Tag Archives: Book Trailer

Writing About Love Giveaway

Happy Valentines Day! Love, aah yes, it’s what makes the world go around. We all look for it, give it, receive it and would have a hard time living without it. Love is a writer’s friend. If you are a writer then chances are you have written about love.

Today is a good day to write. It is a day of observation. Take the time to focus on what emotions are being displayed. Is there a co-worker that is in a terrible mood because her and her significant other called it quits and today she has no valentine?

Did you witness flowers being delivered to an unsuspecting person? How did they respond?

I’m willing to bet that every novel written has some element of love within its pages. It can be materialistic love, sibling love, romantic love, love of power, platonic love or unconditional. Love is not just mushy. It can be the root to violence, insecurities, and betrayal.

Today’s post is a writing exercise. It has two parts.

First Part- Take one of your favorite novels down from the shelf and begin exploring the pages. Where did the author write about love? What type of scene did they create? How did you feel after reading their words? Did anything about their words inspire you?

Second Part- Create your own love scene. Remember it doesn’t have to be sunshine, rainbows, kisses and hugs. It could be storms, rocky roads and sacrifice.

Writing Prompt: Lexie stepped off of the train (What does Lexie stepping off of a train have to do with love? Was she meeting up with the guy she left everything for? Was she returning home to tend to a sick parent? Was she following her dreams?)

You could go anywhere with one sentence. What the heck let me see where you take this and you might win a surprise. I’m in the mood for a giveaway.

Make me feel love in 100 words or less and you may be a winner.

Because this giveaway was spontaneous I do not yet know what the gift will be but I promise it will be well thought out.

Love and Kisses xoxoxoxo

Maribeth

3 Comments

Filed under audience, books, character, character building, constructing, contests, creating, critique groups, dreaming, editing, emotions, Giveaway, Inspirational, life, middle grade fiction, novel, platform building, query, random, routine, stories, story telling, story writing, Style, Voice, WISHES, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing, Writing Contest

She’ll Be Coming

For the last few months I have waited with bated breath to hear back from my dream agent on whether or not she liked my manuscript and if she would be offering representation. It was a three step process. First, she liked my query and asked to see the first three chapters. I hurriedly sent her the requested material and crossed my fingers. I waited a few months. I was thrilled when the e-mail came and she asked me to forward her the full manuscript. I was so close to having an agent of my own. But, instead of getting an offer I got rejected. It was a very helpful rejection but nonetheless a rejection.

So, here I am back to square one. There has been one song that keeps playing over and over in my mind, it is…

8 Comments

Filed under audience, Book Trailers, character, character building, constructing, contests, creating, critique, critique groups, dreaming, editing, emotions, Fiction, life, middle grade fiction, novel, query, random, rejections, story telling, story writing, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

THE ART OF OBSERVING

Have you ever been in a situation where you catch another person looking you up (or down) from head to toe? Your first thought is probably something like “What is she (or he) looking at?” This is the exact thing a writer must do in order to create characters, develop scenes and incorporate details. Imagine if every book you read had only a plot? What if there was no character description, no setting imagery or no sounds mentioned? I think you would agree that most readers would find the book BORING. It is the incorporation of a writer’s observation that brings a book to life. A dark haired man is bland. A dark haired man with a receding hairline, beer gut and a tattered white t-shirt adorned with sweat soaked arm pits becomes interesting (or disgusting). A scene where a girl sits by herself on a bench in a park isn’t much of anything. Adding detail to the scene gives the reader a visual and helps bring them into the life the writer created. E.g. A teenage girl sits on a spray painted park bench under an oak tree and notices a large groups of kids huddled around the basketball court watching grown men play a game of hoops. The reader can now envision the setting because of the addition of minor details, such as the spray painted bench, the oak tree and the basketball game.
If you are a writer think of yourself as a sponge. Everything around you should be soaked up.
If you want to master the art of observing you must do the following.

*Wherever you are take in the sounds. Practice closing your eyes and assimilate all that is audible. How many sounds throughout the day do you ignore because they have become too common? E.g. Birds chirping, horns beeping, sirens, dogs barking etc.

*Watch the Activity. Try sitting in a highly active place (restaurant, park, casino, sports arena, concert, etc.) and write down what is happening around you. What is the waitress doing? Is there a child sliding down a slide for the first time? Are there groups of people listening to music in the parking lot prior to the concert they are anxiously waiting for?
*Pay attention to emotions. Does the gambler look excited or frustrated? Weddings, funerals and sporting events are great for observing emotions.

*Watch for mannerisms. Mannerisms as I have discussed in previous posts make characters relatable. Does the young waitress have a habit of licking her lips? Does the lead singer jump up and down before the start of a new song? Is the football player known for blessing himself before he leaves the huddle?

*Don’t forget about nature. Nature is free art. Getting in touch with nature may sound corny to some but it is a must for a writer.

*Watch the animals. Don’t ignore the birds that chirp on the telephone wire, dismiss the squirrels that scurry up the tree or fail to pay attention to the neighborhood cat. They all can add to a scene.

*Make note of a person’s sense of style. Do they have a flair that begs to be imitated? Do they appear sloppy looking? Is their pants one size too small or two sizes too big? All of this can be used for character building.

*Check out the atmosphere. Make it a point to scan your surroundings. If you are in a friend’s home look at their décor for inspiration. What unique things do they have that can add depth to a scene. Does your favorite restaurant have booths or tables covered in linen?

Promise yourself that this week you will take time to really observe. Soak in your surroundings. But, remember that too much detail can be overkill and turn a reader off. Find a way to add your observations in a non obvious way.

What observations have I missed that you think are important?
Where do you like to go to observe?

8 Comments

Filed under audience, books, character, character building, constructing, creating, dreaming, Fiction, Inspirational, life, meme, middle grade fiction, novel, platform building, query, random, routine, stories, story writing, Style, Uncategorized, Voice, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing, Writing Contest, Young Adult

CREATING A CHARACTER IS LIKE DRESSING A MANNEQUIN

I enjoyed going shopping with my mother when I was a young girl. I loved it not because she bought me things (although that was an added bonus) but because I loved the mannequins. At eight years old I was creating characters without realizing that was what I was doing. With the help of my imagination the giant faceless dolls became people. I gave them names, faces, personalities, people to see and places to go. The person who dressed the mannequin helped make it easy for me to envision the people I created. We as writers do the same for our readers when we develop the characters that walk the pages of our books.
When developing a new character, think of a nude mannequin waiting to be dressed. The way a person dresses can tell you a lot about their personality. The clothing you pick for your character helps the reader envision what they look like. What colors would your character wear and why? Maybe a loud boisterous character would choose colorful clothing such as a bright orange sweater, a pair of bootleg jeans and a pair of zebra print stilettos. A more demure character might choose to wear a navy blue pea coat with a grey angora cowl neck scarf, a dark grey pencil skirt and black leather knee high boots.
Is your character a teenager, a housewife, an athlete a hipster? Once you answer this question, you will find it easier to pick out their attire. The way you describe their hair will also help bring them to life. Does the girl in the pea coat have blonde silky hair that she secures tightly in a ponytail at the back of her head? Does the lively girl have short brown hair with golden highlights that frame her face? Speaking of faces, what does theirs look like? Have you ever found yourself staring at a mannequin envisioning their features based on the way they are dressed?
Once you know their style, their features usually will present themselves. Are their eyes circular in shape? Can you describe their nose? What about their smile? Is it vibrant and contagious or non-existent?
Anyone who dresses a mannequin has an idea of a person in mind. Their execution of style is what entices the buyer to purchase what they are selling.
Let’s make this a writing exercise. Imagine you have an unclothed mannequin in front of you and it’s your job to add clothing, accessories, hairstyles, facial features and personality to the lifeless figure. You want the potential buyer to be able to clearly envision the character you have created.
******** My character**********
Name –Lydia (Where do you get your names for your characters? Is there meaning behind them?) Something as simple as a name can lure readers in.

Age: 18 (Your main character’s age will generally constitute your target reading age, eg. Young Adult readers would most likely connect with a character that is within the fourteen-to nineteen age range).

Features: (It is important to include features in your descriptions, this allows the reader to feel like they have a good sense of what the character looks like) Dark wavy shoulder length hair, Hershey kiss eyes, a smile that stretches like a rubber band, a star shaped birthmark under her eye and a slender figure with the exception of her rounded derriere.

Quirks if any: ( Quirks are a way to make your character become relatable to the reader) Lydia has a terrible habit of cracking her knuckles.

Voice: (Imagine what your characters voice will sound like. Is it raspy? Is his or her speech fast?) Lydia’s come hither voice makes her a favorite with the opposite sex.

Attire: ( The clothing your character wears can help define what type of person they are) Lydia slipped on her tightly fitted rainbow decorated t-shirt and tucked her stretchy denim pants into her knee length Chuck Taylor sneakers. She liked that her style was unlike anyone else’s and often referred to her sense of flair as “punk rock and roll”. She’d rather set a trend than follow one. Once someone started to imitate her style she would change it. She hated that the girls in school began wearing fingerless elbow high gloves because that meant she could no longer wear her favorite accessory.

Hopefully, I created a character that you can now see. The next time you are shopping, take a moment to look at the mannequins. You might be surprised at how inspiring they can be.
Think of one of your favorite characters, what was something that made them memorable? What steps do you take when creating a character?

Leave a comment

Filed under audience, books, character, character building, conference, constructing, contests, creating, dreaming, editing, emotions, Fiction, Inspirational, life, middle grade fiction, query, random, rejections, stories, story writing, Style, Voice, WISHES, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult

Who Will You Thank?

I love when I finish a book for many reasons but today I will only discuss one of the reasons. You would think the first thing I would do after finishing a book would be reflect, but I don’t do that until after I have read the acknowledgements. I guess you could say I’m a bit corny. I won’t allow myself to read the acknowledgements until I have finished the book (I’m not somebody that looks ahead to find out what’s happening either. I like waiting).
Once I know I have completed reading I race to that page where the author does some of his or her own reflecting. I love to see who they have thanked and why. I also gain valuable information such as who the author’s agent is. Reading an acknowledgement allows me to daydream of what my own would look like. Who would I thank? What agent’s name will be listed? What interesting facts about myself would I like to share?
I thought about writing a mock acknowledgement on this blog (I was very tempted) but decided not to in fear that doing so would somehow jinx me (yes, I’m a bit superstitious).
I recently was given a Kindle for my birthday and my first thought was… will there still be an acknowledgement section? I still don’t know because I haven’t jumped ahead to see.
Reading that short paragraph at the end assures me that all authors have someone who helped them along the way, someone who encouraged them, someone who believed in them, someone who wasn’t afraid to critique them and finally someone who helped turn their dream into a reality. They were where so many of us still are. Seeing that they made it allows us to hope one day we will too.
Do you read the acknowledgements? What do you like the most about them? Have you ever thought of who you would thank?

2 Comments

Filed under audience, books, conference, constructing, creating, dreaming, editing, emotions, Fiction, Giveaway, Inspirational, life, meme, middle grade fiction, NaNoWriMo, novel, query, random, rejections, stories, story writing, Style, superstitions, Voice, WISHES, writer conference, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing, Writing Contest, Young Adult

When Writing Takes a Brief Intermission

The past few weeks have been very hectic and my blog has suffered. I spent a week in the hospital with my oldest child (Thank God, she is doing well). I wrapped up my four months of training and I am now ready to become a Craps dealer (neat, I know). I have readjusted to having six kids home all day (my four plus a niece and nephew). I have had what I like to call a brief intermission. I have not written as much as I would have liked but I never stopped thinking about what I would write, which leads me to my point.
We all have interruptions in life that pull us away from our writing and into reality. It’s okay for this to happen because we come back with new experiences and more things to write about. I can now incorporate a scene if I wished about the emotional high a mother endures after seeing her precious child lying in a hospital bed. Eventually I will be able to discuss how intoxicating working in a casino could be and how summer vacations filled with children can be fun, crazy and memorable. I briefly walked away from writing but now I am coming back.
What do you when life drags you away from what you love to do?

Leave a comment

Filed under books, constructing, contests, creating, editing, emotions, Fiction, Inspirational, life, meme, middle grade fiction, query, random, rejections, stories, story writing, Style, Voice, WISHES, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing, Writing Contest, Young Adult

Successful Writing Careers and Intuition

Have you ever wondered if Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Myer, Suzanne Collins (insert whichever wildly successful author here) knew they were on the brink of something before their success erupted? Did they have a feeling that life was about to change?
These questions circulate my mind because I have an inner feeling that my writing career will eventually take off. I am not saying that I will become the next big thing(althtough I do hope to be). I am not delusional. I am not psychic. The feeling I have is not hope (however, I have plenty of that). It is not desire. It’s something else.
I have watched screenwriters, actors and producers accept awards and say something along the lines of “A year ago, I was at home watching this show never dreaming I would be on it a year later.” Their statement would cause me to think, really?
I tend to think people do have an inner knowing. In many interviews you will see the question, “Did you ever imagine you would have this success?” We all want to know if they were feeling something we were or weren’t so we can closer examine exactly what it is that we feel.
I wouldn’t dare claim to be the best writer but my gut tells me I am on the verge of new beginnings.
Have you ever thought about this or am I the only one? Is it a sixth sense?

Leave a comment

Filed under books, constructing, creating, dreaming, editing, emotions, Fiction, Inspirational, life, middle grade fiction, novel, query, random, rejections, story writing, Style, superstitions, Voice, WISHES, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult

The People You Meet

I have met many wonderful people since I proclaimed I was a writer. The first person to recommend starting a blog to me was Christina Katz, The Writer Mama. I stumbled upon her blog just before the release of her book The Writer Mama hit shelves. She wrote a blog about blogs and the perks of having one. My interest was piqued so I left a comment. At the time, I didn’t know I was reading a blog. I had typed up writing in my search engine and I was directed to her site. I thought she provided a wealth of information for aspiring writers who also happened to be mothers. She replied to my comment and we exchanged e-mails. She took the time to instruct me how to start my own blog. My first blog Moments to Memories was born and daily writing became part of who I was. I still read Christina’s blog and every time I see her gain more success I cheer her on.

When I decided that I wanted a career in writing for children and teens, I joined the Society of Children’s Books and Illustrators. I loved participating in their contests (I placed runner-up in one) and reading the industry news. It was here that I learned the importance of a critique group. As a new writer, I was naïve and thought my words would stand alone. It wasn’t until I became part of a critique group that I discovered my words could only stand alone if someone else helped me perfect them. I met a wonderful man named Tim Loftus who asked me to become part of the critique group he was forming. Participating in the critique group helped me understand the importance of being acquainted with fellow writers. I also began writing more consistently because of this group. Tim was a monthly contributor for Highlights magazine. He is a dear friend and I value his friendship as well as his critiques. I consider him my writing guru.
It was also on the SCBWI website that I found there were conferences for writers. A place to meet other writers in person, receive critiques from editors and listen to their stories about the publishing world. It was at my first conference that I met a woman who has now become a lifelong friend. I had gone to the conference alone and knew no one that was going to be there. When Joan, an older woman with kind eyes, a long grayish braid and a photo album filled with pictures of her beloved elephant approached me, I knew she was who I was meant to meet. Joan is the author of True Blue (a children’s book that is still in publication). I was blessed to have Joan Elste enter my life and the constructive criticism she gives has been a gift that I treasure.

When I decided to take writing seriously, I had no idea everything that would need to be known before someone else took my writing seriously. The Institute of Children’s Literature provided me with two fabulous instructors who taught me how to format, show not tell, structure a story, and edit.

Once upon a time, I thought becoming a writer was easy. I didn’t think there was much to it. I now know writers travel a great distance before they find success.

The moral of this story is you cannot become a great writer without the help of other great writers. I started this journey solo, but have found interesting, inspiring, and knowledgeable people along the way. There are countless others that I have not mentioned by name. If you are reading this and know you are one of these people, please know you have left and imprint that will never be removed.

I am walking a trail. I cannot wait to see who else I cross paths with. I feel like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Each person I meet has something to offer me and hopefully in return I have something to offer them.

Do you have a list of people that you are thankful for meeting? How have they helped you get to where you are now?

1 Comment

Filed under books, constructing, creating, dreaming, editing, emotions, Fiction, Inspirational, life, meme, middle grade fiction, novel, query, random, rejections, routine, stories, story writing, Style, Uncategorized, Voice, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult

Let Your Senses Do the Talking

Today we are taking a field trip. We will be seeing wonderful places, smelling unforgettable scents, hearing rhapsodies, tasting delicious foods and touching objects that we will later describe.
A writer must use all of their senses in order to create something memorable.
Grab a pen and a notebook and follow me. Step outside, find a comfy place and begin taking it all in.
What my senses are showing me:
Sight: I see a lawn that needs to be mowed. Tiny white flowers sprout from the green blades and dance slowly as the wind blows by. A Weeping Willow sways its droopy branches back and forth like swinging pendulums. A dove is perched upon a rooftop calling out to its mate. Children’s toys rest against a fence waiting to be used. A sidewalk decorated with chalk stretches down the middle of the lengthy yard and the sky above is filled with cumulus clouds that look more comfortable than any chair I have ever sat upon.
Hear: I hear the coo from the dove that is perched above. The echo of his call fills the air and takes me back to childhood days where I thought a dove’s coo was a hoot from an owl. A siren rings in the distance and I can’t help but wonder where the emergency is and if everyone is okay. The wind whips past my ears and sounds like waves from an angry sea crashing against the shore. Children’s laughter from a few houses over brings a smile to my face and a trains’ whistle makes me think of the days I spent with friends walking the railroad tracks.
Feel: I could feel wind rushing past me and it reminds me of the breeze a blanket sends when one shakes it out, preparing to fold it back up. The gust of air is a gift given by the wind on a humid day. I could feel the sturdiness of the wood beneath me and I think about the person who crafted the Adirondack chair I relax in. I poke my finger into the potted plant that hangs above my head. The dry dirt alerts me of the plants thirst.
Smell: The air that rushes past me brings the sweet scent of honeysuckle. The fragrance of a dryer sheet perfumed with clean cotton sneaks out of a neighbor’s window freshening the air. A smoky aroma rises above the trees signaling a nearby BBQ.
Taste: Hazelnut flavored coffee soaks my taste buds and leaves a pleasant aftertaste long after it has been consumed. I let the chocolate from my daily protein bar melt inside my mouth savoring the succulent flavor before allowing it to be gone.

When a writer uses their senses they encourage the reader to experience the scene in which they are writing about. If you take the time to close your eyes when you are hearing, touching, tasting and smelling you will learn that when you open your eyes you will see things that were always there but were never looked at.
Leave a comment telling me what you are Seeing, Feeling, Touching, Hearing and Tasting right now and then take those things and incorporate them into something you are writing.
What senses do you use the most when writing scenes?

1 Comment

Filed under books, constructing, creating, dreaming, editing, emotions, Fiction, Inspirational, life, meme, novel, random, routine, stories, story writing, Style, Voice, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

Random Thoughts that Stopped by Mind Today

• I’d rather fail a few times if it meant in the end I would become an expert.

• I waste time daydreaming.

• Happiness can be found in the smallest things and most unexpected places.

• If you take the time to figure out someone else you may discover who you are.

• To some writing is a hobby, to me it is a calling.

• If your house smells nice you feel better.

• I have sent many queries and have received many rejections.

• Hope is mysterious, Trust is comforting and Passion is motivating.

What random thoughts stopped by your place today?

1 Comment

Filed under books, constructing, creating, dreaming, editing, emotions, Fiction, Inspirational, life, meme, novel, query, random, rejections, routine, stories, story writing, Style, Uncategorized, Voice, WISHES, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing