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!)

Tips for deciding on names for your characters

Here are a few writing helps for you today, especially for finding names for the characters you are creating in your marvellous stories.

If you strive for authenticity in your stories, you might also want to consider the accuracy of the names you choose for your characters in certain time settings. I found a name/age calculator that could be of help to you in selecting a name that was/is used in the time frame of your story. It sets a wide range but focuses on the median – the midpoint when the name is most commonly used. GO HERE to find the NAME/AGE CALCULATORThis calculator is based on American names and notes that names before 1940 are estimates.

I also found a site that helps you select a name according to themes or qualities of your character. GO HERE to find NAME THEMES.

If you are looking for a unique name, perhaps from mythology or the Bible, or even a musical name for your character, GO HERE to find UNIQUE BABY NAME IDEAS.

To help you come up with a character by name and personality GO HERE to THE CHARACTER NAME GENERATOR.

I hope you have fun with these and find them to be helpful.

I’ve added the above links to my Writers’ Helps, Quotes & Workshops’ page. Look under Writers’ helps when you need them for your stories.

Do you have any suggestions for coming up with suitable character names that are not listed here or on my Writers helps page?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 

Do you worry? Here are some helpful quotes

I used to be the world’s best/worst worrier. It is true that if I hadn’t something to worry about I would worry that I had nothing to worry about because that must mean there’s something to worry about that I was overlooking.

Follow me?

That changed the day I turned my life over to God. Really.

Now I’m not out today to preach to you or at you, but I’m telling you the truth. I’m not saying I never worry anymore, but it takes more effort to worry now. He brought inner peace into my life. He is, after all, the Prince of Peace.

I found some good quotes that have something to do with worry, and give good food for thought on how to let it go.

Wayne Dyer (1940) self-help author, speaker
“The more I give myself permission to live in the moment and enjoy it without feeling guilty . . . the better I feel about the quality of my work.”

François Fenelon (1652-1715) French archbishop, theologian, writer
“You really don’t even own the present moment, for even this belongs to God.”
“Above all, live in the present moment and God will give you all the grace you need.”

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
― Corrie Ten Boom

“How can a person deal with anxiety? You might try what one fellow did. He worried so much that he decided to hire someone to do his worrying for him. He found a man who agreed to be his hired worrier for a salary of $200,000 per year. After the man accepted the job, his first question to his boss was, “Where are you going to get $200,000 per year?” To which the man responded, “That’s your worry.”
― Max Lucado

“Drag your thoughts away
from your troubles…
by the ears, by the heels,
or any other way you can manage it.”
― Mark Twain

“Worry is a misuse of the imagination.”
―Dan Zadra

Wow!  Good stuff, huh? What I’ve found since our car accident a week ago is that  anxiety can take over when you’re not paying attention. You can feed it or accept God’s peace. I prefer His peace.

Do you battle worry? How do you let it go?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

We have a winner of my 9th giveaway!

My apologies for the delay in announcing the winner of my giveaway. The car accident and resulting medical appointments redirected my focus and I lost track of the draw date, so instead of a morning announcement I’m at the end of the day.

Thank you to the participants. 

We have a winner!

This is the prize:

giveaway #8

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used Random.org name picker and found out that the winner …

 

with this comment:

“I like your way of saying that it is a good book for me to enter to win.🙂 I would definitely like to read this book!😀 ”

 

is …

Erik!

Congratulations, Erik!  I will get this book into the mail to you right away.

To everyone who is interested in my giveaways, I’ve been watching for and setting aside fun things that, in some way, have to do with reading and/or writing.  The OCTOBER giveaway will be posted in two to three weeks.  Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

 

Angels watching over us, our narrow escape

I have a story to tell you. Fasten your seatbelt. We’re very glad we are in the habit of using ours, which is law here in Canada.

Sunday started out innocently enough. I got home for my week off from caregiving, then a couple of hours later my daughter asked me if I would like to go to the zoo with her and my grandson. There was a lion cub born this summer that we hadn’t seen yet. I said yes, so in about an hour they arrived for me and we started out to be there for feeding time at the zoo.

About half way there our whole plan changed. 

In the front passenger seat I’d closed my eyes because of a headache for which I’d taken a capsule before leaving home, when I heard my daughter calmly say, “He’s going to hit us.” I looked up and there it was – a car in the east bound lane – heading directly at us! He had crossed over into our lane and there was nothing that could be done, nowhere for us to go to get out of the way! I had time to gasp.

There was a loud THUNK and solid jolt. Fortunately, he missed hitting us head-on, and not by much. With the force of the impact along the driver side of my daughter’s vehicle, her back wheel was ripped off and we were sent into a violent spin. We think we made two complete circles stretched over at least a quarter-mile of highway, but with the airbags deployed it was hard to know for sure. Although it happened in mere seconds everything seemed to go into slow motion. I screamed, tires screeched, I could taste the powder from the airbags, all was a blur out the front window; it seemed we were going to crash off into trees, then over an embankment. My heart seemed to settle on my daughter and my grandson seated behind her. I felt as if we were protected, enclosed, when just as suddenly as it all began … we stopped. Amazingly, we were on the side of the road and facing west – the way we had been travelling before the accident! We hadn’t plunged down the embankment, we hadn’t hit the guardrail on the other side or any of the other vehicles on the road, we didn’t flip or roll, none of our windows had broken, no one was seriously injured. Airbags had protected us, and seatbelts had held us securely in place.

People from other vehicles started running over to us – Is anyone hurt? Are you alright in there? Can you get out? One of the first was a retired police office who was helpful and calming. Another was the driver of the car ahead of us that had just missed being hit. She saw the whole thing in her rearview mirror and didn’t expect to see anyone able to get out of our vehicle after what happened. Another witness of everything was a lady behind us in a smaller car. She said if he hadn’t hit us he would have hit her head-on, which would have been a totally different end result. As it was, people collected and carried over pieces of my daughter’s Terrain – the tire, the rim, the axle, other things, and I don’t know how many people were on their cell phones calling 9-1-1 to get us help. We were told that our rear tire had been sent rolling and bouncing, hitting another car so that there were three vehicles involved at the scene, including the one who started it all and had spun in circles ending up way down the road from us and facing the ditch. 

It didn’t seem to be very long before paramedics arrived by ambulance, soon followed by a firetruck. (I’d never been that close to one when its siren is blaring – deafening!) Police officers soon appeared on the scene. I’d called my husband who, with my sweet sister-in-law who insisted on coming with him, had no trouble finding us due to the backed-up traffic.

I relearned something that day about myself and human nature in general. We don’t know what we are capable of in times of trauma. My daughter was perfectly calm, perhaps more than usual, until it was all over. Her concern was for me and especially her son. I, on the other hand, was more angry than I’ve been in a long time. In jest but likely partly in seriousness, a paramedic told my husband they just were making sure I didn’t see the driver of the other car. I’d been seated on the ground and fighting back tears, trying to calm down, when a paramedic came to see if I was okay. I told him I was furious! “That’s my family! That’s my daughter, and that’s my grandson!” I felt the other driver was irresponsible, inattentive, and had put my family at risk. It’s like my sister-in-law said to me later, “Mama Bear can come out when we feel like someone has threatened our children/grandchildren.”

There were angels in action on our behalf on Sunday. There are many things that could have been very different. I have thanked God many times and will many times more. I’ve prayed for the other guy, not wishing him more harm than the ticket I heard he got out of this, and his insurance is sure take a hit.

My grandson is fine, the welt on his neck caused by his seat belt is gone. He had a story to tell his friends at school on Monday. My daughter and I suffer now from soreness in hips and ribs, shoulders, neck, some whiplash and such. We’ve started treatment already to keep it from getting worse.

Below are most of the photos from the accident:

Photos 1-5: damage to my daughter’s Terrain, a safe family vehicle, we learned. Photo 6: back tire from her vehicle, retrieved after colliding with another car. Photo 7: driver’s side, airbags deployed, including lower one to protect her side. Photo 8: passenger side, airbags deployed. No need for front ones, fortunately. Photos 9 & 10: the other guy’s; floor’s forced up; airbags deployed in the front.

photo-1photo-2

 

 

 

 

 

photo-4photo-3

photo-5photo-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo-7-driver-sidephoto-8-passenger-side

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo-10-other-guysphoto-11-other-guys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I praise God no one was seriously hurt. It could have been so much worse.

Do you have a narrow-escape story to tell?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Book Review: As Far As I Remember – by Michael Bawtree

as-far-as-i-remember-coming-of-age-in-post-war-englandBook: As Far as I Remember: coming 
of age in post-war England

Author: Michael Bawtree

Publisher: Like No Other Press

Date: 2014 in England; 
2015 in Canada 
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 408

Price: $24.95 (CD)

My rating: very interesting, honest, and funny in all the 
right places

I was very pleased to meet the author, Michael Bawtree, at his book signing in April 2015. I hadn’t known about it until I entered the shop for a children’s book, but immediately bought a copy of As Far As I Remember and waited to speak with the author to have him personalize my copy.

I enjoyed this book, although it took me awhile to read all the way through due to my limited reading time when I purchased it. Mr. Bawtree wrote with revealing honesty about his childhood in England where he was born – his years in boarding schools, overcoming shyness, establishing himself as a successful student, a temporary rather nomadic life due to harsh economic times for his family, and many interesting events that occurred. Some incidents he tells about are downright hilarious, the funniest for me being an unfortunate situation that involved his proper English mother in a garden entanglement. There are many things he describes with just the right balance of humour.

This book is the first of two volumes about his fascinating life – the first covering his early years in England, the second volume will cover his life and career in Canada as an actor, playwright and director.

Although Michael Bawtree grew up in boarding schools, he had the opportunity to meet professors and dukes and many other important people, including world-famous C. S. Lewis and others who sometimes stayed at the inn his parents bought and operated. I hope you can read the back cover of his book shown here once you click on the image below to enlarge it.

as-far-as-i-remember-back-cover

His interest in literature, drama and music eventually led him to Canada where he embarked on a career in theatre and the arts all across the country, eventually bringing him to Nova Scotia where he now resides. As Far As I Remember, though, is everything leading up to then and is told in a natural and inviting way. It’s well worth the time to read this fascinating story. I’m looking forward to volume two.

 You can find As Far As I Remember: coming of age in post-war England on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Writing, researching, & more waiting

I was talking to a writer friend today. She writes novels and is published. I haven’t completed the one I started six years ago during NaNoWriMo. She doesn’t write picture books. I am waiting/hoping to get mine published. It’s a waiting game no matter what you write.

She reminded me to not compare myself to other writers. I needed that reminder – again – because I have been thinking about my picture book submission earlier this week, and that many other writers submitted their manuscripts around the same time. Mine will get read but I will be astonished if it is accepted. Why? Because, I thought, the others will be better stories or more suited to the publisher’s interest, than mine. Through the process of elimination mine will be rejected. I thought, but I don’t KNOW. I’m waiting. My friend is waiting, too, for the next step in the progress of her latest novel.

She said if she were to compare she could be insecure because of my writing. WHAT! No way! Because, she told me, I write multiple stories in one year while she writes a story in about three years.  hmmm  My reply to that is it takes longer for her novel because of the length of her in-depth story and all the research she does for it. No matter if it’s world-building or just capturing a moment or incident, it all takes time and effort to create worlds or scenarios and scenes. It’s all writing. It’s all creative expression. It’s all work. And it’s an exercise in patience – definitely not one of my strengths.

I think writing a good novel (one that gets publish ) is an amazing and exciting accomplishment. I’d love to do that, but I don’t yet know if that is within my abilities. For now I am concentrating on picture books because that’s more where my passion lies in my writing. I have to stop comparing. I have to be who I am as a writer.

Look at this fabulous image I found on Twitter:

writing research

 

 

She’s a history professor from the future. She said to just carry on as if she’s not here.

Researching your topic is a very important part of writing your story. Even for the picture book I recently submitted, I researched what the characters would be interested in eating. I like things to be accurate.

I am usually very visual, so as I write a story I see it unfolding before me like a movie. I’ve been told that is quite common to writers. I hear what the characters are saying and what is happening around them, and often what they are feeling and thinking. In fact, here’s another oddity about me — in real life I often see the words people say to me in conversation. I see the words spelled out before me, in my mind’s eye. I wonder if that is an advantage for me in my writing … or if I am just strange. 🙂  

Questions for you:

  1. Do you visualize when writing stories? Do you when people talk to you, the way I see the words spoken to me?
  2. Do you research for your stories, or do you not bother much with the little details? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 

 

Writing and waiting

It’s been a hard summer for me as far as writing goes. I’ve been in a funk, a writing depression, a walled-in place of little inspiration. I realized I was/am experiencing burn-out from a combination of things, burn-out exhibiting itself as low-grade depression and writer’s block. That’s no fun!writer's block

 

 

 

… until a week ago, on August 23, when inspiration hit!

I was talking with one of my daughters about a frustrating, exasperating, tiring situation that’s ongoing (not as a caregiver) and that affects a few of us in the family. Pausing to consider it a moment, I said … “hmm … that could be a story for a picture book!” Shortly afterward I sat at my desk and wrote a very rough first draft of that story idea. I don’t have a satisfying ending for it yet, mainly because there has not been one found for the real-life situation, so that’s something I’ll have to dream up as is fitting for a picture book. I’m happy, though, because it is my August draft for 12×12.

And writer’s block was moved aside.

That’s always good news. Other good news happened today, too.

I’ve got some manuscripts which I haven’t submitted anywhere yet. It’s hard not ever hearing back, or getting rejection replies, so I think I was just not ready to chance it again. In 12×12, members were offered a special opportunity to submit to a publisher looking for new work, with the promise ALL would be read and our work would not be left in the ‘slush pile’. This evening (Aug 30) I took a chance and submitted the story I wrote in February. I did it! It’s gone, I received email confirmation that it was received, and now my wait has begun. If they are interested in working with me I’ll hear back within five months. If not … *sigh*

waiting quote

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, I have to get out my other work and get more of them submission ready. And continue writing new stories, of course. That will help fill in the time while playing the waiting game. I need positive creative distractions to keep myself writing.

How are you at waiting? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂