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Archive for May, 2012

I have depressing scenes to write and I just can’t get in that mind frame for expressing it well.

Which got me thinking—do you have to be in the appropriate mood to truly feel and describe the depth of experience of your characters?

I don’t mean that you have to be experiencing depression to write a melancholy scene, but I don’t think you can go take your kids to the playground, have a picnic, put them to bed with hugs and kisses and then sit down to write a tear-jerker. I will at least need a rainy, grey day to even attempt to feel these scenes.

Is the same true of romantic scenes or joyful scenes? Is it possible to write these moods well when you are feeling quite the opposite in life? Or is it a sign of a talented writer who can flip a switch to their brain and immediately commiserate with their imagined character?

I can only think of method actors who are famous for staying in character the entire duration of a film. Or actors that have to pull something up within themselves, an empathetic cord from their past, that can bring them into the character’s mind. Sometimes, I have to pretend to be one with my character. I have to become a physical medium for my invisible character to communicate through—allowing them to use my mind, my hands, and most importantly, my voice.

I do rely on music to help me transition from a beautiful day to grey one. This is my tool for reaching any feelings I need to muster for my writing. I set a sad song on repeat and hope that it permeates and brings me to a depressing place to write.

Lately this one has been working:

 

Mad World by Gary Jules

 

So, do you wait for a certain mood to write with your character? If not, what method works for you? Does it always work?

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I never get tired of being nominated for these awards. I love the colorful badges and nominating more fantastic bloggers that I follow.

Thank you so much, Writerlious, for the nomination. Erin truly has a versatile blog. She fluctuates between writing tips, agent spotlights, fun personal posts, and even flash fiction challenges! Be sure to check her out (plus, she gives away blog nominations daily if you’re looking for one…haha).

You know the drill. Here are the rules:

1.) Thank the person who nominated you. (^)

2.) Share seven things about yourself:

* I am NOT a morning person. I’m more like a reptile that crawls out and needs to warm up a bit before moving.

* I can read palms 🙂

*My first celebrity crush was on the fox from the Disney Robin Hood movie (I know…disturbing…but he is pretty cute).

* I went to the library everyday at our summer vacation house and read every book in the children’s library. (I should probably note that I was a child when I did this or it sounds pathetic.)

* I was a tomboy when I was little. Actually, I’m still slightly tomboyish.

* I was a vegetarian during college and gained 15 pounds since I ate mostly Paul Newman’s chocolate bars and organic chips. (I can’t make this one sound better…it’s definitely pathetic)

* I love using children’s parties as an excuse for dressing up in embarrassing costumes.

3.) Nominate Seven Other Versatile Bloggers (My favorite part!):

*Laura Stanfill

*Diane Carlisle

*Steve Vernon (Not the manly award you wanted, but hopefully I won’t get nominated for that:))

*Yesenia Vargas

*J. L. Mbewe

*RIEDEL FASCINATION

*RC Gale (a brand new follower—yay!—and I checked out his blog and it’s ah-mazing!)

I’ll be checking in to see who everyone nominates. I find the best blogs through these awards!

Thanks again, Erin!

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Yesterday, I did something I was planning to do for a while.

I went back into my high school.

Upon creating my acknowledgements page for my second book, I tried to think of everyone that helped me along on my journey to publishing. One person leapt into mind and I couldn’t believe I forgot to mention him in the first book.

My high school history teacher.

I had a hard time in high school. I was diagnosed with lyme disease in the beginning of my junior year. Unfortunately, it appeared that I had it for quite sometime before it was found. For years, I had painful neurologic complications and was always so tired. It was a struggle to get up every morning, let alone be on time for school. I missed a lot of early classes and some teachers were insulted by it.

But not this history teacher.

One day he started the class off by saying that someone forgot to put their name on an assignment and he handed out everyone’s to find out who it was. Once all the papers were handed out, he saw that I didn’t get mine back and I was so embarrassed to be the one who spaced out like that. I reached for my paper so that he would move on with the class so everyone would stop staring at me. But then he held the paper up and told everyone that my paper was the best thing he’s ever read from a student and this is what he expected when he handed out an assignment.

I couldn’t believe it. My mortification only deepened as he proceeded to read it aloud to the class!

The assignment was to imagine that you were one of the early settlers of America and to write a journal entry trying to explain an event during that time.

My teacher (who also had a dramatic flair) stopped after every other sentence, oohing and ahhing. After he finished, he told the class that I was going to be a writer someday.

Well, after the class returned to normal and their envious eyes went back to the chalk board, his words sunk in and I beamed inside.

I still have that paper. I have frequently pulled it out of my memorabilia box and I’m so thankful that he wrote the same comments he proclaimed to the class all over the whole piece. He even wrote the words, “I have no doubt that you will be an amazing writer someday.”

How could I have forgotten to thank him in my first book? Especially since my series is so much like that assignment; the series where I imagined experiencing historic events or people first hand. He gave me the confidence that I could attempt to pull off such a thing.

He was always such an enthusiastic teacher and everyone loved him. No matter if they were the top of the class or someone who was struggling. He loved history and he loved his students. So many teachers burned out, but this teacher put on a show every class. Trying to pull all his students into the love of history with the littlest details. I remember he even gave students partial credit on tests if they came up with something amusing in reply, instead of leaving the answer blank. He was a wonderful, wonderful teacher.

Acknowledging him in my book was not enough.

I knew he would never find my book on his own so I ordered a copy of each book and enclosed a letter to him. I decided to hand deliver my package to be sure he was still at the same school. It was so surreal to walk back through my high school doors. A few times I almost turned around because a voice in my head tried to talk me out of the whole thing. I felt like that delinquent student all over again, rushing in to try to make part of my morning classes.

The main office wasn’t in the same place.

Good—the voice said inside me—you can’t find the office, so just go home.

But I walked a little further and saw a small office. I took a breath and walked in.

I asked, “Does (teacher’s name) still teach here?”

“Yes.” She appeared wary.

Then I remembered how schools now have security measures in place for disgruntled students and what did I say?…

“I was a student of his and just wanted to thank him.” I handed her the heavy, bomb-sized package.

She quickly looks me up and down, trying to find any sign of danger, but slowly reaches her hands up for the package once she takes in my yoga uniform and thrown-together motherly vibe. If I didn’t have time to brush my hair, clearly I didn’t have time to make a pipe-bomb.

Her still, awkward stare pressed the urgent need for me to explain more.

“I wrote a couple of books and thanked him in my acknowledgements…” Ugh, I’m talking too much, just stop! “I just wanted to give him a copy.”

She nodded in partial acceptance and I turned and briskly walked out, like I just picked up my class absence pass.

I practically ran to my car, slowly re-emerging as the thirty-something mother of two that I am. I didn’t even stop at the student guard station. I just waved to the man, who waved back (I must look thirty from just a glance in the car!).

Anyway, I told you this long story not only to validate this amazing teacher, but also to cause you to think about all those who helped you feel confident about your writing. Think way back to your formative years and I’d love for you to tell me about them in the comments…and don’t forget to thank them in your first (next) book!

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The fantabulous (and incredibly beautiful) Sara Flower, has been so kind to award me The Beautiful Blogger Award! It couldn’t have come at a better time since I was just trying to pick a nice weekly blogging topic. Thanks so much, Sara!

Without further ado, the rules are:

The Beautiful Blogger Award is for those blogs that are creative, original and add to the blogging community. You’re supposed to bestow it on seven people and here’s the “rules:” I say, no worries if you’re a rule-breaker, then just put the award on your blog.

Link to the creative, beautiful genius that bestowed it upon you. (see above) List seven random things about yourself. (see below) Send said award to seven (or how ever many you want) other creative, beautiful geniuses. (see below after the random things). Tell those lucky people that you’ve done this and give em’ the rules.

First, here are 7 random things about me:

1. I would love to travel more but I hate to fly.

2. I can’t wait to get some chickens and ducks (although, apparently my husband can!)

3. I almost exclusively wear yoga clothes and I’ve never taken a yoga class 🙂

4. I sometimes sleep with a light on to ward away a pesky ghost (it works!)

5. Great White sharks scare the bejesus out of me

6. I’m addicted to buying architectural salvage

7. I must be word-verification disabled (it usually takes me five or six times to ‘solve’ them!)

Here Are My 7 amazingly Beautiful Bloggers:

Writerlicious

Ink-Splattered

The Blank Page

Tina DC Hayes

Shea MacLeod

Logically

KSCollier/Author

Please checkout these inspiring and informative blogs. Each one offers something unique and whenever I see a new post from these beauties I read them immediately.

Thanks again, Sara!

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