Posted on April 13, 2012
At the end of March, WANA alumni and super blogger Elaine Smothers honored me with the awesome Liebster Love Award.
Then life erupted. Holiday company arrived.
No more. Today I’m spreading Liebster Love.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the legend of the Liebster blog award, let me share the definition from another WANA alumni Mike Schulenberg:
“According to legends that come to us from antiquity, the Liebster is meant for blogs that motivate, inspire, and have 200 followers or less. Its apparent purpose is to summon new followers like some sort of mystical talisman, increasing the power of those of us who are just beginning.”
To Elaine, I send a very, belated thank you for this honor.
And I hereby pass the award to the deserving bloggers listed below. So many worthy bloggers it was hard to limit myself to only five.
Kat Jorgensen for her blog, Mystery writer by day. Knitter by night. Lovable screw-up all of the time
Janice Heck for her blog, My Turn
S. M. Nonnemacher for her blog, Sun on My Face, Sand in My Hair
S.J. Driscoll for her blog, Come Sit by My Fire
Rhonda Hopkins for her blog, When Love Leads the Way
I encourage everyone to stop by and visit these blogs. You’ll love them all just as I do.
And bloggger nominees…
All you must do to accept the award and post the logo on your blog is follow these few rules.
1. Thank the person who nominated you on your blog and link back to them
2. Nominate up to 5 other bloggers for the award
3. Notify them by commenting on your blog
4. Post the award on your blog
Posted on April 12, 2012
April is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH. I didn’t know. Did you?
Seems back in 1996 the Academy of American Poet established the tradition to highlight American poets and encourage people about the pleasure of reading poetry. It’s all explained on their website.
Though I’m not a poetry writer, I ♥ to read poetry. I’ve memorized many poems by my favorite American poets. I read poems to anyone, willing or not.
To further the observance of poetry month, I’ll be sharing some poems by friends and family. I’ll start with one written by my second oldest grandson.
I may not write poetry, but I am a storyteller so first a little story about how this poem originated.
We were sitting at the kitchen table discussing how he should be doing homework. He’s home schooled, and I promised his parents I’d work with him while he was visiting.
Unfortunately, like father, like son. I remember fighting many a homework battle with his daddy who also hated doing homework. The thought of poetry homework made the task even less appealing, especially when the swimming pool was calling.
He starred outside at the squirrel climbing the pole to the bird feeder. He ate a Pop Tart. He slipped away to play a game of chess with his Pepa.
I marched him back to table and the task at hand. No, I’m not your push-over Nana. Although resisting those big, beautiful brown eyes isn’t always easy!
Then I caught him at the window. Again. This time he was watching a chameleon on the Maple tree.
I thought he was wasting time and prepared to pull out my mean teacher’s whip! Before I could speak, he pointed to the laptop on the table. “I wrote the poem already.”
And, this is what I read on the screen:
Lazy lizards leap from leaf to leaf
As green as a Sprite can
Lizards like to hide under the weather
Running, hiding, and sneaking around
Crazily, hastily, and hurriedly leaving their tails behind them
The miniature lizards are tiny compared to the big, blue sky
Amazing I think, don’t you agree?
How quickly I’d forgotten little boys multi-task when you think they’re playing.
YOUR TURN: Share one of your favorite poems!
Posted on March 30, 2012
To score fifty points, you have to have the right tiles, the perfect fit to play on the board and the RIGHT word.
Hooks in chaper breaks are the fifty point tool of the writer.
Back in the dark ages (1914 to be exact), a silent movie series titled The Perils of Pauline starred Betty Hutton as Pauline, the damsel in distress menaced by assorted villains, pirates and Native Americans. In each episode the audience was convinced poor, pitiful Pauline’s situation would surelyresult in her imminent death until at the last minute she was rescued or otherwise escaped the danger. The damsel in distress and cliff hanger endings kept movie goers returning.
According to Wikipedia, in 2008, The Perils of Pauline was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Successful writers need compelling characters like Pauline and strong chapter breaks to keep their readers satisfied. How do we write our fifty point chapter endings to score hits like the screenwriters did with The Perils of Pauline?
I ran across two great blogs with answers to the question. Both bloggers agreed the key to powerful chapter breaks is raising the reader’s curiosity.
K.M. Weiland suggests these ten ways to raise questions in the readers’ minds.
1. Promise of conflict to come.
2. A secret kept.
3. A major decision or vow.
4. An announcement of a shocking event.
5. A moment of high emotion.
6. A reversal or surprise that turns the story upside down.
7. A new idea.
8. An unanswered question.
9. A portentous metaphor.
10. A plot turning point.
Weiland warns “not every chapter needs to end with a cliffhanger, but they do need to encompass a question powerful enough to make the reader crazy to know the answer.” If you read her blog here, she elaborates on how to use all ten ideas she suggested.
In the other blog, NY Times bestselling author Laura Griffin identifies characteristics of poor chapter hooks —
The sleepy time chapter end – letting your heroine end her action-packed scene by going to bed
Disaster averted – ending the chapter when the crisis is resolved
The threepeat – Using Pauline-in-peril gimmicks repeatedly. Unlike the silent movie success, overused in writing can turn your reader off
Lacking punch words – not ending the last sentence of your chapter with a punch word at the end.
Check out Laura’s blog at Romance University here for fixes to the problems she points out.
Whether you’re a Scrabble player or not, as a writer you play with words. You have to “scrabble” ways that keep the reader hooked into turning the pages.
YOUR TURN: What’s your 50-point strategy for chapter endings?
Posted on March 20, 2012
It appears the Lucky 7 Meme zombie virus for writer-bloggers has arrived on my front porch via Cora Ramos!
I thought I might escape being in lurker mode and all. Not so…Cora found me.
Unfamiliar with The Lucky Meme virus?
These are the rules:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written.
4. Tag 7 authors, and let them know.
My Seven Lines:
Annie bit her lip. Two cots barely fit in the room. The shower looked like an RV bath. Still it had a floor, no dirt, and a door, not a piece of cloth, and there was even plenty of bottled water beneath the bedside table. “Thank you, Mr. Welds.” And, thank you, Aunt Gerry.
“Please. It’s Fred. See you at the house.”
A short time later, they gathered around the table in the tiled dining area. Martha served fried plantains and a vegetable salad with a pitcher of fruit water.
“I’d go easy on the sauce. It takes some getting used to,” Fred warned.
Erin began to cough, grabbed her glass and chug-a-lugged all the liquid. “Ya say?”
The laughter that followed drained some of the tension from Annie’s shoulders. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.
Annie’s not talking about playing Lucky 7 Meme, but I have to agree this virus isn’t so bad!
Rule #3 was easy.
Rule #4, a bit harder. I’m hoping they’ll join the fun! Even if they don’t check out their websites.
In case they decline…
YOUR TURN: Join the fun and post a Lucky 7 Meme from your novel/WIP in the comments.