Friday, December 30, 2011

Territorial - Responsibility - Secrets

The goddess Ebony misses her beads will they be returned before its too late?

We are, by nature, territorial. Our living space depends on our status which depends on our country, state, town and even the environmental conditions such as weather.

As I watched the bird feeder stations outside my panoramic kitchen window I observed the territorial activity of the early morning feeders, creatures of nature, free from rules--or are they?

A gray squirrel seemed almost frightened about the rabbit while both were engaged in eating the sunflower seeds the birds had pushed out of the other feeders. A huge black crow sauntered down the road bed sorting through and feeding on pedestrian-tossed leftovers. I use the term pedestrians loosely—the walker, jogger, bicyclist and various modes of propelled vehicular transportation populated by humans who, with careless disregard for the rights of others, tossed whatever half-eaten, half-drunk morsels or super sized portions they no longer needed or wanted. 

We have no street cleaners in this small-town, rural community so it is left until home owner/me or the crows, mice, voles, ground squirrels and/or an array of other scavengers see fit to take off with it or dispose of it. I go from enjoying view to my ruffled feathers over other people's lack of concern, or is it responsibility, for my territory – my space. 

Whether it's setting as the background for a fictional story or our own reality we have certain expectations about setting and the things that influence those conditions.

There are countries where you are not allowed to own the land. 

When Native American's were first encountered in America, the concept of owning land was against their beliefs. Some cultures still adhere to that belief. That doesn't give anyone license to use the land and resources irresponsibly. Quite the opposite. It means everyone is responsible for every last inch of space the Universe encompasses, from land to water, and the air one breathes.  Isn't that a better way to look at our territorial rights? 

Could you build a story around a setting with this mind set?  Where universal ownership results in a new kind of manifest destiny—a shared pride in and code of ethics for survival and well being of all?

Of course, there are still territorial issues. Some people are very uncomfortable when another invades their space, their territory, with in-your-face closeness. We are still territorial as are the creatures in nature.

Check out this book it talks of territorial rights in a different way-- anywhere you buy your books even Amazon Kindle HERE

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The First Rule of Creativity

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The first rule according to Kurt Vonnegut is Do not use the semicolon. He adds this reason, "...they are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."
In case you don't know what hermaphrodites are - according to the Oxford English Dictionary they are representing themselves as Male and Female - so as with Vonnegut's quote they are nothing - even while they seem to be everything.

The rule of thumb is if MS Word puts in a semicolon rework your writing into shorter sentences--single idea, single topic, simple sentence. Which is always much more affective than a complex multidimensional sentence. Noun + action is the preferred concept.

So spare the semicolon and raise good sentences.
Do you agree with Mr. Vonnegut?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spice It Up, Creativity From The Kitchen - Spice Up Your Writing, Write to Entice

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Instructor: Billie Williams. There's nothing worse than bland-as-oatmeal writing that doesn't evoke passion, laughter, anger, love…some kind of emotion from your reader. Story tellers who don't elicit emotion won't gain an avid readership. It's that simple.

If you've struggled, wondering how you can get your writing to sparkle like a new penny, or a just cleaned window, learn to see everything as a metaphor for your writing. Start by looking in your spice cabinet, or your herb garden with a fresh perspective.

Garlic, Life Saving but distancing

Easier to write from this perspective but it puts your reader at arm's length--remember readers want to feel, experience, get to be friends with your main character so they can help him/her escape the villains wrath.

Sage, Advice
Sage has several meanings from wise advice to healing properties - what does sage mean to your story? We'll explore.

Basil, The flavor of language, dialect, cultures
Ah Basil - language - should you use dialect in your dialogue? How do you show culture if not through language?

Lavender, Relax feel the flow--in sync [Chat here with a book giveaway as well as a book giveaway at the end]In the flow, relax, meditate let things go where they may--don't lose site of the big picture but let your writing flow with a rhythm and cadence only you can create. Here's how.

Mace, Caustic, self defense, breaking the rules

An irritant chemical, a heavy club with a metal head and spikes - what could these possibly have to do with writing you ask..follow me--it's all about rules.

All Spice, Apple pie or American Graffiti

All Spice is for cookies and more from on genre to another all spice imparts its unique twist, it's unique flavor to your manuscript--your voice. We'll explore more.

Appendix: Handouts, "How to Hook A Reader", "Beginnings to the Work Day By the Masters"

WHEN: Jan 2, 2012 - Feb 19, 2012

COST: $15 for Premium Members

$25 for Basic Members

Cancellation policy: Registrations are non-refundable except when the workshop is cancelled by Savvy Authors.

REGISTRATION: Click Here to Register (Members will not receive member rate unless logged in.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mystery or Horror? Bram Stoker's Dracula

Dracula, by Bram Stoker was first published in 1897 when he was 50 years
Bram Stoker author of Draculaold. He died in 1912 at the age of 65 (according to .

While reading Dracula, I decided it is a good  mystery.

What qualifies it as a mystery? Every genre has the potential to be included in the mystery genre. To qualify as a mystery the story needs certain considerations: A crime, a secret, a detective, suspense and an orderly resolution.

A crime, either the death of Lucy Westener early in the book, or any of the other deaths in the book would qualify. 

A secret---there are plenty of those, even those between Jonathan Harker and his wife Mina who promised never to keep anything from each other. Dr. Seward is the best secret keeper, but the others --each hold something back.

A detective, I think Mina Harker is the best detectives in the book. She is brilliant, and even when under the spell of the monster Count Dracula, she reasons, plots, and delivers the necessary clues.

There are four others (her husband Jonathan), Dr. Seward, Professor Godalming, Mr. Van Helsing, and Arthur Qunicy also plays a part of the detecting crew.Their names intrigue me. The define them.

Suspense, oh yes, there is a whole boatload of suspense here. As to the orderly resolution...
We are taken round trip from Transylvania and back to Transylvania with the original Dracula and his first adversary Jonathan Harker.

Yes, Dracula is a very credible mystery dressed in the clothing of a well plotted horror story. Don't you agree?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Agatha Christie - Contract snafu

The years 1920-1945 were considered the Golden age of British Mysteries, according to John Curran in his book Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, 2009. The queen of those mysteries was Agatha Christie. Christie's first novel, The Mysterious Affairs at Styles, took five years from book contract to being published in the UK. The book contract specified she would not receive any pay until 2,000 copies of the book had sold. After that she would get a 10% royalty. That wasn't the only condition though, she was commissioned to write five more novels in the same vein.

Talk about being taken advantage of, luckily Christie learned fast and was assertive. She designed her own contract in subsequent deals and the rest as they say is classic Christie.