Conant Gardens Readers











{January 24, 2011}   Drama begats Drama

 

 DRAMA BEGATS DRAMA

People have told me several times that they wanted to WRITE a book. So I asked them, “What kind of book and what is it about? Will it be fiction or nonfiction?” Those who wanted to WRITE a book told me that they had no idea what their BOOK will be about. They just knew that they wanted to WRITE one. I shook my head in disappointment.

Those who really want to WRITE a book, have their roots already grounded like a tree. In fact they knew, they wanted to WRITE something long before they actually committed themselves to the task. Likewise, I knew that I wanted to WRITE short stories and prose. I also instinctively knew that I wanted to WRITE a fiction NOVEL. If you really want to WRITE a book, you will make every attempt to do so. You will not waste any more of your time. You have no time to waste. If you are a writer, then you will WRITE! Go ahead and get the necessary skills together and take that infamous WRITER’S leap. As I WRITE fiction, I daydream CONSTANTLY on how my story is supposed to flow. I dream about who will be the protagonist, and who is the antagonist. I also dream about what could possibly happen in each chapter. Yes I DREAM about my CRAFT. You should too.

By the way, that dream is your casting call. Your nose is twitching, and your ears are ringing. Your soul has a little person on your shoulder saying, “DO IT NOW, WRITE YOUR STORY!” Don’t listen to the evil twin on the other shoulder, telling you that it’s no use for you to write, you are no good, and nobody will like your stuff. I heard that little devil say that stuff to me, and for a while, I put my work in a trunk somewhere in my house. When I heard the good twin stalk my mind and continually say, when are you going to finish your manuscript? I shook my head and sighed deeply. That good twin entered my dreams, woke me up, and harassed me until I angrily went to the trunk, grabbed my work, and finally after six months, I had a finished manuscript. All I could say was “thank God for the good twin.”

I love dramatic stories. ‘The Color Purple’ by Alice walker, was a dramatic novel as well as a movie. I was going through the emotions as I read the book, but when the movie came out, those emotions were really attacking my inner soul. That’s what good WRITING is all about. If WRITERS can capture the souls of their readers, and make them happy, sad, angry, weep, or even bewildered by the story’s end, then that’s a WRITER!

 When I wrote the scene in my book about the character ‘Brownlow’ ripping the only dress she had and crying to the Angels to alleviate her pain, I cried! I was the WRITER and the first reader. A dramatic scene is just that, DRAMATIC. If the character John Coffe, in Stephen King’s ‘The Green Mile’, didn’t reveal the emotional flashbacks, describing another character’s previous events, which also put him on the green mile with John Coffe, I would have threw the book in the trash. Even Stephen King knew that his readers must feel John Coffe’s emotional turmoil as revealed in this story. We needed to know why the DRAMATIC remembrances were so sensitive to the main character. Not revealing the dramatic scene, teases the reader and make them tell others that the book is lame, because the WRITER has left something out.

When WRITING a DRAMATIC novel, you have to trap your reader as if they are in a bear trap and send a wolf slowly crouching towards them. The fear alone is DRAMATIC. Just when that wolf is about to pounce on them, you need to have an unforeseen shot rang out and strike the wolf, maiming him. That which releases the reader is called a DRAMATIC release. Yes, you have to release the reader from the DRAMA. Keeping the reader prisoner in a DRAMATIC part of your book, not only angers the reader, but also tires them out before they can get to the end of the story. Don’t do that. Keeping your readers at bay is ok for a brief moment, yet you must release them if you want them coming back to your library of stories. They will come back if you alleviate the character’s distress and inadvertently calming your reader’s emotional distress at the same time.

Step-5- THE STORYLINE

 

My nephew called my cell phone and told me he had a story he wanted to write. I asked him what was the storyline, and he could not tell me. He just said it was about vampires. Well that got my attention. I told him to follow my lead and write his story according to how I write mine, and then modify it as he got the basics.

So, you my fellow reader, follow my lead. How about reviewing one of my short stories. We will re-write a similar short story together. A novice WRITER should start with a SHORT STORY first. WRITERS must show growth, so it is okay to WRITE a teaser for your readers, and that’s a short story.

Ready?

The title of my story is, ‘My Grandma Dreams’. Now write your title. You don’t have one. Then don’t worry about it now. That will develop itself on its own. If you worry about the title now, then you forget your purpose, which is to focus on the story itself. Worry about the title later.

One of my stories involves an old woman going through the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. She constantly dreams of the past. Bria, her granddaughter coaxes her grandmother in telling her how her twin siblings were kidnapped. They were four at the time. As Bria and her Grandmother return to their native city of Carver, Illinois, Bria helps solve the sixty-year-old missing person case.

I like the storyline. It pleases me, and it’s supposed to. If it doesn’t please your audience, will you stop writing altogether or will you write just for your audience? For God sake, don’t waste your time on pleasing your audience. You have to WRITE for YOURSELF first. If the storyline is good, your audience will enjoy it too. Be CREATIVE. Think of a story that is unique, unusual, and puts a character in a situation that is not the norm. Make it your story. Don’t take someone else’s idea because you don’t have one. You are a WRITER, your ideas will come, just let them inside your mind’s eye willingly.

Take your time. Your story will come to you naturally. It should if you are a WRITER. You already have the WRITER’S CRAFT if you are reading this book. You have ideas; just them flow, and don’t try to force them out. Dream of your story and let your imagination rain down in droves. WRITE out what as many ideas as you can to describe what you want your story to be about. Be ARTISTIC like Picasso or Michelangelo. WRITING is also considered an art form, a CRAFT, so you are from here on, called an ARTIST. You don’t have any more time in your life to doubt yourself or your abilities. That’s why you reading this book, remember?

In the short story I’m writing, the main characters are Bria and her grandmother. Who are your main characters? My setting is in Davenport, Kentucky and in Carver, Illinois. Where do you place your characters? How are you describing your setting? Use as much detail as you can.       

Start your story with a bang. Write something unexpected. You have to hook the reader into your story. You have to keep the reader’s interest. Have the awe effect ready. If your characters and locations are fictional, then make them believable. Make your characters feel and act like you or people you know. Make the storyline interesting and different.

Don’t over-criticize your characters or put them in a situation that will receive adverse opinions from your readers. If you attack your audience, you will also lose them at the same time. The WRITER’S CRAFT should not be written in retaliation of your actual living situation. Don’t make your writing too personal. It’s not your reader’s fault, why you are where you are, or, why you are in the situation you’re in. Just write a good story. WRITE for yourself first, your readers will like it if it is worthy of their time.

Use your own speech pattern or tone, or create one. If it is a foreign tone, make sure your reader will pick that up. Use a particular tone, dialect, or common usage of words to give the reader an indication as to where you are and in what timeline you are focusing on.

The climax or plot of your story will enter the story without you really focusing on it. The WRITER’S CRAFT is placed on the storyline. Most CREATIVE WRITERS have the natural ability to tell a story without a lot of effort. If you have something to say, your WRITER’S CRAFT will say it. Don’t get frustrated on that which comes naturally to a WRITER.

The ending should be like the beginning. It should be purely unexpected. If the ending is emotional, make sure it is a positive emotion. You want your readers to be happy with you. Don’t take your readers to a funeral without some positive reinforcement. If you, the WRITER, are thrilled about the storyline, so will your readers. Just don’t lose FOCUS.

Have fun writing a good storyline. Remember the WRITER’S CRAFT is just that; the ability to CRAFT a good tale, first for yourself and then for your readers. Have fun putting your characters in a situation, you may not find yourself in. Have fun surprising your readers by going somewhere unexpected. Have fun developing your STORYLINE. Just have fun WRITERS! The WRITER’S CRAFT is and will always be fun and entertaining. Now WRITE a sample story and have fun doing it!

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{December 18, 2010}   My New World

 

MY NEW WORLD

Are you CREATING a new world? How good is your imagination? Do you know the area you are CREATING? Sometimes writers CREATE their own worlds. These writers take the time to draw their entire book’s setting on paper. J. K. Rowling created Hogwarts. Where is that? Is it a real place? Of course not, but she CREATED it in her mind, and then placed it on paper. A great imagination is just that, GREAT! How about J.R.R. Tolkien, the writer of the ‘The Lord of the Rings’? He takes us to the Shirer with such description that we are enthralled.

STEP -3-DESCRIBING YOUR SCENCES

In your story, what is the WORLD like? What point of view are you using? In my stories, I use both real and created locations. The American States may be real, but I like creating the cities myself. I usually use cities close to the real ones. By creating new places, I use my mind’s eye more. I want my readers to see new and exciting places. If I use a real place, I better be accurate. Some readers are more knowledgeable about locations than writers may realize. ACCURACY is very important to many readers. There are a lot of readers who deliberately look for inconsistencies in a writer’s work. Are you making your location a REAL place? Then MAP the place as ACCURATELY as you possibly can. If the place is not REAL, then make it convincing. Let your readers see what you the writer sees. I see and focus on my imaginary locations as I am writing about it. I can’t afford to leave out details. They are too important. If you can’t keep the details in your mind straight, then map it on paper.    

The timeline is just as important as location. In the book, ‘Widow of the South’ by Robert Hicks, the writer set us up with its opening pages. The first character you encounter as a reader may not be the main character, but that person should tell us where we are. In this book, right away, I know it is the civil war era, and I am already hooked. I like the civil war novels. The description of the characters within the first two pages helps as well. How are these people dressed? How is their speech pattern; northern or southern, eastern or western, foreign, American or European English? If there are prompts (objects) that are discussed, I hope it is in the right time frame. You don’t want a machine gun in the civil war era unless you are writing like Harry Turtledove’s ‘Guns of the South’, which is an excellent book.

I WILL SAY IT AGAIN, make your world in your book as REAL as you can, and believable. You have to remember your audience as you write. Writing something on purpose, not knowing if your audience could reject it, is not good writing. Your world should not be written in retaliation to what has happen to you in your real world. This will turn your readers away. Why sabotage your writing craft? There are a lot of angry women who were hurt by their companions, husbands, friends, and associates. Why launch your fury at your readers? They weren’t a part of your tragedy.

My books, like others I’ve written are purely from the inner part of me. I want my readers to be a part of my WORLD as I created it. I want them to see what I see. Hear what I hear. Feel what I feel. Taste what I taste and touch objects as I would touch them. Yes put all your senses in your description of your world. MAKE YOUR WORLD REAL!

The CHARACTERS of your created world must be believable as well. The characters must illustrate that they are a member of that created society. Spock is not from planet earth, but he is a part of the Enterprise crew on Star Trek. Sponge Bop lives in the sea and so are most of the other characters. The characters must be on the same line of communication. Bugs Bunny’s world did not have CELL PHONES, but he did MAIL letters.

Your characters must fit the GENRE. I would never put the ‘Widow’, in the book ‘Widow of the South’ in my book ‘The Passing of Mother Mary’. She has no reason for being there. The dialogue used in my book is too modern, and there are accents that will not correlate with the accent of the ‘Widow of the South’. Keep your characters in perspective, so you can keep your readers attention.

DESCRIPTION is the third most important entity of the writer’s craft. All my readers are totally BLIND and DEAF. I have to tell my readers what they are SEEING and HEARING. They have no idea where they are until I describe the surroundings to them. How acute are the reader’s hearing? Well, they are as MUTE as the paper they’re reading. You have to do ‘word’ sign language for them. This means you have to totally describe what the character hears and does. The reader will never guess your intentions. The reader is new to your book therefore; give them a little insight on what is going on. Do you HEAR me?

If the characters in my story SMELL something, what is it? Is a smell sweet, or horrid like a burning tire? When my character touches something; is it smooth and silky, rough and coarse, slick or slimy, hot or cold. What my character FEELS, the senses should be the same for the reader. What is your character eating or drinking? Should the reader know this already? Tell the reader what is for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Any snacks? What kind?

All your descriptions in your writing make the reader feel at ease when reading what you wrote. Description makes your story intensely visible to the reader who is technically blind, muted, and unable to feel or smell what your character feels and smells until you tell them.

REMEMBER: You as the writer above all, became the SENSES that the characters are expressing. The reader is now curious of these senses. Without DESCRIBING your world in DETAIL, you have no book. Your characters only exist in the mind of the reader, whereby these characters should actually be as human as your reader. You as a writer don’t just exist. You are a participant of this life. Shouldn’t your reader be a participant of your character’s environment as well. The bible DESCRIBES how the earth was built in seven days, thus we can do likewise, DESCRIBE what the reader needs to see, hear, feel, touch and taste. As they say in slang idioms, do you SEE and FEEL me?,

The writer is always the first reader. I can’t be a part of the world in my own books, if I didn’t read it thoroughly. I took my time and focused. I mapped certain scenes, locations, people, objects, landscape, . . etc., so you must do the same.

It’s your story. It’s your world, real or imaginative. Give your readers something believable to focus on.  DESCIBE EVERYTHING!



{August 19, 2010}   Hello world!

Welcome to Conant Gardens Readers!

Let’s begin Your writing adventure by asking, Why do you want to write?  I know why I like to write. I write because I love it! I write because I have stories to tell. I know you are asking now, how did I begin? I had a gran imagination. Do You? So do you want to learn how to write? Well now is the time to tell you that you probably should  read my book, The Writer’s Craft: My 13 Steps. This will answer most of the questions you will ever ask in regards to writing and publishing what you wrote. 

I like to teach others what I have learned and what I know.  I will give you the first chapter of the book. I hope this helps you get started. It should get your mind twirling in a whirlwind of thoughts. You should be inspired to dream or at least brainstorm about how your first story will be born. Here’s the INTRODUCTION of my writing manual. It helped me a lot.

The writer’s craft: My 13 Steps

INTRODUCTION

Why I write?

          Some people ask me all the time, why I write. Well, I thought about it and thought about it, and all I have to say is, why not write?. All the words in the world will not make my readers fully understand why, I the writer, engages in writing. But I am a writer. As all writers will say, I will say the same, I love what I write. I like telling a good tale. I like entertaining myself with a good story. I like putting myself in an unimaginable world of conflict, turmoil, or even settling in a utopia fantasy.

My talent started at an early age. I was the unusual child in the family. The ‘strange’ one. I do remember being in the basement of my grandmother’s house, talking to myself, not mentally, just creatively. I would tell my dolls and stuff animals my stories. My two sisters were not as interested, nor was my mother, thus a lonely child resorts to creative ways of unleashing their thoughts and ideas. The images in my mind need freedom, like a bird in flight. The wind of ideas must feel itself flowing without apprehension.  

I like words. Some people don’t. They often shy away from a dictionary or thesaurus. I have dyslexia, thus words DO NOT come easily to my mind. They get scrambled sometimes. Yes, it bothers me, but it does not hinder my progress. It does not intimidate me every time I write. I am only human, and while being human, I know my limitations, yet I DO NOT, nor WILL I allow this twitch of the particles in my brain to become an excuse not to WRITE! I am a female soldier who can conquer an obstacle as if commanded by will.

My first book? Betsy and Billy. I fell in love with those two kids. My young mind wanted to possess a good book. Like writers, we sometimes steal ideas, thoughts from others, and the creativity from our own mind is stolen and place on paper. When I entered junior high school (they call it middle school now), I was able to fill my own library, thanks to Scholastic Book Clubs. Yes that did it for me! I was hooked on entering the world of others; the world of authors and their characters. I read, and read, and read more and more books. I couldn’t stop. It was like a crack pipe. I became addicted. I took books everywhere! I had a book at the doctor’s office, my dentist’s appointments, on the family trips to Canada, and to New York. I was addicted to these blasted (lacking a better word) books!

When I entered high school, now I HAD to write. My classes of Language Arts were no joke. We wrote daily. We wrote paragraphs, journals, and yes, creative stories. A simple paragraph was a challenge especially for me. My teacher once asked me to read aloud one of my paragraphs. I hated it. I was a child who was continually trying to overcome stuttering. I was already considered dyslexic. So why make ME read aloud? After several refusals, I confront this teacher with a fever of anger. He of course told me what I did not want to hear.

“You write so well, I just wanted others to hear your words. Don’t let your talents be limited by what you can’t control. God gives us all we need to survive. You can control your dyslexia and stuttering with persistence and determination.”

Yes. I needed inspiration. Everyone does. Some people need that ONE person who tells you to move forward. At home, there was only one inspiration. My grandma Talley read one of my unfinished stories. She found it in a drawer, and asked why I didn’t finish it. It was really out of my genre. It was science fiction. I am NOT a Steven King reader nor can I write similar to him. But she like the story that I had drafted. That moment was important to me. It changed my life. Someone in my household FINALLY took noticed of something I did. And obviously, did well!

Grandma Talley often said, “You are better than you think, baby.” 

After years of writing and never publishing, I just wrote for therapy, and entertainment. Therapy is good. To transpire your life in words, as well as your thoughts is very therapeutic, but it can waste of the talents of a writer if not acknowledged, when you want acknowledgement. If you like to be entertained, first entertain yourself before others. Self-gratification is good. If you cannot please yourself in what you do, how can you expect others to be pleased?

Why I write? Therapy, Entertainment, Talent, or just because it is something to do creatively, whatever my reason is, I know that I do something well. I am not letting another day go, without telling a new tale, without giving the world a part of me. I am the creative being that God has created. He has given me something special. He has seen my potential. You have potential as well, so follow my inspiration, and dream with me, write with me, express your talents with me. If not for the fun of it, just entertain yourself, since you are the most important person you know.

Why I write? Because I can.

Coming soon the first chapter which introduces the FIRST STEP of the Writer’s Craft .



et cetera