Do you know what it takes to write fiction? Writing it down is the magic that sets everything into motion. WRITE, WRITE, and WRITE, is the mantra I have gathered from reading various “How To” books.
I loved doing the research for my book. I think my favorite spot to learn about was the Gelen Mines in Scotland. The pictures of the area were beautiful. I find it amazing how much new knowledge I gained from doing the research for The Tower. I also enjoyed the cultural aspect of Kathmandu. The city has six large casino’s located in hotels. I am sure those casinos bring in money for the government and the owners.
drinking alcohol, from quiet to downright mean. By the time he reached the mean stage I would try to disappear. It didn’t always work because he would set me
up for a fight. It was strange, but that is how I learned to love books. I could
disappear into one of them.
His world revolves around his family now, not the bottle.
I ran across this wonderful YouTube video about life as a pioneer, and it added further to the respect I have for the courage of my forefathers in settling the land. In the latest book I’m writing, “The Dobyns Chronicles,” I follow one branch of my family starting in Virginia. They migrate from Virginia in the 1700’s settling in Ohio and Indiana. My Great-Great Grandfather then migrated with his family to Texas, living in the Sherman/Denison area on the Red River.
Everyone has stories of their family. Have you ever stopped and thought about how they managed to accomplish what they did. It is mind-boggling when you consider the obstacles they had to overcome in order to settle a new land. The hardships they must have endured day after day. The things we take for granted today.
I was very fortunate having a mother who loved family history, and wanted to talk about it. I grew up listening to the stories about how life was lived when her Grandfather was a boy, and living through the depression. She taught my sister and I how to survive. I have her Grandmother’s lye soap recipe. I truly hope it never gets to a point I have to make my own soap, but I know how, if I need it. I can live without electricity and running water if I have to. I know how to plant a garden and preserve food. This is where I am very grateful for the life today. I don’t have to do what was common place to the pioneering families of yesteryear.
How many people today could make it across the miles and miles of plains, not seeing a soul, or cross a mountain range? I know I couldn’t do it. I use to live in Wyoming many years ago, and looked at the wagon ruts cutting across the country. The canyons, wagons would have to be lowered into with ropes and then lifted up the other side. The small cemeteries, containing loved one’s that could go no further. Between Rawlins and Casper, there is a large granite rock. The pioneers who traveled by this rock would chisel their name and the year into the rock. They wanted it known, they were there.
Since I began in the writing world last year, I have learned a great deal, but not enough. When I published my book, “The Tower,” I was as naive as I could be. I went with Xlibris Publishing because they promised me the world (so to speak), if I let them publish my book. Getting the world did not happen.
Since I am now working on my second book “The Dobyns Chroncles,” I have been looking around for another publisher to use. I have contacted at least two and get the same answers to the questions I ask. I always ask what kind of access do I have to find out the amount of books I have sold. The answer, quarterly, that is when the reports come in from the outside sources, such as Amazon.com. I also ask what type of help I get as an author who does not know everything I should about writing and publishing a book. The answer: All the help you need. We are here to assist you in any way we can.
My problem with those answers are this: If I am spending my hard-earned money on marketing my book, how do I know the marketing is working, if I can only get information quarterly. With Exlibris, I did not have access to the Amazon account because it’s in Xlibris name. I asked Xliblis about access and the answer was, “I can understand your concern,” and wasn’t given any information about the account. I can’t accuse anyone of doing anything dishonest because i just don’t know if I sold 10,000 books or ten. Does every Independent Publisher do the same thing?
As far as the question about helping, I feel like I was taken down a rosy path with Exlibris. I was supposed to receive help with the cover. That didn’t happen, I was asked to produce a picture for the cover. That was my responsiblity. I wanted someone to help me determine what type of cover I should have that would compliment the book, as well as create interest. I also wanted a publisher who would tell me what I needed to do to improve my writing. That didn’t happen either. I found out line editing (a term I didn’t understand) was not enough.
I wrote a good mystery, but in hind sight it was not technically perfect. I can write a good story, but getting all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed is not my strong point. Is there an Indie publisher who really helps their clients, or are they all after the money? That’s my two-cents for today.
This small piece of fiction was wrote for a contest where I could only use 100 words to tell my story. I have also included an article by GW Thomas on how to write Flash Fiction. I found it very helpful.
Holly looked at the ceiling of the car when she heard the thumps. She didn’t see the parachutes opening, and the precision landings on the top of the train. A Loud noise and a burning smell come next. Two men drop through, guns in hand. “Money please.”
Look for the smaller ideas in larger ones. To discuss the complex interrelationship of parents and children you’d need a novel. Go for a smaller piece of that complex issue. How kids feel when they aren’t included in a conversation. What kids do when they are bored in the car. Middle child. Bad report card. Find a smaller topic and build on it.
Find one powerful image to focus your story on. A war-torn street. An alien sunset. They say a picture worth a thousand words. Paint a picture with words. It doesn’t hurt to have something happen inside that picture. It is a story after all.
By using references to a commonly known story you can save yourself all those unnecessary words. Refer to historical events. Use famous situations from literature. If the story takes place on the Titanic you won’t have to explain what is going to happen, who is there or much of anything. History and James Cameron have already done it for you. Beware of using material that is too obscure. Your reader should be able to make the inferences.
Let’s look at these techniques in my story “Road Test”. I wanted to write a story about taking my driving exam. I didn’t mention the pre-test or practicing. Just the test. (#1 THE SMALL IDEA) This narrows our
subject down to a manageable scene.
into jello. Windshield collapsed under tons of water, washing away the high, shrill laughter of the driver.”
The door slammed echoing down the long hall. I sat at my desk in the middle of the night acting as a guard to a young woman who was in seclusion.
I was an attendant working for a drug rehabilitation facility in Texas. I usually worked on the three to eleven shift, five days a week. The facility itself was once a world war one military base. When the base closed down it became a state-owned mental facility.
This particular day, I worked my usual shift. A young girl was having drug flash backs, which is a terrible thing to see when it causes the child terror. This terror she felt could cause her to do harm to herself, so she was placed under twenty-four hour observation. I volunteered to work a double shift to watch the girl.
The seclusion room was on the third floor of the girls’ dormitory. This dormitory was just an old building redone on the outside, but had heating and cooling pipes running along the edges of the ceiling of a huge barracks’ type room.
I was alone on the third floor except for the girl in lockup. The back entrance to the building had a metal door with metal stairs leading up to the floor. I had a light on the desk, and a telephone. I also had the Security Departments number, in case there were problems to be dealt with.
Three o’clock in the morning is a very quiet, lonely time. I heard the metal door down stairs open and close. That defiantly got my attention, and I could see and feel the hair standing on my arms. I immediately got on the phone to security to
see what was going on. They told me no one was making rounds, but they would send someone to check for problems.
I heard footsteps coming up the metal steps into the hallway. I heard the metal door slam, and I saw the door open and close at the end of the door room. I called out, “Who is there.” I couldn’t see anything, but I knew something was in the room.
I had called security, so there was nothing for me to do except wait. It took about thirty seconds after the door closed for the banging to begin. It was as if someone had a broom handle and was going around the room hitting the heating/cooling pipes. I
left the desk, and went into the seclusion room with the sleeping girl. The banging continued until it had gone all the way around the room. It stopped as quickly as it had begun. I never saw anything, but I sure could feel it.
Security was now on the scene, and could find nothing wrong. The door down stairs was still locked and so was the door at the end of the dorm room. I told them what happened, and they just looked at me, as if I had lost my mind.
This is a true story, and someone, or something from the past wanted me to know they were still around. I paid attention, and it remains vivid in my mind to this very day.
I would like to hear from anyone who has also encountered strange times. That’s my two-cents for today.
http://youtu.be/3O-o5gwi4HI During my orignal Blog about this woman the video says is Ginger Rogers, I said I was not sure it was her or not. I have since found out it is not Ginger. According to The London Times, the womans name is Sarah “Paddy” Jones and she is seventy-five years old. She is from England, but relocated to Spain. Her partner is Nicholas Espluosa, her thirty-five year old dance instructor. The pair is popular in Spain and made it to their number two spot.
Her husband died six years ago and Mrs Jones took up Salsa to help her recover from her husband’s death. This grandmother of six is now globe-trotting “doing her thing.” She began dancing at the age of two, training for ballet, tap and Greek dancing. When she married at age twenty-two, she gave up her dancing career and became a dental nurse. After working as a dental nurse she and her husband ran a fabric shop.
She plans on continuing her career in dance as long as she is able to. I think she is absolutely wonderful to be able to move as she does and share her talent with all who see her. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all move like she does? I can hardly raise my leg, much less put it up beside my head. She has been blessed and I am happy for her. That’s my two cents for today.
According to an article I read today in “The Week“, a losing football team can kill you. The University of California did a study of the death rate following the Rams Superbowl trips in 1980 and 1984. The record review revealed some very scary numbers. After the team lost their bid for the Superbowl, heart attacks deaths went up fifteen percent in men, twenty-seven percent in women, and twenty-two percent in senior citizens. Four years later when the Rams won the Superbowl the numbers didn’t change at all.
This study shows how much emotion is put into your favorite football team. The lead researcher felt people reacted due to making the team “a family member.” A die-hard becomes very emotional, causing stress. This stress increases the pulse rate, raises blood pressure and can trigger a cardiac event. Is ranting and raving because your team lost the game worth the possibility of having a heart attack and possibly dying?
Take a look at this video and you can see what it is feels like to experience a heart attack. This video was made in England and says to call 999, but here we call 911. Please pay attention, it could save your life. That’s my two-cents for today.