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Tagged Again? The 777 Challenge #2

 

I was tagged again for the 777 challenge.

Thank you Cathy Givens!

So I’ve wandered into my first draft 7 more pages, where Satori has just arrived ‘home’…

 

The stars twinkled on the cheerful ‘Welcome to Starlight Cove’ sign up on the hill. They’d always flickered, but now there was more flicker than light. Town council hadn’t gotten around to voting on fixing the lights, they were still debating Stella’s delivery date.

The thick fog parted like a gossamer curtain as Tori made her way around the circle. Tori did a double take as she saw a figure sitting atop of the old R&R building. As she walked further around, Tori’s eyes realized it was Mrs. Potter sitting on the roof with binoculars pointed further ahead.

“The song bird has landed,” drifted down from the handset in Mrs. Potter’s hands.

 

And now to tag 7 Lucky writers 🙂 If you wish to participate, please leave a link to your 7 in the comments.

Kelly Hashway

D.T. Dyllin

Nicolette Reed

R.G. Lawrence

Catherine Russell

Beth Barany

Katie Conigliaro

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Mythic Monday ~ Dragons

English: Chinese dragons at LongyinTemple in C...

English: Chinese dragons at LongyinTemple in Chukou, Taiwan Français : Dragons chinois au temple de Longyin à Chukou, Taiwan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Dragons have always been popular icons. Games, cartoons, plush animals, tattoos, you can find dragon items everywhere. Ask any two-year-old and they will tell you all about their favorite dragon.  Where did it all start?

China is probably the oldest culture that began incorporating the dragon into their belief systems. Their culture sees the dragon as a symbol or power, prosperity, and good fortune.  Dragons are an essential power of nature. A dragon’s breath, ‘chi’, bequeaths the four elements, rain, earth, sun, and wind. Emperors surrounded themselves with images of the powerful creature in their palaces, swords, and clothing. Even today, the dragon is a revered mythical being.

Cross the ocean and the respect changes to fear. Dragons become fire breathing evil creatures that need to be conquered. Open the pages of most fairy tales and there is a dragon that must be conquered by a brave knight.

I hold reverence for the dragons of the Chinese belief system. My world building incorporates the Northern Pacific cultures, so this fits in. I’m creating several types of dragons, like the mythology of China where dragons can be covered in feathers or scales and an array of colors and sizes.

What dragon do you most remember from childhood? Do you have a favorite Dragon story?

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Six Sentence Sunday

 

Six Sentence Sunday. It’s a simple idea. The brainchild of Sara Brookes. She posted six sentences of her work in progress back in February 2010. Interest picked up and now it is a phenomena all its own! When I signed up this week, I was number 141 on the list.

Thank you to Nicolette Reed for introducing me to it! *waves hello

 

My six sentences are from my wip, Dragon Blues.

Vauhn Blue scratched the spiral birthmark on her ankle. The red mark had become hard and itchy the last few days. Just what she needed, a crazy skin disorder like psoriasis, right before the Last Blast Junior Prom.

“Keep scratching that and it’s going to get infected Sparky.” Gramma said as she walked up the steps with an arm load of cherries.

Gramma took the family legend seriously. The Blue’s descended from dragons. 

 

The SSS is open to all genres. Post six sentences from your own published work or a Work In Progress. You can click here, SSS, to find out more about it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂 I’m off now to visit the other participants…

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Love & Fear

 

 

 

 

Please forgive me for my lack of blogging these past few months, but I’ve fallen in love, with editing my novel. Of all my 2011 intentions, editing was the one that filled me with the most fear. I faced all the other intentions head on. I’m still making them a conscious part of my life. Polishing my stories, a very necessary tool for a writer, filled me with dread. Last year I faced the typing monster, this year, editing.

 

But first, let me back up and tell you how I fell in love.

 

The moment when it all coalesced was at Norwescon this April. I was nervous through the entire conference leading up to my feedback session with The Fairwood Writers Workshop. My appointment was on the last day of the conference. I was sure they would say, “Don’t quit your day job.” Which, of course, is too late, I write everyday, all day. Writing is my dream job.

 

The feedback session was held in a tower room of the Doubletree. It seemed fitting that I would meet my fear in a tower room, since I submitted a fairy tale fantasy.

 

Four published authors, of various genres, gathered around a conference table to discuss my writing. Each person got ten minutes of uninterrupted time to voice their feedback, ask questions, and make comments.

 

The first author told me to keep in mind that this wasn’t his genre. It was quite a shock to my system when he finished and I wasn’t boiling in anger or near tears from the pain. This continued around the table with the next author and then the next. I took notes. Wonderful detailed notes, questions about my world that I hadn’t considered, structure tweaks, and publisher information. Yes, publisher information, markets I should check out and submit my work. They each gave me written feedback as well that included notes in the margins and on the backs of my pages. Each one of them gave my story attention.

 

I left the session energized and eager to get back to work, extremely thankful that I wouldn’t need the box of tissue waiting for me in my car or the pint of ice cream in the freezer at home to console me. My feet hardly touched the ground as I went to my next 2 panel discussions. I was accepted as a writer. I was taken seriously by strangers. Yes, my novel needs polish, but the feedback was delivered in an uplifting way, and these four published strangers encouraged me to continue on this path.

 

I faced the editing fear. Next fear on my list, you guessed it, submitting it to agents and publishers.

 

Ready or not…

The Road Ahead

 

     New Year Resolutions are most likely broken by the 3rd day in January. Once broken, most people give up and vow to try again next year. Statistics show that only 12% actually stick with the habit change they resolve to make. With the word ‘Resolution’ having such a bad connotation, this year, I decided to make an intention list.

     Intentions are going to be my road map for 2011.

Get Organized ~  Even though I write fantasy novels, they are stand alone stories. My characters weave in and out of books. A main character in one story could be a supporting character in another. I am also creating new creatures. My fictional world needs to be kept organized. There are also the conventions I will be attending, submissions I will need to track, files backed up, etc.

     2011 will be an amazing year if I stay organized!

Writing Makeover ~  I’ve never had a problem sitting down and writing. Creating something new is play time for me. The polishing and editing, wordsmithing and revision are the areas I need to focus on in order to take the next step in my career. I’ve scheduled a professional editor to speak to my writing group in January. I’ve also purchased some excellent editing books to learn some new tricks. My writing group, Eastside Author Chat, will also be focusing on feedback and critiques to sharpen the skills we all need.

Stay Healthy ~ Writing all day, and I do, is a sedentary lifestyle. I’ve missed plenty of meals and sleep while writing this past year. I need to intend on taking care of me. Nutrition and exercise are important to keep my mind sharp and keep me on my toes for all the work ahead of me.

Learn the Business ~ There is more to the writing life then creating a story and mailing it out. I intend to learn the nuts and bolts of the business to give my stories the best possible shot at publication. Query letters, synopsis writing, networking (this one is a little scary!), conventions, agents, marketing….which leads me to the next intention,

Building a Platform ~ Marketing, branding, business cards, keeping up with my blog posts. Building a public identity. This is an entirely new world for me.  

Fill the Well ~ Good writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I need to ‘LIVE’ my life, learn something new, try something one of my characters does. This will bring zest to my writing and some enjoyment as well!

Give my dream 120% commitment ~ I intend to spend the next year fully focused as a full time writer. Rejection letters will be badges of honor, one step closer to the dream. As my friend Cyndi Briggs says, I will meet Fear with Faith!

 

 

Wishing you…..

Peace on Earth

A Joy Filled Holiday Season!!!

Out of the frying pan…

into the fire...

My grams used to love to say that phrase when life was speeding by and that is exactly how the past few months have felt. Just as blurry as the photo above!

I finished up NaNo in November with a little over 180,000 words. It is the first time I’ve Nano’d two complete novel drafts. Then right around the corner, Norweson was waiting.

Norwescon is ‘The Northwest’s Premier Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention’. The Fairwood Writer’s Workshop is where you can enter an excerpt of your novel to be critiqued by professional writers during the April convention. The deadline was December 19th. The submission package must contain a cover letter, synopsis (1000 word limit), and an excerpt of your novel. I spent many sleepless nights writing and re-writing to submit the best possible example of my writing. It was emailed off and I’ve received confirmation that it was received. I hope and pray it is my very best work. Time will tell.

This past week I wrapped up the year for Eastside Author Chat, the writing group I organize. It is an amazing group of writers and I feel lucky to share the writing journey with them.

Only a handful of days left in 2010. In those days, a lunar eclipse, Christmas and New Years Eve. I have my 2011 goals sketched out and I will be solidifying them in the next few days.

I’m looking forward to the ‘Fire’ of 2011 and all the new writing experiences, (writing conventions, agents, synopsis writing, even rejection letters!) the year has waiting for me.

On your mark, get set, NaNo!

No, it isn’t some new alien tech speak. It stands for National Novel Writers Month.

For 30 exciting days in November, people around the world join in the common goal to write their own novel. The end goal is 50,000 words. They don’t even have to be perfect words. You could even write a story about glow in the dark lava sharks in a hollowed out volcano, just sit in the chair and put fingers to keys!

So, it is almost 3am on the first day of Nano. I just finished typing in my scenes and have 7,890 words.

I’m pretty pleased with my new story. As I was typing I realized my male lead needs a name change. In the rush and excitement of my first Nano event, I used the name James Clemens. I’ve been obsessed with the pacing of my favorite writer, James Rollins/ James Clemens and his name slipped into my story. A definite change! First thing in the morning, if I can sleep. The story is spinning in my mind 🙂

If you are curious about Nano, the web site is http://www.nanowrimo.org/.

Slings and Arrows

Recently, I bared my soul to my writing group, and once again started the process of giving and receiving feedback. It is a tight-rope every writer navigates in the process towards publication.

I posted the opening scenes of my ‘Fairy-Tale’ on our group board and held my breath as the members read my story. Initially I created the story, to fill in some gaps for myself while I was world building. Every lost and mysterious world has myths and legends. Who hasn’t heard tales of Atlantis or Shangri-La? So my world, Chamoura, needed some myths and legends of its own.

Around the table at Starbucks, we took turns, reviewing what each of us had offered up. Eventually it was my Fairy-Tale’s turn for feedback and I did my best to sit back and take it all in. I lead this group so I didn’t want to be the cougar mama defending her cub. One member said he hated the main character and wished he had been murdered in the first scene. Someone else liked it. As I sat there listening to the lively conversation over the table, I actually surprised myself. These characters must have struck a chord for such a reaction. I wasn’t handed a list of typos and grammar issues with the ‘nice job’ and a ‘See you next time’ dismissal.

Just as I tell the other members of the group, my suggestions on your work are yours to do with as you wish. If they don’t work, then ignore them. And, I get that option as well. Did the feedback have validity even though it stung? Yes. Did my inner critic go on a tirade about what a lousy writer I am and I should quit? Nope. When I first started my inner critic’s voice was louder and had more emotional weight.

Today, I know that I can not please everyone that reads my work and I do not want to even try to do that. I have to remember that each reader comes to my story with their own filter they read through. That filter is their life experiences, beliefs, memories, and values. Each person is going to see my characters through that filter.

I find value in the feedback, all the feedback. It may sting, but it also pushes me to be a better writer than I was yesterday. All good writing is in the RE-Writing, and I am grateful I have people in my life, ready to offer me the slings and arrows that push my writing to be better!

Thanks to all of  EAC for making me a better writer!!!

Mirror, Mirror…

The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.  Barbara Deangelis 

Black River by Mike Hamilton

  

My dream is for my characters to live and breathe on the page. They should be quirky, like the rest of the world. Setting is also an important character. It lives and breathes and speaks by awakening all the senses. Can it also have quirks?! 

  

I started thinking about quirks after reading a post in Cyndi Briggs blog The Sophia Project. In her post, It’s July: Let Your Freak Flag Fly, Cyndi states, “I bet your odd self has it’s own ways of grabbing your attention, of reminding you that for all your trying, there’s a hint of crazy in you that craves some fresh air and freedom.”  

  

 This is exactly what a reader wants in a character. The hero that is tall, handsome and always says the right thing = boring. If the same hero fumbles and spills ketchup on his shirt every time he gets nervous, the reader feels a connection.  

  

Can this be accomplished through setting as well? Can a setting be quirky and odd? 

I’ve been exploring that concept as I write more of my discovery draft. The above photograph, courtesy of Mike Hamilton, is an aerial view of Black River in Renton. This is the place where Tahoma fell from his nest as a heron fledgling and shifted into human form. This alone does not make the place quirky. It is surrounded by the modern-day expansion of a business park, satellite dishes, and a train off in the distance. Something however, is keeping the spot protected. Is it the quirky magic of Black River?  

  

One scene I was writing today has me considering the magic of this place. Tahoma is now in human form and setting off on his adventure. He looks down at his reflection in the Black River, the image reflected back is a heron fledgling. Could the quirk of this place be that your true essence is reflected in these waters? Could the fresh air and freedom in this magical place be a mirror reflecting your true image, not the mask people wear in our day-to-day life?

 

Magic lives and breathes here, if you slow down and take the time to notice it.  

 

 

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