Tag Archives: New Year

Rushing and Muddying Your POV

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We All Get There

We All Get There

Before we get into the meat of the blog of just wanted to say that I hope all of my Christian family and friends had a wonderful Christmas and have a great New Year. As I say every year, “its hard to believe that 2015 is here.” The time we have been given passes very quickly. When you’re young it drags and you know you will be young forever, but that is just a smoke screen. When you get past 30 the time starts increasing at a rapid rate. Before you know it the majority of your life is behind you and Christmas seems like it happens every two weeks.  Enjoy your life and make it mean something to someone or a lot of someones.

Now onto the blog.  If there’s one issue writing students worry about more than any other, it’s point of View. What is it? they ask.  Am I doing it right? Am I in omniscient of third? Should I be in omniscient or third? Many times the confusion over point of view overwhelms the writer.  The key thing to keep in mind is that choosing the right point of view will help you tell your story.  That’s all.  No one will come out and arrest you if you got it wrong.  You’re just likely to confuse the reader.

Consider the differences between these two paragraphs. In the first: Cinderella longed to go to the ball.  She dreamed of finding true love because no one ever loved her.  She looked at the rose bush in front of her, inhaled its delicate bouquet, and hoped that someday she would hold a bouquet like this when she married.

In the second: Cinderella wanted to go to the ball.  Prince Charming hoped he would meet her there.  She put on a dress.  He wanted to find some slippers. There was a pumpkin in the window.

In the first example, (which I hope you think is better), we’re seeing the world through Cinderella’s eyes.  We’re identifying with her.  In the second example, we don’t know whom we’re rooting for: Cinderella, Prince Charming or the pumpkin.  Finding the right POV helps helps the reader understand what the story is about.

We all want to be done. We all want to see our book in stores, our story in the magazine, our screenplay made into a movie.  Oh, and we’d like the money, too.  Ten thousand dollars would be nice. Right now.

One of the very first things I did as a writer, when I had written no more than three paragraphs of my first story was look through a reference book for places that might publish it.  My list had more words in it than my story. And I’m, embarrassed to say that the minute I finished the first draft, I sent the story out.  To 20 places. Each of them rejected me with a form letter. I actually called up Redbook to ask why there was a problem, and I believe I got someone in the circulation department.

Unfortunately, some things can’t be rushed.  You have to take time with your story;  writing a first draft isn’t enough.  You need to go through a couple of drafts.  You need to deepen the character, intensify plot, tighten the dialogue, and flesh out descriptions.  You need to proofread. You need to take enough time to do it right.

Many, many writers they that if they get good enough idea on the page and send it out, some insightful editor or agent will read it, recognize its inner value, take the writer under her wing, and fix it for her.  This worked for Thomas Wolfe, but I don’t think you can count on it as a career path.  Although there are lovely agents and editors out there, they are not really looking for extra work.  They want you to finish the job yourself.

There are however some things you can do to give your ego a boost before you’re ready to send that story out.  Try joining a writing community.  A positive critique can make you feel great.  You can also try writing some shorter work, which may be easier to get our quickly.  Seeing your name in print on a flash fiction piece may give you the boost you need to finish that novel.  Read literary journals and consider volunteering.  some of the smaller ones need people to help read submissions.  Sighing up can be a fun way to become part of the literary world.

Year End: A Reflection

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Happy new year with fireworks.It’s hard to believe this is the last day of 2012. This year has gone by so fast for me. My mother told me many years ago that it would happen. At the time I didn’t believe her but I have since learned she knew exactly what she was talking about.  The older you get the faster the time goes.

I think back when I was small and would ask how old I would be when I got out of school and just when that was going to happen. Then I couldn’t wait to turn 16 so I could drive a car legally. Since I lived in a very rural area, I started driving dirt roads when I was twelve. I was really big stuff once I got my licence. Then the next time I couldn’t wait for, was turning twenty-one. I wanted to be old enough to party with my friends.

Once I made it past twenty-one things began to speed up. I was married with two kids and time began to pass by too quickly. My children grew up at a great rate of speed.  Now my grand and great-grand children are doing they same thing, but it seems even faster.

I now know that each second we have on this earth is precious. I may not be here in twenty-five years or as far as that goes, I may not be here tomorrow. The New Year makes me very reflective of my life and all of my blessings. I’ve met a lot of very friendly, kind and wonderful people through WordPress. I’ve been able to share my writings as well as my thoughts on different topics. It has been a blessing to me to be able to share a part of me and my life as it is now.

I’ve also figured out that bad times happen, but it’s what we do during and after those times that matter.  Through the grace of God I’ve made it so far and I’m going to see another New Year, if God leaves me here one more day.  My hope and prayer is for everyone to have a safe, healthy, and Happy New Year.  Until next year.   Shirley

It’s Here, Again

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I remember asking my mom how long would it be before I got out of high-school and how long would it be until I finished  school and many more “how long until questions”.  She would tell me, and then tell me not to be in such a big hurry.  My mind was saying, “sure mom”, the entire time she’d be talking.  That was like telling the wind not to blow.  “You will see when you  get older just how fast time will  go by.”  You know she was right.

One year barely gets going before another one is here.  My babies have babies, who have babies.  I know that can’t be possible, because I’m not old enough to be a great-grandmother.  I think I’m 49, but maybe I’m 62.  Those years which keep running over each other getting here, have really messed up my mind.   Maybe that’s a good thing and I won’t realize that my world has changed.

Time marching on is a double-edged sword.  I have watched my family grow and prosper, as well as myself, but I have also watched some of my family leave this world.  They are in a better place, but I’m selfish and want them here with me.  I have watched  familiar things disappear around me.  I hate it that they are rebuilding all the bridges around my childhood home.  I will miss those one lane bridges with the wood runners going over.   The bridges will be a lot safer for those coming up, but people(especially new drivers) won’t feel the thrill I did when I drove across, praying I  wouldn’t fall off into the creek if I ran off those boards.  They say change is good and I suppose it is.  I now know how my grandparents and parents must have felt as their world changed around them.

That is my New Year ramblings.  I’m going to eat my black-eyed peas and thank God for the wonderful life I have. I have no control over time or changes, so I guess I’ll just do what I do every year and go with the flow.  With love from my family and friends and lots of help from God, I will survive.

I wish each  of you a Happy, Prosperous, Healthy New Year.  Turn up your speakers and listen to this one man choir sing Old Lang Syne as we start this new year and leave 2011 behind us.

http://youtu.be/0VaxyutCQAk

 

How does the New Year strike you?

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New Year Bell's

Christmas is past and now everyone is gearing up for the next party or whatever their particular tradition is.  Do you ring the New Year out or ring it in.  At this point in my life I do neither.  My husband and I toast the New Year in on New Years Eve about 10:00 PM and go to bed.  We have a wild time celebrating (not).  After a goodnight’s sleep (hopefully), we pick our New Years Celebration up once again (sort of).  We have a special meal.  As I’m a southern girl, I must have my black-eyed peas for prosperity.  I’ve never missed my New Year’s meal.  I’ve had to adapt it a little.  My husband being from the northeast has to have pork and sauerkraut for his New Year meal.  We are a true blending of the North and the South cultures.

Julius Caesar made January 1st the New year and the celebrations began.  I think that was around 46 B.C.E.  There have been lots of traditions developed since that time.  What traditions have you developed?  Do you see the New Year in and the old one out? What about that midnight kiss?  Do you seal the old year out and the new one in by kissing a loved one or even a stranger standing close by? What about the New Year resolution?  I don’t make them anymore because I never kept them.  I was a complete failure……

Share with me and others your New Year customs.  Let’s see how much alike and different we are.

Christmas Eve

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Christmas gifts.

Image via Wikipedia

Here it is, one more time, Christmas. Being Christmas Eve everyone is hurrying around trying to get the last-minute gifts and food items which were forgotten, Christmas dinner will go off just as it was planned.  All of us who celebrate Christmas have our traditions.  My family celebrates on Christmas Eve and Santa visits, leaving those wonderful presents for the excited children.  There are squeals and lots of laughter.  It is planned chaos from start to finish.  Paper and boxes are everywhere.  We do have family members who believe they need to say all the bows and printed boxes.  They think they will use them again but if they do I don’t recognize them.

Then we have the one family member that insists that all the paper be neatly folded before being placed in the trash bags.  That was how mama did it.  Since coming to the family he has learned how to loosen up a bit over the years.  His family’s tradition was to open up gifts on Christmas Eve and then place them around the tree for display until Christmas morning.  I never have been able to understand that particular concept.

What are your family traditions?  Do you know anyone’s tradition that doesn’t quite fit your ideas of Christmas?

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I pray your cup is overflowing with health, happiness, and prosperity.  Blessings to you and yours.

More Ideas for Blogs

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The second day of a new year and here I am at the computer, keeping my New Year resolution to blog every day.  A couple of posts ago I posted the review of Steven Aitchison’s book “100 Ways to Find Ideas For Your Blog Posts”.  One of his recommendations was to review books.  Blog the review and give the unvarnished truth about what you have read.

I’m going to be totally self-serving today, and ask you to consider reading my new book “The Tower.”  It is a mystery with lots of twists and turns.  Samantha Jensen is kidnapped from outside her home in Tulsa Oklahoma finds herself without memory in “The Tower.”  Sam’s twin- brother Allan operates a company, IDEA  (International Diagnostic

EThe kidnapping, smuggling betrayal and murder, take you around the world.  It is also a story of love and devotion, as well as retribution for crimes committed.  You learn tidbits about the countries traveled.

This was a book which was fun for me to write.  I love travel and adventure and I got put myself everywhere my characters where.

To end my self-serving section of this blog, you can go to http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_24?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+tower+shirley+mclain&sprefix=the+tower+shirley+mclain and take a look at my book.

What ever book you read and review keep it authentic.  According to Steven Atichison, you will find that once your blog gets known you will be approached by authors who give you their books for free in return for a review.  It’s ok to have a review once in a while, but if you’re going to do this make it a balanced review and don’t sell it to make money.  Review the book as if you were giving a detailed report to a friend, warts and all.

The paragraph above was directly out of his book.  It’s easy to read and understand.  I think reviewing books will give all of us avid book readers a new outlet.  It would be even nicer if the books are given to you.  That is a win-win situation, the way I see it.

New Year Tradition and the First Post of 2011

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It is  six pm here in Plano, and I knew I wanted to get my blog posted before it got to late.  I could not break my resolution to blog everyday, on the very first day.  I am going to blog about my favorite subject to talk about, my husband.

My husband has had his tail superglued to the sofa with a football game all afternoon.  My husband is a ball fanatic.  Let me explain.  He will watch anything that has a ball in play, no matter what the sport.  This fascination with a ball started as a young boy in Philadelphia.  He would go to a baseball game with his uncle and watch his team play.  As he grew up, he became involved with basketball.  He graduated from Wake Forest and was hooked on football.  Then he proceeded to attend The University of Virginia and bought season tickets for the football stadium for twenty-five years.  He also attend the ACC basketball tournament every year for over twenty-five years.

He gets into Hockey, and Lacrosse, golf.  What ever happens to be on the television.  Much to his disappointment I am not a sports fan.  I prefer to read books, knit, write, cook, anything but watching sports.  He can start at ten o’clock in the morning and keep watching until the last game goes off the air.  I think this makes me a sports widow or is it a ball widow?

I use to fuss at him, now I just go do my own thing and let him overdose all his wants.  There is a chance his work will be transferring him to Virginia.  His first words talking when telling me of the possible transfer where, “oh, if that happens I can get my season tickets back.”

Tonight he will break long enough from the bowl games to eat his black-eyed peas and sauerkraut and pork.  We are a blended couple, one from the North and one from the south.  That explains the mix of New Year tradition which quickly fits in between the ball games.

I hope everyone has a blessed 2011 and if there are any more ball widows, or men who would like to defend themselves, I would like to hear from you.