Monday, May 9, 2022

The Great Semi-Colon Debate...

 Semicolons. You love them or hate them? In between? Don't understand them? Think they're over-rated?

Well, let's take a look at the semicolon and figure out why some people think it's a big, bad scary.

Semicolon definition: a punctuation mark (;) indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced than that indicated by a comma.




The proper use of a semicolon, is to help sentence structure. It is literally the opportunity to end your sentence, but choosing to go on. If you think your sentence could potentially become a run-on, the semicolon could swoop in and save the day.

I use them, more often than not. Some people think it is an outdated punctuation, that it doesn't need to be used at all. But think about it. There are a lot of great authors, even now, who use semicolons. Next time you pick up a book, keep an eye out for them.

So why are they scary? Most writers don't know how to use them properly. And yes, there is that chance that you could screw up one of the best written sentences of your life; but I doubt it.

See what I did there? Gotcha. That pause where the semicolon is, it could have been a period. It could have been a comma. It broke up the really long sentence I was aiming for and it worked.

When you have a sentence structure that can be stopped with a period, done, over, no more words, but you have just a little more to say, drop in the semicolon and impress your editor. Just remember, the words that follow your semicolon should be able to stand alone as its own sentence. Yes, it is a bit of an afterthought, but it should be just as concrete as a normal sentence.

I hope this little bit of information is helpful. If you still have an adversity about using semicolons, that's okay. They're not for everyone. It is part of a writing style, you do have to get used to them. And like everything else, don't overuse them and frustrate your editor and readers.

Leave me your thoughts on this underrated, often misunderstood, little punctuation mark. I'd love to hear what you think.


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Relatable Characters...

 Hey everyone! Dropping back in here to say hi, how's it going and whatcha working on?

My title today is relatable characters. I had written a blog post about it back in the day, but when I look at it now, yeah, lots of ramblings going on there. What can I say. I'm a pantser in everything I write!

So let's talk about relatable characters and how they get into and out of trouble in your stories.

People read to escape. They watch TV, play video games, watch movies, all to escape their problems in the real world. Yet, they still want to be able to relate to what they're watching or listening to at the moment.

I'm going to take a moment here to talk about the new Reacher series on Amazon Prime. No, I'm not getting paid for this promotion.

That show kicks ass. In a LOT of different ways. First of all, Alan Ritchson plays a much better Reacher character than Tom Cruise ever could. 

First of all, Tom is kinda short, he's not as muscular. Tom's portrayal of Reacher is more of an intellectual, than physical.

Alan, on the other hand, seems more believable to me as Reacher. He's got the build, the expression, the attitude all down pat. If I had never watched either actor's portrayal before, and then watched them side by side, I would connect more with Alan's portrayal. Hands down.

Why? Because I can see him having more strength than "boys his age", as the character's mother put it. I believe his military skills more than I would Tom's portrayal. I can relate to Alan's portrayal easier than Tom's.

People want that connection. They look for it in all their escapes.

How do you make your characters relatable? What troubles do they get into that they have to get out of in a way that would be relatable to your readers? And no cheating, because your readers will know. A lot of the time, they're looking for solutions as well, and it makes them think; if your character can get out of trouble in a logical way, so can they.

You have to connect your characters with readers on multiple levels. Emotional, physical, intellectual. Your reader wants to believe that this fictional character, the one that's entertaining them, could also teach them a few things about life. How to look at it, how to solve some of the problems. Even if it's a Sci-Fi or Fantasy story, people get through tough times in a lot of different ways.

So I ask again, how do you make your characters relatable? What tips and tricks can you offer up to help other authors to create these soon-to-be memorable characters?

Watch people. See how they act, react, and interact.

Think about how you would get yourself out of a fictional jam.

How open minded are your characters? Why?

Introverted vs extroverted; how do your characters cope?

Finally, don't be gun-shy over the stigma of mental illness. As much as is happening in this world today, stop making it more of a hush topic and get messages out there to your readers that it's okay to get help.

These are all just my thoughts and suggestions. Leave me a comment below and tell me how you make relatable characters!

Friday, April 22, 2022

Friday: Writing Journey: Past & Present...

Hey everyone! Welcome back, to you as well as me.

I've been thinking about my writing journey a lot these days. I've been on Twitter more and I still see tweets about things I wrote about back in 2016 or so. There's always a time for a lot of the topics that have been written about, to re-emerge.

One of my topics from way back when was on cliché fantasy names. You know, the tongue-twister ones that leave you skipping over the name, making up your own nickname, or just frustrating the hell out of you enough that you stop reading the book.

Yup, those names.

My old post about it is here.

I can pretty much agree with that old post. I'd like to add some new ideas as well, though, regarding how to find good names.

First, Seventh Sanctum dot com still has great resources for names with lots of generators for just about anything. Fantasy, dark fantasy, vampire names, spell names, pirate names. You get the idea. Just head over there and expect to spend some quality time!

Second, using Google to find old Norse names, German names, any foreign country, really. One of the best things is you can find names from other cultures and their meaning. Lots of authors like to use names with meaning. Who doesn't?

Third, and final, is still my tried and true. I use the English to Latin generator on Google to find some good names with meanings.

Now, remember, with all of these options available to you, there's nothing like your good ol' noggin'. If you find something really close to what you want, but still doesn't set right, change it until it does. I can't tell you how much I love to name characters! Creating them is awesome as well. I just love character creation. I know, I know, I'm repeating myself. It's just so fun!!

Well, that's it for me today. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and may your words flow like a river!

Friday, April 15, 2022

Moving Kicks The Stuffing Out Of You...

 I know. It's been months! Months, I tell you!

We were on a time crunch to move, as our landlord had sold the place we were living in; which meant a mad scramble to find a place.

Now, I'm not going to get into the politics aspect of this all, but with the way things are changing these days, it literally took us eight months to find a place.

Eight. Months.

Eight.

Prices are high, people are moving from other states and driving up those prices. Not to mention taking away an available rentals from people already in the area.

We went to a property management place and were told that due to my hubs not having a job (long story) and me not having a credit score of at least 600 ... well, we were a risk! Insert eyeroll here.

We finally found a place the same day my husband got a new job. So, boom, boom, boom! Everything was set.

Took us almost the entire month to move, as I had made the brilliant decision to not rent a U-Haul.

I know, I know. Hindsight and all of that. Because I ended up with the worst sinus infection of my life and had to leave the moving of the household to hubs, sister in law and brother in law. Not to mention, it was really difficult for my mom, going back and forth.

We're settling in and I'm currently organizing my whole life as well as the whole house. We've had enough of being renters and we're going to work on getting our own home or even a piece of land to build on.

I have missed two really good IWSG posts. I've been keeping up on some writing stuff on Twitter, but that is about it, sadly.

I hope you are all doing well and have an amazing weekend! I hope to see and hear from you all soon!

Monday, January 24, 2022

Motivation Monday: Writing Blues...

 I've been AWOL since NaNoWriMo, and I wish I could say it was due to being terribly caught up in my writing endeavors.

Sadly, not.

Life throws me a lot of different curveballs since I began caring for my elderly parent. Naturally, that flows into my writing time, crafting time, whatever time. So I typically go off and do whatever I can to wind down and destress, which is my gaming, my go-to for escape.

When it gets like this, I get a little down because I can hear my voice in my head telling me I need to be doing something other than sitting around playing World of Warcraft or Conan Exiles. But, what can you do?

Getting motivated seems like a monumental task, sometimes. Right around NaNoWriMo, my characters were screaming in my head, my stories were overpowering my senses and my muse was smacking the backside of my head, like Gibbs. I just jumped right back into it, sat down and got busy. A wonderful feeling, to be sure, but not my modus operandi.

Blogging helps a lot more than I realize. Reading helps a lot as well. I've decided to start reading classic literature that I was never able to, before, or didn't have access to, before. My first choice out of the box is "The Count of Monte Cristo".

Definitely an inspiring piece, one that gets the creative writing juices flowing. For now, I will have to settle with blogging every so often, so if I am ever absent, these days, at least you know why.

What are your go-to's when life gets in the way of writing? How do you motivate yourself to get back on track? Writing or reading, or both? I'd love to hear your comments. You know where to leave them!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Motivation Monday...

 It's Monday and we all need motivation to get through the week once in a while. I need to be motivated.

It's the Monday before Christmas and I do want to wish you all a happy holiday! I know many who are either alone or don't celebrate, and that's quite all right. But be safe, because of those who do celebrate. A bit too much.

Okay, motivate, motivate...

Something my sister-in-law, aka my bestest friend in the whole wide world, told me when we were both overwhelmed.

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

No, I'm not eating a real elephant.

However, I do have to look at the big picture of things, all the projects I have going on and just take things a little bit at a time. It's not a race, not a competition. Mainly it's writing, doing crafts and making sure my house is clean.

I try to figure out what I'm in the mood for, for the day, then I attempt to break things down into manageable chunks. Take about an hour to work on a craft. If I feel like continuing, I do.

Take some time to write, either X amount of words or set a timer. I like to set a timer more than designate a word count goal. Sometimes a word count goal freaks me out if it isn't for NaNoWriMo. I don't know why, lol!

My housecleaning is viewed in the same capacity. I have two bathrooms to clean, so one day, it's sinks, next is toilets. Then just keep doing what I need to do until it is done. Laundry, a load a day if needed. Things of that nature.

So, if you're feeling overwhelmed, just stop, take a deep breath and take one bite at a time. You'll get there if the pace is slow and steady or fast and crazy.

Good luck!

How do you manage time? What motivates you to keep going? Leave your answers in the comments below!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Musings Part of This Blog...

 It's been a while since I've posted. So let me update:

Didn't win NaNoWriMo, but it's okay. The fact I even entered this year is what counts. I have yet to continue with the story just because things have been hectic.

Holidays ... well, Thanksgiving was good, now I just have to get through Christmas and the New Year. I've been waiting on my dentures for almost a year now and it's getting closer to the finish line. I'm excited, I can't wait!

Here is where I need to rant a little. Several days ago, went to go "big shopping" AKA out of town shopping for groceries and Christmas items. We, as in myself and my sister-in-law, had to drive through a mountain pass that was getting snowy and a little slick.

We came upon a vehicle flipped over. As we were stopping to see if we could help, another car came from the opposite direction and JUST KEPT GOING.

This was a very recent crash as there was smoke coming from the engine, and there were other signs. So while my SIL called 911, I went to see if I could see anyone in the vehicle. While we were doing this, a snow plow driver came by, and he continued on, but came back to say he had called it in and he stayed with us, but didn't want to go near the car.

Understandable!

The car had gone off the road, hit a tree, flipped up to crush the roof and then rolled. One person was in the vehicle and trapped. The way the vehicle hit, the driver was pinned by the steering wheel and roof. The person was conscious enough to tell me their name, begged for help. I told them help was on the way.

Help took 40 minutes to arrive and five minutes prior to their arrival, the driver passed away.

All I and my SIL could do was hold their hand so they weren't alone. My SIL prayed over them and when I went to hold their hand, it was cooler than before and I checked twice for a pulse and found none.

What bothers me are two things: That no one else stopped. (And there were several more vehicles that came by and reported it, we were told) The other thing, that it took 40 MINUTES for someone to show! We were 1 MILE outside of our county and into another and apparently, this was a sore point as both counties BICKERED OVER WHO WOULD BE DISPATCHED! Someone was dispatched 30 MINUTES AFTER we called. (Insert expletives here.)

And when authorities did arrive, one of the troopers came walking up with a goofy smile and said, "How's it going?" My SIL informed him of the pinned driver and that's when the smile left and he figured he needed his gloves.

*FACEPALM*

This is the second accident on remote roads we have come across. First one where the victim died. It took me several days to get over it. But I still think about it, it's going to stick with me for a long time.

I understand not everyone has the capacity to stop and help. I do. I get it. But no one stopped to see if we needed help, if we were all right, whatever. But the biggest irritation is the authorities. I just don't understand how they could know someone was pinned, fighting for their life and they're over there arguing about which county gets dispatched.

Okay, my rant is done. I am sad about the situation, I feel for the family and have spoken to them. Nothing more to do, now.

Thank you all for letting me vent on my blog. I needed to write it down, but have been putting it off. I've debated putting it online at all, but I don't know. I'm just... I just don't get it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

IWSG Blog Hop...

 It's the first Wednesday of the month and that means you better have your Christmas shopping almost done!

Just kidding.

It means that it's Insecure Writer's Support Group day! Woohoo!

Man, I have missed this. There are days I just need that support group to listen to me whine. A lot.

This month's question is...

In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

Hmm... stress comes, for me, from not being able to get past a scene block. I got caught up on such a block during NaNoWriMo.

The thing is, the scene would direct where the story would go after that. Yes, I do try to be a Plotter, but end up being a Pantser more often than not. So, if I cannot plot my way through it, or pants my way through, I get stuck. And that stresses me and the voices come in and call me an imposter, that I'm not a true writer, things of that nature and it becomes stressful.

I don't listen to those voices, not anymore. It happens and I do try to write every single day. Sometimes, it just doesn't seem to go that way.

But what delights me?

Oooh my characters delight me. When I hit that roll and can't stop writing, that delights me. Seeing the story unfold in my mind, that delights me and gives me hope. The ideas I can come up with, that delights me as well. Honestly, I have more positives about writing than negatives and I could go on for hours. However, this is a blog hop day and you better believe there are more writers out there who need support! So go forth, my fearless follower and read on!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Writing Wednesday Pre-Turkey Day...

 Hey all! Hope you are all having a good week so far and are ready for the Thanksgiving feasts to begin. It's near the end of NaNoWriMo and I'm sitting at 22K+ words. Not sure if I will make it to the goal, but I am still going to give it my best effort!

How about you? Did you win NaNo?

This year, much like the previous couple of years, our gathering is going to be small. Which... it's okay. Sort of. I miss the big family dinners and things of that nature. But we're keeping it small, mostly due to lack of funds for travel or anything of that nature.

That's okay, though, because we'll be gearing up for Christmas.

Typically, we draw names at Thanksgiving to see who we're going to buy a gift for, but this year's tradition was done on Halloween, so we could have that extra month to shop and if deliveries are running late, no one has to wait until February to get their gift. Plan ahead!

So tell me your traditions, tell me about NaNoWriMo and have a happy Thanksgiving!