The Gift of Punctuation
|Are there any punctuation marks hiding in these |
gifts? Photo credit | PGHumphrey
I was taking a break from working on a client’s manuscript when I started to think about what the majority of my changes had been for this particular author.
It made me start to think about writers and their love affairs with words. But, do they have the same with their punctuation? To some, punctuation might seem superfluous. After all, can’t you understand some writers even with the writing seemingly void of punctuation? Short sentences abruptly ended with a sentence. Sentences seeming staccato with their repetitive rat-a-tat-tat. Not a comma in sight. Then, there are some, not all, writers who can place punctuation everywhere you turn!
Actually, all writers need punctuation, but we often forget about them at gift-giving time. (We also seem to stop studying them after a while.) With all the gift guides plastered across the Internet, have you considered what punctuation to get your favorite writer this holiday season?
1. A period.
It’s plus is that is the final word. Writers like using one to finish one thought to move along to the next one. For many folks, this is our security blanket of punctuation. Every writer knows when to use one, right? Compare receiving the period to opening a fifth pair of socks on Christmas morning.
2. A comma.
This punctuation mark always seemed collaborative to me. Not sure why, but it might be because it always, constantly, or often appears in a set. Whether you want to buy a writer a set, the comma is a versatile mark that is greatly appreciated by the writer. They can be gifted in single or serial packs.
3. An exclamation mark!
Often mistaken as the mark of the hysterical heroine, exclamation marks add a bit of excitement to otherwise dull writing! It perks up writing, like a jolt of java perks up a flagging writer hitting the home stretch while writing a scene! I tend to think of giving the exclamation mark to the friend you enjoys a fictional party or fire! Rarely do they get invited to join in nonfiction works.
4. A semicolon.
This mark is probably one of the lonelier marks, I think. It shows up sparingly and often the writer is not sure why to use it since the comma is so more user-friendly. The semicolon tries to work with others, so you might want to gift one to an accommodating writer friend.
5. The ellipses…
Admittedly, these are my favorite punctuation marks to have around. I tend to abuse them in emails…they are awesome for leaving a thought hanging… They leave a lot to the imagination, which is great for some of my
emails and my fictional dialogues… For some writers, I wish they would employ more ellipses, so I have a lot of those on my gift list.
If you could, what punctuation marks might you gift to a writer friend and why? What punctuation do you hope you receive and why?
Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and editor who lives in North Carolina. She hopes you and yours are having a great holiday season, in spite of punctuation.
Labels: Elizabeth King Humphrey, gift ideas for writers, humor, punctuation
Interview with David Kalish, Novelist and Playright
Good morning, Muffin readers! I am super excited about today's post: an interview with David Kalish, Novelist, Playright and Friend who will be releasing his debut novel The Opposite of Everything, on March 11, 2014.
David Kalish is a novelist, blogger, and playwright with an MFA from Bennington College. His short fiction appears in many literary journals, his nonfiction in The Writer’s Chronicle, and a film of his won honors in festivals in the states and abroad. Before Bennington, he was a journalist at The Associated Press. He lives in upstate New York and is at work on a second novel, Stoner Hero, and a Latin-themed comedic musical, The Gringo Who Stole Christmas.
WOW: David, the main character in your book The Opposite of
Everything is Brooklyn journalist
Daniel Plotnick. I'm curious how you chose the name and the main character's
occupation. Please give us a bit of back story if you would.
David: Before he was Daniel Plotnick, my main
character had my name. That’s because my book started as a first-person memoir
about my struggles with cancer and divorce. But over years of revision I
decided the book worked better as a third-person comedic novel. So I chose a
name for the protagonist that sounded Jewish, like mine, and a bit hapless, as
I imagine myself. One of my roommates in college had the last name Plotnick, so
I stole it. Because the character is based on me, he’s also a journalist – I
used to work as a reporter and editor with The Associated Press in the 1990s.
WOW: David, I have a feeling that same thing happens more often than we may realize. I'm sure your roommate is flattered!
I know this book came about after your
own personal battle with cancer and your painful divorce. Did you start
journaling for therapeutic reasons, or what made you decide to put the pen to
paper and when did you decide it was something you wanted to publish?
David: I’ve always written fiction, from the time I
wrote my first poem in kindergarten, but my diagnosis of cancer in 1994 -- and
the collapse of my first marriage it triggered -- gave me lots of material to
mine. So my creative writing began to reflect those experiences. Sure, it was
therapeutic in a sense. I think as a writer I try to make sense of painful
situations by dramatizing them, giving them a narrative arc, a beginning,
middle and end. It’s all about making lemonade from lemons, putting things in
perspective. From the moment I began writing my book more than a decade ago,
I’ve wanted to publish it. With each revision I sent the book out to agents and
small publishers, and with each rejection revised it a little more. It wasn’t
until early this year that it was accepted by a small but traditional
publisher, WiDo. It’s been a long long journey.
WOW: So I guess I'm not being too terribly optimistic thinking my 5 and 6 year old might become writers since they do so well with poems and short stories. I'm sorry it took the collapse of your marriage to bring you back to creative writing, but I'm sure glad you're writing!
David, who has been your biggest supporter
through the publishing process and what are some ways they have supported and
encouraged your journey?
David: I would have to
say my wife and daughter, in part because the characters based on them figure
so prominently in the novel. They’ve been my second readers as I strived to
create credible characters with three-dimensional lives and personalities.
They’ve also been incredibly tolerant of the fact I need oceans of time to
write, because I’m a perfectionist, to a fault.
WOW: This definitely sounds like a family affair and labor of love! So... what's
next for you? You seem like the type of person who is always busy and I have a
feeling your next published works is likely already waiting in the wings - can
you tell us more?
David: I’m revising my
second novel now, and hope to complete it in the spring and send it out once my
first one is published in March. Problem is, I’ve been so busy laying the
groundwork to promote my first novel I have hardly any time to work on my
second. But novel is called Stoner Hero. It’s a satirical comedy
about an underground society that uses time management techniques, team
building and sweat lodge retreats to help stoners lead more productive lives
through weed. I’m also a playwright. I’m
collaborating with Alex Torres, the Latin musician and composer, on a musical
comedy I wrote, called The Gringo Who Stole Christmas.
WOW: David, I'm so glad you're doing so much promotion since that is what brought us together. I cannot wait until your WOW! Blog Tour next spring!
Other than your upcoming blog tour and writing, what sorts of activities do you enjoy? Give us a peek into your
personal life and what makes David Kalish tick.
David: I’m an early
riser, and after a few hours of writing from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. I drive to a
nearby forest with our two dogs. The three of us roam briskly between the trees
for an hour. It clears my head and I often work out problems in my writing, and
plan my day. I consider a good day when I also get in a walk in the afternoon.
I guess I’m always writing, except when I’m cooking dinner, paying the bills,
taking out the garbage, and spending downtime with my wife and daughter.
WOW: Now I understand why you are so happily married - not only do you take out the garbage, you cook dinner too? I love it! Thank you so much for sharing with us today. Readers - be sure to leave comments and ask questions as David will be checking in to chat with us today!
Interview by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto
The Opposite of Everything
When Brooklyn journalist Daniel Plotnick learns he has cancer, his fortunes
fall faster than you can say “Ten Plagues of Egypt.” His wife can’t cope, his
marriage ends in a showdown with police, and his father accidentally pushes
him off the George Washington Bridge.
Daniel miraculously survives his terrifying plunge, and comes up with a zany
plan to turn his life around: by doing the opposite of everything he did before.
Inspired by his own brush with cancer and divorce, novelist David Kalish
makes comedy out of his painful past to create a startling and surprisingly
David plans on touring in April 2014. To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.Get Involved!If you have a website or blog and would like to host David or one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crystal is a church musician, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Reedsville, Wisconsin with her husband, three young children (Carmen 6, Andre 5, Breccan 11 weeks), three dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, and over 200 Holsteins. You can find Crystal blogging and reviewing books and all sorts of other stuff at: http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/
Labels: author blog tour, author interview, blog tour, blogger, David Kalish, Novelist, Playright, The Opposite of Everything, WiDo publishing
The Importance of an “Atta Girl (or Boy!)” File
Years ago, when I was still working in media planning, I got
a positive e-mail from one of my supervisors one day. It made such an
impression on me that I was telling a few of my co-workers about it at lunch
and they told me I definitely needed to put that in my “Atta Girl!” file.
They explained to me that I needed to keep a folder on my
desk labeled “Atta Girl” and every time I got a positive note from a client or
supervisor, I should print it out and stick it in that file. Whenever I was
having a stressful day, I could take out that file, look through it, and it
would help boost my self-esteem. While researching the topic for this post, I even came across an article online
that talks about how keeping such a file is a good way to stay organized when
the time comes to polish up your resume. It also helps you keep track of compliments you can later turn into testimonials for your website or blog.
It seems like such a simple concept in theory, but how many
of us really do it? Unfortunately, a lot of times, the negative messages and
responses to our work are the ones that stay with us the longest. I’ve decided
to make it a priority in the next year to consolidate my “Atta Girls!” into
one folder in my e-mail. Right now I have testimonials and nice notes kind of
scattered everywhere on my hard drive and they're not doing me much good. The
other day I even received a rejection from a book editor that was so kind and personable
that I’m saving it because it brought a smile to my face when I read it.
Here is an example of an "Atta Girl" that I've moved over into that file:
I read your article yesterday and it was amazing. I've
received such great
feedback from the community already, lots of people read
the article and want
to learn more about Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). I can
honestly say I have done a lot of interviews
over the past few years and the
article you wrote was the best. I could tell
you truly cared about our mission
to help children and I thank you for helping
us get the message out.
Okay, your turn! What are some examples of things you keep
in your “Atta Girl/Boy!” file?
Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor who also blogs at Renee's Pages. Learn more about her at www.FinishedPages.com.
Labels: Atta Girl/Boy files, praise for writers, Renee Roberson, writer testimonials, writing motivation
Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight by Marthe Jocelyn - Blog Tour
& giveaway contest!
When was the last time you happened upon a surprise that made you laugh aloud and brought a smile to your face each time you thought of it? The truth is, we probably think we don’t have time for surprises as we hurry from place to place trying to fit everything into our busy lives. But what is a life without surprises? Today’s author, Marthe Joceyln, wants families to put some surprises out there in the world and enjoy watching others stumble across them.
For young artists, tricksters, and crafters, Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight
is a hip, friendly how-to manual for creating removable and shareable art projects from easily found materials. The sneaky part is in the installation! Each work of art is custom-created for display in public places—a tiny cork-bottomed boat in a public fountain, a plate of tiny paper cupcakes on your teacher’s desk, a penny left on the ground for a stranger, a funny message left on your mother’s bathroom mirror, and more. This utterly unique guide—part craft book, part art-philosophy—offers a stylish and sweet "made-you-look-twice" spirit of fun meant to put a smile on the faces of strangers and loved ones alike.
Candlewick (March 26, 2013)
Sneaky Art is available as a print book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound, as well as at your local bookstore
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight
, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, December 13 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
About the Author:
Marthe Jocelyn spent her childhood in Toronto reading books and putting on plays and circuses in her backyard. Marthe has a long string of jobs: theatre usher, cookie seller, waitress, photo stylist, even toy designer before she finally settled on writer. And once she decided to be an author she went forward full steam ahead and now has over two dozen books to her credit. Marthe lives in Ontario with her daughters Nell and Hannah but still visits her old hometown, New York City, where she and her daughter were inspired to begin creating Sneaky Art.
Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
Twitter: @SneakyArtStudio and @scissorhouse
-----Interview by Jodi Webb
WOW: Marthe, visiting your website made me green with envy! So many books, so many genres. My count has it at 26 books: craft books, picture books, board books, historical fiction, YA, chapter books, non-fiction, short stories and anthologies. Tell us how it all began. What was your first book?
My first published book was a chapter book called The Invisible Day
, the first volume of what turned out to be a trilogy about a girl who finds a makeup kit in Central Park and uses the powder inside to become invisible. I was living in New York with my husband and daughters, owner of a small toy design company. I'd started making picture books just for the girls, about their own lives and adventures.
My then nine-year-old daughter asked one day if she could start walking to school by herself. "HA!" I said. "Maybe if you were invisible..." And PING! I had the idea to write a story in the tradition of Edward Eager (one of my childhood favorites) about real-life kids stumbling over magic in an urban setting. So I wrote the first few chapters, took a writing-for-children class and finished the book.
WOW: And you were off and running (actually, writing). So many authors specialize in one type of book. Why did you branch out into so many different types of books?
I have a cluttered mind, which is reflected in my studio. I get a LOT of ideas, most of which evaporate quickly. But ideas come to me in different sizes and shapes, meaning that each one takes me to a different place. I made a vow quite early on that I would try to write a book in every genre of children's book. Having experience as a toy designer meant that although I am completely untrained as an artist—clumsy and not confident—I knew how to cut things out of paper and glue them together. That's how some of the books have my own pictures done in collage.
The non-fiction books are actually the real surprise to me. I never finished high school, but here I am—driven by curiosity more than scholarship—creating work with bibliographies!
WOW: How ambitious! So how close are you to your goal? Let's see: picture book, board book, chapter book, YA book, non-fiction, historical fiction...how about middle reader, science fiction? I suppose they're still on your "to-do" list?
I still need to do an Easy/Early reader, a science fiction, a fantasy, a mystery... maybe a contemporary middle reader, though I consider a couple of the historical novels to be good middle graders. I'd like to come up with a Picture STORY book—all mine are concept books. A novel written in verse. A graphic novel. The list goes on and on!
WOW: Do you have a favorite type of writing or do you love them all equally? All of your books are for children. Are you a teacher?
In general I love whichever type of writing I'm not doing at the moment you ask. I was not trained as a teacher but have spent many, many hours in classrooms and now often teach workshops to both kids and adults in art and in writing.
WOW: Sneaky Art is your first craft book. Could you tell us how you got the idea? Are you a crafter or were you inspired by your many author visits to classrooms?
I got the idea from raising my kids in New York City. Every walk to school was a chance to look for the crazy, funny, even sad things that people leave in the street, sometimes accidentally and often on purpose. Seeing the opportunities through children's eyes—the mystery of a street grate, the canvas of a sidewalk—I think that's where the idea was first sparked.
I am a crafter and my kids liked to make stuff too—and to play tricks of course. It all adds up.
WOW: Speaking of author visits, can you give us a little advice on how to create a successful author visit?
I like to speak with or at least exchange emails with the teacher(s) ahead of a visit, to hear what else the students have studied recently and just to get a sense of the school before I go. It is heart-lifting to walk into a classroom and feel the buzz of excitement because the kids already know a little bit about me and have read at least one of my books. Even minimal preparation makes a huge difference to the success of the hour I spend with a group of readers and writers.
WOW: And what should we avoid? Tell us the biggest mistake/problem you or an author friend has had at a visit?
There are times—more often than a good teacher can imagine—when the adult in charge leaves the room or sits texting in the back, using the author visit as a chance to take a break instead of an opportunity to share an experience that can be used for weeks to come.
WOW: What a shame! What would you advise visiting authors to do if faced with that situation. Should they just soldier on ahead, try to draw the teacher into the event or...?
Obviously it's a case-by-case situation and there is no point in forcing an embarrassing moment. But near the start, with the students listening, I try to ask the teacher a question that will increase ongoing involvement. Make it a conversation rather than a lecture, so it's more awkward for the teacher to withdraw.
WOW: How do you connect with teachers and schools? Do you reach out to schools, do they find you on your website, does your publisher make the connections or are you involved in an online group that promotes author visits like the Author By State blog?
All of the above, though because I currently live in Canada, I belong to the Authors Booking Service
instead of Authors By State - same initials though!
WOW: How important do you feel author visits are to the success of a book and an author?
Author visits help an author, both from the spreading-the-word aspect and because constant contact with readers is key to knowing their world. The downside is that every minute travelling to schools, visiting, and recovering from the trip is a minute spent not writing. So balance is important, at least for me.
WOW: What can we watch for next from you?
I have two books coming out this spring (2014); an'upper' YA novel in March, from Wendy Lamb books, is called What We Hide
. And I have collaborated on a middle grade adventure story with graphic elements that comes out in May. It is called Viminy Crowe's Comic Book, co-written by Richard Scrimger with comics by Claudia Davila.
Until then, get sneaky!
----------Blog Tour Dates
Monday, December 9 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview with Marthe Jocelyn and a chance to win Sneaky Art
and surprise your neighborhood with surprise art!
Wednesday, December 11 @ CMash Reads
Learn more about Marthe Jocelyn's craft book Sneaky Art
and enter to win a Teaching Sneaky Art PDF. A perfect virtual stocking stuffer for your favorite teacher, troop leader or crafty parent.
Thursday, December 12 @ Cathy C. Hall
Marthe Jocelyn, author of children's books and craft books, tells us why "Writing Instructions is the Hardest Type of Writing" Enter to win her craft book—full of instruction!—Sneaky Art
Friday, December 13 @ Museiddity
Double crafting fun today! One winner will receive a great prize package from Marthe Jocelyn: her book Sneaky Art and her collage kit, the Rainy Day Art Kit.
Sunday, December 15 @ A Ponderance of Things
Don't miss your chance to win a great prize package from Marthe Jocelyn: her book Sneaky Art and her collage kit, the Rainy Day Art Kit.
Monday, December 16 @ Words by Webb
Don't miss a review of Sneaky Art
and Jodi’s experiences being the Banksy of her hometown.
Thursday, December 19 @ The New Book Review
Don't miss a review of Marthe Jocelyn's draft book that the whole family will enjoy: Sneaky Art
Monday, December 30 @ Craft Foxes
Kids have cabin fever for school vacation? Stop by for a fun art project that your family can give to your neighborhood as a gift!
Friday, January 3 @ Thoughts in Progress
New year's resolution to spend more fun time with your children? Then enter for your last chance to win Sneaky Art
by Marthe Jocelyn, a book crammed full of fun crafting projects.
Monday, January 6 @ All About Audry
Stop by for a review of Rainy Day Art Pack, a craft kit from Marthe Jocelyn, author of Sneaky Art
Tuesday, January 7 @ We-Made-That
Stop by for instructions for a fun project from Marthe Jocelyn's Sneaky Art
and a chance to win your own copy!
Wednesday, January 8 @ Mother-Daughter Book Club
Marthe Jocelyn, author of Sneaky Art
, tells us how collage is a no-fail medium. After you learn more about collage, take a moment to enter for your last chance to win her collage kit: The Rainy Day Art Pack.
Friday, January 10 @ Read These Books and Use Them!
Don't miss an interview with Marthe Jocelyn, author of the craft book Sneaky Art
To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar
. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at email@example.com.
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight
, please enter using the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, December 13
at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Labels: author visits, blog tour, children's writers, craft book, Marthe Jocelyn, sneaky art
When Writers Receive Conflicting Advice
|He received conflicting advice! |
As a parent, I have often heard two people give completely opposite advice about a problem someone is having with her child. Things like: "You can't spoil a newborn. Hold her as much as you can," as opposed to. . "Never, ever let a baby fall asleep in your arms." I could write more than just a blog post about this, but you're not here for parenting advice.
This same phenomenon happens to writers, too. For any piece of advice you find on the Internet, in writing classes and in craft books, or from other writers, you will be able to find the exact opposite advice some place else. Here's my recent example.
I sent a query for a middle-grade novel to an agent who was offering to look at queries and provide feedback! This was an awesome experience, and although he did not agree to represent me, he did give me some terrific ideas on how to improve my query and get my book idea across to an agent--I can tell by his comments that I should work on my query and first five pages some more.
But the weirdest thing is that he said in a query letter, I should not tell agents what happens in the end of the book. Keep them guessing.
Maybe some of you are nodding your heads. I think my critique group members may have said the same exact thing. But I have been in COUNTLESS conference sessions with real, live agents and editors and heard them say time and time again. . .put the ending of your novel in the query. Tell us what happens. Don't keep us guessing.
So what is a writer to do? Take a poll? Drink some wine? Write some query letters with the ending and the others without and see what happens?
I've been thinking about this all night, ever since I read his feedback. What should I do with this query letter rewrite? But then I realized that the conflicting advice is really a bigger issue, and it happens all the time--there seems to always be a writer who says black, and another who says white. An agent that wants hot, and another that wants cold. And so on.
What can we do?
1. Do your homework
. Try to research the person the best you can with the tools (the Internet) available to you, and see if anywhere in a blog post, tweet, bio, etc. the agent/editor suggests what he or she wants in a query, a first chapter, a book, and so on.
2. Write from your heart
. Once you've done your homework, write a query letter from your heart. (I HAVE to work on this--get out of my brain and to my heart.) I am passionate about my writing. It DOES NOT COME out in my query letter. I am not even sure if it's coming out in those first couple of manuscript pages. I have to let that passion come out--even for a humorous middle-grade mystery novel.
3. Believe in yourself.
I know that I can write a good query letter. I know that I can write a first chapter of a novel. I'm sure there are things you know about yourself and your writing. Once you've done your homework and poured your heart into your work, then you have to believe in it. No one else will if you don't.
It will be hard to find conflicting advice to the three above, but I suppose there could be someone out there writing a non-inspirational blog post that says you don't need to believe in yourself. .. naw, no way. So, listen, read what you can, straight from the source if possible, do your very best job, but most of all enjoy yourself. You are writing. You are following a dream. There are so many people in this world that are not doing either one of those. Pat yourself on the back.
photo by Nicolequick (flickr.com)
Margo L. Dill is teaching several online children's writing and novel writing classes in 2014. To see a schedule and sign up, visit the WOW! classroom page. She also blogs at The Lit Ladies, where they are having a Holiday Book Sale, with free gift-wrapping included. More details here: http://www.thelitladies.com/holiday-book-sale/
Labels: Agent Query, everyday inspiration, Margo L. Dill, query letters, writing advice
Writers' Guides: The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus – Review and Giveaway
When Angela Ackerman asked me to review The Positive Trait Thesaurus
and The Negative Trait Thesaurus
, I wondered if the books would be able to help my current project. I love The Emotion Thesaurus
, the first book she and Becca Puglisi co-authored, but my current project is a work-in-progress. I’ve been working with this character for some time and know him well. But I know the quality of their work so I asked them for copies of both books.
These books detail character traits, what leads to them and how each trait works within the story. In addition to the listings for each trait, there are sections on psychology and personal development and how character and story work together. Newer writers especially will benefit from this information.
These books are tools to improve your writing. The best way to see how they work is to use them.
I looked up my character’s greatest negative trait—insecure. I read Possible Causes and patted myself on the back. I’d worked both guilt and abandonment into my backstory.
Not every insecure person acts the same way and the list of Associated Behaviors is lengthy. Again, I found several behaviors already written into my story: My character focuses on swimming, his strength, to avoid academics, in which he feels weak. He also engages in negative self-talk while comparing himself to someone who does well in school, his brainy best friend.
These books are thorough, so I wasn’t surprised to find something that would improve my work. One insecure behavior is sticking close to people who make the character feel comfortable. If my character moves away from his best friend and toward a fellow jock, this could make his problem more difficult to solve. Apparently, I still have work to do where his negative traits are concerned.
Next, I looked up a strength; my character is funny. The causes for his humor include the positive (his offbeat way of looking at the world) and the negative (he needs affirmation and wants attention).
We often overlook negative aspects to positive traits but Ackerman and Puglisi include this in the listing for each positive trait. Being funny keeps people at a distance. In my story, this hides my character’s insecurity, a fact I need to play up to strengthen my story.
Ackerman and Puglisi list supporting character traits that may lead to conflict with a funny character. This list includes studious and focused which describes my character’s best friend. I need to use conflict between them to much greater advantage.
If you are rewriting, look to these books to help fine tune your story and make the most of your character’s and their personalities. For new works, the books can help you explore your characters and how to make their lives truly dreadful. Either way, your work is sure to benefit from these two reference books. The authors take such a thorough approach to the craft of character that you will come away from their books with new insight into your story.
Author Sue Bradford Edwards blogs at One Writer's Journey
***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****
We also have a giveaway from the authors, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi! After that fabulous review, I'm sure you'll want to win this set for your writer's reference library. Just enter the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win a paperback copy of The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes
(ARV $14.99) AND The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Labels: Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi, character emotion, character traits, The Emotion Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus
Friday Speak Out!: Hop on the Dream Train, Guest Post by Von Rupert
Am I bothering you? Because seriously, if I’m bothering you, I can go someplace else. If my fingers tapping on this keyboard gets on your nerves, I can stop. I can find something else to do. Maybe clean something or bake Challah or, I don’t know, maybe I could knit.
That’s me, the big apologizer for writing, the big guilty marshmallow for using my time to write. And the thing is the people who live with me, let me. Of course they do. Let’s see, would my family rather I write, or do something for them? I guarantee writing would appear low on their list of expectations of me.
It’s like classic mom behavior that I’ve been guilty of in the past. You’re so busy feeding everyone else that you grab bites of food (and indigestion) between fetching condiments and mopping up spills. Or worse, you eat a sandwich at the kitchen counter while you’re cleaning the kitchen or preparing supper (because you know how mealtimes usually run).
But it’s not my family’s fault. It’s mine. I don’t apologize for going to the grocery store or for playing cards with the children or for proofreading a friend’s story. I simply do those things, and to heck if someone thinks it’s a nuisance or a waste of my time.
Why? Why do I apologize for pursuing my dream, for dedicating time to my career? I would never accept those apologies from anyone else. If a friend apologized for writing while I was visiting, I’d say, “Don’t worry about it. I’m glad you’re writing.” If my husband apologized for not fixing me a sandwich because he was at work, pursuing his
dream, I’d say, “No worries. I can fix a sandwich myself.”
But the people around us get used to our apologies. Subconsciously, they start to believe that we’re actually doing something to apologize for. They buy into our lines of insecurity
No more apologies, women. Sit down and eat with your family. Let someone else get the ketchup. Sit down and write your stories. Let someone else answer the phone or take the dog out to pee. And don’t apologize.
Seriously, don’t apologize. You are not bothering anyone. And if someone thinks you are, really ask yourself why. Is it because you’re doing something wrong? Or is it because they’re worried you won’t be doing something for them
? Or, is it because they’ve picked up on your insecurities?
The Dream train has arrived, and, darn it, I’m sitting in front this time. I’m riding with everyone else. I’m waving from the window and winking at the conductor as he strides past. I’ll skip right past that Am-I-bothering-you
train car--it’s dark, crowded and smells a little off. And it always travels last.
Who’s joining me on the dream train? Here, sit up front with me. I love the sound of tapping fingers and dreams coming true.
* * *
Von Rupert is a wife, homeschooling mom, writer, and podcast producer. She's a writing mentor at Writer's Village University, and she produces the crowdfunding podcast DJ Grandpa's Crib. She blogs at yvonnerupert.blogspot.com.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!
Labels: Friday Speak Out, Von Rupert, writing and parenting, writing dreams