Reeling Them In

You want to reel your readers into the story or article that you are writing. We have talked about the hook and how you need to bait it. Now that it is baited and wiggled in front of your reader, you want to reel them into what you want to say.

You can do it gently or you can do it quickly and hard.

Let’s say you are writing a story about a vampire. Your hook may have been him skulking around looking for prey. You describe the area, you describe the prey, and then you have him strike. That would be my gentle reel.

Or you have him take the prey down in the first page. That would be quick and hard.

To reel them in you tell the story of the vampire’s descent into being a vampire.

Or you could start with the prey.

You could tell about the prey’s background and how they got to be in that place and time.

Reeling them in you will use mini climaxes or string them along until the major climax of how the vampire is killed or gets away to prey another day.

Or perhaps the final climax would be the prey and the vamp getting together either as lovers or cohorts. In all of this you will decide if the prey at the beginning is just dinner or will become another vamp.

Here is to reeling in the big one.

 

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Respect is not earned it is given, just like love. Once it is given it can grow or be broken and then has to be earned back.

When it comes to writing you have to respect what you do. You should not ashamedly say I am a writer. We need to be bolder about it.

Say, I AM A WRITER.

It is hard to do.

And respecting what we do is harder, especially if you are the only writer in your family or group of friends. Writing to some is a five word thank you card and how hard can that be? Even my 5-year-old can do it if forced.

Loving to write is something few understand. We aren’t forced by our parents or peers. We do it because we love doing it. We also hate it. That happens when the picture in your head will not put itself on the paper. When all the letters do this: eirrgonoeorhhoeo and there isn’t a single word in there without rearranging.

And rearrange we do. We take this word from here and put it there. Then we take a sentence and then a paragraph and move them. Or delete them. And, eventually, we find an arrangement that resembles what we saw in our mind’s eye.

And we do all this alone. And without exercise, except the fingers and the eyes. It just doesn’t seem right.

For us who do it, it is fabulous. When it is done.

Then we show it to others. You have to be bold and respect what you have done as the best you have ever done. And it is. Each time. Some of our pieces are liked by more people than others, but that’s okay.

Respect what you do and others will too.

Q is for Quietude

Quietude is the state of stillness or calmness. Sometimes when we are trying to write we feel as though there is a squirrel loose in our brains jumping from this twig to that nut. We can’t seem to find a spot to land and rest to see what our brain can tell us.

You may not need a quiet place to have a quiet mind. Lots of people use music to write to. I find that just the sounds in the house around me are enough to keep me on track. I have learned not to jump and run at every sound in the house to see what is happening. I can write through it. I can do it because there are only two of us and I usually know where and what the other half is doing, so, quietude.

One of my favorite Bible verses is ” Be still and know that I am God”. He usually comes to you in the quiet times and so do ideas. Ideas, and your muse, like to be heard and if you have that squirrel in a cage rattling around up there, they don’t talk to you. They sometimes go away where it is quiet and wait.

And wait.

And finally you get the idea to shut up the squirrel, maybe give him a nut, and then the ideas creep back to you.

Slowly, very slowly.

Be ready to put them down on paper or in the computer when they return. Take copious notes and see what happens when quietude returns.

Here’s to a quiet squirrel and lots of ideas.

P is for Pens, Pencils and Practicality

Since I loved O so much I posted two pieces, I decided to cover three Ps in this post.

People, could have used that one, always want to know how your write or rather what do you write with, pen, pencil or computer. I actually use all of them.

The practicality of it is sometimes what is available. I cannot always carry a computer, but I usually find paper and pen or pencil. I like a pen and paper sometimes to be able to see it in black and white. It makes it more real for me. AndI know it can be black and white on my computer, but paper is easier to carry from place to place than my pc.

The computer is what  I write my blog and other notes and pieces because that is usually where I am when it is time to write. And I usually can read my notes easier on the computer. I still have the same ol’ problem of where is it after I have written it and put it in a folder of some kind.

Pens and paper are what I learned to write with. I am left handed and the years that I was in school I usually had a black side of my hand because my hand went over my pencil writing and picked up the lead. I also have to turn my paper a certain way to write, but not my computer or my keyboard. So, really, computer is easier for me.

Here’s to writing with what makes you most comfortable and productive.

 

 

O is for Oleo strut

I am betting not many will know what an oleo strut is. Neither did I until I was dictionary reading and saw it.

It is a part on an airplane that pushes oil into an opening in a hollow piston to absorb the shock in landing gear.

Now, how is this going to work with writing? Well, when you write a story you have to have ascendance to a climax and you need something to soften that landing back into your life or the character’s life so that you or they do not fall into an abyss of horror or death.

Therefore you need an oleo strut. Someone or something that can put the oil or a padding that softens the landing after the climax. The climax that can mean the end of a relationship, the death of a loved one or even being just missed by the semi going through the yellow light.

When you write a story or article you know that there will be conflict and you have to resolve it. When you resolve it there is fall out and recovery to what is either the old normal or the new normal that is where your oleo strut comes in to play.

We have all had oleo struts in our life, be it the nurse that shows the new mother how to hold the baby when feeding or the friend who holds your hand after a break-up.

And there you have it. My take on an oleo strut.

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N is for Nothing

We often say we have done nothing, or have nothing to do. Or the very favorite, I have nothing to write about. We discussed this in the A post. There is always something to write about.

Now, would it be wrong or unhelpful if you truly felt drained with no energy to write? No.

Sometimes doing nothing is the best refueler you can have. While doing nothing your brain has a chance to roam and investigate that hazy memory that had appeared a while back and had been left on the floor because you didn’t want to do it then.

Doing nothing gives you the opportunity to maybe read a book or bake some bread. I do nothing really well. The reason I do it well is because I have no guilt over doing nothing.

I have learned that guilt will get me nowhere and doing nothing may lead me somewhere.

So the next time you feel like doing nothing…just do it.

You do not need to spend the entire day doing nothing, but that half hour or so may net you some pretty big fish when you go back to doing something.

Excuse me, I have some nothing to get  back to.

M is for Memory

Memory can be your best resource when you write.  You can write about specific memories, or use those memories to create a memory for your characters. Usually, no one will recognize them as specifically yours, unless you are writing a memoir, then they will.

Memories can supply you with physical places to set your stories. Memory can also help you with resources.

Sometimes we use our memories to time travel to our childhood or early adulthood. You can use that to help with your character trying to put a book together or when they need to be a witness to something.

Memories are powerful things and you can use how your memories make you act or react when writing a character or interviewing someone for a non-fiction piece.

And now, I will exit to the tune of Memories from the play Cats.

L is for Language

Language according to my old Webster’s Collegiate dictionary is any way to express your ideas. That’s the short version. I didn’t want to take up all my space on their words or language.

We have all heard of the language of love meaning how people show their love, either by words, signs or movements.

When writing we need to use all of the language we can find.

Always, always showing not telling. Using words in unusual ways to describe something, grabs the attention and shows a picture. One of my favorite phrases I have read is ” a puddle of puppies”. You can just see the unevenness of the outline of the puppies all lying together with heads on each other’s rear or paws.

What ever we can do to get the reader to see what we saw when we wrote it, we should do. And we should not be surprised when someone reads it and sees something different. It may be something we can use in another piece.

Language is more words. It can be hugs, looks, or even nods.

Use it all and use it well.

 

Knowledge

Knowledge is something you acquire through study and living.

You find out to use a spoon, how to speak and how to laugh. You need all these things for living and for writing. Some knowledge is specific to a certain job and some knowledge is specific to people. You need all you can acquire or remember when you write.

The mantra of every writer seems to be “write what you know”. That could put you in a situation where you only wrote about babies, maybe even just boy babies, because that is what you know.

I the write what you know can mean not facts, but feelings. You know what it feels like to be awakened at 2 am after having been up at 12 am til 1 am feeding the baby, and baby wants food again. Take that feeling and put to a character who has been up all night finishing their college paper and the baby wakes at 2 am for feeding. It is annoyance, frustration, and love. You know you want sleep, need it, and can’t have it and you love the baby.

Writing what you know can mean that you have to research setting, jobs or education, in order to know what you want to write about.

Maybe your hero is extremely rich and you have now idea how that feels. If you can visit places the rich frequent or perhaps the house of a rich person, you will get the feel of the luxury and everydayness of that luxury. For them luxury is an everyday affair.

Or perhaps, one of your main characters is homeless. Visiting shelters, dressing like a homeless person would, hauling everything you need daily in a cart or backpack could give you that feel.

If you have ever felt pampered you can use that emotion in your rich person. If you have ever felt true hunger and known that you could buy nothing to assuage that hunger, tap into that for the homeless character.

Knowledge of grammar and spelling is necessary to your writing so that others may understand it.

Knowledge is key.

Joy to You and Me

So, now that I may have given you an earworm of Jeremiah was a Bullfrog, let’s see how writing can bring Joy to you and me. As writers we tend not to see the joy as much as the job. You want to get the piece done on time and as perfect as you can make it.

If you do find a gem that sticks with you in your writing, you rush on to the rest so you can get it done and in the mail, or in the cloud of the internet.

Try to find a time to just write for joy. It could be called free writing, but sometimes something happens and you want that feeling on paper. You want to share that look of pure joy on the face of the child whose parent has just returned from a deployment, or the mother as she holds her newborn. EnJOY those. Get that joy down.

It takes a while to get to the point of thinking of yourself as a writer and because of that we don’t say with joy, ” I am a writer”. We should though. Just because everyone can write, not everyone can make the words sing.

When I don’t feel I am making them sing and know that I may never do it, I remember a scene from our all time favorite show M*A*S*H. Major Charles Winchester is treating a concert pianist who has his life, but has lost his ability to play because of the injury. His hand will have full function, but not performing function. He tells Charles that his life is done. Charles tells him to look at his hands. Even with one hand he can play at concert level. He says that though he can play the piano, the patient can make the songs sing. That is what we need to remember.

We can make those words sing.

Here is to making those words sing like Beethoven.