Prayers for Manchester.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

-Jesus of Nazareth

My heart is bleeding for all the families affected by the Manchester bombing last night, and my prayers are with you today, United Kingdom.

Tips from Other People, Part 3.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m going to mention it again: I love character-driven stories. Stories where the action and plot are determined by the characters; their motivations and hang-ups. In order to write stories like that, it’s important to make sure you’re writing character motivations well.

Fortunately, the lovely folks over at Now Novel have some advice for that:

1: Give each character their own contrasting motivation

2: Use character motivations founded on rational and irrational beliefs

3: Decide how aware your characters will be of their own motivations

4: Let characters’ drives develop as new plot events occur

5: Don’t give characters what they want too easily

6: Try to be subtle in revealing what drives your characters

7. Make motivations complex to increase readers’ interest

Each one of these points is expanded upon in the full post, so head on over and take a look if you’re interested.

Favored Truths.

I discovered a new source of thinkering* last night, by way of Robert Frost’s poem, The Black Cottage. I don’t know why it isn’t one of his famous ones, because as far as I’m concerned, it’s fabulous, and I highly recommend following the link and reading the whole poem.

For the purposes of today’s little inspiration jolt, however, I’m focusing on two lines:

“Most of the change we think we see in life
Is due to truths being in and out of favor.”

Now, I probably should have waited a few weeks to blog about this, because my thoughts haven’t really had enough time to simmer and synthesize. But I’m just too interested in the ideas contained in these lines NOT to share them with you.

The fact is, truths are universal. No matter the time period or culture, what is true is not a matter of opinion. That would belie the whole concept and definition of truth. Truths do, however, go in and out of favor, depending on the reigning zeitgeist.

 

 


*thinkering. It’s a portmanteau of thinking and tinkering. As far as I know, I just invented it. I’m so clever, I know.

Thinking about Contests.

Lately, I’ve been considering submissions more seriously. I think my writing has finally reached a point where I’m willing to believe the rest of the world might not find it utterly repulsive. Huzzah for my self-esteem. One of the main questions I’ve been mulling over is whether or not to enter contests. I did a bit of research on the subject (by googling “writing contests vs. standard submission.” So scholarly, I know), and came up with a few pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Lots of potential prize money. (Another rousing huzzah.)
  • Publication. Duh.
  • Getting your work into the hands of VIP readers.
  • Notice from agents.
  • A confidence boost if you win (or even make it into the semifinals, as I can attest from personal experience).
  • Anonymity allows for democracy.
  • Extra motivation to do good work.
  • And last, but most definitely not least: Deadlines. Need I say more?

Cons:

  • Entry fees. But as far as I can see, as long as they aren’t exorbitant, they’re probably worth it. The choice is up to you. Plus, there are plenty of perfectly reputable free writing contests.
  • Can tie up your work for months. I mean, you don’t want to risk missing out on prize money if your work is accepted elsewhere, right? This might be a problem if you’re submitting a lot, but for me… not really an issue yet.
  • Plenty of scams. But you know what? It’s just a matter of doing your research and asking the right questions.

You know what? Those are the only cons I can think of. And they all have work-arounds. So. In my case, at least, it seems like contests might be a good way to go, at least for now. After all, I’ve got nothing to lose, right?

 

If anybody out there has more thoughts or experience on writing contests, by all means let me know. I’m still a leetle baby with this whole thing.

Multipotentialites Are a Thing Now.

Here’s an excerpt from a book that I MUST track down. Immediately, if not sooner. It’s called How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up, by Emilie Wapnick, and it’s for people like me, who have never found that “one true passion” and are feeling kinda desperate.

Not all of us are born with one main interest — and we should see that as our biggest strength, not our weakness, says Emilie Wapnick, a writer, coach, artist (and then some). Do you remember being asked, as a little kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up? When I think back,…

via What it means when you can’t answer the question, What do you want to be when you grow up? — ideas.ted.com

 

Turns out, not having “one true passion” isn’t the fatal flaw that I’ve always thought. It just means that I’m what she’s calling a multipotentialite, which is a doozy of a title, and one which I will happily adopt (as long as I agree with what the book has to say).

Anyhow, even if I end up being underwhelmed by the book itself, this is a good little article. It includes tips for handling a few of the biggest problems multipotentialites face, every single one of which I can heartily identify with.

The reason I’m sharing it with all of you, is that I’m willing to bet a lot of writers are actually multipotentialites, who turn to writing as a way of exploring the entire world. If you’re one of those, you can probably relate to my feelings of insecurity over the fact that I don’t in fact want to be writing EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF THE DAY. I thought that made me wimpy or insincere… “dilettante-ish,” as I commonly accuse myself. But maybe I’m not.

So yeah, just wanted to put that out there. Once I get the book, I might do a “Toolkit” post to tell you more.

Yulin “Festival” of Brutality.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the world only contained beautiful things? Flowers, birds, and blue skies forever. And only inspiration on Tuesday afternoons.
But life isn’t like that. Today it’s time to talk again about one of the ugly things in the world.
The updated link to the petition is:

https://www.change.org/p/yulin-dog-meat-festival-will-happen-again-on-june-21-2017-10-000-dogs-will-be-tortured-and-then-eaten-this-cruel-festival-started-in-2010-and-it-must-be-stopped?recruiter=322326412&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_page&utm_term=des-lg-share_petition-custom_msg

elisabeth anne writes things

Dogs in a cage These dogs are either farmed for their meat, or are family pets that were stolen for the festival.

I know this has nothing to do with writing, but it’s a subject that is very nearly tearing my heart out, and I would like to spread the word:

On the 21st of June, China will begin celebrating the Yulin Dog Meat Eating Festival. While that in and of itself is rather horrible, the brutality and barbarism goes far beyond this…

Dog burned alive It is believed that the more pain and fear the dog experiences, the better the meat will taste, due to the amount of adrenaline surging through their bodies.

Dog boiled alive. These dogs are being boiled alive. Can we as humans allow this to go on?

To celebrate this “Festival,” thousands of dogs will be beaten to death, or skinned, boiled, or burned alive.

If you believe that this kind of “Festival” has no…

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