Monthly Archives: August 2011

Writing Tools & Wednesday Update

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Now *that's* outlandish! (and also awesome)

For this weeks Writing Tools I wanted to introduce whomever hasn’t already been introduced to Margie Lawson. She has an online Writer’s Academy offering both downloadable lecture packets on her courses or month long courses to sign up for. I have her packet Empowering Character’s Emotions. This is a HUGE lecture packet. The first section is 23 full pages long. I’m printing these out one section at a time, this particular packet has 9 lessons and a wrap up. I’m going to keep them in a binder so I can review them as I need to. But you’ll get all the word documents at one time with unlimited ability to print or access them. If you sign up for an online lecture, the packet comes with it for $8 more than the packet alone.

They are meant to be done throughout a full month. I had ordered this a couple months ago and just bought the next in the series for myself for my upcoming birthday. I am planning to work on these alone but it’d be great to have someone to bounce ideas/information around with (hint, hint, iCrit friends…)

If you have some time, go check out her site, she has free examples of her method and much more information that I can offer up here.

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Work in Progress blog trackers

I have seen on other blogs really nice looking word count progress meters that they display on side bars under cover art. I really like this though I don’t have the cover art yet. I’ve signed up to try out www.storytoolz.com they allow you three free work in progress trackers. They remind me of something I’d have used back when I wrote (very bad) HTML for a website back in 1997 but it’s free and functional. Check out my Work In Progress page to see how it looks.

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For my ROW80 update : Sunday I did 16 comments on other’s blogs making up for missing Wednesday. I also got to the library in the afternoon and wrote Monday and Tuesday’s Faylinn stories which totaled 1900 words, then wrote another 700 on a flash fiction piece scheduled for Sept 5th.

Monday was a free day for us, meaning no homeschool. Middle daughter went swimming with manatees and her daddy. I made the storytoolz trackers and added them to the blog.

Tuesday we had a little crisis with our chickens and ended up burying five of them. It was a sad day. I edited a little Faylinn, played Wii Fit and tried to not eat stuff I’m not supposed to. I’m an emotional eater so this was rather hard.

This morning I got 200 words on The Blood Pits done before I had to take baby to his speech therapy. I’m hoping to write a few hundred more and then work on tomorrow’s Faylinn installment. I actually got to talk the series out with hubby last night and have thought of some new ideas I think will come off excellent if I can write them well.

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Faylinn’s Chronicles Tuesday August 30, 2318

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Tuesday August 30, 2318

I found it during my walk back from the laundry today. I traveled through long hallways fitted with small long slits of triple pane glass that lighted the narrow passages. This area was not important enough, not large enough, for the graceful self-lit arches. And there it was a spot barely visible from where I stood, oddly splashed in sunlight as if the gray mists opened up soley for the pleasure of caressing that one place. A sacred place.

My wash-worn hands trembled when I saw it, a fleck of color on a rough, dull landscape. Excitment sang through me, warbling trembles. But I walked along, averting my eyes each time they darted to it even as it silently screamed for my attention. I rushed as fst as I dared to the journals, flipping madly through the pages of my father’s stories looking for a name to give it. The word sat on the tip of my tongue relentlessly holding on as I tried to spit it out. Was it this page? That story? No, no, no!

I almost screamed my frustration nearly hurling the precious book against the whitewashed wall but something inside stayed my hand, my voice, pulling back the momentum just enough that the book fluttered briefly before landing on the bed. And there I saw it, exactly what I had been searching for.

Dandelion.

I made love to the word with my mouth, arching muscles and lashing tongue against the textures of sound emitting from my throat. I whispered it, afraid the others might hear. Afraid I was being watched even though I scoured every crevice of the room for bugs each day. I made a decision then. One that only took a small flash across my brain to gain complete acceptance. Everything about my choice felt good, right, even as fear wound it’s merciless way up from the core of my stomach.

There was no way I couldn’t do it. My body, my soul, mind, would never be settled if I didn’t. Every cell resonated, every molecule urged me to move. Now. I emptied the white pillow case and fashioned a sort of bag out of it, tearing it down the middle and tying the ends. I didn’t have much to take with me and everything else would be too noticable. It would be better if it wasn’t white but I had to make do.

The bird, the journals, pen, clothes and a few small rations I tucked away make their way into the makeshift sack. My hand hovered over the crumpled scrap for a moment before I thrust it in my pocket. As I placed the last of the nutrition cakes inside I wondered briefly if I hadn’t somehow known this would come to pass. Perhaps, some higher power spoke silently to me, telling me what I needed to do to be ready for this day. Perhaps, it was my father.

Along the western corridor there is an emergency exit. Double doors splashed with red warnings like streaks of blood on pale skin. A few morning’s ago I saw one of the officers sneak into the hallway when he thought no one was looking. I rushed over and stood on tiptoes, peeking through the high glass window to see where he was going. A woman waited for him. I turned away embarassed as he wrapped himself around her. But, I noticed as I hurred to get to the laundry, the alarm hadn’t sounded. I wasn’t sure where the hallway went but it must be abandoned enough for secret rendevous. Maybe that is when my mind started planning.

Lights out was a Dome wide event set at the same time every day, 20:45. Energy was a precious commodity, we reserved it whenever we could. I wished I had a flashlight or something to see by but there was nothing to be done about it. Thankfully, the colorless landscape lent itself well for nighttime excursions emitting a faint glow that was only mostly difficult to navigate. I cringed as the door to my room clicked shut, holding my breath, waiting to be discovered, heart pounding in my ears but no one came. Slowly, I made my way around corners and down long passages where there was no place to hide if someone else walked these halls except the rooms of other worker’s where I knew I wasn’t welcomed. Everything was quiet, nearly peaceful. How different the Hygrodome was out at this forbidden hour.

I made my way and before I knew it, stood before the red marked door. Could they have reactivated the alarm? Could the officer have had a special key I hadn’t noticed? The door looked ordinary, no bioscans or anything otherwise but I still worried. What would happen if I was caught? My nerve faltered, my feet shifted heading back toward my room. Then a voice echoed down the abandoned hallway. I had no way to know how close they were. Someone was coming!

Adrenaline spiked and worries about alarms vanished. I quickly, though quietly, I pushed open the door, my heart lightened when nothing happened. I closed the door behind me just as the voices turned the corner. The wall supported me while cold fear nearly took me to my knees. Please, please, please just pass by.

I let the noise die into long silence and waited for what felt like hours before straightening. No other voices bounced along the hallway. I took a deep breath trying to flush out the fear, adjusted the sack and ran as fast as I could down the hallway, left, sprint, left, right, sprint. My heart beat in my ears. My feet made split second decisions on direction. I prayed hard to a faceless God, let me make it. I was sure the ragged sound of my breath was echoing through the entire Dome alerting everyone but I kept going. I kept readjusting my path heading for the outer walls, towards that yellow burst of hope.

One last set of doors stood before me. I was in what looked to be an abandoned reception area. It remineded me so vividly of my arrival except thick dust covered everything and the molded plastic chairs were stacked in a corner. I don’t know how I found it but I wasn’t going to question it too hard. The outer door was the last barrier. I knew I couldn’t go back. There was no way for me to remember how anyway, futher wandering of the dark halls didn’t seem like a smart idea. But the idiocy of both choices warred with each other.

I took a breath, closed my eyes, recalled that sunkissed image and the words from the book that weighed against my back. I needed that flower. With my eyes still closed I opened the door.

The alarm was so loud and the lights so bright I stood still for a long moment before I realized what was going on. Then instinct took over and hurled me into the night made day by the abundance of bulbs. I ran as fast as I could, shouts sounded from far behind me. I was confused, turned around trying to gain my bearings on where I was. The dandelion was to the right, self-preservation headed me straight ahead, as far away as I could get. I turned, the voices grew louder in the blaring scream of siren. Finally, I spotted it in the night. I fell to my knees panting before the yellow bud in the dry dead dirt. It was so small, it was a wonder I ever saw it at all.

Right there that flower reaffirmed my belief in God. It filled me up with hope, happiness. Tears streamed down my face as laughter bubbled up from a secret well deep inside me. How was this possible? The earth was dead, died, and here life, Life!, sprung up from it. Hearty, healthy, impossible.

The voices were growing louder, the lights I left not far behind were traveling now, looking for me. I couldn’t let them have this. I couldn’t let the Government, the selfish people of the world, destroy this miracle. I remembered my father’s stories about the roots. I tore a thick piece of cloth from the front of my shirt, then scooped my hands wide around the base of the fragile little thing, my nose came close and I dipped my head for a quarter second to smell it. It smelled horrid and wonderful at the same time. A thick tang settled in my nose and I sneezed but I managed to remove the plant from the dry earth quite easily. I wrapped the ball of dirt and roots in the cloth, careful not to damage the thin green stem.

I clutched it to my breast ready to run as far and hard as I could from the searching lights when a figure stepped out from the shadows. I froze, terrified, crouched ready to spring. It walked toward me hands raised to the side. Tension filled my muscles as adrenaline seared my veins. Then it spoke,

“I wondered how long it would take you to escape.” A half smile I despised emerged from the darkness. My feelings exploded like a shot from a cannon. I reared back, baring clenched teeth and punched Tybal straight in the mouth. The dandelion swayed in approval.

Faylinn’s Chronicles ~ August 29, 2318

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Monday, August 29th, 2318

Word has gotten out. There are times I find myself wishing for Marma and her unsubtle cattiness. Wishing I had realized my freedoms and privledges of the city and appreciated them. Even the solitude -where I had cried hot tears for arms to comfort me or a friendly face to make me smile- I mourn the loss of. Funny how it is we can miss those things that made us miserable just as much as those that made us happy.

I have been dedicating the few moments of writing I have to journal in the book of my father’s stories. Those memories are fading faster than I realized. It is important work. Or so I tell myself. I try not to actually think upon my father while I write. If I do, then crying starts and I lose those precious moments and smear the ink with fat drops. Exhaustion overwhelms the birds that fly in my dreams, plunging them into black nights.

But the word has gotten out and there is nothing I can do for it. They know, every single one of them, I can see it when I meet the gaze of angry eyes. They know I chose the Hygrodomes.  And they are all wondering if I am a spy, what branch of Government I work for, who I will snitch on first, who after that? And then, when the answers to those questions don’t come, they wonder if I am a Liberal, a terrorist, a Utopian, here to bring them down or bring down what they do. They don’t know and it scares them.

The laundry where they assigned me has nearly fifty workers. The steaming heat is stifling. My hands raw even after so little time. The large space set aside for it is far away from anything important, too far for me to damage anything even if I was sent to. No one of consequence to tattle on.  

Yet, they won’t talk to me. They won’t ask the simple questions with simple answers. They choose to live in fear, to hate me. I crumple the paper once again. Then quickly smooth it out when I realize what I’ve done.

I’m clinging to this scrap, I know.  I won’t let myself think that this was a cruel joke from crafty hands and diamond smiles. There had to be a reason for him to send me here. There has to be something important for me to leave behind even that miserable life and be imprisoned in white caught up in rolling hatred. There has to… Hasn’t there?

A Writer’s Online Platform Building Campaign

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I just stumbled upon this today and since my last blog post was complaining about not knowing how to drive traffic to the site, I think it’s pretty providencial that this came to my attention!

http://rachaelharrie.blogspot.com/2011/08/third-writers-platform-building.html

You have until the 31st to enter to be a member of this campaign. Hope to see you around!

Sunday Update ~ Progress! and much rambling.

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After an entire week of no progress I actually have some this week! I’ve been trying to wake up a little earlier than the kids, which means about 5am most days so get in some writing, tweeting, blog posts etc. It’s working well but honestly by 8pm I’m ready to crash.

Thursday I was up at 5 am and I wrote just over 800 words on a WIP, then wrote another just under 500 on a Flash Fiction piece for the blog. I also mowed the lawn for about 15 minutes so there’s some exercise! A few tweeps and I are trying to start an online critique group which is severly interesting because one is in Aussie, one Europe (and here I show my superiorly poor geography skills, is Turkey considered Europe?), me in the US and another gal on the opposite coast. Should be lots of fun if we can get the logistics figured out.

Friday I was up at 4:40 am(UGH!) I wrote a 700 word episode in Faylinn’s Chronicles for the blog which is 6 days late but who’s counting? I don’t think anyone is actually reading it so I suppose it doesn’t matter. Hooray for low expectations! I also start with the Jenny Food. I was so hungry all. day. long. My stomach started eating itself. Which I suppose is a good thing.

Saturday I slept till 7 which totally threw my day off. I ended up going to the store for a new Wii remote and getting the family a pizza (I had a Jenny food pizza) and didn’t get home until 1:45. I spent the rest of the day with what I am fairly certain was warm pudding in my head. Needless to say, pudding has limited thought processing. I did get 240 words of the next Faylinn written up for Monday, found a new flash fiction promp site and started a few blog posts (meaning they got a title and a scheduled date)  then I settled into bed at 7pm with a fully charged ereader and a pair of yoga pants.

Sunday I slept past 7 this time. UGH! I still haven’t made up the 5 blog post replies for fellow ROW80’ers from Wednesday so I’m making that up today by doing 10 or more. Sorry to all those that posted Wednesday, I’m being a bad support person. *slaps hand* I’d like to figure out how to generate more interest in my little ol’ blog. Really get some interesting content going. If anyone has any ideas, please feel free to share! please. I’m begging you.

Oh and the online critique group has a hashtag!

There are still things I need to get caught up on. Mainly my reading, especially the ROW80 reviews I had planned to do on Fridays. I need to figure out where Faylinn is going so I can actually write it. I want to do more flash fiction. I’ve been getting good responses on the two I’ve done so far and they are a lot of fun but I don’t want to make the mistake I did with Faylinn and end up spending all my time writing flash. I can get really engrossed in things really easily.

I’d also like to take some time for reading craft books, I have a slew of them just sitting waiting as well as a lecture packet on developing character emotions I need to get working on. Hubby has agreed to let me have a weekned here and there completely away from everyone. At a hotel. OMG. I’m thinking probably not more than Friday night through Sunday afternoon and twice a year but Holy Cow! twice a year! I need to figure out logistics on that, financing etc. Some of the daily deal sites have great opportunities if I’m not too broke when it comes up (a recent one was 2 nights in Daytona Beach for $105, on the beach!) Which I’m hoping -beaches aside- that I can really work on some writing in a clear space.

Sorry to ramble.

Character Creation ~ Krista

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I thought a fun little post for the blog would be to give some background of characters I’ve created and the creation process for the specific character. I am what is known as a “pantser” meaning that I don’t exactly plan out what I’m writing or who I’m writing. Heck, sometimes I have to write out the same story in different voices because I don’t even have a firm grip on point of view.

So, here is a character I have created, who’s story is posted under Writing.

Character: Krista

Story: Krista

Character Description: A seventeen year old highschool girl. She has flaming orange hair and dresses gothic/punk. Krista is caucasian, middle class. Her mother is remarried and she has no siblings, she doesn’t know where her father is. She is a frequent rule breaker and has little aspirations for the future beyond a vague notion to travel to New York City. She is sarcastic, pessimistic and angst ridden. She posesses a strong inner core but rarely feels confidence in herself to utilize it, feeling herself a victim to her surroundings and authority.

Inner Conflicts – Krista is trying to sort out who she is in life. She knows what she doesn’t want in some regards but otherwise feels lost, incomplete. She feels abandoned by her mother even though they still live together. She knows she is being abused but cannot reconcile how to make it stop, thinking her only “out” will come when she turns eighteen and can leave home. She’s embarassed by the abuse, is made to feel it is her fault.

External Conflicts – Krista is being sexually abused by her mother’s husband and has been for many years. She holds that part of her life separate from everything else, something that happens in the dark, where no one can see. She works hard to hide the physical evidence. This makes it hard to connect with other people, she has little confidence and lacks social skills, feeling pulled around by circumstances, always having things happen “to” her instead of making things happen.

Where did the character come from? Krista is a little bit of me, a little bit of other’s and a whole lot of victim fantasy. Her story is dark, from that place inside of me that still houses the abuse I sustained as a child. While my own experience happened quite differently, I drew on the feelings and experiences I had. You might almost say, in part, that this is autobiographical and also that it’s completely fiction. And yes, I did have orange hair for a while.

What I wanted this story to say: This was something I felt needed to be let out. I had the thought of Krista many years ago and I think it really helped me express some of the things I was still holding inside. I don’t imagine everyone will enjoy the story, I don’t think it’s very enjoyable frankly. It’s not meant to be. But I think it can possibly allow others that haven’t experienced abuse to get an idea of what the victims deal with as well as connect to other victims, possibly to allow them to share their own fiction stories of a similar nature. Dealing with and writing about abuse is a tough and tricky subject. In this instance I did not want to identify with the abuser. I don’t easily identify with abusers in general in real life. Some of the things Krista dealt with, her internal feelings as well as social experiences, I dealt with on a daily basis. Where you sit next to some one thinking about how your being abused, long to tell them what is happening but at the same time can’t manage to open your mouth to say it. It’s a double edged sword, especially if there is others in your life that you love that will be hurt by your admission.

Author Photo Contest Results!

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The votes are in and here is my lovely graphy.

It's in Avocado.

 

It’s also ridiculously small because I just figured out how to do it. If you don’t have a magnifying glass at the ready, it says that photo 4 is the winner! For those of you that voted for 2 photos, I only added .5 of a vote for each photo you liked. 4 is still the winner by a lot.

In case you forgot which photo that was, it’s this one:

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

 

Now you’ll see this everywhere I go. And maybe everywhere you go.