Tag Archives: shopping

Soothing my NaNoWriMo Buddies…


Assuage – definition: 1. to make milder or less severe; relieve; ease; mitigate; 2. to appease; satisfy; allay; relieve; 3. to soothe, calm, or mollify

medium_NaNoWriMo_Comic

Just remember its the taking part that counts. You will have a body of work to revise, edit and re-work for the next year, so don’t panic. NaNo is the starting point not the finish line.

finishing kit

If you make the magical 50,000 words – well done but if not know you have succeeded in challenging yourself and winning anyway. It is the journey of your story that is important.

I will be extra busy today at a local event with my publisher, Dream Write Publishing. If you are local come and grab early Xmas gifts and visit #14 booth – books for all ages. Xmas wrap available. Special children’s books packages prewrapped.
Noon – 7 pm – Dow Centennial Centre, 8700 84 ST, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta T8L 4P5

Book_tree

Christmas Market 5

Reflections…A Writing Excercise…


Stymie – definition: to present an obstacle; to stand in the way of

As many of you know I really enjoy writing prompts, and have overcome ‘blocks’ using them. So don’t get stymied use one to refresh and release your creativity.

I was inspired by a fellow blogger’s photograph of a set of windows. http://storiesbyfrances.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/untitled-2/ and promised to share the short story it inspired. The changing light in the two windows made me think of reflections of a personality.

Window 1

Madeline believed wholeheartedly that the eyes were a reflection of the soul so no matter what a person might appear like on the outside, she knew it was their inner being that was their true self. When she moved into her new apartment she relished the golden light that shone through. It reflected her joyous nature. With a bubbly, friendly personality many people were instantly drawn to Madeline. She made friends easily and was known as a loyal and supportive person.
Although she had been living in the apartment for over two weeks, she had not met her immediate neighbor. Their apartment window was always dark and gloomy such a contrast to her own, even though they were facing the exact same direction. Madeline had heard movements through the wall and the murmurings of a television but nothing more. Wanting to make introductions, Madeline baked a batch of cookies on Saturday morning. Once they were cool she placed a dozen into a small tin lined with a napkin.

Window 2

After taking a deep breath and with a broad smile on her face she knocked on her neighbor’s door. She waited and turned her head to listen. No footsteps. No response. Maybe she had missed them going out while she had been busy baking? A shuffling noise stopped her from turning away. The door slowly opened and an old man’s face appeared just above the door chain.
“What do you want?”
“Hello, my name’s Madeline. I’m your new neighbor. I wanted to introduce myself and offer you some cookies I baked this morning.”
The man’s brow crinkled, as he looked her up and down.
“Cookies you say?”
Yes chocolate chip. Would you like them?”
“You want to give them to me?”
“Yes.”

Window 3

The man put his hand through the gap in the doorway and took the tin. A slight smile creased his lips.
“Well thank you. The name’s Boyd.”
Not waiting for a reply he shut the door.
Madeline was a little surprised but thought Boyd was probably lonely. From the small glimpse of his apartment she could see numerous cobwebs and there was a distinct stale odor. She thought her gift had given him a little happiness but wanted to help more. She would think on how that would be possible as she cleaned her own apartment.

Boyd sat in his armchair with a mug of coffee and ate the cookies hungrily. It had been a long time since he had such a treat. After Mildred passed he seldom left the apartment. Luckily the corner shop delivered the same food order every Wednesday so his only outing was to collect his pension once a month. He would pick up the money, pay his bill at the shop and return home. He felt anxious whenever he was outside; the neighbourhood had changed a great deal in the last five years.
Madeline’s idea came to her as she was folding laundry. She knew she would have to be convincing but maybe it would work. Once supper was cooked she made up an extra plate and knocked on Boyd’s door.
“Who is it at this time of night?”
“Hello, Boyd, it’s me, Madeline, from next door.”
Boyd opened his door and peeked through the gap.
“I wondered if you would like some supper? I haven’t got used to making single portions and made far too much for one person.”

Window 4

The aroma made Boyd’s stomach grumble.
“Well, it seems wicked to throw it away, I’ll help you out.”
Boyd took the chain off the door and opened it. Standing to one side he motioned Madeline to enter. Her heart ached when she saw how dark and dirty the apartment was. The poor man was obviously living alone and could not manage. Boyd followed behind Madeline shuffling with his cane.
“Just put the plate on the little table by the armchair. Thank you.”
Madeline surveyed the room, apart from the armchair, side table and the television everything else had a layer of dust covering it. It was obvious Boyd sat in that exact spot most of the time.
“If you will let me I could bring a plate over every evening.”
“Now why would you do that? We’re strangers.”
“Not anymore, Boyd, we’re neighbours. I hope we will get to know each other well, in time.”
Boyd looked at Madeline friendly, smiling face. It was a long time since he had anyone want to be his friend. A broad smile lit up his face and Boyd nodded as a single tear ran down his cheek.
“You are so very kind. I would like that very much.”
Over the following months Madeline managed to clean Boyd’s apartment and they regularly went for walks at the weekends, picking new coffee shops to visit on their way. Light began to reflect in Boyd’s window and his eyes. Madeline shared her light willingly.

Duality in Your Stories..?


Transgress – definition: 1) to go beyond the limits set by law : violate 2) to pass beyond or go over a limit or boundary; 3) to violate a command or law

In a normal social  environment going beyond acceptable limits is either frowned upon or punished depending on the situation. However, its not such a bad thing for a writer to push the limits. Our imaginations make anything possible. We can even set our own limits in our created worlds. A being with no emotion, such as a vulcan would not think twice about the slaying of another being – as long as it was the logical action in that situation. In the mind of a twisted villian they would view their actions as sanctioned or required within their madness.  While a victim could act violently in self defense and be seen as a hero. Both characters have killed but we view the acts differently.

As always it is a question of perspective. Something I have pressed upon my children. When I was told ‘but I was alright Mum’ – my counter comment is ‘from your point of view, yes you were fine but from mine I imagined you dead in a ditch’. It seemed to do the trick as they are both very good at texting me to let me know where they are and how they are. Yes I admit I have a ‘worse case scenario’ mindset, maybe it’s the writer in me or just the normal motherly instincts for her cubs.

The first time I was consciously aware of the strength of perspective was when I re-read Cujo by Stephen King. The first time I was a ‘live life to the fullest’ single and felt sorry for the poor dog. The second read, I was a mother and sympathised with the poor woman and child. Two opposing views for the exact same story.

Which brings me to ponder when we are creating characters and situations should we endeavor to tailor make the story to appeal to more than one demographic?  For example my novel, Life in Slake Patch is from the viewpoint of a young man realising the way of life unchanged for generations could be a great deal better from his perspective. However, it also shows the hierarchy and why that way of life was structured in the first place. In essence, Evan wants more than only one day to visit his new bride and not to live in a male only compound, while the all female hierarchy has made those exact laws to safe guard from another world war.

LifeinSlakePatch 001character-developmentPyramid from: Profesorbaker’s Blog.

When you study your stories can you identify this type of duality?

Visual Reminders of Days Gone Past…


Today’s word – Gingham – definition: a cotton clothing fabric in plain weave.

images

All I could see when I read this word was gathered gingham fabric across the kitchen sink window…isn’t that evidence of how strong images are? My next image was of my infant (elementary) school uniform, which was green and white gingham summer dresses or grey skirts and bottle green sweatshirt’s for winter.

So is gingham coming back into fashion now? I found a site, which has gentleman’s shirts in gingham – no more little girl’s with pigtails? I also found out that gingham is typically a colour and white not multi coloured like plaid. Once I starting delving into the history of gingham I found out it was first produced in 17th century England and the fabric shipped to the colonies. However, the original fabric was striped and only gradually became checkered. The most popular colour combination was blue and white. As for the actual name there are numerous possibilities to its origin. Ging-gang is Italian, genggang is Malaysian and Indonesia – take your pick. Whichever it is they all mean striped.

This fascinating post is worth reading – if you so wish. Lots of stuff I didn’t know about gingham. http://visforvintage.net/2012/09/11/gingham-fabric/

After reading all this it occurred to me that my image of gingham may not necessarily be true for everyone. I have it firmly set in the 1950’s but with the re-emergence of the fabric in later decades in other guises, it is quite possible that a younger reader would picture it entirely differently. So that makes for an interesting predicament, depending on the age of your readers and or the era you are portraying can significantly alter how the use of articles or items can influence your readers perception of where in time your characters are.

A point to consider and research when using iconic items, articles or music for that matter. All of them can evoke a different response in your reader.

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Toady…do childhood memories inspire?


 Toady – definition: a person who flatters another in the hopes of receiving favors.

The-Wind-in-the-WillowsMy first thought when I read this word was Toad of Toad Hall. It was a favorite book when I was growing up – Wind in the Willows. Fascinating animal characters in a natural environment. Then the realization came that my current project is about animal characters in a forest helped by woodland sprites. Is there a sub-conscious link to my childhood do you think? I hadn’t thought of Toad and his friends in more decades than I care to mention but maybe they linger in the depths of my mind. I had thought I was writing this particular story because my parents were always very keen for  my siblings and I to understand and appreciate the natural world around us. Possibly it is a combination of the two. I have passed on my parents legacy to my children and my current project, Ockleberries to the Rescue is partly inspired by the stories I told them when they were little. Their favorite outing was always a wildlife park preferring them over zoos. The animals have so much more space to live in.

Could our current themes or genres be influenced by childhood memories and favorite books? My pal, Vikki at The View Outside discussed favorite books from childhood in a recent post so I thought it only fitting to put it here. http://the-view-outside.com/2013/02/15/the-influences-of-childhood-books/

When you consider what you write now is there any link to your childhood? It may not be so startling obvious as mine is in regard to my current project but what are the underlying traits in your work?