50 Shades of Green
Nothing says green like March! By now, we are so ready for some green! Green is Nature’s way of generating something new. It is fresh and clean, a doorway for artistry and innovation. Green is creativity.
So get your Green on for Wild Creativity this month!
Some Entertaining Stories: What if… this happened? Therefore… that happened! But … this got in the way and … a story ensued!
Some Exciting Fantasy: Just finished my first ghost story! I’m over the moon! What next?
Someplace different: maybe Ireland with its 50 shades of Green! Or Italy with its miles of seacoast and fantastic food!
Have some fun: Golf and March Madness college basketball!
Get some crazy-love: grand kids, children, friends and lovers!
Something Bookish: TFOB – Tucson Festival of Books – come on over for some fun with dozens of authors and thousands of book lovers.
This is my list – you make your own. Pull out your green pens, set up green décor (candles and such), and wrap up in a green scarf to remind yourself to be wildly creative. Be off and running into a green field! Bring a little (or a lot) of Green into your life! You’ll be happier for it!
Mary Tate Engels is the author of more than 33 books. For more see her website www.marytateengels.com .
2,000 to 10,000 – How to write faster, write better, and write more of what you love by Rachel Aaron
Reviewed by Patricia Knoll
Rachel Aaron is the author of Fantasy and Science Fiction novels who quit her job a few years ago to write fulltime and take care of her infant son. While still working at her old job, she managed to write about 2,000 words a day, which isn’t too sappy. When she became a fulltime writer, she expected to have a much higher word count since she had many more hours in which to write, but it didn’t turn out that way. She still was only writing about 2,000 words a day. She set out to discover why and made some interesting discoveries about herself and her writing process.
What she came up with is a triangle of things she must accomplish in order to increase her word count. They are Knowledge, Time, and Enthusiasm.
Knowledge: She learned that her writing pace ground to a halt when she was trying to plot as she wrote, or trying to figure out what should happen next. Her solution was to write down notes of what’s going to happen in each scene before she wrote it. At the beginning of each writing session, she took five minutes to complete a quick description of what she was going to write that day.
Time: Rachel made a spreadsheet (Be still my heart! I adore spreadsheets because they can tell you so much.) She kept track of what time she started writing, what time she stopped, how many words she wrote, and the location where she was writing. She discovered that she wrote best in coffee shops where she didn’t have internet access. She also found out that the longer she wrote, the faster she wrote, and the better she wrote.
Enthusiasm: She realized that she wrote lickety-split on some scenes and others dragged. After thinking about it, she saw that the scenes she’d been looking forward to writing went fast and well, while others, such as descriptions or background, didn’t. She started using her five minute planning session to get excited about the scenes she would be writing that day, finding the fun parts, the hooks, the emotional bits that made it exciting. Those were the things that moved her story forward.
Following the guidelines she set for herself, she has increased her writing production to 10,000 words a day.
Rachel seems to be a very analytical person who figured out what works for her. Those of us who aren’t as analytical can benefit from her hard work to become more productive.
I bought this as an ebook for my Kindle. It’s fast and easy to read, understand, and follow. She has many more hints in the book, talking about characters and three act structure, for example. One of the things I liked best about this book is Rachel’s positive, upbeat tone regarding the whole process of writing. While she doesn’t make it seem easy, with her suggestions, it’s doable and enjoyable.
WHY MOTIVATION MATTERS
by Laurie Schnebly Campbell
You already know that, no matter what kind of plot you’re building, it’s gotta be motivated by your characters in order to feel plausible. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing an emotional plot or an action plot or both — what makes it work is the characters.
So what IS it that makes your characters do what they do? Or another way of asking that is, what makes anybody do what they do?
There are all kinds of theories of motivation, and they all boil down to the same thing.
We want to be Okay.
Whatever it takes to be okay, that’s what motivates us.
Maslow talked about that, saying that to be Okay we first need Food and Water…yep, okay…Shelter…got it…then Safety…and in most books, those issues are pretty well taken care of. Sometimes you’ll get characters fleeing the murderer in the North Woods or laid off from the factory job, but food isn’t usually a driving motivation.
So we get into the next level of what people need to be Okay, which is Belonging / Acceptance / Love. Then there’s Respect of Others and Self-Respect, and finally there’s the drive to Be All You Can Be. Everywhere along that continuum, you’ve got some great motivators.
And that matters, because it’s the motivation that makes a character interesting.
Some writers start with the motivation: “let’s see, a woman who’s motivated by the desire for adventure would be THIS type of person.” Other writers start with the character: “my heroine wants to sail to Jamaica, so that must mean she’s motivated by adventure.”
Either way works fine. And either way leaves you totally free to write any kind of story you want.
Say, given this heroine who wants to sail to Jamaica in search of adventure, could your story be full of soul-deep emotion? Absolutely. Dizzying suspense? Yep. Heartwarming faith? Yep. Quirky humor? Yep. Spine-tingling terror? Yep.
It all depends on how you write it.
So in that case, why does the heroine’s motivation even matter?
Because it’s what makes her credible. Same as we can’t have pink-elephant aliens showing up in some 14th-century castle without sacrificing a bit of credibility, neither can we have this woman sailing off to Jamaica without SOME plausible motivation.
And that’s where it’s easy for us authors to fall down on the job. We love this heroine who’s rigging out her sailboat, we love that she’s going to Jamaica, and we know that on the way she’ll meet this incredibly witty sailor, there’ll be a pirate attack — oh, and the pirate ship will have a yellow parrot named Sidney! — it’s all taking shape. We KNOW it’ll work, because we can SEE this story.
But it’s that dazzling clarity which can get us into trouble. Because our readers weren’t IN on this first glorious flash of inspiration. They can’t see that wonderful vision. All they see is a heroine rigging out her sailboat for a trip to Jamaica, and they have no idea why she’s doing it.
Unless the readers GET her desire for adventure, they’re gonna feel out of the loop. They might not know why the story isn’t working for them, but they’re missing her motivation.
And motivation is what makes a book memorable.
For some writers, it comes so naturally that they never even question how their characters’ motivation will feed into the plot. (Which sometimes leaves them at loose ends, wondering what on earth can HAPPEN during their plot.)
For others, it’s more of a tack-on because their strength is in plotting. (Which sometimes leaves them wondering how to explain WHY this character did something that seems senseless but is actually integral to the plot.)
Either way, motivation is vital. And yet we’ve all found ourselves in trouble with motivation every now and then. So that’s my question for you:
When was the last time you found yourself dealing with a problem character? Who was this person? What did he or she do? How did you resolve the situation?
Everybody here will be able to sympathize with such a situation, because pesky characters strike EVERY writer! And if 25 people post today, one of ’em will win help for all their future characters,with free registration to my “Plotting Via Motivation” class (at WriterUniv.com) next month.
Meanwhile, I can’t wait to see those pesky characters on parade — because it’s always a lot more fun to read about other people’s problems than to focus on our own. :)
Laurie, hoping today will be slow at work so I can check email sooner than lunchtime…but don’t worry if it takes a while to hear back; I’m definitely checking in!
Black Moments: Make Them Earn Their Happily Ever After
In our morning workshop, we will study “black moments” in well-known fiction and films, and then study your story ideas to craft a black moment that has your readers turning pages and holding their breath, hoping the heroes will earn that happily ever after. This will be a hands-on presentation with lively discussion and feedback on your work in progress or maybe a finished work that needs more impact at the end.
Online Author Promotion for the Digital Age
In the afternoon, we’ll be discussing new ways to find your readership and build your author brand. Facebook events, online street teams, author virtual assistants vs. publicists, and utilizing author newsletters will all be discussed and we’ll touch on reader interactions and take questions.
Lisa Kessler is an Amazon Best Selling author of dark paranormal fiction. Her debut novel, Night Walker, won a San Diego Book Award for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror as well as the Romance Through the Ages Award for Best Paranormal and Best First Book. She currently writes the Night Series and Moon Series for Entangled Publishing.
Lisa’s short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.
When she’s not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist and has performed with San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.
You can learn more at Lisa’s Lair
Meeting fee of $25 members, $30 guests and walk-ins includes lunch selected from a menu of three items during Saturday morning check-in. SPACE MAY BE LIMITED. Walk-ins are welcome, but whenever possible, please guarantee your spot by reserving on our payments page or by emailing reservations@tucsonRWA.org no later than 8 am Wednesday before the meeting .
LUNCH ORDERS ARE COLLECTED AT 10am. If you plan to be late, contact reservations@tucsonRWA.org so we will be prepared to order on your behalf.
This event takes place at our regular venue, the Clarion Hotel, 4550 S. Palo Verde Rd., Tucson & will include a chapter business meeting.
I’ve heard several agents and editors say they are looking for diverse stories, multicultural stories, and always some of the authors around me, who are predominately white, shrink just a little.
I think most of us want to have diverse characters in our books, but we are wary of using offensive stereotypes or of stepping outside our comfort zones.
I hope this TED talk inspires you to expand your cast of characters.
NOTE: This extended workshop takes place at the Visount Hotel (4855 East Broadway) from 9am-3pm. Cost is $45 members, $55 nonmembers. (See below.)
Do most of your stories start with a bang and end with a whimper? Do you have drafts with squishy middles and no “The End” in sight? Nancy Ellen Dodd is here to help with her workshop, The Five Keys to Finishing Your Story.
This interactive workshop will explain the basic concepts of story mapping and how to take your work to the next level. It will help you recognize:
- Where you are in the story development,
- Which voice to write in,
- How to punch up your characters,
- How to know where your story should begin,
- What you need to finish your story.
Nancy will talk to writers in-depth on story writing elements and how to apply them more effectively to their individual work.
What You Will Learn:
Two individuals will be chosen to bring up to three (3) basic story problems they need to solve in order to finish their novel, short story, or screenplay.
Nancy will talk about ways to answer story problems. She will also give the two individuals feedback on their pages in a way that will enable the whole class to learn from the process.
About The Writers Compass:
Ms. Dodd teaches advanced screenwriting at Pepperdine University, and wrote “The Writer’s Compass: From Storymap to Finished Draft in 7 Stages.” This workshop includes material not in her book.
Instructor: Nancy Ellen Dodd
Nancy Ellen Dodd is a writer, a university instructor, and an editor. She received her master’s in Professional Writing from the University of So. California with a concentration in dramatic writing/screenwriting and her MFA in playwriting at USC’s School of Theatre. Having studied writing for more than 25 years, Dodd currently teaches screenwriting at Pepperdine University for undergraduate and graduate students.
She also studied writing with several successful, award-winning writers: Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Paul Zindel; playwrights Velina Hasu-Houston, Oliver Mayer, David Milton, and Lee Wochner; screen and television writer Sy Gomberg; and international poet James Ragan.
Dodd has received numerous awards for her writing, which include screenplays, plays, short stories, short films, and novel-length works, as well as inspirational writing. She has also published more than 130 articles in local and national publications including interviews with celebrities and business leaders.
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Please note that this is a special event and will not take place in our usual venue. This workshop is at the Viscount Hotel (4855 East Broadway) and there is no Chapter meeting this month.
Meeting fee of $45 members, $55 guests and walk-ins includes a sandwich-bar lunch. SPACE MAY BE LIMITED. Walk-ins are welcome, but whenever possible, please guarantee your spot by reserving on our payments page or by emailing reservations@tucsonRWA.org no later than 8am Wednesday before the meeting.