Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Revelation

I was reading Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell, which I just purchased from Borders. (*sniff*)

I just finished chapter two, about Characters. Apparently, Characters must have Wit, Grit, and IT.

For instance, you want your character to have GRIT... like "Steve" in Captain America. Steve is a scrawny, skinny young man determined to enlist in the army, but at every turn (and despite his many aliases) he is frustrated by his lengthy list of illnesses, medicines and, of course, size. That doesn't prevent him from facing off bullies and proving himself willing to sacrifice himself in order to save his friends.

Next, you want your character to have WIT. On this one I'll take an example from Tony Stark, one of my more favourite superheroes. (Can you tell I've been into superhero shows recently?) There's a bit where Pepper tells him that his plane was scheduled to leave an hour and a half ago, and he says, "It's funny, I thought with it being my plane and all that it would just wait for me." How can you not love that line?

Last, you want your character to have IT. IT is that personal magnetism that draws you to the character. If you have read the story, or seen the movie Flipped, you'll see that Julianna Baker, one of the protagonists of this story has the IT quality. The grandfather of Bryce Loski, the second protagonist of the story who dislikes Julianna, explains Juli's character as this: "Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss; but every once in a while, you find someone who's iridescent, and once you do, nothing will ever compare." That's what you're looking to give your character. IT.

I was reading this chapter, and it was as though a light bulb went off in my head. I suddenly realised I HAD to go back to my WIP and change the first few chapters, to make it more compelling, and give the character a reason for going to the place where all the action happens. I had to go back and reacquaint myself with my character and see if she had the IT quality.

Don't you love enjoy hate find it challenging when you get a revelation like that? It's exciting while at the same time being, "Oh no! I have to rewrite the first three chapters!"

Happy editing... for me.

God bless.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Candle's Light

Once upon a time, there was a Darkness. This darkness was called Chaos, and Confusion. In its grasp, the sky became a reaching shadow, veiled beneath a blinding cloud. The air became a current of darkness. The very trees cradled shadows to their breasts, and the sun became no more than a grey illumination in the whole vast reaching gloom. Pools of water flattened, became mirrors that showed to men exterior beauty and not the negligence of their souls.

Content with exterior images, men allowed themselves to forget the revealing light. Seeing that their failings were hidden easier in a shadowed world, they permitted the darkness, allowing their souls to match the rotting world. And they did not perceive their ugliness, for the mirrors they had revealed only their exteriors, and these remained fair.

As their blindness continued, at length the sun quenched itself, lying night like a dome over the hellish world. No light could penetrate the murk. All was black, as though the very world had gone blind. Still, men looked into their lying mirrors and saw exterior beauty mirrored there. Chaos and Confusion were absolute.

Through the darkness, a sudden brightness flared. It was no more than a candle’s light, fitful and quivering, but it was a light. A voice whispered, “What is that?” Bodies shuffled closer to the kindled flare, like animals drawn to warmth. Then, a second light flared. And another. And another.
In the gulping darkness, candles arose, glimmering, sturdy sparks of light in the darkness. With each new light, the darkness receded just a little. Now, figures could be seen, serene-faced people, with their tapers in their hands, kindling light to fight the darkness. The wolves of men crept closer, drawn to that light but feeling ashamed of the darkness the lights revealed in them. For each taper that glowed shone in the mirrors, and the mirrors were shattered into a hundred rippling wavelets that distorted exterior beauty and revealed the tragedy of a rotted soul, so that the iniquitous hid their faces.

And still, more lights broke the darkness, until it seemed as though the grey sun had been taken, remade, and allowed to bloom in a thousand different beams upon the devastated earth. A song rose in the air, as the candles passed from hand to hand.

A Voice broke the darkness: “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only. For if a man be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding himself in a glass. For he beholdeth himself and goes his way, and presently forgets what manner of man he is.”


One may hear truth a thousand times a day. One may desire to spread truth a hundred times a day. But to hear truth and do nothing is a very different thing than to hear truth and speak it. To hear, and acknowledge, is good. To hear, and acknowledge, and to do, is greater.

Men have fallen far from what God first created them for. Once upon a time, Men knew, knew with every ounce of breath and strength in them, that their souls were not made for the WORLD. Their souls, their immortal souls, were meant for Eternity. But so many men live for the NOW, for the HERE, for the pleasure of the mundane earth. Men live for sinfulness, for what will bring pleasure to the flesh. Do they think about the spirit?

When you were born, God created you for one purpose, and one purpose alone: to know, love, and serve Him in this world that you may be happy with Him in the next. That is the only reason for man’s existence.

   Think about it. When are you the happiest? Are you the happiest doing things for your own pleasure and enjoyment? Are you happiest doing things that waste time, or do you feel, afterwards, that you could have spent your time more wisely? Do you feel the happiest when you have done something for someone else? I know I do. I may not want to help that person that I don’t like, but after I put that smile on my face and actually help that person, I feel a glow that no earthly pleasure can give me; a glow of charity.
Who do you prefer to be around? Do you prefer to be around the person who thinks only of themselves, who thinks only of what pleasure they can gain, who looks in the mirror of their vanity and sees a beautiful exterior? Or do you prefer the mild person, the one who smiles and offers a kind word, the one who asks you how you are doing today, who may be plain but whose eyes shine with a glow of charity? I prefer the selfless person, the kind person who makes my day a little easier, and makes my stress-level go down.

All of us carry candles. This world is like Chaos and Confusion, its sun a quenched darkness. But each of us carry that spark, that kindled taper that speaks of our interior contemplation, our willingness to suffer for a higher Being than ourselves. In all of us there is the ability to light a candle in the darkness, to reveal to a shadowed world the knowledge we have, that we carry the spirit of God in our souls.

Men have so many mirrors, mirrors that make them feel good about themselves, mirrors that show them only what they desire to see. Men have mirrors that reveal only the "good" they perceive in themselves, mirrors that tell them, “You're a good person. You donated all those books you didn’t like to the library.” Hold on! Was there a charitable motive there? Or was the motive just a way to get rid of clutter that was no longer wanted? Was it really, fully, spiritually good? Or was it just conveniently good?

Let your candle shine. Let your mirror reveal the truth. Not the truth of an exterior beauty, but a mirror of a reflecting light. Don’t let your mirror reflect you. Let your mirror be like the moon, and reflect the light of the sun. Reflect the light of the Son of God. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Let your candle be seen in the darkness. Let your goodness be seen by men.
Light your candle. Only God knows whose souls you may save, simply by allowing your goodness shine.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Scene Selection

All right, so today is going to be an imagination foray for all of you. I'm going to post a scene, and I want you all to visualize and comment what kind of a story you think the setting belongs in. Add your next sentence or paragraph, too, if you want to. Ready? Here goes:

     The world was white-washed. Where barren trees had once cast their skeletal silhouettes into a grey sky, now they were adorned with budding leaves of snow. The drab streets, cracked beneath the weight of growling cars, had been transformed to white avenues a-purr with muffled motors.
     Grey clouds had torn away to reveal an everlasting expanse of blue. Sunlight spilled out of the sky onto the snow, making sidewalks glitter. Depressed houses, huddled down for warmth, blinked open their shuttered eyes, and added their own icicle-laden sparkle to the world.
     Inside me, though, snow still fell, and cold bit deep into my heart. Not even the clean scent of Christmas snow could kindle joy inside me.
     If only I didn't know he was just a doorbell away. Maybe he would still be here.

Have fun with this! I can't wait to see what you all come up with.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Artist

The Artist pulled out His white, clean paper, and spread it out with His hands.

He took a single paintbrush, dipped it into brown paint, and drew a single, bare-branched tree. Lightly He illumined it, with other subtle colours swirled upon the brown. Shadows spread out from the tree's bole, fell upon a masterfully silhouetted snow-bound mountain. With one, two, three strokes, the Artist formed a mountain range, shadowed in blue and grey, and a snow cloud laying its weight over the cold, snowy scene. The Artist stood back, to view His handiwork: a painting of a snowy plain, relieved by one bare tree standing in winter light.

The Artist swirled His paintbrush in water, and selected a new paint. Gently, He set the tree budding with green. He touched the tree here and there with tender green, hinting at it's spring awakening. Swift strokes bloomed the snow to grass, and He selected other colours to add flowers abloom in the earth. In the clouds, He added the pale blue of the sky, and drew a ray of Sun. It touched the leafing tree, and cast a golden shadow on the grass. The Artist stood back to survey his work: a painting of a green meadow, crowned with an awakening tree standing in a gentle spring sunbeam.

The Artist chose now a darker green, and drew leaves outflung upon the tree's branches. He highlighted green leaves and brown trunk with splashes of gold, as though the Sun let fall drops of its golden glory to shimmer on the common land. Fruits bent low the branches, touching leaves to the grass. The Artist added tall grasses and taller wildflowers. The morning light of the spring sky now bloomed with blue, the deeper, sharper blue of summer. White clouds, as smooth and billowy as snow, accented the blue. The Sun reached the meridian, and starlings flew beneath its beams. The green grass blushed with hues of red, orange, and purple, full and happy with summer life. The Artist stood back to slide His glance across His work: a painting of rosy meadowland accented under the soft shadows of the fully leafed tree, all aglow with brilliant sunlight.

The Artist took up His paints, and added hints of gold, red, yellow, grey, purple, blue, and orange. The leaves he edged in gold, and added coin-bright leaves blowing away in a wind. The grasses bent low in an autumn gust, and shadows danced, dappled grey and green, beneath an enormous setting Sun. Clouds edged the horizon, flamed in the Sun's fire, changing the blue sky to lavender and grey. He took every colour in His palette, coloured the grass in all the shades He owned. A flock of geese filled the fiery sky, and their shadows ran in silver-edged dancing over the incandescent grass. The Artist stood back to peruse his work: a painting of fired meadow, shot through with beams of red, gold, and purple, and the tree crowned with gold and dropping coins of leaves into the air.

The Artist took His brush, and quietly slipped away, leaving behind Him, on His easel, His painting: Creation.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday 08/20/11

It's that time of week again. Amazing, isn't it?

1.) I can't believe it's Saturday already... is it just me, or does it feel as though the days just simply fly?

2.) It's my little sister's birthday, and she got her ears pierced, and very lovely she feels with earrings, too.

3.) I simply can't think how to revise this one chapter in my WIP so that it reads cleanly, and that is SUPER frustrating!

4.) There is an edge to the air that isn't summer, and I'm really dragging my heels at the thought of the upcoming autumn.

5.) Staples is having a SALE, starting Sunday and continuing on through Wednesday - can you guess what I'm going to be doing beginning next week? LOL

6.) I try not to read the newspaper - all it does is depress me. Yanno?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So, What Do You Hate?

What are five things you despise in a story?

Here are mine, in order from most despised to least:

1.) Stories with no empathetic connection to character. Don't you hate it when you find a great idea, yet find you have no connection with any of the characters? I've had this happen a couple times, where I utterly adore the idea of the story, but found that I could not be bothered to keep reading because no matter how tenderly, thoughtfully, sweetly, or sacrificially the character acted, I could not empathize. At all. It made the story go kaput. I shan't say which stories, but if anyone ever asks me about them at the library, and whether they're worth reading, I shall say NO.

2.) Stories with gratuitous crudeness. However, that is just me. I don't like crude humour. Subtle humour, yes. Dry, sarcastic humour, yes. I love the Bartimaeus books by Jonathan Stroud, because he has a great style and a terrible sense of dry humour... terrible in a good way. But I don't really care for books that rely on crudity for laughs.

3.) Stories with a moral. I feel like I'm reading a McGuffy reader with these books. You feel the author wrote such-and-such a book because of this one meaningful point that she/he wanted to pound into your brain. Hard. Hate that. Write the book because you had a lightning-stroke of brilliance! Don't write it to preach to me. Yanno?

4.) Stories with terrible grammar. I'm afraid I get super picky when I'm reading stories, and you get "those ones" thrown in a sentence, followed by fragmented sentences littered with absolutely clunky phrasing. When words don't flow, I find myself revising the paragraphs in my head, thinking, "Now, if I had written this, I'd have passed it through my critique group at least twice more!" I'm sure I can't be the only one with this problem!

5.) Boring descriptions. I love descriptions that illuminate a moment. I'm not a huge, huge fan of totally literal description, like "The dog ran into the room, barking and wagging his tail and generally making a nuisance of himself." I prefer things like, "The dog filled the room in a chaotic flash of golden fur, his lolling tongue leaving a spatter-trail of drool and his whirling tail sending trinkets crashing to the ground." Isn't the second line more fun to read?

So what do you hate reading in a book?

(Oh, and the countdown is starting. The contest at Cat's Mathoms ends in four days. Submit! *nudge nudge*)

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Assumption

Today is Monday, August Fifteenth, the feast of the Assumption. It is also sometimes known as the Dormition, or the "falling asleep" of The Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the day when we celebrate Our Lady being taken up, body and soul into heaven through the power of God. She now reigns there as Queen of heaven and earth, and of all mankind.

If you notice, this is the feast of the Assumption, as opposed to the feast of Our Lord's Ascension. To ascend means to rise up by one's own power. To assume means something that is done to one. God, after His death, burial, and Resurrection, later rose, or ascended to heaven of His own power. Our Lady was assumed into heaven through God's power, and not through any power of her own.

She is the one creature of God who now enjoys the glories and joys of heaven with both her body and soul.

Today, I also received a blog award! A huge thanks to Ruth Schiffmann of Out on a Limb, for awarding me the Liebster Award. (Liebster translates to mean Beloved, so that's even sweeter.) Thank you, Ruth!

The goal of this award is to spotlight upcoming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers. The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!

My five choices are:
2.) The Writer of The Desert Rocks (I'm shocked to realise I don't know your name!!)
3.) Denise at A Room to Write
4.) Amanda at Old-Fashioned Girl

Congratulations, everyone, and Happy Feastday!

God bless.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday 08/13/11

Saturday again, and I've been working with clay! I absolutely love the stuff. Want to see what I made? Do you? Huh?

Well, okay. Hold on. First off:

1.) I LOVE working with clay... it is so relaxing.

2.) I just finished reading The Writer's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy (which was a combination book of Orson Scott Card's How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy and The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference) and it was amazing.

3.) My eyes don't feel so bruised today, but my head still hurts a little bit.

4.) Snickers bars are probably some of my more favourite chocolate bars, along with Almond Joys.

5.) Coffee is my favourite beverage, though tea is nice for evening, along with a little something.

6.) Critiques are fun, but exhausting.

OKAY! On to my little clay man. He's ackshully a gnome. Innee cute? I know, I know! He really is. See all the detail? I love the band on his hat, don't you? I made that out of a strip of brown clay, with "stitches" poked into the surface to give it definition, and I used two flattened balls of crimson-ish clay to create the buttons. It turned out pretty well, didn't it? (Toot toot! That's me, tooting my own horn.)

See, you LIKE him, don't you? I do too. I really love his hat. I used a combination of yellow and "sunset" to get that nice warm multi-colour, and I love the added character it gives him.

I went shopping, see, on Saturday LAST week, and I got myself a clay machine that lets you roll clay out in nice, flat sheets (SO handy) and some clay punch-outs. They sort of look like cookie cutters, 'cept these are teensy and are clay cutters.

You can't see it too well, but on his hat is a cut-out of a little greeny-blue maple leaf. I added little "stitch-marks" to make it look as though it were really fastened to the hat. Cute, eh?

Oh, and this is my secret. This will go no further than you and me, right? See that patch on his pants? Waaaaaal, I ackshully ripped the clay (whooops!) so I had to patch it with a little flattened ball of reddish-brown clay, which I "stitched" most carefully on with my clay tools.

So, that's my little Garden Gnome. I dunno, what should I name him? Root?
I kind of like that. Root, the Garden Gnome.

You can win something like this! Head over to Cat's Mathoms, and enter the contest! You'll be the proud owner of a Cat original, the little Writing Buddy! He's a one-of-a-kind, and so easy to win, too. Just come on down and submit! :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Fantasia

Heads up, all you giveaway junkies! :)

S.J. Kincaid, of S.J. Kincaid's Blog is hosting a fantastic giveaway! Head on over to her blog to participate. There's nothing quite as lovely as a free book, and the rules are pretty simple.

Good luck to all who enter.

Aaaaaaaaaaand.... don't forget. There's a contest going on over at Cat's Mathoms. Don't forget to participate. The days are ticking away.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Character Questionnaire

There's a book I read, called "No More Rejections" by Alice Orr.

One things she suggests, as a great way to go deep into your character, is to create a Character Journal.

The way to compile a Character Journal is to visualize yourself AS your character. You need to sit and tell yourself, "I am (my character), I am (my character)," until your mind and heart and body actually respond AS your character and not as you. Once you've hit that point, you have exercises of questions to ask yourself.

For the exercises, you want to spend about an hour just writing AS your character, and you need to be positive about the good stuff you WILL write. DO NOT expect to get through all the questions in one sitting. Expect to come back to them again and again, and expect to get new ideas and reasons and revelations each time you come back.

Here are some of the questions to start. I recommend checking out Alice Orr's book "No More Rejections" to get her full exercise in total, but these questions will (hopefully) give a jump start to you creativity.

One recommendation of my own: find a notebook, a journal, a memo pad, anything that reminds you of your character and that you can visualize your character using. It makes it a lot easier to go deep as your character.

Keep in mind these are not all the questions Alice Orr supplies. For her full exercise and advice on how to go about writing your journal, check out her book. It is fabulous.

Have fun with these!

Remember, write AS your character, not as you.

I. My Basic Biographical Information

My full name is____________________
I was born in (place name) ___________
My heritage is (racial, ethnic) _________
The other places I have lived are______

II. Additional Biographical Information

My birth (or adoptive) family consisted of…
The member of my family I am closest to is…because…
The member of my family I am most distant from is…because…
As a child, I would describe myself as…
The most significant experience of my childhood was…
As an adolescent, I would describe myself as…
The most significant experience of my adolescence was…
My education background is…
My general health is…

III. My Physical Characteristics:

What I like about the way I look is…
What I hate about the way I look is…
I believe that other people think I look…
My style of dress is…because…

IV. My General Character Traits:

If you ask me what I’m like as a person, I’d say I’m…because…
I would describe my habits (neatness vs. sloppiness) as…
I would describe my attitude toward life in general as…

V. My Outstanding Character Traits:
The most significant thing I’ve ever discovered about myself is…
The thing I believe in most strongly is…because…
The thing I care most about in life is…because…
The thing I enjoy, or have enjoyed, most in my life is…
The thing I dislike most in life is…because…

VI. My Personal History:

I have worked in the following jobs…
My future professional ambitions are to…
My favourite hobby or leisure time activity is…because…
My best friend ever was…because...
My current place of residence is…I like or dislike it there because…

VII. My emotional history:

I am most inhibited in the area of…because…
I have a phobia about…because…
My greatest frustration in life is (or was)…because…
My greatest regret in life is (or was)…because…
The time in my life I was most enraged was…because…
The time in my life I was most humiliated was…because…
The time in my life I was most heartbroken was…because…
The time in my life I was most excited was…because…
My deepest fear in life is…because…
My darkest secret is…because...

I hope you discover a dynamic character with these questions!

God bless.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Program: FantaMorph!!

I love Monday Miribilia. I get to talk about the random things that inspire me.

Like this program I'm using, called FantaMorph.

It's the coolest program! You can take photos of two people - or just two things, the choice is up to you - and create ONE new person, or creature. How cool is that?

I created a prototype of the character I am now in the process of revising, and I just LOVE having a face to put the voice to. It's amazing how much easier it becomes. For instance, here's a face I came up with that is absolutely BEGGING for a voice and a story:

I'm not sure who she is, or what her story will be, but isn't she so CUTE? Don't you wish you knew someone like this?

As an exercise, try this. Come up with a name that you think fits this character, and give her a character trait, a personality, and maybe a little bit of a voice.

Here's my effort:

Here name was Vanessa Heather Raine, but everyone called her Ness. She always seemed to be smiling, even when she was nervous. Then, you could only see her uncertainty because of the way she'd reach up to play with her hair.

She was mostly easy-going, but there was a strong stubborn streak inside her that was the bane of her existence. "I'd wish that someone could get rid of that stubbornness for me," she'd say, twisting a bit of hair between her fingers before tucking it behind her ear, "except that no one would recognize me without it."

That was fun! Thanks for reading! God bless and see you next time.

Oh! Don't forget, we're heading into Week Two of the Writing Buddy contest. Head on over to Cat's Mathoms and let's see your submissions.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday 8/06/11

It's amazing how quickly the days go by. It's already Saturday again! How did that happen?

1.) I love creating new characters on my new FantaMorph program.

2.) I WON the July Critique Giveaway over at Marcia Hoehne's blog. Thank you, Marcia!

3.) I'm going to go out and about today and do some window-shopping and actual shopping-shopping, which I love.

4.) I could go to Staples every day and just hang out, checking out their pens, paper, craft supplies, etc.

5.) I find that I am absolutely tired by Saturday, and really enjoy sleeping in an extra hour on my weekend.

6.) Coffee is the one thing that keeps my brain from melting.

Don't forget, there's a contest going on right now over at Cat's Mathoms. You can't win the little writing buddy unless you enter, so let's see some of those submissions!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Me: Fantasy Writer

My favourite type of writing is fantasy. I love to write really in-depth fantasy, the kind that takes a lot of thought and plotting to make it believable. I think that's just my perfectionist nature coming out. I can't stand to write something that just doesn't make sense.

My favourite fantasy tales are the kinds with dramatic conflicts and climaxes. I enjoy the tame, romping tales like "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" or "Dealing with Dragons". But my heart really gets captured in the tales of "Lord of the Rings" or "The Riddlemaster of Hed", where there is a world at stake if Good fails.

I also really appreciate Orson Scott Card. I believe he mainly writes science-fiction, a genre I'd like to explore later on in my writing life, but he makes excellent pointers on how to craft the perfect fantasy world. I heartily recommend his book to any serious sci-fi/fantasy writer. It is called "How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy," and I believe all fantasy writers...heck, even all writers!...will thorougly enjoy it.

Don't forget, there's a contest going on right now! Head on over to Cat's Mathoms and check it out. Enter! Submit! You could be the winner of the one-of-a-kind Writing Buddy. (hint hint)

Monday, August 1, 2011

There's a Contest going on!

Hurry on over, peeps! There's a writing contest going on right now, and you are all invited. Remember, the winner gets an authentic little Writing Buddy made by moi, so it's extra-specially cool.

Hope to see you all over at Cat's Mathoms.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...