Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Enter the Smartphone

Okay! Here I am confessing: I must be one of the last people in the US to switch to a smartphone. On a trip to Atlanta to see a stellar grand-girl graduate High School, I was overwhelmed by family--both kids and grandkids--demanding that I get a better phone. So—I caved at last, regaled with all the storied delights that awaited me once I owned such a device. I returned home with said phone tucked inside a pair of socks. We had been too busy with visiting back and forth, hanging out, and attending various graduation festivities to go searching for a case through Atlanta’s daunting traffic.   I figured this would be a good time to make the big change, as I’d have two sons, two DILs and a grand girl to instruct me in at least some of the major arcana.

I was once considered a tech savvy person, but those days are loooong gone. There’s a certain inverted pride in still using a bona fide IBM keyboard from the 80’s, hitched to an early 2004’s computer. It is, however, getting to be more difficult to lag behind than to “get with the program,” as software, and hardware too, endlessly morph. IMHO, (as I learned to say on USENET) I suspect that all the “updating” is simply an excuse to wring more $$ from hapless consumers. One of my friends has a fantasy about MS65, a program geared to seniors, which would be guaranteed to run without chronic episodes of silicon insanity (could I perhaps be alluding to MS 10??) and also guaranteed not to change or alter in any way for a decade. That’s about the right amount of time for many of us cotton-tops to learn a software program these days, I fear. 

Of course, stability/continuity is not what software developers are into these days—the more things fail to work as promised, I guess, the better it is for business, or something. Anyway, while I’m griping, what’s with their penchant for hiding the most commonly used operations three or four—or five--pull downs deep? Is it so we have to humiliate ourselves and buy the latest copy of “…For Dummies”? And what’s with that “Search” that leads you into Alice in Wonderland conversations with   ?? Couldn’t "search" just continue to do what the word indicates that it does?

This morning, I awoke to the sound of chimes—my new phone, of course. I’d set the alarm, hitched it to the wall socket and left it wakeful. Now, I leapt out of bed, and attempted to turn the alarm off without first putting on my glasses. Next thing I knew, I’d taken four blurry pictures of myself. It took a few more minutes of struggle before I managed to figure out how to put the camera back to sleep and find the clock + alarm again. 

How did I, whose first and foremost mental image of “phone” remains the graceful black candlestick apparatus in my grandparent’s living room, enter a world where a small slim box in my hand can deposit checks, take pictures, tell time, and connect me to the internet and thence to untold wonders of consumption? As Charlie Brown so often said, "It boggles the mind."

~~Juliet Waldron

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Developing Characters in Your Stories by Connie Vines

How do you go about developing your characters for a story?  

How much time do you spend or does it just happen in the writing process ?  What inspires you?

Thank you Rhobin, once again, for a great writing topic.

I believe development of my characters has a great deal to do with the type of novel/story that I am writing at the time.  Obviously, my novellas, for lack of work count, are not superficial by any means, but my information is given via dialogue or internal thoughts with visual clues.  My romantic suspense will have a lesser degree of character development, unless it relates to  the 'suspense element' that say, my traditional romance novels.

However, I do write character sketches for all of my 'people'.  I may sprinkle the info in the story, or simply keep in in the back of my mind for character motivation.

  • I often use astrological signs to help develop my characters and create conflict.  Rodeo Romance, Book 1, (LYNX).  Lynx Maddox is a Leo and Rachel Scott is an Aquarius.  Opposites attract but they also create great romantic conflict.
  • Birth Order is another way to develop your character(s) actions and outlook on life. Pairing a 1st born woman with the 'baby' of the family or vise-a-versa, will create writing inspiration.  
  • Ethnic background is also to be considered.  If one character is from a large immigrate family is dating a person who is an only child (4th generation) with have all types of expected things popping into picture.
  • If I am writing a historical novel, I often make a composite of historical people/clues in diaries and letters (WHISPER UPON THE WATER)
  • At other times, with all of my careful planning, the writing process flips my character into a secondary character or he/she evolves and I go back and edit/change several scenes.
  • Also physical attributes/challenges.  We all have them.  Did those dimples work in her favor?  
What inspires me?  Life.  People's hopes and dream.  Honor. Justice.  And sometimes, just the need for a good laugh.

Happy Reading!

Connie Vines

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