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BLOGWORDS – Friday 28 October 2016 – NOD to NANO

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NOD to NANO

 

nano-110016-banner

 

I’m throwing my hat in the NaNoWriMo ring.   Or, my story.  Hadn’t planned to but the timing is good.  I’ve got a ton of research already under my belt.

 

research

 

Stacks of library books, my clipboard chock full of notes, and my  kitty girl for good measure (She like to be close to me.)

 

I’ve know my main characters for each of the four books in the series—Mercedes, Scarlett, Pearl, and Simone—and the conflict for each one: Mercedes is keeping a secret from the others; Scarlett, too, is keeping secrets, though not her own; Pearl elopes; and Simone, well, she’s not dead.

 

I know the timeline, 1912 – 1913, and the setting, the town of Saison, somewhere north of Charleston, SC.

 

sc-geological-map

 

The southern town of Saison lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers.

 

In a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, four young girls share a bond—and experience a tragedy.

 

Seasons is the telling of their stories and Mercedes Renaldi’s story is first in The Long Shadows of Summer.

 

 

The series is Seasons, and the books in the series are The Long Shadows of Summer, Tilting Leaves of Autumn, Whistling Winds of Winter, and Whispering Woods of Spring.

 

seasons-series-covers                                                                                         * not the final covers

 

So I figured with this much underway, and nearly 3000 words into Mercedes’ story, I’d  give a whirl to the 50K for NaNo.

 

Following are a few links I’ve seen in the past couple of days with helps and suggestions, and the NaNo website.

 

http://writerswrite.co.za/nanowrimo-calendar-organise-and-conquer

http://writerswrite.co.za/five-things-to-do-before-nanowrimo-starts

http://writerswrite.co.za/dont-get-stuck-use-our-nanowrimo-brainstormer-worksheet-instead

http://writershelpingwriters.net/2016/10/5-nanowrimo-hacks-keep-words-flowing/

http://nanowrimo.org

 

 

If you decide to dive in too, look me up—we can be buddies!

 

 

 

slide 6 “I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”

 

Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas. Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years. Her characters face many of these same demons.

 

Ms. Mason has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She lived in Colorado for sixteen years, during which time she: went to high school, got married, had babies, got divorced and went to college. Her “babies” are now grown, two have babies of their own. She currently lives alone, with her five cats.
Ms. Mason writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.

 

Tessa and Clara Bess, books 1 and 2 in her unsavory heritage series, are both available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. The third book in the series, Cissy, will be available in September, 2016.  Ms. Mason also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She will also be working on a personal anthology of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.

 

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BLOGWORDS, First Friday Feature, NaNoWriMo, 50K, Research, Seasons, New Series, Long Shadows of Summer, Mercedes Renaldi, Secrets, Tragedy

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BLOGWORDS –  Friday 29 July 2016 – RESEARCH and HISTORICAL ACCURACY – PART II

 friday feature post - debut banner

RESEARCH and HISTORICAL ACCURACY – PART II

 

Two weeks in a row and it’s just not gonna happen. Forgive me? At least this week I’m not leaving you with crickets!

 

 

Let me explain. I am crunching timewise, working furiously on the final pages and chapters of novel number three, and she has basically sucked all my energy and attention for the past few weeks! (She being Cissy, the main character and title of the book)

 

cissy cover - teaser

 

Lest I leave you dangling for two weeks in a row, I offer you an excerpt from the aforementioned Cissy. Here, for your reading enjoyment, is where the story catches up with the prologue.

 

I hate you and I wish you was dead,” Cissy repeated. She had watched as Virgil had gone down on his knee, brought Clara’s hand to his lips. Cissy couldn’t read lips but she knew what he was saying: “Clara Amelia, I love you. Will you marry me?”

Nothing original. Just the time proved words, the questions all girls waited their whole lives to hear.

Ain’t nobody ever gonna say them words to me.

Cissy watched as Clara’s free hand came to her cheek, tears captured the glow of the moonlight, faceting the emotion on Clara’s face. Clara nodded, and Cissy could tell she said the anticipated yes.

Virgil tugged Clara’s glove from her left hand, and slid the ring onto her extended finger. He rose and beamed, brighter than the moonlight on the snow, pleased with his choice. Clara splayed her hand in front of her, head tilted, gnawing at her bottom lip, and admiring the token of her new status.

Virgil drew her into an intimate embrace, brushed his lips against her, then deepened the kiss. A promise of his affections to come.

Cissy burned with jealous rage. You stole him from me, Clara. You knowed I loved Virgil a’fore you did.

 

Cissy played the part of the happy sister, donning her pleasant personality costume. Inside she seethed, a tumult raging.

 

Ready to read more? I sure hope so! ‘Cause there’s plenty more to Cissy’s story. And it’s a deep dark journey, heartbreaking and unthinkable. It’s the culmination of the unsavory heritage series. It’s the how and why, the origin of the uncanny heritage. It all began with Cissy. When she heard those awful words. The lie that destroyed her young life.

 

Slide3

 

Cissy releases 30 September. Keep your eyes open, though, there’s going to be a Blog Blitz all month long, starting with the cover reveal 31 August. And ending with a Release Party on Facebook and a live party here locally, at Stomping Grounds Coffee House. Hope to see you at one or the other!

 

Oh! And if you don’t already have copies of Tessa and Clara Bess, the first two unsavory heritage books, you can find them on Amazon.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Robin-E.-Mason/e/B00MR5IQ9S

 

unsavory - series covers

 

For that matter, here are a few other spots where I hang out. Be sure to stop by and say hullo! (and follow me, too!)

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robin-E-Mason-Author-Artist/224223274404877

https://twitter.com/amythyst212

http://www.pinterest.com/amythyst212/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7808042.Robin_E_Mason

https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

rem“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

 

I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas.  I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years.  My characters face many of these same demons.

 

I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I, really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.

 

Tessa and Clara Bess are available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print, with the third book in the series, Cissy, coming out in September of this year.   I also have several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. I will also be working on a personal anthology of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.

 

 

 

Blogwords, Stories by Design, Research, Research and Historical Accuracy, Cissy Excerpt, Cissy Release, Cover Reveal, unsavory heritage series, Tessa, Clara Bess

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BLOGWORDS –  Friday 15 July 2016 – RESEARCH and HISTORICAL ACCURACY

 

RESEARCH and HISTORICAL ACCURACY

 

“Father wouldn’t let them have a television. He was content to listen to news of the war on the Zenith radio sitting on the floor next to his chair in the front room. He didn’t like the new-fangled telephone either, and refused to pay good money for a service he deemed unnecessary.

Libby was a quiet girl, and played happily by herself most days, with her baby dolls and Barbie ™ dolls.

Libby was a good girl, and always helped Mother set the table. She liked cooking, and especially liked sitting alongside as Mother sewed her new dresses for school. Libby would begin first grade in the fall, and Father had already taken her shopping with Mother to buy new filly socks and black Mary Janes. Mother had already cut her hair in a cute bob, and bought her new barrettes and ribbons.”

 

Did you spot it? The egregious error smack in the middle of that little interlude? Once upon a time I was writing mine own story which a) turned into a saga (the above was a snippet of my mother’s childhood) and b) will not see publication for reasons of things I’d just rather not publish.

But I digress. There is a historical inaccuracy in my little telling. And I age myself in enlightening you. I was born in 1959, my mother in 1939. Barbie™ and I are the same age….. Therefore, the rail thin fashion doll was not around when my mother was a child.

 

 

That’s one that I ‘just happen’ to be aware of because of her debut year is the same as my debut year.

 

But what of other factoids and trivia?

I rewrote this for the purpose of this post, added details, clues, like Mary Jane shoes and the Zenith radio. Mary Janes I knew, radio models not so much. To Google I went!

 

 

I love restoring things. Old furniture, worn out jeans or dresses that no longer fit. Scrapbooking! Saving those memories in a keepsake format. As an artist, I could use anything in my art!

 

One of my design passions is restoring historical landmarks—or ordinary historical homes for that matter—to the integrity of the era in which they were built.

In order to do that, as a designer, I have to know—research, study—that era, whenever that might be.

 

Victorian? Find articles (and Pinterest boards!) on culture, lifestyle, available technology from 1837 – 1901. Perhaps there was tribute to Queen Victoria for whom the era was named.

What of the culture and technology of World War II? How would a new home or business differ from Regency or Edwardian? What of millwork, stonework, layouts?

 

 

And how does this apply to writing?

As in my opening example, culture and social norms were not as they are now. Slang and jargon, colloquialism and syntax and vernacular change from region to region and country to country, and generation to generation.

 

Mexicans and Spaniards do not run around all day yelling, “Olé!” Germans say more than, “Auf Wiedersehen” and “Edelweiss.” And Brits don’t bellow, “Bloody hell!” all day long.

 

 

“Friend request” and “LOL” were not heard of a hundred years ago. And we (most of us anyway) don’t typically go for a “turn about the garden” when we mean “go for a walk” or “quit a room” when we exit that room.

 

And fashion is another subject entirely.

Proper terminology for articles of clothing offers believability and credence to a story. And, in the author’s experience at least, requires some degree of research. As I delve more into historical settings for my stories, so, too, will my research increase—good thing I love my research as I do!

 

 

 

What about you?

What faux pas have you realized in your writing? What “wickedly gleeful” faux pas have you found when reading a published novel or article? (I say wickedly gleeful because it relieves the ridiculous notion that every manuscript must be perfect. Because I realize that others make mistakes and I’ll not be expelled from author-dom if—nay, when I make little mistakes!)

 

rem“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”

 

Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas.  Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years.  Her characters face many of these same demons.

 

Ms. Mason has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She lived in Colorado for sixteen years, during which time she: went to high school, got married, had babies, got divorced and went to college. Her “babies” are now grown, two have babies of their own.  She currently lives alone, with her five cats.
Ms. Mason writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.

 

Tessa and Clara Bess, books 1 and 2 in her unsavory heritage series, are both available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. The third book in the series, Cissy, will be available in September, 2016.   Ms. Mason also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She will also be working on a personal anthology of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.

 

Slide1

 

Blogwords, Stories by Design, Research, Research and Historical Accuracy, Zenith, Queen Victoria, Auf Wiedersehen, Bloody Hell, Historical Landmarks, LOL, Wickedly Gleeful

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BLOGWORDS –  Friday 8 July 2016 – WHEN RESEARCH TAKES YOU ON AN UNEXPECTED PATH

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WHEN RESEARCH TAKES YOU ON AN UNEXPECTED PATH

 

Once upon a time, before I was writing seriously, I attended college, studying Interior Design. By my senior year, I knew what my capstone design project would be—an elementary school of the arts. It’s not so far-fetched as it may sound; there is an Elementary School of Engineering here in Greenville! So with my passion for all things art, and every discipline, I figured I would design a school of the arts!

And I did.

 

My intent was to focus on the theatre, a great passion of mine, and an art studio, with a nod to actual classroom space. I mean it’s a school, the classroom is a given, right?

 

 

As I began my research, however, I began to realize the scope of designing just the theatre! I had a decision to make—change the direction of my original intent and design a theatre, no school. Or focus on some other aspect of the school.

 

Part of our assignment as students was special topics that applied to our chosen design, in my case elementary schools. I was intrigued by two topics in particular: daylight in the classroom, and interactive / collaborative teaching. I changed the emphasis of my design and created a classroom with a nod to the disciplines of the arts.

 

 

I was still designing a school but

my research had redirected my goal and end result.

Slide3

 

The same thing happens in writing. Sometimes they are “rabbit trails” that we end up having to back track. Sometimes those new “trails” lead us to new insights into our story or our characters.

 

 

Aside from accuracy, especially historical factoids, good research can trigger new angles or even subplots. Case in point (and a great nod to the value of reading and following other bloggers!) I read a blog post last week about siblings of abuse victims.

 

http://writershelpingwriters.net/2016/07/emotional-wound-entry-discovering-ones-sibling-abused/

 

Although my main character, Cissy, is not abused physically, she is tormented by words spoken about her at an early age. After reading the blog post, i.e. research, I knew I needed to address her twin sister, Clara’s, psyche as regards Cissy’s behavior. And it has added an element of depth to my story.

 

 

Even choosing pictures for this blog post, or any post, is a matter of (re)searching for just the right image that conveys just the right sentiment. The journal, for instance, could not be a spiral notebook, nor could it be bound with elastic; my story setting is post Civil War era. But that’s next week’s topic, historical accuracy.

 

What about you? What are some fun discoveries you’ve made in your research? What’s the most fun rabbit trail you’ve wandered down?

 

 

“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”

 

remMs. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas.  Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years.  Her characters face many of these same demons.

 

Ms. Mason has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She lived in Colorado for sixteen years, during which time she: went to high school, got married, had babies, got divorced and went to college. Her “babies” are now grown, two have babies of their own.  She currently lives alone, with her five cats.
Ms. Mason writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.

 

Tessa and Clara Bess, books 1 and 2 in her unsavory heritage series, are both available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. The third book in the series, Cissy, will be available in September, 2016.   Ms. Mason also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She will also be working on a personal anthology of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.

 

 

 

Blogwords, Stories by Design, Research, When Research Takes You on an Unexpected Path, Interior Design, Capstone Project, Rabbit Trails, Psychology, Reading Other Blogs, Writers Helping Writers

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ORGANIZATION AND THE WRITING PROCESS

 

Hullo, All, and welcome!

 

When designing a house, the first thing you draw are the walls—the layout. What room is next to what other rooms? What rooms are connected? Bathroom off the master suite? Jack and Jill bath between the kids’ rooms? What about the dining room between the living room and the kitchen? And I won’t even get into square footage! Which, by the way, translates into word count in writing vernacular.

 

What of the workspace? The tools to design? Information on what to design? My example is a residence, with the assumption that it’s a single family dwelling. How big is the fam? One kid? Two? Six? Do the in-laws / grandparents live with? Details that all have a bearing on the final design.

 

 

What of the owner’s preference? Modern? Victorian? Or my dream home, Craftsman?

 

 

What constitutes Modern? Victorian? Or my dream home, Craftsman? What of your notes and research…

 

Research. Notes. For a writer, that’s who’s who in your story? What’s going on in your story? When is your story? And where are all your notes and research?

 

Slide3

 

Organization is a skill that eclipses some of us. Oh, I try, and in my own way, I am organized. Mostly.

 

Slide4

 

The primary thing is to have a grip on the scope of your project or story, and have a system or method to track the minutia of details that comprise any story. I know I’ve spent countless minutes (which has probably translated into hours) hunting for a detail or description that isn’t on the master list of details and descriptions.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the admonition to clear your desk. I try, really I do. But I “nest” and need all my accoutrements at hand. So, everything is. Kind of. Notice my assistants perched in various positions.

 

Slide5

 

I also can’t tell you how many times I scrambled for a note, written on the back of a printed page of my manuscript or an envelope or some other random scrap of paper. Important things, like which book I’m reading and reviewing, and when. Who I’m interviewing next, and did I send them questions yet. What I named that town or school or street. I finally created my Master Calendar and Tracker—an Excel spreadsheet with five tabs—calendar, word count, book sales, contacts (includes passwords and web site URL’s), and contest winners. (I’ve two tabs I no longer use for those of you observant enough to realize there are actually seven tabs!)

 

Slide6

 

I’m aces with my computer files. I got those lined up! Like my lists, I’ve folders and sub-folders and sub-sub-folders. I’ve master docs for each of my features / functions—NWNF (New Week New Face), reviews, interviews, my own posts, (future) Sunday devotional, and a brand new one, Headline News. The format for each doc and images to share with each post. And master format for my illustrious manuscripts, so they’re ready to upload when it’s time to publish!

 

Slide7

 

What about organizing your time? Oy! Let me say that again: OY! OY! even. This is my greatest weakness. I seem to work better with a deadline pressing down on me. I don’t like working that way, thus my schedules and master docs to aid me in getting things written before the tenth hour.

 

Slide8

 

Back up one step, though. Let’s talk about priorities. What are the priorities in your life? And what consumes your time besides your writing? And where does your writing fit into your day? My day is vastly different to a mom who works outside the home. I am on Disability and have the privilege of being home all day…What other activities take up your time and where does writing / desiging fit in?

My day is also hugely different to a morning person. To this I say, know your own body clock. To those who advocate writing first thing in the morning, kudos to you. I, however, can barely function first thing in the morning

 

 

And by the way, “first thing” in the morning for me is somewhere around 9:00 or 10:00. (body clock, remember, don’t hate) After the requisite coffee, I check the email and other (and by other I mean Facebook) messages, I work on other projects because let’s face it, there are a lot. Then the Muse and I get down to it in the afternoon and evening. “It” being the serious writing. Or designing.

 

Slide10

 

Then there is the dreaded deadline. What is the time frame for your project? For instance, I had originally set Cissy to release in June of this year, but after my surgery and the subsequent recovery, I pushed the date back to September. (The advantage of being Indie. Also the disadvantage of being Indie.) But my point is, how much do I need to accomplish each day, how many words to complete my story? What is the anticipated final word count? Based on my first two novels, I’m looking at 120K – 130K words. (I know, I know, that’s a LOT!) (think big house!) Now, and this involves some math (sorry wordsters) how many days until release? Wait a minute, though! I can’t write all the way to release day. I have to give time for my editor to edit, time for the printer to print, and time for the shipment to, well, ship.

My release date is 30 September. That’s five months away. Two weeks for the first shipment of books to arrive, and I’m mid-September. Allow a few weeks for my editor to do her stellar job, and for me to either make her offered changes, or not, and I’m up to early August. That leaves me roughly ninety days. I’m 20K+ words in already, with approximately 100K to go. That’s just over 1000 words per day. (nice how easy that math turned out) But what of the days I don’t hit 1000 words? Or any words? Yes, there are days I don’t write. I’ve also hit 5K in a day on occasion. Not sustainable on a daily basis, especially every.single.day, but I have done it. If I set my goal at 2000 or 3000 words per day that’s doable, I’ll be well ahead of my deadline, and could even get it to my editor early!

Or, I could languish with a few hundred per day, or let days slip by with no words, and have the bulk or writing still staring at me a month from now. I’m not gonna, but it could happen.

 

So arm yourselves with paint samples and fabric swatches, make sure they’re in nice, neat little bins. See if the inspector (editor) gives the green light to your project. And present your design to your client, the reader!

 

 

And now, I’ve a story world to return to and some words to make. This house— Cissy — is not going to build herself!

 

Slide11

 

 

 

rem

 

“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”

 

Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas.  Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years.  Her characters face many of these same demons.

 

Ms. Mason has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She lived in Colorado for sixteen years, during which time she: went to high school, got married, had babies, got divorced and went to college. Her “babies” are now grown, two have babies of their own.  She currently lives alone, with her five cats.
Ms. Mason writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.

 

Tessa and Clara Bess, books 1 and 2 in her unsavory heritage series, are both available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. The third book in the series, Cissy, will be available in September, 2016.   Ms. Mason also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She will also be working on a personal anthology of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.

 

Slide1

 

 

#organizationandthewritingprocess, #storiesbydesign, #organization, #layout, #workspace, #craftsman, #research, #notes, #deadline, #morningcoffee, #muse

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