Celebrating Samhain with Hocus Pocus and Poe

Happy Halloween!

This is by far one of my favorite holidays. I love seeing people dressed up in scary or creative costumes. I think it’s a blast to see what people want to be for Halloween.

So, today I’m watching the classic Halloween movie Hocus Pocus and reading some Edgar Allan Poe to make the day more festive. images
Hocus Pocus is by far my favorite Halloween movie. I wouldn’t say it’s overly scary, but it’s all around a great time. That, and Poe just fits in so well with this time of year. Granted, I like reading his work any time of year, but it’s just more festive right around Halloween.

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Samhain, (pronounced Sow-in) is actually the “original” celebration of Halloween. It’s a Celtic holiday, and it dealt with moving into the darker half of the year. I believe it also is a time when the spirit world and ours is supposed to connect. (Spooky).

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It makes sense because we are literally moving into winter where is tends to be more overcast and such. It also has spiritual meaning as well, but I’m going to try and explain that because I feel that I won’t get all of my facts straight. :0

Anyhow, eat some candy, act terrifying, and have a great rest of your Halloween!

Happy Haunting!

A lazy morning, and a crazy kitten.

Hello all,

This post is obviously not the follow up to the piece I did on different types of narrative form. I might still do the second part even though the first didn’t get much of a response. Today has been designated a lazy day. Well, as lazy as I can make myself. I’ve already broken out of my usual habits because it’s almost 10am here and I haven’t done anything remotely goal oriented today. I may not be a morning person, but I’d rather have everything done in the morning so I can have the rest of the day to work on writing.

It didn’t help that the kitten kept getting my up last night. He doesn’t wake my husband up as much, but he’s a heavier sleeper. That, and Chrono tends to wake me up if he needs something. I like to think it’s because he comes to me because he wants love and attention. Really, it’s just because he’s out of food and hasn’t eaten in half an hour. I almost think I’ve spent more money feeding the cat than I have feeding myself.

His antics didn’t stop when we woke up, though. He’s been crazy all morning. But that’s what growing kittens do, I guess. Boy is he growing! When we got him as a stray he wasn’t very big. I could hold him in the palm of my hand, but he’s at least tripled in size, and he’s about three and a half months old. We’re not quite sure when he was born, but that’s our closest guess. I read that cats, on average, keep growing until around year one, so we’ll see how much bigger he gets. He likes to sleep on our pillows, but I’m not sure there will be room for both my head and his body if he decides to get any bigger.

Oh well, despite his antics I love him very much.

Have a great rest of your day, dear readers!

Plot driven narratives vs character driven narratives

ImageToday’s post deals with something some of you might (or might not) know about. It is the difference between a plot driven narrative and a character driven narrative. Before we go any further there is one thing that needs to be clear: in differentiating between these two narrative is does not mean that a character driven narrative lacks a plot or the other way around. What it means is some writers tend to write stories that focus on moving the plot forward with the development of characters being a secondary part of the narrative (plot driven narratives). The flip side of this style is the character driven narrative where the actions of the characters dictate the events that make up the plot of the story.

Now, neither is inherently wrong, although people do tend to argue the importance of one style over the other. I had quite a few teachers in college stress the character driven narrative over the plot driven narrative. I do see where they are coming from because the majority of literature that I read as an undergraduate fell under the parameters of character based narrative. 

Some of you may be wondering how to tell the difference between the two narratives, and sometimes it can be very hard to tell. The way I have found to be helpful for me is to first look and see if the book I’m reading is listed under a specific genre. Think of it in the way you walk into a bookstore and everything is listed as mystery, romance, science fiction, and literature. To me, it seems that I find books using plot driven narrative style in the science fiction section and others that are categorized by the over arching atmosphere of the book. For instance, a mystery novel (typically) focuses on the good guy dealing with the solving the clues that will eventually lead him to the bad guy.

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I understand that not all mysteries are like this, but for the sake of making the distinction between the two narratives, we’ll use it as our example.

Walking over to the literature section of our imaginary bookstore I pull a book of the shelf. Read the back, and the little teaser says there is mystery, romance, and action within the pages. So how does this book differ from the books we just left in the other sections? It’s a good question, and the difference is that their genres don’t dominate the overarching feel of the story. There may be elements of mystery and romance in this story, but it does not dictate how the characters act within the novel. The characters dictate the flow of the story and the elements of those other genres simply arise out of their actions.

Think about any novel you read in a classroom.

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Sure, there were elements of other genres within the novel, but those instances were created by the characters. Characters that are complex, deep, and develop throughout the progression of the novel. Plot driven narratives can have character development, I am by no means saying they don’t, but if we were to compare the two types of novel side by side we would most likely see that there would be greater character complexity in the book filed away under literature. 

I’m sure there are some of you out there who are going to argue that genre books can have great character development, and I’m not here to argue with you. I’d heartily agree with you, but in terms of showing you the difference between the two narratives that was the best way I knew how to go about it.

Now, it can seem like a small difference, but when you realize that it’s there it becomes huge in terms of understanding how stories are written. The larger issue is the argument that has arisen from these two narratives: which one is the correct way to write a novel?

And that will be discussed in the second half of this post which will appear next week! Again, I am by no means an expert on this topic, but I think it’s important for people to see the difference because I believe it can enhance the experience of the reader if he or she understands the subtler nuances of narrative structures. 

Feel free to ask me questions! If not, have a great rest of your day!

Happy Reading

Big post coming this weekend! Get excited.

Hi everyone!

I confess that I wanted to have a nice well thought out post for you today, but life got a little bit in the way. Not to worry! I plan on having new content posted on Saturday. For any of you who write, or just enjoy discussing ways to improve your writing, this post will be for you.

There is a difference between having a story that is plot driven, and a story that is character driven. I wasn’t aware of this difference until a few years ago. I also didn’t know that some people believe it determines the quality of the work based on how your story is being driven. This conflict will also be discussed in the post on Saturday.

So, I hope I’ve got you all sorts of excited to talk about the technical side of story telling! I’m sure you’re just quivering in anticipation…

On a side note, I went to a concert last night. It was the band Walk the Moon. I only knew one of their songs, but it was really good, and it has been on the radio station I listen to, so that was rather cool. One of their opening bands was called Smallpools, and they were really good. We bought their c.d., and I’m listening to it right now. It’s good music, and I’m sure you can find some of their songs on the internet, or maybe all of them. 

Happy Thursday! 

Conflict—Giving LIFE to Your Fiction

I thought this post had a very well organized approach on dealing with many different hurdles found in writing. I especially enjoyed the importance placed on character development, which I believe is the main drive behind my stories.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Bad decisions make GREAT fiction. I know it’s tough to not write about fully evolved/self-actualized characters, but those guys are B-O-R-I-N-G. We like to watch people grow, probably so we might glean some hint of how to grow, ourselves. The more messed up a character is? The more INTERESTING they become.

Come on! You know it.

If you were at a restaurant and had a choice of where to eavesdrop, would it be the couple talking about their plans for the week as a team baking cookies for the school? Or would it be the nasty breakup on Table 6?

If we don’t have conflict, the story falls flat. Everything comes too easily and that is a formula for a Snooze-Fest. I am SO HUMBLED and honored to be friends with THE LEGEND Les Edgerton. In his mind? NOTHING comes easily. Even if your protagonist just wants directions, she should…

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Scribbling away…and two cups of coffee

Coffee x2One thing that I have found to be one of the more difficult hurdles in writing is having something to write about. I’m currently trying to work through a part in my work that rather dull. That is a bit alarming to admit when I’m the one writing it. Any lull in the story can have readers forgoing the rest of the story. It’s nice to know that I can see where there is a problem and attempt to fix it, but the larger problem is that I’m not sure how to proceed with the story from this point on.

I know that if I had an idea of what the characters’ intentions were I would be able to lay down a rough plan of action for getting out of this dull zone. However, not knowing what my character wants to do next is a far more concerning issue because it says something about my understanding of her. Or rather, it shows my lack of understanding. The reason for being stuck is because I have a character who I don’t fully understand, and this is ultimately creating this struggle in my writing.

One of my creative writing teachers (who shall go unnamed, but not unloved) was always pushing me to delve deeply into the motives of my characters. I was supposed to understand them better than I understood myself. I had to know they backwards and forwards. I needed to be aware of every habit and thought this character had, and understand why they were acting as they did.

Meaning, I need to go back to the drawing board for a while and scribble away at this character until I understand her better. The more work I put into my characters the more I understand them, and the more rewarding my writing becomes. My characters are just people, and I love understanding what makes people tick.

So, if you ever find yourself stuck on something, sit down and have a nice cup of coffee with your character. You can literally do this if you want, but you might find you’re just talking to yourself, and you’d have a few extra cups of cold coffee sitting around. It may take some time, but no one ever said writing was a quick process, and your character will be a much more developed and complex character by the time you’re done.

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Family weekend

Hi Readers,
I didn’t have a post this week because I had my sister in law visiting us for the weekend.
Fall in Seattle is beautiful, so we did corn mazes and haunted houses. The leaves are also turning, so we got some great pictures.
I’ll have some regular content up on Tuesday.
Happy Reading

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I thought this Snoopy picture was needed. If things are going wrong it’s better to laugh at them instead of cry at them. In most situations. Let’s not get carried away.

Have a good day everyone.

Social Media and Marketing for Writers: A Crucial First Step

A great read for anyone in the same field I’m in, or just for someone wanting to learn more about this whole process.

Live to Write - Write to Live

My last post, Why Social Media is a Good Idea for Writers, inspired a lot of excellent comments from you – honest, insightful comments that made me want to share some of my social media tips and tricks, but as I started to put that post together I realized that there is an important first step that deserves a post of its own.

Before you start to learn about the different social platforms and tools, before you start to get a handle on the most efficient and productive ways to use them, before any of that technical, tactical stuff, you have to get yourself into the right mindset for marketing and social media.

Writers tend to have a deeper than average aversion to marketing. Our “product” is so much a part of us that it’s difficult to separate our work from our personal identity. It can be especially intimidating…

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Accomplishing my writing goals!

Well today’s goals. Let’s not get too excited. I’ve made a list of three scenes that need to be done by the end of the day. I also have started writing at the library because I find my own apartment too distracting. Mainly because there is internet. The important thing for today is that is simply to enjoy writing; loving that feeling of discovery when you realize something awesome about a character, or you see a new connection that you hadn’t noticed otherwise. 

I also realized that I’m too worried about what other people will think about my writing that I’m too nervous to show anyone. Who cares? If I like writing it, then there should be someone who enjoys reading it.

That’s the mantra for today!

Thanks for being a follower!

Happy Reading.