Friday, November 17, 2023

Setting the Scene By Connie Vines #Round Robin Blog, #Writting Tips, #BWL Author

 Setting The Scene 

 Setting for a story is important, exciting, and often challenging.

While I endeavor to give my readers a vivid sense of where and when events occur, I struggle with what is essential versus what "I" wish to highlight.

  • Sensory details are essential.

  • Show what is surprising or strange to the main character.

  • Introduce emotional qualities of the 'place.' Tragic, Cheerful, Nostalgic, or another emotion.

  • How does the character feel about the place?

  • Is the story set in the city, the desert, or an imaginary world?

  • What are the key details that make your story's setting interesting?
While my stories may be fiction, I have lived in or vacationed in the town or area I chose as a setting. This is important to me. It's my way of making the scene come alive for my readers.

I set up a picture storyboard for reference.

I study the regional dialect. Example: Porch, Stoop, Patio. In California, it's a patio; in Texas, a porch; and in Chicago, Illinois, it's a stoop.
Your readers will point out your mistake.

If you are writing a historical novel, research is a must. Libraries, Historical Societies, original documents, and personal diaries are essential. However, Wikipedia or www search acquired historical information is always suspect. 

My opening settings/hooks:




Charlene hadn't told Rachel she'd fixed her up with a cowboy, much less Lynx Maddox, the "Wild Cat" of the rodeo circuit. Rachel sighed. She should have known. After all, Charlene only dated men who wore booths and Stetsons.



Thunder rumbled across the remote New Mexico sky as an unforgiving wind shoved somber gray clouds against a craggy mountaintop. Brede Kristensen tugged the brim of his Stetson lower of his forehead. The threat of a storm didn't faze him; nothing fazed him anymore. The worst had already happened.



"You and Elvis have done a great job on this house," Meredith said as her older sister led the way downstairs toward the kitchen, where the tour began. "Sorry I couldn't get over until now, but I've been sort of...well, busy. " She hoped her sister didn't ask her to define busy. Becoming a zombie and dealing with the entire raised from the dead issue over the past six months was not a topic easily plunked into casual conversation.


5 stories in one book

Marring Off Murphy

Settling into his office chair, Professor Murphy Flynn glanced at the copy of OP News. "I Want to Get Married," the headline read. He upended his coffee mug when he realized the grainy photo was of him, sending the liquid perilously close to a six-inch stack of ungraded papers.


Love Potion N. 9

"Don't shake your finger at me, Simone Basso. I know what I'm doing," Persia Richmond said, holding a pipette to fill a crystal half-ounce atomizer with perfume.


A Slice of Scandal

"Hey, now,' dis key lime [pie's like de one I serve at my restaurant. Simple to make and good to eat! Key limes perk up de mouth and makes you hoppy."

Producer/Director Julia Kincaid focused on her monitor and adjusted the mic of her headset. "Camera One, tighten the headshot."  She watched as the camera feathered over the chef to capture the best angle. The camera should have loved Franklin. His height was average, his black hair was short and curly, and his skin took on a polished bronze color under the harsh camera lights, but the camera didn't like Franklin. There was something about his eyes: the dark agate, forbidding and expressionless...


1-800-Fortune

The moon was full: giant in the sky, a brilliant iridescent orb that stared down at the earth. Enza allowed the energy to feather over her as she removed the silk cloth protecting her Tarot cards.

There are seventy-eight cards in the Tarot deck. Four suits of fourteen cards each. Swords, Cups, Wands, Pentacles, and twenty-two cards call the major arcane--the big mysteries.


If you found my examples helpful, please post a comment on my blog.

Please click the links below to visit the talented authors participating in our Blog Hop this month. 

 
 Warm Wishes and Gingerbread Kisses, 
Connie

 

Saturday, October 28, 2023

The Dreaded Sagging Middle of Your Story. Is there a Quick Fix? By Connie Vines #Writer Tips, #Halloween Stories, #Story Structure


Sagging Middles, We All Have Them; We All Hate Them. 

So, what's a writer to do?



What we have been taught in workshops, lectures, and writing tips:

#1 Prevent a Sagging Middle by Increasing Tension.

In the move towards the climax, your characters should face increasingly bigger obstacles and challenges. Things should get more complicated – never less. Characters should have more at stake as events unfold. The emotions should run higher and deeper.

Was that helpful? 

I discovered, by trial and error (mostly error), that I needed to plot my novel first.

Usually via the standard W-plot line.  This is my starting point. Why? Because I can immediately locate my 'sagging middle'.

Then I write my important scenes. 

I always have too many characters, too many problems, and the dreaded sagging middle. 

This is when I write the final scene of my novel.

Then I go back and set up the pivotal points of my novel.

When I write my first draft of a novel, I write 3 chapters (1-3, 4-7, etc.) Then I go back and revise. While it doesn't eliminate problems in the middle of the story, it does make me catch-pacing problems.

I began my writing career writing in magazines for children/ YA readers. This is probably why this format works well for me.

Since it's almost Halloween, I have a RomCom Zombie novella, with quick passing and 'no sagging middle'.





https://www.amazon.com/Today-Zombie-Tomorrow-Connie-Vines-ebook/dp/B00OA25GJY

πŸŽƒ

This month's participants:

Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-322

Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com

Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/

Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/

Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea


Friday, September 15, 2023

Hooking Your Readers--Fantasy, History, SciFi, Paranormal (Making the Unfamiliar Feel like home). By Connie Vines #writing Tips, #Hooking Your Reader, #BWLPublishing IInc

While I can't promise to make your visit to an alternate world feel like home. can promise you will believe you are there.

--Connie Vines, author

This month's topic is hooking your readers into your character's alternate reality.  

I write in multiple genres. 

Since our topic is hooking your reader, I will showcase the opening paragraph(s) of my "unfamiliar" worlds.


Gumbo Ya Ya is an anthology; I will share opening hooks from several stories.


Love Potion No.9 

It is said the sense of smell is the most intimately linked of all our senses to memory, and I believe it to be true. One whiff of a familiar scent, even one we have not encountered in years, can transport us to a time and place long forgotten, even before we consciously recall the memory.

1-800-FORTUNE

The moon was full, huge in the sky, a brilliant iridescent orb that stared down at the earth. Enza allowed the energy to feather over her as she removed the silk cloth protecting her Tarot cards.

There were seventy-eight cards in the Tarot deck. Four suits of fourteen cards each. Swords, Cups, Wands, Pentacles, and twenty-two cards called the major arcade--the big mysteries.




"You and Elvis have done a great job on his house, Meredith said as her older sister led the way downstairs toward the kitchen where the tour began. "Sorry I couldn't get over until now, but I've been sort of...well, busy." Slipping her Juicy Couture tortoise-shell framed sunglasses into a bright pink case, Meredith crammed them into her black Coach handbag. She hoped her sister didn't ask her to define busy. Becoming a zombie and dealing with the entire raised from the dead issue over the past six months was not a topic easily plunked into casual conversation.



1868

The Governor of New Mexico decreed that all Indian children over six be educated in the ways of the white man.

Indian Commissioner Thomas Morgan said, "It is cheaper to educate the Indians than to kill them."

1880, Apacheria, Season on Ripened Berries

Isolated bands of colored clay on the white lime-stone remains where the sagebrush is stripped from Mother Earth by sudden storms and surface waters. Desolate. Bleak. A land made of barren rocks and twisted paths that reach out into silence. 

A world of hunger and hardship. This is my world, I am Tanayia. I was born thirteen winters ago. We call ourselves N'dee. The People. The white man calls us Apache.



For those unfamiliar with the sport of rodeo or living in a small Montana town, my Rodeo Romance, Book 1, would be considered a different world.

Charlene hadn't told Rachel that she'd fixed her up with a cowboy, much less Lynx Maddox, the "Wild Cat" of the rodeo circuit. Rachel sighed. She should have known. After all, Charlene only dated men who wore boots and Stetsons.

(I don't wish to spoil the scene at the Honky Tonk, so I'll end it here πŸ˜‰)

Did I draw you into my stories? 

Did you believe you were there, in the thick of things?

If you wish to continue the adventures, feel free to go shopping.

My ebooks are available at your favorite online stores, including Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and my publisher's website.

Please visit the writers participating in this month's Round Robin Blog Hop.  


Happy Reading,

Connie

XOXO

Participants for September:


Dr. Bob Rich  -  https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/2023/09/16/nonhuman-is-not-inhuman/

Connie Vines  -  http://mizging.blogspot.com/

Skye Taylor - http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
















 

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Spotlight on Author Deirdre O'Dare By Connie Vines #Author Spotlight, #Author Interview, #Iditarod Race


Welcome to 
'Dishin' It Out' Author Spotlight!

This month's guest is Deirdre O'Dare.

*Deirdre and I have been friends for decades. 
We met while serving on the International Outreach Chapter of Romance Writers of America board.

Flashback Moment: When I stood up and introduced myself at the writer's conference in Anaheim, California. Deirdre kept staring at me, then blurted, "I thought you were a blonde." 🀣🀣

Gwen Morgan, AKA Deirdre O'Dare

Now, on with the interview πŸ˜€

1. Please tell us about your current release 

Relative Dangers is a romance novel with plenty of action and adventure. My characters are people I know and I understand. Just regular folks with unusual jobs and who live in rural or remote places may seem exotic to some readers. 

I have also written a few historicals, some sci-fi and fantasy, and police procedurals. The only area that I really avoid is horror. The heat levels of my books are all over the spectrum, from Sweet Tales to NC-17. Relative Dangers was initially published under my Gwen Morgan synonym.

Relative Dangers is mildly spicy, with a couple of realistic love scenes. 


 



2.  What was the inspiration for the story?

In my younger days, I was a semi-professional horse trainer. When I started creating the story, it seemed to be my heroine's natural lifestyle or career. In some ways, she is the avatar of the girl I was. A girl experiencing her first love. Only time, life would deal them a happy ending.

The plot in the main events is strictly petitioners, but the horse work is real, totally based on what I know. Another pattern of my writing is to have current or relevant issues in today's life and world and find other ways into the plot's challenges, conflict, and progression. In this case, the development of a remote area and environmental issues become very significant. Several f Gwen's romance novels do this for various issues, such as Reservation casinos, women in the military, and law enforcement. 

 3.  What would you like to see more/less of in your genre?

Erotic and explicit romance has moved into the mainstream, with the heat levels once limited to Indy and e-press firms like Ellora’s Cave now found in many lines and publishers. While I do not take issue with this, I find that too many books I pick up are basically “sex stories” with a bit of emotion and action. I have always said I write love stories. While a lot of hot sex is perfect and realistic for some couples, for others, not so much. I want to feel the emotions and have the people cope with real life in the real world in which they, like I live. 

Recently I have read more Inspirational Romances, not so much because I prefer the sweet or clean portrayal of relationships but because I feel those authors pay much more attention to making their characters real and appealing, to development of a solid plot--say mystery, danger, or struggles,  and overall the product is just better fiction and more absorbing. It is ‘easy’ to go from bedroom to back seat to back in the bushes with a couple while we do not know them very well, and hardly anything else happens! Authors must put more effort into their story while keeping it as sexy as they wish or their couple fits. Now I will say this is JMHO--and probably does not work for all readers-- but that is where I am in my reader hat.



4.  What, in your opinion, makes a good writer? 

First and foremost, the fiction writer must be a good storyteller. Yes, the experts say show, don’t tell, and it is generally correct, but if there is no story, no key characters you can identify with who face a variety of challenges, complex, and obstacles, they must somehow brave and strive their way through to win their goal or reward, why bother to read it? Beyond that, a deep understanding of human nature, a curiosity about people and what makes them tick, a special sense to visualize and create a world where those characters abide with century details, then let the reader feel she he is there, and perhaps most of all, in the imagination that find stories in most everything And then the compulsion to tell details characters bring to you. My characters just appear out of the universe and begin to nag at me until I let them share their tail, which I transcribe from their images and put into words for others to experience


  5. Do you have a favorite paragraph/line in this novel? 

This is hard. Several scenes resonate when I re-read the book some years after the original writing. Mari’s struggle with Mitch (the dangerous relative)  and then her anguish over her little dog being hurt. Perhaps when she asks the hero, Dusty, why he is trying to help her and being very kind. She shocks him with part of her speech which I excerpt here.  

“Maybe I’m paranoid or too suspicious or something…but, well. Everybody is out for what they can get, you know? So I don’t understand why you are doing things for me. I mean, well, I know all about sex and stuff. So if that’s what you want, you don’t have to buy me things and take me places. If you just asked, I’d probably let you.”  He realizes then that she has been oddly sheltered and is far from naΓ―ve or innocent and is hard-pressed to answer her!


 6. If you were forced to live the rest of your life as one of your characters, who would it be?

I have loved almost all of my heroines, but Mari in this book and Melissa in The Man in Black probably feel the most like a person I could be. I have had a few secondary characters that I identified with too, but hey, we all want to be the heroine of our story, don’t we? So I can see myself as Mari, although she is much younger. Melissa, by birth, is almost edging into the “upper crust’ class in her background, but she becomes an ordinary woman living an ordinary life which fulfills her deepest wish. 


 7.  What are your hobbies? Do any of your characters share your hobbies/interests? Do any of your hobbies play a part in your novels?

Oh. I am a super dabbler! I enjoy almost anything creative, so over the years, I have done a lot of sewing, made jewelry, sketching and watercolor painting, photography, and written poetry, to name a few. Although my work with horses--and mules--was hardly a hobby, I have always deeply loved animals, and there are not too many pieces of my fiction that do not feature horses, dogs, or even a whole menagerie. I have always loved the outdoors and hiking, camping, exploring, and such, which find a way into most of my tales. I’ve had characters write poems, be ‘rock hounds,’ be an artist or a crafter, and most women are at least tomboys at heart.


Thank you, Connie, for having me as a guest at "Dishin' It Out!". 

It has been so much fun, and I hope the readers enjoy it too. I hope other readers, like me, are more intrigued by the guy next door or down the street than a Middle Eastern Sheik, a Greek tycoon, or a sexy version of Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos!! If there are, you are who I write for. 

So I hope you will check out the potpourri of fiction by Deirdre O’Dare at Amazon or, preferably, directly at JMS Publications.


 https://www.jms-books.com/deirdre-odare-c-224_244/

 
An avid fan of the sport of Sled Dog Racing, she was also fortunate enough to visit Alaska during the Iditarod.

Thank you for sharing your interesting writing life and leaving us with a poem inspired by lady mushers.


Iditarod

Iditarod: far, distant place.

A dream. A myth. A trail. A race.


Beneath aurora blazing bright,

Through cold and wind and long, dark night.

Cheering crowds at start and end

But in between, rare is the friend

Who braves the wild to aid or say,

They’re with you in spirit along the way.

Out on that trail, just you and your team

The elements battle to chase this dream.


Those dogs on which your life depends,

Now closer and dearer than kin or friends.

Together, such trust and faith you share

For only true teamwork will get you there.

There are no losers; only winners complete.

Your goal you’ve reached and it feels so sweet.

Despite the pain and the tears you spend,

Somehow you hate to see it end.


Iditarod: far, distant place.

A goal, a dream, a test, a race.

© GMW 25 Aug 14


Thank you, everyone, for visiting "Dishin' It Out'" today.

Happy Reading πŸ“•πŸ“–πŸ“—πŸ“šπŸ“±

Connie 

XOXO







Friday, August 18, 2023

My Favorite POV (point of view)? to Write? By Connie Vines. #Writing Tips, #POV, #Round Robin Blog #Dark Winds

This month’s topic: What is Your Favorite POV (point of view) to Write? Why?


My favorite POV is a first-person narrative. It works best when writing YA/MG fiction or a RomCom novella.

Why? 

Because it builds a rapport with readers by sharing a personal story directly with them. Bringing the reader close like this makes a story—and storyteller—creditable. I find this especially so when writing a historical novel.   



Excerpt from Tanayia: Whisper upon the Water, First Peoples Series.

Prologue

1868


The Governor of New Mexico decreed that all Indian children over six be educated in the ways of the white man.


Indian Commissioner, Thomas Morgan, said, “It is cheaper to educate the Indians than to kill them.”


1880, Apacheria, Season of Ripened Berries

Isolated bands of colored clay on white limestone remain where the sagebrush is stripped from Mother Earth by sudden storms and surface waters. Desolate. Bleak. A land made of barren rocks and twisted paths that reach out into silence.

A world of hunger and hardship. This is my world. I am Tanayia. I was born thirteen winters ago. We call ourselves N’dee, The People. The white man calls us Apache. 

Chapter One

Only a soft light from the east lit the dirt path I soon would walk.  I rose from my blanket and dressed in my favorite buckskins and moccasins.  After combing my hair, I stepped from my wickiup and walked toward the center of camp. Women from neighboring Apache bands, dressed in their best clothing, squatted around their campfires, patting tortillas and fry bread. My relations traveled great distances to share my coming-of-age ceremony. I am proud and happy.  I smile and call out my morning greeting, ya'atche."

"Many blessings, my child," several replied as I passed.

The sharp scent of crisp dough and the bitter scent of acorn stew floated in the cool air. My stomach grumbled in hunger. Large feasts, such as the one my people prepared today, are no longer common. Grandmother, Ligai Tlenaai- White Moon, however, remembers the long-ago days when her band feasted at each change of season. She told me of times when food was plentiful.....


Sunrise

Preparing for feast

Wickiup

Geronimo

Native American Boarding School

Life before San Carlos Indian Reservation



The link will go live on August 23, 2023, at 8:00 AM Eastern Time.



These amazing authors participating in today's Round Robin Blog:
πŸ’ƒπŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

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