Story Writing

Whats Your Story Picture chalkboard-620316_1280

Not all stories are great and that is a fact of writing. Some stories are written just to get the subject matter off the writer’s mind, so to speak. That type of writing is very therapeutic. Other stories may be just an expression of pure  creativity. This type of story is sometimes inspired by another author or it may be drawn from the writer’s own personal experiences or from the writer’s pure imagination.

As writers, we have free range to create whole new worlds. Blog Post: World Building. Patricia Fuqua Lovett. Something to Think About: The responsibility of writers lies in providing the reader with a clear visual link. Think of those links as bread crumbs that lead your reader on a well-lit road or an enjoyable path to the quintessential gingerbread house located deep in the woods. But at the end of the journey, the reader is pleasantly surprised and thoroughly fulfilled after reading your story. Check out The Editor’s Blog, Author: Beth Hill. Beth proves great insight on feeding your reader. Engage Readers – Feed Them Tasty Fiction.

Writers hate the thought of turning off a reader. It is exhilarating when a writer engages a reader to the point of receiving requests for more, more, more. It is equal to a well-received chant from the audience of a live performance.

Happy writing!

Short Story: Book Drive

Blog Writing About things Remembered

Dressler’s vision was not as sharp as it had been in years past but then what would you expect from someone nearing 70. As a young girl, she enjoyed reading when she could steal time way from her assorted farm chores. Her parents were understanding about her love to read when she was assigned homework but not so much when she read books or magazines unrelated to her school work.

Library time was sparse but she always managed to visit the bookmobile even during the busy summer months. Small town living had its ups and down, for sure, and Dressler remembered that one of her down days was the week she was sick and could not visit the bookmobile. It always arrived on the school’s campus every Monday promptly at 10 a.m.

In those early years, she could read a book in two days or less. Now she struggled to see the fine print in most of the books she enjoyed.  Her taste in novel reading had shifted from fun-filled romance, science fiction, thrillers, and chillers. Now she gravitated more and more towards self-help, religion, and poetry.

Although she now relied more on full strength glasses, she had lost some of the zeal to read. She had, however, come to love her new method of enjoying a book.  She embraced her growing collection of audio books. The book that she was currently listening to focused on a nun’s mission to collect books for school age children in an out-of-the-way village in Africa. She connected with the nun’s mission so much that she began calling her church members, bridge partners and all the people she knew from her vast connection as a community volunteer.

She realized as she mobilized the hundred or so people on her contact list that although she was shifting way from the printed copy there were so many others that she could help obtain books. She embraced her new passion of putting a book in every child’s hand. The more time she spent contacting volunteers and collecting books the less time she spent focusing on her eyesight. Before she realized it, she had reached more than 500 school age children.

Note to followers, are you looking for a great summer read? Check out these three authors:

Author Ethel Wilson  https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Ethel+Wilson

Author Bridget Anderson http://bridgetanderson.net/

 Author Stephany Tullis http://www.amazon.com/Stephany-Tullis/e/B00D3P052W

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once Upon A Time: World Building


once-upon-a-time-719174_1920What magic words “Once upon a time”. Sometimes don’t you wish your writing could set your reader out on a trip to fairy tale land? Taking them to far away places or back in time or even forward in time. You invoke this magical transport with each of your stories.

As writers, we work in a concept that is referred to as World Building. The world you build captivates and transports your reader to those magical worlds that you want to transport them. You have to be careful, however, in building your world. Believability is a targeted writing element that your reader will ask for with each story.

Other than giving your reader a believable world to visit, you must give your characters in which they can live, work and thrive. Take a look at what writer/blogger Tim Hillebrant has to say about world building.http://thewritelife.com/worldbuilding/

What are some of your challenges or pointers in creating the world in which your characters live, work and play?

Writing On a Cold Wintry Snowy Day

Writing: Pushing Past Sleep

sleeping dog. animal-793260_1920

Sure, you want to sleep in and catch up on your rest. Like so many of us your week was grueling with chasing energetic kids, paying attention to demanding dogs, meeting many deadlines, fulfilling multiple family needs, negotiating bill payments, going to your doctor’s appointments… the list is endless. Oh, there is one more thing to add to the list, the weather:  snow, ice and rain.  This weather pattern was enjoyed or dreaded across a large part of the U.S. –including the deep south!.

Considering the long list of the week’s happenings I am sure there is enough creativity in your writer’s bag to muster up the will and energy to begin or continue a treasured piece.  Don’t fall down on your New Year’s resolution. Come on you can do it and without question you will be happy  you stretched yourself (both literally and figuratively).

Meg Dowell has some great suggestions on how to overcome the urge to not write on a day like today. Follow me as I apply a few of Meg Dowell’s suggestions – one of which is: Get It Done Earlyhttp://megdowell.com/2016/01/23/how-to-get-writing-done-over-the-weekend/

Have a great weekend writers and stay warm and toasty!

 

Writing Goals: Make The Most of Every Moment

Make Every Moment Count. Pixaby
Make Every Moment Count. Pixaby

Here we are Writers, 2016 and like me, I know you ushered in the new year with well written goals. Great! Writing hooks is an area that each fiction writer should tap into. Readers want to know shortly after opening a book or within a few minutes of reading a short story, the theme of the story. Reel them in quickly and keep the interest and momentum going. https://patriciafuqualovett.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/writers-readers-and-hooks/

Blogger Meg Dowell Novelty Revision (Putting ideas into words) gives detailed advice on meeting your writing goals for 2016. http://wp.me/ppJ8e-10S

Here is another aid to help in meeting your goals: If you have difficulty getting the writing juices flowing, you may want to use a few writing prompts to get you started. I talk about this in an earlier post: https://patriciafuqualovett.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/writing-prompts-using-old-media-clips/

Happy New Year Writers and together, let’s get moving on the all important 2016 writing goals.  Day 2 of 2016 starts in a few short hours and hopefully you will make every day count towards your goal.

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Red Christmas Box Mystery

Christmas Box Pixaby 2015
Christmas Box Pixaby 2015

Hearing the ding dong of the doorbell, Beth rushed downstairs just in time to see a black SUV speeding out of her newly gravelled driveway. Peeking through the side glass panel next to her front door, her eyes fell on a plain brown shopping bag perched against partially rusted, black metal hand rails. Slowly opening the door she immediately felt the light snow rushing towards her bare feet. Using the full reach of her slender body she managed to snare the bag and pull it inside the toasty room all without her feet ever touching the cold brick porch. This smooth gymnastic move proved that her early morning workout classes were well worth the 5 a.m. start time.

“Do not open ’til Christmas,” she read aloud. How silly is that, she thought. Who opens Christmas presents before Christmas? Placing the red velvet box on the kitchen table, Beth allowed herself to remember her last conversation Calvin. He made it crystal clear that they would not be able to talk until he finished his secret military mission. Could it be that he was back and they could see each other the Christmas. Knowing Calvin as she did, she couldn’t help but consider that this could very well be his idea of a practical joke. For all she knew the pretty red box with the dazzling red and gold bow may only contain a small silver bell or the box could be stuffed with bubble wrap. The the love of her life – Calvin the man with a great sense of humor.

Just as she was heading back upstairs to resume her evening with Netflix, her cell phone jangled in her night robe pocket.

Could she wait until Christmas before opening the box. What’s in the box? Who cares? It’s a good representation of love, she mused. But before she could finish her thoughts, the phone rang.

“Hello. Hello. Hello. Is anybody there? ”

“Beth,” the voice on the other end said.

“Yes. Who is this?”

“I know you saw the truck. I know you picked up the package and I know you will wait until Christmas to open the red box, right?”

“Who is this?”

Just then the phone went dead.

“I know that voice but I can’t place it.” she whispered.

Beth was not the type to frighten easily but with the arrival of the unexpected gift and now the crazy phone call she wondered if this Christmas was laden with problems. She just wanted a relaxed holiday. She just wanted to take time away from deadlines, traveling and managing projects. She had made plans to relax and enjoy a day of back-to-back Godfather type movies.

Going back to the kitchen Beth decided to call Dusty, the retired, next door neighbor cop. It was true that he was retired but he stayed in ready cop mode most of the time. After explaining her unusual evening events to Rusty she agreed with him that she should call the city police and perhaps stay with him at least til morning. But it’s Christmas Eve, she thought.

After drinking about 2 cups of Dusty’s strong black coffee, Beth gave in to her need to go to the bathroom and forego her phobia of using a single man’s bathroom. She feared that although Rusty was a good man, maybe he needed a little help with house cleaning from time-to-time. Her fear was eased the minute she made her way down the hallway.  Everything was spic and span but just as she was about to open the bathroom door, she couldn’t help but notice a roll of red Christmas wrapping paper next to a small pile of red and gold ribbon. All of it, just like the gift that she pulled out the package that was delivered to her front door earlier that day.

Just as she was about to turn around and run out of the house, she heard blaring sirens outside. “Rusty, she yelled. The cops will be looking for me. Meet me outside in the front,” she said just as she dashed out the rear kitchen door.”

“Ma’am don’t move.” She heard a cop yell. “Put your hands in the air.”

“Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, she heard Beth yell.”

 

 

 

The Christmas Fruitcake: History and a Recipe

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The history of fruitcake dates back to the ancient Egyptians. It is theorized that the cakes were placed on the tombs of loved ones, probably for the afterlife. Fruitcake became quite common during Roman times when pomegranate seeds, pinenuts and barley mash were mixed together to form a ring-shaped dessert. The shelf life of the cake was appealing to the Roman soldiers because they could take the cakes with them to the battlefields.So the fruitcake has been around for centuries.

 

Fruitcake is a delicious sweet treat that has been a southern U.S. Christmas holiday tradition for many years. The Claxton Bakery (company) located in Claxton, Georgia has been making their version for more than 100 years. The U.S. Army contracted the company to bake the cake for the military when the bakery first opened and they are still making the cakes available.

Kay At the Keyboard – has a wonderful post about fruitcake and the post also includes Eudora Welty’s recipe. There are as many fruitcake recipes as there are lovers of the confection. The more common ones are Japanese, white, icebox, light and my favorite is the dark. Traditionally you bake them and soak the cake in bourbon, sherry some other achohol about 4 weeks before the first cutting.  To get you started on baking your own fruitcake. Here is a very simple recipe to follow. Bake it now and in about 4 weeks you will have a crowd pleaser! Let me know how it turned out all you fruitcake lovers.

Fruitcake Recipe (from Martha Stewart’s Collection)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for pan

4 ounces glaceed or dried apricot, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (1/2 cup)

4 ounces glaceed or dried pineapple, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (1/2 cup)

8 ounces dates, pitted, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

4 ounces dried cherries (1/2 cup)

4 ounces chopped pecans (3/4 cup)

8 ounces Brazil nuts (1 1/2 cup)

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour, (not self-rising)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup light-brown sugar, firmly packed

3 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons rum, plus more for dousing

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Brush 8-inch spring form pan with soft butter. Line bottom and sides with parchment; brush with butter.

Combine fruit and nuts in a bowl; set aside. Sift the flours, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed; add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add vanilla and rum.

In two additions, add dry ingredients to butter. Scrape down bowl between additions. Fold in fruit and nuts. Pour batter into pan. Bake until golden and set, about 2 1/2 hours. Cover with foil if it colors too much.

Cool on a wire rack. Remove from pan; discard parchment. Wrap in cheesecloth or muslin. Douse with 1/2 cup rum. Store in a cool, dry place; douse with 1/2 cup rum weekly for at least 1 month before serving.

 

 

Thanksgiving Remembered

thanksgiving-482977_1280In just a few short hours my husband and I will load up the Patmobile and drive miles away from home to join family members for Thanksgiving dinner. On this day we will feast on thoughtfully prepared food made from heirloom recipes or newly found one pulled from Martha Stewart, Pinterest or one of own family’s heirloom wonders. No matter whose recipe we follow in preparing the great feast, no doubt Thanksgiving 2015 will make an indelible impression in someone’s memory bank. As I prepare to join my family, I can’t help but remember how my family celebrated Thanksgiving when I was going up in South Georgia.

My mother died during the month of November, when I was 2 years of age, so my recollection of Thanksgiving pivots every year to a single event that happened (fairly routinely) on Thanksgiving day. Various families in my countryside community gathered at the cemetery plots of their love ones. This was a big but somber tradition. The way the day evolved began shortly after breakfast when the family piled cleaning tools in the trunk of my daddy’s Ford sedan or the family’s farming truck, and then head off to join other families in pulling weeds, sweeping off grave markers or stones covering a grave site. In a year’s time, leaves, grass and other sorted debris settled in the cemetery and would inevitably come to rest on the family member’s gravesite.

Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving with the traditional turkey, dressing and all the other wonderful trimmings. It is true that you may hear crystal glasses clinking in the distance but not necessarily to celebrate the joy, love and peace of family and friends. For all we know the pinging sound could be the last drop of a libation used to ease the pain of sorrow or to celebrate the hope of a better tomorrow.

What are we really celebrating at Thanksgiving? Traditionally it was about the harvest season for farmers. They had spent the warmer months planting, gathering and preserving food that would carry them through the upcoming cold winter days and for that they set aside a day of prayer and thanksgiving. They shifted into a mode of thanking God for another year of harvest.

I think as a nation and as a culture we have evolved so much in our choice of worship, belief systems and just as notable we have shifted from an agricultural society to that of technology. Consequently,  the question bears us to ask … have we forget our inherent  celebration of an ample wheat crop harvested for bread, the harvesting of cotton for wear and countless other uses,  the harvest of tobacco for riches and pleasure, the harvest of fruits and vegetables for sustenance?

Since we have shifted away from the original purpose and meaning of Thanksgiving, perhaps there is an opportunity here to teach the meaning of Thanksgiving to new newcomers to this County or to those who have forgotten or just simply never knew the true reason. The other option is to enjoy the freedoms we have and just allow the reason to celebrate Thanksgiving to continue to drift away from its original meaning. After all, Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving, right?

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy Thanksgiving schedule to read my post.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Writers, Readers and Hooks

Fish Hook Pixabay
Fish Hook Pixabay

Books, books and more books. They are everywhere: in the bookstore in your local public library, in your home library, on-line and of late, cute little bird house models are a popular in many neighborhoods!

I want to read a good book, you say.” So you look at the genre, the book cover, the title and a few other things that are specific to you.  Then you open the book and begin to read the first few lines. You are more than likely hooked and want to read more or are you?  As a writer, your reader is more than likely going to give your book only a few minutes to draw them in and read from the beginning to the end of the story.

One of the ways to get a reader hooked is the opening few lines. Actually the opening line is your best shot.  I read a short piece one of my new favorite blogs and I was immediately hooked.  I was ready sit for a spell and continue reading author Sherry Sylver’s blog post. The first few words drew me in. Read Sherry’s post and then let me know you think about Sherry’s hook. I am anxious to also hear your experience in writing a great hook or may you don’t focus a lot on the hook