Would a historically set story really have burgers on the menu? Would a character wear a wristwatch? This is where research is vital for accuracy and to ensure your reader totally believes in the world your characters inhabit. The choice of weapons, clothing and social conventions build your world making it all the more believable. A Victorian lady would not go on a girls night out but entertain a few friends in the parlour during the day. A space commander would probably not spend his evenings knitting. Pirates use a cutlass, an alien a laser.

Here’s a great post:

http://susanleighnoble.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/realistic-food-in-your-fantasy-novel/

No matter your genre, your world building must have rules, structure and conventions that your hero is fighting to maintain or struggling against. Their methods and actions must reflect what is available to them and most importantly it must be believable.

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