Monthly Archives: May 2014

From My Character’s Point of View

I keep reading posts about getting to know your characters. These writing coaches suggest everything from graphing out the protagonist’s feelings to trying out different points of view. All the suggestions are meant to help a writer create characters that readers can connect with on a deep level. The better I know my hero, the better I’ll be able to tell his or her story.

Seeing-the-worldIn my current manuscript I’m trying to tell the story of a teenage girl alone in the woods. She’s in a competition with a slew of other teens and one of them voices the opinion that if this main character gets to wear her glasses it might give her an advantage. Well, of course it wouldn’t. Not being able to see as well as anyone else would surely hinder her journey. But, she doesn’t argue that point. She just hands over her glasses and acts like it’s not going to matter.

If you’ve taken a look at my blog photo (the one where my nose is buried in a book) you’ll see that I wear glasses. I’ve been wearing them since the third grade when I cheated on the eye exam (I’ll save that story for another post). Now I’m in such need of corrective lenses that if I didn’t keep my pair on the stack of books by my bed, come morning I’d likely NEED glasses just to FIND my glasses (HA!). To say I’m near-sighted is an understatement.

So, being visually challenged, I was pretty certain I knew exactly what my protagonist would experience in a world without glasses.

On my Mother’s Day hike I got the idea of climbing back down the hill without the assistance of these over the ear and bridge of the nose miracles of sight. This was the chance for me to travel through the woods just as my character does. I’d see the forest, or NOT see it, as she would.

Bringing up the rear of our little family group, I secretly slipped off the glasses and stowed them in my pocket. It was a little scary. I figured I’d trip over hidden roots or not have proper depth perception to avoid rocks, but that wasn’t what happened. Instead I became very in tuned with where my feet were stepping. I wasn’t seeing the forest true, but I was seeing the two foot square area around me in a very intimate sort of way. I noticed the small things more than I would if I were wearing my glasses. More specifically, the leaf shadows danced on the sun drenched ground and it was glorious.

When we reached the bottom of the hill I put back on my glasses before anyone noticed. My family was clueless to my personal adventure and I couldn’t help but smile at the secret. Besides allowing me to see the world from my character’s point of view, the trek gave me a precious glimpse into a certain truth: understanding an idea and living it are not the same things.

I’ll repeat that.

Understanding an idea and living it are not the same things.

As a writer I owe it to my characters to get down and try on their shoes for a bit…or, in this case, slip off those glasses.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+ and through Email!

Categories: Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater

Scholastic Press, 2011

The_Scorpio_Races_CoverThe Scorpio Races takes place on the tiny Irish island of Thisby. Here every autumn carnivorous water horses called Capaill Uisce climb out of the ocean looking for blood in whatever form they can find it. Sometimes a sheep gets slaughtered, sometimes humans are taken and sometimes the horses are captured to be ridden November first in the annual Scorpio Race.

The story, in alternating voice, follows the lives of teenagers Sean Kendrick and Kate “Puck” Connolly. He is in love with these horses and the sea from which they climb. She is part of the island and wants to keep what’s left of her family together. Each of them has lost someone to the Capaill Uisce, but that doesn’t stop them from taking part in the most dangerous sort of horse race.

I absolutely loved this book, though it took me a while to get into it. There is more blood than I would normally like in a read. I found myself saying every night as I closed the cover that I would probably quit reading it.

But I didn’t.

And then I couldn’t.

I became so engrossed in this story that Puck and Sean ran around my brain all through the day – I thought about how I wanted both of them to win the race, what could possibly happen next and why I needed these two characters to be together.

Maggie Stiefvater has an amazing voice. Her metaphors and analogies are something to be cherished. Get this book. Read it. Cheer on Puck. Root for Sean. Worry about Dove. Appreciate Corr. Hope for a happy ending.

I think you’ll be glad you did.

You can find out more about the talented Maggie Stiefvater and all her books on the website: http://maggiestiefvater.com/

 

Follow me on Twitter,   Google+ and through Email!

Categories: Book Recommendations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

FREE YA Books for your EARS!

I’m excited to announce a great way to get some FREE Young Adult audio books this summer!

SYNC is offering 2 FREE audio books each week May 15 – Aug 20, 2014. You just need to have OverDrive Media Console (the same program used by our local library for downloading audio books & it’s also FREE) on your computer or handheld device.

Every Wednesday for the 13 weeks, a new complete pair of titles will be available to download for ONE week. Once you’ve got the books, you have as long as you want to listen to them over and over. The MP3’s on your computer or smart phone won’t expire and they don’t have a due date. If you don’t have time to listen to them now, download the books anyway. You can always put the MP3’s on your device whenever you want.

SYNC has set up a weekly theme to pair the books – this past week was TIME TRAVEL (you still have the rest of today and tomorrow to GET THE 1st SET OF BOOKS).

One book in the set will be a current YA title and the other a Classic or Required Reading Title.

SYNC-WEB-Header

Click Image to link to http://www.audiobooksync.com/

Here’s the SUMMER 2014 SYNC TITLE LINEUP:

 

I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter,   Google+ and through Email!

 

Categories: Book Recommendations, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Go take a hike!

Moms2This past Sunday was Mother’s Day (duh) and, because I’m the mother, I got to pick the family activity. It was going to be a really nice day here in the northeast so I thought we should do something outside. After a bit of research online I found a short hike within ten miles of our house that would lead to a waterfall. I was stoked because I come from a thick rural upbringing and we live near a sprawling urban metropolis. In my mind, the words waterfall and city don’t belong in the same paragraph.

I rallied my troops (husband and daughter), filled our water bottles and we drove to the trail-head. With the trail directions downloaded to my ipod touch (wouldn’t Lewis & Clark have loved technology?), I called out to our leader (husband) when it was time to follow the colored markers onto a different trail. We were doing well. Things were going just like the directions said, “cross a small brook and then turn left just past the pond.” Once we walked a bit further we were to come to a wider brook.

I think the term “wider” is what threw me.

This brook wasn’t just wider. It was a LOT wider. The constant rain the day before probably didn’t help much in that department. There were rocks big enough to step on, but the water was so high it covered them. We spent thirty minutes walking up and down the bank trying to find an easier place to cross. There were narrower spots a bit uphill, but the current was really strong there. My husband attempted to leap across, but lost his footing and stepped right into the water

There was no way around it. We were going to get our feet wet.

My daughter and I decided to go back to the wide, but shallow section where we started. We walked on the rocks as best we could. Our shoes were soaked when we climbed up the other bank.

I pulled out the directions to see which way to go next, but it said we were to follow the red markers uphill. There were no red markers. There were only blue markers. I scanned backwards to see what was wrong. That’s when I noticed my mistake. The directions said that we would come to a wider brook. They never said to cross it.

After we laughed, my daughter called out “YOLO” (I love her for that) and stomped back across the stream. My husband and I followed.

We made our way up the trail that ran right beside the brook. There was a rather pretty little section where the water dropped about three feet. It sprayed a bit of cooling mist and churned out a relaxing sound. It was a great place to drink some water so we could gear ourselves up to find the real waterfall.

niagara-falls

Our own Niagara Falls

But it turns out that WAS the real waterfall.

The rest of the hike involved climbing another half a mile up the hill, crossing the brook at the top (more water in the shoes) and then coming back down on the other side to form a loop. I bet you can guess where we were to cross the brook at the bottom (HA!).

It was a fun and wet shoe filled day…topped off with take-out Chinese food. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

I hope you had a great Mother’s day even if your feet stayed dry.

Follow me on Twitter,   Google+ and through Email!

Categories: Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

IWSG and April A to Z Posts, post April

A2Z-Pride-and-Prejudice_REF

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Today’s post is going to serve as my contribution for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and my 2014 April A to Z Blog Challenge Reflections. These are both blog hops that encourage sharing the love. I hope you’ll follow the links above after you read my post.

The ISWG is a wonderful group of writers who, like me, from time to time need a little encouragement in the crazy, mixed-up world of writing. We post our insecurities or triumphs on the first Wednesday of each month. The blog hop is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and his band of merry co-hosts ( Mark Koopmans, Joylene Nowell Butler, Elsie, and Lisa Buie-Collard!). Please give them a visit and a word of thanks (THANK YOU!).

The April A to Z Blog Challenge asks those who sign-up to post daily (except Sundays) throughout the month of April. One letter for each day. The reflections come AFTER April, when we look back at the success or struggles we had during the month.

I think these two blog hops work well together (rationalizing the combined post)…plus it doesn’t hurt that there are a ton of bloggers who are active on both lists.

 

I’m not going to lie to you. April was difficult. I had my A to Z theme (What I LOVE about Pride & Prejudice) mapped out before the month began, but that doesn’t mean I really knew where I was going. It was a daily dash to get a blog post ready for the next day. I read, researched and dug up/created images for each letter. I think I walked around in a Mr. Darcy daze half the time.

As hard as it was, I also loved it.

  1. Not only did I get some new followers (thank you folks…you know who you are), but I also made some new friends. It’s amazing how many people love Jane Austen and her most famous piece of writing (I wonder if she were alive today, would she join ISWG?….hmmm).
  2. I also learned SO MUCH. I knew the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy really spoke to me, but going over it with a fine tooth comb made me appreciate it even more (glad it wasn’t for a class…I never HAD to read P & P in school. I discovered it on my own as an adult).
  3. The A to Z Challenge reminded me that I can do anything day in and day out…simply because I wanted to do it. Writing 26 coherent (I hope, at least) blog posts on a beloved piece of literature will do that for you. I didn’t even care if no one read the posts (well, I care a little). This theme was for me.
  4. I also have this overwhelming appreciation for the coordinators of the A to Z challenge and all the teams who worked tirelessly visiting everyone on the list. It was a real undertaking and I want to say THANK YOU. We could never have pulled off such a feat without you.

 

As for my own novel I was writing before April began, it is exactly where I left it. The last saved file on my computer is dated March 30, 2014. There was just no energy left after working all day and posting all evening to get anything else done (I barely did laundry). This is why I usually only blog once or twice a week. The REASON I write a blog starts to slip away when I DO write a blog. I just need to find a balance.

 

If you didn’t catch my A to Z blogs on Pride & Prejudice, I hope you’ll take a look. I have them linked below.

 

You can also follow me on Twitter,   Google+ and through Email!

Categories: Book Recommendations, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.