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Posts Tagged ‘Writers Resources’

Talking Wordles Here

August 7, 2012 5 comments
Wordle

Wordle (Photo credit: Oompoo)

I decided to do something different today for a short post. I’ve been writing for submissions today and this is a little poem that I did for the site The Sunday Wordle.

For those who don’t know what a wordle is, here’s how it goes. Choose a group of related/unrelated words–from seven to ten of them–and then write a poem using those words. If you’re not a poem kind of person, write a piece of fiction/non-fiction of no more than 100 words using all of the given words.

Think of this as a writing exercise that anyone can do. It doesn’t matter really how expert it sounds or how off-the-wall. It’s your wordle–make it what you want. One thing you’ll find with that this exercise forces your mind to shift gears and look at how you put things together and how you use language for the meaning you want to transmit.

Take a chance and have a whirl with a wordle. And when you think you’re ready, share it here or jump over to The Sunday Whirl and share there. Enjoy yourself. That’s the main purpose of it all.

Home’s Destination

A link to my port of call,

a deck on which to stand,

as I navigate foreign waters,

I store up scents and sights

to anchor me within time,

to sink into my marrow,

never to wake from this dream,

even as I pitch against the rail

of stern reminders of days gone

missing and lives gone stale of use.

© Claudette J. Young 2012

Contests and Other Things Fun

July 20, 2012 14 comments

 

The last few days have been interesting ones at Chez Young. Yesterday one of my Haiku poems was placed among the five finalists of a Haiku Poetry Challenge at Khara House’s website “Our Lost Jungle.”  That was exciting. My Haiku poem stood with poems from four other marvelous poets, all of whom I’ve admired for a long time.

Today, my inbox held contests, challenges, and Calls for Submission from websites and publishers of varied types, no few of which were for poetry.

The first was an easy contest from the sense of an entry. It was a give-away contest by J.L. Spelbring (ebysswriter). The prize for this contest was multi-faceted. And you betcha, I’m entered in this one and gladly.  will get copies of Dan Cohen’s book “Masters of the Veil,” either in paperback or PDF, and a chance at a B&N gift card at the end of summer.

The first Calls for Submission came from Robert E. Brewer of Writer’s Digest fame. Okay, so I’m a chump. You guessed it; I’m going for one of these slots, too. Robert’s looking for both how-to articles for the 2014 edition of Writer’s Market. He also calls for poetry to grace that year’s Poet’s Market.  Call me an over-achiever. That’s okay. I am, and I’ll submit here, too. I do write poetry, after all.

To top off all the contests, challenges, and submission calls was Jane Freidman’s Newsletter “Electric Speed” which gave me great writer/reader tools to check out in my leisure time.   How great is that?

With all of this going on, I’m going to be one crazy writer trying to keep up. My book of poetry “The Moon Sees All” is the in the hands of my beta readers, who are getting their responses and critiques back to me throughout this month. I’ll have that to finish off next month before going out to agents/publishers, That excites me as much as anything else.

For all of those writers out there who think they can’t compete, I ask this: how do you know? Have you don’t much of it? If the answer is “NO,” you might be short-changing yourself and your abilities. Remember: the only sure way to fail at something is to never do it. Be a doer, even if you think you can’t be good at it. Until you do, you can’t know.

Have a great weekend, peeps. Soak up the atmosphere wherever you are, smile at yourself as much as you do at others, and do something different with an hour or two. You never know—that something might become your next passion.

A bientot,

Claudsy

 

Vacation’s Purpose

July 2, 2012 2 comments
Cover of "The Vacation"

Cover of The Vacation

 

Each year millions create an almost migratory herd, like so many waves rolling toward a shore called “vacation.” Each traveler has in mind a personal calling toward whatever destination reaches in and takes hold of the heart for that season. How many can resist that pull?

 

My writing partner left this past weekend for vacation with her children. Since that particular blog is on vacation this week, I’m left with additional and unanticipated hours of luxurious time to delve into new studies, new avenues of knowledge exploration. I could spend the extra hours working on some of my long projects, but they’ve already been delegated to regular work hours.

For now, I can download seminars and listen without guilt, soak in new knowledge to add to those bits I’ve stored away, and investigate hitherto unknown streets that branch off the cyber highway. There’s a lot of territory to roam in only a few measly days. What if I get lost?

No fears. Fear is the little mind killer. That has become my motto of life.

Learning new software applications will get an hour here and there. A new book will have a half an hour of my time each day. An hour long seminar each day isn’t too much to do. And a couple of hours devoted to my writing course will pay off handsomely in a few months. (I’m rebuilding—not revising–my YA novel.)

The finishing touches on my first book of poetry are happening today. It will go to beta readers within a few days, as soon as I get them all lined up. Once it’s out to readers, I’ll concentrate on the second book. I have all of the photos, thanks to Sister and that trusty camera of hers. It’s begun, but now I must implement the outline for the epic poem.

Did I mention that I just had two more poems accepted by Four and Twenty Short Form Poetry? That drives more incentive to send out more poems and create a few more just for outside submission. Surprises like this one I can handle without difficulty.

So far my week is starting out pretty well. Speaking of poetry, here’s the one I did yesterday for Poetic Bloomings Prompt of Write a Resting Poem.

 

Restlessness

 

What gentle rustlings

Probe mind’s nooks

While sleep hangs

Suspended, waiting?

 

What probings shake

Awake memories

Long forgotten

While slumber paces?

 

What shakings loosen

Ponderings, dry eyes,

And weave weariness

Into strain’s distress?

 

These rustling, probing

Shakings serve to

Alert, with useless

Restless wonderings,

 

Leaving behind

Confusion’s legacy

Of sleepless nights

And fog-filled days.

 

Oh, to sit beside the

Stream of Forgetfulness,

Dipping toes into sweet

Thoughts of Easement;

 

To feel Zepher’s breeze

Linger on naked skin,

While Pan plays his

Lullaby to needy ears;

 

To rest within a cradle

Rocked by Earth’s pulse,

Removing all care, worry,

The better to nurse from Peace.

 

Some may see my planned week as anything but a vacation. That’s fair. For me, who has the occasional full day up in the mountains or along a lake shore, my definition of vacation tends to differ from that of others. A day to do nothing but read a new book or an old favorite is a mighty vacation indeed.

Enjoy your own coming holidays, everyone, and leave a comment here telling of your own vacation plans. Or, do you have to wait for get a break from routine? Don’t be shy. Everyone wants to go somewhere. Feel free to share.

A bientot,

Claudsy

The Slow Blog

June 7, 2012 12 comments
Breathe, relax, breathe, let it come through.

Breathe, relax, breathe, let it come through. (Photo credit: honor the gift)

I received a terrific and helpful link this morning to an article by Anne R. Allen. In the article she talks about the Slow Blog Manifesto and what it means, as well as what it can do for the writer in general. I’ve fallen in love. I admit it.

For the first time in three years, I’m getting the kind of advice that makes sense to me as a writer of something other than blogs. Anne enumerated the eight Slow Blog Manifesto rules for long-term success as follows:

1) A slow blog has a longer life-span.

2) You reach more people by commenting on other people’s blogs than by madly posting on a blog nobody reads.

3) Busy people are less likely to subscribe/follow a blog that’s going to clutter their email inbox/rss feed every day. 

4) Everybody has bad days. When you have to think of something to say on the day you got that nasty/clueless review/rejection, your emotions are going to leak out.

5) Nobody can come up with that many interesting posts. When you slow blog, and you don’t have anything to say, you don’t have to say it.

6) Writing nonfiction—which is what you should be writing on your blog—uses a different part of your brain from fiction.

7) You write narrative–remember? The blog is supposed to be about getting your name out there as a creative writer. It’s an aid to your serious writing, not a substitute for it.

8) Trying to blog every day is impossible to keep up, so you’ll constantly feel guilty. 

With these rules to go by, I no longer have to feel guilty for not having new material here each day, or on any other of my sites. I can take pride in having one good piece a week that readers can take away and think about and, perhaps, utilize in their own daily activities or thoughts. And readers don’t have be slammed with announcements, notifications, and guilt for not looking in on my blogs each day.

Suddenly numbers of hits makes more sense to me. If I begin living my blogging life by these eight rules, I have more time to work on large projects, give more quality content to my readers, and still feel as if I’ve accomplished something during the week. That’s a big deal around here.

So, for those of my readers who feel pressured to read here each day or even every other day, rest assured that as the month progresses, your labor here is be lessened and, hopefully, you’ll have some terrific things to take away when you do come by. Perhaps you’ll see an interview with an editor you’ve yet to know, or an indie publisher that you might need in future.

And if you’d really like to look at the original Slow Blog Manifesto, you’ll learn all of the reasoning and the projected benefits to such a course of action.

I’ll see you all in a couple of days. I can’t let go quite that fast. I still have things to do this month.

Please take a moment, as well, to pop over to my new collaborative site—Two Voices, One Song—to view a new post behind the Red Door and one in the Home Theater. I think you’ll enjoy both of them.

Until your next visit, a bientot,

Claudsy

  Related articles

It’s a Cluster Out There

June 3, 2012 14 comments

Today, I want to show you how many writersgo about clustering ideas for

Blank Mind Map–Clustering

story development.

The process is simple. Daydreams draw on it all the time. Draw a circle, square, whatever you like in the center of a piece of paper. Go ahead, draw it. Inside that shape, put a word or group of words designating a specific something; desire, idea, plan, objective, goal, or whatever.

For our purposes here, I’ve put “Main Character—Isabel” in my circle. Now, all I’m going to do is let my mind provide everything it can think of that could be related to this character named “Isabel” and draw a line radiating from the circle to the new word. “short” “dark hair” “tanned skin” “Speaks with an accent” “watery eyes” “clubbed foot” “Orphaned” “City dweller” Hates mice” “Can’t read” “generous nature” “hears voices” “Knows the king” and on and on until I fill the page.

I do this exercise quickly. (Most of the time I do this on the computer with my eyes closed.) I don’t stop to ponder any of my associations or to question where any came from. I only write whatever word comes to mind as quickly as possible to make way for the next word.

When I look back at what I’ve written, I will find anomalies. In the example above, some items are capitalized and some aren’t. Why? What is it about the ones with caps that make them important enough to warrant a capital?

Isabel speaks with an accent. Where does she come from if that is true within this story?

Isabel is an orphaned city dweller who can’t read. Why is it critical that I know this about this character?

Isabel knows the king. How does she know the king? Now that’s helpful and important. So, why are the other pieces important, too?

Without answering these questions, I’ll move on to the plot cluster to see if I can find answers there.

Plot Idea Cluster center–(Isabel’s story) “Taken from the king’s household during infancy” “Related to the king” “lives in the weaver’s quarter” “indentured to Master Weaver Challen” “Doesn’t go out in the daytime” “King has ordered a celebration for his son’s birthday” “City faces a dread disease”

Lots of capitals here. Let’s see what I have now. Isabel, disabled with a clubbed foot, lives in the capital city where the king has just ordered the celebration of his son’s birthday and at a time when the metropolis faces a dread disease. An indentured person to Master Weaver Challen, Isabel lives in the weaver’s quarter and doesn’t venture out during the day. How she was stolen from the king’s household during infancy is unclear as yet or what blood relationship she has to the king remains a mystery. Why she was stolen may be a much more important question to answer.

As you can see, clustering works well to find interesting characters and plots. What is done with these ideas determines the final story. More clustering will come, I’m sure. There’re still items to explore like setting, environment (social and physical,) other characters, etc.

Each writer has a unique way to play with ideas. Each has a different perspective on clustering and how it’s used. And each decides for her/himself how deep into it to go. The plot cluster above can be an effective part of a story synopsis, which is critical for the writer. That’s why I’ve come to enjoy them.

There you have it. One technique that’s pliable, friendly, and recyclable. Give it a spin if you don’t use clustering on a regular basis. See if it can work for you.

Tell me your take on this technique and about your experience with it.

Until later, a bientot,

Claudsy

Expansion is Good for the Writer

May 31, 2012 10 comments
Extension and definition

Extension and definition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously this is the last day of May, but it’s also the day before the launch of a new website called “Two Voices, One Song.” My friend, Meena Rose, and I have created a new joint venture. It’s a blending of philosophies, perspectives, and visions, which I hope all of our regular readers will enjoy.

We’re inviting our readers to take a peek inside this new space before the rush of tomorrow, to have a look at the rooms within our freshly built abode.

Does this mean that Claudsy’s Blog will cease to exist or be abandoned like an old toy in favor of a new one? Not for a long while yet, is the only answer I can honestly give. It does mean that I’ll only be posting here every other day, instead of daily, as is now the case.

Meena and I are blending as much as we can of who we are as people and writers to give readers a far better look into our minds. Among the rooms at “Two Voices, One Song,” you’ll find regular brainstorming sessions between us while we work out problems with pieces of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. You’ll find regular pieces of finished fiction/non-fiction, as well.

Memoir entries centered on travels we’ve made, and understandings or thoughts we’ve taken away from those travels, will show up in the garage each week. Discussions of philosophy will take place in the Library, even while meditation is offered in the Garden. For those in need of writing prompts, there is a large selection from which to find just the one to stir the imagination and the Muse.

Along the way, we’ll have links to places we find worthwhile, engaging, or instructive. We urge every visitor to take advantage of these offerings and to offer feedback in return.

Profiles and interviews, stories and articles, poems and projections all come together there for savoring by the reader.

In the meantime, I’ll be having regular posts here as well. If I do fiction there, it will show up here. The same holds true for poetry and questioning pieces.

And while Claudsy’s Blog will migrate much of its content to the new site, Claudsy’s Calliope will do the same; as will Trailing Inspirations. This co-mingling of content and perspective feels like the proper thing to do right now, in this surge of creativity that was fostered at the beginning of May.

Please enjoy a tour of “Two Voices, One Song” and see if what you’ll find there will be as suitable to you as my offerings here. Once you’ve been there, leave me a comment here. Tell me your thoughts on this coming attraction.

I’ve come to enjoy seeing all of my visitors here over the past many months. You’ve made my daily postings so much more than they were when they came fresh from my cranium.

Thank you all for sticking with me and what I might bring to the table. I’m looking forward to having you visit for a long time to come.

Until I see you again on Saturday, a bientot,

Claudsy

PS: Flash Fiction Friday erupts from the Kitchen with a story from yours truly tomorrow on “Two Voices, One Song.”

Future’s Threshold

May 29, 2012 2 comments
The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher C...

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For many the season of warm weather has already driven temperatures into the high 90’s and above. Hence the reason we live as far north of the Mason-Dixon Line as we can. Today we might get into the mid-60’s with rain.

You won’t hear us complain too much. The moisture is something we need to keep fire threat down in our forests. Cooler temps ensure that we don’t have adverse effects from being outside and enjoying the day, as well.

The first of the season’s holidays has passed with celebrations, speeches, memorials, parades, and picnics. Soon June will open its doors to summer’s activities and school recess. What will your future hold this summer?

Thinking on this question this morning, I could see many changes for myself and how I move through my life. Sister comes out of the chute, anxious and excited as she begins summer session next week to get a leap into her new curriculum.

A new book is making its way to me. I ordered “The New Drawing from the Right Side of Your Brain” a few days ago. Many years ago I read the original edition of this marvelous book. After discovering a new version was out, I decided to slide the cost onto my educational spreadsheet and order it.

The one thing I learned from the original was that the technique taught by Betty Edwards could be used for any type of creative project or thinking. Yes, it does teach how to perceive an object in a way that allows the viewer to recreate it on paper, in oils/pastels/acrylics, etc. At the same time that perception bleeds over into other aspects of the physical world. Perception of time can shift as well or how one sees other people. Writers can learn a whole new spectrum of creativity.

When taken in conjunction with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, a whole new view of the world is available. I intend to discover as much of that new world view as possible. The old one is getting a bit tired and frayed.

New seasons introduce new beginnings, and discovery of those beginnings is part of the drive into the months ahead. In preparation for discovery, here’s my list of impending activities.

  • Continuing education in the writing craft
  • Visits from three friends from around the country
  • A terrific new project in collaboration with a fellow writer
  • Locking in our cookbook “Get REAL in the Kitchen”
  • Taking at least two weekend trips
  • Getting “The Moon Sees All” to agent/publisher
  • Finishing the final draft of “Failures to Blessings: Finding the Silver Lining”
  • Finishing “Forest Primeval,” a book of poetry
  • Writing one book for middle grade children
  • Reading at least two books per month: my volume is down right now

And how are you spending this future season? Let us in on your plans for your “lazy” summer calendar. First one to September gets to share personal plans for autumn first.

A bientot, my friends,

Claudsy