Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A to Z: Z is for Zombie Ants

Z O M B I E    A N T S

They are real, and they're somewhere between creepy and fascinating. They aren't born zombies; it's chemically induced, --and is, perhaps, even a little more complex than the voodoo practice of using puffer fish powder to zombify human victims.

If you read my "T" post last week, I talked about fungal molds producing volatiles. This is an example of a fungus doing that, and it's seriously bad juju for the ant.

The ant is infected by a germinating spore of a parasitic fungus in the genus Ophiocordyceps. The spore sticks on the surface of the ant's exoskeleton and builds up pressure. When the pressure is sufficient, it explodes, blasting the genetic material inside the ant. As the infection grows, it produces a volatile (chemical) or several that affect the ant's brain. The ant then follows a new set of instructions, leaving its orderly colony and marching to a spot in the forest, up a tree, to the underside of a leaf facing north. It then sinks its mandibles into the vein of the leaf. And...then the ant dies.

The leaf is at a fairly specific elevation above the ground, and all of this happens before solar noon.

Scientists theorize that the fungus is guiding the ant to a place and time that controls the temperature and humidity.

The fungus consumes the ant, then pops a strange looking fruiting body out of the top of the ant. The fruiting body releases spores and voila! We start out all over again.

There are 150 species of ant controlling fungi, and each targets a single species of ant. And each has a little different modus operandi.

Nature is stranger than hollywood.  

I hope this is some scifi writing inspiration. :-)

And on that note, I want to say thanks for visiting!  And kudos for finishing the A to Z challenge! 

 Visit other April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here

A to Z: Y is for Yeasayer


Well how 'bout that? There's one I didn't know, and I think I'll be adding it to my list of favorite words.

What it means (if you don't know):
noun: yeasayer; plural noun: yeasayers
  1. 1.
    a person with a positive, confident outlook.
  2.  From Dictionary.com

I've always thought that being called a naysayer was bordering on insult. I know, the actual definition doesn't seem so, but if you look up its synonyms, e.g. cynic and pessimist, they're not flattering. And here we have its antonym.

When I read the word last night, after musing for a bit on what angle to approach it as an A to Z post, I came to this: why are we such naysayers about our own writing? About our writing abilities? Goodness knows, there's plenty of people who will put it down--and for reasons that are anything but fair and accurate.

Instead of being a naysayer about ourselves and our writing, and our dreams and aspirations, let's switch it up. We don't have to say it to other people. Just say it to yourself. Become a yeasayer. You are a writer, and what you write is worth reading.

Now, write the word in big letters and then hang it above where you write.

Y E A S A Y E R 

That's it.

At some point in the A to Z, I knew I'd become a cheerleader, and since I have a "killer" Z post to end the challenge with, today is the day to share a good word with fellow writers and readers... Believe in yourself. Become your own yeasayer. :-)

Visit other April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here

Monday, April 28, 2014

A to Z: X is for xenomancy (and other X words)

Here we are, so close we can see the Z looming in the distance. ;-) The X page at The Phrontistery is full of interesting words for writers.

xenomancy- divination using strangers

xenoglossia- a person's knowledge of a language never studied

xiphoid- sword shaped

xoanon- primitive wooden statue overlaid with ivory and gold

xenomorphic  - having a form not its own

xenogenesis- generation of offspring entirely unlike the parent

xenogeneic  - of a disease, derived from an individual of a different species

xenagogue-  guide; someone who conducts strangers

Looks like inspiration for a scifi story, or even fanstasy.

Although it's fun to peruse words we don't use everyday, or even in a lifetime, The Phrontistery site is a useful resource for writers--and anyone who enjoys etymology.

I wanted to write about this for "P", but needed to do a profile post. ~sigh~ but this worked to squeeze it in. ;-)

 Visit other April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Weekend Writing Warrior: April 27, 2014

 Weekend Writing Warriors

If you're here, making Sunday rounds for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, please scroll down the page past this post. My "W" post actually is titled "W is for Weekend Writing Warriors". :-)

Welcome Warriors, and Snipsuns, and anyone else who wanders in. Can you believe it--April is all but done!

Are you doing the A to Z Challenge? If so, please leave a comment so I know to visit you! :-) The homestretch has arrived. Three letters to go. 

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly bloghop. Each week, participants sign up HERE at wewriwa.com, then post 8 sentences of their work, published or unpublished, to go live between noon, Saturday and 9:00 AM Sunday EST. Then we visit each other and read, comment, critique, encourage--all those things that do a solitary writer's heart good.

Snippet Sunday group from facebook--not us, but many of our participants do both, can be found HERE

Set up. I've continued where I left off last week. Tayden just told the Port operator (against Drave's will) that he can sit at their table. Drave just either cautiously or rudely ignored the Port man's handshake gesture.

Taking his seat, the operator removed his hat, a simple, wide brimmed affair. He set it on his lap, then turned toward where the server neared, bumping and jostling though tight spaces. Short on height but generous on girth, her broad smile squeezed dimples into her cheeks. She slapped a customer’s shoulder, and scolded, “Keep yer hands to yerself!” Stopping a table away, she raised her voice to be heard above the low, chattering drone.  "What're ya having tonight?" The she put her hand up to her ear like she was trying to capture the Port man's answer.

“I’ll have the fish stew and some hard-crust bread--it's the local river fish, right?”

That's it. What jumps out at you, good or bad? I'd love to hear it.

Thank you so much for reading this. Have a good week!

Friday, April 25, 2014

A to Z: W is for Weekend Writing Warriors

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly bloghop for writers. This is how it works. Each participant writes a post on his or her own blog that includes 8 sentences from something they've written. It can be unpublished or published, a novel work in progress, or a short story, poetry, or non-fiction. Then  sign up at our linky list @ wewriwa.com. There is a new list posted each week. So each week that you want to participate, you sign up. There's no long term commitment. If life gets busy, take a break. When time permits, join in for the week. And it doesn't cost a dime.

I hope you'll give it a try, and if you do, don't be shy. The more you put into it, the more you'll get back. If you visit others, they'll visit you. The site is powered by reciprocity.

Of course I'd write this up as a shameless plug for wewriwa.com. I am one of the admins. But in fairness to other sites (I know of), and to stress the point that networking with other writers can do wonders for your knowledge base and your self-esteem, I'll add that any group you join will do you good--as long as it it's free, and the people are respectful of each other.

On facebook there's a group called Snippet Sunday that is very similar--in fact, many of our participants do both in the same blogpost.Twitter hashtag #snipsun There's also a group called  Saturday Spankings. I'm guessing it's for Erotica. Twitter hashtag #SatSpanks 

There's also Thursday Threads, a weekly flash fiction contest (you get a prompt and write a 250 word piece of fiction). Twitter hashtag #ThursThreads. Many of the same people participate week after week--so you do get to know other writers. But there's not so much critting that goes on there. Still, it's good practice for tightening your writing.

Oh, and I can't leave out the Insecure Writer's Support Group IWSG--a monthly posting that won't recieve crits but you will meet other writers and you will find support there. :-)
And so you won't have to backtrack ;-) the Weekend Writing Warriors

I'm sure there are many others. If you know of any, please leave a comment and let me know. I want to list them on the sidebar of my blog. :-)

 Visit other April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here

A to Z: V is for Video

When I think of videos, the first thing that comes to my mind--and likely to yours as well, is Youtube.  But did you know for word-nerds, there's a series of videos on a well-known site that focuses on words, grammar usage, and basic etymology?

Each time you open Merriam-Webster online , in the upper right corner there's a video that shares some kind of information about words and grammar. Maybe you've seen this. But, did you know there is an index where you can select from the videos they randomly play. And the topics are broad, from "That vs. Which" to "Michael Jackson"--and the word everyone looked up after his death. Their list of videos is on this page.

And while you have time to kill (don't we all?? Just kidding) Merriam-Webster also has vocabulary quizzes on this page.

 Visit other  April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A to Z: U is for Uppity --and words with alternate meanings.

Uppity, as MW online defines it:   "adjective \ˈə-pə-tē\
: acting as if you are more important than you really are, do not have to do what you are told to do, etc."

I live in western Pennsylvania, USA, and to me, the word means pretty much what MW says it means. Imagine my surprise when several years ago, I blundered into a heated exchange in an online forum over the use of the word, "uppity".  It seems that to many people--not in my local area, but in some areas of the country, the word is derogatory to African Americans. And to those people, they are every bit as adamant that the word is a racial slur, as I used to be that it wasn't.

If you visit MW's page where uppity is defined , some of the comments make very clear that in spite of how MW defines it, it is a derogatory word. (Comments often teach more than the post they're left on teaches).

As a writer and a blogger (and as a human being), I don't intentionally insult people. This particular example of how ignorant I can be of alternate (localese, slang, dialectal etc.) word meanings gives me pause when I consider word choice. Still, how does one know?

I don't have the answers. I am curious if anyone else does... 

Visit other  April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A to Z: T is for Terra

Terra... earth... Let me tell you, there's a war going on there. You probably never notice. In fact, unless a prized plant becomes one of its casualties, its pretty much a war that's out of sight, out of mind.

I'm talking about the war going on in the soil, and on occasion,above ground where if you're aware and observant, you might notice the telltale signs of a victor.

Micro-organisms. Stop. Don't click away. There's something here that a writer can learn from this war. Especially if you write a genre that includes predators and pathogens, and unknown "invented" creatures of death and destruction. ~evil laugh~.

If we study how things in nature do it, we can borrow from their predatory styles to infuse creatures and characters in our stories with the same.

Speaking of fungi, specifically molds, they share similar traits with anything living that you write about. They need nutrition, they need favorable conditions to thrive--and they change one way or another if they don't have them.

I think the first thing that a writer looking for a monster for their story has to look at is what do the fungi "eat" and how do they "capture" what they consume.

Spp. of Beauvaria and Metarhizium consume insects. It's a rather brutal (by human standards) method. The infection is dependent upon chance proximity to a host. A spore lands on a bug, germinates and it's "hyphae"--sort of like roots, grows into the insect, consuming as it expands. Once enough of the insect's critical parts have been eaten, it actually stops moving--sometimes midstep, and the fungus consumes the rest. (Aliens 1)  Then in a strange twist, a new spore producing body emerges from the exoskeleton of the insect. It releases spores into the air that drift on air currents and if they're lucky, manage to come in contact with a new insect. Sometimes small animals brush against these spores and carry them around, too.

In the Duddingtonia Spp. the hyphae actually lasso nematodes (microscopic roundworms) and strangle them, then consume them.

Google any one of these to drop down into the rabbit hole of strange entomopathogenic creatures.

 Photo: Copyright Teresa K Cypher 2014

On the flip side, there are other fungi that aren't horrid. In agricultural applications, they're considered beneficial. I think they are sort of slave masters. Here's an example why.  You use a bean inoculant before you plant the seeds, rolling them around in the powder. Then in the ground they go. The bean germinates and the fungus germinates just in time to attach itself to the forming roots of the bean. The fungus is tapping into the carbohydrates in the bean plant. BUT, it's also extending the nutrition gathering system of the bean. When it's all weighed and measured, the bean actually benefits from the added nutrition. It's a win-win. (Check out Miracle-Gro Mycorrhizal Potting Soil)

For the writer...it's a good human interest approach. Picture the man who has an attached creature. He knows that physically he's benefiting from the creature, but something, somewhere deep inside of him is rebelling on a very human level.  No matter how much good it's doing, to him it's a parasite...

Photo: Copyright Teresa K Cypher 2014

Oh, and did I mention the volatiles that molds produce for self-defense? Akin to spreading out poison to kill approaching enemies. (Penicillin is a volatile produced by a mold to kill bacteria).

There's a war going on out there, writers. Tap into it. Use it to your advantage.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A to Z: S is for (Willing)Suspension of Disbelief

Humans do this quirky thing when faced with a story.  They willfully suspend their disbelief.  I'm exceptionally good at it, and it makes me wonder if it's a trait of writers.

It's pretty important to fiction writers. And critical to readers if they're going to be entertained.  So... what is "suspension of disbelief"? 

I like this definition, written by Dr. Wheeler of Carson-Newman University:

" Temporarily and willingly setting aside our beliefs about reality in order to enjoy the make-believe of a play, a poem, film, or a story. Perfectly intelligent readers can enjoy tall-tales about Pecos Bill roping a whirlwind, or vampires invading a small town in Maine, or frightening alternative histories in which Hitler wins World War II, without being "gullible" or "childish." To do so, however, the audience members must set aside their sense of "what's real" for the duration of the play, or the movie, or the book."

And on this page,  Dictionary.com , it's defined:  "a willingness to suspend one's critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment"

It takes this to enjoy a series like "Twilight" even while knowing that sparkly vampires aren't real. And in the Wizard of Oz, we know that the flying monkeys aren't real, but they've been terrifying viewers for decades.

It allows the reader/listener/viewer to step away from reality, and "play along" with the proffered fiction. 

What makes it work? I'll give you my guess, based on being a reader, and a viewer. I have to relate to the characters. Even if they're aliens, there has to be some characterization that is a hopelessly human. For a book or a movie, if I'm not emotionally invested, it doesn't matter how fantastic the world-building is. It doesn't matter how wild the plot is. I need to feel the story through the emotions of the characters.

One last note. I'm the audience the studios look for. I get so deep in suspension that when the movie's over, I feel disoriented. I'll step outside and be shocked that it's still daylight--that it must be later because I  was in the movie's fictional world for so long. I won't know which way to turn for the exit--I've lost track of which side of the cinema I'm in.

Please tell me that someone else does that too... :-)

Monday, April 21, 2014

A to Z R is for Rules

Writing rules...I never knew there were so many until after I'd started writing. It's part of the process, though, and rules exist for a reason--to have our writing make sense, otherwise, why bother? But...

There are rules, and then there are rules.Grammar and punctuation are pretty objective. Beyond those, it's kind of a crap shoot. Here's why: I googled writing rules. I came up with Elmore Leonard's writing rules, Neil Gaiman's writing rules,  Steinbecks, Amanda Patterson's, even Pixar's. There are articles about what rules to never break, and there are articles on which rules you should break and how to do it (which actually sort of just replaces one set of rules with another set, right??)

Grammar and punctuation aside, I think writing rules are really just opinions...

One of my favorite authors, C.J. Cherryh said something a while back that really resonated with me. "Follow no rule off a cliff."

Where do you stand on writing rules? Do you follow your own? Do you heed the rules of others?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors: April 20, 2014

 Weekend Writing Warriors

Welcome Warriors, and Snipsuns, and anyone else who wanders in. Happy Easter and Passover. I hope you're all enjoying time with family and friends. I am. Cooking for a crowd, so I'll make my rounds later today, or early in the week.

Are you doing the A to Z Challenge? If so, please leave a comment so I know to visit you! :-)  And if you are, how're ya holding up? The home stretch isn't quite in sight yet, and it's begun to feel like it's sucking the life out of me. But I can't quit. lol. You either! Hang in there. You can do this!

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly bloghop. Each week, participants sign up HERE at wewriwa.com, then post 8 sentences of their work, published or unpublished, to go live between noon, Saturday and 9:00 AM Sunday EST. Then we visit each other and read, comment, critique, encourage--all those things that do a solitary writer's heart good.

Snippet Sunday group from facebook--not us, but many of our participants do both, can be found HERE

Set up. I've continued where I left off last week. Drave had just informed the Port operator (after he'd asked if he could sit in the empty chair at their table), “I’d see a man gutted and bleeding out before I’d let him hurt one of my companions.”

     Before Kad could try to break the stare-down between the two men, Tayden’s voice, even and calm, spoke from the darkness beneath his hood. “But of course you can.”   Then, as his head turned back and forth between Kad and Drave, added, “What kind of people would we be if we couldn’t break bread with our brother?”
      Kad glanced at Drave, almost afraid of what his response might be.  He exhaled when he realized that his friend wasn’t going to respond to a question that had never really sought an answer anyhow.  He held out his hand to the operator while he stumbled  through an awkward welcome.  After they’d clasped hands and tipped their heads forward to show respect, the operator held his hand out to Drave. Kad bit his tongue to keep from telling the operator he could have saved his effort.

That's it. What jumps out at you, good or bad? I'd love to hear it.

Thank you so much for reading this. Have a good week!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A to Z: Q is for Quill Pen

How do we set down a story for posterity?

Early man recorded his stories by carving, chiseling, and painting on rocks and on cave walls-- immobile objects. Moving forward in time, pictographs wedged into wet clay, were replaced with the earliest instrument similar to a modern pen. A sharp stylus made of bone, ivory, or metal was used to scribe a wax coated clay surface. This allowed finer "writing" and developed along with an early alphabet around 1700-1500 BC. 

The Chinese invented "Indian Ink", a mixture of soot from pine smoke and lamp oil mixed with musk and the gelatin of donkey skin.

Along with development in ink, the method to deliver the ink onto the writing surface--a quill evolved, and the writing surface itself, evolved to the earliest paper. 

Papyrus and parchment papers came into use, along with reed pens and bamboo pens. Hollow plants were used to produce a fine script using ink. 

The time span of the quill pen ,over one thousand years, dominated that of all other writing instruments. Made from a bird feather, it was introduced around 700 A.D. And not just any bird feathers were used. For the strongest quill, it was a feather taken from a living bird, in the spring.   Preferred were the five outer left wing feathers. The left wing was favored because the feathers curved outward and away when used by a right-handed writer. Hmm...left-hand and right-hand pens...

Goose feathers were the most common, and swan feathers were the best--and most costly. For making fine lines (gasp! Monica Enderle Pierce!) crow feathers were preferred, and then came the feathers of eagles, owls, hawks, and turkeys. 
Quill pens lasted for only a week, then had to be replaced. 

Interesting tidbit: The writer needed an especially small knife to sharpen the quill. (origins of the term "pen-knife".)

All in all, it's interesting--and like most connected things, the improved means to set down a story showed that the  paint or ink, the delivery method, and the surface on which the story was set all evolved together, relative to each other as need necessitated. Perhaps necessity truly is the mother of invention.

I wonder if keyboards will be included in this history?  

Visit other  April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here. 




Friday, April 18, 2014

A to Z: P is for profile. Can they find their way back to you?

Well P was going to be about promotion, but as the challenge has progressed, I've become frustrated with the number of people who've kindly left comments on my posts, but I can't find to read their posts and leave return comments. These are people who've left comments on my posts, and when I click on their names, I'm taken to their profile page and it includes a photo of them, and a list of the blogs that they follow. But there is no link back to their blogs.

Profiles are pretty important. Especially if you leave comments and  then people can't find their way to you, to your hiding place in digital obscurity.

Isn't part of the idea to have people follow you back to your blog, to read your meaningful post. :-)

Sign out of everything,  then take a look at as many of your profiles as you can without signing back in. Make sure you sign out of everything Google (multiple sites) Google+ is a bully about spreading digital tentacles where you might not want them ~she writes while posting on a free Google blogger platform~.

It's true. I click to leave a comment and I've been taken to commenters' G+ page only to dead-end there. So adding information to your G+ about page is another good way to help people find you and your blog.

Check your blog page--now you are like Joe Reader out in the public sphere perusing your blog.

If you use the Blogger platform, and you've discovered that your blog isn't listed on your profile page, then log back in to your Google account.On your blog, upper right, click on "Design". On the new page that loads, click on the little menu drop down arrow just to the right of you name in the upper right corner, then click on "Blogger Profile".  On the new page that appears, upper right, click on orange box "Edit Profile". Click on the third item down, "Select Blogs to Display". Blogger choices should pop up. Click on the blog you want people to find when they click on your name on other blogs (when you leave comments on another blog, and someone clicks on your name on the comment, this will be the blog they are taken to).Click to select the blog that will be displayed on your profile.

A fail-safe if you're not sure a blogger can click back through to your blog is to leave the link on the comments you leave on other blogs. Time constraints keep me from looking up the instructions (html code) how to make the link active, but in  Blogger, anytime you find an inactive link in a comment, you can click and drag to highlight it, then right click on it and select "open link in new window".

Visit other  April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here. 

Gotta run. Have a wonderful (Good) Friday everyone! :-)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A to Z: O is for Overwriting

Right off let me confess... I've tried and tried to read Tolstoy's "War and Peace". I have a big old hardback copy of it. Looks dang classy setting on my bookcase. But I can't bring myself to do it, to invest the time to digest every fine detail the man felt inspired or compelled to include. I think I made it as far as when he went into his long-winded prattle about the fine black down above a woman's lips... Sorry. I was done.

From Merriam-Webster online: to write in a way that is too detailed or complicated  :  to write in inflated or overly elaborate style.

To be fair, incorrect syntax often exacerbates the problem of overwriting, or the simple inclusion of (non-descriptive) unnecessary words. But those are best left to another day, another time.

Overwriting turns me off. I can set a book down faster than you can say "Purple Prose!".

And Tolstoy's not alone. Many of the old classics included overwriting. They were written in a different age, though, and I really think that matters. In their time, overwriting was likely a tad more acceptable.

Some authors get it right, though, authors who've written several  million words. Steven Montano's prose is amazing. It's chock full of descriptives, but it never feels overwritten. The man has skills. It simply plunges the reader down into his fictional worlds, kicking and screaming--dragged by all 5 senses. So, it can be done, but inexperienced writers rarely if ever, have the skills to pull it off.

Here's my guess why it might happen now. And I see this all of the time. Writers generously (and with good intent) offering advice to other writers to "show, don't tell". And when that advice is received by an inexperienced writer, a newbie to the craft, their first reaction is probably (I speak from experience) ...What the heck do they mean by that??

And then they look it up. And they are inundated with information. And the first take away from what they've sorted out from their search for meaning is this (and again I speak from experience): Describe everything until a 3 year old could sketch it with crayons, and then...describe it again, just in case.

And you smile while reading this because you're pretty sure how that works out. :-)

I continued with my writing journey. And I had a lot of help along the way. Weekend Writing Warriors and it's predecessor, Six Sentence Sunday, gave me good criticism that was never harsh. That was where I learned to put my delicate feelings in check, and to leave my ego at the door.  And I work with an excellent crit partner and freelance editor. All moved me forward to a better place in the grand writing scheme.

But, a lot of writers don't continue to learn the writing craft. They go ahead and publish.

Just my opinion. I'm still learning, though. Hope to never stop...  :-)

Visit other  April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A to Z: N is for Narrative Poetry.

Narrative poetry, simply put, is a poem that tells a story. I was going to copy "Cremation of Sam McGee", but somehow it seemed to not be in the spirit of the A to Z. So, I wrote this. I know. It's long. So if you don't read it, I get it :-)  Just say hello and I'll be happy. :-)

What Goes Around, Goes Around

His daddy was a God-fearin' man
unyielding as a mighty oak,
His mama was weak and cowering,
while daddy hitched her to his yoke.
She had baby after baby after baby
to do the chores and tend his land.
And he whipped them for disobeying him and the Lord,
by belt, by switch, by hand.
Stantis learned to hide his tears deep,
where he'd have hid his smile if he had one.
Till his heart was hard as a Freeport brick,
And he'd stopped wondering what wrong he'd done.
He lit out on a Sunday morning,
when he should'a been sittin' in a pew,
putting shoe leather to the road
till he was long past outta view.
The oil fields in Titusville took him.
And he was living in Pithole City,
A filthy place full of money changers
Nothin' bout it was pretty.
Though he'd never mistreat a woman,
he had no use for those doe-eyed whores,
or cocksure drunks with big mouths and no money.
He used them to mop up the floors.
A year and a half after he got there,
The oil dried up overnight.
The town shuttered up and moved to Oklahoma.
But he stayed there out of spite.
He took what was left of his money,
and bought some newly worthless land,
and found a meek and cowering woman,
And before God, took her hand.
She had baby after baby after baby
to do chores and work his ground.
And he whipped them for disobeying him and the Lord.
Tis true. What goes 'round keeps goin' around...

Copyright 2014 by Teresa K Cypher

Visit other  April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here. 

Oh, and I found a good post about Narrative ...POV. :-) It's a tad on the foul-mouthed side, but it's explained well.

25 Things You Should Know About Narrative Point-of-View

Monday, April 14, 2014

A to Z: M is for Myriad

I like the word. Myriad. I think it might even make a nice name. Wonder if it'll ever catch on. Seems masculine...

Myriad... I was thinking about the word relative to a writer's world. Writers do myriad things. We write. We edit. We promote. We network. We blog. We reach out to help other writers. Looks like there's at least three or four full times jobs associated with being a writer. A myriad of writing related things to do. And that comes on top of that other job we all have, one way or the other, and still trying to squeeze a wee bit of a life in there somewhere.

And then we throw in something like the April challenge. :-)

I just want to shout, "You're all my heroes, by gawd! You get it done!"

And, this is such a seat of the pants post because April turned unexpectedly crazy, so I have less time to devote to serious posts.

Yikes! I didn't mean "serious" as in having no fun. I meant serious as in having something worthwhile to offer. A reason for my visitors to slow down and read.Now I feel guilty. So, here goes...

Myriad is one of those words, you know? It causes trouble; people want to say, "A myriad of", and then someone wants to correct them. But, here's the thing. Myriad actually is a noun. And it's an adjective, too. So it's okay to say "A myriad of ways you can use the word." And it's also okay to say, "It can be used in Myriad ways."

I think, from what I've recently read, the noun use is pretty popular. If you hanker to use the word, I guess it's personal preference how you work it in to your writing.

And, since I still have myriad things to do before bedtime, I bid you all adieu. And  a great day tomorrow. :-)

Visit other April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here. 

A to Z: L is for Loreena and writing music.

I like to write while quiet background music plays. Loreena McKennit is one of my go-to artists for just that purpose. I have no idea if most writers listen to music while they write, or whether they prefer silence. The editor I work with writes also. He tells me that he has to have silence while he writes, but that background noise is actually helpful to him while he's editing. I guess it must have something to do with the parts of the brain that are utilized by the two very different activities.

Here is a sample of Loreena's music. She plays multiple instruments and she sings. A poem, “Prologue, Intended for a Dramatic Piece of King Edward the Fourth” by William Blake is read by Douglas Campbell. What a voice!

Do you listen to anything while you write? Or do you prefer silence?

A couple of links to check out while you listen:

I found this one at M.J. Joachim's blog ( http://mjjoachim.blogspot.com/) . Just passing it along to spread the resources around.
The Write Life Presents: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014

And, I've been using The Writer's Diet Feedback tool for over a year. Although the site states "Please note that the WritersDiet Test is an automated feedback tool, not an assessment tool.", it's useful for overcoming a little blindness to your own writing. Yu can copy/paste 100 to 1,000 words into it. It's rather enlightening.

Have a great day, and enjoy the A to Z!

 Visit other April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors: April 13, 2014

 Weekend Writing Warriors

Welcome Warriors, and Snipsuns, and anyone else who wanders in. Happy Palm Sunday.

Are you doing the A to Z Challenge? If so, please leave a comment so I know to visit you! :-)

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly bloghop. Each week, participants sign up HERE at wewriwa.com, then post 8 sentences of their work, published or unpublished, to go live between noon, Saturday and 9:00 AM Sunday EST. Then we visit each other and read, comment, critique, encourage--all those things that do a solitary writer's heart good.

Snippet Sunday group from facebook--not us, but many of our participants do both, can be found HERE

Set up. I've skipped ahead about a page. Kad, with his friend Drave (the enforcer) has taken Tayden to a world called Shantar to hide him from Dominions thugs and henchmen. They've tentatively negotiated a boat and driver to haul them upriver--into a mountainous, wilderness area. Now they're in town, getting a bite to eat and killing time. In walks the port operator.

 Kad watched him survey the crowded room until the man’s eyes settled on the empty seat at their table. Easy enough to anticipate; it was the only empty chair in the place. He moved toward them, squeezing his way between tables while diners grunted and sighed, scooting out of his way. Stopping in front of Kad's table, he asked, “Mind if I join you?”

     Drave’s black eyes looked as though they'd burn holes in the Port man, and when he broke the tense silence, the words that followed confirmed the threat Kad sensed. “I’d see a man gutted and bleeding out before I’d let him hurt one of my companions.”

     The Port operator stood his ground, his expression not giving away even an iota of fear he might have been feeling.

That's it. Whatever jumps out at you, good or bad, I'd love to hear. I need to hear it. And I'm truly grateful for every bit of criticism. I do learn from it. Have a great week, everyone.