Tuesday, April 26, 2011

William & Kate

I'm going to my sister, Marianne's, glam cottage tonight.  My other two sisters, Claudia and Rosemary, will be there as well.  Joining us will be Claudia's daughter, Theresa, who is bringing her wee son, C.J. 

I'm getting up at 4:00 a.m. (hopefully!) to watch the pre-wedding festivities.  Later, we will be enjoying a "high tea" (tea sandwiches, cake and other goodies), while watching the wedding on TV.   I can't wait to see "The Dress!"

Best of luck to William & Kate on Friday, April 29, 2011!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bits of You & Pieces of Me by Kimberly Kinrade

"I’ve always believed that I have ink, rather than blood, running through my veins," says writer Kimberly Kinrade, and I believe her!

BITS OF YOU & PIECES OF ME is Kimberly's literary collection of short stories, essays and poetry on life and love, including the dark side.  While each piece can stand alone, together the chapters tell the story of an idealistic girl in love with love, who discovers the demons of a splintered heart when that love turns violent.

Kimberly writes in moving language that seems, at times, happily optimistic, then dives into sudden, unexpected, dark emotional realities.  Every woman should read this stunning debut!

Read more about Kimberly Kinrade at kimberlykinrade.com.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Controlling The Weather in Your Manuscript

Who says you can’t control the weather? You can in your manuscript, and what’s more, you can use it to enhance the mood, guide the plot, or boost the climax.

The weather plays a part in our daily lives: what we wear, how we plan events. The same can be said for your characters. They, too, can notice the temperature outside, what the sky looks like, how the air feels. Your characters’ observations ground them (and the reader!) in the setting, and add a layer of realism to your story.

The weather can also be symbolic of an underlying theme: Rain can symbolize sadness, despair, or new life; a blanket of snow may represent a feeling of stagnation, or hibernation; wind and storms often denote foreshadow a violent event; fog or mist are often the prelude to a revelation or another important event; moving clouds often represent change; thunder, the voice of God or gods, and so on.

For example, in “Dracula”, Bram Stoker chose London’s rainy, foggy climate to enhance his Gothic novel. Count Dracula can control the weather, creating mists to hide his presence. When he arrives in England, one of the worst storms ever recorded takes place, which, incidentally, he created for his grand entrance.

In “The Great Gatsby”, F. Scott Fitzgerald used the weather to chart his character’s moods—rain for tension, sun for laughter. Daisy ultimately has to choose between going away with Gatsby, or staying with Tom—on the hottest day of the year. The weather perfectly connects with the conflict.

On a more contemporary note, Stephenie Myer successfully created an eerie atmosphere when she chose Forks, Washington for the setting of “Twilight”. The rain (even of the freezing variety) is a backdrop in the story, providing a feeling of chilly foreboding. Bella moves from her comfort zone in sunny, hot Arizona to the constant cloud cover and rain of Forks, symbolizing her progression to a much more mysterious world.

In science fiction and fantasy, the sky is the limit (so to speak) when it comes to adding weather to your manuscript. When you are world building, the weather becomes a crucial element, and you are in control. Volcanoes, floods, earthquakes, wind, rainbows, and lightning are magically yours to command, and vividly express to your readers.

On a much grander scale, many writers use weather as an “event”.  In “State of Fear”, Michael Critchton used global warming as the backdrop for the story, wherein the main villains are environmentalists. In Stephen King’s “Dolores Claiborne”, the tension of the story mounts as a total eclipse of the sun looms. Of course, this type of writing can be tricky; research is key.

In my YA Paranormal Romance, WIND, I use wind (naturally!) to signify the strength and awesome power of the angel, Dante, who arrives in Flynn Flood's life just when she needs him.  The story takes place in the fall and winter, so, at first, the wind is a subtle foe, swirling leaves and bringing colder air.  As the story progresses, the wind and snow is a catalyst for the evil which soon arrives in the form of the evil Lix Tetrax. 

In WIND, Dante explains the meaning of the name Lix Tetrax:

“The name Lix is Greek, referring to the Earth, and Tetrax refers to the four seasons.  Technically, he’s called the Demon of the Wind.  He’s definitely full of hot air.”

Whatever the weather, don’t forget to add a splash of rain, a mysterious fog, or a perfect, sunny day. Used appropriately and imaginatively, weather will have a huge impact on your story.

How’s the weather in your manuscript?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Writer Interrupted

We've probably all experienced writer's block at one time or another.  You know the feeling - when you just can't drag yourself to open MS, and you have absolutely no plot/character ideas in your usually over-crowded mind.

I've been experiencing writer's block for a couple of months - actually since January, if truth be told - and it's scaring me to no end!  A little voice in my vacant head keeps niggling me, "Will I ever get back to my current WIP?"

In December, 2010, I was happily working on SAND, the second book in my YA Paranormal Romance Saga, while querying agents for the first book, WIND.  Then, of course, Christmas arrived, as it always does, and sucked up a great amount of my time and energy.  I told myself it's normal not to be writing during the holidays, what with all the shopping, gift wrapping, cooking, parties, family time, etc.

As 2011 rolled around, I was struck down by a horrible flu (I was sure it was pnemonia, but the doctor insisted it wasn't, and he should know!), which I'm still battling to some extent as it slowly dwindles down.  To add to this, I have a very demanding daytime gig (I'm an Admin. Assistant at a large Paramedic Service).  Then, just as I was starting to feel better, my kids got sick too.  They're both young adults, but still, I'm their mom, and my natural instinct is to take care of them, which of course, I did.

All this sounds like I'm whining a bit, and maybe I am, but the point is, I can't seem to get back on track with my writing.

So, lately I've been asking myself questions like, "Am I meant to be a writer?", "Should I carry on writing?", and "Will I ever find an agent?"   Of course, deep down inside, I already know the answers to these questions (yes, yes, and yes!)  In my heart of hearts, I know I'm just going through a funk, and I'll get back on track soon. 

I miss writing.  I miss the joy of creating a well-written, richly descriptive paragraph, or realistic, moving dialogue.  But most of all, I miss my wonderful friends who come alive when I open my MS; WIND and SAND's cool protangonist, Flynn, her emotional little sister, Kevan, and their goofy, but loveable, brother, Dylan.  I even miss the evil, Lix.

I miss connecting with my wonderful writer friends.  I miss the comraderie; sharing the agonies and ecstacies of navigating the publishing world.

Then I began to wonder:  Has this happened to you?  Have you, for whatever reason(s), experienced writer's block?  I'd love to hear your story!