Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Writing Wednesday--Beginnings

So, last week I had a wacky word.  Today I'm doing a Writing Prompt.  I think as a writer, that the beginning is probably one of the trickiest spots in the story to write.

Found this cool meme on Google and just had to share it with you.  Thank you!
One of the things I've learned in creative writing back in college was to start somewhere else.  I've done this in different projects or book series even.  I had a hard time reading Magic Kingdom of Landover: For Sale, Sold! by Terry Brooks when I first picked it up.  But I really wanted to read the series because the stories sounded so intriguing, so I started with the second book in the series, The Black Unicorn and after that, I was hooked.  After I had read the entire series, I went back and read the first book which made the others make more sense and I was able to understand more of the characters and such. (Sidenote: my favorite book in that series is Wizard at Large, it makes me laugh and has the right amount of adventure going on in it featuring a couple of the side characters more as the main characters.  It's awesome.)

But what if you don't want to start somewhere else?  What if you have the compulsive need to start at the beginning?  I have this problem as well.  Just remember though, if you write the beginning very first to ignore it until the story is FINISHED!  Don't go back or you will forever be stuck in the "editing/rewriting first chapter" loop.  I got caught in that loop when I went to do my first rewrite/revisions on my very first finished novel.  And I'm still caught in it.

One of my favorite things to think about with beginnings is: first impressions make the grade.  When you are wanting a reader to read your story, how is that beginning going to impress them to keep them going in your story?  Does it start in media res (i.e. in the middle of some kind of action)?  Does it have catchy wording to hook you in the first two or three lines?  Or does it have a lure of some other kind that makes you wonder where it will go next?

I just listened to the Writing Excuses podcast episode on Beginnings--Writing Excuses-Beginnings Episode Link--and during this episode, it was really nice to hear what people are looking for in a beginning.  The first one I mentioned--the book starting in media res and they use this in the episode is James Bond beginnings.  It starts off with him in action on some sort of assignment.  You're hooked immediately because you are pulled in by the action and the suspense of who might die in the beginning or who will they introduce as a villain the James Bond beginning.  It's awesome right?

If you want to start in media res, go for it.  It doesn't have to be a big huge action scene like James Bond though.  Start in the action that you feel is best, no matter how small it may be.  I really liked how they also used the beginning of Cinder by Marissa Meyer (remember my short and sweet review?)  as a in media res example.  She's doing something small, but it's revealing something about her character as well which is what your readers learn in an in media res beginning.

The second one that I mentioned is just hooking the reader in the first two or three lines.  The first book that came to my mind in this is The Martian by Andy Weir.  I'll let you look up the first lines.  Man, when I read those, I laughed out loud and said, "Oh dear, where is this book going?"  I'm hooked right from the first lines.  The other that a lot of people might think of that is engaging in the first few lines is A Tale of Two Cities.  You know, the "It was the best of the times, it was the worst of times..." sentence which I believe is also one of the longest, or the longest, first sentence ever written, but also one of the most captivating.

The last one I mentioned is a lure that is intriguing and wants to make you read more.  When I think of one like this, I think of The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  (Love the book and the movie!)  Also The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.  I mean, you start reading The Book Thief and you are immediately wondering who the heck the narrator is!  Took me just a bit to figure it out, but if you haven't read it, I won't spoil it for you, unless you've seen the movie, then it's already spoiled.  However, those are two books with beginnings that make you go, "Hmmmm....I wonder where this is going.  I need to know more."

So, for this week, I am going to give you a writing prompt challenge on beginnings.  Here it is:  I want you to write the beginning of your story.  However, do it three times.  Once in media res, once with only a couple hook lines, and once more luring your reader in with intrigue.  It shouldn't take more than a page for the first and last one, but the hook lines should only be two or maybe even three lines long.  I'll do this too and report back next Wednesday on how it went.

Get out there, get reading and get writing!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Friday, Monday, & Tuesday in One!

So, I had Challenge Fridays that I wanted to start.  Sorry I didn't post that day.  It was my oldest's 10th birthday party and there was a lot of last minute stuff left to do for it, so I was super busy handling mom/hostess duties for 10-10 year old girls!  Wow and it was a wonderful party and I'm glad that everyone had a blast.

In that light, I did not get my own challenge finished, although it has been on my mind a lot.  I don't want to disappoint in my own beginnings of Challenge Fridays! I really want to practice setting a goal on one day and reporting on it the next week.  So, this week, I am going to finish those hooded towels and also get studying my physics for my new story idea I'm working on.

And sorry I missed yesterday's post.  One of the very first friends I made after I moved from Utah to Illinois passed away Sunday evening after battling a very rare form of cancer.  It's very sad.  I have had friends pass away before, been to their funerals and such, but I didn't really do much grieving for them.  For her though, I have thought about her every day.  I have been praying for her husband and three children that she has left behind, and I am grateful that I got to know her, even if it was for a short time after I moved here (her family moved to Missouri after about a year of me and my family moving to Illinois).  I remember us talking about her daughter being a lefty because I'm a lefty and how to teach her to write and other things since my friend and her husband were both right-handed.  I remember carving pumpkins with her family and going to the pumpkin patch with them during our first Halloween in Illinois.  I also remember that about a week before they moved away she called me and wanted to go to lunch and go shopping with me before they moved.  She will be missed by all those that she came across in her life, but she will also be remembered.

So for my Book Tour Tuesday, I actually don't have one.  Although I want to talk about a book that I wish I had read and think will now after seeing the movie.  I watched the movie, The Fault in Our Stars, last night which is based off the book by John Green.  It's about a girl, Hazel, who has thyroid cancer that has spread and she has a hard time breathing because her lungs aren't strong enough and keep filling with fluid.  But it's not just about her.  It's about her journey with a boy she meets at a support group named, Augustus Waters.  He, too, is a cancer patient, but unlike her, he has the most positive, upbeat soul that is grateful for every day he is alive.  The relationship that builds between the girl (Hazel) and Augustus is amazing!  They find the support, love, and friendship they both needed in their lives through the story.  I cried, I laughed through the movie and I kept thinking about my friend and her family.  I pray that one day the cure to cure all cancers will be here and it will just be something we talk about in history class, like small pox.  I pray that all of my readers with family members fighting this awful disease know how much I admire their strength to endure such a hardship (the one who is sick and the family members helping out as well).  I will definitely be picking this book up in the future to read!

In the meantime,

Get out there, get reading and get writing!

P.S.  If you did a Challenge Friday, feel free to share what challenge you picked and if or how you plan to accomplish it and how it made you feel finishing a project or writing goal.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Story Share Update

Last week I told you about my new story idea that I needed to learn physics for.  Yeah, I haven't cracked open any of the physics books I checked out from the library just yet.  I think I'm just too scared to do it.  I'm not good at math, or understanding fierce math like some of the theory's have you look at.  But all in all, I think it's a good thing to keep learning something new every day!

And because I am not good at math or physics really, here is a meme that fits this to a "T" for how I feel about it sometimes.

The basic knowledge I have a physics isn't hard for me.  It's when I want to understand more of the "timey wimey wibbly wobbly stuff" that goes straight over my head and out the window to the neighbors yard.  Don't get me wrong, I find science very fascinating.  But I'm more into earth sciences, meteorology, archaeology...not physics--although it has some stuff that makes it really cool.

Well, it's short and sweet today.  I am definitely going to try to read some of these physics books for a bit this next week so I can get a handle on what I'm looking at for my new story idea.  Even if it makes me cry and goes straight over my head way too much.

Get out there, get reading, and get writing!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wacky Word Wednesday

So, I decided I would do a Wacky Word Wednesday today.  Today's word is....


Yeah, so I had no idea this word existed.  It's meaning is: The fear of running out of reading material.

Um, so this is super interesting that there is an actual fear of running out of reading material.  Luckily, for you and for me, we know that there will always be reading material available as long as writers keep on writing.

Sadly, my word count for this week is pretty much nil, so I may end up with this abibliophobia because then I wouldn't have anything to read in order to edit!  There is a good reason though and it's because I am working on my oldest's birthday party stuff this week.  So I don't have to worry about running out of reading material at all since I have left four books sitting on my nightstand and about twelve at least on my Kindle.  I know I will always have reading material, and I sure hope you all never stop reading either!

Get out there, get reading and get writing!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Book Tour Tuesday--Dangerous by Shannon Hale

This week's Book Tour Tuesday is, Dangerous by Shannon Hale.  This book seriously is one you will not put down once you pick it up.  It is that good and fast of a read.

It's about a girl, Maisie, who is accepted into a astronaut boot camp with a lot of other smart kids.  When a group of the kids at this NASA-style boot camp gets the opportunity to see something out of this world, things change for Maisie.  She is now part of a group of kids that have the opportunity to save the world, but it isn't easy.

Through this story, it is fast paced to begin with.  I was captured with the character of Maisie from the beginning.  She is a very intelligent girl who decides to write an essay for a contest that is on the back of a cereal box.  After being accepted, she is just like anyone else who would win a contest to a NASA-style boot camp, excited and unsure about the adventure before her.

I love every aspect of this story.  I love love love the characters!  I love the character growth and depth, and Shannon Hale does a great job in her details.  Not too much and not too little.  Just enough to make you believe you are reading an action/science fiction movie.  It only took me about three days (without kids, it would be about one full day) to read this book.  I am very grateful to my friend who recommended the story to me one day and said I just had to read it.  That's what I recommend to you today.  GO READ THIS!  It's great for pre-teens who have read The Hunger Games, Cinder, or anything else in this genre.

Shannon Hale easily became one of my all-time favorite authors through this story.  I can't wait to read more by her and await eagerly to see what Shannon has next up her sleeve to capture us all.

Get out there, get reading (especially this book!) and get writing!