Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG: Bittersweet



It’s time for another group posting of the IWSG: Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month and encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

Be sure to link to IWSG and display the badge in your post.


IWSG is the brainchild of our noble Ninja Captain and leader Alex J. Cavanaugh

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional!

May 3 Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?


The awesome co-hosts for the May 3 posting of the IWSG will be Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone!

Please stop by and thank them for their time. 


Whenever I'm ill, which isn't often, I feel vulnerable. Especially when I don't understand the why. I can't believe I would attract a horrible experience into my life. Nor would I purposely scare my husband. He's a fixer, and when he can't fix things, he suffers. 

The hives I contacted last month in Bucerias were so bad that dear husband tried to switch flights with me and have me sent home in his place. His flight was April 8th and mine was April 21st. 


Fortunately, the hives cleared up in three days and dear husband left assuming I'd be fine. We do this a lot, take separate flights. 

Four days later, at 10:45 in the morning, a pigeon caught its wing in the rod iron fixture holding up the A/C unit at our front door. I stood on a stool, reached through the re-bar wall, and after several stressful minutes, freed him.  




That was my goal, to free him. So when he died, stunned--I jerked, which in turn toppled the stool. The front door was open and I fell onto my right side just inside the apartment. 



We live on the top floor of a walkup apartment. When I realized I was in trouble, I decided to "fix" the problem. I crawled 7 metres believing I could reach the dining room chair and pull myself upright. Halfway, I reached the small alcove bed and after two more hours, pulled the pillows and comforter to the floor. I knew if I didn't warm up I'd likely get pneumonia. 

People have asked since then how I managed to cope. Truth is I didn't manage. So many horrendous thoughts ran through my mind. I yelled at the top of my lungs, yet nobody heard me. I prayed, cried, begged. Talked to my dead parents. I tried to stay strong. I sang Rolling Stones' songs, recited aloud all the blessings in my life. I later learned that two friends (at different times during the day) were on their way to see me, only to have their plans changed at the last moment. 

When Mary, the apartment manager found me at 7:30 in the evening, I cried like a little girl. She called 911 and summed friends. Soon, my little apartment filled with neighbours who each tried in their own way to comfort me. Luis' eight year old little girl, patted my shoulder and told me I'd be okay. Luis' mother rubbed my leg and reminded me that God was with me. Luis rushed about the apartment, gathering everything he thought I'd need in the hospital. Later, I found toothpaste and my toothbrush in my purse. 

Mary called my dear friend, Lulu (Lourdes), who went with me in the ambulance and stayed on the sofa beside my hospital bed until my husband finally found a flight from Canada two days later. 

The fall broke the top of my right femur. Because of the severity of the break, I had a full hip replacement on April 14th. I can't emphasize enough how wonderful the doctors and nurses were. I was treated with care, respect and kindness for 6 days. During the day, friends stayed by my side while dear husband packed up our apartment, cleaned floors, and scrubbed the fridge. In the evening he slept on the sofa beside my bed. 



It wasn't until a dear lady from my La Cruz Writer's group offered a rental house across from her place, rent free, that I realized there was no way I'd be able to climb the 54 steps to our apartment once I was released from the hospital. She is just one of the many wonderful people that stepped forward to help us during this difficult time. One friend lent us a walker, another did research for physiotherapy, another called their orthopaedic surgeon for a second opinion, and another drove us to the airport from Nayarit to Jalisco.  





I know accidents are never timely. But this happened when I was supposed to be finishing my current WIP, a manuscript I've been struggling with for several years. This happened when I should have been marketing a new ebook. 

My publisher put out a request, and a some terrific bloggers came to my rescue, which shouldn't surprise me considering we belong to an awesome blogging community.


Still, I cry when I think about it. And I'm sad because I still haven't visited their sites. 





Today is the first time I've been at the computer since the accident. Not just because it hurts to sit for too long, but because I'm depressed. I need to understand why this happened. And not just the accident, but the 8 hours while I waited for someone to find me. I need to replace the doubt that has taken over. Before the accident I was of the mindset that everything will always work out. Now I'm not so sure. 

My doctor says it's the result of a concussion that has me feeling vulnerable and emotional. He says that though I may feel as if I'm standing still, I will recover, grow strong again, and in time understand the good that came from this. 

I hope he's right. I like that other joylene better, the one who believes everything always works out. It's what this blog has been about from the beginning. 

After 5 years of having our house on the market, someone is interested in buying our home. No, I have no idea how I'm going to manage packing up 25 years worth of stuff while using a walker. 

I have a lot to be grateful for. I know that. One day this will make sense. And when it does, I'll share that too. Meanwhile, I won't be around for awhile. I've turned off comments for your benefit. To those of you who have taken the time to email me privately, I will answer each of you soon. First I need to succeed at pain management and get a good night's sleep. 

Thank you for the wonderful birthday wishes and all the get well messages. You really are a treasure that I give thanks for every single day.  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

IWSG - April - Ebook News



It’s time for another group posting of the IWSG: Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month and encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

Be sure to link to IWSG and display the badge in your post.


IWSG is the brainchild of our noble Ninja Captain and leader Alex J. Cavanaugh

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional!

April 5 Question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?


The awesome co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG will be Christopher D. Votey, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey!




This post will be brief as I am currently under the weather with a severe case of hives. From the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, can you believe it? I can't. It's a long time since I've experienced anything so painful. But this doesn't mean I won't be visiting your blogs; it's just going to take me longer than normal. Before I go I wanted to mention I have a new ebook coming out with Dancing Lemur. 

Life is good and my body will most certainly heal soon. My doctor(s) live in the apartment directly below us. Two of the sweetest girls you'll ever meet. Thank you Cinthia and Jackie for all your tender care. Oh, and Happy Anniversary to my dear husband. 




Monday, March 27, 2017

Featuring Hank Quense - Creating Stories




CREATING STORIES
BY HANK QUENSE



  • Published by Strange World Publishing
  • AVAILABLE April 1, 2017
  • $8.99, 9947 KB, 105 Pages
  • Genre: Fiction Writing
  • ASIN: B01MZ6E3EM

Do you have a story in you?

Do you know how to write it or how to tell it?
 
Creating Stories has the answers. Hank Quense, the author of more than twenty books, tells you how to do it. He believes that stories come from the melding of three elements: getting ideas, story design, and story-telling. Ideas have to come from the author. Creating Stories covers the last two. 
The book concentrates on developing characters including such rarely discussed requirements such as a dominant reader emotion and the character’s biography.
Plots are also covered in depth and a number of graphics are included to illustrate complex points. Another topic discusses subplots and how to utilize them and how to nest them within the main plot.
A separate chapter discusses the relationship between the plot and the emotional arcs.
Other topics covered are:  character arcs, scene design, point-of-view, writing voice.
 
Table of Contents:
Part 1: Setting & Characters
Chapter 1: Getting Started
Chapter 2: Setting
Chapter 3: Characters-1
Chapter 4: Characters-2
Chapter 5: More Character Stuff
Part 2: Plotting
Chapter 6: Plotting
Chapter 7: Subplots
Chapter 8: Scene Design
Chapter 9: Plot and Emotional Arcs
Part 3: Story-telling
Chapter 10: Basic Stuff
Chapter 11: Point-of-View
Chapter 12: Writing Voice
Part 4: More Stuff
Chapter 13: Parody, Humor, and Satire
Chapter 14: Odds & Ends 
Chapter 15: Other Stuff
Chapter 16: Appendices
Chapter 17: About the Author

* * * * 

I'm thrilled to be participating in Hank Quense's book tour today; he's been a featured guest on this blog many times and for good reason. Although we've never met in person, I'd like to think I know how just how talented Hank is. This book is a true treasure and needs to be in the library of every writer worldwide. 








From chapter 4 of Creating Stories

Nothing tells the reader the author is an amateur quicker than reading about a make-believe cardboard character, one that isn't a “real” person.  As you develop this part of your character you will, once again, run into the limitation factor.  The more defined your character becomes, the more limitations you'll place on the character and yourself.

In this section we'll cover the mental or inner workings of characters.  There are a number of areas involved in this undertaking and it will require creativity and hard work to finish the development.  These areas include the character's personality, his dreams, his aspirations and mirages that affect him.  The character's philosophy is also an important element here and that will be covered separately.

Personality: Let's start with personality.  Here is a definition from the American Heritage Dictionary: The pattern of feelings, thoughts, and activities that distinguishes one person from another.  If you scan the web, you'll find a bewildering array of web sites about personality including some heavy-duty stuff from doctors.  Basically, it seems to break down into two areas: personality types and personality traits.

According to one theory, there are sixteen types of personality.  There are four types in each of four categories: analysts, diplomats, sentinels and explorers.  Your character has to be one of sixteen.  For more information see http://www.16personalities.com/personality-types.

Within these categories, there are many personality traits.  You need to define your character by giving him or her a personality trait or two.  Is your character affable, charming, pompous, unfriendly?  There are many personality traits that can be used.  Once you select one or two, do a web search on that trait to ensure you can write convincingly about that type of personality.  There is more information about personality traits here: http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-personality-traits.html

Dreams (aspirations): What does your character want out of life?  What does he want to do when he grows up?  What does she want to achieve?  This attribute can influence how the character acts and can provide  a measure of conflict.  What if she wants to become an engineer, but has to decide whether to stay in college or drop out to help her sick mother?  This situation will provide inner conflict.

Memories: These are influencers that characters have.  Memories can also be used for foreshadowing and to build up internal conflict.  How?  Consider this example: as a five-year-old, the character almost drowned.  Ever since, she has had a healthy fear of open water.  At some point in the story, she sees a man drowning in the middle of a lake.  What does your character do?  Does her fear of water cause her to ignore the man and walk away?  Does she search for a boat to use in the rescue?  Does she suppress her fear and dive into the lake?

This inner conflict can provide a memorable scene in the story.  Remember though, a heroine has to do heroic stuff.  It would be acceptable for a villainess to let the guy drown, but a heroine will have to try to save him, or she won't be believable.  If she lets the guy drown without trying to save him, the character will be seen as a phony and the reader will lose interest in her.

Another example will concern a man who was punished as a child by being locked in a dark closet.  Now he fears dark basements, caves, alleys and any unlit place.  You can see how this memory and foreshadowing can lead to exciting scenes and gripping internal conflict.

Mirages: These are fantasies the character tricks herself into believing.  Want an example?  Most politicians thinking they have the slightest chance of getting elected President.

Descriptor (or voice): This item isn't the same as the way the character speaks, it's a brief description or summary of the character and the way he thinks and acts.  This isn't easy to develop but I believe it's essential to have one for the major and main characters.  Once you have the descriptor, it will help you write accurately about the character and his thoughts, his actions, his reactions.

Examples may be the best way to explain the descriptor.  A banker can be the voice of greed and will endlessly talk about money and financial concerns.  This character will always be trying to get more money, possibly through fraud.  A psychopath is the voice of rage, always ready for an argument or fight.  A warrior could be described as the voice of chaos.  An accountant can be the voice of precision.

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If you have any questions or comments on this material, leave a note and I'll respond.








Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric sci-fi and fantasy stories.
He also writes and lectures about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 19 books and 50 short stories along with dozens of articles. He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject. He is currently working on a third Moxie novel that takes place in the Camelot era.
He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe. They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.

Amazon Author Page * Website * Twitter


You can check out the schedule and follow Hank’s tour by clicking HERE.





There is a tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) eBooks of CREATING STORIES and three (3) print copies of the author’s MOXIE'S PROBLEM (U.S. entries only). The prizes are courtesy of the publisher. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 18. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) eBooks of CREATING STORIES and three (3) print copies of the author’s MOXIE'S PROBLEM (U.S. entries only). The prizes are courtesy of the publisher. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 18.

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions.

Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to check out Hank’s book.