Dear Grandpa

Dear Grandpa

By: L. R. Mauck

 

You once held me in your hand

When I was small and weak

You said you never felt more grand

And yet, never made you feel more meek

 

As I grew, you walked beside me

You were kind and wise

In all that you told me

And that I should aim for the skies

 

You were always there

Hovering in the background

Showing us how much you care

I’m grateful you were around

 

You attended the birthdays

Graduations, weddings, and births

You loved your history, nature, plays,

The Lord and your unique mirth

 

As I grew, so did you

I watched your face age

Your hair whitened and became few

Time flew as if turning a page

 

I once held your hand

As you grew small and weak

You could no longer stand

And struggled to speak

 

Dearest Grandpa

It was hard to let you go

Farewell my grandpa

I love you so

 

In memory of my grandpa who passed away last year.

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The Story Catalysis

ballNow that you have your basic understanding of your character to go with your story, you need a catalysis–a turning point–for your character to begin their journey. This can be something that happens to the main protagonist or a sub-character (the catalyst character) that gets the story moving. The catalysis can be anything from something major like the character moving to a new place or something minor/common as in meeting someone new or can be something dramatic such as a car wreck or a death. It can be something that can propel the character into the start of the story plot or it could reveal something about the character – their personality or a flaw.

A way to challenge yourself – think of something outside the book. Use something that you have no experience in and it forces you to do research on that item/topic. Even if you do not officially use it for your book, at least now you’ll know something extra. Keep learning, keep growing.

Examples:

  • When Harry Potter got his letter in the first book
  • Katniss Evergreen (Hunger Games) took her sisters place
  • When Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) over hears Mr. Darcy’s insult to her (starting with the theme of the story – his pride) and she confronts him soon after (her prejudice).
  • In Romeo and Juliet – in Act One Scene Five – when Romeo and Juliet actually meet. It changes the course of the play.

L. R. Mauck

Weekend Writing Challenge #6

Since this is being uploaded directly to Twitter now, I need to explain a little bit more about my challenges. I ask you for patience regarding this.

When I began my blog I wanted some type of interaction with the bloggers, so I created weekend challenges. The challenges are a way for the writers to broaden their scope of writing and hopefully to think outside their comfort zone in writing. I post my challenge acceptance on Mondays (or at least try to). If you are interested in participating, go back to weekend challenge #2 on my blog under “Weekly Challenges” for the beginning of the layering exercises. The layering exercises are for the writer to think more about the scene they are creating and examine each element to it as they write.

Weekend #6 Layering challenge: Have the character see the odd room element.

What does the character think in relationship to the odd feature? Do they see an overturned cup of coffee and immediately wonder if a pet knocked it over, and the character starts cleaning it up. Do they see the old dried flowers and wonder why say the mother hasn’t emptied those out… etc. Enhance the character by adding the thought process as well as the senses.

No dialogue yet.

For bonus points: post it to your blog or let me know you accomplished it.

Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is where you, the author, have your own book published. This may seem like the perfect solution, however, like with the traditional publishing, there are pros and cons with it.

Cons:

  • Upfront costs
  • Minimal marketing – your novel will only travel as far as you can reach
  • May lose money – not get what you put into it
  • Several publishing houses have a set number as their minimum that they print a book

Pros:

  • Total control
  • You keep profits
  • If book does well, a traditional publishing house may offer a contract
  • Most offer digital publishing
  • Best option for a targeted/local audience

Famous books that were originally self-published:

Legally Blond

Eragon

50 Shades of Grey

 

More information:

25 Things to Know for Self-publishing

Pros & Cons of traditional and Self-publishing

Interview with Self-publishing author Rochelle Weinstein

 

L. R. Mauck

Wednesday Randomness

Good morning bloggers!! On Wednesdays I try to post something personal to me – a poem or story I wrote or updates about my book (I’m still waiting, and while I’m waiting, I’m editing – the true story of a writer’s life). But last night when I was thinking over what to post for today, I actually drew a blank. So, you get some random suggestions for writing. There is no order to the list below. It was created as they came to me.

  • Always keep writing.
  • Keep a small notebook and pen with you at all times. Ideas can come from anywhere.
  • If you’re stuck or dealing with a writers block, put it down and come back later. Or if it is one section that you can’t seem to get pass – most likely your readers won’t be able to either. Go back to the drawing board and redo.
  • Outlines
  • My favorite book that I’m always referring to at home: my dictionary/thesaurus (It’s been opened so many times that the spine is broke in several places)
  • Stay organized. If inspiration hits, you want to be able to have your notes at the ready for when working on your book later.
  • If your book takes place in a specific location – go visit that location if you can. If not, watch YouTube videos to learn the dialect, local history, and hot spots.
  • Interview your main character(s) – you will get to know more about them. Even more helpful, keep index cards of your interviews. That way they are within easy reference.
  • Expand your reading – read different genre’s and read the classics – this will hopefully give you more ideas and a large vocabulary.
  • Have people read your work and get an honest take. Not mommy or daddy, but that brutally honest friend who won’t sugarcoat their opinion.
  • If you truly get in a rut – go read / write some fanfiction
  • Reach out to other writers – don’t bug them to read your work unless they offer, but instead ask about them – What’s the latest story you’re working on? Where do you find your inspiration? What would you have done differently in your career? They are human too, so treat them as one.
  • Youtube videos of conference or how to videos
  • It’s too easy to procrastinate, so remove those distractions – and that includes kicking the cats out of the room.
  • If nothing comes to you, go take a walk, visit a coffee shop or get out and mingle. Your mind needs a break too.

L. R. Mauck

Challenge Response #5

Ok, I’m not going to pretend that I like my entry this week. What I had ready to post yesterday did not sit well with me, so I rewrote it last night. I think I’m trying to keep too many details of the room listed. However, this is a layering exercise. I’ll thin it out later as the main character takes center stage instead of the room.

Response:

A young girl entered the stone walled bed room. Her wide brown eyes first saw the curtain over the open window. It rippled as a cool summer breeze drifted in from the night sky. The room was dimly lit by a single candle but she could see her way across the worn wooden floorboards. The large canopy bed was empty. She ran her fingers over the white bedclothes, feeling the different rises of the fabric. The girl absently toyed with her dark hair as she stepped to the opposite wall where the table remained.

As you’ve notice, I did not include the odd element in the room this week. That’s next time’s focus.

L. R. Mauck

Character Flaws

quote 2I’ve already mentioned a few times about character flaws. So, if you are confused on what a character flaw is: in the most basic terms a character flaw is a character (main character and/or others) in the novel to have something that is unique to them such as a physical features or a personality traits. It doesn’t necessary have to be a negative flaw, but can be positive. Having a flaw makes the character human – relatable.

For example in the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter – glasses, messy hair, green eyes, scar, hero complex and his temper. Ron Weasley – sixth son, red hair, freckles, poor-ish upbringing and then jealousy being his biggest negative flaw. Hermione Granger – bushy hair, big front teeth, bookish and her loyalty.

As you can see that several of these above are not negative. But each play a major part in the series, even to the point that it brings conflicts between the characters several different times.

Your character flaw can even be something VERY unique to one specific character. For example: Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. He has a certain spot he always sits and he knocks three times before going into other peoples apartments/offices. The show’s writers have developed this that it’s not annoying to the audience, but it’s funny each time. You can do that in your book. Find a flaw and twist it so that it is fun to write about.

In Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tokien, I truly believe he wrote one of the best supporting characters with conflicting personalities – Gollum/Sméagol. He is an innocent creature that had been corrupted by the ring of power, causing him to develop the Gollum identity.  As the reader, you can understand each of his actions and see the conflict the character does. We sympathize with him. He does wants to do what is right when he’s Sméagol like helping Fredo and Samwise as they travel through the mountains then across the marshes, and up the stairs. Even when trying to hide them from the Ringwraiths at Minas Morgul. But that corruption is too deep and he plots openly on trying to get back the ring. He uses Shelob to try, but fails. He does finally achieve in getting the ring but causes his own death at the same time. You almost want to mourn his lost because there was a ‘what could have been’ opening for him.

Tip: Like Sméagol – make your villain and sub characters relatable too. People are complex creatures, so show that. Give your characters layers. Most forget the villian – he’s just the bad guy, so he’s always evil. However, give him a reason for why he’s evil: bad upbring, a missed chance on love, a close friend/family death. Give them human emotions too.

Here’s some links on flaws:

123 Negative Flaws

Negative Flaws can Derail Good People

Advance Writing Character Flaws

Writing the Perfect Flaw

peanuts

L. R. Mauck