Saturday, April 30, 2011

ABC, U for Urlaub (Holiday)

ABC, U for Urlaub

A handful U-words were on my Writing A-Z list. I even had chosen one and written the post ... only with the result, in the end the text didn't fit anymore to the headline! Well, hard luck!
My problem, none of the other words didn’t inspire me in the slightest! Now, the challenge is slowly coming to its end and a solution was needed!
All right, there was Easter and I think a day off is well deserved! That's why:


for Urlaub (Holiday)!
Enjoy your free day!


ABC, Y for Yarn: Yo, Ho, Haul Together

Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the colors high.
Heave ho, thieves and beggars,
never shall we die.

Doodled by me while watching 'Pirates Of The Caribbean'
Ahoy, me hearties!

Dead men tell no tales, but do ye dare to hear mine? Avast ye, come a little closer. Landlubbers, ye sit down and listen, I tell. Savvy?

It was a calm, moonlit night ... too calm when you ask me, when from the sea an inscrutable fog slowly crawled onto the land. With the fog came a shadow and the shadow become a dark man entering the door of a shabby bar. It's said he's once been here before with the same purpose. He was searching for a crew. Brave, strong, intelligent men - and women! - following him, going on a crusade, conquering challenges and searching treasures.

Shiver me timbers! That seadog had a voice! Dark, rough and raspy. Once heard, ye never forget it. Like those poor ones, who listened to his seductive words. Till the end of the month he recruited over 1200 crewmen. He, ye want me to walk the plank and join Davy Jones' locker? Ye say I'm a liar, aye? Ye say, no ship can accommodate so many, ye would need a whole armada? By my dark soul I swear, there was only one ship. Blimey, what a ship! With the first light of the new month's first day all the buccaneers weighed anchor and hoisted the mizzen!

The journey kept them a whole month on board and six days a week they were confronted with adventures. Don't ye ask me about all of them, I'm just an Old Salt! I tell you, what I remember, savvy?

On the 3rd day they had to break a Curse, unlucky number 13 brought them Mermaids and just two days later a monstrous Octopus almost scuttled their ship. What else? Give an Old Salt a moment? Ye, they've told from a colossal Sea Serpent on their 19th day on board. And just 4 days before their goal a gigantic Wave threatened their lives. I wonder, if they've ever reached the fantastic treasures that this seadog promised?

Rumors say that those who remained will return right this weekend. So, if ye want to get stories by first hand, go to the harbor and watch out for black sails! Until then, let's drink loads of rum and shout 'Yo Ho Ho'!

P.S. Aye, it's unbelievable, there are Pirate Phrases and Pirate Vocabulary online available! Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday-Fill-In: 2011-17

Friday Fill-In
  1. I love to see nature becoming green and alive during springtime.
  2. It fills my heart with joy and a smile.
  3. It's how you feel fresh and free and young again.
  4. It's like a young Bambi jumping around out of pure joy. I know, it's a bit childish, don't tell me!
  5. Well, would you talk otherwise, when you at least try to let this emotions fill your soul and become that young again, too.
  6. If you don't like deer, then maybe spring peepers.
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to writing my last official A-Z Blogging Challenge post, tomorrow my plans include to write the two posts, I'm still missing and Sunday, I want to be proud of my work and hopefully enjoy springtime like a Bambi!

Wish you all a wonderful, warm and sunny spring weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

ABC, X for X-beliebige Fakten (Any Random Facts)

X-beliebig is one of 54 x-words in my 'Duden' dictionary and the first of another 26 utterly useless, but also quite interesting facts about books and writing in my today's A-Z post:

  1. There have been over 20,000 books written about the game of Chess.
  2. The main library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
  3. The Bible contains 3,566,480 letters, or 810,697 words.
  4. The Library of Congress, Washington DC, USA contains 28 million books and has 532 miles of shelving.
  5. Pope Pius II wrote an erotic book 'Historia de duobos amantibus' in 1444.
  6. Paper was invented in China around 105 A.D., by the eunuch Ts'ai Lun.
  7. A new book is published every 13 minutes in America.
  8. Euclid is the most successful textbook writer of all time. His Elements, written around 300 B.C., has gone through more than 1,000 editions since the invention of printing.
  9. The first volume of recipes was published in 62 A.D. by the Roman Apicius. Titled De Re Coquinaria, it described the feasts enjoyed by the Emperor Claudius.
  10. The story of Cinderella first appears in a Chinese book written in the 850s.
  11. 315 entries in Webster's Dictionary will be misspelled.
  12. 85,000,000 tons of paper are used each year in the U.S.
  13. Goethe couldn't stand the sound of barking dogs and could only write if he had an apple rotting in the drawer of his desk.
  14. An original copy of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales sold for a record £4,621,500 (9 times the expected price) at Christies, London, UK on 8th July 1998 by a private collector. The book was the first major work printed in England by William Caxton, in 1477.
  15. Biggest books: The complete Buddhist scriptures were engraved on 729 white marble tablets and are regarded by Myanmar Buddhists as orthodox texts. The tablets are set up in a square, each being protected by a small temple. The 730th Pagoda is a conventional temple occupying the centre of the square. Each marble tablets are about 3' wide and 4' height. It is known as Ku Tho Daw Phayar, situated at the foot of Mandalay Hill, Mandalay.
  16. Another world breaker is a book called the Super Book, which has 300 pages, measures 2.74 x 3.07 mtrs and weighs 252.6kg.
  17. Barnes and Noble Bookstore, New York City, USA. It has 12 miles (20.71km) of shelving and covers an area of 14,330m² (154,250ft²).
  18. Of all time, this accolade goes to Agatha Christie, detective story authoress. Since 1920 her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in over 45 foreign languages. She is outsold only by the Bible and William Shakespeare.
  19. J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book in the acclaimed series, had a first-run print of 8.5 million copies. This is approximately 80 times the average bestseller!
  20. Between 1986 and 1996, Brazilian author Jose Carlos Ryoki de Alpoim Inoue had a massive 1,058 novels published. He writes westerns, science fiction and thrillers. Does he ever eat?
  21. The sole surviving written record of Mayan history is three codices written in hieroglyphs on bark paper. All three are now held in European cities.
  22. William Shakespeare's average annual income as a playwright was under £20, which works out to about £8 per play. However, he made about twice as much from writing plays as Ben Jonson, the only contemporary playwright who was better known at the time than Shakespeare.
  23. Shakespeare used around 29,000 different words in his plays. About 10,000 of those words had never previously been used in any surviving English literature. Around 6,000 words only appear once.
  24. Thomas Watson was one of the most popular and important playwrights in the Elizabethan age, but none of his dramas exists today.
  25. The Guinness Book of World Records, first published in 1955, got into itself nineteen years later, in 1974, by setting a record as the fastest-selling book in the world.
  26. In 1939 an author named Ernest Vincent wrote a 50,000 word novel called Gadsby. The only thing unusual about the novel is that there is not a single letter 'e' in the whole thing.

Continue here:
For Your Warehouse of Useless Knowledge (Not only book related!)
Fun Facts: Books and Literature
Some Interesting Facts about Books and Authors

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WQ-15. Admirable Writers.


30 Days Of Writing Questions

15. Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

You can't seriously limit that question to just ONE writer, can you?!? Fact is, I adore different writers for different reasons, e.g.:
  • J.K. Rowling: I adore her huge imagination. From book to book I was so excited to read about all those new animals, the new magical objects, the curses, the whole world of Harry Potter. In the DVD bonus material I was also impressed by the deep knowledge of her world. The movie makers needed e.g. for 'Order Of The Phoenix' Sirius' family tree and within a couple of minutes she pulled that detailed list out of the hat. Plus how clever she hides tiny little snipes, we just don't understand or don't pay attention to. But then after getting new information, everything makes more sense, like again in 'Order Of The Phoenix' when they clean the headquarter and find a locket, which doesn't let open! And becomes later one of the Horcuxes.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: How can you not adore a writer, who spent his whole life with creating Middle Earth? All those races with their own history and their own language. That's simply mind blowing!
  • Stephen King: The master of horror. Even in plain, normal, every day situations he finds something creepy, hidden evil and makes you want to leave the lights on!
  • J.R. Ward: There are those strong alpha males, warriors by heart, each of them haunted by some kind of curse. And there are also strong women, who become the appropriate counterpart. Each of these women is able to tame the beast or bring light into the darkness of their mates. There are tricky, damned situations and every time you wonder 'How could that work out well?', but every time she surprises you! I simply love the passion in her books!
  • Dan Brown: Intense and intriguing, how he combines real places, facts, tokens with an imaginative story. I love the illustrated versions of his books, where you can see everything with your own eyes!
  • Other writers on that list: Stephenie Meyer, Alexandre Dumas, Jane Austen, Erin Hunter, Noah Gordon, William Shakespeare, etc. ... where should I stop?

ABC, W for Wie man... (How to...)

This was originally written for the letter U, but after finishing I had to admit, that the content didn't fit properly to the headline anymore! Fortunately there was a suitable letter left:

Wie man.../'How to improve your writing skills?'
One of the questions, I'm asking myself all the time. So, what can be done?

Let's assume, someone's being blessed with some basic writing skills and also have a brilliant idea for a plot, well, that's not enough! A book, a novella, a short story, whatever doesn't write itself - unfortunately! You literally have to sit on your but and practice, practice, practice or in other words write, write and write, rewrite and again write some more! And ... FINISH it!

I'm wondering, if every writer is also a passionate reader? In any case, reading could help to improve your writing skills. My emphasis lays on could, because it doesn't matter what we read, but how we read! There's normal reading, where you turn pages from cover to cover just for the sake of entertainment, and there's reading. Then you read with focus on things beyond meaning, something like grammar, vocabulary, syntax, phrases, idioms and/or expressions. Or you do some kind of research in the genre you do your own writing. You do this special filter reading and your writing can profit from that.

Additional note: It may also help to lay focus on what we read ... there's no wrong to check out some how-to-books in order to study basic writing techniques. But don't forget: Rules are there to be broken!

Why buy expensive how-to-books, when the internet is full of free writing tips? Just google 'How to become a better writer' and you get thousand of pages. My current favorite is 73 Ways to Become a Better Writer. Not to forget all those wonderful writing blogs!

On that just one word of advice: Don't make yourself crazy with ALL the tips. Just take one, maybe two tips per day and concentrate on this/them. It's like learning to drive, first you had to remember yourself to watch into the mirror before turning left or right, now you do it automatically! Hopefully!

For me it was quite a revelation, when I started book-club-e-mails with some of my friends. We've usually started with some easy questions: Did you like the book? What was your most/least favorite scene and character? Who was the character you could identify most/least? We didn't just name, it was more interesting to know the why's behind! We've also discussed various themes depending on the book. I can tell you, I've learnt most, when I had a different opinion than my book-club partners! To understand the other's point of view ... and in the following to include some of the learnt lessons in my own writing!

Second, find a critique partner/group. The problem, I've experienced is to find a good critique partner! Just to say 'That's good!' or 'I don't like that scene.' is NOT a good critique, it doesn't help at all! Some general tips for feedback:

To give feedback:
- on time
- constructive
- detailed
- appropriate chunks
- readiness declared
- I-messages
To accept feedback:
- listen, perhaps request
- don't argue, explain, excuse
- think about, change
- thank for feedback

How to express feedback:
Create a positive basis for feedback, right time/place/tone
1. Perception + I-message: I see, I hear, I feel...
2. Effect: That's how I perceive it.
3. Wish: How would we reach...?
Result: Utilize

That dialogue is miserable! - Miserable feedback, doesn't help to improve. Better: When I've read that dialogue, the messages were clear. I also perceived it a little 'naked'. How was the tone, the speed, etc. of the voices? What emotions could you hear in the voices during the dialogue? Were there any looks (or other actions) between the partners?

The best possibility to compare your skills with other writers. In addition you have to deal with given specifications, word limitation and/or deliver on a certain date. But be prepared for critical, perhaps even harsh, feedback!

Last, but not least:

P.S. I know, I still owe you two more post! I'm working on them! Please, stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wreck This Journal: Trace The Things In Your Bag.

Wreck This Journal: Trace The Things In Your Bag (Or Pockets). Let The Lines Overlap.

For this page I made negative paper-templates of things in my bag and used Blow-Pens/Airbrush-Pens for the outlines.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

ABC, T for Tiere (animals)

Too many to count! A sheer endless number of animal literature is available. In every genre, for every taste.
In my little private library are quite a few to find: Starting with classical fairy tales over some Cujo by Stephen King to Frank Schaetzing's The Swarm, not to forget Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter and all those magical creatures in the world of Harry Potter. As an author I'm also very fond of writing short stories of my four-legged, purring, little feline fur balls. *meow*

For today I've let myself inspire one more time by dear Rachael and her Second Crusader Challenge:

Write a flash fiction story (in any format) in 100 words or less, excluding the title. Begin the story with the words, 'The goldfish bowl teetered' These four words will be included in the word count.

The goldfish bowl teetered, just teetered but nothing more. Damn! Again my paw scratched in vain over the glass surface. That stupid thing was simply too big and too heavy. Okay, the bigger the better, the view was amazing: Hypnotizing swaying water plants, curling raising bubbles and - best of all - a group of fishes! Yummy, mouthwatering, fresh fishes!
My human called it 'Big Brother for Cats'! Micebrain! IF it was really Big Brother, then every week an inhabitant would be eliminated - by ME! But I can by patient, very patient! I get what I want - ALWAYS!

Exactly 100 meowing words! =^..^=

Friday, April 22, 2011

ABC, S for Show Not Tell Crusader Challenge

Soo many wonderful S-words! It's really difficult to chose one ... but then I've stumbled over Rachael's Crusader Challenge - just perfect for the S-day!

In 300 words or less, write a passage (it can be an excerpt from your WIP, flash fiction, a poem, or any other writing) that shows (rather than tells) the following:
  • you're scared and hungry
  • it's dusk
  • you think someone is following you
  • and just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: shimmer, saccadic, substance and salt.

My stomach rumbled. It's been a while since I've eaten something. That was the law of the warriors, the clan's always first. Today I've hunted for those who weren't able anymore. My own needs had to wait. Unfortunately fresh bait was rare during the days of the empty leaves. The whole clan was starving. We've already lost a member. Who's going to be next? Another elder like Silvercoat? Maybe one of the kittens? Sure, we've tried to provide the Queens as good as we could, without their milk the next generation of warriors would be lost. The whole clan would be lost! What if this cold continues? What if ... No! I don't want to finish that. I would rather die than lose my beloved Sandcloud! I banned this scary thoughts out of my head!
In the meantime, the night slowly vanished, in the dusk between the treetops the first morning shimmers send some new hope in my heart. I knew there was fresh bait out there. I just had to find it!
Slowly I forced my way through the chest high snow. I felt the cold under my paws and despite the shelter of the trees the wind brushed heavy on my fur. My ears twitched, was there something behind me? I turned, but the only thing I could see were the soft movements of empty branches. I raised my nose and opened my mouth for a better sniff. But the wind came from the wrong direction, there was only the nasty stench of the biped's road and that strange winter substance called salt.
Maybe I should try my luck down at the small watercourse, every animal needs to drink. The taste of some fresh water would animate my spirits, too. With saccadic jumps I continued my way.

Wow, that was close: 299 words! =^..^=

ABC, R for Resources

Rituals, habits, good luck charms - my first thoughts on the letter R. BUT I've already written something similar in WQ-06. Writing Habits and also here: My Writing Journey and here: Meet A Journal Keeper
No retakes, remember? So, I've landed on R for Resources!

I dare to say, that the equipment we chose influence our writing! It's hard to imagine myself writing my novel by hand ... I would freak out, because of the lack of speed or possibilities of spell verification or easy editing. On the other hand there's journaling in my dream diary. There I need the contact of true paper and it feels right to hold a heavy pen in my hand. I like to lay comfortable on my couch, maybe some soft music in the background, having all the time in the world to concentrate on my nightly pictures and penning them down, maybe even illustrating them. In this case, pen and paper is the only right resource, anything else wouldn't work!

I always try to pay attention to my senses. Everything I can see, hear, smell, taste or feel could be a sparkle of inspiration. Then I let these sparkles swirl around my head, transform and hopefully develop into some creative art. Another source of mine are my dreams. Sometimes I'm quite surprised what pictures my head produces during the night!

Besides those, I'm a very visual person. Pictures do very often inspire me or put my inspiration in the right way. That's what I use then:

Of course, one of my first targets for research is Wikipedia. I've also made very good experiences with forums, you get very quick good answers to basic and detailed questions! My favorite German speaking forum is And, not to forget, my blog is written in English, so the German-English dictionary of my choice is!

Quite an interesting page I've lately discovered is And to make a long story short, I ask you to have a look on my blog list!

What other resources do you use?

Friday-Fill-In: 2011-16

Friday Fill-In
  1. Pardon me, it's now my turn on this week's FFI!
  2. If you continue reading, it'll be a good deal.
  3. I was surprised to find that I really like to quiz over missing gaps.
  4. Reading is one of my favorite forms of entertainment.
  5. Hi, my name is Karin and I'm a blogger and Friday-Fill-In-er.
  6. These days feel like summer afternoons.
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a nice long, free Easter weekend, tomorrow my plans include hopefully a sunbath and Sunday, I want to eat out in a nice restaurant!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WQ-14. Map Out Location.


30 Days Of Writing Questions

14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

Like written in my previous post WQ-12. World Building. most of my action takes place in the real world. So, Google Maps is one of my best friends to have a look at unfamiliar places. I sometimes only wished that there's a 'Time Machine Function', e.g. to see a harbor in South-East England around 1900!

Besides the public places there are some fictional private places, like the home of my heroine Cathryn. There I have a very clear picture in my head, how the garden looks like and where the rooms inside the house are located. That's by far enough!

But I've also learnt my lesson: My heroine strands on an unknown island, where the action takes place on different locations. First I thought: 'Well, it's just a simple island, what so difficult about that?' - Thought wrong! Sometimes it's really advantageous to create your own map, especially when you suddenly realize that your heroine stumbles in the wrong direction or visits a part of the island, where five chapters before the environment looked completely different! Then you simply need to map out locations!

ABC, Q for Quiz

Q-words are limited ... so I decided to redo a quiz: Which Crazy Writer Are You?

MY RESULT is (again) Tom Wolfe:
Ah, the life of a wall flower. You get to hang out with the most interesting people - radio DJs, hot rodders, hippies, Hell's Angels, Wall Street tycoons, frat boys - and are completely happy putting them into the spotlight. You're completely happy hanging back with your martini and your little notebook, jotting down all your little observations, in sight but out of mind. Sure, everyone at the party knows who you are - but do they know the real you? And, more importantly, if you want to fade into the background, what's with the bright white suit?

Interesting: Tom Wolfe's birthday is the March 2. Mine is four days later! Coincidence?

ABC, P for Pilgerreise (pilgrimage)

Pilgrimage wasn't originally on my Writing A-Z list, but then, just yesterday, I've caught the word somewhere on TV and got instantly inspired.

A reader's pilgrimage
Sometimes I'm surprised by myself which books have found their way on my favorite book list. Just like 'I'm Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago: My Journey Along the Camino de Santiago' by HaPe Kerkeling.
I love this utterly frank and engaging book. HaPe has a wonderful entertaining style to fill his travelogue with unforgettable characters and historic landscapes, and his self-deprecating humor is unique. This is one of a kind, where the audio book is even better than the printed version!

A writer's pilgrimage
Isn't writing like a pilgrimage?
When you start you can't be sure, if you reach the finish line or not. On good days you'll walk in beautiful landscapes, where you can make a long distance. On other days there'll be hills, rather easy to cross, but you'll also be confronted with big mountains, that cause you sore muscles, headaches and sleepless nights. You'll have to invest a lot of effort and energy to reach the mountain top, but when you're finally there, you'll be so proud and have an amazing view.
You'll meet some interesting people supporting you with good advices and helpful critiques. But be sure, there'll be also some idiots! Just ignore them and continue walking!
On your way you'll also get much closer to another person: yourself! You'll explore parts of your personality and maybe discover abysses you'll never expect. In the end you'll have collected a lot of new experiences, maybe even an epiphany. And hopefully you can say then, your pilgrimage was all the way worth!

What's your pilgrimage like?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wreck This Journal: Write Backwards.

Wreck This Journal: Write Backwards.

I sit and wait
does an angel contemplate my fate
and do they know
the places where we go
when we're gray and old
'cos I've been told
that salvation lets their wings unfold
so when I’m lying in my bed
thoughts running through my head
and I feel that love is dead
I’m loving angels instead.

That's the first verse of "Angels", performed by Robbie Williams (Youtube)

A short note to the design:
I'd found that beautiful angels wrapping paper, but unfortunately it got completely lost under all those layers. The top layer shows the "Angel of Grief", a grave's monument located at the Testaccio Protestant Cemetery in Rome, Italy.

Oh and btw: Writing backwards is more difficult than I thought!

ABC, O for Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time not so long ago two blogger started their own Journaling Challenge. On 15th February 2011 the prompt of the day was 'Once upon a time' and one of the girls created a page looking like an old book and began a fairy tale. She published the page and promised to complete the story and also translate it. Now, two months later, the selected theme is again 'Once upon a time' ... so, what's more perfect than to fulfill the promise now?

February Journaling Challenge, Day-5: Once Upon A Time.
Once upon a time a young woman lived alone in her little house on the edge of the forest. Some would have said, that living out there would be dreary, boring and lonesome. But it wasn't. Not for Rose, that was the name of the woman, every day she had something to do. She took fondly care for her house and her little garden, did a lot of handiwork, for company she was satisfied with the animals and numerous books. Now and then she went to town, where she sold her handiworks and bought that things she needed. It was a simple, humble life, but in her own way Rose was satisfied and happy.

On the other end of the town, up on a hill there was a castle. There lived the kindhearted and wise king with his wife and his son. Despite the judicious reign of the king there was a shadow laying over the castle. The prince had lost his cheerfulness. The doctors were helpless, because obviously the prince' physical health was perfect. Nothing could bring joy to the prince and he backed out more and more.

His caring mother, the loving queen, finally guessed, that maybe the right woman could distract her son's thoughts. Said, done. The king arranged a ball, where he invited all noble, young women. But the dear women were only occupied with their own vanity. They only thought on jewels and clothes she would wear as future queen. None of them was slightly interested in the prince and the prince, too, didn't show any interest in any of those arrogant chicks.

The king didn't want to give up that fast, for the next ball all daughters from good middle class families were invited. But it exposed, that the young ladies weren't able to deal with the ceremonial rituals, means they behaved totally inappropriate, or they were simply too shy to give a word at all. It doesn't need to be told, that there was no woman to be found, that hit the prince's eye.

Well, all good things come in threes, thought the king, when he decided to make a last daring step. On his command every young and beautiful women of age to be married were brought to the castle. But also the king had learnt his lesson well. Instead a formal ball, he wanted the young folk to meet in the royal gardens, playing games and casual parties. He further hoped, that not only the heart of the prince would open for a woman, but also that happiness and laughter would penetrate the castle's walls and banish the sad shadows.

That's how Rose found her way into the castle. Even though she didn't want to leave her quiet, peaceful home, she followed the orders of the king. But already on the second day she spoke to the king, when she could return back home. Her grace, modesty and fine words surprised the king and actually he could have let her go, but he refused her wish. Rose obeyed again. What else could she have done? According to her own personality Rose began to use her time well. She explored the castle, especially the library, offered her help wherever it was best needed, above all at the tailors and needle women. Of course she also participated in the little plays and parties, which were determined for the prince. And day after day she repeated her request in front of the king.

After a while the prince heard of the girl. He still didn't appreciate his parent's efforts, but however he got curious. He observed Rose. The more he saw, the less he understood her. Why was she behaving like that? Then one day he asked her: "When you don't like it here, that you ask my father every day to release you, why do you do all those things on this hateful place?"

Rose thought about it for a while before she answered: "It's not in my power to decide about my current residence, but it's possible for me to ask for change. Until this happens, I can decide freely, what I want to do with the time that is given to me here in the castle. What would it bring to spend my time pouting and inveighing? This wouldn't change the circumstances. It would only worsen my mood and the atmosphere among my fellows. Instead I use the chances, else I would have never been granted. I extend my knowledge in your large library and learn from the greatest handiwork masters of the country. That alone is all worth, even if I miss my simple life in my little house on the edge of the forest so dearly."

The words impressed the prince, for a pretended simple girl they were surprisingly clear and convincing and passionate spoken. He had to think over that a lot. Was his own situation not quite similar? Nobody knew, the prince felt like imprisoned in his own life. So many things were expected and he was very frightened to disappoint everyone. That was the true reason for his sad mood lately. I wanted to run off, but he couldn't.

While the residents of the castle and the village slowly returned to their normal everyday life, the prince and Rose were seen together very often, in the gardens, in the library, but also on other places. The prince began, to open his mind for his folk and Rose helped him to see changes, that would have been hidden for him before. It came what have to come, the joy returned back into the prince's life and with it the love to the young woman. The queen was right, the right woman could distract her son's thoughts. Soon a big wedding was celebrated in the kingdom and a couple of years later, when the king handed over his throne to his son, the new king and his beloved queen Rose reigned with care and joy and offered their folk further on glorious times!

The End

Monday, April 18, 2011

ABC, N for NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

Read more on the NaNo-FAQs:

I tell you, when you finally cross that 50.000 words margin, you truly experience one of that magic moments. You're so proud, that you've really made it and feel like the writing king of the world! Then you get not only rewarded with a wonderful winner certificate, but also with an amazing basic draft of your work, with you can very well continue working ... that's worth all the stress and the pain. Because NaNo is not only a blessing, but also a damn curse.

At least, that's my experience. Okay, I've only participated once last year in 2010, but within those 30 days I've lived through both: heaven and hell. If you want to know the whole insane roller coaster ride, you'd like to read those:
  • NaNo Writing Month
    There wasn't any full moon I could blame. Maybe I was still disorientated because...
  • The First Week With NaNo
    All right, here we are, the first week of NaNo Writing Month is over. Let's make a short pause and muse a little...
  • Week Two With NaNo
    On my honor, I've never consumed any illegal drugs in my whole life. But I'd made the acquaintance...
  • NaNo, Lucky Number 3?
    I don't think so! Third NaNo-week started with a blast, with one of writer's worst case scenario...
  • Week Four With NaNo
    I made a little NaNo-writing-break ... to write. How crazy is that?...
  • Official NaNo Winner

In my opinion, every writer should at participate least once! See you in November 2011?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

ABC, M for Magic Moments

Magic moments, mem'ries we've been sharin'
Magic moments, when two hearts are carin'
Time can't erase the memory of
These magic moments filled with love.

It's a bit difficult to concentrate on writing, when you're rice krispies are humming Perry Como's song! All right, focus now!

Magic Moments in the real world
I'm quite sure every writer has experienced that magic moments in one way or the other during his/her writing experiences:
  • The moment, when in your brain a new idea is born. When you get anxious and feel the urgent need to grab pen and paper - or whatever is currently available - to note down that idea before you forget it again.
  • The moment, when you reach a certain number of words, 50.000 for instance, which is the magical number for every NaNo-writer. Be sure, that 100.000 words or more have the same exciting effect.
  • The moment, you write 'The End' under your finished work. When you finally know, I'm done! Sure a big moment to celebrate!
  • The moments, you receive the message that you have an agent or your book is going to get published. Or let's dream a step further, when your book enters the Top 100 bestseller list or even reaches a place under the Top 10!
Only thinking on moments like that causes goose bumps!

Magic Moments between the pages
For me it's that moment, when something magical happens between the writer/reader and the written scene. When the tension is so tight, that you simply have to continue, even if you don't want to. Every time, the emotion leaves the written pages and enters the real world. The moment, when you feel so strong with the characters, that you also feel the personal need to cry, laugh, suffer, sweat, love or whatever, too. That's true magic!

What are your personal magic writing/reading moments?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

ABC, L for Linguistik (linguistics/language)

Lord of the Rings, Extended DVDs, Bonus Material: Different takes of Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn sitting in the Golden Hall of Meduseld speaking to Theoden: "Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not."
The same words over and over again, but every take slightly different: some more emphasis here, a touch of higher voice there ... and suddenly this 12 words became a slightly different message. It's amazing, what an actor can do only with his voice, using modulation, articulation, accentuation and/or intonation to give the words intensity and depth.

Bad news: A writer doesn't have these tools.
Good news: A writer doesn't have to make such an effort with each and every single sentence, but IF then there are quite a few other options to play with words and language:

Even on paper we can show the reader, what's important. Have a look:
»He was not the person I thought.«
»He was not the person I thought.«
»He was not the person I thought.«
»You!« vs. »YOU!!!«
Can you hear the differences?

I remember a particular lesson in elementary school, when our teacher tried to convince us to use other words than 'to go'. Give it a thought: How many synonyms can you find?

In most of the cases a simple 'he/she said' is enough, but sometimes it really helps to extend the vocabulary, e.g.:
  • With his dark booming voice he shouted at her.
  • He wanted to hold her close in his arms, when she whispered with her tiny voice like a little helpless mouse.
This extended vocabulary is not only limited to voices, but of course to all actions and descriptions!

You won't make your readers believe a person coming from Bavaria with speaking perfectly High German, BUT if you only write like a Bavarian person speaks, you'll risk losing your readers, because they simply don't understand what they are reading! Honestly, even I wouldn't understand everything! So, use local dialects, but decently!

Oh, the same naturally counts for all the English speaking folks, no matter if he/she comes from England, Canada or Texas! This time, I'm glad to be a bit late, because Carol's written a wonderful post about exactly this topic! Continue reading at L is for Language and Dialect

Could you imagine strong alpha male warriors, dressed in black leather and equipped with loads of armor, fighting a vicious enemy, speaking lovely, neatly, like perfect gentlemen? Here you simply need heavy street slang with phrases like 'Fuck you!' and words like 'Shitkicker'!

So, use the slang the characters would use in their natural environment! It makes them more real!

Have you ever read 'Forrest Gump'? The book is written in the same style like the person Forrest Gump is: easy, naive, simple minded. On the contrary 'The Illustrated A Brief History of Time' by Stephen Hawking. Even if it's said to be illustrated and comparatively easy to his normal books, it's stuffed with all the technical terms from physics, astrology and other sciences, not the most easiest lecture to follow.

In both cases, the stock of words is appropriate to its content! If needed, it's useful to add a lexicon or glossary for explanations!

Oh, I'm sure, there are quite some more options to play with words and language, but I guess, you know where I'm heading. Those techniques, well used, help your reader to get more and more into your world, your scenes and your characters ... and the movie in their heads becomes more alive!

ABC, J for Journaling - Art - Writing

A-Z Challenge: J for Journaling.

Journaling - Art - Writing.
Three disciplines belonging together for me. A piece of art inspires to a poem. An event, a dream, noted down in a journal as inspiration for a novel or a quick doodle.
The one conditions the other and at the same time they complement each other to a whole new thing. Not without cause it's called 'The Art of Writing' or 'Art Journaling'!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday-Fill-In: 2011-15

Friday Fill-In
  1. For me, it was the feeling of pure freedom to sit on a motor bike.
  2. Parking is never a problem at my local supermarket.
  3. Behind the sound of the wind in the trees, I heard the blood rush in my ears.
  4. Riding a motor bike is something I always wanted to do.
  5. When it was over, I still could feel the warmth of the engine and smell the fuel.
  6. You ride alone on your bike, but I never felt alone.
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to nothing but a warm bed (I'm still ill!), tomorrow my plans include getting hopefully well again and Sunday, I want to take my bike and go for a ride (*sigh* I wished I could)!
*sing* Born to be wiiild! *endsing*
Wish you all a wonderful weekend and to the bikers out there: A good start into the new season!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ABC, K for Kurzgeschichte (short story)

I know, I still owe you the J ... I'm working on it and as soon as I'm finished you'll be the first to know!

What the hack did I think to set this rule not to collide with my other series? That post here would have been so much easier, but ... says the logical side in me ... then you would also have some repeating! *sigh*

So, if you like to read some more, here are my other choices for the letter K:
In addition, some of you have already done some great post to exactly those topics on the letter C! Thank God, there are more German K-words than English ones.

KISS - Keep It Short and Simple.
Kurzgeschichte/Short Story is that one should be able to read it in one sitting. (by Wikipedia)

One sitting then ... I can remember quite a few books, where I've started on a Saturday early noon and ended late at night or even in the next morning hours, just because I HAD TO know, how the story continues or ends! Strictly speaking, this was also only one sitting ... but those 400-700 pages books can't hardly be called short stories!

I was thinking hard, what I could tell you about short stories, but I came to the result, that there are the same rules like for any other story, too:
  1. Get Started
  2. Write a catchy first paragraph
  3. Develop your Characters
  4. Choose a point of view
  5. Write meaningful dialogue
  6. Use setting and context
  7. Set up the plot
  8. Create conflict and tension
  9. Build to a crisis or a climax
  10. Deliver a resolution
With the only difference, that your length in telling the whole story is more compact.

I love to write short stories, but also to read. Before this post here becomes a total loss, I want to share a short story with you. There is a book series by the German writer Norbert Lechleitner with translated titles 'Sun for the soul', 'Vitamins for the soul', 'Oasis for the soul', etc. This story is taken from 'Wings for the soul' and suits perfectly to another K-word, Klatsch (gossip):

Once upon a time in a village lived a woman, who couldn't keep her mouth shut. She tattled and gossiped about all and everything. One day she'd gotten another woman in big trouble. She was now sorry about that, she regretted, that again she couldn't keep her mouth shut. She confessed her sin and asked, what her penance would be.
»Go tomorrow on the market and buy two chicken«, said the priest. »And to keep you busy on your way home, you pull out the feathers of those two chicken. Then come back here and inform me.«
The woman followed the instructions, went through the village to the market, bought two chicken und pulled out all the feathers while she was going home. Then she went to the priest and reported, that she done everything exactly like he'd told her to do.
»Well done«, said the priest. »There's only one thing left to make your penance complete: Go through the village and every single feather, you've spread, pick them up again.«

WQ-13. Favorite Culture.


30 Days Of Writing Questions

13. What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

Nofretiri, AKA Nefertari, was one of the Great Royal Wives of pharaoh Ramses II., the Great. I've chosen my online nickname not only by accident. I love and adore EGYPT, I've lived its traditions and culture. That for I would simply love to write about that culture, too! Actually, for a couple of years now, I have a plot idea in mind, but I've never realized it ... well, that's not completely true, I've already written a short intro for Writing Exercises 00: To Write A Beginning.

When I think of traveling these days, only one word appears in my thoughts: INDIA. Incredible India. I've seen those wonderful traditions not only in Bollywood movies, but also in documentaries, and of course I've read a lot about it. In the meantime I can also count a few Indian people to my friends, but as long as I'm not been in India by myself and experienced everything by first hand, I wouldn't dare to write about.

Which is kind of ironic, because I've also never experienced any Caribbean island culture and have already written about it! It was, I have to admit, my most wonderful joy, to describe my Voodoo priest and with him, everything strange and exotic on that island. But in that case, I don't refer to a certain existing culture, it's all mine ... freely, freshly produced by my rice krispies! Well, it has advantages, when you don't have to stick to already existing facts. You produce your own reality and your own culture.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wreck This Journal: Do Some Rubbings With A Pencil.

Wreck This Journal: Do Some Rubbings With A Pencil.

The other day I was on the graveyard to prepare the family grave ... that's where I got the inspiration for my rubbings: some of the graves have wonderful engravings.
Packed with material I moved back the next day and chose this simple cross with a beautiful rose!

God bless you all!

Monday, April 11, 2011

ABC, I for Image

Image is everything!
When I say image, I'm speaking of esteem, reputation, fame ... in this case, the image of authors, poets, writers.

Instantly I had two pictures in my head:

1. Carl Spitzweg: The poor poet 2. Stephenie Meyer at the ComicCon

Two pictures, that couldn't be more oppositional. On the one end the poor poet, living in a shabby chamber, obviously fighting to sell some of his work to get some food. And on the other end an author, celebrated like a rockstar, earning millions and millions of dollars.

Once caught track on that image idea, I sent my thoughts back in time and landed with Homer, famous Greek epic poet of 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey'. During his lifetime: Was he respected for his works? Was he famous? Was he rich? It's hard to imagine that he had to share the same fate like some poor painters, whose artwork became famous after their death or that poor poet in his chamber?

What about William Shakespeare? Sure, I've read and worked with quite a few of his plays, but I have to admit, that I don't know anything about the person Shakespeare. I'm happy to name his years of birth and death. And some information from 'Shakespeare In Love' couldn't hardly be counted as facts! That's quite pity, isn't it?

Practically as I am I did a basic online research, in the hope to find some dissertation like 'The image of writers in the course of time', which I haven't found. And obviously this topic would need some more effort than A-Z challenge allows. But if you have some sources for me, tell me! I'm interested!

Anyway, Homer and Shakespeare brought me to the question: What remains? The author or his/her work, only connected with the name of the person, who's written it? I would say, the latter - when it comes to the writers of the Antiquity. But in the days of internet, homepages, Facebook and Twitter, it's much easier for writers to share all those details of their lives (willing or not willing) with their fans. But there are also some current writers, like Patrick Sueskind, author of 'The Perfume', who still prefer to live in the background, avoiding public and publicity.

Honestly, now I granted 'image of an author' some space in my head, I wonder, IF one day I should become a famous published writer, what would I prefer? Celebrated like a rockstar with all the positive and also negative sides of the business? Or remain the secret in the background? That thought implies some romance and mystery (and privacy) for me.

What's your image of a writer? What image would you prefer for you as a writer?

ABC, H for Horror

Horror is subjective.
I wondered, when I'd bumped into a Boggart, what would I be confronted with? What would your Boggart become? What makes the hair on your neck stand up and leave the lights on at night?

Writing Tips for Scary Stories:
  • Write about what scares you: be willing to dig deep down inside yourself and confront yourself with your own fears.
  • Study the craft: get more acquainted with horror writing by reading horror stories and watching horror movies.
  • Timing and pacing: Take the time necessary to establish creepy moods and capture the fright of your story's surroundings and scenarios.
  • Avoid horror clichés: Explore original ways to create horror in your story.
  • Write realistically: it could actually happen.
  • Writing habits: Stay in touch with your characters and keep the intensity high by writing every day.
I leave it up to the professionals to write real horror, in my stories I appreciate a touch of tension, excitement and scary secrets. So, the following scene is just an experiment:

Just like any other day I spent some spare time in my living room, laid comfortable on my couch in my usual 'reading position' with a good book in my hand. Everything was calm and relaxed. Something caught my peripheral vision, some kind of irritated my view fell on my left forefinger. There, on the inside of the lowest phalanx, was something: a black round spot, the size of a pin's head. I couldn't remember having any freckle there, so I inspected that spot a little closer. What a strange location for a pimple, or was it maybe a scratch of my meowing sweethearts? Besides, there was nothing red or swollen, just that black spot. I scratched with my right forefinger nail over it - and was amazed: Had I unperceivedly gotten a splinter in my finger?
Cautiously, now with two fingernails, I pulled on that thing - and was no completely perplex what I pulled out. The moment I realized, what it was, I let that thing fallen out of pure shock. Already half frightened and panicked, I whisked that thing over my blanket on the floor and for the first time I dared a closer look. Indeed! Down there wriggled an about 2 cm long, transparent-white worm!!! That black part was its pin's size head!!! Out of pure horror I was totally paralyzed...
...until my gaze returned back to my left hand: There, on that place, on that 'hole' you could see very clearly the blood vessel, reaching under the skin up to the fingertip. But not just this: on the middle phalanx under the skin black dots were about to appear: One, two, three, five... then on the top phalanx the same! And those dots were getting slowly larger and lager, and more and more! The skin on top couldn't stand the pressure any longer and tore slowly open along the whole finger! Out there swell black eggs, black caviar ... constantly more and more ... the whole forefinger was covered with that black crap! Strange appeared that simple golden ring on my forefinger (since when was I wearing a ring there?)...
But the fright had no end, on the contrary: It still continued! Now on the inner surface of my palm. There too, first only black dots were seen, that ongoing got more and more and bigger and bigger, until they blasted up the skin...
Paradoxically I didn't feel any pain, maybe I was simply to shocked about that, what I saw in front of my eyes!
When the dreadfulness reached my wrist watch, I could hear myself shrilly scream, before everything went black in front of my eyes and I got unconscious...

P.S. The last sentence of that Writing Tips "Remember, the best way to know if your novel will scare your readers is if you are scared writing it." Is that so? Then after reading my little scene, you should be scared to death! It's based on a nightmare, where I woke up shaking and checking my hands double and triple! And I swore to never touch that pages in my dream diary again!

P.P.S. A Boggart is a shape-shifting creature that takes on the form of the viewer's worst fear. (Definition by Harry Potter Wiki)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One-Minute-Writer: Genre

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Genre: A movie is being made of your life. What genre is it?


"It's going to be a Masala Movie. Masala originally means 'a mixture of spices', but it's also used for Bollywood movies. Every typical Indian movie is a mixture some drama, love, action, lost, family ... just like my life."

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Creative Blog Award

*big-cheshire-cat-smiles* What a fantastic award!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Friday-Fill-In: 2011-14

Friday Fill-In
  1. In the near darkness the cats awake for Jellicle Ball.
  2. Macavity is the biggest rascal in the neighborhood til further notice.
  3. But this is only a matter of time when Mungo Jerrie and Rumpleteazer are going to follow.
  4. The Rum Tum Tugger always lives in the stream.
  5. It's always nice listen to Memories.
  6. Enjoy your journey on a train with all the comfort and pleasant company of Skimbleshanks.
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to listen to the Musical 'Cats', tomorrow my plans include getting my car tires changed and Sunday, I want to prepare some A-Z articles!
Karin & her 8 paws wish you a Happy Weekend! =^..^=

ABC, G for Gefuehle (emotions)

Got your tissue box ready?!
A wise word of advice in consideration of some books, like 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows'. On more than one passage I couldn't read properly, because of the tears in my eyes were blurring the lines. There are other books, where something was so funny that I couldn't help but laughing. Sometimes you could hear me shout a terrified 'Don't!' or a disgusted 'Yuck!'. Or some other super sweet nasty kitsch made me gag. If something like that happens with a reader, the author has done his/her job well!

If you now expect some tips for "Expressive Writing" I have to disappoint you. I have something different in mind ... as soon as I'd managed to sort out that chaos in my head!

Quite some time later:
Do you know that phenomenon, when you have an interesting thought, or at least you think it's interesting and then you can't find a way to express yourself? Suddenly your thought seems to be not so interesting anymore!

Some more time later:
Okay, today is obviously not my Hercule Poirot day to deliver a watertight chain of arguments! Instead I just give you the thought snippets swirling around in my head:
  • Like written in the intro, in the best case there's an emotional connection between the book and the reader.
  • The other side of the medal: There's also an emotional connection between the book and the writer. Maybe even some interaction and emotional exchange.
  • How was J.K. Rowling's day before she began to write such emotional scenes? Did she feel good or anxious because of the coming? How did she feel while writing: Emotionally involved or more like a distant observer? How did the scenes influence her feelings afterwards?
  • Key question: When a writer has to be a director (like I've claimed just a few days ago), he/she also needs to be an actor? A good actor, who gets into character to convey the emotional intensity so believable, that it can be felt through the pages? Or is it enough just to be a good observer? Could you write happy scenes on a personal bad day, and vice versa?
Hope, you could make some of your own sense out of it? What are your experiences?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

ABC, F for Freewriting



Freewriting - 10 Rules:

  1. Chose term, title or theme as starting point.
  2. Set a stopwatch on 10, 15 or 20 minutes.
  3. Write, whatever comes into your head.
  4. The writing hand is always in motion.
  5. Don't read, what you've written. Continue writing.
  6. Don't delete or correct.
  7. Don't care about spelling and grammar.
  8. Debaucheries and nonsense are okay.
  9. If nothing's going on, then just write 'I have no idea.' (or something similar) until your next thought appears.
  10. When the time is up, just finish the just started thought and then stop.
Enough with the theory, let's get practical! From I've picked Nr. 186: "Freewrite for 15 minutes using this opening line: Behind her, the noise escalated..."

Behind her, the noise escalated ... what has happened? What could make such a noise? An accident maybe. Maybe somebody is having a dispute, more and more and louder until not only being at daggers drawn, but also flying plates ... speaking of plates, it could also be a joyful noise. A wedding, no, how is that called, where the pottery is shattered ... can't remember ... right! Eve-of-wedding party (Polterabend in German)! Maybe the noise came from a collapsing building, after Fokushima (is it written that way?) the thought on a natural disaster had to appear! All right, okay, the noise behind me gets louder and louder, how do I feel? Am I scared? Do I want to turn over, in order to know, what's happening behind me? Do I really want to know that? Just have to think on a growling dog, that's standing threateningly behind me! Cujo was really ... Yuck! Don't get sidetracked! Focus! I have no idea! I have no idea! Damn! Noises - That's not my thing! The noise behind me gets louder and louder - now I have to think on turbines of a starting airplane! That's it! Somewhere in the outback, a solitude in the nowhere, heat, dust, starting turbines, the tense expectations, a flight in a rickety nutshell, und the pleasant anticipation for a safari. Wild animals. Reclusion in the Kalahari or wheresoever, elephants on a river, lions yawning under the trees, luxury lodges.

P.S. I did that freewriting exercise in German, it's simply easier without thinking about vocabulary and grammar, but after finishing I've translated it for you as precisely as possible.

P.P.S. Another very creative 60-second-addiction is The One Minute Writer!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

WQ-12. World Building.


30 Days Of Writing Questions

12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of world building? Any side-notes on it you’d like to share?

World building then ... this makes me think of any kind of science fiction, where literally whole new worlds were created and Harry Potter with his magical world and not to forget J.R.R. Tolkien with 'Lord of the Rings'. In my opinion he's the master of world building: Middle Earth including new races, completely new languages and a detailed history.

This time I really can only think of the great work of others, because my own written worlds are plain and simple. Every story I've written so far takes place in the world we know, maybe in a different time and there might be some paranormal activities, but it's still our own world. Nothing really new! Well, I should think about that in future!

ABC, E for Einzigartigkeit (uniqueness)

Einzigartigkeit, uniqueness.
u-nique [yoo-neek], -adjective (Definition by
1. existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics. 2. having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable. 3. limited in occurrence to a given class, situation, or area. 4. limited to a single outcome or result; without alternative possibilities. 5. not typical; unusual.

96.500 books were published in the year 2007, whereas 86.000 titles were new publications - only in Germany! (Source:, Buch und Buchhandel in Zahlen)

I read my lines, think of my plot and I get the feeling, that there is nothing unique in there. Everything has been here before in a similar way. It's like in that song of the German group 'Die Prinzen':

German refrain: English translation:
Denn das ist alles nur geklaut, (eo!, eo!)
das ist alles gar nicht meine. (eo!)

Das ist alles nur geklaut, (eo!, eo!)
doch das weiß ich nur ganz alleine. (eo!)

Das ist alles nur geklaut und gestohlen,
nur gezogen und geraubt.

'Tschuldigung das hab 'ich mir erlaubt.
Because it's all just stolen,
none of it's mine.

It's all just stolen,
but I'm the only one who knows.

It's all just stolen and lifted,
just copied and robbed.

Sorry, I took the liberty.

Karin's cuisine offers as current specialty a young 'Jane Austen' woman going on a ship, doing the 'Robinson Crusoe' on a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' island. Then becoming a female 'Indiana Jones' with a touch of 'Lara Croft' and spiced up with a touch of a mysterious curse.

Who should want to taste this, if the ingredients are already known? Just because the recipe is new? Or the way of flourishing and spicing up the dish? Is that the key to uniqueness? To find an unusual, solitary way to combine the familiar?

Do you concern about that topic? What makes your writing unique?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Wreck This Journal: Infuse This Page With A Smell Of Your Choosing.

Wreck This Journal: Infuse This Page With A Smell Of Your Choosing.

This page is dedicated to my most favorite smell 'In Love' by Betty Barclay.

Well, pink isn't necessarily my most favorite color, but that little bottle simply challenged it. But honestly, what's love without rose-colored glasses, right?

That sculpture is called 'Eternal Spring' by Auguste Rodin. I got a postcard of it hanging above my desk. So, I see 'love' every time I look up!

ABC, D for Drehbuch (screenplay)

Drehbuecher/screenplays ... movies were made of books. In 99% my disappointment wins over my excitement to see one of my favorite books on the big screen, because nothing's better than the movie in your head.

I dare to say, every writer has that great movie in his/her head. (Btw: Let me know, if there's another method!) My first go transferring a brain movie to paper ends up with something between 6 and 40 pages. Which is okay until I judge one story could have the potential of a full grown 400 pages book. I regularly panic then! How could I ever reach that number, when my whole plot is already told in 10% of the needed pages? From where should I only get the other 90%? Of course I know better, those few pages are just a very, very basic plot line.

In the following time I consider myself as a director, only my two media are exchanged. And I use the very same aspects a screenplay has:
  • Act & scene
  • Action: description of what the viewer sees.
  • Camera: instructions for the camera.
  • Cut: instructions for cutting.
  • Sound/music: noises and music instructions.
  • Character: name of the person, who's going to speak.
  • Dialogue: spoken text of the character.
  • Additional information for the character, of how to speak the text.
I would even go one step further and consult the other film departments, too:
  • Costumes, hair and make-up to emphasize the character's personality.
  • Props, used by the characters.
  • Set design, how does the set improve, influence, give atmosphere during the scene.
  • Etc.
This screenplay technique works pretty well for me by asking just one question: "What can these film departments do to enlarge and enrich my scene?" I'm the director and when I do my work well, my readers can read the vision of my brain movie.

P.S. That 1% exception, where the movie is better than the book, I have to grand Mr. Peter Jackson. What he did with 'Lord of the Rings' was simply outstanding!

Monday, April 04, 2011

ABC, C for Checklists

Character, cliffhanger, checklists - my Top 3 C's.
According to my own rule not to collide with one of my other serials, character has to step aside for one of the others. Well, cliffhangers are intriguing, but...

So, today let's talk about checklists. Various lists cross my every day life. I check the bestseller lists for new book inspirations. I check my grocery list to bring home really every needed item. The blogger in me lately discovered '30 days of lists' as potential summer month blog challenge. But what does the writer in me?

You know, I do my novel writing on the computer. The file is covered with virtual post-its and the only thing close to a checklist is my short list of editing aspects:
  • All 5 senses used?
  • Logic?
  • Number/frequency of dialogues?
  • My voice vs. Cathryn's voice (my heroine)?
  • Metaphors?
But I've never given much thought on using any other writing checklist ... until I made a little research for this post! Have you ever registered how many writing related checklists are available? There are checklists for conventions, fluency, organization, word choice, ideas, story structure, good writing, technical writing, creative writing, revision, ... some air please ... and so on and on and on. It's mind-boggling!

I got overwhelmed by the mass of results and like an addict I was greedy for more. After that first rush my brain restarted and became clear enough for some logic: What's the real worth of checklists?

In my opinion it's good to have them ... as additional support. But the main aspect - and I'm sure all writers out there will agree with me - is writing. Writing and writing again, delete and rewriting, experimenting with words, collecting your own experiences and finding your own style. To quote freely from the movie 'Matrix': Checklists might help you to find the way, but you have to walk through the written world's door only by your own feet! If you do, you can put a 'Done!' on that point of your checklist!

P.S. Character, cliffhanger and checklists are wonderful examples of English words integrating in the German vocabulary.

P.P.S. If you like to know some of my thoughts about characters, you might like these blogposts:
Writing Exercise 06: Developing Characters
WQ-02: Number Of Characters
WQ-05: Youngest & Oldest Character
WQ-09: Creating Characters
WQ-11: Most & Least Favorite Character