Tag Archives: Relationships

Different Strokes for Different Folks

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Different Strokes for Different Folks

Hello, everyone. I hope all of you experienced a great week. Today I’m giving you a blog that discusses how you can broaden your story and your readership from an article by Bharti Kirchner. This was originally published in the Writer magazine.

Why venture into unaccustomed territory when it comes to characters? In a globalized world, re regularly meet people.e very different from us in race, class, ethnicity, religion, politics or ideology.  Modern novels and memoirs, as mirrors of a society, increasingly depict this heterogeneity.

In addition to expanding our readership, a diverse character, whether the protagonist or a secondary character brings a broader voice to a story. In the case of the novel Tulip Season, protagonist Mitra meets a mysterious German man, and the contrast between the two adds an element of tension.  With dissimilar actions, attitudes and world views, backgrounds and upbringings, their interactions spark a great exploration of Mitra’s world.

Creating Authenticity: How do you get started writing about a person foreign to you? By immersing yourself in that particular culture of community through direct contact and by building relationships.  Armchair travel can also help, as can books, videos, movies, art, and the Web. Remember, in the end, it’s your story and it’s fiction.  You’re facing challenges no matter what.  “If you’re going to write fiction, you’re going to write about people who aren’t you,” says David Guterson, author of 10 books, including Snow Falling on Cedars.  “You should feel some healthy trepidation about that.”

Respect, openness, and empathy are keys to depicting an unfamiliar culture or perspective.  Here are additional tips and techniques.

First Impressions: What a reader first notices is how the character looks, dresses, sounds and behaves.  Bring the character alive with physical descriptions, but not too much and not all at once.  Allow readers to use their imagination to fill in the blanks.  Pay special attention to the rhythm of the spoken language.  A foreign born person might speak with an accent and fall back on native words as necessary.

A Character from Inside Out: You’re writing about individuals, and the methods you usually employ to develop a character of any kind still applies. Remember that all cultures have hopes, fears, and dreams, and it’s your job to portray that.

Does a diverse character have to be sympathetic?  Peter Mountford, the author of two novels, including A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism, says no.  “Actually, I’m not sure he is very sympathetic because of the choices he makes,” Mountford says of Gabriel do Boys, the 26-year-old, biracial protagonist in his novel.  “He builds a lucrative career instead of abandoning it for love.  I feel for him, definitely, but a lot of readers struggle with him, and I suppose that is the key to writing “the other,” for me.”

Beliefs and Conflicts: Every culture or community holds common beliefs about marriage, family, money, status and friendship.  A character is likely to suffer moth internal and external conflicts when going against these beliefs and sometimes even when conforming to them.

Showing Universality: By wrestling with choices and obstacles, a diverse character, like any other, grows and changes.  In the process, he or she displays common human characteristics as fear, anger, joy and love.  Although I’m different, I’d feel much the same in the same situation, the reader realizes, and perhaps gets more involved in the book.

You can make a character accessible in other ways.  Show how he or she relates to friends.  Let him or her grapple with everyday issues like traffic.  An element of humor can also help.  We gravitate toward people who lighten our days with a joke or a funny situation.  It is in those moments that we let go of our differences and embrace our common humanity.

 

I hope this article helps to make your writing this week easier. The more knowledge we have the better writers we are.  Blessings to all.

Eight Steps to Become Noticed

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Hello everyone, I have been away from my blog for what seems like forever and I have missed it and my online friends.  Today I want to share with you an article I read by Pete Croatto, on how to get noticed by the editors. If you want an editor it will take some work to get noticed.

  1.  Take Initiative:  In an ideal world, our talent would be a siren song for editors far and wide.  In a world of tight budgets and staff meetings, editors need story ideas and good ones.  That means writing a pitch letter that shows you know the publication and what it wants. “What gets me to notice someone is I can notice immediately if they have a familiarity with the magazine,” says Mark Rotella, senior editor at Publishers Weekly.  “They might have mentioned an article they had read or a review that they read.  Usually, people are pretty specific about what section of the magazine they want to write for.  Basically, if they’re pitching me about the magazine, I want to see that they’ve read it.”
  2. Make the job Easier:  Sara Benincasa, author of Real Artists Have Day Jobs ( And Other Awesome Things They Don’t Teach You in School), says it’s key to do as much work for the editor as possible without overstepping.  “Don’t expect that your editor has a comprehensive knowledge of the television show or trend or book or political issue that you would like to discuss in your writing,” she says.  “Provide links, easy explanations.  Provide assistance without the legwork to show your editor that your pitch is for a story that will bring in views, and readers attention in a positive way.”
  3.  Follow Up:  This isn’t tennis.  The ball keeps moving only if you keep hitting it.  If you haven’t heard back after a week or two, politely inquire so you can either start writing or send your idea elsewhere.  Rotella, who has written for the New York Times and American Heritage, says the delay worked or the pitch came at the wrong time.
  4. Try, Try Again: An editor’s disinterest or silence should not be taken as an affront.  That even applies to repeat clients. “I follow up and pitch more stuff without being annoying and contacting the editor too much,” Benincasa says.  “If they liked my work the first time, they will respond.  If they did not like my work they will not respond.  I do a pitch, I follow up once and if I don’t hear anything, I move on.”  In other words, our confidence in your idea should drive you.
  5. Look Beyond Big Names:  Chances are you’re not going to make it into The New Yorker and not every profile will land in GQ. (But don’t be afraid to try.) Get published, get paid and use the clips as a down payment for more desirable venues.  Write Always.  That’s the only way you get better and pay your bills.
  6. Proofread A Lot:  Once you get an assignment, it’s easy to get noticed for the wrong reasons.  Rotella has an aversion to writers who can’t meet deadlines or follow directions, but says, “Nothing is worse, for me than if I have to spend too much time editing because of sloppiness.  That is a real discouragement.” Be professional. Proofread, fact-check and make yourself available to address any concerns your editor has.
  7. Play Nice with Others:  Veteran freelance journalist Jen A. Miller got a big assignment from a new publication when a fact-checker there remembered Miller’s work at another publication.  “Sometimes that can be an incredibly tedious process,” she says. “You’re already done with a story, you don’t want to deal with it anymore, you don’t want to deal with the fact-checker, but you don’t know where that fact-checker is going to end up.”
  8. Finally, Be Easy to Find:  That comes courtesy Miller, author of Running: A Love Story and a regular contributor to The New York times and Runner’s World.  She believes every writer must have a website. “It sets you up as a professional,” she says.

I do hope this article was helpful and it gave you some incite on what you need to do to snag that elusive editor.  Have a blessed week.

Want Love to Last?

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If you want love to last you might think about marrying your best friend.
 
 
In much of American culture we have this image of love developing from eyes meeting across a crowded room, your socks roll up and down, and then BANG…love ignites! Love seems to happen that way if you watch a lot of Hollywood movies or read a lot of novels. Sadly, too often people make lifelong marital decisions about who to partner with using this template for finding love. More often than not, this method for finding love seems to be a recipe for disaster.

 

Additionally, where do people try and find love and a partner (especially after they complete their education when they are with so many single people of similar age and education)? Online? Bars? Health clubs? Do any of these locations really make much sense in terms of finding your soulmate? After all, who can believe what people post about themselves on the internet? Do you really want to meet your soulmate boozing it up at some bar? Do you really want to meet the life partner of your dreams watching themselves in a mirror while working out? Isn’t there a better way to find love that is more t

 

Want Love To Last

Since the 1970s just about half of all first marriages end in divorce(with the risks of second and third marriages ending in divorce increasing to 60 percent and more). Does anyone ever walk down the aisle on that special marital day saying to oneself, “Gee I have a 50 percent chance of this relationship working out”? The remaining half of marriages who stay together are not always examples of eternal marital bliss either are they? So what can be done to improve your odds of finding lasting love?

 

 

Want Love To Last

Well, some people are pretty negative on this front and argue that fidelity is a concept born of a shorter lifespan. If the average age of marriage is mid to late 20s and the average life span is approaching 80 then that is a lot of time to spend with one person who you thought was pretty hot when they were in their 20s. Some argue that life long partnering is a thing of movies and tradition but not realistic. I beg to differ.  

 

 

Want Love To Last

Of course there are many important factors that contribute to the odds of being happy in love including sexual attraction but one often overlooked element is the notion that you should think seriously about connecting with your pal rather than depending upon who turns you on the most. The day-to-day life of marital partners is so much more about shared interests, values, and perspectives on life and the world rather than who you enjoy looking at and having a fling with for a few hours in your week or month. While this notion seems obvious it is remarkable how few people follow the wisdom on this principle.

 

 

Want Love To Last

So, if you are looking for lifelong love you might want to put the brakes on your impulse to connect with who you think is the hottest and accelerate your relationship with those who you just really enjoy being around. Think about it….which strategy is likely to result in a relationship that lasts a life time?

 

So, when that stimulating attraction is great you don’t want to put all of your eggs in that basket if you want lasting love. What do you think? 

  • This article was written by Dr. Thomas Plante PhD

Flash Fiction Story and August Contest

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Brother

The laughter at the wedding reception makes my heart glad. I want a drink right now, none of that mild crap. How do I tell Gloria on her wedding day, her brother is dead? James was found nude, in a muddy ditch, murdered? How does one begin a sentence you know will destroy someone’s world? I’m hoping her marriage allows her to let loose of her obsessions concerning her brother.

“Detective Donavan, you finally made it,” Gloria yells, and begins laughing,as she runs to meet him.

Donavan walks to meet her. “I certainly did. What happened to your beautiful dress?”

“Oh clumsy me, I fell flat of my face in the mud.”

Now it’s your turn. Let’s see what you can do with this. Use the same words I did and come up with a FF story keeping it under 120 words. The winner will receive an ebook from Amazon of thier choice under $5.00. Deadline will be Friday, August 10th with a winner announced on the 11th. Send stories to shirley_mclain@yahoo.com.  Have Fun

Hunky Brother