XO My Dear Readers

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We’re coming to the end of the month long a to z challenge. I’m thrilled. This is the third year I’ve attempted this challenge and it looks like it will be the first time I will complete it.

I come from a big Italian family. Hugs in my household were the norm. We never greeted anyone or said goodbye to anyone without giving a big warm hug. I became so accustomed to hugs that as I got older and I met new people I would have to restrain myself from giving them a hug at the end of a conversation. (I learned quickly that not all people do hugs and some even get weirded out by a friendly embrace).

There are still times I have to cross my arms around my stomach to stop myself from giving “the hug.” Most people that have come to know me have accepted that I’m a hugger and I’ve even got some to become huggers or at least accept a hug a from me.

Today I’d like to offer a giant air hug to all my readers. This challenge allowed me to meet many new people who I plan to keep contact with. I appreciate everyone who commented or followed my blog. I’m sorry if I didn’t get to comment on your blogs as often as I would have liked. I will continue to stop by your blogs to see how my new “friends” are doing.

Hugs and Kisses my new and old friends. You all inspire me to keep on writing and make me smile on days that even a thought of a smile seems impossible.

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Xoxoxo

Maribeth

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WHO,WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY

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The five w’s are important when it comes to story writing. Who is your story about? What is your story about? When does the story take place? Why is this story important?

Below is a list to help your story building. Ask yourself some of these questions, if you have answers to most of them then chances are you are headed in the right direction.

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Who is your main character?
What does he/she look like?
When is your main character’s birthday?
Where is he/she from?
Why are you writing about this character?

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Who are some of the other characters in your story?
What connections do they have with your main character?
When do they enter the story?
Where would your character be with or without them? Is their presence needed?
Why are they important to the story?

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Who will your story connect with?
What genre are you writing?
Where does your story take place?
Why did you choose to write this story?

This simple exercise will force you to look at your story a little deeper. Were you able to answer most of the questions easily or did you have to think?

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Three for One – T U V

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I’m not ready to throw in the towel. Yes, I missed the last three days of the a to z writing challenge, but I refuse to give up. If I was smart (like a lot of a to z bloggers) I would have pre planned my posts, but I wasn’t and because of my lack of planning I had no choice but to let three days go by without posting anything new. I wasn’t being lazy or uninspired (although I have found that trying to think of writing related topics every day without repeating something previously written is challenging) I was suffering from an extreme lack of time. After three days and seven softball/baseball games, a night of cupcake making for a special girl’s birthday, work, housework and sleep somewhere in between I’m just now finding time to sit down.

Forgive me for wrapping all three posts into one but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

T is for TIME MANAGEMENT – As I explained, my time has been consumed with just about everything other than writing. This happens from time to time. Usually I make it a point to write everyday but once in a while my other responsibilities must take precedent. What tips do you have to offer to me? I’m somewhat of a scattered brain, organized in a disorganized way, self-admitted procrastinator whose dream of finding success is just as big as anyone’s. What are your rituals?

U is for Unwritten– There are so many ideas written down in my journals, prancing around in my mind, showing themselves in my dreams that beg to be written. I’m not an anxious person, but whenever I think about all of the stories I want to write and the little time I have to dedicate to writing them I feel my pulse race, my heart beat faster and my soul panic. All I want to do (professionally) is write stories for a living, but unless writing is my actual job, I may never get the chance to write down all of the stories I dream of writing.
I want to stare at a blank page every morning and a page filled of words every night!

V is for Vacation– After this month of blogging I may take a mini-vacation from posting to focus more on the edits of my current YA novel. As much as I loved doing this challenge, I have found that the extra time I normally would have spent doing edits or critiques was spent writing posts. I want my blog topics to be fresh so I will let my mind rest in hopes that new ideas surface. How often do you blog? Did you face any challenges with your other writing this month?

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STAY GOLD

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This post was supposed to be up yesterday for the S challenge but because I’m on an extremely hectic schedule I didn’t get a chance to.

Do you have a go to song when trying to pull up an emotion? I have a few songs for different emotions. Today I will share one with you.

Whenever I listen to Stay Gold by Stevie Wonder I’m overcome with sadness. The song talks about life and how fast it goes by. One day we are young the next we are old.

The first time I heard this song I was a teenager. I loved the song because it was played in my favorite movie, The Outsiders. Back then the song made me think of the characters journey in the movie. Ponyboy was dreamy and loved to write and read. His favorite poem was Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost.

Johnny was misunderstood. He came from an abusive home and despite his reputation for being a “no good greaser,” he was a gentle soul who loved his friends.

Dallas was the bad boy who caused trouble but always treated Ponyboy and Johnny like brothers.

If you have watched the movie or read the book then you know that Johnny died from complications endured from a fire. He risked his life to save the life of a few children. His death was too much for Dallas to withstand. In a moment of grief, Dallas made stupid decisions that led to his death.

At the end of the movie, Ponyboy is reading aloud a letter written to him by Johnny. The letter talks about how Johnny accepted he was going to die and had no regrets because the lives he saved were precious like “gold.” Johnny tells him to Stay Gold and then the song begins. I fell in love with the greasers and the bond they shared as friends reminded me of the bond I shared with my friends.

Fast forward to six years ago I’m sitting in my father’s t.v. room listening to the song on his computer. He just found out that he needed to get another chest x-ray because the first one was “cloudy,” (he ended up having lung cancer). He heard this song and began to cry. He said “Mar, this song is my life. If I close my eyes I can remember what it was to be young hanging out with my friends, running down a basketball court, finding love for the first time.” He knew his life was coming to an end (long before the tests confirmed it.) His tears fell with each passing lyric and my heart broke.

Whenever I need to tap into that helpless, sad, frustrated, nostalgic emotion I turn on this song and by the time Stevie sings the first word I’m there.

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ROSE COLORED GLASSES

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(A TO Z BLOG CHALLENGE)

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The road I’m traveling is filled of bumps and potholes. There are many obstacles that appear but I never allow them to stop me from moving forward. Flowers are not always blooming on the side of the road and the grass is not always green, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like imagining that a few miles up there will be fields of wild flowers that come into view. The darkened sky will eventually turn bright when the sun returns like it always does. The path I’m traveling is long and at times feels endless but I understand I must continue to journey to a land I’m sure exists. There are turns and detours I must take but I do them knowing they will lead me to my destination. I choose to wear my rose colored glasses because they allow me to see the magic in the unknown and the thrill in the mundane. I’m enjoying the ride.

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QUESTIONS WRITERS ASK THEMSELVES

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I’m writing about questions for today’s “Q” challenge.

If you’re a writer, chances are you’ve talked to yourself a few times. We are filled with good days and bad days. Some days we feel like we can take on the world and other days we feel like we are wasting time, chasing dreams and writing nonsense. We question what we’re doing and why we are doing it. Below are just a few questions writers ask themselves. Have you ever asked yourself any of these?

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1. What am I wasting my time for?
2. Am I good enough?
3. What if no one ever reads my work?
4. What if I become published?
5. Who am I kidding?
6. Where is this story going?
7. Who will I thank if I do get my book published?
8. Where am I going to find the time to write?
9. Is there a purpose to my writing or not?
10. Should I give up?

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A Prayer for Writers

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My faith is everything to me. I believe, I pray and I strive to be a better person every day. In honor of the letter P and the fact that today is Good Friday I’m posting a prayer for writers.

In the catholic faith, St.Francis de Sales, is the Patron Saint of Writers. The prayer I’m posting is from the book Saintly Support: A Prayer for Every Problem.

Sometimes a prayer is all we got.

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May the Lord guide me and all those who write for a living. Through your prayers, St. Frances de Sales, I ask for your intercession as I attempt to bring the written word to the world. Let us pray that God takes me in the palm of His hand and inspires my creativity and inspires my success. St. Francis de Sales, you understand the dedication required in this profession. Pray for God to inspire and allow ideas to flow. In His name, let my words reflect my faith for others to read. Amen.

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