I’m on my way!

I feel renewed!- I have entered two contest in the last week, and am polishing my new novel to shine. Also I have begun promoting my self-published works and trying my hand at the marketing aspect of writing.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0109PNQY2/?ref_=aga_p_pl_ge_title#nav-subnav

Through Labor day only 99cents and then till the 10th at 1.99.

Wish me luck!

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Have Query- Next project

Story Teller coverSo I am in the process of Querying my narrative non-fiction Novel The Angels Within, long process and learning tons. I find sites like Query Shark, Query Tracker, and Writers Digest invaluable.

But the best thing is I can concentrate on writing fiction now. I have interest in my Dystopian romance trilogy so need to lock down the first draft. I started working seriously on this during NANOWRMO last November.  I am at 90,000 plus words and Chapter Twenty Three so far.

My critique group is very encouraging and I think helpful in catching all my little mistakes. Along with the curious questions about each character, they are a tremendous resource to keep me on track. I love hearing what about this person or that  person as if they were real.  To think this entire story was the result of a dream is amazing. I can see the whole think in my mind playing like a movie. I hope it will be done in the style of Divergent.

Set in 2250 in the dome covering what used to be NYC Shall is the official Historian of York Circle. Newton the Second wants Shall to help with a project, right after her childhood hero has been executed. She has to put her misgivings aside and work with the man who signed Milton’s death sentence to save the city as they know it.

And I have two more planets to consider and their stories. I’m pulling out old documents and reworking the entire story arch. Just goes to show you when you write THE END on one piece It should only start Chapter One of the next!

Write On, Diana

 

 

 

Critique Groups

I am a member of RWA and a local chapter of writers too. I recently went to our first critique group meeting.

What I learned from that first meeting was- we all can improve. What I had wrote and rewrote and slaved over for the last few months was a start- it is not a destination but its a journey.

I have a long way to go. With the help of these ladies I think my road will have less pot-holes. Do you work alone, or with writing partners? I’d love to hear from others about the writing progress. Now its time to get back to it Write On!

Di

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IDENTITY lesson

What I learned this summer

I have been blessed to extend my circle of friends and my learning through different adventures this summer. In NYC at the RWA writer’s conference I met a lady Jessie G who writes M&M romance. Something I was surprised to discover when she told me she is married straight woman with children. It takes a skilled writer to be able to emote in the opposite genders viewpoint. So male/male romance as a genre preference was totally unexpected. And She’s good!

The lesson that stands out the most from RWA conference was a lecture I attended given by Michael Hauge. He showed me how to get into a characters mind and deepen my story with three main ingredients. These are just what I gleaned after going back through my notes.

Know your characters’ IDENTITY, by knowing their WOUND/FEAR/ BELIEF/

What is their biggest fear?

What do they believe/ this must be a lie, but they think it to be true and it’s logical

How are they wounded? (This is the inner conflict founded by something in their past)

Perfect example= Shrek

He’s an ogre for Pete’s sake- he shows everyone he’s frightful, strong and mean, by growling, posting keep away signs and frightening anyone who comes near.(MASK)

Shrek’s biggest (FEAR) is he will never find love/He’s not worthy

He (BELIEVES) if anyone does get close they will run away(Logical because his whole life people have) Scene: When he was only a child his first friend ran away when told he couldn’t like an ogre or have one for a friend.(WOUND)

To keep from facing the fear that no one will find him worthy of love- he portrays the evil ogre so no one can get close enough to find out who he truly is. Which is his ESSENCE= loveable true and loyal friend.

The identity is: the mask used in the real world to protect him from his biggest FEAR, which grows from the BELIEF, created by the WOUND that happened long long ago.

So that short lesson showed me more about character development than any other I’ve read or heard. Now I am going through my characters and making myself define their FEAR/WOUND/ BELIEF to flesh out their identities.

One year

This month is the anniversary of this blog. I haven’t had many views but I still want to attempt to continue. After joining a writers group I was asked if I had a blog and so I will continue my feeble efforts.

Writing is not as easy as I thought,98e1f-_dsc3633 it is possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. The craft of writing takes into count pace, motivation and conflict. GMC- as I have learned is the most important thing to remember.

G= goal . does every character have one, is your story goal oriented? A character can have inner goals, or life changing ones. but he or she must have a reason for the reader to be interested.

M= motivation. What motivates your protagonist or antagonist? Is there something in there present or past that draws the reader in? This is important but don’t info dump too much set up, begin with action! Prologues are amateurish. Show don’t tell how a person comes to terms with their past and goes on with their future. Sprinkle in tid-bits of background creatively throughout the storyline.

C= conflict. Conflict is something that makes a reader want to know what is next. It is not a simple quarrel or discussion that gets heated.When a fire burns down the house and a once rich kid becomes homeless that’s conflict. When a proposal is ignored and feelings of doubt come to the romantic hero that’s conflict. When someone struggles with what they are to do with their life you have conflict. So in that aspect- I guess I am full of it.

As a writer I face conflict, motivation and goals every day. Writing about them in ways that matter will only help me become a better writer and person. And perhaps one day  the world will read my work and think, Wow she can really put onto paper a great tale. I wonder why no one has ever done this before?

Write on!- Diny

Seasons Greetings from AdmireD

The times they are a changin’, for country and neighborhood.

Let’s strive to see each other and to help be understood.

With Thanksgiving starts a season that’s a fitting way to be.

For each of us choose to create beliefs and history.

Christ is in my Christmas, as well as in my heart.

And with hope and in that spirit, I pause here to impart.

Release the smug injustice, just try and take a while,

Listen to other stories, learn the lessons, share a smile.

The miracles of Hanukkah, when lamps near empty lay,

a menorah celebrates the time it burned for eight more days

A child’s game, the Driedel comes from Jewish days of old.

Hiding devout from danger, distracting twirls the past unfolds.

Kwanzaa we must not forget, though religious it is not

With groups of sevens it entails much wisdom to be taught.

The principles and symbols celebrated in this time

Should be practiced by everyone in spite of culture binds!

Winter Solstice is celebrated, in so many varied ways,

From as far back as we began staring at the stars ablaze.

Reminding all, as seasons change and each year comes to end,

To warmly celebrate when gathering with family and friends.

No matter what you may believe, or how you choose to live.

It’s not about what you might take, but what your heart can give!

So whatever be your reason, that you celebrate this year,

Find this heartfelt greeting, of your Holiday, sincere!

If I caused you to wonder, at anything you find,

Cherish each and every person, in this Season, so sublime.

Christmas from a writer

I’ve edited and sent out my latest short story for Christmas to friends and family and wonder. The whole business of writing is a mystery. You send out hundreds of queries you post blogs and fb posts- you like multiple writers pages and hope one day to make a difference.

But to make a difference takes effort. Time must be put in to show dedication. Charity from home is the closest way I have ever felt that what I actually did made a difference.

The following short story is my Christmas story  Enjoy, Diana

 

Sounds of Christmas

When I worked as a caregiver at Brookhaven Health Center the persons I cared for became my teachers. Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, spinal injuries, mentally challenged, and blindness were some of the struggles they faced. The lessons they taught far exceeded any education I could have received at the finest of universities. This Christmas day was no exception and I was presented with a special gift, a gift needing no garnishment of tinsel or fancy bows.

The band belted out the oldies. People of all ages crowded the dance floor, gyrating to the beat of pulsating drums and bass guitar. Having live entertainment was a bonus to the festivities at this annual Christmas party where no one took notice of boys dancing with boys or those who danced by themselves. The acts of celebration and movement overshadowed any set standards by those deemed normal.

That word, normal, always brought back memories of my orientation when I accepted my current job. The instructor was full of animation and emotion as he spoke.

Normal?  This is their normal!” Scott said. He pointed his finger at us like a scolding mother. “I never want to hear you say that word. Typical is what everyone else is. Normal is what you’re used to.”

His words melted into my heart. The people we helped perform daily functions knew only what they were born with. Anything else would be abnormal. One of my first lessons was, we who are without handicaps are blessed. I’d always taken the absence of handicaps for granted. Now I wondered, who was happier?

Scott chuckled before he asked, “Do you know what the disabled call you?”

All of us trainees shook our heads no.

“Walkers!” he said.

The room broke into laughter. He further instructed us to never call our people, “clients” or “patients” for they were, “Normal people who just need extra help. To show respect we refer to them as ‘consumers.’”

Orientation was a long time ago but those words always echoed back to me when I heard others describe this population with the ugly word of “retarded.” When people make jokes about the disabled, I think their normal is not so great.

I met the daughter of one of the Christmas band members in April and we quickly became friends. Watching Jen’s interactions with the mentally retarded developmentally disabled (MRDD), gave me great pride.  The respect given and received was more satisfying than any upper crust society party could ever muster. The diversity of these people reminded me how each soul was a rough cut gem—precious but ignored.

The happy atmosphere of this unusual party with its quirky music brought me back to the present. As if they had been waiting all year for this day, those in the room of the outdated VFW hall were full of holiday cheer. The laughter gave me a headache; but it was the good kind, the kind you get when you can’t stop smiling. The food and the music never ceased. Among the cinnamon and pine scents, each employee and consumer wore happy faces with one exception.

A young man in his early twenties sat in a corner next to his mother. My happiness dipped as I studied them and wondered why they isolated themselves. After working with these people who aren’t always able to communicate in the usual way, I’ve learned to read body language. The non-verbal persons are actually very communicative. The mother sitting next to her son was reserved and tentative. She wore a bright red and green holiday skirt in an apparent effort to be festive. Jen had mentioned this was Johnny’s first visit to the Christmas party.

Reasons why people were afflicted were pointless. Those not familiar with the system felt blame must be assigned. Mary, Johnny’s mother, still kept her son at home. It was considered impolite to ask, but Mary made it her duty to explain her son’s condition.

“He was born with a severe case of Cerebal-palsey,” Mary said. With pride she added, “He wasn’t supposed to live beyond his sixteenth birthday.”

“I’m glad to have the chance to meet him, “I said. Then I touched his shoulder. “Merry Christmas, Johnny.”

Johnny wiggled his face in response. It reminded me of a rabbit twitching his nose at a carrot.

Mary was talking again. “We have help come in once a week so I can have a break. He’s not in a group house. Jen was so nice to invite us.”

Mary seemed uncomfortable in a social setting. As the other consumers came by and gave Johnny and his mother holiday greetings, I saw her begin to relax.

Johnny occasionally would grin or raise his eyebrows, but more often than not, he sat stationary like a human statue. His wheelchair differed from the others scattered across the room; it had special features. Johnny was a quadriplegic so an electric model was unnecessary. Each limb was braced to plates customize along the frame with Velcro straps to secure him to the chair. He was strapped to a headrest to keep his head from falling to his chest so he had no choice but to sit and watch as life passed him by.

Mary reached over and gently stroked his forearm. His eyes were glued to his mother as Jen and another volunteer approached, bent down, and whispered in her ear. She looked at her son and nodded. Then the volunteers carefully undid the straps. Two men lifted him in a human fireman’s chair hold and took him to the center of the dance floor. A third man joined them and supported his back.

As the musicians played Jingle Bells for the hundredth time, Johnny grinned and drooled. Soon he was emitting a most peculiar sound. The guttural moaning noises concerned me. He sounded as if he were gasping for air. As I moved toward him, the loud squealing and intake of air from Johnny grew in intensity. Before I reached him, they stopped raising him up and down. The strange noises stopped. His eyebrows lowered and his face contoured into a scowl. The moans had been sounds of enjoyment! He wanted more. When Jen and her helpers resumed the twirling and lifting movement, Johnny began to groan and heave again, the spittle dropping from his smiling face. As they twirled him round and round the sounds became contagious. Soon the other consumers began to form a circle around them, clapping and chanting.

“Go Johnny! Go Johnny!”

I looked over to his mother and saw she was crying. I watched as one of Johnny’s peers approached the woman.

“Don’t cry! It’s Christmas. We supposed to be happy today,” he said.

She strained to give him a smile. “Oh, I am very happy!”

He pointed to the throng. “You should laugh then, like Johnny!”

She hugged the boy and patted his back. This seemed to satisfy him. He returned to the dance floor.

When Johnny was carefully placed back into his chair, my friend Jen was concerned. She asked his mother, “What’s wrong? I don’t think we hurt him.”

“Nothing, honey. I’m sure you didn’t.” She wiped her eyes. “It’s just, that was the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard.”

“You mean when Johnny was dancing?”

“Yes. You see, I have never heard him laugh before!”

Energy of pure happiness filled the entire room. Like electricity, its power spread from person to person. I had goose bumps of joy. The gift of that feeling was something I’d never known before or since.

When I’m asked about my favorite parts of Christmas, I remember carolers and singing in the church choirs, my favorite songs, and musical cartoons. Yet the sweetest sound I have ever heard was the music of Johnny’s laughter. It was the most perfect and precious Christmas sound ever made!