Tuesday Trivia?

Hi all, hope it’s a fair weather week wherever in the world you happen to be. Still no idea how the world is faring other than the stories the skies perhaps tell. The UK news remains unreliable, as does much of the ‘western’ mainstream global news media, it seems.

I had intended posting to my blog and sharing the link for #MondayMotivation. I left my post lingering in my dashboard and so it crept just into today, Tuesday. I don’t blame you if you don’t wish to visit a 1500word ramble but sharing anyhow for those who might:

https://colettebates.wordpress.com/2018/11/20/mundane-monday-malarkeys/

I s’pose I was limbering up for writing ‘Stories of Place…’, the current non-fiction creative-writing mooc (opened on 15th November) from UIowa’s distance learning programme. It’s not too late to enroll if you’re interested and I’ll maybe see some of you there – or here.

Anyone posting ‘Trivia’ type content these days? I’d welcome some light refreshment online, how about you? What are you posting these days? (I’m wondering I’m not checking my Reader enough and missing much in my email notifications). Guess it’s a busy time this next few days for American blogging neighbours with Thanksgiving Holiday preparations and celebrations ahoy and the Season of Goodwill closely following. Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

First snow

White Backyard, red passions, and blue moods.
Nothing a fine scotch can’t fix.

#13wordstory #13wordstories Dedicated to FG

No refunds

You get what you pay for,
and not necessarily what you wish for.

#13WordStories #13WordStory Dedicated to everyone at BW.

Cold Autumn

He stayed watching the leaves fall,
she’s at the beach avoiding the cold.

#13WordStory #13WordStories Dedicated to Colette B

#justsaying

Problem with this site #help

I do know that I started writing a draft some time ago now toward a comedic play-writing excercise (British humour!) but hadn’t realised that partial draft was here at this site. I guess it must have been for it to have suddenly appeared here publicly as if I had posted it myself. I did not.

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#data-breech, #intrusion, #invasion-of-privacy, #personal-safety

Thank you

For your 200 likes.

I’m guessing you guys like my 13 word stories.
I will keep them coming while you still like them.

Cheers.

giphy

#13wordstory

For F-sake-Friday

Today in England (Britain/Brutain/UK?) is 4Fawkes-sake-Friday! A special evening indeed, the first night following Diwali, whereby fireworks, firelight and even tealight-type celebrations were withheld from all public areas other than those supported by one or few local BBC radio station events (apparently). Not quite tonight being Firework Night (as that’s tomorrow), I’m here while resting in bed taking up a belated challenge while enjoying some recommended listening, hoping those plenty near-off noises are only fireworks and not mortar fire(!) Sparing, our few thoughts for those global neighbours in the vicinity of such atrocities as war and violations of civilian life – and resisting the evil influences of political propogandas whilst we have no way of knowing…

The first Friday of each month we have this thing titled ‘3Quotes’ within our sidebar thing titled ‘Friday Special Feature’ and the weekly features page. @piyushavir these pages are in need of at least setting to private members view only please while active members can perhaps manage front-end with only open-forum structure in the meantime please? Also, @sashay909 – hoping that you are happy for the generic clip-art logo and font-over placement that you created for Blogger’s World to remain as forum visual branding for community benefit? Much appreciation for your DTP skills in creating such a strong identifier (and assuming all members have and remain happy with this logo?)

Of course you can all gladly vote me off membership and I’ll visit and only use comment spaces if that’s more appropriate support and of greater benefit to the wider community… however…

Recommended reading #1 https://blogging101alumni.wordpress.com/about/

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Timeless Writing Advice

I’ve been reading a controversial collection of short stories called Crimes of Love. (Oxford World Classic, translated by David Coward) The author is none other than the notorious Marquis de Sade. That’s right, the man’s whose name is the origin of the term sadism. Before you bail on me, just listen. As a preface to the collection, the Marquis includes his insightful Essay On Novels.  I am pleased to share some of his timeless wisdom with you today.

“The novel, if I may express it so, is the ‘picture of the manners of every age’. To the philosopher who seeks to know the nature of man, it is as indispensable as history. The historian’s pencil can draw a man only in his public roles, when he is not truly himself: ambition and pride cover his face with a mask which shows only these two passions and not the man entire. The novelist’s pen, on the other hand, captures his inner truth and catches him when he puts his mask aside, and the resulting sketch, which is far more interesting, is also much truer; that is the point of novels.”

“The first and most important requirement is an understanding of human nature.  … A man learns nothing when he talks; he learns by listening. Which is why those who talk the most are, in the ordinary run of things, fools.”

“Any fool can pick a rose and pluck its petals, but the man of genius breathes its scent and paints its forms: that is the kind of author we will read.”

“But while I advise you to embellish, I forbid you to depart from what is plausible. The reader has every right to feel aggrieved when he realizes that too much is being asked of him. He feels that the author is trying to deceive him, his pride suffers and he simply stops believing the moment he suspects he is being misled.”

“No one forces you to ply the trade you follow. But if you do choose it, then acquit yourself to the best of your ability. And above all, you should not think of writing as a way of earning your living. If you do, your work will smell of poverty. It will be colored by your weakness and be as thin as your hunger. There are other trades which you can take up…  Our opinion of you will not be any poorer, and since you will be sparing us acres of boredom, we may even think the better of you.”

Regarding characters:

“If you send your characters on a voyage, be sure you are acquainted with the countries where their travels lead them, and spin your tales with such magic that I can identify with them. Remember that I voyage at their side wherever you send them to, and that I may know more than you and will not excuse your errors in reporting manners and costumes nor forgive a geographic blunder.  …you must make your descriptions of your chosen localities authentic, or else you should stay at home. This is the only area of what you write where invention cannot be tolerated, unless the lands to which you transport me are imaginary.”

“Avoid any display of moral earnestness. Morality is not something anyone wants in a novel. … It should never be the author who preaches, but his characters, and even then only when the circumstances leave him no alternative.”

And finally, in his defense (because he was in trouble most of the time…) he writes:

“It is not my wish to make vice attractive. … I harbor no dangerous plan to make women love men who deceive them, but on the contrary, to ensure that they loathe them. …  And with this in mind I have made those of my heroes who tread the path of vice so repulsive that they will certainly inspire neither pity nor love. In this I make bold to claim that I am a more moral writer than those who make their villains attractive.”

Fascinating insight, no? And really, advice on novel writing that stands the test of time. As always I hope you enjoyed and found this helpful.

#weekly #creativewriting

Organize Your Writing

One of the things that can get out of hand quick when you’re writing a novel is keeping track of the details. As the story pours out beneath your fingers tapping away on the keyboard, you don’t want to have to stop and page back through the previous 10,000 words to find an important detail that’s relevant to a scene you’re currently developing. It might be things like who said what to whom, how many days have passed, does it makes sense with the way the plot is unfolding, and so forth.

I use several tools to organize my writing so as to avoid rereading the whole manuscript to find one detail. Here are a few of them:

  1. Timeline spread sheet:  this is essential for keeping track of the order of events. The way I do it is to decide on a date for the opening of the story, and since my books are set in present day, I usually pick a day and the date of the current year. Then for each day on which action happens, I make a brief note of the significant event. For days where nothing happens I may make an entry that reads: August 4-6 Jen waits for news from the police, or something like that.
  2. Character biography database: this can be as simple as writing your character’s physical description, age, career and hobbies on an inex card. I keep mine filed on another spreadsheet. Other details that are helpful to include are personality traits. List things like he is intelligent, short tempered, bossy, meek, shy, funny, easy going, intense, artistic, serious or grumpy. You may also include events that have shaped their life so far. For example they were raised in a wealth and comfort or they were abused as a child. They lived in the city or grew up on a farm. They might have been happily married and widowed or divorced with a nasty custody battle. All this helps shape the way your characters will act and react in certain situations.
  3. Pinterest boards: this is something that won’t appeal to everyone, but I like doing it. I create Pinterest boards for each of my novels and “cast actors” to “play the roles” of each character. This helps me to “see” the character perform the action in the story.
  4. Mapping the location: I physically draw the layout of my locations: the town, the character’s house or apartment layouts, and so forth, again to help me visualize the scenes. And you don’t need to be an artist to make this work for you. A crude map is fine. No one else has to see it!

Keeping track of the details means you won’t be making as many mistakes along the way. This will save you a lot of time and aggravation when you begin proofreading and editing. And being able to visualize your characters and the setting of your story will help make it more real to you and that will translate into your work. As always, I hope this was helpful. Have a great weekend, everyone!

#weekly #creativewriting

Need Inspiration? Then, watch TV!

Before I started hardcore watching television again, I had a month’s worth of writer’s block. I could barely write about Swiss cheese in an interesting way, no matter how hard I tried (to be fair, work has been crazy; thus, my creative juices had been sucked out of me). So, I became an information vegetable/sponge and started watching television at work. Oddly enough, my inspiration came from watching Littlest Pet Shop (2012). I really like the orange hedgehog named Russell. He is very similar to me because he is obsessed with neatness and order and is intellectual (and lets everyone know about it, too) and surprisingly the most social. So, my stories have involved him or rather, people being in love with him. Blythe, the human who takes care of the pets as her day job, is the person I pair him with. She is also similar to me because she works very hard and is always busy doing something productive. She also likes to balance many facets of her life like I do. Also, Russell is her favorite pet, so it only seemed appropriate (despite the non-canon aspect of this unique pairing). He also spends more time with her than any of the other pets do; there was an entire episode devoted to both of them spending alone time together at a sleepover at the pet shop (until Sunil (the moongoose) and Vinnie (the gecko) crashed the party). Also, there are many times when they are caught spending time together without the other pets (an example of when Russell is sitting on the sales counter while Blythe was the cashier). So, I’ve been writing a bunch of RussellxBlythe fan fiction; one of my stories is devoted to a spin-off of that episode.

So, if you have severe writer’s block like I do, you could always revert to writing fan fiction. I know that it might be frowned upon to encourage fan fiction, but it’s a good start to get out of having a writer’s block.

Xara Nahara O’Connor
#creativewriting #weekly