Random thoughts, inconsistent posting
|I have loved “The Lottery” since I read it for English as a child, and it’s my favorite because it can start a flurry of conversation and dialogue.
I want to throw out some different things to think about. In my opinion this story is the epitome of Tradition vs. Doctrine. We all know or agree that it’s wrong to kill another human for reasons other than say the defense of your country or land. That’s another topic for another time, so let’s keep on track. Yet we follow other traditions without question at times. Most times they’re benign, we laugh and go along with them. The question a writer asks is: “What if?” what if a tradition becomes deadly? Hence THE LOTTERY.
This story is the precursor to THE HUNGER GAMES, DIVERGENT and others like them. Why do people follow a path laid out for them because their parents and grandparents, etc did it? Why do schools have traditions like HAZING yet we know it’s wrong and most times illegal. I can’t think of the name of the movie from a while ago, where a boy dies and the entire faculty cover it up. The movie maybe called SKULLS, but you get the point. Another movie in the same vein that’s my favorite, DEAD POETS SOCIETY. Challenging traditions make a great plot.
I don’t think Shirley, mistress of horror, intentionally wrote this as a horror story. I think she wrote for the same reasons English teachers made us read it. Conversation. When do we stop a tradition that has no purpose any more? When its purpose is to kill or separate society.
Some of you may be too young, but I remember a time when seeing a black person and white person as a couple were astonishing and something like the bearded lady at the circus. Tradition was broken and it’s no longer something to be shunned and hidden. We all know in the south that was cause for death. As a writer it’s our duty to challenge traditions. Like the HUNGER GAMES plot, ask WHAT IF?
What if the Christmas tradition of eating a turkey was in fact to kill and cook...…?
What if a child's first haircut wasn't kept as a memento but in fact was...…?
What if going to your first day of school meant your parents leaving you at the door and what happened that first day changed you for the rest of your life...Literally?
I challenge you to challenge others who’ve never read this story to read it and start a conversation. I also ask you to challenge others to write a story about a tradition many observe that might have a deadly ending. Like THE LOTTERY, you don’t have to explain the ending. Leave that to the reader. Who knows you may write another classic. As you see, I have a number of traditions that might become nasty plots.
Maybe someone would like to host a contest on this subject.
MY Blog: www.christinamweaver.wordpress.com
Follow my journey writing a crime story 35 years in the making
|I opened my email the other day to find Congratulations you are now a moderator. What can I say to that? For the last two days I've been posting how wonderful it is to have been nominated and chosen.
I've been a member of this site for 11 years now. When I look at what has transpired in my life over those years it's been amazing. I've accomplished and been involved in more events, chosen for jobs I'd never have imagined and now a Moderator on this site.
I'm sure you're just smiling and saying, "That's nice."
"If you could be sitting in this seat writing this you'd be saying all kinds of things like, "This never happens to me!" ,"How ever did someone pick me for this job?" ,"Who thought I could even do it?"
All my life up until the last 11 years I've been in a rut. You know 'a grave with and opening at each end.' Yep. My low self esteem and inability to be picked on a team let alone be chosen last changed. Not long after I moved to Portland, OR I was asked to join the choir. Then asked, out of nowhere to lead the drama for our cantatas. ME. I have done them twice a year for 8 years then we scaled back to one and skipped this year.
I was asked the first year I moved here to take over the Memorial Day Picnic Food/kitchen duties. That was a huge chore. FINDING and assigning volunteers for clean up of the kitchen after sitting empty all winter and spring. Posting lists for food sign-up and then getting volunteers to pick up the donated food and arranging it in the huge cooler by type. We then had more people needed to prep food and serve it.
After 6 years of that the restaurant was remodeled and set up for buffet style. I took the opportunity to hand it over to someone else. Someone younger.
I still cook breakfast every morning during our camp meeting for 14 days. Then work 8 hours during the week. We make about 15-10 thousand (yes thousand!) meals in those two weeks three times a day. Good home cooked meals.
During these 11 years on Wdc. I've been fortunate to have matured as an author and writer. I've been published and hoping to have another book ready to be published.
In the beginning it was recommended to me to take a reviewing class. I did and it helped me. I read all the reviews of my work to see what helped me grow as a reader and passed that same information on to others. I'm please that people ask me to review their work. I don't sugar coat. I don't tell people their story is good if it needs work. I will tell them if they have a great plot idea. I will tell them if they want it to be great, what they will need to work on to make it great. I may not like the subject matter, but that doesn't make it a bad plot.
Now I've been chose to be a moderator. I'm still not not totally sure what it all involves, but I'm up for the challenge. It will probably mean more time on Wdc but that's not a bad thing. I'm still working on two books; one to get republished under my own name and one that needs a lot of work.
I'm signing in to share my news in hopes it encourages you to keep on writing, learning to make your stories better and to help others along the way.
| April is here. The tulips and other spring flowers are blooming in spite of the lack of sunshine in the Pacific Northwest. I want to pass on something that happened over the past two weeks.
Last week I got a voicemail from Rebel Press. Nice Jon called and left a message. He called while I was at work so I didn't pick it up. I tried to call back but the wait time was too long. I hung up.
Jon happened to catch me at lunch when he called again. He introduced himself. I never did ask how he found my name and number. After some conversation about what he was asking it came down to questions he didn't want answer or didn't know how to. He called the backup or the big guns. Ken, the entrepreneur, then pumped out information about how he started his publishing company to be the Next Generation of publishers. He would in fact have editors and proofreaders as well as people to help make my manuscript ready for publishing. They have access to audio readers and a store to sell your books on. They also will list them on all the big name on-line stores.
I listened but Ken had to rush off to his plane connection and I had to get back to work. After another call that lasted almost the length of my lunch, it was decided that I talk to them after work.
Now my conversations were with Ken. Jon listened. Ken said Jon was the "closer." I think he just did the paper work. Ken is Charismatic and a good salesmen. He sounds honest and that he genuinely wants you to succeed. I asked a lot of questions since I'd already had one unpleasant experience with a publisher. He promised they weren't like that. After the conversation that evening I came down with this this idea of how Rebel Press works.
You pay up front for your manuscript to be readied for publishing. My guess is its a minimal workup I read a couple of books they published and there were simple things that needed to be tightened. The over use of "was", "were," "had and had been", "that," and "this." When you're reading and a paragraph is filled with these words, they act as road bumps in the story. A rewrite and training to use other words to eliminate their over usage, makes the story tight, and clean.
They offer an audio version of your book at an extra cost. So the initial cost includes What? set up of your social media platform if you don't have one. This is free to you anyway and if you don't have one, you probably aren't selling your books anyway. I'm not sure what you actually get for their lowest package (Silver).
Here is what you are required to do if you want to supplement your payment. Let's say you agree to their price. That means your part will be $780.* (aprox) a month for 8 months. You also have to pay around $70.00 a month on top of that. I'm not clear about that fee. You can write a minimum of 2-250 word "articles" per week which they pay you for. This can be from $200-700.00 depending on how many you write. You then need to post them on your Facebook, linkedin, twitter, WordPress and any other social media accounts you have. The more followers you have or garner in the process the more they pay you. (that's my supposition)
What they are doing is setting up a platform to announce your book launch. They are hoping all the people following you will buy a book. Once they publish your book and it goes on all the big book sites, they are hoping as you continue to build a following you will be bringing them more business.
When I signed up on their www.goread.com site I found many articles these people write. However the people on their site are writers. They hope that these will buy from each other. It sounded good, but it doesn't work that way. Writers rarely buy from each other unless it's in the genre they like to read and cheap.
I sent in two manuscripts. One is a work in progress the other was a few chapters of the one I'm republishing. I got an honest review. The full MS needs lots of work. They were ready to publish the other one, since that one was ready to go.
I said I'd talk to my husband about it and let them know today. I did a little more research. The reviews were 55/45 negative. I still wasn't sure I wanted to pay someone that kind of money and then have to work so hard each week to get part of the money back. I'm sure there are people who would take half that money edit it and help me publish it.
My hubby said NO. What he said was, "I thought you told me I was stupid and "publishing didn't work that way", when I told you to just pay someone to publish for you." I did and now I was eating my own words.
I sent an apologetic email saying thanks but no thanks. Four hours later I see I've got a phone call that went to voicemail. Like all high pressure sales, I'm sure they want to sweeten the deal.
Ken did say, "Tina, you have a better understanding of marketing than most people. I can talk and you understand where I'm going."
I do. It finally got though to me. Advertise. I began to post on my blog. Each week I will post one or two articles about my new book. I will tweet to get people to go read it. Oregon Crime story-Why I'm writing it. I'm hoping to grow my blog, twitter and maybe my FB. I hope people will want to know why I chose this story and what its about. It's not going to cost me $6,000.00 + to get it published.
| Yesterday had been especially trying. The alarm went off and as I turned over to press the snooze button, The Dog went into attack mode and went after my hand again. Let's just say this isn't "Attack and release" This is KILL mode. I have to literally push her off me. Hand bleeding I trudge to the bathroom and stiffen as I plunge the hand under cold water. Already the attack is causing me to melt down. In me it forms as a heat, cold sweat and the alarm to lay down before you fall down. Dog is now hiding under the bed. She knows what she's done.
I manage to get to work where the day isn't going well and my hand is feeling the effects of infection setting in. Heat, tingle and I'm feeling flushed off and on.
After work I head to the urgent care(my first time there with a dog bite) they want me to report it. The law, they say and hand me an incident report. I hate it. I know she doesn't mean to do it but somewhere there is a trigger to sudden movement.
Antibiotics, a refill on a regular prescription, I get a quick KFC and head home. At last I am seated in the recliner and resting. I get a phone call from my younger sister. After a few moments her newly engaged daughter is demanding to speak to me. (after I've ohh'd and ahh'd over her wedding dress)
"Auntie, N-and I have a question, a request to ask you." She then goes into detail about where her reception will be held and other details. "N- has asked me to ask you. Well, we both want to ask you if---Ah--- Um--" By now I have no idea what's coming and I'm a bit curious. I should have been apprehensive. "We want to know if you'll officiate our wedding. You know both of us. We know you and feel you will be the best person to bring in the religious tradition and still be okay with the fun side of us." (Their theme is Star Wars meets Harry Potter)I hemmed and Hawwed trying to think of a way out out of it.
"I'm not a minister. I'm not even close. Other than the fact I'm a preacher's daughter." I don't remember all what she said but, "You can just go get a license like Grandpa did and marry us!"
I have no idea what made me agree, but the whooping and Hollering did my heart good.
Her mother comes back on the phone with a big smile, "I'm so glad you're going to do this for them. They love you and feel you are the family representative of what they want."
Again I understand.
As I sat alone after the call I thought about this huge responsibility. I am the oldest Aunt on her mother's side. Although they don't attend my church, D- was raised around the church. Attending Sunday School until she was a teen, attending the summer Campmeeting and assisting a friend with her myriad of nieces and nephews. They all attend our special events and my sister is a caregiver to many of the elderly in our church. One person asked her, "If you like the church so much, why don't you go there?" AH the big question. Commitment. That's another story.
When my other niece became engaged, she asked my father to marry them. He'd been a minister and a pastor but never was ordained. They got him ordained on paper and though he was very ill with cancer (see my story about him in earlier posts) he married them. I guess that's where D & N got the idea.
How in the world would I get ordained?
I looked on line and found out Washington doesn't require the officiate to be registered. So I thought. "Okay, I'll just do it." Further inspection of the code says the person must be OFFICIAL. They list the types of people allowed to officiate, none of which I happen to be. This site allows you to sign up as one of their "ministers" and become ordained with a certificate and ID#. I took their little test after reading about the qualifications and passed the tests. Not that they are required, but It was helpful to know a little more than I did before.
On February 14, 2018 I became an ordained minister.
To tell the truth I feel like a fraud. Then after a brief conversation we came to the conclusion its a matter of semantics. I have been a Christian for many years. I've taught Sunday School, drove a Sunday School van, sang in the choir, directed the Christmas and Easter dramas for the past 7 years. What is a minister if its not spreading the gospel? Does it mean to stand behind a pulpit and preach? There are missionaries that never "preach" but teach and lead by example.
I'm not a perfect person. My guess is to these two young people I represent what they deem as "Christian" and an example of what they want blessing their union.
I'm okay with that. Its still a daunting task, but I have a 8 months to get used to it.
|Its been a long time since I posted anything here. I'm not a blogger I guess. I have had a recent moment of clarity I want to share with anyone who reads this.
Rise and fall of action. Sounds normal and easy. As a writer we plot the action to increase to a climax then fall to the end where everyone breathes a sigh of relief. That's a good book they all say.
I have a favorite book that I've just finished listening to after a number of years. This author is well known for his books that have been made into movies. The first two book/movies I felt the intrigue. The next 2 books I read but was left disappointed. I didn't buy the last one.
His very first novel set his style and held my interest. However the second book has become my all time favorite and I have encouraged others to read it. They too have said it was a book they couldn't put down. I had it on a CD version that I loaned out. I would get a call, "I hate you! I can't get out of my car!" The story line is gripping.
This last time I listened to the story I came to a conclusion. This story is so well written I had an emotional, physical reaction to the story. I noticed as the action increased I felt anxious, tense even though I remembered somewhat of the action to follow. The action stopped and moved to another part of the story. Stopping the rising action, I had a physical moment of release. I actually took a breath and felt my body relax from the tension. As the story moved on toward the climax, this process was repeated again and again. I would feel the tension grow in the segment then the author would stop and switch to a different growing activity. The process kept you listening as the action pulled you in to the life and death situation. You knew it had to have a good ending, but getting there took your breath away at times.
This process of grab and release is what keeps readers turning pages or glued to their car seats. It's what makes a great story. This author uses multiple POV to tell the story and continues to keep all the storylines in the air and you attached to them as they rise and fall.
If you want to see what this feels like, buy the audible version of Deception Point by Dan Brown. You will find this novel to be his best work ever. I wish he'd go back to his roots and write like this again.
| 3 DAYS Am I ready? We'll see. If my plotting for the NaNo doesn't work out, I won't be writing this year. I have a basic idea, but it seems a bit boring. Not a lot of action. I'm not sure where to put it? Its a quest with a possible time limit. Another family search story. I like the idea, others I've asked about it said it sounded interesting....Now What? How can I make it a page turner? I don't want it to be just like my first novel, but that was good too.
I'll see how my family jumps in to help come up with great obstacles to throw at my MC.
| The National Write a Novel in a Month is almost here. Well, in a month but October is prep time. Last year I had an idea, it seemed good and I liked it, Too bad it had too many holes. What was the MC goals? The story unfolded as if, "This happened, then this happened..." I had good conflict, but I couldn't explain "What did the girl accomplish for herself? or others?" She helped to break up an opium train. She met a man who she felt affction for, but in the end they had goals they wanted to achieve before committing to each other.
This year a story came to me. I'm still troubled with the middle so it doesn't read like a remake of my first novel. On the other hand, Isn't that what Genre writing is? We all know Harliquin books and other famous authors write in a similar style with different settings and situations. I guess this will be one like that. If those who liked my first novel like that kind of reading, they will like this one. I was going to add some dark stuff in there, but my daughter said "Why?" Does it move the story? Can you move the story around this incident? Sure. I'm an author, I can come up with another situation to make a character go visit family across the continent.
I have great sisters that challenge me and come up with ideas when I think I have run out of ways to challenge my characters.
I'm still doing a rewrite on my detective novel. It just doesn't incite motivation or excitement. Its like going to work because you have to have a paycheck and not because you love what you do.
I love writing. An once I'm in the groove I hate to leave it. The problem being I have a partime (necessary) job that has rotating hours. Open some days, mid shift other days and close at least once or twice. This really inhibits my writing, I can't fully commit.
Anyway I want to officially post I'm going to do my best to succeed this NaNo. I'm committed to the word count, but I won't feel a failure if my schedule interferes and I have to hand write some of it. Many times I don't get the words transferred on to the computer. I know I did it and that's all that matters.
If I have to, I'll put the word count in and transfer the real copy later.
I hope to see you listed in the Nano challenge. No I don't look at other writers. Its too discouraging to see the posts of those who have no other commitments and can write 5K a day or more. The challenge is for me to get the basic idea of my story on the page.
Last time I did this I wrote the second 50K the following Janary 2013 and got my novel picked up and published Jan 2014. I think my readers will like this story too.
I didn't think I'd write in the same genre, but this plot feels good.
| What makes us laugh? I've been reading the comedy newsletter for a number of years and some of them bring funny memories and thoughts that cause me to laugh out loud.
I was thinking about the four part series Better Late than Never. Four familiar men of an age along with a young sidekick take off for a 30 day visit of Asia. Not so funny?
Lets start with who the four men were. Henry Winkler (The Fonz) called the group together. He invited William Shatner (Captain Kirl/Priceline.com), George Forman (heavy Weight Champ and grill salesman) and last but not least Terry Bradshaw (QB and motivational speaker). I started laughing when each agreed to go on the trip. Then Henry called this kid that kept bugging him, Jeff Dye. I'd never heard of him
From the first episode to the last I laughed my way though their antics.
Slapstick comedy as well as just fast reparte.
What was so funny? how does one explain funny? I watched my husband watch the show and he just smiled. I thought he would be 'laugh out loud', nope.
I watch videos posted on my facebook page. Kids laughing always brings a smile and chuckle. What one finds simply cute and gets a smile, others are bending over with a belly laugh. Why? What makes the same thing so funny to one and not another?
The only thing I can come up with is the old adage "You had to be there!" Is that enough?
When writing comedy, we write what we think is funny. Do we need to send along (laugh) cards? I heard a joke today I thought was very cute.
A young man asked a girl to the prom. When she agreed he went to rent a tux. The shop was full and he had to wait in a long line. Finally done there he went to the florist, there again a long line until he could get his order. Then off to the limosine place where now tired he waited in yet another line line for the rental.
At last they were at the prom and he asked his date if she wanted a drink. She agreed so off to the punch table he went, but there was no punchline.
Ok dumb. I'm sure you smiled and went AHHHH. What makes you laugh? What do you write that makes others laugh? Mostly I read that what we experience in our daily lives that is out of the normal. A comedy of errors. At the time may not have been funny, but later we can laugh.
Here I am again posting late. I haven't been doing too much writing lately. I've been reading and doing prep work as I start to rewrite a novel I began back in the 80's.
Yes, it come though a lot of technology changes, advancess and updates. When I first wrote this story it was on an 80's IBM compatible with no real word processor. I found a program called Einstein Writer and used that. I save novel on a %.5 floppy disk. Later when MS word first appeared I had to rework the entire stroy as it didn't translate to Word well. I had letters with little hats (^ ) that had to be replaced. What a job that was. It took me a year to do it working off and on.
After changing from the different Word programs and into WDC and back out, I have lost sections, some are miss labeled and out of order. I figure I have to rewrtie it anyway so I'll start from the beginning.
I have been reading and attending workshops. I read The Writers Journey and discussed it. Larry Brooks book about Story Engineering and Story Physics. Most helpful is a book I found through Facebook by Cheryl St. John Writing with Emotion, tension & conflict If you read the reviews they are all over the place and all of it true.
Here is my review of the book. Yes she does talk a lot about movies, and suggests you watch a number of them. Some I've seen others not. I didn't watch the ones she suggested, yet. However I see her point and I heartily endorse them. Movies have plot points. Larry Brooks books are the same, calling out movies to supliment his points. Once you can see these points and call them out, you will begin to see them in your own story or you wil see the need for them.
I have pages marked and underlined as I begin to write this Detective Novel. It needs emotion and tension. Here is my big AHA moment. It is for me a key to writing emotion. While I have for the most part down this already, I now see it for what it is.
Motivation-Feeling-Action-Speech I'm going to quote this secion from Cheryl's book Motivation must alwasy come before reaction. Have you ever been passing a car in a parking lot when the owner remotely locks the doors causing the horn to blare? I bet you jumped. The horn led to the jump. A startled berson doesn't decide to jump; he simply jumps. However speech demand conscience thought.
Motivation George produces a package wrapped with a ribbon and a bow.
Feeling Harriet focused on the gift. It wasn't a special occasion or anything.
Action She accepted the gift and met his eyes
Speech "What's this for?"
Motivation "I saw it and thought of you."
FeelingA warm glow of appreciation suffused her.
Action She smiled
Speech "Thank you
I get that by now you're saying, Oh that's no big thing, I do that all the time. DO YOU? This is a basic example but stop and read some of what you write. Do you have at least most of the format down? I'll bet you skip a few of the lines thinking the reader will fill in what you meant. Will they?
Writing with emotion and tension means slowing the reader down to read and feel. The only way to do it is to use the format.
The footsteps came closer.
Marry flattened her back against the wall next to the door
She stared at the door knob
The footsteps stopped and the door handle turned.
Mary's hand flew to her mouth as she tried to stop the scream
"Mary I hear you" his singsong voice whispered through the opening door.
Following the pattern set, leads the reader to feel more emotion. More later.
|WOW, Its been a long time since I wrote anything here.
The fall turned into a working machine, working two jobs. The Christmas concert then Easter and here we are April First.
I will be going to MN to take care of my daughter while she recovers from knee surgery. Two weeks of crocheting, eating, me writing, her knitting, eating watching movies and did I say eating? We both love to cook and eat.
Just to recap this last year a bit. Jan 2015 I had my novel published. It went very well that first quarter I sold 99 ebooks and 30 paperbacks. ( I purchased 150 of my own, not counted in their numbers, for sale).
The second Quarter ebook sales were at 63 and my paperback sales were about 75. The last half of the year sales were only at 29 ebooks and I've sold about 25 more paperbacks to date. So a total of 191 ebooks and about 125 paperbacks give or take a few. I haven't counted those left in the box.
My publisher just sent me an email that he met with other indi publishers and they calculated I had 35% higher sales than most of their authors had the first year. Now I have to find ways to get the word out to more book clubs and book stores to order my book.
I'm working almost full time (just under the FT limit) at one job and a few hours now and then when needed at the other job. I spend more at Christopher & Banks then I make.
Since I've been rewriting my very first completed novel and reading another authors book for review, I haven't had time to be on WDC much. Since its so slow at work, I'm actually doing this at work. I have only had 2 customers in the store in the last hour. The mall is pretty dead today. The weather is so nice I think many are heading out of town for the weekend.
I hope to have time to post more when I'm in MN.