Sunday, August 28, 2011

When Life Hands You Lemons...Write a Story

When life hands you lemons...we've all heard that saying, and many of us can certainly look at the events in our lives as a little (or a lot) sour at times.  My own personal bout with breast cancer has made my mouth pucker a time or two.  The funny thing about it though is I haven't let it slow me down much.  With a career in both education and writing, a husband who can't sit still, and three young children, a pity party just isn't going to happen, and I certainly don't want one.

For a while now, though, I've been thinking about my experience, and a meeting with my local Kentucky Romance Writers opened my eyes to something I'd been toying with.  A guest speaker by the name of Shirley Garrett (click on her name to visit her website), author of A Tap Water Girl In a Bottled Water World, explained that it was a story about her early childhood that got her speaking and writing for a living.  You see, she and her siblings were abandoned by their mother at an early age to live with an aunt who wasn't exactly the nurturing type, and their father was in the military and gone most of the time.  At the age of four, she and her siblings were adopted (by two separate, but close in proximity, families), and the first Christmas the family spent together was her first story she wrote and published.  This is a perfect example of taking the lemons of life and making a very nourishing story.

I have my own ideas for what I'd like to write down, and I kind of had an epiphany of how to go about it.  For a long time, I could only focus on the negative aspects of having cancer (typical mortal me), but now I realize that I need to focus on the positives, and yes, there were positives.  What blessings emerged from such a difficult time in my life?  I've made connections I never would have made; I've learned a few things about myself I never realized I had in me; and I've accomplished a few things I never would have dreamt before.  These are the ideas I want to promote about life's bitter events.  I think if you're going to put yourself out there, do it in a way that uplifts.  That's my goal as I begin writing about my personal experiences.

I don't know that I'll ever publish any of it, except maybe on a blog, but I think I'll be better for getting it down on paper, so to speak.

The truth is, we live in a world full of lemons.  I am currently praying for the folks along the East Coast who've been affected by Hurricane Irene.  Many of these same people just experienced a pretty significant earthquake.  We know bad things happen.  Life is all about obstacles and overcoming.  As writers, why not get a good story or two out of the bad?.

Now, I couldn't post to this blog without some kind of eye candy, so I found this oh, so, delectable model named, Nicholas Lemons.  He must be on hard times because he's apparently lost the shirt off his back *fans self*.

Happy Writing!

Into the Fire, releasing October 5, 2011 from The Wild Rose Press

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sex and the City: Who Would You Be?

OK, I admit I'm a big Sex and the City Fan. Not so much the movies, but the series was one of my favorites- I still watch re-runs. I was drawn into the lives of the four women, Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda.
As I was trying to decide what to blog about this week - yes, I was watching TV while pondering - I started thinking about the varied personalities of the women and wondered if that was what made the show such a hit. Was it because every woman watching could find a little bit of herself or her friends in the women on the screen?

So then I thought about how these characters fit into the eight archetypes that writers use when building a character. Since I've seen every episode, I had a pretty clear idea of where each woman would fit. But for those of you who haven't seen the series, I thought I would make a comparison. And then if you have the chance to see the show, it might give you ideas for character development/flaws. Plus, I just really like the show.  LOL

The main character is Carrie Bradshaw.(A writer. Gotta love that!) She narrated the series. She is archetype THE SPUNKY KID: gutsy and true, she is loyal to the end. She is a favorite of many writers, and for good reason. You can’t help but root for her. She’s the girl with moxie. She’s not looking to be at the top of the heap; she just wants to be in her own little niche. She’s the team player, the one who is always ready to lend a hand. But in my opinion, Carrie has a healthy dose of THE FREE SPIRIT in her. I saw traits like:
eternal optimist. Playful and fun-loving, she travels through life with a hop, skip and a jump, always stopping to smell the flowers and admire the pretty colors. She acts on a whim and follows her heart, not her head.

Next comes Samantha Jones. I think Sam is one of the most complex character on Sex and the City. (I'll tell you the other one in a moment) She plays the role of a successful business woman who chooses to live her private life . . . in sexual decadence. Her character makes no apologies that she has random, meaningless sex - "like a man". However, as the series continued, her character grew, the audience saw other sides to her personality. She even learned how to fall in love. Anyway, I think Sam is an even mix of archetypes THE BOSS: a real go-getter, she climbs the ladder of success. This is a “take charge” female, who accepts nothing but respect. Reaching her goal post the most important thing in life to her, and she isn’t bothered by a few ruffled feathers along the way. And THE SEDUCTRESS: an enchantress, she gets her way. This is a lady who is long accustomed to sizing up everyone in a room the minute she enters. Mysterious and manipulative, she hides a streak of distrust a mile wide and ten miles deep. 

Next, let's look at Charlotte York. Although Charlotte has a job in a museum, she doesn't hide the fact her real goal is finding the perfect husband. She's an example of THE WAIF: a distressed damsel, she bends with the wind. She’s the original damsel in distress. Her child-like innocence evokes a protective urge in the beastliest of heroes. But don’t be fooled, because the WAIF has tremendous strength of will. She won’t fight back; she’ll endure.

Lastly, Miranda Hobbs. Lawyer. Busy, busy career-minded, Miranda. To say cynic is not going too far.  She is the other character that had so much growth during the series.She's THE CRUSADER: a dedicated fighter, she meets her commitments. No shrinking violet, no distressed damsel, here. This lady is on a mission, and she marches right over anyone in her way. Tenacious and headstrong, she brushes off any opposition to her goal. BUT she's got the hidden trait of THE NURTURER: serene and capable, she nourishes the spirit. Not always Suzy Homemaker, this lady takes care of everyone. This hidden trait is her growth and by the last season, the last show, her kindness had me in tears.
OK, that and the fact that "Mr. Big" goes all the way to Paris to tell Carrie "she's the one." Ahhh, romance:)

I hope this helps gives a visual example of the archetypes. In my opinion one of the best books on the subject is THE COMPLETE WRITERS' GUIDE TO HEROES AND HEROINES by Viders, Cowden and LaFever. This is where I got all the above information and is a wonderful resource! Here's the link in case you'd like to purchase this book]-

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The End

Two simple words. To a writer, they can mean the accomplishment of one project. To a reader, the end of a book or a series. In fact, this past July was the end of an era for me. In fact it was the second end to the same era. The final installment of the Harry Potter series was on the big screen. I admit it. I am a big, make that a huge Harry Potter fanatic. In case you didn’t know I wrote my master’s thesis on the series. In fact the final book came out the spring before I wrote my thesis.

Back in July of 2007, I remember standing in line at midnight to pick up the final book and then racing home to start reading it. I spent the weekend devouring that book with a box of Kleenexes handy. However, while the books were over, I had the movies to at least look forward to. Now they are over, too. I did go to the midnight showing to see the final film before I left for Germany and I was excited. But that excitement was mixed with the sadness of knowing that now one of my all time favorite serieses was really over, for good.

I know I can revisit the characters by rereading the books and watching the movies over and over, but it isn’t the same as picking up one of the books for the first time or seeing it come to life on the big screen for the first time either. While it is fun to revisit characters, it is sad when their stories end too.

What are some stories (books or movies) that you didn’t want to see end? As a writer do you anticipate the ending or dread it? Are you a Harry Potter fan? If so, did you see the last movie? What did you think?