Monthly Archives: July 2012

Great stuff added to my Writers’ Helps page!

Last week was a different one at home as I was trying to get over an upper respiratory thing that tackled me. It started before I left my caregiving duties for the week; I woke every morning with a sore throat, and here I am again still hoping to soon get over this! He appears to be fine again, had it before I did but not completely the same way as it didn’t hold on long. I, on the other hand, can’t seem to shake it. It’s not a cold but my voice is raspy and my throat gets tired quickly, so I am not talking much.

Hear the silence?  *crickets chirping*)

It acts like laryngitis but without total loss of voice, so whatever it is seems to have settled around my larynx for a lengthy stay. Have you had anything similar this season? (I hope you’re enjoying a healthy summer.)

I planned to get a book review written by now, but which will come in my next post instead. This one is to let you know that you can find some new things added to my Writers’ Helps page, including a new category. In it you will find a link to music by Lee Fitzsimmons for your promotional book trailer! yay! And I’m loving the free music. (Be sure to contact Lee and remember to give him credit for creating the music you select.)

I hope when you check out my Writers’ Helps page that you’ll find something of use to you there, maybe even music for your book. 🙂 You will also find a link to Free Rice which is a challenging and educational word game. It makes for a fun change when you need a break from your writing, and in a big way it helps others at the same time. It might even give you ideas for whatever creative writing you’re working on. I will warn you though, you may want to set a timer so you don’t spend too much time playing the game. 😉  Yes, it is that captivating.

Also, I very much appreciate the feedback I receive on my posts. I enjoy the interaction, and it’s so interesting reading your comments. I’m learning from you as we make progress in our writing journeys. 🙂  Thank you.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

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Writers, let me pick your brain!

 

Are you a writer? Do you write stories that include characters who like to talk and act out, adding depth to your story?

Today I have a few questions to ask you about writing. I hope you don’t mind telling me a little of what you found works for you. Even if you haven’t done any character writing, perhaps you have an idea of how you would go about it.

Please contribute in answering these questions:

  • When you are capturing your characters‘ conversations and personality, do you try to make what they say as realistic as you can, including:
  • their most private thoughts that no one would know unless told in some way,
  • their expletives (cursing and swearing),
  • slang, street language,
  • accents in their speech (regional, and dialects). By this point I mean – trying to imitate their way of talking, or letting the reader know about it in some way.
  • Do you write it as you hear it, or do you clean them up ?
  • How important is it to you that your characters sound casual and street-wise, or do you prefer them to be polite and well-spoken? Another way to ask that question is: Do you let your characters be the way they want to be or do you design your characters?
  • How much are you willing to leave to the imagination and intelligence of your readers or are you inclined to fill in every detail?
  • Do you write to please your readers, or yourself?

These are things I have been wondering about as I have been reading a variety of stories and genres, and the authors’ different approaches are quite interesting. Thinking about my incomplete novel, one point I noticed is that my characters freely talk … I hardly have to make anything up in their conversations, I just listen and write it down.

Do you listen to your characters or do you give them their lines?

Please, let me pick your brain! I’m very interested in learning about what you have discovered in your own writing, and I hope you will share a little from your experience.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Dancing – a video

Today, just a quick post —

Music, dance, Nature’s rhythm, words that tell great stories and open one’s mind … all of it – and more – I love. I admit to being a romantic, a creative, a lover of all that is truly beautiful and inspiring.

This video is of one thing that so speaks to my spirit. You may laugh at this but I confess it made me cry. (refer to the above paragraph) In my opinion, this sure beats Dancing with the Stars.

Click on this word: Dancing    and enjoy!

Imagine going all over the world to do this. Wow! Gotta love it! 🙂

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

Book Review: Goodnight, Me – by Andrew Daddo

Book: Goodnight, Me
Author: Andrew Daddo
Illustrator: Emma Quay
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date: October 30, 2007
Genre: picture book for ages 2 and up
Pages: 32
Price: hardcover $11.95US; $13.00CD
My Rating: Charming book young ones will love
 

I was in a local bookstore this week and came across this adorable picture book, Goodnight, Me. It is such a charming story and so beautifully illustrated – I bought it for my grandson. In case it had not come to your attention yet, I decided to review it.

One reviewer called the character in it a monkey, but take a good look at the image I posted above .. wouldn’t you say that is a baby orangutan? And what an adorable baby it is.

This story is focused around the point-of-view of the main character. The little one is convincing his body to calm down for sleep. He names body parts and, mentioning some of what they do in his busy day, he tells them to settle down for the night. Feet, knees, legs, tummy, bottom (“Enough wriggling, bottom. It’s time to be still.”), chest, hands, arms, neck, head, mouth, eyes (“Can you see any dreams yet?”). As his mother tucks him in and kisses him goodnight, he is drifting off to sleep. It is the cutest story.

This first picture book by Andrew Daddo is a wonderful bedtime book to help a child relax and settle down for sleep, and also would be fun for a child who is learning to read. The illustrations by Emma Quay are delightful – soft and realistic-looking of the little orangutan. This is a book to treasure.

You can find Goodnight, Me listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Happy Independence Day!

Today is a day of celebration in the United States of America.

The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, making this her 236th anniversary.

Happy Independence, Neighbour! and Happy July 4th to my friends who live across Canada‘s southern border!

(and yes, I used the Canadian spelling 😉 )

Book Review: If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? – by Melissa Kantor

Book: If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince?
Author: Melissa Kantor
Publisher: Hyperion
Date: March 27, 2007
Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 320; paperback
Price:$8.99 US; $11.99 CAN
 
My Rating: An enjoyable read that includes some real teen issues
 

I was delighted to win this book from the author.

When you hear the title – If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? – what do you think of? Probably the first thing that comes to mind is Cinderella. And you are not far off. The main character in this enjoyable book feels as if she is being treated like a Cinderella; even her new friends think so.

When Lucy’s mother died, leaving behind her husband and young daughter, it meant it was just the two of them for several years. Then her dad remarried and moved them to live in another city with his new wife and her two (younger-than-Lucy) daughters. Lucy was relegated to a room in the basement, a very inadequately furnished room, and her dad was hardly ever home because he was still working in the city where they had lived before Lucy’s life was turned upside down.

Lucy felt unfairly treated, being expected to do chores the other girls were not asked to do and not treated very nicely. She felt like a  .. well, the way Cinderella may have felt. Then she falls for a boy and things just get more complicated.

This is a story that holds the reader’s interest, and I think especially young teen girls will like it. I found myself thinking at times, this girl is being so emotional and self-centered … like a teenage girl with the jealousy, the angry outbursts, the drama. But that simply means Melissa Kantor hit it right on. Being on the other side of all that hormonal craziness it is easy to see what should have taken place, and I kept hoping someone would see through everyone’s foolishness and set things right. (Even the stepmother was exasperating.)

I won’t tell you what happened. ** Possible spoiler alert ** What I will say is .. there is some of the normal temptation stuff, but it’s the drinking that becomes the issue for awhile. It is handled well by the author, Melissa Kantor.

This is an easy book to read, interesting and engaging, and not simply a young person’s book. Why not branch out and see what our young people are reading these days? 🙂

You can find If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

It’s the 12×12 blog party! six months down, six to go

IT’S A PARTY!

and not just any party,

it’s …

Maybe it’s because I’m totally distracted some days in just keeping up, but I haven’t said much about what I’m doing with my writing. Here’s the scoop.

I’m not writing a book, I’m writing twelve books!

Julie Hedlund came up with an idea to write one picture book manuscript a month for all of this year. She had many story ideas after doing the Picture Book Idea Month challenge and wanted to actually use them. Then – since she felt she would be more successful if not doing it alone – she made it into a ‘community’ effort, named it 12 x 12 in 2012, and put out the invitation expecting a few dozen  picture book writing hopefuls to join in. What she didn’t realize is how popular this idea would immediately become and the exciting challenge it would turn into. Boasting over 400 members (yes! over 400 for this first-time challenge), can you imagine the vast number of potential picture books being written?

Now we are at the halfway point in this writing extravaganza and it’s time for a blog party. Julie has asked us to blog about it if we want to – either celebrating or lamenting. I think I will reveal my heart and take the risk of doing both. My post will probably be different from everyone else’s but … here goes.  (deep breath)

The ideas I have for stories are varied and definitely need work (most gleaned while doing PiBoIdMo), so when I began this challenge it was with the hope that I could actually pull together a few picture book manuscripts. Now that I’m a full-time part-time caregiver for a family member I have to try to keep writing when I don’t feel creative at all; some days knowing I have writing commitments is what helps keep me going.

Julie set up 12 x 12 in 2012 not only as a challenge, but as a learning experience for us. She has guest bloggers on a regular basis, each one bringing their own perspective and expertise to the writing (and illustrating) experience. Some days I’m  amazed at the forward thinking and ingenious ideas that are shared. I so appreciate the generosity of the contributors in their willingness to let us in on their secrets, what works for them, what is effectively-applied common knowledge, and what not to do. To be frank, sometimes I am a little overwhelmed. But always I am inspired to keep going.

With all that, what possibly could be my lament? Well, maybe it is more of a whine. My isolation. There’s the fact of a wonderful support group that has developed and I’m mostly on the outside of it. I don’t use Facebook where the support group is set up, and I just feel weary and blah some days, and wishing for the push that talking with another writer involved in this challenge could afford me. So, since it hasn’t really got anything to do with 12 x 12, it’s my own problem and I don’t have a lament after all!

This year so far, the six months gone by, have been challenging on many levels. As for my writing accomplishments, although I have five – not six – rough drafts written (I should say rough to very rough) I still hope to get twelve ready by the end of 2012. I can’t say that I’m delighted with all of them so far, but they are not polished yet. There’s room and time and permission for improvement. Further to that, 12 x 12 in 2012 has helped me even more to explore the fun of writing and to tap deeper into my creative thinking and possibilities.

In closing, I just want to say to Julie Hedlund, thank you for reaching beyond your own aspirations and drawing others into your scope of imagination. This is a truly amazing experience. Where else can an aspiring picture book author have access to the abundance of talent and wisdom of published authors and illustrators – and for such a great deal? What better way to learn and share and meet others of like mind without having to leave home, allowing us to continue the flow of writing? And thank you to the inspiring guest bloggers – the writers and illustrators willing to be involved – the ones who have already brought so much and the ones we have yet to be fortunate to meet.

This is an exciting adventure and we’re only halfway there!

It will surely continue to be amazing.

Party on 12 x 12’ers!

Be sure to check out other 12×12 blog party posts here.

Oh, and Julie plans to do this again in 2013, so if you missed out this year or feel you’ve just begun to tap the well, you’ll have another opportunity. How great is that!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂