Inspiring writing reminder

“I wonder how old we are when we stop thinking like kids?”  – This Kid Reviews Books  (Quote used with permission. Thanks, Erik!)

Take the Jane Austen character quiz

There have been various things, distracting things, going on lately in my life – some of which I’ll share soon – and my blogging hasn’t been getting as much attention. I appreciate all who come by anyway, and I hope you have been finding things of help to you on the pages you can connect to from the top of this page.

Today I would like to share something fun for you to try. If you are familiar with Jane Austen’s work – and even if you’re not – you may find it interesting to discover which of her famous characters you twin.  Here is the link to follow. Once there you’ll find a quiz of eleven questions to answer to determine which character you are.

Jane_Austen

 

 

 

 

 

<–  Jane Austen

 

After you take the quiz, please come back and share what you learned about yourself.  :)

By the way, I am Anne Elliot of Persuasion!

Which Jane Austen character are you?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 24: Way up High in the Sky

Welcome back! Over the next several more months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison’s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month twenty-four:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 24: Way up High in the Sky

When my husband graduated from college, we decided to celebrate with a trip to the Rocky Mountains. As we drove west across the plains, we scanned the edge of the horizon for those fabled peaks, but mile after mile, no matter how carefully we looked, we couldn’t see any mountains. We did notice a hazy jagged band of white clouds, but we ignored them, until we finally realized that they weren’t clouds at all. They were the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies, not at the horizon as we had envisioned, but way up high in the sky. We were amazed!

800px-Mount_Massive (Photo by Rick Kimpel Jr., Common Domain)

As you know, mountain peaks and valleys are often used as a metaphor for the plot line of a story. When your readers approach the high climax of your novel, you want them to catch that same feeling of awe that Neil and I experienced when we first saw the Rocky Mountains. From chapter one, page one, you have guided your readers toward a moment of emotional intensity: joy or heartache or amazement or happiness or fulfillment. Carrying your readers to that high level requires a bit of magic beyond my ability to explain, but I hope the following tips help as you work to achieve that goal.

1. Your reader will not be lifted to a climactic level of emotion unless the character they love most or hate most is experiencing a similar emotional high or emotional release.

2. You need to ramp up the intensity of your novel through the rhythm of your words and the length of your sentences and paragraphs. (You might want to review Writing the Third Dimension #18, Tension.)

3. For the primary climax of  your novel, you should narrow your focus to the main plot line and the main characters.

4. The climax is not something tacked on or patched in, it’s the natural fulfillment of the plot line.

5.  And of course, you show, don’t tell. Nothing breaks the rise of emotion like a short, pat sentence as a substitute for action. “He released his anger.” “She would love him forever.” “The butler did it.”  ARGH! NO! Don’t tell me. Give me an action scene. Please…

I’ve had two very separate experiences when writing the climax of a novel. Usually, the words just flow, and the first draft, although not perfect, is better than I had hoped. But sometimes I have to write the climax again and again and again. How do I know when it’s right? It makes me smile, and it makes me cry. What better place for a writer to be than way up high in the sky, standing on top of the world, ready to give his or her readers the gift of tears, the gift of a smile?

Strength to your pen!

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two bestselling Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy – all of which went digital in May 2013. She also wrote a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back February 26, 2015, for part 25.

What makes you smile?

Hi there!  :)

Today I thought I would give you something creative and smile-worthy to try. It’s super easy and safe. I’m sure it will make you :)  (aka smile) … and I DO love smiles.  See?  :)

Click HERE to go HERE. The website is called I will draw you as a stick man. The artist does such a great job, you just have to try it.  :)

My question for today: What makes YOU smile?

sun-patrioticHave a wonderful, smile-worthy day!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

My word is Positivity!

I seem to be getting off to a slow start with my blogging this year, but I have ideas for making a few changes here although nothing is completely sorted out yet. Tonight I’m just going to share some thoughts with you.

On Friday I learned of the sudden passing of a cousin on January 6. It was unexpected news; he was only 65. I didn’t know him very well because he was very quiet and so shy. Any time we met at some gathering – the last being after a funeral a few months ago – we didn’t have much to say to one another, likely because we both felt a little shy. He was a really nice man who usually had a little grin and a twinkle in his eyes. Ever wish you had taken more time to talk with someone?

As I was writing the rough draft for this post (something I rarely do, but I wasn’t near my computer when these thoughts were coming to me) I was sitting in my living-room and occasionally gazing out the window. At one point an eagle came into view, soaring on the breeze. How magnificent those birds are, able to rise above it all and look at everything from a higher perspective. From that distance any situation looks small and manageable, meaning nothing can overwhelm when below and far away. We all need to see things that way, from a bit of a distance so that we don’t become overwhelmed by them. I do tend to get overwhelmed when I look at the big picture and must remind myself to take it one piece at a time.

There are many things I want to do this year, or make as much progress in as I can. One thing I decided is to read the Bible through again, having done so only twice in my life. I feel it’s time again. I’ve procrastinated but on Friday (Jan. 9) I felt I had to read the book of Micah (in Old Testament), a reminder of the times we are in even now. After reading Micah I found a schedule for reading the Bible in a year. The first time I used a devotional guide to take me through and read Old Testament and New Testament scriptures each day until finishing all 66 books; the second time I read from Genesis through Revelation in the order they are found in the Bible. This time I’ll be reading it in chronological order. I’m late starting so yesterday was day one for me and I hope/determine to stay with it.

  • Day one: January 10 – Genesis 1-3
  • Day two: January 11 – Genesis 4-7
  • tomorrow is Day three for me: January 12 – Genesis 8-11

Do you want to do this reading challenge with me? If you’d like to see the plan I’m using go to Bible Study Tools and click on Read, then select Reading Plans. You can choose among several schedules to read the Bible in one year, but there are other choices as well. I hope you will let me know if you decide to try any of them.

I am also praying and hoping for a writing partner or group to help me get (and stay) on track with my writing, and someone I can encourage in kind. I’m very choosy and particular, so I’ll let you know what comes of that.

Again this year I’ve seen where people have started their new year with a word. They either select a word they want to live by or they prayerfully wait for the word the Lord places on their heart for this year. It seems the word for me this year is POSITIVITY. It seems a rather odd word, but for me it relates to thinking positive thoughts, not allowing depression and discouragement to rob me, and to stay in forward motion with my goals. I also believe there is a Scripture that goes with it for me, and interestingly it’s one I posted in my blog December 31’14. This verse leaves no room for negative thinking and pity parties!

Philippians 4: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 

That’s all for this time. Tomorrow (Monday) I need to do some tidying up here on my blog.

I forgot to ask: Do you have a word for this year?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

It’s my WordPress anniversary!

I received a congratulatory reminder this evening from WordPress that …

Today, January 9, is my five-year anniversary!

On this date in 2010 I joined the WordPress blogging world and it’s one of the best things I’ve done for my writing.

Unfortunately, I am not off to a great start with anything in this new year, but I hope to improve soon.  I have to, don’t I? :)

How are you doing with your goals, aspirations, dreams so far this year?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

My 2014 blogging in review

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

In looking back over 2014 there are many things I was reminded of that occurred both here and in my personal life — some of the latter I shared here. Here’s a condensed review followed by my annual report compiled by WordPress.com.

1. I posted the final weeks of “Read More Books Challenge” run on my blog through October 3, 2013 to January 9, 2014. My challenge got a few people reading more classics and reminded us of the many great books we have yet to enjoy.  I’m still trying to read from that great list of 623 books. Are you?

2. We were privileged to have Sue Harrison continue to post teachings from her “Writing the Third Dimension” each month. (Thanks, Sue!) Has this been helpful for you?

3. I interviewed 6 authors during the year and reviewed 46 books on my blog. I also posted those reviews on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, chapters.indigo, LibraryThing, BookLook Bloggers, Shelfari, Goodreads.

4. In June I shared my 10 tips for authors from the perspective of a book reviewer.

5. In July I was interviewed on Leanne Dyck’s blog. She is discontinuing interviewing so I was blessed to have been included before she made that decision. You can read that interview again HERE.

6. In July I added another page to my blog, “Buy The Book!”, to help my readers find the books they read about here and other places I reviewed them. Has this made it easier for you?

7. In August I added a page, Suicide Crisis Lines, mainly because of the shocking death of Robin Williams. My heart still sorrows over that tragedy.

8. In October I reported about a fantastic program – Kindle Kids Mastery – for writers of children’s books. It’s really for anyone who wants to try publishing an e-book. Please check on my Writer’s Helps page for the link to that information. It’s a fabulous opportunity. Have you used this program yet?

9. In November I participated again in Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month, aka PiBoIdMo, and succeeded in meeting and surpassing the goal of 30 ideas. Did you try it in 2014?

10. In December I participated in Susanna Leonard Hill’s story writing competition and posted my story here on my blog as required. Although my story didn’t make the cut it was great practice for me, and a good learning experience.

11. On my “Books I Read This Year” page I reported that I managed to read 45 books, far less than I had hoped to read but more than I read last year. How many books did you read in 2014?

All in all, I feel 2014 was a good blogging year for me, even though I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to. Being a caregiver for a victim of Alzheimer’s has its challenges, and my own personal stuff added in made it harder to do all I was hoping to do. Even so, I am happy and encouraged that my blog following increased this year!

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR FOLLOWING MY BLOG. I greatly appreciate you all and I hope to keep you interested enough in coming back. I also hope more of you will leave comments in 2015 because those comments help keep the conversation going. :)

What would you like me to know about your experience and visits here?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Now for the fun report from WordPress.com.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

There were 230 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 70 MB. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 15th with 99 views. The most popular post that day was Book Review: I Only Cry at Night – by P. Allen Jones.

In 2014, there were 140 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 452 posts.

Longest Streak: 5 days 1 July – 5 July;  Best Day: Tuesday with 46 posts total

These are the posts that got the most views in 2014:

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2014. Your writing has staying power!

Visitors came from 104 countries in all! Most came from The United States. Canada & U.K. were not far behind.

Your most commented on post in 2014 was My story entry in Susanna Hill’s 4th Annual Holiday Contest

PS:  Once again, thank YOU, my friends, for following my blog. Blessings in 2015! I look forward to an exciting new year with you. :)

 

 

As the New Year comes in …

As the new year comes in …

 

This is my last post of 2014. It’s been a good year for me in blogging, despite the difficult times when I was not able to muster the energy to keep up my schedule. (I’m still trying to break through one of those phases.) As we close out the old year I have a few thoughts and questions for us to consider together.

Do you meditate on the past year and lament your losses and mistakes, therefore forgetting to celebrate your successes and good efforts?  or do you remember the good stuff and ignore the not-so-good events?  or are you one who celebrates it all … the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the gains and the losses … as stepping-stones along your way?

This quote was in my mailbox this morning:

“Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything… we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to realize it as such.”  - Henry Miller, The Henry Miller Reader

 

I believe that our attitude has a great deal to do with how we view life and what comes our way. It affects everything from our mood to our health. We are not only what we eat, we also are what we think. 

Yesterday marked the seventeenth year since my dear mother passed from this life; seventeen years ago December 30 we sat with her as she released her last breath. Yesterday held a sadness for me because sometimes I miss her so much it hurts, but that day in 1997 was a day my mother was set free from the cancer that was attacking her body. I can look at it as a day of loss – which it was on a deep personal level – but I can also look at it as a day of celebration for her as, with an expectant heart, she went Home to our Lord. I will see her again and I do look forward to that.

In the meantime, I have a choice to make. I can let reminders of grief pull me down, I can live in that sad place and dwell on the negative hard places that naturally occur all along the way, or I can remember with an inner peace and joy how she lived her last days and died with such grace, never once complaining about her lot and suffering! (Seriously, it was amazing.) I can make it my goal to be more like her in that way, taking what comes with grace and dignity. That’s not an easy thing to do.

This was one of Mum’s favourite Scripture portions, especially verse 13:

Philippians 4: 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Through experience I have learned that my attitude affects everything. If I think sad, negative, angry, discouraging thoughts all the time, if I choose to live with regret, I get mentally and then physically pulled down. It does work that way. I get anxious, moody, sad and ill. If I think positive, hopeful thoughts and try to be cheerful, if I let my spirit soar above the problems, I feel better and make life more comfortable for everyone around me. My motto is “I live in hope”, meaning I try to keep looking to the better day, the better situation, without letting go of the progress I’ve made and the good I have now.

Happy New Year 2015 Images 5

As the new year comes in …

I truly want to make a difference – first in my own life, and then in the lives of those around me and beyond. I’m a bit of a recluse so the latter is really hard for me unless I can be anonymous (a joy of mine) and not have to face the masses or even a small group. But when the Lord moves me … that’s another thing.

So now, as we close out 2014 and open the door for 2015 to sail in, let’s agree to live the positive upbeat life and not allow the negatives and past regrets to pull us down.

Philippians 4: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Something I would love to have happen in 2015 – starting now – is more chat between us, so I truly HOPE you will leave a reply to my final questions of this year.

Have you experienced such hard things in your life it’s been a struggle to rise above it? What have you learned from how you face life, how has your attitude made a difference? What advice do you have for others … as the new year comes in?

My sincere wish is for the best year yet for you – a year of successes and accomplishments! I look forward to hearing about them.

new_year_icon_55464

 

See you in 2015! Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)