Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Wonderings - Book Review: Room

Jack is five. He lives in a single, locked room with his Ma.

I have written a lot of book reviews, and never before have I been more stumped on what to say. If anyone has read The Other Hand (recently re-released as Little Bee) by Chris Cleave, they will know from the jacket that there is no blurb for the book. All they say is it is a remarkable read, but they don’t want to say too much or it will spoil things for the reader.

This is the same case for Room.

Room is the most unique book I have read in a long time. It took my breath away. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of The Boy In The Stripped Pyjamas, with a young boy leading us through the story.

The character of five-year-old Jack was moving and sweet, head-strong and stubborn. A bit like any child, really. Except Jack isn’t like other children his age.

We get to see the world through Jack’s eyes – how simplistic things really are, and how complicated Outside can be.

The use of language in the novel is truly perfect – every word, every sentence, constructed as though by Jack himself. It pulls the reader into his world, and before you know it, you feel like you’re seeing Outside with brand new eyes, too.

I cannot recommend this book enough. But like the jacket for The Other Hand, I won’t say too much. I will say that Room will take you on a wild journey of emotions and can guarantee it will keep you up at night. You’ll see the best and worst of humanity, the scary parts of the world. And I dare anyone not to agree with Jack that a lot of the world is just a repeat. A truly haunting read. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays - Where you from?

Dialect: a regional variety of language distinguished by features of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation from other regional varieties and constituting together with them a single language.
Great, so how do you get a dialect across in your writing? The best way I’ve found is by using the KISS theory. Keep It Simple Stupid. There is no need to start rattling off Scottish or Spanish phrases to prove your character is from another country. In fact, since it’s a braw, bricht, moonlicht th nicht, why don’t we explore this a bit more?
Did you just stumble a bit there? Probably, I know I did even as I wrote it. (Scottish translation courtesy Pamela Wench – it’s a cold, bright, moonlit night tonight) A few key words will let the reader know this person is from somewhere else without making them struggle to find meaning in the words. Stumbling your way through an accent so thick you would have trouble understanding it even if it were read aloud to you, can turn your readers off – fast. Personally, I read fiction for the pleasure of becoming lost in a world of someone else’s creation, not for language lessons.
“Wipe that silly smirk off your face, I will not be found like this!” Her voice came out in a strangled hiss. She tried to make her way to the far side of the stream, to the concealment the bushes there offered.
Iain found himself chuckling, “Och, tis a fine temper ye have. I knew yer passions would run deep.”
A mischievous grin hovered near the corner of her mouth, one brow cocked. “Not as deeply as yours. Now help me out before the whole of the world knows what we have been doing.”
Pleasure at her unabashed response filled him and turned his chuckle into a laugh. He boosted her up onto the steep edge, taking the time to give her bottom a gentle caress. “Dinnae wander too far. I still have questions only ye can answer. Ye ken?”

The man is from Scotland, the woman from England. His every word does not ooze Scotland, but enough do for the imagination to seize on them and fill in the rest. I’ve chosen to leave out the accent for her so I don’t overwhelm readers with two distinct dialects. For her I try to convey her nationality by how she phrases things. So, there are various ways to express different accents and varying degrees of them as well.
Use the internet. There are so many sources out there for writers. Just Google, ‘How to write with a (fill in the blank) accent’ and search through what comes up. Tap any friends you have who have lived, or been to the place you want to capture. Getting a dialect right can add another layer of reading pleasure, putting the reader in a whole different environment and giving them the chance to travel vicariously to new locales.
Whether your characters are from Brooklyn, the Deep South, Rome or England, let a bit of their local color shine through in how they speak. Just a touch will do.
Rain :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday PicNic ~ Rain's Reign (Poem)

There’s nothing like the taste of rain;
the sprinkling drops delight my tongue.
Beyond the biting wintry days,
the long awaited spring has sprung.

The sprinkling drops delight my tongue
and splash upon my upturned face.
I’m bathed with heaven’s cloud cascade
and clothed in glistening liquid lace.

Beyond the biting wintry days,
when waking earth is vernal-kissed,
the warming clouds spill beads of joy.
I relish in the mist I’ve missed.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sumshine Saturday~*~Through the Wringer

Impatient for the washer to finish, I lifted the lid.  I watched the clothes slowly come to a stop, and wished my life would come out of a spin cycle, if only for a day.

Does creative energy dissipate when life whips insanity into the mix? No, I can't say it does. Not for this writer anyway.

Writing about the day, be it a happy or hectic, puts things in perspective.  Stress seems to release its clutch on my insides and flows from my mind, spilling its agony, craziness or pure ecstasy onto my paper. Usually, while scribbling the events of the day in my journal, an idea sparks… then flames.

 Burning to create whatever my mind just conjured, I flip open my laptop and begin to type, forgetting about the spin cycle of life. That is what is so great about the life of a writer. Stress is a means to a wonderful novel, blog or short story.

When you feel like pulling your hair out (or someone elses) try starting a story instead. You'll feel better and create something to share. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday Wonderings - Outlining - Friend or Foe?

As I’ve said before, all writers do things different. Some like to plan each chapter with excruciating detail, some write blind. Some do intricate character developments, others get to know them as they go. Sometimes, writers just write and don’t give a thought to anything but the words flowing out of them.

But, there is one topic that seems to raise more than a few heads in the writing world.

Outlining – friend or foe?

I did NaNoWriMo last year (2010) and for the first time, I did proper, real, honest-to-goodness outlining. I hardly ever do that. In the run up to November, I started to freak myself out a bit. What if I hit a wall? What if I couldn’t think where to go next? What if my character turned out to be a douche and therefore wasn’t leading man material?

So I planned. And planned, and planned, and planned. And it was like pulling teeth writing that book.

Usually I’m laid back when it comes to preparing. A fresh idea will develop in my mind. It will normally come from part of a dream, or just a random thought that floated into my scary mind one afternoon. More often than not, I’m working on something else when the idea arrives. This gives the idea time to grow and evolve in my mind before I do anything serious with it.

Okay. Other project is finished. Now it’s time for Shiny New Idea. I write a brief (and by brief, I mean like one or two pages tops of an A5 notebook – sometimes just a paragraph) outline of the story. For example, for my second book, Sex, Lies & Vegas, this is what I wrote:

Start with Vegas as back drop – group of girls unwinding, having dinner. One meets guy, bumps into him at a club later – leads to hotel nookie. Both go separate ways – meet in NYC. Vegas guy is best friend of girl’s fiancé.

And that was it. Seriously. That was the backbone for my book. Oh, all this happens within the first 70 pages and it’s only the beginning for what happened with the characters. But it was all I needed. Think of it as the foundation for a house. Or as I like to think of it, the skeleton for the body of my book.

Once I have the bare outline, I tend to daydream a lot, and this is where I do most of my planning. I think about exciting scenes and scribble notes on them when they are more fully formed.

For character development I sit down and write about them. What they like, what their interests are and what impact they have on the story. If they are being slippery customers and I can’t get a handle on them, I write a scene from their point of view. Trust me, nothing helps more than this.

So that’s it for my planning skills.

How about you? I love hearing about how other writers operate. Let me know!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays - Speech Tags

He Said, She Said...

Have you ever read something, maybe even something you’ve written, that is loaded with speech tags? I know I have. As useful as they can be in say, a group situation, they can really detract from what your characters are trying to communicate. Following a question mark with ‘she asked’, or an exclamation point with ‘he bellowed’, is redundant. The punctuation already lets the reader know the tone in these cases.
It is more effective if you can give your characters something to do, something that separates them from others. A woman can fiddle with her skirt. A man can twirl his moustache. Show your readers who is speaking, don’t tell them. Your writing will be stronger for it. This gives you a chance to let people know so many different things, things only you know about your characters. Do they have habits or foibles that are specific to them? Guzzling coffee, nail biting, hair twirling, finger tapping, or pencil chewing any of these things can be an indicator for who is speaking. What do they do when they are upset? Happy? Annoyed? Hurt? Physical descriptions can be accentuated and cemented into people’s minds.
With Tags
Back story: In a corner booth at the back of a seedy bar, Mary seeks the help of a man named Jim. They attended high school together years before. Jim has always held a special tenderness for Mary, but he is hurt and angry over her assumption that he is involved with illegal activities. She tells him who she suspects of robbing her, a group of men she believes he hangs out with.
“So, will you help me recover my grandmother’s ring, Jim?” Mary asked.
Jim replied sarcastically. “And you would be suitably grateful for my help, I’m sure.”
“You don’t have to be such a jerk about it, you could just say no.” She said and stood up to leave.
“I’m sorry, please don’t go.” He begged. “Look, I’ll help you if I can, but what makes you think I know any of those guys?”
Without Tags
Mary twisted her napkin again, trying to judge his reaction to her story through lowered lashes. “So, will you help me recover my grandmother’s ring, Jim?”
His mouth curled up on one side. Something flashed through his eyes before their soft blue turned icy. “And you would be suitably grateful for my help, I’m sure.”
“You don’t have to be such a jerk about it, you could just say no.” Throwing down the napkin, she slid out of the booth. Jim reached out as if to stop her, then let his arm fall back to the table.
“I’m sorry, please don’t go.” Furrowed lines appeared across his forehead, he leaned towards her, his hand outstretched. “Look, I’ll help you if I can, but what makes you think I know any of those guys?”

I hope the above example gives you a better idea of what can be done to enhance your story if you take some time to give some personality to your characters. Did you notice anything else while reading? In addition to giving more information on how Jim and Mary are behaving and reacting, all those extra words slow the scene down. The extra words can create greater emotional impact, but too many of them during a fast paced scene can detract from the action. Use your judgement on how much information to convey.
Next time you’re talking with someone, take note of what they do as they speak. As a rule, human beings are not stationary when vocalizing. They are not two dimensional. So it stands to reason that to create believable characters for your story, they need to move as well.
Happy writing J
Picture supplied by Dreamstime

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday PicNic ~ Dreaming in English (Book Review)

Dreaming in English
by Laura Fitzgerald

Tamila (Tami) Soroush leaves a repressed life in Iran to find opportunity and freedom in the United States. Her plans to find a husband on a visitor’s visa change drastically when she desperately escapes an arranged marriage and rushes into a Las Vegas wedding with Ike Hanson; an American man she truly loves.

Uncertainties build as life in America becomes weighed down with stress and fear. She longs for her parents, who are dominated by fear and won’t leave Iran, worries about her sister’s high-risk pregnancy, is discomforted by her husband’s frustrations, and angered by her mother-in-law’s refusal to accept their marriage as one of love. To top it off, an ominous immigration interview is approaching with a mountain of evidence against her.

Through her struggles, Tami continues to appreciate the freedoms that are hers to grab, liberties never afforded her by Iran’s regime. Yet her dreams of starting a business and a family with Ike turn into a nightmare. She questions if she has the strength it takes to live out her dreams when she discovers living in the land of the free comes with a price and never without a fight.

PROS:  As an American, this book illuminates the things I too often take for granted. Walking in Tami’s shoes clarifies the dreams and struggles of those who weren’t born here. Being born into freedom is a gift we should cherish. Not only does this story demonstrate the struggles for freedom, but entices us to search within ourselves for our strengths, our passions, and our dreams… before it’s too late.

CONS: The story is good, but I found the dialogue tags very distracting.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

SumShine Saturday ~*~Jane Goes Batty

Jane Goes Batty
ARC (advance reader copy) review 
The premise of Jane Austen, a two-hundred year undead author among the modern world is intriguing, but adding the fact she is a vampire, quite inept with her powers, is hilarious. Her former lover, Lord Byron, tries to teach her the ways of a vampire, but Jane is a bumbling and reluctant student. Their dialogue and interaction made me laugh out loud.
Using the name Jane Fairfax, she runs a bookstore and writes romance novels. In love with a mortal, Walter, Jane struggles with the choice of divulging her undead status. Jane's world turns even crazier when Walter announces his mother is coming to meet her. Adding to the insanity, Jane is abandoned by her editor, stalked by a camera crew, a vampire hunter, and someone from her past who wants to end her life forever. The romance convention in her town, in period costume no less, brings everything to a head—proving to be a very batty situation indeed.
I highly recommend this book. Michael Thomas Ford proves the vampire romance genre is not dead.  

~*~Summer Wench

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday Wonderings - What Came First?

Pt. 2 of 2 of The Dreaded Synopsis Posts

There is an age old question among writers – what came first, the synopsis or the book?

What I love about the writing world, is no two writers are the same. Everyone is unique and has a different way they like to do things. The oddest difference I’ve encountered so far are the writers who like to write the synopsis first, and those who like to write it last.

I myself can’t even comprehend writing the synopsis first. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants author. I rarely plan in great detail and find I work better going in blind and letting my characters surprise me.

But like I said, no two writers are the same.

There are of course writers who have to plot every detail, lest they get lost along the way or are swallowed whole by the storyline. For them, I can imagine writing the synopsis first.

If I did it first, I think I’d get the worst dose of writer’s block known to mankind.

Pros and Cons can be tallied for each side, and am sure both would give very persuasive arguments which is better and why.

So you tell me – what came first, the synopsis or the book?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays - Lost and Found

The other day I was searching for a blank piece of paper to jot some notes on, I had several phone calls to make and wanted lots of room to doodle on. Unable to locate any in the usual places, I started probing the back of my closet without much hope. Distractions of all sorts lay in wait for me there. The ballerina slippers I wore for my wedding, an envelope of random pictures that have yet to make it into an album, a box of jewellery I made years ago, and a spiral notebook.
After indulging in a brief side-trip down memory lane, I snatched up the notebook and flopped on my bed to see if it was full or not. It ended up being another jaunt into the past - it was my first notebook as a writer. Page one: poem – The Rules According to Mom and Dad – a fun poke at the crazy things your parents said to you growing up that you hated, that you now find yourself saying to your own children. Page two: short story – My Rapid Weight Loss Experiment – although this was a funny story, I found my shoulders hunching with embarrassment over the horrendous amount of SPAG (SPelling And Grammar) errors. Thank goodness I’m no longer writing long hand, and double blessings for the person who invented spell check!
Anyhow, at this point I figured I’d wasted enough time and curled the edge of my notebook back to let the pages flip until I could find the dreaded blank white page. Once located, I grabbed my phone and took care of business. It wasn’t until later on in the day I returned to the front of the notebook. Not really sure what prompted me to do so, perhaps a need to compare my original writing to what I do now. In any case, what I found there captured my imagination. A story, or rather the start of one. One I’d forgotten I’d even written. Fifteen-hundred words later, I was wondering why on Earth had I ever walked away from this very interesting beginning.
The characters, raw and unfinished as they are, call to me to tell their story. I can actually feel the potential for an entire book!
However, I must control the impulse - for now. I have a hot, historical romance on the burner and I must pay full attention to it before it slips away from me. I’m thinking this new one can simmer on the back burner until NANOWRIMO 2011. After all, it didn’t lose its appeal after all that time in the back of my closet ... or maybe ... nah ... I don’t know. Their voices are awfully loud.
So tell me, how many of you have fits and starts of stories tucked away in some forgotten file on your computer? Have lost notebooks hiding in your closets? Under your bed? Tossed into a junk drawer? If so, have you ever gone back to read them? Were you surprised by how much you really enjoyed or really disliked reading something you wrote? Do you revisit the worlds of your creation again?
Tell me your story.

Picture supplied by Dreamstime

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday PicNic ~ My Roman Holiday

Just as actors Audrey Hepburn (Princess Ann) and Gregory Peck (Joe Bradley) did in the 1953 movie Roman Holiday, I’m jetting to Italy. Though I’m far from being a princess, I’m certain to fall in love just the same—not with a tall, handsome American (I did that over a quarter of a century ago) but with the beauty of Italy.

I have three reasons to be molto eccitata (very excited) about this trip.

1. It’s Italy, baby! Throwing coins in the Trevi Fountain, walking the Spanish Steps, giving a ‘thumbs down’ in the Colesseum, holding up the Tower of Pisa, gondola-ing through the Grand Canal, finding a fig leaf for the statue of David, chasing pigeons in Piazza Navona, and seeing the hand of God in the Sistine Chapel—that’s a lot to be excited about.

Italy is full of ancient ruins, museums, and stories. I can’t wait to take a stroll through the historical path of millenniums. My mind, heart, and camera will fill with Italy’s fabulous beauty.

2. A mother daughter trip! Any trip is more fun when you’re traveling with someone you love. Our mother-daughter trips to California, Niagara Falls, picturesque Savannah, and even the quick jaunts to the Blue Ridge Mountains, have blessed us with fun, laughter, and irreplaceable memories. I know Italy will do the same.

Street-corner gelato cafés by day and cool Chianti evenings will no doubt bestow us with a pound or two, but we’ll still look hot wearing the fake designer bags and nine-dollar Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses purchased from street vendors.

3. A novel in the making! Shortly after planning this trip, my mind flooded with story ideas. I frenetically jotted down an outline for a new novel, (and I never create outlines) and soon had a romance-in-the-making. With an amendable plot, I proceed to Italia to participate in my characters’ adventures. Okay, if you’re not a writer, you probably think that sounds insane, but the author-heads out there understand.

With all that said, I still have to pack my bags. Other than the adorable chic red raincoat I purchased the other day, I don’t have a clue what I’m taking. I’m not too worried about details though. As long as I have my journal, my daughter, and comfortable shoes, I’ll be fine. I’ll come back with a treasure of memories to last a lifetime, photos to share, and a story to write.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

SumShine Saturday~I mean, really...

"Why would someone sit, hour after hour tapping on a keyboard?"
  "How could someone possibly forget to eat?"
  "You just poured pasta in the sink--without a strainer.  Where is your mind?"
 And my favorite: "I mean really, who does that?"

 These are just a few questions my family directs my way.  (Except for the pasta, I switch that up with cereal in the fridge or milk in the cabinet.) Of course, they ask with a smile and a shake of the head. They are supportive of my writing, though they do not understand for a minute why anyone would spend hours writing only to rewrite it again … and again.  My drive is relentless and my family can see I am happiest when I write, so I guess they are supportive because they love me. Besides, it gives them time to boil more pasta.

Many nights, I kiss my kids and hubby goodnight with the intention of editing "just one chapter" before I go to bed.  With a cast-off Pooh Bear blanket about my shoulder, I begin--then I end up telling myself, I can't simply stop in the middle of an idea, I must rewrite that sentence or the famous just one more chapter.  In what seems a couple of  hours, the lilac patterns on my living room curtains brighten. Only then do I realize I stayed up all night. On mornings like that, my daughter asks, "I mean really, who does that?"

When I actually do go to bed, there are times I wake in the middle of the night, ideas formulating for dialogue, conflict or a twist in plot.  My husband caught me scribbling once and asked me what I was doing at three in the morning. I told him I had a great idea and had to write it down. He grinned, gave me a kiss and said he just got an idea too.  I wonder if he knows I incorporated his hot idea in my novel.
I mean really, who does that?

~*Summer Wench

photo by graur razvan ionut

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Wonderings - The Synopsis

For the next few Wednesday Wonderings, I wanted to talk about The Dreaded Synopsis. Here goes!

Pt. 1 of 2

There comes a point in every writer’s life where they have to ask themselves what they are doing. Is writing just a hobby, something to be done sporadically and without reason? Maybe it’s a life-long dream to be a published author. Or maybe you’re one of the millions of writers who can’t not write – it’s a part of who you are, like hair colour and height.

If you’re one of the latter, the time will come when you start taking yourself, and your writing, seriously. Walking through bookshops gets you excited. The covers, the beautiful covers, could one day be neighbours to your cover.

Okay, you’re going for it. To hell with the odds. You know you’re talented. You believe you have a shot at leaping off the desk of a much sought-after literary agent and are on the way to big leagues.

But wait. Rewind a bit first.  

There’s something you’re forgetting.

An all-important, absolutely crucial thing to be done first.

The Synopsis.

To some writers, the synopsis comes so easily they laugh at the thought of it being any different. To others, myself included, it is on the same level of agonizing pain as having bamboo shoved under your fingernails.

Write 90+ thousand words? Think up characters and plot lines and go through months of editing? Psshh – no worries. Write a one-page condensed version of your book? Um…Momma?

When I did my research for writing a winning synopsis, all I found were contradictions. Single space. Double space if more than one page. Never write more than one page. Write a thirty page synopsis and condense to ten. Write the synopsis first. Write the synopsis last. Don’t write it with an angle. Say how it ends. Don’t say how it ends. Make it interesting. Don’t write with a voice. The contradictions are endless.

And there really aren’t any words of wisdom I can impart here.

A good synopsis is a bit like falling in love with the right partner. When you know, you know.

When I wrote the synopsis for my second book, I did a fair few drafts. After each one I left it alone and didn’t look at it for at least a day. I didn’t stress about the length, just made sure I didn’t exceed two pages. It’s amazing how much can be culled with a good batch of editing.

Nothing was really working until I got bored and wrote a tongue-in-cheek synopsis. And that was it. I knew that was the one for me. It suited my book, it wasn’t written in my voice, but it was a distinctive voice. It hit all the key plot points and highlighted the strengths of the work, and mine as a writer.

There is no hard and fast rule of synopsis writing except keep on plugging. Show it to someone who has read your book. Do your research, and listen to your gut. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays - To head hop or not to head hop? That is the question.

Are you a head hopper? I’ve been known to head hop on occasion. I admit it. However, before my manic head hopping ways could make it out into the world, my editor caught me and put paid to my head hopping days.
Wait. You don’t know what head hopping is? Well, it’s when you are trucking along in your novel from one point of view, and from one paragraph to the next, BAM, you’re in someone else’s head. Editors will tell you this is verboden - an absolute no-no. Let me show you what they never want you to do.
Love scene: (If you’re not legal, skip to the regular text now!)
Laura let her fingers slide through John’s silky hair and trace their way down his spine, revelling in his responding shiver. She arched her back as his lips nibbled and caressed their way down her throat, her cleavage, past her navel, pausing in their play to elicit a gasp of longing from her. Each and every thought left her until only sensation remained.
He couldn’t get enough of the taste of her. The slightly salty tang combined with her own unique essence tested his control. John wanted all of her, now. Her texture so soft and inviting under his tongue, responding to the slightest increase in pressure convulsed him with desire. His journey down her body continued until he reached her molten core.
Well now, what was I telling you about? Ah yes, head hopping. In the example above we go from Laura’s POV (point of view) in the first paragraph, directly into John’s POV in the second. There are no page breaks, or ***, or even a chapter break in between. This is head hopping. And though it can be used to great effect during emotionally charged scenes, it can also jar a reader right out of the moment, ruining whatever tension may have been built to that point.
So, how come you’ll find head hopping being done by authors like Nora Roberts? Maybe it’s because once you reach a certain level of fame you can break the rules. Hm. Perhaps it’s because her editor doesn’t know this rule. Doubtful. I think, just maybe, it’s because she is good enough to head hop without leaving her readers floundering.
Ah, to have that level of talent. To showcase an emotionally packed scene from both characters point of view - and have it make sense! How awesome would that be? Now that we all know I drool at the thought of being a professional head hopper, what do all of you think?
Should there be one rule for everyone? No Head Hopping Allowed, Period. What about for those writers out there who have the talent and the know how to break the rule? Tell me what you think.


Picture supplied by Dreamstime

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday PicNic ~ The Writers Dance

The Writer’s Dance
"You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart." ~Unknown

I’m a mega-fan of the television show, So You Think You Can Dance. It’s a fabulous platform for young dancers to showcase their diverse styles, dreams and desires. (This pertains to writing, I promise. Stay with me… hee hee)

Some dancers are confident, with years of training behind them, while others are searching for guidance to improve their skills. Whether their strength lies in experience, performance, technical training, or a blend of these factors—they all expose their souls on the stage. Each dancer is unique, yet they all share a common bond. Passion.

Writers understand a dancer’s passion. We don’t express it with technical steps, precise gestures, or flexible movements. We use words. Writers have different styles, strengths and abilities; yet, like dancers, we share the bond of passion.

Below, I’ve listed several styles of dance and their parallel writing styles. Which dance-writing styles fit you?

Lyrical Dance
"It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer." ~Shanna La Fleur

Dancers are slow and rhythmic, conveying a precise theme throughout their arrangement.

As a writer, do you write at a deliberate, fluid pace? Is there usually a central theme behind your story?

"Dancing can reveal all the mystery that music conceals." ~Charles Baudelaire

Dancers are pumped up, electrical performers. Their performances focus on their athleticism, and their interpretation to bass music rather than lyrics.

Are you a crunker? Are your stories Action-driven rather than character-driven? 

Modern Dance
“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.” ~Unknown

Dancers concentrate on expressing their inner feelings, and defy the strong rules of classical ballet. They delve into deep emotions and display a dramatic and personal presentation.

Are your characters incensed at wrong-doings? Do they survive catastrophic incidences, or are they searching for inner-strength to overcome tragedy?

Folk Dance
"Dancers aren't made of their technique, but their passion." ~Unknown

These dancers have little or no professional training. They learn by observing others. Although they may evolve into public performances, folk dancers aren’t seeking to be center stage.

Have you dabbled with prose through the years and thought about taking the plunge into authoring a book? Are you a new writer who’s trying to stay afloat in a sea of inexperience, information, and insecurity? If you’re testing the waters, so-to-speak, you might relate to the folk dancer.

Robot Dance
“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” ~Japanese Proverb

Those who robot dance are specialists in short, stop and go movements.

If you’ve stopped writing long enough to have forgotten your characters names, or have several unfinished stories boxed up in the back of your closet, you might be a robot-writer.

"You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart." ~Unknown

This dance is fast, fun and exhilarating. It has swift bouncy movements that stimulate an enlivening, heart-pounding, sensation.

All writers fit the jitterbug. We write because we love that jitterbuggy feeling of being inspired and moving others.

"To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak" ~Indian Proverb

So, you think you can write?

If you’ve postponed going to bed by ‘five more minutes’ to finish a sentence, and suddenly find it’s time to eat breakfast…
If you’ve had the ‘staring at a blank document until your eyes bleed’ kind of writer’s block…
If you’ve re-written your re-re-re-written manuscript…
Then you might be a dance writer.

"We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams." ~Unknown

Saturday, March 5, 2011

SumShine Saturday ~*~Shadows of the Sunrise

Cleaning my attic began as a chore, until I came across a box of memories.  Inside, I found my old journal, wedged between a tin of keychain mementos and a scrapbook. 
The single bulb illuminated the past while I sat among the cobwebs and boxes reading the perfectly slanted words. My penmanship seemed to contradict the life I was living at that time. I found myself feeling sorry for the young woman … as if someone else lived that part of my life. I packed the journal away, but the following words remained with me.
"Love shouldn't hurt like this. Life shouldn't be something I muddle through. It's abnormal to breathe a sigh of relief just because I wasn't harmed a day out of the week.  I refuse to stumble through the motions of existence any longer. I want to live. I want to stop watching sunrises with no color in my heart. I refuse to bear another day of darkness. Today, I will leave him. "
(I did. Moreover, years later a man who really loves me is by my side and in my heart.)
Why am I telling you this? Because, moments in our lives are rich with suggestions for a story. I don't believe in writers block. There is inspiration in everything. Be it a breeze carrying the smell of lavender, sparking the scent of a character's hair … or like today, when the past creeps into the future, creating an idea for my next book.  

        ~*~Summer Wench

picture supplied  by

Friday, March 4, 2011

Contest Winner!

First of all, the Wenches would like to thank everyone who participated in the contest. We were very excited to do the first of what we hope to be many awesome giveaways here on Wench Writers, and we hope you all come back for them! 

Second of all, that moment is here...the time to announce the lucky winner! 

And here it is....

Congratulations Joanie!!!!!

Well done, Joanie! We will be contacting you shortly for you to choose your prize!

Commiserations to all who didn't win this time, but there will be more chances in the future!

With thanks and love,

The Wenches xx

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday Wonderings - Evil Edits

There is one word this writer loathes above all others: editing. I know a lot of author types who despise the editing process. We are creative; artistic and eager to delve into stories and characters, exciting plot lines and dialogue. So why should we spend more time nit-picking than actual story telling?

Nowhere is it written that editing is law. Maybe you’re one of those fantastic people who write perfectly first time with no need to double check anything. I doubt it, but maybe. Because writers are creative, we’re also flaky – prone to changing our minds at a moments notice.

Editing is time consuming. You need to spend time alone with your book fine tuning it and polishing it to the point of dazzling. I hate editing because I get wrapped up in the story, rushing to get to another part I like. I miss a lot. Therefore I edit a lot.

So what makes it easier?

For me it depends where I’m at in the book – maybe it’s finished and I’m editing it as a whole rather than individual chapters. If it’s whole, I think about what I’m trying to achieve with that round of editing. Am I looking for flaws? Continuity? How the story flows? Does each chapter match up with the preceding one? Could a scene or chapter be moved somewhere else? Could it be taken out entirely? Once I’ve decided, it makes it a lot easier. If I’m looking for nits I don’t notice the story, only one word or punctuation mark at a time. If I’m seeing how it flows I ignore the nits, concentrate on the book as a whole.

The most important thing to remember, especially when you get bored and lean back in your chair, open up Facebook or MSN for distraction from the editing, you are doing it for a reason. Editing is just as important as the writing, if not more. Every word has to earn its place in your book. Why use three words when you could use one?

I’m a natural rambler. It takes a lot of effort for me to shorten word count. But it can be done. Honest.

What I always remind myself is that although I hate the editing process, once the warm glow of reaching the final chapter is replaced with a hollow, empty feeling of dread at the thought of starting edits, I always find something along the way. A story line that was on the horizon but never amounted to anything can burst to life, giving me flashes of inspiration.

And if I really need something to spur me on, I open the first draft of a project I have finished multiple drafts of. I read the first few chapters then open the most recent draft of the same project. The difference, the improvement, always startles me.

So next time you get an edit migraine, take a moment to think about why you’re doing it before you procrastinate. And if you can’t think of anything, writer friends can be amazing motivators. And if all else fails, jump on MSN. I’ll probably be there. Procrastinating.
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