Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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Using Images To Enrich Your Story
By Charlotte Carter Both Linda Seger (Creating Unforgettable Characters) and Robert McKee (Story) talk about using Image Clusters and Image Systems. Here’s my take on using images. 1. Use images that represent the individual’s character or his values. A wealthy heroine may well wear designer jeans, drive a BMW and have beautifully manicured nails. In contrast, a firefighter is likely to think and talk using words like flash over, combustion and nozzle man. The images and details you choose help to define the character. 2. Use images from the physical world to support the overall theme of your story. For instance, in a story set in the bayou, any number of water images might be used: creek running into the bayou, tap water, water fall, shower. In the movie Witness images of wheat were repeated as grain, bullets hidden in a flour canister, and finally the villain killed in a grain silo. These images are subliminal and your reader’s experience will be richer for them. 3. Use images to represent the relationship between the hero and heroine. In one of my books, the h/h were metaphorically unable to see each other clearly until the end of the story. They saw the other’s reflection in a mirror and the chrome fender of a car. They stood in half moonlight and half darkness, and saw each other in through flickering candlelight. Finally, when they acknowledged their love, they stood together in the sunlight. No need to be heavy handed using images but the added layer will make your story shine. Besides, it’s fun to do stuff like this. Charlotte Carter Books that leave you smiling from Love Inspired Montana Hearts, 12/10 Big Sky Reunion, 5/11 Visit my blog: www.CharlotteCarter.com
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How to Feel Twenty Years Younger
by Fae Rowen First, I should say that I'm on my fourth cell phone--in my entire life. My service provider sent me my third phone after numerous letters offering a "free" upgraded phone. I didn't bite. I wasn't going to pay for a phone with some camera. When they sent a free phone I called them to find out how to return it. Turned out my second phone was so old that in three days it would no longer be able to decode the satellite signal. Well, Saturday I finally joined the modern world and purchased a "smart" phone. Now I understand why it's so named. It is smarter than me, that's for sure! The young man who sold it to me said as I left the store, "Just play with it. You can't break it--unless you throw it on the floor or drop it in the toilet." Like a twelve-year-old-boy with a new electronic toy I rushed home to download free apps and my music library. Couldn't figure out how to answer the darned thing when my friend called, but, what the heck. I spent what was left of Saturday and all day Sunday between my phone and my computer. And I had fun! Why had I waited so long? Monday morning after I made a call a message asked if I'd like to lock the sim card. Now, my security frame of mind is on high alert since my laptop, iPod, and camera were stolen on a trip a couple of months ago, so of course I said YES! I gave a password, re-entered it and felt quite smug. Until I tried to call another friend ten minutes later and couldn't get the phone to do anything but demand a PUK code. I did start to feel sick when I got the warning about so many more tries at my password until I had to call my provider. Yep, you guessed it. I fried my sim card and had to traipse back to the store for a new one. How embarrassing is it to hand your phone over to someone less than half as old as you? New sim card installed, I returned home to read the tutorials and manual--and regained some of that twelve-year-old-with-one-purpose-in-life focus. Three days later I can take flash and zoom pictures and post them to my new Facebook account and e-mail them to friends. And I feel like an accomplished fourteen-year-old adolescent. Meeting with (younger) friends today for lunch, I showed off my new phone and its glam case, only to have it grabbed out of my hand as they loaded apps that they wanted me to have to make it easier to connect with me. Apps I had to pay for! Now I'm not THAT old, but I used to write code for computers when you only used on-off to get everything done. I am so far out of my league it's not funny. But, when one of my friends said, "Heh, you look younger." And the other one said, "Yeh, I think it's the phone," I thought, "Yep. Definitely worth the money."
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THE Right Way to Write a Book
by Laura Drake I read a lot of newsletters, ezines, podcasts, and blogs about writing. One of the most popular subjects is how to do it – not craft, but process of creating a book. Pantster? Plotter? Start on page one? Start with scenes and fill in the blanks? Start at the end and plot backwards (I understand this works for mystery writing.) I can never resist these articles, because frankly, this is fascinating stuff. In this busy, structured world, we have instructions for almost everything you’ll run across. Writing is pretty much the same. You can take classes or buy a book for almost every aspect of craft: grammar, POV, show don’t tell, editing. Even how to find inspiration, or conquer writer’s block. But nowhere can you learn how to actually write the darned thing! I’ve struggled with this, like every other writer. I believe it’s the major reason most people don’t finish books – not because they don’t have ideas, or characters, but the function of actually getting it out of your head and onto the page the way you pictured it is complicated. There’s a reason there aren’t any books about this: there’s only one right way – yours. The problem is, you have to discover it! To me, it’s like trying to put a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle together blindfolded. . . it can be done, but it’s not fast, and it’s not efficient. You learn by fumbling around, trying what works for others and stumbling onto ways no one else uses! I’ll bet if you talked about this to Nora, Linda Howard, or others who have written many books, they'd tell you that they’re still finding their processes as they go along. It sure would have helped me when I started to know this! MY way (as of today): •Mostly Pantser – need an idea of where I’m going, maybe a theme and an ending, and that’s it. •Write a couple of pages in one sitting (on a good day), then the next, begin by editing yesterday’s work and moving forward •Music – Classical and in the background •Writing desk – organized, but crowded (usually with a cat sleeping on the desk or in my lap) •The room – reference books, magazines, plotting board, bulletin board with photos and writing memorabilia. •Plotting – on a bicycle, with a digital voice recorder. Something about the distraction of riding loosens my brain. I could sit in front of a blank screen forever, and nothing would come. •Final Editing – one name – Margie Lawson. What about you? Post a comment about your process!
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