Below are two examples of the same post. The first one is an example of bad writing. Although the first is shorter, it is written in broad generalities with no hint of personality or flair. These kind of general statements are so flat, boring and negative that the reader can barely tolerate to consume them. It is generic. Anyone could have written the first one. A good writer does not want to sound generic. Style is often referred to as the voice of the writer. Some experts will tell you that the reader is not suppose to aware of the writer. This is not true. As we read we do come to know the writer. We even begin to visualize them and their surroundings.
One of the more serious mistakes that I see new writers make is what I call ‘Delayed Character Description.’
If the writer does not specify how a character looks, dresses and talks early in the piece, then the reader will release their own imagination and begin to formulate a picture in their minds. I’d opine that this image formulates quickly, as most people like to attach a face and body to a character.
I’ve heard many people refer to an outline as the foundation of a house, but after reading Writing Cycle and Joyously Prolific, I think a better analogy would be a MAP–a map of events or plot turns. (Yes, I like that much better. A map just sounds more exciting and colorful than a stationary dais. A map suggest action, movement, change and even the possibility of side roads.)
I just received an email from the Chattahoochee Valley Writer’s Contest. In part, it reads:
…Thank you for entering our contest this year. You can enter the 2012 contest starting now through September 1, 2012. Contest results will be announced at the beginning of the CVWC Conference on Saturday, September 29, 2012….
with a $15 fee, of course.
The only trouble with this is that I DID NOT enter this year or last year, but 3 years ago. Whahah!
Do I need any more proof that my name and any story that I may or may not enter will be shuffled off to the LOSERS LIST—probably, unread????
Why don’t they just say: Sorry Sucker, but send more money. We like money. We don’t like you.
Ah, reality is a bummer, ain’t it????
I know that many of you are eager to be published, but watch out. MOO: Don’t enter any writing contests unless you know somebody who knows somebody. The literary world works the same way the rest of the world works. Not what you know, but who you know.
Well, I’m down to formatting for my next upload to Smashwords and seriously thinking about artwork for the cover. Dusty work there. Not much to get excited about. My upload will be a 5 story release for an affordable 99 cents.
I’m having trouble with the title. Every time I conjure a good one and do an internet search some #@&* dweeb has already taken it. Last title I had, some cupcake company was using it. Can you believe that? (FiveBites.com.) Lesson One: Get your title locked down before artwork. (Duh-huh) Gads, I’m going to have to get really creative. What a burden. Now, I’m thinking about… oh, no, better not say. Someone might steal it to sell rubber gaskets or something.
Titles have never been my thing, yet I realize how important they are. It’s the first wink to the book lover.
Something unusual happens: Cinderella wants to go to the palace ball, where Prince Charming will choose a wife. (Pretty good opportunity for a scrub girl.)
Several obstacles are put in Cinderella’s way. She battles to overcome these evils: mean stepmom, ugly sisters, 12:00 curfew, and forgetting to give Prince Charming her cell phone number. (Win some, lose some.) Just when all seems lost and hopeless, our heroine overcomes the last and grand obstacle–shoe shopping. One final and all important lesson–a moral–is attached to the end of the story: Always remain a sweetheart, no matter what injustices you suffer, and you will be granted everlasting love–or, at least, exactly what you deserve for being a dope.
Cinderella comes out the other side of the ARC a big winner, having defeated all evil. Because she was good in the first place, only her financial situation is changed. Most character evolve after experiencing the ARC.
Just discovered! (Okay, I’m a little slow. I’ve had my Kindle for months and I’ve just learned a new trick.)
Kindle allows bookmarks, highlights and notes. At first I found this mildly interesting, but since these ‘Clippings’–as they called them–are stored in chronological order, I said, ‘So what? Who cares when I stored it? That’s fairly useless from a reference standpoint.’
But now, I’ve discovered that I can download My Clippings via a USB port to a text program, edit and sort.
Now, when I come across a quote, a word–used in a sentence–or a fact that I want to remember, I can manipulate it on my own computer without having to retype anything. Internal dictionary provided.
Groovy! I’m mad with power.
Panama City Beach is our favorite vacation spot. I’m happy to report that I saw only minimal evidence of the Deep Horizon oil spill: a few black stones (of unknown origin—ha ha!), the tiniest taints that wiggled like black ribbons dropped and buried in the sand and a medium clutch of tourist—business still sub par after DH.
PCB sits, more or less, mid-stride on the Florida Panhandle and for decades it was the secret place to go for the middle class and poor. I’ve been both. (Back in the day, I even managed to squeak out a few trips as a single mom, living on a dime and some low-rent largess from my grandma.)
Words like quaint, picturesque and southern charm could be attached to the city back then. Spring Break flooded the strip with teenagers, while families arrived in loaded vehicles anytime, except party-down days. I’ve done both.
Then developers got wise (or stupid) and started buying up the mom & pop operations to build giant skyscrapers. Short, dark illegals were everywhere for awhile. (All politics aside, I got to say: Mexicans are impressive workers. I watch them. Well… I watch everybody, ‘cause I’m a writer, you know… They’ll be just working their asses off and then turn around a smile at you. Americans, you know…well, as much as they say they want a job, when they get there, they’re miserable people. I don’t know, maybe, everyone chooses the wrong career. DUH-HUH.)
But the Herculean effort in PCB to drive away the shallow pockets of the middle class and replace them with big- rollers didn’t work out too well for the dreamers and the bankers.
The rich never came.
The economy busted, Deep Horizon popped a cork and finally the shovels stopped moving the sand. Now, the twenty-story monsters that they erected stand like prematurely aged dinosaurs, with tier after tier of empty windows. While faithful old-timers, like me, fill the old motels that are neither too new nor too tall to offend the wallet or the eye.
The Gulf was surprisingly cold (80 degrees) for August. Seaweed dominated the shore, repelling most swimmers and floaters. The full moon exerted its force on the tide. But, hey, such things are a roll of the dice in FLA.
Saw the usual number of sunburn yanks, which the locals call Pink Flamingoes, and it’s always a treat to see the hardcore Rawhide Babes with their toasted scleroderma. Personally, I do my best to hug the shade. (Hey, I’m old enough to be looking up the meaning, definition and/or cure for words like collagen, turgor and discoloration.)
My favorite people watching are the really big gals, who sink into the sand, take 20 minutes to get from motel to shoreline and are brave enough to wear a bikini anyways. I also love to watch the tiny children who fly effortlessly across the beach as if they’re tied to invisible kites.
Going on vacation is wonderful, but there are some things that creep me out. First thing I do when I get to my room is fumigate the bathroom with Lysol. I still wonder:
- When’s the last time the maids washed the bedspread and how many herpes infested butts have sat on it?
- Why are the washrags made of hemp and gristle?
- Why won’t the free soap get me clean and sweet?
- Who paid a quarter-mil for this condo and then installed a $2.00 showerhead?
- Why do all the light switches flip the wrong way?
- Why do half the water taps turn left?
- Why are the people above me doing the hokey-pokey?
- Where are the parents of the orphaned kids running amok in the breezeway like crazed stoners?
- Why won’t the deadbolt slip into its slot?
Couldn’t find a T-shirt to suit me. I wear this really weird size, called medium. Hubby wanted to see Captain America, but all they had was 3D. Yuck.
On a rainy day, we went to prowl the antique shop downtown and met a couple fromTennesseewho were totally lost in the business section. The more my hubby gave directions, the more confused the other man became. But, hey, there’s an unwritten law that a woman should not interfere when two men are directing each other, no matter how erroneous.
Saw an unusual number of Japanese tourists. Understandable, I guess. I wouldn’t get into the water in Japan, either. Have you had your RADS today? Oui.
On the plus side, I didn’t bang my diet too hard. Hubby totally lost it: double helpings and extra sides, then the usual complaint about the bill. Ala Carte, baby.
On the whole, I’m going to rank this vacation third from the bottom, but that may have more to do with my attitude than the venue. I’m not over mourning the lost of my wa-wa buddy, I’m still skeptical about the water and the seafood after DH, and the warnings from my dermatologist keep echoing in my ears. According to him, I’ve already exceeded my lifetime allotment of Sol. I ‘m going for that Morticia Addams look.
Note to Self: Next time take fewer shorts, less shampoo and more hair conditioner and tops. Double the amount of panties that I think I’ll need. Kidding. Not. Some trips it seems like there’s more turnaround from bathing suit to street clothes and back again. Even though the original pair is not that dirty, I still want a fresh pair, and panties don’t take up that much room in the suitcase anyway, so why not have plenty?
If you go, check out the State Park for $8.00 and take a bathing suit. Eat one meal at Pineapple Willies and buy a Tee, then people who know will know that you know. Window shop at the new mall, west-end of the strip, but don’t spend too much money. And stay away from the skyscrapers, all the action happens with the regular folks.
And how was your week???
Me Own Opinion
Question: What’s the only thing worse than turning your theme into a sermon?
Answer: Having no theme, at all.
Here is the best attitude on themes: Whilst I’m amusing readers with this story, I’m going to painless introduce a new idea. My theme will not be a lifeboat bobbing on the waves, but an insidious undertow that will drag the reader farther and further away from the safety of familiar shores, until they understand the message. It will not be a hidden code, nor will it torpedo them into the Deep Six. It will remain below the surface and my message will slowly swamp over the deck. They will never know what sank them, until The End.
Me Own Opinion
What is that surge of vindication we feel when we accidentally happen upon an editorial that coincides with our own opinion, never mind the fundamental truth expressed? Must we see an axiom published before the final mental lock is thrown against all who would debate the issue? But then again, what’s wrong with a good debate?
In the world of print many lies have been told, so many that we should take each piece with a grain of doubt to ravel away the pulp edges of everything we read. Yet, we still celebrate when we find an article that we can hold aloft as if we have proof positive—See! Here it is. In black and white. So there.…