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Half-Asleep, Half-Awake, and Emotional

I posted something on Facebook the other day when I was half-asleep.

Usually my Facebook posts evolve like this:

     I write something

     I think about whether it could be taken the wrong way

     I edit it to make it clearer

     I think about who is going to read my post and what they might think about it

     I edit it again

     I think about whether or not anybody out there in cyberspace really needs to know this

     I delete the post without publishing it

     The end

But this time, I just wrote.  I wrote because I was exhausted.  I wrote because I had seen some crazy things and needed to let a little bit of it out.  And I wrote exactly what was on my mind.

And, then, because I was too exhausted to care what people thought about it and whether or not they really needed to know it, I posted it.

And I got a lot of responses back from people.  It meant something to them because it meant something to me.

My brother gave me this advice: Write when you are half-asleep...and half-a…

Last Day to Submit Story to Rooglewood

Everyone who is entering the Rooglewood contest this year has already submitted their entry forms.  And, in a couple days, all the stories that people have been working on for this contest must be submitted.
     My story is already in, but this will still be an exciting day for me.  I feel like the judging begins in earnest now that all the contestants have arrived.  I can picture my little story making the rounds through the various levels of readers, piled into Word Document folders along with many other brilliant stories.  It's a fun thought, and I look forward to March 1st when the 5 winners are announced.

Showing Abstract Words

My siblings and I were talking about language.  My brother mentioned some Star Trek episode where the universal language interpreter machine (a machine designed to quickly learn a new language within a few minutes of listening to it) was unable to make sense of a new language.  It was able to come up with words, but the arrangement of words didn't mean anything to the crew.
     In the end, they found out that every abstract word (failure, anger, friendship) was described by a historical reference.  Essentially, the only way to understand this new language was to first know their history. 
     We could do this, too.  For example, instead of saying "Let's be friends" maybe we would say "David and Jonathan."  Or instead of saying "defeat" maybe we would say "the people of Ai at the second battle with the Israelites."
     The more I thought about it, the more I thought of how we DO do this.  We make a lot of references in our langu…

Snippets from 100for100: Week Fourteen

I have really good news...      ...I think.      It will depend on how it works out.      I am rewriting Broken Clouds.      So, if you have been following my blog, you know that I have been writing Broken Clouds in a nonchronological fashion, jumping around to write the scene that strikes my fancy.  You also know that I chopped my scenes up and spread them out on a table to sort them out recently (a great idea, by the way).  And you further know that I had a big, important backstory that I didn't know how to fit into the story.      I pulled it apart and took a look at it and now I am putting it back together.  With the richness of the scenes I already wrote under my belt, I am starting at the beginning.  For me, there is so much to weave and so much to build upon from one scene to the next, and so much of it appears as I write and not before; I lose some of that when I don't write from front to back.       I wrote an outline that was a little richer than the ones I us…

If My Book Were a Movie...

Hello everyone! I'm Emily Ann Putzke, author of It Took a War. I'm honored to be guest posting on The Pen of a Ready Writer this morning!



I think every writer likes to dream about their book being turned into a movie. (I'm not the only one, right?!) Well, while I'm dreaming, I can pick some amazing actors and actresses to play my characters. If It Took a War were a movie, here's my dream cast.


Joe Roberts Age: 16-18 through the span of the book. Appearance: Brown, curly hair. Brown eyes. Smirks more than he smiles. Tall. Personality: Adventurous. Loyal friend, brother, and son. Patriotic. Brave.



I think Jeremy Irvine would do a great job portraying Joe. I've only see him in War Horse, but he was really great! He just needs curlier hair and he's good to go.




Coralie Roberts: Age: 13-15 through the span of the book. Appearance: Long, brown hair. Big brown eyes. Sweet smile. Personality: Stubborn. Loving. Tries to act like a proper young lady, though it is hard for h…

Upcoming Blog Visit from an Author

Hello!  I am popping in quickly to make an announcement.  On Thursday, I will be hosting Emily Ann Putzke on my blog to talk about her new book, It Took A War.  I haven't read it yet, but it looks like a good book and I love her cover!
Here are some places where you can see more about her book...while you wait for Thursday!

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Emily-Ann-Putzke
Book trailer: https://vimeo.com/111887753
Cover: http://www.authoremilyannputzke.com/p/my-books.html

Rooglewood Entry Deadline

If you are entering the Rooglewood contest, today is the last day you can turn in your entry forms.  The story itself doesn't need to be submitted until the 31st, but today you should make sure you have entered.  Here is the link to Rooglewood's page with the rules for the contest and the entry form:  http://www.rooglewoodpress.com/fairy-tale-collections

On a separate note, I was looking at Anne Elisabeth Stengl's blog last week, and I found a mention of the contest and its many entries.  Anne said, "I've been so excited to see the stories coming in. So many great titles, full of intrigue! I'm looking forward to January when I'll be reading the stories that go on to the second round (though I rather suspect I'll end up peeking at all of them). I've had excited responses from several of the contest readers so far, which definitely makes me that much more eager." This makes me wish I could read all the entries, too.  :)  And it is fun to t…

Snippets from 100for100: Week Thirteen

This is going to sound lame, and I apologize.  But this week in Broken Clouds has mostly been little one-liner edits that are not amazing enough to list as snippets.  So, instead, I am going to refer you to my post earlier this week that I did for Chatterbox. 

Ladies and gentlemen...
Wrestling a Fog

Like Wrestling a Fog

“I want to know who I am,” I blurted.Tears sprang to my eyes and my voice caught in my throat, surprising me.I hadn’t realized how deep and painful that wound was.I thought I was doing fine in my pursuit of normalcy.Where did the tears come from?
I sneaked a glance at Brant.He leaned against the tree, arms folded across his chest, and stared at the ground, listening to me with a sympathetic ear.
Like cracking a dam, once I had started talking, I couldn’t stop.“I want to know if my name is Ilona or Kelsey.”Tears were coming faster now.“I want to know why I am always shifted from place to place, why mysterious people seem to know me, why I’m never allowed to be adopted.”The tears were falling on my hands, splashing and making wet spots on my pants.Brant hadn’t moved.“I want to know who my parents were...”My voice caught and I drew in a long, shaky breath.“…and how they died.”
I was out and out crying now.I didn’t even know if my words were intelligible, but still they came.“I want to know …

Seasons: A Layer of Your Story

What season of the year does your book start?

     Hadn't thought about it?  I understand.  I used to forget about seasons, too.  But then I discovered how much a season adds depth and realism to your story.  In my stories, there is always some connection with the outdoors -- a breeze through an open window, a dash across the driveway into his car, a stroll through a meadow, a hideout in the woods.  In all of these, the story feels that much more alive when I can include the feel of the season.

     For example, see how this scene changes:

Original scene:
     A breeze gusted through the open window, toying with the rich, red curtains.  Arielle lifted her head and inhaled the scents.  But her heart squeezed painfully at the absence of the sea.  There was not a single trace of salt on the wind to remind her of home.


Spring:
     An early breeze gusted through the open window, toying with the rich, red curtains.  Arielle lifted her head and inhaled the scents - fresh-plowed ear…

Snippets from 100for100: Week Twelve

Trudy was just behind me.“Don’t hold back,” she murmured, just loud enough for me to hear.“If you perform well in the PE games, you have a chance of making one of the varsity teams.Otherwise, you get stuck in JV.”      Like I cared.

**

     I glanced around for the black-haired girl.She was on the side-lines, whispering to one of the boys.April was at her elbow, listening to every word.Good riddance. **      The boy on the other team took off like an Olympian, but the boy on my team took the baton and began to slowly limp toward the next station.Great.We had a cripple on our team.I rolled my eyes. **      One of the homeless men looked ancient.His pale, watery eyes seemed to watch the race without seeing it.Poor old guy. **      I cut across the cafeteria and headed straight for the bathrooms.I pushed my hand against the metal plate, shoving the door open as I stepped inside.The door banged behind me, and I went to the sink.      My face stared back at me, slightly pale. Maybe it wasn’t Rob…

Wrestling with a Backstory

Dear Readers,
     I am Kelsey Harpman, a character in Broken Clouds.  I am writing to you today in hopes of gaining your insight in the art of storycrafting.
    Some time ago, my author sat down and penned my backstory.  I think my backstory is important to the tale, as it will eventually help solve mysteries that have clouded my past for 8 years.  But now, my author does not know what to do with the mini-book we created.
     She was very proud of how she showed my past life.  I suggested she stick the entire mini-book into the story somewhere, but she says it is too long to so easily dispose of it.  She's afraid readers will be bored with a long flashback.  I suggested she start the book sooner...so she can include the backstory at the beginning...but she sticks her chin out stubbornly and says she likes where the book starts already, thank you very much.  Grrr.  I suggested she turn it into a prologue.  She thinks that would ruin the suspense.
     I told her she should chop…

Deciphering the Code

So I've been working on Broken Clouds in pieces, writing scenes as they strike my fancy.  But there's one problem...I'm still a little bit of a pantser.      Plotters and pantsers are the two extremes of writing approaches.  Plotters are those that plan the entire story before starting to write.  Pantsters (from the expression "seat of the pants") tend to write the story, without previous planning, and see where it takes them.  Most people are a mix of the two extremes.      I thought I had plotted this one out fairly well, but there are elements to the story (and even an unexpected character or two) that didn't show up until I started writing...Which meant I had a bunch of disjointed scenes that probably weren't even in the right order.      It was my hope that I would be able to sort all of that out on my Word document.  After all, that's what copy and paste are for, right?  But it didn't work.  I needed to be able to see everything at onc…

Snippets from 100for100: Week Eleven

“The second day is easier,” I told myself, shifting my backpack and lifting my chin confidently.I knew where my locker was.I knew where my classes were.I should be fine.
***       April caught my eye when I reached my locker.I smiled at her.She turned away and whispered to the girl next to her.I looked from April’s straight strawberry blonde hair to the black, cascading curls of her friend.While I watched, the new girl surveyed me with a stony gaze that was anything but friendly.      Great.
***      “Stubborn girl,” Brant scolded, swinging around in front of me to study my face.“I’m coming with you.No getting out of it.”He dropped into step next to me.“There’s something strange going on here, and I’d like to figure it out.”
***
A flicker of white and then red flickered across her face.“As you wish,” she said tersely.

***

     He reached for my hand, pulling it out of the pocket and grasping it firmly.“There’s an ice cream palor in town,” he said.      “Parlor,” I corrected.

***

     Wham…

Black Friday Deals

In my country, the day after Thanksgiving is a day for lower prices on goods in various stores.  It is called "Black Friday" because stores whose profits have been "in the red" (losses) finally make enough sales to be "in the black" (gains).

     There are a couple Black Friday deals that I thought you may be interested in.  Here they are:



Rachel Heffington's book, Anon, Sir, Anon, will be 25% off in paperback form on Black Friday.  Here is the link to her post that tells about it: My Sister Gets to Keep Her Cat



Elizabeth Ender's book, Ransomed, will be about 30% off on createspace on Black Friday, if you use her special code.  Here is the link to a post telling more about it: In Which I Try to Sell You Cool Stuff.

Thanksgiving

Tomorrow, I will not be posting -- I will be celebrating Thanksgiving.
     Thanksgiving is a holiday in my country.  It is inspired by a feast held by the pilgrims who came to this land long ago.  They set aside a day to rejoice and to thank God for what He had done for them.  Centuries later, President Lincoln set it up as a yearly national holiday.
     Thanksgiving is celebrated in my family with a meal together -- with as much of the family as possible (and sometimes, a few extra people).  Turkey is typically served, and, thanks to my in-laws, so is cranberry sauce.  Pie, also, is sort of expected. J  And there are numerous other delicious dishes that vary from year to year.
     Before the meal is a bustle of women in the kitchen (the men go in the other room to talk or play guitar or they go outside to do stuff with my dad).  It always amazes my dad how we can fit so many ladies in our little kitchen without crashing into each other.
     After the meal, we split again.  …

14 Weeks To Go

So I haven't heard much about the Rooglewood contest lately (it is occasionally mentioned on Anne E. Stengl's blog and, of course, it is mentioned on Rooglewood Press's contest page).  But from what I have heard, there are a lot of great stories being submitted.  A couple of them in particular, I would be very interested to read -- and those are ones that I know about -- I'm sure there are many more.  I am looking forward to this collection's release next summer.
     Earlier this year, Rooglewood released the book from last year's contest.  Have any of you read it?  It's called Five Glass Slippers, and it is a collection of Cinderella stories.  Here is the blurb for that book:
One Beloved Story - Five Exciting Writers - a Collection to Cherish!

What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball? Or when the slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined …

Snippets from 100for100: Week Ten

Today, instead of sharing a bunch of smaller snippets, I am posting one large snippet.  Enjoy!
“I put pictures up in my room,” Mason said, waving his hand at the walls.They were covered in crayon drawings and posters of cars and trucks.He turned to look at me.There was a furrow in his brow, and I could tell something was on his mind.“Brant puts pictures on his walls, too.And Mama puts pictures on the refrigerator.”His brow crinkled even more as he looked at me.“Why don’t you put pictures on your walls?”
I stared at Mason.I wasn’t quite sure what to say.
It was true.My mind immediately flew to my suitcase and the place where I hid my treasured pictures.I would never have dreamed of posting them on the wall in my bedroom.
Why not?
I licked my lips.“Sometimes I like to put very special things in a safe place,” I said slowly.
Mason gazed up at his wall, his mouth hanging carelessly open.“Buuuuutt…my walls are safe.”
Innocent child!
“Sure,” I said with a shrug, pretending to agree.Nowhere was saf…