IWSG – Chase dreams and you just might catch one!

June 5, 2013

It’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group time again, and I feel like I don’t have any new insecurities to bring to the table. Sure, I’m still nervous about leaving for Odyssey in just a few days, but I think I covered that pretty well last month.

But I’ve still got plenty of excitement and inspiration to share, I think. And it’s occurred to me that a lot of writers from all over the world applied for this. If I looked strictly at the numbers, I might have thought that it wasn’t worth the effort to put together my application and mail it off. I certainly wasn’t feeling too hot about my chances after three other workshops rejected me in March.

Still, I got in! That’s made me think about other things that I thought I wasn’t ready to try for yet. I’ve submitted some stories to magazines, but I gave it up after getting a half-dozen rejections or so. Maybe I should be more like Elizabeth, pushing the race points month after month, looking for new places where I can submit my writing, and I can build up a few nice little publication credits. And there are other dreams that I’ve let slip away, that I’m still scared of typing into this blog where everyone can see them.

But I’m not going to let them stay one step ahead of me forever. Those dreams can still run, but sooner or later, I’ll give them the best chase I can manage. (Hmm, considering how lousy my knees are, maybe I’ll need some sort of hovercraft to hunt my dreams in.)

Dreaming of research

May 22, 2013

I had a rather odd sleep last night; not really bad, I didn’t wake up exhausted or with a headache or anything. But it seems that I spent several hours either dreaming or dozing about Christopher Columbus and questions about early European exploration of the USA. It was critically important, for some reason, to find out if Columbus had ever set foot on what’s currently the lower 48, if he’d met natives there, and if not, who were the first (post-Columbian) ocean voyagers from across the Atlantic to do so. I didn’t come up with any good answers in my dreams, though I do remember wondering about ‘The Amerigo guy.’

On waking up, I was able to do some research on the internet, but it seems that there aren’t any clear answers there either. Columbus pretty definitely never reached what is now the American mainland north of Central America; he got kinda close to Florida but didn’t reach it. I’ve come across an interesting pool of  early explorers:

Yikes! Messed up a date here at first… reshuffling the contenders.

John Cabot: Cabot landed somewhere in Canada in 1497 and sailed along the coast of New England in 1498, but as far as I can tell he didn’t come ashore in New England or further south.

Amerigo Vespucci: Vespucci’s travels were mostly in the Caribbean and South America, around 1499-1501. I’ve seen a few vague references that Vespucci may have gone to Florida at some time, but can’t find specific details.

Juan Ponce de León: After serving as navigator for Columbus, Ponce de León definitely landed in Florida in 1513. (He also came up with the name.)

Giovanni da Verrazzano: Sailed along quite a lot of the United States’ Atlantic coast, from the northern tip of Florida to Rhode Island, where he came ashore and met natives in 1524.

Henry Hudson: A surprise to me; I knew about Hudson from his Northwest Passage explorations in Canada, (including discovering Hudson’s Bay,) but I didn’t know that the Hudson river in New York state was named for the same guy. After several other expeditions for trade routes and passages in different directions, Hudson and his crew reached Maine and traded with natives in 1609.

So it looks like Juan Ponce de León is the solid answer to my question. Cool. 😉

Nanowrimo Spotlight #20: Nano Finish Line

November 26, 2012

Hey everybody. We’re well and truly into the last week of November, with the weekend behind us, so it only seems right to give you a good look at the Nano Finish Line… blog, and its author Jenny. 🙂

What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
I am a planner. Give me a date and time to be somewhere and I’ll do my best to be there. I will work my day around it, if I have to. You would think that this would mean when it comes to writing, I would also be a planner. But, I’m not.

I’m a combination of both a planner and a pantser. I have the general story arc in mind most of the time. I usually have a detailed beginning planned out and an ending before I start. But the middle is usually made up as I go along.

I’ve tried writing outlines for my story. I usually don’t finish them. I get the bare bones of the plot in place before I begin. Then I write, referring to my outline when I get stuck. When the outline runs out, I’m stuck with making it up as I go along. I usually plan a scene or two ahead of what’s on my current page, but I’ve run into my share of problems. Hmm. The kingdom is surrounded and outnumbered. How are they going to win the war? I solve most of my plot problems, but normally not until I have to.

My local NaNo friends would probably site my weird hand motions while I’m figuring out the next few words as their answer to this question.

Where are your backup files?
I bought a cute little flash drive that lives in my purse. The backup to my current NaNo story is there. Hmm. I need to back up my story again. Thanks for the reminder! Read the rest of this entry »

Campaigner Spotlight: Donna Martin

February 22, 2012

Hi, everybody! I’m pleased to finally launch my Campaigner Spotlight series for the Fourth Platform-builders Campaign by bringing you a spotlight interview with Donna Martin, from On the Write Track.

Campaigner Spotlight is brought to you by the Stringing Words writer’s forum!

Are you more comfortable in a large group or talking with just one other person?
It really depends on the situation.  I am currently a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo and have been teaching for about 9 years so I am extremely comfortable in large groups when I am instructing or doing a demonstration.  Off the mats, however, I am an extreme introvert and would rather talk one on one.  I am fascinated with people in general and I would have a better way of getting to know someone new through a one on one conversation.
What would you do all night if you couldn’t get to sleep?
Again, it would depend on the situation.  If I am by myself, I would read or watch some of my favorite movies or get on the internet.  I have many WIPs that need my attention and there are always all these lovely blogs to follow.  But if I am with someone else, then I would spend hours just talking, discussing all kind of topics and taking the time to connect with that other person.
Do you tend to remember any of your dreams?
Funny you should ask about dreams.  I always remember my dreams as they are extremely vivid; full of color and action.  Early last year I started a strange pattern of dreaming where I actually visualized a different children’s picture book every night for three weeks straight.  Every morning I would wake up and rush to write everything down.  Up until that point I had given up on my writing and I hadn’t actually written anything in over 20 years.  Now, I can’t seem to get the dreams to stop… lol
What advice would you give to all your fellow campaigners?
Listen to your heart.  Don’t let other people’s negativity bring you down or make you doubt yourself as a writer.  If you wake up each morning with thoughts of stories in your head, then you are a writer.  If all you can think of during the day is your next revision, then you are a writer.  And if you lay down your head at night and plan out the plot of your next novel before you fall asleep, you are a writer.  No where does it say you have to be “published” to be able to call yourself a writer so be proud of who you are because I am!
My blog, On The Write Track, is my way to encourage and inspire my fellow writers, both new and experienced, on their path to publication.  I write children’s picture books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, poetry, essays and just about anything else that interests me.  I love it when I get new visitors to my blog who leave me a comment on one of my daily posts as I reply to all posts.  And I will be having another contest sometime soon so keep checking in with me!
Thanks for answering my questions, Donna, and I hope you have a really great Campaign experience! I’m still looking for more Campaigners to spotlight, so if you’re interested in doing an interview on the Kelworth Files, let me know in the comments or email me at chrisken zero at gmail dot com

Guest Post: Character Development Series Part 1

December 14, 2011

Greetings Readers,

Once again my name is Mark Allen and once again I’m filling in for Chris for reasons I’ll go into later on in this post!

Now odds are that at least one of you out there hasn’t yet suppressed the horrible memory of my previous guest post and as a result might recall that I was in the process of working on a series on the subject of character development in writing.

So today I’m very proud to present to you all today the second part of the series, which describes how to develop complex characters and as a bonus, my response to a post by Chris from a few days ago inviting others to share character and plot ideas that have emerged from their dreams. Read the rest of this entry »

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