Ten Spoons of Spinach

Hey weberverse. How have you been? I haven’t been doing well lately. I haven’t been managing well. It has been a hard fall-now-into-winter. My heart longs for spring.

I do have some cool news about writing. I have a new plan on getting published. I am going to self-publish (yes, like every other Joe Schmo) The Novel That Will Get Me Published and I have several ideas on how to market it/myself. I am hoping a pub. company will get wind of it and then I’ll get offered a contract from that point. Hey, it could happen.

I also have a new sci-fi short story I am working on. The idea came from a co-worker, so I’ll be sure to credit her, but her idea is too good not to write down. I’m going to work on that and add it to my sci-fi collection. I’ll probably self-publish that, too. That way, I’ll have a couple different things for people (soon to be fans, I hope) to read.

I have several new ideas for novels, too. I think I mentioned one of them already, but now I’ve come up with another one. So I hope to be starting work on those, too…

M and my psych have been encouraging me to write more. I haven’t actually sat down and written anything in many, many moons. I suppose I can say half of it is because you never want to do anything when you have depression, but then I guess the other half, is I don’t feel I’m good enough so why bother. I think I talked about that before, too. But right now I just want to finish some stories to read them and make myself feel better. That’s the whole idea, right there.

So that’s where I am right now. I hope I can start to manage my illnesses better this year and I hope to write and read a lot more. I guess those are my “resolutions.”

Stay classy, San Diego.

Wr.Tu.Th.: The End?

This Writing Tutorial Thursday has been a long time coming. (My fault. Sorry.) Finally, we’ve reached….THE ENDING.

Writing Tutorial: The End?

Disclaimer: The information presented herein is based on what I, personally, have learned in my educational and professional careers. This tutorial is simply meant to offer some helpful tips.

INTRODUCTION: You’ve done it; you wrote your novel. You—wait a minute! What about the ending?

Admittedly, I have such a hard time with endings. And it’s one of the most important parts! It’s where you tie everything up; where your resolution happens; where everything comes together. So how do you write one? Here are some tips that have helped me in the ending-writing process.

1)As mentioned, the ending is where you resolve the central conflict. It’s also where you tie up loose ends. Make sure you’ve fixed the problems, solved the issues, etc. You shouldn’t leave your readers confused and wondering, “Wait, so what about….?”

2) Nothing new. The ending isn’t the time to introduce a new, surprise character or subplot. Unless these things were foreshadowed in early chapters, they shouldn’t be included. They just make things confusing.

3) Let your reader do the imagining. Try not to get carried away with descriptions of “what happens after.” You don’t have to write a neat and tidy ending; you can certainly let your reader figure it out.

4) Make sure your ending mirrors something in the beginning (or at least ties back to a crucial part of your story). Did your main character grow emotionally? Did he/she learn something since the beginning? Accomplish something? Do that one thing you wanted them to do? Be sure your reader can recognize that your ending somehow relates to an earlier theme or idea presented in your novel.

Hopefully these will help you craft some stellar endings. Do you have any other suggestions? Questions? Let me know!

Keep practicing and happy writing!

Negative Font +Prompt

I recently found this piece buried away. It was written in response to a prompt. I figured someone else might like to take a wack at it. The prompt word was simply “papyrus.” See what you can come up with. Comment with a link to your own work!

(Also, if anyone knows how to do specific fonts here on WordPress, let me know…)

Negative Font
JCD Kerwin

She wrote to you in p a p y r u s.

The typeface contradicts the bitter adieu written on the page. Each word makes you hate calligraphy. You imagine her sitting, her back against the ocean, listening to the wind within the reeds. She ran away to him and summer; you remain with nothing and the winter.

You rip pages from your notebook, pick up a pen and scrawl in IMPACT. You forget she’s long gone and throw the memories away.

(February 2016)

 

Returned

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My library/study, where I stare at the screen or paper and wait for the “magic” to happen.

I’ve been away for a couple weeks. Sorry about that. I had been worrying about a job interview I had and, maybe more than that, I got discouraged again. (Seems to happen a lot lately…)

I’m trying to force myself to ignore the negative voices in my head. You know which ones I’m talking about: the ones constantly telling you you’re no good and won’t amount to anything. I think we all have those.

In the same vein, I’m trying to get back to my roots, so to speak. It’s my dream to “save people” with my stories, yes, but hell, I just like writing. So, I’m still working on my short stories for my future collection, but I’m being cognizant of how awesome it feels to write them for me.

I’ve found some writers groups in my area. I have mixed feelings about the discovery. I’m totally stoked on one hand and can’t wait to check them out; on the other hand, I’m terrified I’m not good enough and everyone will laugh at me. (I have a lot of self doubt.) Gotta get my courage up.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I haven’t disappeared. I’m back with tutorials and tips, and maybe some writing, too. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.

Stay tuned….

J

Wr.Tu.Th: Character Development

It’s Writing Tutorial Thursday. Today we’re talking about creating really awesome characters.

Writing Tutorial: Character Development

Disclaimer: The information presented herein is based on what I, personally, have learned in my educational and professional careers. This tutorial is simply meant to offer some helpful tips.

INTRODUCTION:

What keeps us coming back to a story? It’s probably not the creepy house in chapter three (even though it was a damn good description). It’s the characters. Your story wouldn’t be anything unless there was a protagonist to relate to, root for (sometimes against), commiserate with, and follow.

So what makes a good character? How do you make one “come alive?” Well, I’m here to help answer those questions.

1) Know your characters. This doesn’t just mean what they look like. You should have detailed back stories for your characters—even the minor players. Make sure they’re well-developed. Yes, describe that they’ve got hair the color of cornstalks waving in the fall sunlight, but also describe who they are as a person. What are their dreams? Beliefs? Likes? Dislikes? Family history? Quirks? Eccentricities? Mannerisms? Think about who you are. How would you describe yourself or someone you know? That’s how you should be describing your characters.

Note: Don’t forget about your secondary characters. Giving life to many “background characters” is just as important. They might not need as detailed of a back story as your protagonist’s, but their existence needs to be just as believable.

2) Don’t pile it on. Think about character development like a five course meal. You wouldn’t want to eat all courses within the first ten minutes. That’d be crazy. Similarly, you don’t want to bombard your readers with every detail about your character in the first chapter (or paragraph).

Instead, pepper (get it? I’m continuing the food metaphor.) details about your characters throughout your story. Perhaps in the first paragraph you open with basic physical features, but it is not until chapter two that you reveal what your main character does for a living.

You may even choose to point out details as they pertain to the plot. For instance, maybe your story is centered on familial betrayal, and it isn’t until chapter ten that you let your readers know how many secrets your main character keeps from her family!

3) Make your readers care. It’s one thing to make your characters sound out-of-this-world attractive; it’s an entirely other thing to make them relatable to your readers. Ask yourself the question: “Why should my reader care about my character?” What’s your character’s objective? How do they get to that goal/point?

That’s usually where conflict comes in. (After all, if your story hasn’t any sort of action, it’s about as interesting as a used piece of gum.) How do your characters face internal and external conflict? You need to show how they overcome struggles and challenges. This is important in not only helping your characters to grow, but also in furthering your plot.

4) Remember dialogue. I love writing dialogue, so of course I’d put it on the list. But it’s true that it’s also very helpful in character development. How does your character talk? What does he/she sound like? Practice writing out things they would say. Do they have an accent? Do they have poor grammar?

(For more about writing convincing dialogue, stay tuned for next week’s tutorial!)

5) Pay attention. The best advice I can offer is to think about a favorite character from a favorite book. Why do you like that character so much? Is it because of his/her personality? Pay close attention to how the author presented him/her. Read, read, read. Take notes.

Do you have any other suggestions? Questions? Let me know!

And don’t forget: practice!

Happy writing!