COUNTING MY BLESSNGS

Not a creature was stirring. Not even the Cat

    As the Holidays grow closer and closer, I have mixed emotions. Some happy. Some sad

Happy, because it is my favorite time of the year… a time when families are closer and the bond is renewed. …When bells are ringing, and familiar music is heard everywhere. …When cheerful faces are smiling. …When we share with another, the joys of the season.

Sad, because I miss those who have gone and are no longer present at the gathering of our family, although they remain close in each of our hearts; never to be forgotten. Sad because there are others who are in need and who struggle to fill empty stomachs and spend what little they have for their family. 

It is a time to count one’s blessings.

 I am blessed and want to thank my followers for helping me become a better writer, and for the insight so many of you have, which has certainly helped me this year.

 I am blessed for my family, who keep me going, day after day, month after month, with their love, encouragement, and guidance.

 I am blessed every day as I watch my grandsons and my granddaughter mature into honorable young people.

I am blessed by all the wonders of the earth we live on, the opportunities given us, and that I am without want.

So to all, I wish you a happy Holiday and a happy New Year. …PAULA

FORESHADOWING

What is foreshadowing, and would you want to use it?

Foreshadowing is the popular way many authors give the reader an advance hint of what is to happen later in the story. There are numerous ways to use foreshadowing. One way is to have a lesser character foreshadow an event —or, use it during a conversation between characters. Many writers find it a great addition to the plot, adding suspense, and expectations of what is to come. Mystery authors use it by implying that one character is acting suspiciously, when, in reality, another committed the crime.

 Some authors like to give an early warning at the beginning of the novel.  Others use it as major events unfold throughout the novel. There are examples of foreshadowing in the “HARRY POTTER” novels like students hearing something in the walls, preceding a monster they discover later.  To foreshadow an event, you could mention it by name with a warning that something is going to happen.

             Examples of Foreshadowing:

 “LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD”- told not to stop on her way to grandma’s house. 

 “STAR WARS, DARTH VADAR’S”- shadow is behind Anakin, foreshadowing who Anakin will grow up to be.

“PETER RABBIT”- told by Mrs. Rabbit not to go into Mr. MacGregor’s garden.  He does and gets in trouble.

EVERYDAY PHRASES: “Curiosity killed the cat.” —for-tells misfortune.

 “It was a dark and stormy night”— for-tells an unfortunate event that will occur later.

             Other ways to Foreshadow:                    

Language can create a visual picture of what to expect. 

A contradiction between what is expected and what actually happens.

One I particularly like is a Flashback, telling something that happened in the past— as a clue about what might happen later in the story. You could plant little clues throughout the story hinting the story’s outcome. For authors who outline, you could add foreshadowing or a flashback to your outline.  For those who do not, and that includes myself foreshadow or flashback can be inserted as you write.

        Try Foreshadowing…….Paula

HOW TO CREATE A GREAT TAGLINE

Someday the years of struggle
will strike you as the most beautiful
SIGMUND FREUD

Why use a Tagline for your latest Novel?  Because it gives your reader more information about you and about your book.  It is different from the short synopsis you place on the back cover. The tagline is a great way to hook the interest of readers who have little time, and the online surfers, who usually allow ten seconds to read it, become interested and buy it.  Authors use Taglines for their books—Advertisers use Taglines for marketing products, and Movies have had Taglines since the early 1900’s.

These marketing slogans have proven their worth by lasting years and years, without change. Here are a few advertising Taglines still in use:  “KFC’s “Finger Lickin’ Good”, Wheaties, “Breakfast of Champions, and the one for the Army: “Be all you can be”.

The first movie released with a tagline was a Poster designed by Jules Cheret, a Frenchman, promoting a short film in 1890.   In 1895, they depicted an actual Train Scene from the film “Arrival of a train”.  In 1910, the studios produced their own, with special border art, titles, Studio logos, and “slogans” or Taglines.  Did you know the Number One Tagline from all Movies is 1979’s “ALIEN”—“In space, no one can hear you scream.”   

    To continue,—you need a Tagline for your novel. Let us assume your novel is a love story. Here are a few thoughts that will make a tagline effective.

  What is the conflict or basis of the story (love or career)—what is the meaning of your story (can she do both?)—Emphasize an important quality of your character (Determined, stubborn)—Highlight something distinctive about the novel (does love win?)—Inspire the reader’s curiosity, by not telling all, but just enough to interest them—the genre of the novel? (Romance, Young Adult).

  Start each word with the same letter: Example, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.

Rhyming:  Love came to her in a dream…but was it all a scheme? The tagline tells you it is a love story, with a mysterious character, and it may not turn out well.

Try a short, dynamic tagline like: “Love hurts.”  Sometimes the shorter the tagline, the more interest in your book, and the urge to buy it.

If you quote something in the novel, maybe what your character says, use it as a Tagline. Your fans will recognize it and the result will be an increased enthusiasm for your book.           

Because of the importance of your Tagline, you may want to enlist the help of someone.

However, whatever you do, keep trying new combinations until the right one is found.

Here’s to a successful TAGLINE, Paula

TOO MUCH ADVICE?

                                                                       

                                               IS IT GOOD OR BAD ADVICE?

In the latest issue of “Writers Digest” is an article by Jeff Somers, I had to pass on to my readers. I can only cover some of his topics due to the length.

As writers, we carefully edit our manuscript, correcting any mistakes, and pay special attention to correct punctuation, wording, etc. before releasing it for publication.  Many of us, including myself, seek the opinions of friends, family, authors, and volunteers willing to read the novel, as the last check before submission.

In addition to the opinions of my family and friends, I read everything I found by those I considered authorities, but I was confused and conflicted about different interpretations of the same advice. In the back of my head was the same question until I read this wonderful Article.

QUESTION: When is it okay to NOT follow the advice given you by others, Read below what Jeff  Somers wrote about “THE RULES’.

  1. WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW:  Write what you know was not meant to reject your imagination.  You can write about stuff you know nothing about— just write a story you want to read.
  • SHOW DON’T TELL: When showing injects unnecessary verbosity, don’t.  That rule implies that “telling” is Lazy, while showing takes real talent. You need to balance the showing and the telling, 
  • WRITE EVERY DAY:  The discipline of working regularly is good and stops you from being one of those who talks about writing but never does. But, not all can write every day.  Think of it as a goal, not a requirement.
  • KILL YOUR DARLINGS:It is probably the most misunderstood and misapplied piece of writing advice in the history of writing. Don’t delete writing you like and never look back.
  • INVEST IN A THESAURUS: Having a large vocabulary as an author is great—but it’s only half the battle. You need to feel comfortable, and your word choices should fit your characters.
  • NEVER WRITE A PROLOGUE:The implication is that you are an amateur. In reality it is possible to pull off a prologue, but you need purpose.
  • AVOID THE PASSIVE VOICE: Yes, it is grammatically correct, and we are told it is lazy writing. However, there are forms of passive that are acceptable and necessary.

 I hope the above encourages you to subscribe to this wonderful magazine and read the entire article.

Happy writing, Paula

GREAT AUTHORS RECEIVED REJECTION LETTERS

EVEN GREAT AUTHORS RECEIVED REJECTION LETTERS

Some of the great writers at one time or another received that dreaded rejection letter and went on to enjoy successful careers.

              Did you know? Margaret Mitchell, the author of “Gone with the Wind”—was rejected 38 times before publication.  And the great author Stephen King submitted “Carrie” 30 times and was rejected 30 times. I found it interesting to learn that many of the authors we admire received NO’s on their creative work before finding a publisher.

WILLIAM FAULKNER:          His novel “Sanctuary” was considered unpublishable

VLADIMIR NABOKOV:         Did you know he received a rejection letter after submitting “Lolita”, which later on sold Fifty  Million copies?

TIM BURTON;                        Did you know his first illustrated book, “The Giant Slig” received a thumbs down from Disney?

ANN FRANK:                         “The Diary of a Young Girl” was rejected 15 times.

BEATRIX POTTER:                Published “The Tale of Peter Rabbit:” herself.

J.K. ROWLING:                   “Harry Potter and “The Sorccer’s Stone” was rejected 12 times, and she was told not to quit her Day Job.

A few quotes I hope you will find amusing and encouraging:

W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM:  “There are three rules for writing a novel.  Unfortunately no one knows what they are.”

MARK TWAIN:                       “Substitute the word “damm” every time you are inclined to write very.  Your editor will delete it and the writing will be as it should be.”

ERNEST HEMMINGWAY:     “The first draft of everything you write is Poop.”

RAY BRADBURY:                  “You must stay drunk in writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

ROBERT FROST:                    “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.  No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

TONI MORRISON:                  ”If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

.*… A special Thank You to “Buzz-Feed” for the informative article on Pinterest.

                        “EVERY DAY IS A NEW BEGINNING”—PAULA  

HOW TO CURE WRITER’S BLOCK

At one time or another, each of us has sat in front of the computer, hands positioned over the black keys— ready to begin our next story—anxious to put down that important first sentence. Did you sit, as I did, before the bright blank screen, daring you to deface the void, by typing one lonely letter? And, how long did you sit, staring into space, surrounded by silence, before you gave up?

I have always used music as my cure, playing softly in the background ,where my brain can escape from today’s world, into a calmer, nicer place. There my characters patiently await my typed word.  Sometimes it does not work, and I’m forced to seek another remedy.  I close down my computer, and take a nice long walk, stopping for ice cream, before I return home, to sit again before a bright blank screen.

 I was curious as to how others cured writer’s block and asked google. Never in my wildest dreams could I begin to imagine the endless responses available to me, especially when youTube popped up. There were videos after videos—with advice on how to cure a writer’s block. 

One suggestion was to purchase Vanadinite crystals because they are magical and have the ability to stimulate the mind.

  • Search the Calendar for some big event that happened many years ago and write about it.
  • Walk– which I usually do
  • Find a Motivational Phrase such as:          “IT IS EASY TO WALK AWAY – AND MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO STAY”
  • Read– it is a known fact that reading inspires the writer.
  • Headphones– get rid of them and listen to the world around you;
  • Do Yoga or Tai Chi;
  • Write something different, like a Song or a Poem, or a Scene from another story.

I thought using prompts a good idea. For example, someone gives you a word and you write about it. If the word were” Mystery” you would think of a murder that needs to be solved. Or, Romance, and you think of a love story that may or may not end happily ever after.

I especially liked the suggestion to create a new Character: Make up a name, what does he or she look like? How old is the character?  When did he or she appear, and what part does your character play in the story?

Here’s to the end o f WRITER’S BLOCK, Paula

THE FIRST CHRISTMAS

Xmas.jpgTHE FIRST CHRISTMAS

The first recorded Christmas was in 336 during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who was the first Christian Emperor. However, for the first 300 years of Christianity, it was not so. A few years later, Pope Julius 1 officially proclaimed the birth date of Jesus would be forever on the 25th of December. Many asked: Why are the colors of Christmas Red, Green, and Gold?

Evergreen plants were used for thousands of years during the long winters. Romans exchanged branches as a sign of good luck. Red symbolized the apples on  the trees, and also is the color of holly berries. It is also the color of Bishop Robes, which later became Santa’s uniform.  Gold is the color of the sun and light Gold was one of the presents brought to the baby Jesus by one of the wise men                                                  

Menorah.jpg    HANUKKAH, FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

The Jewish Festival of Lights is the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the first being destroyed by Antiochus, King of Greece, about 200 BC because he wanted all Jews to follow the Greek way of life and religion. He desecrated the most holy place in the temple and destroyed the Jewish holy scrolls.  Three years later, the Temple was rebuilt and rededicated to God.

Questions were asked: Why celebrate for eight nights? Rumor has it there after the dedication of the rebuilt temple, there was only enough oil to burn a candle for one night, but it miraculously burned for eight nights. Each night one light on  the Menorah is lit to thank God and ask for his blessing. Hanukkah is celebrated from late November to late December, because the Jewish calendar is lunar ,beginning before Jesus was born. Sometimes, Hanukkah and Christmas are celebrated on or near December 25th.

At this time, I want to wish all a happy Holiday, and hope you can celebrate with family, friends and those most precious to you, and together, enjoy all the wonders of the season.

Warm wishes, from my family to yours, Paula