Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Slipping The Holiday Slump

This week is the official beginning of 'The Holiday Season'. A lot of people began  preparing six months ago. Some are just now letting themselves ease into the holiday frame of mind. My husband actually loves this time of year. When people are happier, kinder and more human to one another. The craziness of parties, presents, shopping, and over-eating is expected and embraced by everyone. We'll diet, work-out, slim down and get back to work...after 'The Holidays'.
As writers, this time of year can be very seductive. The retail portion convinces us to push our already published work, neglecting our work in progress. The habit of writing everyday falls prey to the myriad of errands, chores, details and commitments surrounding this time of year. By the time 'The Holiday" is past, we're two months behind, out of practice, and reluctant to push ourselves back into the work of writing.
So before we sink happily into the warmth and business of 'The Holiday Season', here some advice from other writers:
#1 Read, read, read everything you can get your hands on. -T. H. White
#2 One day at a time. Today might have been hell, but if it was a good writing day, nothing else matters. -Neil Gaiman
#3 Sacrifice. There's nothing to writing. You just sit down at a typewriter and bleed. -Earnest Hemmingway
#4 When you can't create, work. -Henry Miller
#5 Quantity is quality. If you write a little you're doomed. -Ray Bradbury
Now this advice isn't particular to 'The Holidays" but it can be a reminder for how you can slip the holiday slump. Attach the words of these writers to your mirror, your television screen or your hand held device and remind yourself everyday to follow one piece of wisdom to get you through.
Keep writing, keep reading and have a Happy Holiday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why Love A Man Who Loves An Ugly Car?

Have you ever read a book, or story and wished you could tell the writer how bad it was? Have you rolled your eyes and thought, Geez, I can do better than this!
I have. Even with some of my favorite authors. The writers at the top of their game can pretty much break the rules and do anything they want, they also get more feedback than they bother with. Writers Like me, struggling, working, learning. We can't have bad days, or 'blogposts' because we'll lose fans and friends. We also don't get any feedback. So...Here's my suggestion. Thanks to Michelle Hauck's First Page Critique blog hop. I got some great suggestions from fellow writers. I'm asking for more. I'd love to hear from reader's who've read any of Why Love A Man Who Loves An Ugly Car and  Critical guidance from other writers. Mostly however just tear it apart. Go back through the archives and read anything with the title: Why Love A man Who Loves An Ugly Car and tell me where I lose you, where you roll your eyes, where your precious time is being wasted. October's post was especially bad, you can skip it. Health problems, Kid issues, and work distracted my better judgement. Lame excuse I know, but the truth.
So I'm asking, no begging, you to get mean and let me have it. Don't be crude or cruel, I'll have to filter you, but don't worry about offending the blind lady either. Taking offense is a choice we make when we think we're too good to work on being better. Trust me, I've got none of that going on. e-mail your comments to me, leave them on the blog, tweet me tracimcauthor or leave your feedback on face book.
Jay and Alex need a break until I can do their story justice so this will be the last post for a while, until I can take care of them again. Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fall First Hop Critique

One of the blogs I follow- michelle4 laughs-is an author, editor and and a talented writer in many forums. She is sponsoring a blog-hop critique where I can post the first 250 words of my manuscript and recieve up to 10 critique's by other writers. That being said I've got one more day to get my name on the here's what I've learned so far. Attempt #3:
Adult/Urban Fantasy

The Third Centurion

 “its one book,” he mumbled into the darkness. “What’s the big deal?
Lowering his fevered head to the frosted pane of glass, he tried to calm his pounding heart beat.  Winter wind clutched at the scorched sensation emanating from his body, his breath steaming the window of the book store
For the last three days he’d gone inside, browsing, inspecting the collection, listening as she refused to sell the books.
Tonight, however, With the last car’s departure from the parking lot, he’d  hunkered down amidst the oaks and pines to wait for the store to close. The wild tangle of  trees and underbrush kept his car almost invisible to the owner.
“Don’t do this, son,” his father’s voice lectured him even though he hadn’t seen the old man in five years.
I can do something about it tonight.I don’t have any other choice.
Steep roof lines and a white-washed wrap-around porch formed a silhouette against the charcoal sky as he crouched on the balls of his feet to inspect the window frames. Wires and components for an alarm system hung in a jumbled mess beneath the sill. “Someone’s broken in before,” he whispered. “This will be easy.”
A slight movement stilled his body against the pale siding. He needed to disappear into the sparse foliage lining the flower boxes.The crack of  whipping branches dropping pine needles onto the cedar shingles sounded like footsteps. Nothing else moved, he was still alone.
Relief washed through him,but the scorching fire in his chest erupted into white hot flames

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Author Review:Dennis Marcoux

Reviewing children's books is an adventure as well as a fun experience for me. First because I get to "hear" the story and then look through my children's eyes at the pictures. This exciting adventure was just such a thrill for me. Marcoux uses wild animals as his characters, giving them individual personalities, names and role's in the story. The game of hide-n-seek gets exciting when Nutty's sister vanishes. The dangers and surprises the animals find as they search for Twittles keep kids turning the pages. My youngest especially enjoyed finding the secret hiding place where Twittles disappeared. It was a fun story with great illustrations and I hope to read more about Nutty and Twittles

Title:  Adventures of Nutty and Twittles, Oh Nuts! I Lost My Little Sister
ISBN:  978-1-61244-274-7
Nutty and his sister Twittles set out to play a fun game of hide "n" seek with their friends. When Twittles is the only one missing, the game quickly changes.  Nutty has to find his sister because she may be lost in the dark and dangerous Forrest.
About the author:
Dennis Marcoux lived in Worcester, Massachusetts for most of his life and now resides in Cape Coral, Florida.  He has been writing children stories and poems for many years and is passionate about children reading to expand their imagination.  In his spare time, you can find him reading books as a volunteer in elementary schools and children's hospitals.  He is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association of Fort Myers, Florida
e-Book Available Nook & Kindle 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

From Memories To Memoir

A lot of writers, as well as average people, feel something in their lives could benefit other people. It may be something tragic, miraculous, exciting, or entertaining. It may be someone famous they knew. Something historically important they did. It may be that they just lived unlike anyone else they know.
I consider my life pretty average. Most people feel the same way, even if its only normal for them. However,the best memoir's aren't written by the out-of-the-ordinary. Most Memoirs change lives because the average reader can picture themselves in the ordinary life of an average person who learns an out-of-the-ordinary lesson in an exceptional way. 
That's a mouthful, but its true. If you want to tell your story but you can't find your way through the ordinary memories to a manuscript of your memoir, maybe I can help.
-1.Your true story must have an arc: An arc is the frame work of your story. Perhaps you feel you already have an arc, after all you lived it. The problem is: where do you start? Which memories are important to you and which are going to keep your reader turning pages? Where do  you end?
Even if you can answer these questions, do you know which to summarize and which to detail? Do you know how much of your emotion about your life is enough and how much is you coming off as a victim?
I didn't know any of these things. I've got lots of sad, funny, miraculous, and devastating least for me. How was I going to figure out how to whittle it down?
-2. Start with a Desire Line: What is a desire line?
Your story isn't going to start on the day you were born, unless your birth is significant to your desire line. You must find out what you wanted more than anything else when your interesting/out-of-the-ordinary story began. This isn't what you accomplished when the story was over. This was your pleasant, ordinary, it-works-for-me belief system.
This is harder than you think. You must avoid vague, generalities because everyone wants: love, acceptance, peace, happiness etc. etc.
Your desire line needs to be specific to your story. Finding your desire line can't be whipped out in an hour long writing session. It takes internal canalization and you will have to try out a few before you discover your inner truth. I worked my desire line from "I want to be seen as more than a sick person" to "I want to do what everyone thinks I can't" before I settled on "I want my body to be healed."
I'm not finished. I can feel I'm close, but in an arc the emotional barriers are more important than the physical ones. As you lay out your arc you will discover what your desire line truly is.
3. Lay out the beats: Once you're working with a desire line you feel is accurate, its time to construct the actual beats of your story. The biggest mistake you can make here is to have either emotional beats with no action, or action beats with no emotion.
The first beat of your story will go: I -my desire line- by doing -action-. While -action- happened I -emotion- and -succeeded or failed-
the next beat will follow this pattern, until you've arrived at the end of your story. The end occurs when you either achieve your desire line, no longer want your desire line, or discover your original desire has turned to a new desire. It is not the end of your life, otherwise someone else is writing your story. It is only the shift to success, failure, or change of desire.
Let me give you an example-
If my desire line is to find true love with someone who sees my potential instead of my flaws then it would go something like this
Beat 1- "Who cares if your blind. No one treats you like this because you are worth more,"  he said.
I was running thoughts of slashing her tires and calling the ACLU through my head as my friend's car left me in the empty parking lot. Yeah, I was a big girl and I'd survive just fine for the next few hours inside the diner alone. Seriously though, who leaves a blind lady in a strange place far from home, in the middle of the night.
His words struck me as if I'd tripped over the curb instead of sat beside him. She was his girlfriend, he wasn't defending her. I was just some blind girl. "Who cares if you're blind..." his words echoed in my head. I thought everyone did.
beat 2- I held the bottle of Ruby Red Grapefruit juice in my hand, peeling the label and trying not to smile. He'd brought me the juice on his way home from work tonight, I still stood in the damp grass while my room mate said goodbye to him in the driveway. He'd brought her a Coke too, "just thinking about y'all," he'd said.
Beat 3- "Let's go climb Angel's Landing. I need to tell you something."
Oh no," I thought. "This won't be good. He'll have to help me the whole time, It's a narrow switch back trail. "Don't look so excited," he said with a laugh. "You can do it, and if all else fails, I'll hold your hand."
Chronologically these are the events, in the order they happened. Can you see which one isn't needed? The arc of the story will help you narrow down what is important and what's not. the beats will build an actual story and your desire line will show you what is important to the main thread of working toward your desire line's completion.
It was recommended to me to write each beat on a separate 3x5 card and then spread them out and look at what's missing and what's extra. This is very visual and doesn't work for me so I use a spread sheet instead.
I have three cells the first being the action, the second the emotion and the third being whether I'm getting closer to, moving away from, or changing my desire line.
Once the story is laid out in its beats I can see where the thread has gone, when and where it went off track, and if it wasn't the ending I thought it was.
I'm still working on turning my memories into my memoir. I'm not sure I have enough action in my life to balance out my analytical mind. too much internal musings and learning makes your story more of a lecture. If too much is focused on all the times you're desire line wasn't achieved then you've got a victim's ballad. Nobody wants to read that.
I haven't figured it out yet but I'm always open to help and suggestions. If you're writing or have written a memoir, please, leave a comment. I'm giving away a free copy of my book "Killing Casanova" to one person who leaves a comment and their e-mail address.
Keep working on your memoir or whatever else you're writing. Someday we'll make memories into memoirs and tell how we became great writers!