One Writer’s Journey

February 29, 2012

Illusion in Our Writing

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:39 am
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Check out this amazing optical illusion.

Did you guess how he managed to pull it off before the big reveal?

Sometimes we need to use illusions in our writing and it isn’t always easy.  In the original draft of my fantasy novel, something was too “out of the blue” in spite of my foreshadowing.

So I reworked it.

Now?  Too obvious.  Everyone figured it out from the start.  Back to the drawing board.

Here are some of the online pieces that I found on foreshadowing.

My problem is that I need to make something less obvious.  One suggestion was to foreshadow things that don’t happen, something like red herrings in a mystery.  But this is in the first 20 pages of the novel.  How many red herrings can I have in that short space?

No answers yet.  Just scads of questions.

–SueBE

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February 28, 2012

My Love/Hate Relationship with Spell check

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:30 am
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What did I write?

One day last week, I was typing away, trying to get something checked off my to do list.  I don’t remember which project it was or which word I was typing, but I came to a screeching halt when the wicked, red spell check line appeared under the word.

Backspace.  Backspace.  Backspace.

Try again.  Still there.

I must have retyped that word 6 times, but it was still wrong.  Finally, I clicked on the actual spell check tool so that I could at least select the correct spelling. Nothing.  Not one stinking suggestion.

Finally, I resorted to my almost 13-year-old.

“I thought you wanted me to be quiet and let you work,” says he.

“Don’t be cute.  Just shush up and tell me how to spell it.”  No one makes sense like a mom who wants you to quit sassing and answer a question.

Fortunately, he has inherited Dad’s spelling gene so once I got a bit of cooperation I could continue on with my article.

But I also realize that I depend far too much on my spell check.  The evidence?  Here is the sentence I meant to type:

Dura clung to the horse’s back as it galloped down the game trail.

The sentence I actually typed?

Dura clunk to the horse’s back as it galloped down the game trail.

Forevermore, this character, my hands down favorite, will be known by my critique group as Dura Clunk.

Spell check.  What a pain in the keister.

–SueBE

 

February 27, 2012

Goals as February Winds Down

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:29 pm
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Deadlines are amazing things when it comes to word count.  How do I know?  With deadlines last Wednesday and today and critique group (get those 20 pages done) this weekend, I did amazing things.  How amazing?  8317 words.  Pretty good!

I have deadlines again — today and March 4th.  So lets see what that means for this week.

Weekly Goals:

  • 5 posts for One Writer’s Journey. Done!
  • 2 reviews on the Bookshelf.  Done!
  • 1 post for PrayPower.  Done!
  • Write my posts for the Church blog.  Done!

Goals with Deadlines (some are my deadlines, some are my editors’ deadlines):

  • Make one more pass through and submit my next article for WOW.  Deadline:  2/27.  Done!
  • Read and digest the comments from my reluctant reader editor and come up with a new pitch.  Deadline:  3/2.  Done!
  • Write my next Muffin post.  Deadline:  3/4.  Done!
  • I got comments from my critique group, now I need to rewrite the  YA pages that I’m going to workshop at a retreat this spring. Deadline:  3/10.
  • Solicit interviews for my next CW article.  Deadline:  3/15.  In progress.
  • Write the interview questions for the 2nd CW article in my rotation.   Due: 4/15.  Done.

Non-Deadline Goals:

  • Pull together a pitch for Education.com.
  • Rewrite and submit a leveled reader.
  • Start researching my next nonfiction picture book.
  • Get an essay on writing back out.
  • Rewrite the picture book I had critiqued.
  • Do some more work on a PiBoIdMo idea.
  • Work on my agent research.
  • Rough submissions for Blue Mountain cards.
  • Keep working on my web site.
  • Work on the middle grade. Go over the Plot Whisperer notes that I originally made.  Also story board the manuscript.

–SueBE

February 24, 2012

Pop Up Tutorials

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:00 am
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Here’s something fun for a Friday.  Paper engineer Jess Tice has created a series of pop-up tutorials on Howcast.  Watching her work through three different v-folds, I suspect this is something I could actually pull off.  Maybe not painlessly, but I could do it.

Take a look at her first tutorial and see if you don’t find some new ideas percolating to the surface.

–SueBE

 

February 23, 2012

Taking Your Own Photos

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:19 am
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Yesterday I turned in 11 activities to one of my editors.  Along with the activities, I had to include photos.  Here are a few of the things that I’ve learned when taking my own photos.

  • Take pictures on a sunny day.  Natural sunlight doesn’t skew colors the way artificial light sometimes does.
  • If you have to take photos without natural sunlight, use a flash.  Otherwise your photos may appear too yellow.
  • Light colored backgrounds often work best.  I use an ivory wall in my living room, a light oak TV tray and my ivory living room carpet as backgrounds.
  • If you are taking pictures of food, have a helper on hand.  No, the food doesn’t tend to misbehave but pets do not listen when you tell them to stay out of the shot.
  • Take more photos than you think you will need.  This is the beauty of digital — you aren’t paying for the film.  Take a shot from a slight distance.  Then take a couple of closeups.  Take one with the flash just in case.
  • If you have to take a photo of something that can move (animals and children especially), plan on taking lots and lots of extras.  I had to take photos of horses for an article and was astonished when I got home by all of the truly bizarre pictures I had captured.  Funny but not salable.
  • I am by no means a professional photographer but these are some of the things that have worked for me.

–SueBE

 

February 21, 2012

How to Separate the Writers from the Wannabes

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:46 am
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How do you know if you are a real writer?  That’s the kind of question that writers ask themselves all the time.  The answer that you hear most often is that writers write.

But there’s another answer.

If writers want to publish, they rewrite and the most difficult rewriting of all is rewriting from editorial comment.  Rewriting is such an important skill that its what I wrote about in my 2/18 Muffin post.

This week, a healthy chunk of my time will be spent rewriting.  I have 11 activities due tomorrow.  I have critique group Saturday which means that I have to have 20 pages of my young adult ready to go.

This will all be rewriting based on my own observations.  That’s tough because I have to spot potential problems myself.  What do I look for?

In the activities, I look for illogical order.  If I’ve written something to the effect of “cut out the pattern but before you do that…”, then I need to change the order.  I also look for “oops to late” places.  You know, the kinds of places where you need to warn someone about a tricky step or not to throw something away (you know, like the pasta water you sometimes need to save).

In my fiction, I look for places that need more.  More and deeper characterization.  Setting details.  A bit of transition.  In part, I think this problem comes about because I write so often for younger readers but I write lean and tight.  Sometimes too lean and tight.

Whatever your “rewrite issues” happen to be, good luck in your rewriting.  It is, after all, a necessary activity for all of us who are real writers.

–SueBE

Beautiful Bookstores

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:03 am
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Bookstores.  You probably love them as much as I do.

But have you ever been in a store that makes your eyes open wide as you stand in one place, gazing up in wonder?  A store with a cathedral feel?

You need to check out this article on The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the world.

All I can say is WOW.  Now I want to go to Holland and Portugal and Argentina. Not surprisingly, given my history geek status, I’m drawn to the stores in old churches and movie houses.  Gilt and woodwork and sparkle catch my eye.  But some of the modern stores are equally amazing.

I popped on over to YouTube and found a video of the store in Argentina, El Ateneo.  This store has only been in existence since 2000.  (Just a little niggling aside: why don’t they seem worries about Amazon and e-books? No answers, just wondering.)

Here is a video of Livraria Lello in Portugal.

Special thanks to Anna Alter on Blue Rose Girls who brought the above article to my attention.”

Do you know a bookstore that just takes your breath away?  If so, please share a link with the rest of us!

–SueBE

 

February 20, 2012

Goals for this Week of President’s Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 4:30 pm
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Everyone is home today so this is going to be fairly quick.  They have one Boy Scout project to do and then we’re going to have a quiet family day.  I’ll be back at work tomorrow.

Last week was busy — I accepted a new job and applied for another.  All of this means lots and lots of writing.  I managed 6477 word, just over my goal of 6000.  With all of that writing, I finished and submitted nothing.  That’s going to have to change this week since I have a deadline.

Weekly Goals:

  • 5 posts for One Writer’s Journey. Done!
  • 2 reviews on the Bookshelf.  Done!
  • 1 post for PrayPower.  Done!
  • Write my posts for the Church blog.  Done!

Goals with Deadlines:

  • Write and submit 11 activities for Education.com.  Deadline: 2/22.  I’ve written everything up and done the activities.  Next — photos!   Done!
  • Edit next Mo Scribbles newsletter.  Deadline:  2/24.  Done!
  • Rough and rewrite my next article for WOW.  Deadline:  2/27.  In progress.
  • Write my next Muffin post.  Deadline:  3/4.
  • Solicit interviews for my next CW article.  Deadline:  3/15.  In progress.
  • Write the interview questions for the 2nd CW article in my rotation.   Due: 4/15.

Non-Deadline Goals:

  • Rewrite the  YA chapter that I’m going to workshop at a retreat this spring.*  Done!
  • Rewrite and submit a leveled reader.*
  • Start researching my next nonfiction picture book.
  • Get an essay on writing back out.
  • Rewrite the picture book I had critiqued.
  • Do some more work on a PiBoIdMo idea.
  • Work on my agent research.
  • Rough submissions for Blue Mountain cards.
  • Keep working on my web site.
  • Work on the middle grade. Go over the Plot Whisperer notes that I originally made.  Also story board the manuscript.

–SueBE

February 17, 2012

More Paper Art

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:42 am
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Check out the amazing quilling of artist Natasha Molotkova.

Her Russian roots are evident in image she has created of a Matryoshka, or nesting wooden doll.  In this piece, the coloring behind the quilling caught my eye.

But to me the most amazing piece is the beetle although I also adore the grapes.

With the beetle, I think it is simply the contrast between the black outline  and the brightly colored stripes that caught my fancy.

For the grapes, I keep finding myself examining the layered effect of the leaves placed over the vines.

Check out her work and see if you don’t come away inspired to try something colorful and new.

–SueBE

 

Natasha Molotkova

http://www.allthingspaper.net/2012/02/new-quilled-designs-from-natasha.html

February 16, 2012

Newseum front pages

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:03 am
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What a cool museum!  The Newseum offers visitors 250,000-square-feet  of news, combining information on 500 years of news history with technology and a variety of hands-on exhibits.

I haven’t been to the Newseum but take advantage of the Today’s Front Pages feature, specifically the map version.  You can scroll across the map (think globally) and click any of the golden dots, each of  which represent a different front page.

I have noticed that even when a paper is a daily, it may not always be present, but on the day that I wrote this I accessed the St. Loius Post-Dispatch, the El Paso Times, and The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.  Chicago was well represented with Daily Herald, Hoy, Red Eye and Sun-Times.

Check it out to get an idea of what topics have national vs local front page appeal and you may come away with some new story ideas!

–SueBE

 

 

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