Writers Quote Wednesday – Trust #WQWWC

WQW trust

 

My other heart

 

I grew you

two people in one

how was I worthy

to mother a son

I held you

your life in my hands

I looked in your eyes

forgot all my plans

you did not choose me

like I chose you

you did not ask

but you already knew

you had no choice

but to give me your trust

I promise I’ll earn it

I know that I must

Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – “Trust”

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How to fight like a girl; when your female protagonist is attacked

At some point in your writing, your female protagonist might be attacked by a man. If you haven’t given her super powers or a strong background in martial arts getting her out of the situation might be tricky. It’s an undeniable fact, men are physically stronger than women. I’m not turning in my feminist card with this statement and I’m not suggesting you write in a savior for her (unless that’s how you want your story to go).

In movies, books and tv, this point frequently finds the protagonist tapping into some previously undiscovered well of fighting knowledge or strength that allows her to fight and beat her male opponent with punches,kicks and flips. It’s a cheap way out. When attacked the human body does release adrenaline which can up strength but it also makes it harder to focus, difficult to maneuver the body in anything resembling grace or precision.

The average person will panic when they are attacked with no warning, and panic does not make for good fighting.

But hope is not lost. Even if your character is 90 lbs soaking wet, she can fight, she can get away, she can even win.

But she has to fight like hell and she has to fight like a girl.

By fight like a girl I don’t mean hair pulling and cat scratching. Lets just get away from that stereotype right now.

What I mean is fight dirty and aim to do some serious damage.

In college I took a women’s self defense course. The two large male cops who taught the class made it extremely clear.

You cannot overpower a male attacker.

Going along with them will almost always get your raped and/or killed

You need to fight smart and like your life depends upon it because it does

self-defence

This image from India Parenting is a pretty good place to start. It shows the most vunerable points and the best way to get at them depending on how you are being attacked, but do your own research when you come to the scene. Based on how she is attacked, the internet is full of information on how to fight and win like a girl.

 

 

Writing and Momming

 

 

A friend of mine posted this to my page a few weeks ago. I’ve seen it around a few times since then. I love it. As usual, Ms. Rowling hits the nail on the head as to what it means to be a mom and a writer.

I am not a single mom, but I am on the clock from 8 in the morning when the kids wake up (yes, I know I’m lucky) to 8 at night when they go to bed. Then I’m on call the other 12 hours. My husband is a wonderful father and partner, but if I am present, I am momming.

Every mom has to make sacrifices. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying or dumb. Whether its hobbies, housework, a career, vacations, home cooked dinners, something has to give and moms are the one to give it.

For me, it’s sleep.

JK Rowling may have had a child that took long naps and played well by herself, but my son does neither and my daughter is very demanding when she is awake. And that is fine, however frustrating when I’m trying to blog. So while I can get housework done, sometimes, I cannot get writing done during mom work hours.

So when I need to get writing work done I avoid the tv. I pull up my files and I go. If my husband is watching something, sometimes I get sucked in, then I wait until he’s in bed too. If I’m getting alot done I go really late.

I used to beat myself up for it, dragging myself out of bed in the morning and cursing last night’s Lindsey for writing until two. But would I rather be well rested or a writer?

To me the answer it obvious. I was built to stay up late. I need to write.

So I drink my coffee, I am barely coherent as I serve my kids breakfast, I do the mom stuff and sometimes I drag but usually I can pull it off pretty well. I love being a mom. I love this time I have with my children. I look forward to the day that they are in school and I can work during the day.

Then I work until two the next morning.

I can’t do it all. But I can do these two things, pretty damned well.

 

How to keep writing? Skip the boring parts

If you haven’t heard, I’ve been on a writing bender. Every night for a week my work hours (8pm when the kids go to bed until later than I should stay up because I have to get up with the kids in the morning) have been filled with the tap of my keyboard as I churn out chapter after chapter. I estimate I’m at least half way through, maybe more. It’s a record for me. I have never managed to write this fast before.

At first I thought it was because I had a rough working outline and was riding out the writing zone instead of letting other things (New season of Daredevil on Netflix!!!) get in the way. And it is, partially. But that doesn’t explain why I’ve stalled out on other great starts and never been able to get back to them. Or why I have been able to pick up old stories and get right back into the zone with them.

Tonight I was thinking about a story I love. When I finish my current project I want to get back to it. But I keep stalling. Because the part I am on now is boring. I feel like it needs to be written, but I want to write the exciting parts.

Cue light bulb.

My current project switches between interview format and first person narrative. The interview chapters make it extremely easy to summarize the boring parts with a simple line of dialogue. Considering that the story has some large time jumps this is extremely helpful and effective in keeping the story moving from big scene to big scene.

There are no boring parts (at least to write). When it starts going slowly and get bogged down, I throw in the next revelation/crisis/conflict/twist and the train keeps moving.

In my past writing, I have always felt obligated to explain how the characters get from one exciting part to the next. I felt like it was cheating to gloss over it. My long languishing “The Singing Cat” manuscript is a perfect example of this. I went through lengths to explain how Kim held the cat in on arm and grabbed the glass of water she was going to drink with the other hand so that no one was confused as to how she could hold a cat and drink water at the same time.

So I’m kinda excited about this revelation. I do not have to mention Kim drank water at all unless it drives the plot. People will assume at some point she hydrated.

I know this has all been said and said before, but it didn’t click for me, really click until I realized that not only do the boring parts make the reader want to put the book down, they make me, the writer want to stop writing it.

I am no longer at the point where I have to write filler just to make my story long enough. I am no longer trying (and epically failing) to write perfect first drafts. If something boring to write is important, I can add it in later.

But when I am writing the first draft and I want to keep going with it, if something is boring me enough stop writing than I am going to just move on to build up or an exciting parts.

Let see how it goes!

Do boring parts to write bog you down? Do you think they have a place? Share your thoughts!

#WQWWC Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – MAGIC

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald DahlWQWwiseones

I looked at the cold harsh truths, cynical, guarded against the world. I tossed in bed at night, worrying about the next worst thing. Sometimes I dozed off and awoke shaking, certain I could never survive such a cruel place as planet Earth.

Anxiety crept up upon me in the most mundane moments, sitting in traffic, watching a crappy sitcom rerun. If you’d asked just what frightened me so badly that my heart raced, I wouldn’t have had a real answer. Mortality? The future? Something, always threatening, always elusive, but terrifying in a way I could put no words to it.

In desperate need to escape myself, to escape my own bleak truths I packed up my car and drove into the woods. A tent, a fire, some books, fantasy- so that I could escape into a world where there was magic.

How I longed for the days when magic was not only possible but tangible, Santa Claus, clapping for fairies, the man in the sky always watching out for me. That was a world I felt safe in, a world with unlimited mysteries waiting for me to discover them.

In my little camp, alone with the woods, I read my books and longed for those mysteries of the universe, those miracles that I used to think were just waiting to surprise me. I believed so fiercely and then one day I woke up to this place, this cold mathematical reality I shared with other anxious, cynical people.

But as I read, the forest soothed me. Birds- or some kind of creatures I could never quite catch a full look at, flitted past my peripheral vision. When I dropped at night, exhausted and tranquil, the music rose up beneath the cricket chirps and clicks of cicadas. A cool, soft melody promised the more lay within the shadows of the forest than bugs and birds and chipmunks.

I awoke each morning refreshed, one day closer to the end of my retreat. A mixed feeling for sure.

I hiked the deer trails followed by butterflies. I gathered firewood I found left in large piles around my camp. On my last night I sat alone by my fire watching the darkness until I began to notice faint points of light, blinking on and off in the forest.

Fireflies?

But these were blue and pink and red and white, and they moved in a way like I had never seen before. I watched so intently, trying to unravel their enigma and suddenly I awoke. I had dozed off in my chair. The fire died to embers and I was alone and exposed in the natural world. I shook my head, recalling my dream. At what point had I fallen asleep and concocted such an odd vision?

Something fluttered on my head and I reached up, panicking at first at the foreign tangle in my hair, pulling at it and bringing down flower petals. I pulled out my cell phone and turned the camera to my hair, taking blind pictures to determine whatever the hell was in there.

I stared at the shots in disbelief, flowers indeed, woven through my hair in intricate patterns. Baffled I continued to stare at my phone, gently feeling the amazing sculpture build upon my head, and I didn’t notice the lights until they were all around me.

I awoke early and walked out on the dewy ground in my bare feet, wearing only the tshirt I had slept in. The flowers, still in my hair, I said goodbye to the forest. I cleaned up camp, got dressed and got into my car.

As I approached civilization again, my home, my job, my worries, I shook my head and whispered, “I do believe in faeries. I do. I do. I do believe in faeries….”

 

Join the fun!  Silver Threading Rovan Writes

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When you have to write a love scene

A month or so ago I wrote Writing Love scenes without writing love scenes and explained that usually I liked to give my characters a little privacy in the bedroom. In my writing it has rarely been necessary to get down and dirty.

Until last week.

I’m waist deep in a new work and it relies heavily on the dynamic between two characters. Developing their relationship is a huge part of the story and one of the underlying factors in their relationship is the intense sexual attraction the protagonist feels toward the antagonist. It is extremely important to the story, whether I like it or.

Therefore, I found myself entirely unable to gloss over their first sexual encounter. It had to be described, in detail, to properly convey the shift and also to provide a climax (no pun intended) to the progressive build up toward this shift.

So, I poured myself a glass of wine and got to it.

When I was done I determined that when my mother reads my manuscript I am going to just omit the whole passage with the words “Graphic Content: Censored” in it’s place no matter how relevant it might be to the plot.

If you find yourself in a spot where you need to write a love scene, here are some things that can help you get through it.

 

Make it count

If you like sex scenes because you do, than this doesn’t apply to you, but if you feel like it needs to be included, don’t waste that embarrassment on pure erotica. Who, what, why, when, and how your characters have sex says something about them, about their partner and about the two of them together. Don’t rush through it, explore what you can say about these things in the act itself.

 

Get out the thesaurus

Writing sex requires the same writing skills as everything else in your book. You can only use thrust, stoke and throb (it’s embarrassing just writing them here) so many times before it sounds redundant and undermines the scene. Mix up your words. Try throwing in some you’ve never heard in relation to sex (if that’s possible).

 

Don’t be afraid to make it hot if it’s hot

You want your reader to be in the story. If your character is writhing with passion, your reader should be at least a little turned on as well.

 

Don’t make it hot if it isn’t

Not all sex is good sex. Again, you want your reader in the story with your character and if they are not into it or something worse, don’t try to make it sexy. This goes ten fold if you find you need to write a rape scene (which is an altogether different topic).

 

When in doubt, read how the masters do it

George RR Martin and Stephen King come to mind. Both authors have written more than a few relevant sex scenes. Consider how Dani’s wedding night to Khal Drogo illustrated the dynamic between the two of them, and later the shift in how their sex scenes are written. Martin’s frequently criticized for his graphic sex, but it is relevant to the plot, providing us with turning points in Dani’s personal growth toward being the mother of dragons.

 

Have something to add? Please comment!

The Lepracaun Or Fairy Shoemaker – Poem by William Allingham

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I am sharing some of my Irish writing roots. William Allingham, born in Ballyshannon was an Irish poet and editor, who rubbed elbows with some of the famous British writers of his day. You can’t knock a guy who writes poems about fairies.

 

Little Cowboy, what have you heard,
Up on the lonely rath’s green mound? William_Allingham_Photo
Only the plaintive yellow bird
Sighing in sultry fields around,
Chary, chary, chary, chee-ee! –
Only the grasshopper and the bee? –
‘Tip-tap, rip-rap,
Tick-a-tack-too!
Scarlet leather, sewn together,
This will make a shoe.
Left, right, pull it tight;
Summer days are warm;
Underground in winter,
Laughing at the storm! ‘
Lay your ear close to the hill.
Do you not catch th etiny clamour,
Busy click of an elfin hammer.
Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill
As he merrily plies his trade?
He’s a span
And a quarter in height,
Get him in sight, hold him tight,
And you’re a made
Man!

You watch your cattle the summerday,
Sup on potatoes, sleep in the hay;
how would you like to roll in your carriage,
Look for a duchess’s daughter in marriage?
Seize the shoemaker – then you may!
‘Big boots a -hunting,
Sandals in the hall,
White for a wedding feast,
Pink for a ball.
This way, that way,
So we makea shoe;
Getting rich every stitch,
Tick-a-tack too! ‘
Nine and ninety treasure crocks
This keen miser fairy hath,
Hid in the mountains, woods and rocks,
Ruin and round-tow’r, cave and rath,
And where cormorants build;
From times of old
Guarded by him;
Each of them fill’d
Full to the brim
With gold!

I caught him at work one day, myself,
In the castle ditch where fox-glove grows, –
A wrinkled, wizen’d and bearded Elf,
Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose,
Silver buckles to his hose,
Leather apron – shoe in his lap –
‘Rip-rap, tip-tap,
Tick-tack-too!
(A grasshopper on my cap!
Away the moth flew!)
Buskins for a fairy prince,
Brogues for his son –
Pay me well, pay me well,
When the job is done! ‘
The rogue was mine, beyond a doubt.
I stared at him, he stared at me;
‘Servant Sir! ‘ ‘Humph’ says he,
And pull’d a snuff-box out.
He took a long pinch, look’d better pleased,
The queer little Lepracaun;
Offer’d the box with a whimsical grace, –
Pouf! He flung the dust in my face,
And while I sneezed,
Was gone!

-William Allingham

#WQWWC Writers Quote Wednesday (Wisdom)

“The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

I fought back tears as she screamed in my face. My mentor, my most respected adviser. I spent years trying to be like Sara Cramer, and this morning, my little piece of insight, my attempt to climb out of her wake went better than anticipated.

But Sara didn’t think so. My own path infuriated her more than any of the mistakes I had made following her lead.

“You think you can do what i do? You think you can do it as good as I can? You are a child! You don’t know anything!”

“I needed to try Sara,” I managed to make out but she didn’t pause her tirade to listen. The tears kept pushing, further and further into my eyes and I know she saw them. I know she shouted at them, insisting they spill and prove her to be the strongest.

But she mistook those tears. They were not tears of fear, or tears of the chastised. I had taken my first step and had floundered my way through forging a path, true, but I did not cry because I failed or because of her anger at me.

“You needed to talk this out with me! I am the wise one here! You will never meet a person as wise as I am!” she said for the third time and at last they spilled. She stepped back with a grim grin spread across her red lips but I continued to meet her eye as the tears fell down.

She mistook my tears for weakness. I had modeled much of my career after Sara Cramer, but I realized now it had been a mistake to idolize her. I was not chastised. I was disappointed.

I knew very little, but I knew anyone who needed to shout about their wisdom proved to be quite the opposite.

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Writers Quote Wednesday

The writing zone

Friday night I had an idea. It started out as a spark, a character, a situation and it rapidly spread into a fire, a plot, subplots, background, twists, heartbreaks, climax and resolution. I wrote the first chapter and then I sat outside for fifteen minutes, staring into space. If anyone had come across me at that moment, they would have thought I was having some sort of spell.

Of course, I was. A writer’s spell.

The rest of the night I wrote out three more chapters, established a working outline and wrote the character theme melody that was playing through my head (check it out below). Since then I have been on it every night, working until one or two in the morning, adding notes, ideas and threads to my outline as the story unfolds around me.

I’ve been in the writing zone many times before, but this may be my best visit yet. With a clarity for the story that I’ve never had before, it is flowing effortlessly and if I can keep it up, this may be the fastest manuscript I’ve ever written.

Of course, there are flaws. Tons of glaring flaws that I can see as I write. The passive verbs, on my goodness, but I’m not aiming for perfect, not yet. I’m aiming to catch this magic that is occurring right now and commit it to the page before it fades out. Because the writing zone never lasts. When you get it, don’t question it, just run with it.

It is the true bliss of being a writer.

 

Every writer sings a sad sad song

You know what sucks? Rejection. You know what else sucks? Rejection never actually stops sucking. And the third suck? You never stop getting rejected in one way or another. This is true in life, but it is particularly true in artistic endeavors.

I got two rejections last week. And they both sucked.

They weren’t my first, and they won’t be my last. But I’m gonna stop using the word suck now, because I think I made my point.

Writing is a unique industry within the arts. It requires a writer to repeatedly attempt to sell the idea of their art without presenting the entire thing, at least up front. An artist will bring their portfolio of their best pieces. A musician, their best songs. A writer just has to write more words, but in the form of a sales pitch, and hope those words woven together to create interest, be it a query, pitch or blurb, do justice to their art they are trying to sell.

And they do it alot. Like a hella lot. In this industry we all know we need to thicken up our skins and not take rejection personally, but receiving form rejections, or bad reviews, or no reviews or no sales and all the rest of them over and over and over again can slowly eat at the patience and confidence of even the most assured writer.

There’s a hint of self deprecating cynicism you will find in many writers. Whether they write YA romance and believe in unicorns and rainbows or they write fiendish horror and think the world is going down the toilet, there is a sad streak in all of us. You toughen up or you drop out. But even when your skin is as thick as a leather bound hardback, it still sucks.(okay, just that last one).

But you know what’s awesome? Wine. Or Fresh juice if that’s your preference. So if your feeling the blues, pour yourself a glass and draft your next pitch. Because the pen is mightier, so if you wield it, you are a warrior.