Something To Write About

I’ve been taking some family time off this summer and posting a little less frequently.  My newest book is taking almost all my free time and it’s amazing how much fun I’m having writing it.

When I look back over my year since I started blogging I have to admit I’ve learned a lot. Things that I didn’t know and might never have discovered if it wasn’t for starting a blog.

Grammar is something that can always be improved upon (IMO) since I know I’m not a grammar genius I take all the advice I can get. I have also done a lot of research to find out the little things I had no idea about.

I’ve blogged about dashes, commas, tenses, filter words (A huge issue for me), Interjection, dangling modifiers, exposition, hyperboles, clauses, fragment sentences and so much more.

I’ve also learned that inspiration can come from anywhere. Honestly anywhere!  My new book was inspired by an insignificant everyday thing. I’ve blogged about people watching, seeing the world and not just what’s in front of me, I’ve talked about sources of inspiration such as vacations, the beach, amusement parks, the bar, barbeques, and anything that involves people, places, and things. Being more aware and seeing the world around me has become a great source of inspiration.

I’ve met a great number of writers since I started this journey, both online and off. Each and every one of them a unique talent that brought my attention to various styles of writing. I’ve since dabbled in first person perspective writing and it’s a lot of fun.  I’ve also found that reading others works’ and appreciating

I’ve also found that reading others works’ and appreciating their style is a wonderful way to understand my own. Whether it is books, poems, short stories or songs everyone has a voice. I may absolutely love how someone else writes, and they may influence me but I have my own voice and copying someone else’s style or voice is a waste of time. It won’t read as well as my own.

Distractions and writer’s block are a writer’s worst enemy. Through other bloggers and writers and research, I’ve learned what can be done to minimize both issues. Breaks and living life are necessary for both getting the creative juices flowing and for keeping the mind active and able to focus.

Story structure or the arc of a story is important and I have spent a good amount of time researching the various styles and methods used to write a story. Some people plan it all out before they start writing. While others go with the flow. Myself I’ve discovered I’m a little of both. I think and think and plan it out but I go with the flow and if things change along the way then so be it. I do know having an end in mind is of the utmost importance. Otherwise, the story becomes either too long or pointless.

Keeping the reader engaged and delivering an entertaining story is the most important part of writing. I know if I like what I write, then others will too.  Therefore I don’t worry about what others think and I never let it influence my writing. I write for me and then I share it.

I’ll continue to touch on these key aspects of writing and since I’ve learned so much and still have plenty more to learn I’ll be revisiting some of them with more information.

I don’t think anyone can know everything about writing and there is always room for improvement and expansion.

My advice about writing 
Never be afraid to try something new, or visit something old. Looking back momentarily is a great way to move forward monumentally.

-Sheryl

My Posts From The Start

Independent Clauses depend on nobody.

Influential Words

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Delivery

Distracted By Distraction

Time is always an issue for me. Finding it to write and really get into it. Somedays I can plug along and find the simple errors others I can dig in and really get to the meat of some problems.

I’m in the middle of BiaAtlas re-write and it’s going well. My word count is coming down slowly but steadily.

When I’m writing there are several things that can cause me to become distracted or lose focus. Not all of them are bad and often they can be a reminder to take a well needed or deserved break.

Other people – It’s important to remember there are real living people in the world 😉
Television
The weather
My own thoughts – yes this is a real problem sometimes
Other projects (I have a new storyline I’m in the beginning stages of plotting)
Sleepy or tired – sometimes it’s just hard to stay focused on anything.
Work – this one is a necessity… but still…
Cleaning or chores
Reading

There are other distractions that I don’t have time for and have suffered for it such as video games and Facebook. The bottom line is there will always be distractions and I don’t freak out about them. I’ve talked about this before but I think if I’m being distracted there might be a reason for it.

The funniest distraction is the distraction by distraction. When I’m distracted simply by thinking about being distracted.

When I sit and start to work on editing my book it can be overwhelming. I’ve been through it countless times, I’m probably missing things right in front of me because I’ve been through it countless times. I have a plan for that and I’ll dive into that plan in a later post once I’ve done enough research to explain it properly.

For now, it’s one objective at a time seek out and destroy superfluous text and simplify. I’m on the hunt for repetition of ideas, phrases, comments, actions, descriptions, and anything I’ve mentioned more than once.

I will keep at it and keep my self-inflicted symphony of distractions to a minimum while addressing the important ones, the ones that tell me I need a real break. After all, a distraction is only a distraction if we need to be distracted.

My advice about distractions
Don’t ignore that you’re being distracted and figure out why it’s happening. Maybe take a break or do something random to reset your attention. Distractions are not always a bad thing.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Squirrelly concentration at best

More is less, and vice versa.

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Symphony

Squirrelly concentration at best

Have you ever read a book and realize that you’ve been reading the same paragraph or sentence over and over and over again? It happens to me from time to time. That doesn’t mean that the story isn’t good, or the paragraph for that matter, it’s a symptom that I’m distracted or tired or I simply can’t concentrate.

Concentration is necessary, but so is distraction. I mean within my writing not outside of it. Distraction outside can be… distracting.  People get distracted, they fail to concentrate and it might not be a bad thing to toss into a characters day.

Some causes of distraction

Bad news
Good news
Shocking news
Too much work/work overload
Death/illness
Leaving something unfinished
Crush on someone
Falling in love
Falling out of love
A fight, physical or emotional
Injury or accident
Exhaustion
Embarrassment/Humiliation

Any situation that can’t be shaken for the sake of normal or expected day-to-day activities.

The loud smack of a palm flat on the desk startled Amber causing her to yelp.
“Amber.” Scott’s firm tone and narrowed eyes made her eyes widen. “I needed that proof half an hour ago and Wilson’s called you twice and you didn’t pick up.”
She blinked quickly and stood. “Sorry. I’ll get it now.”
“Don’t bother.” Scott glanced at Dale who was paying too close attention. “I got the proof myself. Wilson wants you in his office.” He leaned closer. “You’ve been a space case since lunch what happened?”
“Nothing, sorry. I must still be off from yesterday.” She ducked around Scott, shot Dale a ‘keep your mouth shut’ look and scurried off to Wilson’s office.
Scott stared at Dale who stared back. “Scott that editing won’t get done on it’s own man.”
“Yeah sorry.” Dale turned back to his screen.
“You okay?” Scott pressed his lips as Dale nodded and waved him away. He turned and went back toward his office mumbling. “Everyone’s gone mad around here.”

The bench across from Anne’s office edged a concrete path in her favorite park. The mature gardens splendid in their panoply of colours and textures. Anne sat on the bench and looked off to the distance; a slight smile curling her lips as she sighed. The unseasonably warm day smelled as if rain was coming. Anne’s thoughts turned inward. A pigeon crept up on her, flitted to the bench seat. She blinked lazily at the Sedum and Astor’s rustling in the gentle breeze. The skulking bird stretched its neck, grasped half her bagel right out of her hand and retreated to the middle of the path.

“Oh you dumb bird!” Anne uselessly kicked toward the pigeon with his prize. “Oh well, I bet you have a family to feed.” She watched the bird absently as it pecked away a large chunk of bread. Fat raindrops pelted the ground around the pigeon and she watched as it dragged and tried to fly with the carbs in beak.
She looked up suddenly when she realized she wasn’t getting hit by any mini water bombs.
“Were you just going to sit here and get soaked?” Tony smiled down at her his umbrella in hand shielding her from the rain.
“Oh! What a nice surprise.” She jumped up, grinned and threw her arms around his neck. “I was in la-la land and you valiantly saved me.”
“Yes.” He chuckled and returned the hug with one arm. “Those dastardly raindrops were up to no good.”
“Oh but they were, sneaking up on me while I let the pigeon steal my snack.”
“I saw.” Tony chuckled and then kissed her.

What was I writing about? Oh right, distraction and concentration. It can be minor or it can be major. People can make huge mistakes while distracted. Crash cars, Lose children, lock keys in the car, break something valuable, and let a secret slip or much worse. They can be funny or serious. My point is if there is a lot going on in someone’s life they might have a moment or two of distraction so I try to include them in a story if I can.

My advice about distraction.
Distraction is a good way to… oh, look a chubby adorable squirrel… Right my advice… what a fluffy critter with his bushy tail jumping up to… So I think if you write about distraction you need to… and now it’s destroying my bird-feeder. Yay! The little vermin jerk! Gnawing with its stupid sharp teeth, being all cute while… Oh yeah. People get distracted, it happens, so why not let a character get squirreled. I mean distracted occasionally?

-Sheryl

Other fun posts

 

People Watching

All that glitters…

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Panoply
Symptom

The wild card

When I’m writing my story and I’ve got the characters established. Their backstories are hinted at, their interactions are firm and the protagonist is ready for the next stage of their development. The story is moving along and I know it’s now time to shake things up. To introduce a wild card. Something random that may or may not influence the entire story line. At this point, I might introduce something that will expose or foreshadow the main antagonist. The one that will cause major conflict and make the protagonists life hell. It’s time for the wild card.

Sasha sat in her small office reviewing the next client’s requests. Her heart wasn’t in it. Valery grilled her at lunch and suggested some time off. It wasn’t a bad idea so she agreed. A tropical resort sounded much safer than dealing with Baylor and being followed by a police cruiser everywhere. She browsed some last minute vacation ideas until she was paged to the boss’s office. Mr. Clifton had little to do with the day to day. He was a businessman not an artist, he owned the company and spoke only to those well above Sasha’s pay grade. She glanced at the computer. Is it monitored? Would she be fired for slacking on the job?

Checking her hair and make-up she walked quickly to the blue door and knocked. A come in sounded from behind.  Mr. Clifton was bald, very bald. His grey eyebrows and black lashes the only hair on his head. He was an average man. Attractive only because of his expensive suits, money and the power he exuded. Sasha didn’t like or respect him. Aside from the uncomfortable flirting at the office parties and yearly meetings, he usually only grunted at her dismissively.
“Miss Parsons, please sit. Don’t look so frightened, I don’t do the firing around here.” He laughed at his own remark. “Unless you make me very unhappy.”
She licked her lips as he continued.
“I was told you are doing very well lately and that your work has been securing some very large accounts. I asked about you and was assured that you can be discreet.”
She nodded and swallowed hard, the knot in her stomach tightening.
“I have a client that needs some sensitive and confidential work done. I think you are up to the task.”
“Yes sir.”
“Good. Here are the images and message he needs to be contained in the advert. Nothing blatant or obvious.”
“Subliminal.” She frowned. “But that’s…”
“It is not for public, and there is nothing illegal in the message.”
“Okay.” She opened the file.
“I want you to have a proof for me by the end of next week.”
“I can have it ready by then, but there isn’t anything being sold, what is the product?”
“That is not for you to know. The image on the last page is to be hidden.”
She flipped to the last page and bit her lips.
“Your discretion is of the utmost importance. Your career here has been exemplary and I wouldn’t want this to change that.”
A threat. She looked up ready to quit and stopped herself. The look on his face suggested quitting wouldn’t solve her issue with this and she needed this job.
“Wilber is retiring in a few months, his office and title would suit you I think Miss Parsons.”
She nodded. She had no choice. She smiled forcing her lunch down. “I am to understand that if say Valery were to look at this she would see an advert for… say… a security company but if members see it they will get the message?”
“You are smarter than you look.”
She bit her cheek and tasted blood. “Thank you.” It was better than the expletive that she wanted to launch on him.
“My time is important, I will see you next Monday with the final product.”
“But you said…” She would have to drop everything to make this work. If she lost this job, she would lose her house and her dignity along with it. What little she had left.
“I Changed my mind. Is that a problem Miss Parsons?”
“No not at all.” She stood. “I work best under a deadline.”
“Good to know.” He dismissed her by looking at his computer screen.

Sasha walked down the hall holding the file and her stomach. This screamed of illegal and even though it looked innocent, it smelled rotten.
“You look like you chugged car oil.” Valery held Sasha’s purse out.
“Long day. Mr. Clifton just asked me to do a job for him.” Sasha took her purse and they stared walking out to the parking lot.
“The hush hush kind right? What did you do to piss him off?”
“I don’t know, he hinted at Wilber’s position. Why? Has this happened before?”
“Every few months he has someone doing secret projects. They are either fired or quit after a while.”
“Why the hell am I just hearing about this now?”
“There’s no proof and we have a lot of staff that come and go. Barry thinks it’s just coincidence. I try not to let gossip percolate through the office.”
“Well I’ll do what Clifton asks, ask nothing and show no-one.”
“Not even me?”
“He casually hinted I would be fired.”
“Best if you don’t then Sash. It’s probably some weird sex fetish club thing anyway. I’d rather not know my boss’s boss, is into playdoh sex or something.”
“Weird.”
“I bet it’s a thing too. I knew Wilber’s leaving, you’re probably up for promotion, whatever the job, just work your magic.”

Sasha laughed as she got to her car. The idea of a promotion dulled the underlying fear that’s been present all day as she drove. She had a few stops to make before going home. The problem was the cost, was she willing to sell her soul for the position? She knew whatever the message was is illegal. Or would lead to something illegal. The symbol of the left hand palm up in a circle with the thumb crooked oddly up was a sign. It was to be hidden within the image and that was ominous on its own. She didn’t know it, but it wasn’t anything good. She would know about that. Even after visiting with her parents and stopping at the grocery her mind was still stuck on the file and Clifton’s request.
“Maybe it’s just a test, it’s probably nothing.” She muttered as she pulled into her driveway. “After the past few days I’m just being weird.” She looked in the rear-view mirror. “Get a grip Sasha.”

So, I have added an ominous task to distract Sasha. Bad things can happen when someone is distracted (Bwahahahaha). Her mind should be on other things… Right? Adding this unexpected event opens the doors for more, hopefully a lot more. Sometimes these ideas are an innocent distraction and singular, sometimes they are part of a greater plot and the catalyst to start the main story line.

My advice about wild card moments.
Whether you use them as a defibrillator for a dead or dying story or the key to the gates of the actual story, adding something random can revive or open the story.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Silliness and seriousness

The ‘been there, done that’ people

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Percolate

Desperately procrastinating

As I sit revising and proofing my book again, I find myself constantly distracted. Granted there is a lot going on, it’s as if my mind is like rays of sun through a crystal, leaving little rainbows scattered about.

A slight desperation zings through me to work and get the word count down to a more reasonable number. As I read carefully, I remove wordiness and missed filter words, the thump of a bird hitting the window veers my attention off the road. As my concentration crashes, I catch a glimpse of my sprinkled light.

I get back on track. Wait, I need a drink. So I go to the kitchen to slake my thirst with some fresh brewed tea, and stop to pet the cat. I see little rainbows of inspiration.

Every distraction leaps out and demands my attention. Is this a bad thing? Nope, not in the slightest. It’s the mundane everyday things that influence my creativity. Stepping on a piece of Lego hurts like nothing else, it reminds me to put pain and discomfort into my characters. Another aspect I try not to forget.

Some days the distractions come easier and I willingly submit to the wonderfully regretful world of procrastination. Even as I peruse memes and click-bait online, the scattered shards of rainbow light glitter and motivate me. Suddenly it’s back, the drive and desire to focus and work. 

My body and mind needs sleep to recuperate. I think that some days, my mind needs a mini vacation from concentrating and creating. Against my better judgement my mind desperately procrastinates, fervently hoping my guilt stays in the shadows so it can have some free time.

My advice about procrastination.
It’s not always a bad thing in my opinion, it can be a sign to take a break or change venues for a moment. If I’m distracted or find myself procrastinating too easily I know it’s time to change it up and do something else for a while. Usually something fun.

-Sheryl

Recommended related Post by a fantastic fellow blogger Sascha Check out her blog as well as this one she asked me to link : No “Filter Word” Parking Here

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Zing!