Category Archives: Monday Muse

Monday Muse

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Why reread a book when there are so many out there just wait to be read???  Is a question I get asked from time to time. My husband doesn’t understand rereading a book at all but my daughter frequently revisits books.

I reread two reasons….

(1). For comfort. When I’m stressed or just feeling overwhelmed, I will reread a book I know is guaranteed to ‘whisk me away.’ I make myself a mug of hot cocoa or a tall glass of ice tea and spend some time with old friends that have been waiting for me. They allow me to block away the ugly world for a bit. Cheaper than a therapist 🙂

The banshee cold and snow of this winter is something I seek to escape :D

The banshee cold and snow of this winter is something I seek to escape 😀

(2). For examples. As a writer, there are few other authors that I ‘hero worship.’ They develop characters with such depth that I reread the book as inspiration of what achievable. The same is true with plot twist and foreshadowing. I can read craft books and while they do help nothing brings it home like a well written book.

Books that are category one don’t always fall into category two.  I have several books, I revisit just so I can see how the author developed a character or a plot twist, reading them doesn’t necessarily provide an escape.

Do you reread books? If so why?

 

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Monday Mayhem

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Reality vs Reality of the mind….

This is what it looks like out…

photo 2 (3)

 

 

 

 

but this is what I’m thinking about…

garden

 

Gardening…. Oh the joys of warm weather. While I do have an indoor winter herb garden, it’s just not the same as sitting the sun and digging in the dirt. Yes, I’m a kid at heart. As the wind howls making the snow dance across my buried gardens, I dream of heirloom tomatoes, mini eggplants, and the creeping cuke vines.

As I go through the gardening catalogs, it’s like a drug of euphoria. The writer part of my mind is snapping with excitement.  As look at the pictures of the exotic veggies that while they will never find a home in my garden flats, they may very well end up on one of my character’s plate.

exotic-bizarre-fruit

Or maybe they will be flesh eating plants…

veggie monster

As a writer, I know inspiration can and will come from all sorts of different things. A song, a poem, a phrase and yes even a gardening catalog.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day….

NaNo Main Character

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It’s the first week of NaNo and I’ll be turning my full writing focus on All Things scary.

The cover for my writer's notebook for this WIP

The cover for my writer’s notebook for this WIP

Here is a working blub ~

The fragile peace between the Elf nations of Crencher is crumbling. With the murder of the Final Judge, the furies terrorize the lands, seizing any they feel have done wrong. Maeko, the honest one, is next in line to become a Final Judge but never before has one so young been chosen. She sets out to complete the five perils to proof she is ready to assume her purpose with her guide De, the virtuous one.

Maeko and De not only have to survive the five perils but also stop the witch, Eduvigos. Once every nine thousand years the seven moons of Crencher a line. This is the only night Eduvigos can destroy the barrier holding her prisoner in Granli.

 

 

I spent October developing a solid cast of secondary characters that will force my main character, Maeko down the path she needs to travel. So now it’s time to meet Maeko – the honest one.  Here is a ‘working’ picture of Maeko

 

Maeko - one of those with a 'purpose'. Only she has to survive the 5 perils and a vengeful witch to live it

Maeko – one of those with a ‘purpose’. Only she has to survive the 5 perils and a vengeful witch to live it

She lives on the Island of Purpose which is off the coast of Brooly.Maeko is the youngest elf to ever receive the Sword of Truth (in her hand in the picture). Before she can assume her role as the Final Judge to the furies, she must complete (and survive) five perils. ** I’m not sure what the perils are going to be – some ideas (again I’m pantser NOT a plotter)**

As one with a purpose (this is explained in the book), she has unlimited use of her magic.

This is Maeko’s GMC sheet ~ this will be added to as the story develops. Tomorrow, I’ll share how I developed Maeko’s GMC.

 

This will go in The All Things Scary notebook
This will go in The All Things Scary notebook

 

All Things Scary – character

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This week’s character for All That’s Scary is a banshee. The ‘official’ definition from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee ~ the banshee (/ˈbænʃ/ ban-shee), from Irishbean sí [bʲæn ˈʃiː] (“woman of the sídhe” or “woman of the fairy mounds“) is a female spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the Otherworld.

banshee 2In legend, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die. In Scottish Gaelic mythology, she is known as the bean sìth or bean-nighe and is seen washing the bloodstained clothes or armour of those who are about to die. Alleged sightings of banshees have been reported as recently as 1948.[1] Similar beings are also found in Welsh,[2] Norse[3][4][5]and American folklore.[6][7]

The thing to remember when taking a known myth like the headless horseman last week while I made major changes I kept the key things the same. I have headless horsewomen yet they are headless 🙂

My banshee is going to be my witch’s (the main character) sister. I like the ‘washing the bloodstained clothes of those who are about to die,’ so I’ll be using that 🙂 Her role is that she can travel throughout my world and works with her sister to ‘corrupt’ people condemning them to the witch’s land. She is going to be the one who brought the witch the three women who become the headless horsewomen.

Both the banshee and the witch are going to be timeless beings (meaning they don’t age). I need to figure out how this is going to work.

What would you do with a banshee character?

A Haunting Muse Monday

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I’ve decided to put off the intended project of putting together a draft on the blog using the techniques talked about because I a couple of fellow young adult writers ask me to wait because they want to be part of the project.

Sooo for the remainder of October, it will be about ‘all things scary’ – hehehe.

This week I’m taking a look at the headless horseman myth…

There is a German headless horseman, an American headless horseman, and an Irish headless horseman. I think hands down the Irish folks have the scariest headless horseman legend.

Here is a brief synopsis of the Irish headless horseman myth…

Irish

 

The Irish dullahan or dulachán (“dark man”) is a headless fairy, usually riding a black horse and carrying his head under one arm (or holding it high to see at great distance). He wields a whip made from a human corpse’s spine. When the dullahan stops riding, a death occurs. The dullahan calls out a name, at which point the named person immediately perishes.

Now I have to tell you my muse LOVE this…

 

Listed are the first five questions that dropped into my mind. Following them is a brief character sketch for ‘my’ headless horseman – ummm headless horsewoman J

When does she roam?

Night/Day

Full moon/moonless

Seasonal

Why does she roam?

Is she controlled by someone/something?

What are her limitations?

What does she look like?

Could this headless horsewoman be developed enough to make a central character?

I decided that my headless horsewoman on first glance wouldn’t be dimensional enough to be a central character. I mean after all she doesn’t have a head 0_o My headless horsewomen – at least three of them – are controlled by a black witch. She gains their heads at death as payment for her magic.

#1 Bargained for a rich husband

#2 Bargained for endless beauty

#3 Bargained to be rid of her husband

The witch uses them as a way to control the surrounding hamlets with the goal of taking over the kingdom. They can only be used at night and NEVER on a full moon, the brightness makes them invisible. The witch sees through the headless horsewoman’s eyes what the women see and this is how she guides them.

The only way to kill the headless horsewomen are to gain their heads and pierce their eyes with silver spikes. Their forms remain true to what they looked like during their lives. The horses they ride are magical beast the witch has created.

 

So that is my very brief synopsis of the headless horsewomen. I’d love to hear how you would twist the headless horseman myth.

 

 

 

 

What the heck happens next?

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When I start a new story, I basically have the main characters and maybe a few of the secondary characters figured out. I know what the end goal is and what the internal conflict is but that’s about it. Now, I know if I have any plotters reading this, they have just fainted. J

Occasionally my muse bails on me. She heads out to a warm white sand beach to hang out then I’m left going ‘what the heck happens next?’ Since waiting for her to return isn’t really an option, I have developed ‘magic bunnies’ to pull out to help me develop scenes.

The one I’m going to talk about this week, I stumbled across by mistake. Someone gave one of my son’s a box of WarCraft cards. He doesn’t play WarCraft (nor does anyone in my house) so he was going to throw them out but the writer part of me saw pictures and said ‘wait.’

This ‘magic bunny’ can be done at any time – plotters could use it to develop scenes and us pantsers can use when our muse has left us.

I draw three random cards. This has always proved me with enough ‘magic’ to get the words to start following again.  Below is one I did for The Warrior Queen.

A scene with Crenshaw in The Warrior Queen

A scene with Crenshaw in The Warrior Queen

I used the title of the cards (I really did draw them randomly) because they provided a nice outline of events:

Card 1) Sunken Treasure

Card 2) Sudden Reveal

Card 3) The Princess Trapped

As I was brain storming these are some of the questions, I came up with

Card 1)

-What is the treasure? Is it a clue needed to complete the quest? Is it something unexpected that will harm them or help them?

-Who is guarding the ‘treasure’? Was the ‘treasure’ originally stolen? Is an appointed guardian watching over it?

-Will my characters have to steal the ‘treasure’ or will it be given to them with strings attached?

-Where is the ‘treasure’ sunken? A snake pit? Why are my characters going there?

 

Card 2)

-What does the ‘treasure’ reveal?

-Does it bring an unexpected enemy? Who ‘traps’ a main character (card 3)

-Who are they fighting? Someone else who wants the ‘treasure’

 

Card 3)

-How long is the character trapped?

– What kind of ‘trap’ is it? Jail? Frozen in ice? Transported to another place?

 

As I was brain storming these ideas a full scene developed in my mind involving Crenshaw.

I would love to hear about ways you develop scenes, as either a plotter or a pantsers.

 

Muse Monday

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This week I’m sharing another character development trick I have. I have several manila file filled with pictures I’ve ripped out of magazines or printed off the internet of ‘interesting’ characters.  I have four files –

(1)    Female characters

(2)    Male characters

(3)    Non-human characters

(4)    Group characters

I found this picture last week and was going to stash it in my female character file but decided to make her a profile for my blog instead.

 

What's her story?

What’s her story?

Much like with the card character development I shared last week, I start with random impressions. I don’t have a list of questions because then I feel as if I’m forcing my ‘muse’ into a box. This way my imagination is free to develop this character.

Once I pull a character from a file, I spend 5 minutes writing anything and EVERYTHING that comes to my mind. I call this list my character hint list. And I do mean EVERYTHING because if you start restricting what your muse feeds you, she will stop altogether. So if food pops into your mind, write it down. Maybe your character will be a chief. Maybe it will be the dinner a serial killer makes for her while he has her captive. Maybe it is what she makes for a dinner party. The list goes on and on.

 

Here is the ‘brief’ list of questions, I came up with. (I came up with over 150 character hints).

–          What is she holding?

–          What does this object mean to her?

–          Does the object allow her to see into the future? Into the past? Spy on other people?

–          Is she afraid?

–          Is she waiting for something or someone?

–          Is she hiding?

–          Does she know what she is holding?

–          Is she being forced to hold the object? By who?

–          She is a prisoner. But who is keeping her? And is a willing captive?

–          Does using the object cause her pain?

As you can see from my list, the object she is holding isn’t a bottle of perfume 🙂  I would list the ‘major’ character hints around her on the blank paper. I’d love to hear what are some of the first things that pop into your mind when you see this picture.