They Were Reading What?

English: Bronte Sisters statue, Haworth Parson...

English: Bronte Sisters statue, Haworth Parsonage. Taken through the window of the museum shop – sorry about the reflections on the glass! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EH Bates, over at Bumbles Books had a great challenge this week. In her post Defined by Books, she brings up the subject of what our characters would read. What book does your hero like? Does your heroine read romance? Can you define a person by the books they read?  For the answer to that question, I say absolutely!

I just read in Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay (a review I will be writing tomorrow or Wed.) And in it, the hero is a total Hemingway and Greek Tragedy guy. The reasons why this guy is a Hemingway guy is kind of just because of how ‘cool’ Hemingway was. The heroine is an Austen gal.

Who am I as a reader. Um, yes. But I have personal favorites. However how do my characters stack up.

Mia who owns a bookstore is a classics girl. Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, the Bronte sisters, Austen, Zane Grey and magazines. She likes the weirdly unnoticed books like what would come from Persephone Books. She reads magazines because she doesn’t have a lot of time to read, so magazines are quick.

English: Hemingway posing for a dust jacket ph...

English: Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Lloyd Arnold for the first edition of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, at the Sun Valley Lodge, Idaho, late 1939. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rafe, Mia’s hero is a total Hemingway guy along with books from the 1920’s and 30’s. He’s into jazz so the older style is totally him. He likes John Le Carre and the suspense/spy novel. You would see him reading Flemming. He’s classic and old school and totally like Patrick Warburton in the National Car ad. You know, sexy.

 

My character Rena, who’s a lot like me, would read like me: Emilie Loring, Sir Walter Scott, Tennyson, Bronte, historical romances, contemporary romances, Harlequin, non fiction herbal books, cook books, gardening. She refers to her authors by first name. So you have the Emily’s – Emilie Loring, Emily Dickinson, Emily Bronte. Can make for confusing if she asks for a book, but it also signifies that her books and authors are her friends. Books are her friends so she refers to them in the first person. (Silly, I know, but it is a quirk)

And lastly Phaedra. Since she’s a photographer, she reads a lot of books on photography, as well as travel guides and historical information. Things she can use. But she likes cheesy and girly. Fairytales and silly romance. Her favorite guilty pleasure show is Once Upon a Time, so you have to figure silly romancey fairytale.  I also picture fan fiction. She’s a total Captain Swan girl so she reads fan fiction late at night. She won’t tell anyone that, but oh, we know she just eats it up.

 

I had never thought that much about some of what my characters would read. Rena yes, since she is most like me. Mia more so since she owns a bookstore. But Rafe is a new addition to thinking about it.  I have other characters that I could list, but I need to think about them more.

This was a great writing challenge and I think it will help me with my character depth as well.  Check out Bumbles Books. Her posts are great and thought provoking.  And also, think about what your characters read. I’m going to ping John Guillen since I think he might appreciate such a post or for him to think about.

Kate

 

Plot? Who Needs A Plot?

plotdiagram

 

I was reading a blog post today by Alex, from over at When Alex Writes. It was on being a panster plotter. You know, writing by the seat of your pants and coming up with the plot as you write?… Um, welcome to why I do not have any finished novels. Plot? Who needs a plot? I can get by perfectly fine without a plot. Right?

 

I have written about this in the past. My plotless novels. Which, by definition, can it even be a novel if it doesn’t have a plot?  Oh sure, I do have a general idea of where I want the story to go. Obviously the hero gets the girl and the antagonist goes away. I know, really thought provoking there. ( I deal in lots of sarcasm. It was right there, by the way)

linus-roache

The reason this post and thought came to mind was because I had a dream recently where I was called by a senator who had read a letter I sent him and he wanted to have dinner with me. Fortunately the senator was Linus Roache  so a sexy senator.  Anyways, the dream made me want to write out a romance story of a woman who meets a senator who wants to have a relationship with her. I suppose it’s a little bit alongside And American President, but whatever. I still had ideas.

 

I just have no plot. None. Just drabbling it out in stages here and there.

 

This is not going to work.

 

Now comes to Alex’s post. Plotting for Pansters: A Brief How-to

 

I suggest you check it out. The whole thing is quite brilliant. Though I am a little boggled by the first part….

 

Start by taking the scenes you want to write, settings you’d like to explore, snippets of dialogue or even feeling and place and compiling all of your ideas into a folder or word doc. Then draw parallels with the information you need to communicate and the imagery that inspired you to write the story in the first place. You’re trying to create a complete image, develop details and ideas into full-fledged scenes, plot points and story arcs. This is, essentially, the brain storming phase.

 

The bold part…. I’m not even sure what that means.  But I suppose I can try.

 

And I loved her suggestion about using an online whiteboard… Or as Castle calls it, the crime board…  I love this suggestion also because years ago, Mims told me how her friend used sticky notes or post-its to write out key plot details and she could move them around at will. I’ve always loved that idea, but I just could never get it off the ground. Mind you, I don’t have any place I could actually do this except on my ceiling, and no, I’m not going to do that.

 

So, I shall attempt, hopefully, to try and organize my thoughts a bit more. Sometimes I just like writing and seeing where the story takes me.  I had this whole idea of how I wanted another character to act in a different novel, and as I wrote, this person became her own self. It wasn’t me in that position. It was her and she was doing things I wouldn’t have even come up with. I worry I will lose that by plotting.  But, seeings as I have never plotted properly, what harm will it do to try it?

 

Kate

 

A Writer’s Toolbox

For a writer, you have your basic tools of the trade. If you are like me you have your pens, paper, notebooks, scraps of paper, fountain pens, pencils, and things to do all your writing by hand. I do a lot of writing by hand. Then you have your computer, laptop, typewriters, word processors (though most of those have gone by the wayside).  These are what make a writer create there work.

But sometimes, you need extra things other than just a pen, paper and your mind.  That’s where the Toolbox comes in hand.

First you have your hardware: the book thesauruses, libraries and other various methods of information.

Then there are the online sources.

First, let’s start with the blog A Writer’s Path.  Over there, Ryan has compiled a nice, neat list of links for places online that really do help a writer out. Mr. B would say it’s cheating and what did writers do before there was the internet? To which I reply, there were an awful lot of John’s, Jane’s, Mary’s and Frank’s as character names…. Just saying.

‘The little Nudge’ from The Santa Clause 2. Because we all need a little nudge…

Ryan, has links for random name generators, plots, clothing, body language, etc. , to help you get going where sometimes you just need a nudge.

Then he has links for traditional publishing and self publishing.  They are all really great links and I urge you to check them out because, as of yet, I don’t have my own list of links for a Toolbox. I really should consider compiling one for myself.

So, check out his Toolbox, but I also have a few links to add to this.

First off:  Fantasy Name Generators   This link has everything. Place names (fantasy, mixed with real, Asian, inns, bars, lakes, mountains, castles…), Fantasy names, real names, constellations names (fake), mineral names (fake), and I could go on and on. This site is rather remarkable and you can spend so much time futzing.

Treasury of Latin Prayers  If you are writing anything that needs a latin prayer, well here you go. I haven’t searched through the whole thing, but wow, both translations, so you know what’s being said. For all those historical novels, this can be quite useful.

Random Romance Novel Title Generator   Yes, I know, but hey, some of use do write romance and honestly, coming up with a decent title for a romance is harder than it looks. Especially without it sounding too cheesy.  Just try it out.

And for Westerns…. Random Western Novel Title Generator

For unique women’s clothing  DevilNight has a remarkable amount of cool clothing. Vintage, Victorian, Gothic, Retro, Wedding, Medieval….

These are just a few extra places to check out. There are so many resources out there for writing.

I love Tumblr for writing prompts. Some of my best pictures for writing have come from there. Bing and Google have an exhaustive image archive, for whatever it is you are looking up, and don’t forget Pinterest and WeHeartIt.  These are all great spots to help with writing as well.

So, does anyone else have some great Toolbox links?  I think I should start compiling a list and put it on it’s own page. Maybe right up there with ‘Methods of Madness’ a page I have yet to fully finish.

Kate

The Waiting Game

The ticking as time moves on.

The ticking as time moves on.

The agony of waiting. Writers are always waiting on something. From plots to be figured out, to having the time to write, waiting is a big part of our lives. We wait while our story percolates for a couple months after the first draft, then we have people read it…. so another wait. then the wait for an agent or publisher to accept the manuscript. Always waiting.

I just sent off a piece of flash fiction to two literary magazines. I have one more magazine to submit to before February.

Now comes the agonizing wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Not one of my strong suits. I don’t do waiting well, and I might have a wait of four months! How does anyone deal with the wait?  I will probably be fine in a weeks as I continue to write other things and it just goes on the back burner of my mind.

When I finally got my first rejection letter, it came out of nowhere. I hadn’t been thinking about it. Needless to say, I burst into tears. It was rather embarrassing at the time. But you forget what you have done and when you have sent it in.

Which reminds me. Write down when you have sent something in ant to whom you sent your work to. Date books are really good for this. That way you won’t totally forget when you sent something in. Plus, you’ll know time frame so you know when to throw in the towel and hunt for a new place to submit your work.

So, it’s good I’ve taken the steps to send in work. I’ve been holding off because it requires research about who’s accepting and what the requirements are. And don’t get me started on each submission having different requirements. It’s enough to make you go batty. Trust me when I say to keep track of submission guidelines for each place. Because they are all different.

Kate

Words & Writing Magic

She was fascinated with words. To her, words were things of beauty, each like a magical powder or potion that could be combined with other words to create powerful spells.
Dean Koontz

I rather like this quote. I feel that I am this way. Hence why I write. There is something so special about finishing something and going, “Wow! I wrote this.”

Do you feel this way?

 

Kate

Do You Deal In Conflict?

Life is messy. People are warped and messed up and we are living in a backwards, far from utopian world. How you choose to move through life, though, determines a lot.  As Eve in Serendipity says: ” Life’s a mess, Sara. It’s… it’s chaos personified.”  Life is a mess and when you mix in people’s opinions, emotions and beliefs with relationships, chaos can be a big part of it.

And as we go along in life, how we interact with people says a lot, at least I think so. How you deal with an argument determines your level of maturity, or lack thereof. We all have our childish moments. We all through some sort of tantrum, even as adults. We want our way. We want to win the argument. We aren’t willing to say the other person might be right. It’s human nature.

And we make mistakes.

Right now I am in an argument, if you can call it an argument through emails only, with Boris.  What it’s about is unimportant. But it got me thinking about maturity levels and whether or not a person is willing to fight for a relationship, or just say “fine, I’m not winning so I’m going to walk away without trying to make this work.” There are two kinds of people; those that try to find a solution even by means of an argument, and those that just walk away.

Where do your characters in your novel fall into place? Do you even think about how your character will deal with conflict?

While I would rather not be in an argument, it is a life lesson, if not just for myself, but just to view a specific type of relationship.  I’m actually using it in some ways to write about my character, Phaedra. She is in a relationship with a country singer who is going to be on the road. There is going to be conflict. Something is going to happen where Phae has the choice to walk away, or to fight for what she wants.  Does she walk away from the singer? Or does she stand her ground and demand for her say; her rights?  Do you make your character a pushover? Or do you give them strength? And how much is enough.

This is where living life gives you that experience to write. As children, we can’t evaluate situations and really understand  or learn from them. But each interaction we have with people helps shape and mold our writing experience.  You have to be a part of the world and pay attention.

Now, having had this experience. I’m rethinking how much of a pushover I want Phae. See, I’m usually a bit of a cream puff. I will argue with my family, but in public, I don’t cause conflict. I’ve never been in an actual argument with past boyfriends. Either they backed down, or I did. We never went at it. I’m not saying going at it is healthy, but if you are a passionate person, shouldn’t your responses be passionate?  I think so.  So, Phae is a passionate person about her life. She’s a photographer that sees things that others don’t. She lives life to the fullest.  So, she’s not going to just back down in life. That doesn’t mean she’s going to go out swinging, but she might land a well placed kick here or there.

So, do your characters have conflict? How do they deal? And would you change them if you could?

Just something to think about this Sunday. Hey, it’s Sunday, you might have some time to work on your WIP and rethink your characters.

Kate

 

25 Days of Christmas

25 Days of ChristmasI think I’m a little nuts, but I’m going to attempt a 25 days of Christmas; though it’s more like 25 days of December.

I liked doing the 31 Days of October (look up to your upper right. There, see the tab? Click that for the 31 Days) and I thought it might be fun to keep the ball rolling for December. And like anything else I write about, not all will be themed with Christmas because I just can’t be that kitschy.  So there will be winter and books and Christmas and thought provoking.  Pretty much a usual day for Kate’s Bookshelf.

First post is coming right up with a post called Trees.  Then you can keep track of these days by going under the 31 Days of October heading and you will have a new page for the 25 Days challenge.  I hope that makes sense. I didn’t think about it when I started the 31 Days challenge. I should have aligned it better. Live and learn.

So, enjoy, dearies.

Kate

Where Do Your Thinks Come From

Cover of "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day ...

Cover via Amazon

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson was written as Ms. Watson washed the dishes.  She would stare out her window and plot what was to become a marvelous story (though I have to say I enjoyed the film more….)

 

“Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try…”

Says Dr. Seuss.  And he would know, because my goodness, that man came up with some thinks!

I find that I think my thinks in some of the oddest places, especially when it comes to writing my novels.  Some of my best thinking comes when I’m standing under the hot spray of the shower. Why there?  Who knows. Maybe water is refreshing of the mind. It clears the cobwebs and washes away the dirt and troubles of the day.

I’m also famous for plotting while I spread mulch, wash dishes, clean the toilet, watering the yard, picking berries, walking to town. I can rarely plot while sitting down to write. I find that my mind goes blank while sitting at a blank screen or sheet of paper. Granted, I have found that sitting over the baseboard heater at the breakfast table with a cup of coffee in the afternoon is one of my best thinking spots. I’ve scribbled out countless thoughts and ideas there. Something about having a warm behind and that cup of coffee…

I find that I can come up with ideas when I’m doing the most mundane things, but have no time to write it all down. I have to hold onto the ideas and pray that I don’t forget them while scrubbing the shower until I can grab that piece of paper and a few moments scribble it all down.  It can be exhausting at times, but it’s also exhilarating to have thoughts flood your mind.

So, I’m curious, where do you do your thinks from? Do you plot as you walk? Do you compose as you water with the hose? Are you like Ms. Watson and write as you wash?

How do you get your thinks?

Signing of

Kate

 

That Tapping Sound That Makes You Feel Like You Accomplished Writing

Because we couldn’t use an actual rotary phone

Here I am tapping out this post on my laptop to that marvelous sound of a typewriter….. No, someone is not using my Royal. I am typing to a program that simulates the sound of a typewriter on your computer.  Seems rather strange when you think about it. Are we all so nostalgic for something that we will make a sound to recreate it on our computer? It’s rather like the cell phones that have a regular phone’s ring, or that attachment you can connect to your cell that looks like a regular handset from a home phone.

Anyways, Walter and I were talking last week about how we he wondered if there was a program to make your laptop typing sound like a typewriter. There is. There are three major ones in fact though I think one is better than others.

I’m using Qwertick which is the simplest of the three. No setting, runs easy, and you can shut it down relatively easy.

Then there is ClicKey which took me a while to figure out how to change the settings. Downside, all keys sound the same, including the Enter key, which on Qwertick actually sounds like an electric typewriter’s carriage return.

The third one is Home Typist which we didn’t like at all. The sounds were a little to computer game sounding, in my opinion

My Royal

So, am I going to use this that often? Probably not. It does bring a bit of nostalgia back into typing, but since I can yank out my Royal anytime I want to actually hear a typewriter, then why not do that? Walter thinks it’s great because he’s not the world’s best typist so the extra sound lets him know he has hit a key. And I have to admit, it is rather fun to hear that sound, though I prefer a manual typewriter sound versus an electric machine sound.

I just find it rather humorous that we search for things to bring back the old into our modern lives, when if we would just unplug the laptop, or cell phone, we could pick up the typewriter or the rotary phone and have those old sounds or feels right at our finger tips.

Check out the apps. Let me know what you think.  Would you use this?  I think the typewriter sound might be fun when I’m working with Dark Room.  Which I happen to love for the minimalist approach to writing. (I would like spell check occasionally, but you know, you can’t have everything when you are going minimalist.

Signing off

Kate

Accomplishments

Despite the month of August being a smoke filled month (say hello to California wildfires and forest mismanagement) and the constant fill of farming and watering and working more than I care to think about, I was able to accomplish some pretty nice things this month and I thought I would share them.  So drum-roll…… Well, you can add that in if you want. I’m doing it in my head….

 

  1. I started running again.  Okay, so that might not sound like a lot, but I had to give it up for all of July because it was so hot I could not stand being out in the dark running. I just had to put it on hold until the evenings were cooler and not so intense. I do not do well in the 90’s.
  2. I ran three miles. Whoo Hoo! This is huge! I rarely can run more than a mile, mile and a half at at time.  Last week I ran three miles, and two of those miles I ran in straight mile stretches. I hope that makes sense.  What I mean is, most of the time I can only run a quarter to a half mile before I have to walk a while before completing the mile. Miles 2 and 3 were an entire mile before stopping.  Again, this is huge. Granted, I hurt like crazy and my knees weren’t too happy, or my shoulders, but it felt so amazing. The endorphins high I got was incredible.  And last night I did 2 1/2 miles pretty easy.
  3. I can fit into my size two Ann Taylor sheath dress.  An LBD in some ways. Now, I’m not a size 2, but Ann Taylor dresses must have been invented with smaller sizes to give women a boost. Because I can say I wear a size two. Which is funny since my previous post was about not being a size two…..
  4. I wrote a short story that is semi flash fiction, but my parents love it! It was all inspired by Boris and his trip to Atlanta and I teased him about taking his xs-214 double barreled ray gun. The fact that this story has potential is just exciting. I’m going to need a couple beta readers, so if anyone is interested, drop me a comment with a valid email.  I only need a couple readers since it’s so short. Just over 600 words, but it’s periodical/literary magazine worthy, I think.
  5. I finally solved the yeast infection in my dachshund’s ear after 11 years! Who knew that just plain povidone iodine swabbed daily could clear it up? I didn’t. My vet never said to do this. I gotta tell the vet. This has been something that has driven me nuts for years. My dog hasn’t enjoyed it too much either.

 

Okay, so maybe those are small accomplishments, but small doesn’t mean inferior or not important. It’s the little things in life that count, right? I have to take little things and enjoy or savor them. The running is huge. The short story is huge. So, I’ll go with it.

Anyone else have some accomplishments that made them want to dance around?

Signing off

Kate