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Archive for October, 2010

One of my favorite  authors has been Washington Irving. Not only had he done incredible work under his own name, a little known fact is that he once used the pseudonym Dietrich Knickerbocker (for New Yorkers, this last name became a well-known and oft used word!).  A Knickerbocker became a term used to refer to a person from New York….and known in baseball as the New York Knickerbockers (Knicks!).

Born just after the American Revolution, he died just before the American Civil War at his beloved home Sunnyside…..and is buried in the real Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  For me, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was an incredibly spooky and intriguing short story, one that he wrote about places he knew (as he often did) and one that is probably as well-known as his short story Rip Van Winkle. He often called upon his childhood in New York or his travels in Europe to create these wonderful stories; and they remain just as interesting today as then.

I have read that he was the first American to make his living solely as a writer; although he was trained in law, interested in architecture, loved to travel and spent much of his life in Europe. He used all these life experiences in his writing….

I suppose today being October 31st, and thoughts of Sleepy Hollow coming to mind, I remembered Washington Irving and his beloved childhood in the Hudson Valley (a place that is absolutely gorgeous this time of year!) and childhoods spent reading about the headless horseman and nights “watching” (through my fingers across my eyes as I cringed in my chair) the Disney version of Legend of Sleepy Hollow!

Have a safe Halloween,

KW

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National Novel Writing Month

Each November writers, both  professional and amateur, are invited to participate in the National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNo. It is a wonderful exercise in meeting goals in writing….and geared toward writing your novel in one months’ time, or at least completing 50,000 words of your novel. The main focus is on quantity of words, not quality. After the program ends….feel free to go back and tweak your work and who knows, perhaps you will have your own novel written!

Support is there in numbers! Writers join and befriend others…and discuss their objectives online. Charts are available online for those who wish to see their own progress as well as the progress of their friends, others from their area and all writers involved. There is even a program for younger writers! According to the NaNo website, over 165,000 writers participated  in 2009 and of these over 30,000 completed their 50,000 words!

Check it out at www.nanowrimo.org and see if you are interested in writing along with thousands of others! Sign up anytime between now and November 1 then create your own novel! As I’ve said, you will be writing with thousands of others who share an interest in putting their own words to paper.

Have a great NaNoWriMo,

KW

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I have sent several short stories, poems and queries over the years. I remember two in particular that were “sort of” rejected. I say this because, while it was a rejection of the work I did, the editors made note of why I’d been rejected. Not for lack of story or my work was incredibly bad…or at least they didn’t say that.

I wrote a short story for children back when my girls were little and sent it to a children’s publication…complete with stamped, self-addressed envelope. A few weeks later my envelope came back…they did not want my story. Why? Not because they did not like it….they had already bought a similar story….and asked that I send another article another time. I never looked at it as a rejection but more as encouragement to try again.

Also, I pitched my first full length novel at a writer’s convention  a few years back….they loved the pitch and asked for the first three chapters and the synopsis.  After returning home I wrote a  cover letter to the editor I’d spoken with and enclosed it with the chapters and synopsis….put it in the mail and waited.  It took a few more weeks but I soon received a letter from the very editor I’d met. She liked the story, she liked the concept…but that particular division was closing down and she was getting sent to another part of the company. They were no longer accepting novels for that line…but if I could rewrite the story and try again to resubmit it to them. Rejected? Not exactly. It wasn’t a sale but it was a great letter, signed and personally addressed to me….letting me know she had actually liked the chapters.

So I cannot look at rejection letters as always a bad thing. Maybe you are rejected due to the economy, the number of submissions that are just like yours, even the end of a category of books.

It hurts to not be accepted…but these letters show editors do read and care about the work they receive. Letters of encouragement are fabulous…not quite a rejection…but a push towards the chance to be accepted.

KW

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Happily ever after…?

One thing that always made me want to read romance novels was the sweet, happy endings. Almost always the hero and heroine managed to overcome a number of obstacles or inconveniences and by the last chapter….they were  destined to live happily ever after. I still prefer writing and reading these books, but I have noticed at times not all romances end with the beloved pair staying happily in love.

Sometimes the book is a retrospective of the romance, perhaps spanning years leading up to the untimely death of one of the main characters or perhaps by book’s end the pair are no longer in love…leading to another book that examines the next phase of one character’s life. Yes, I want my characters to stay together and forever be living their happily ever after. But sometimes, while being written, a character’s evolution may lead in different directions. I know of writers who plot and have the storyline completely thought out when beginning to write while others let their characters lead them during the actual writing of the novel….and perhaps they aren’t led to that always and forever ending…but most romance novels do end in everlasting love.

I also love that today’s romance novels cover a wide spectrum of genres and ideals. Modern, contemporary novels or historical novels featuring the rich, the royal, the secretaries, the housekeepers, the firefighters, the policewomen, the destitute and women from all walks of life as well as others featuring vampires, werewolves or zombies are now all included in the romance category of writing. As evidenced by television series, many are attracted to these paranormal or supernatural romances and they have an unusually large following. In looking over my online writing friends’ published books, I find a very, very vast array of writing tastes.

So, what about happily ever after? I write what I love….and I love the sweet, loving endings of all the books I’ve grown up reading. Judith McNaught. Rosemary Rogers. Victoria Holt. Even the fairy tales like Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. (Hmmm, some of my fairy tales did have a bit of magic or fairy dust thrown in!) I think I’ll aim to give my readers as well as my heroes and heroines a happily ever after……very much like the books that influenced me.

KW

 

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Tonight I have watched with awe as miners trapped far underground for more than two months are painstakingly and carefully rescued from their dark humid space…one by one in a capsule fittingly nicknamed the Phoenix. The men have bravely shown resilience and fortitude as they waited for rescue to come. Given that for the first seventeen days of their predicament they had no clue they would be saved…and the outside world had no clue they had survived…this is a glorious event.

The extraction of the miners is slow but meticulous. Each miner has been checked for physical and mental prowess and they are being rescued in a particular order, based on their ability to withstand possible complications while being removed, their fortitude and their overall health. Honestly, all thirty-three men are amazing to me. Heroes in their own right. They have lived in near darkness with high humidity and kept their spirit. This alone is an amazing feat. I also want to extend a well deserved mention to the paramedics who willingly were lowered into the depths to aid in the rescue from the very bottom of this shaft.

I admire all these men, their families and the people involved in making their rescue a continuing success. There was cooperation between nations as the escape capsule was developed and the rescue shaft constructed. Medical facilities are prepared for the emerging miners, complete with dimly lit rooms and all the concerns for a person trapped in the conditions of their mine taken into account. The president of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, is on hand to greet the men as they set foot on solid, above-ground earth again. Families cheer, hugs abound and these men are no doubt excited to be returned to their loved ones.

It is a miraculous ending to what could have been a tragic accident. It is still unfolding as each miner is sent upwards to freedom, each taking about an hour between sending the capsule down to the miners, situating the man into its interior then the slow, twisting climb back up.

My thoughts are sincerely with these men and their families, the rescuers who never gave up and kept the men’s best interest at heart, the international experts whose coming together to aid in this miraculous rescue will never be forgotten and the millions of people on our planet glued to their televisions and radios marveling at the rescues.

Welcome home fellas,

KW

 

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I enjoy the art of writing. It is an incredible feeling to create situations, places, people and loves; then sit back and watch as they develop character and depth from your own imagination. Writing is a fulfilling obsession…

But…..there is also the business end of writing. I am not yet published but I have been starting the basics of getting my name out there….amongst the writers and readers of the world. I am now blogging, I am tweeting, I have started a website and I have a Facebook page. I belong to two writers’ groups and I have an assortment of books relating to writing that have been accumulating over  a couple dozen years that grace my bookshelves.  I have successfully pitched a book at a national convention….sent in my work and was told it was good….but that line of the publication was no longer being printed. It stoked my writing spirit….I still have confidence! However, the business end of writing…and there is so much more….is something I need to also be studying.  Things like taxes and deductions and what is allowed and what is not. To date this is something I have not looked at mainly because to this date most of my writing is just that….writing. No big expenditures and no income!

I’ve developed a love of the writing, I am learning how to socialize online and I hope that will help me when I DO get published and need to promote my writing….and when my writing creates an income I need to be savvy to the legal and tax knowledge that comes with being an author.

My writing, and my being a writer, is still a work in progress,

KW

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Ideas on the run….

A note to other aspiring writers….make sure you always keep a notepad or, at the least, an accessible piece of paper and a pen with you most of the time. I have learned that ideas will pop into my head at some most unusual places and under any circumstance.

Jot down anything that you see or feel that pertains to your story…for me these thoughts may occur while driving (be sure to find a safe place to pause and write….never good to make notes while speeding down the highway), glancing at photos, reading the news, watching television or people-watching! Often I will hear a phrase or see an outfit that would be perfect for my characters….and if I wait to write these things later….sometimes it slips my mind!

Another purpose for that handy notepad? Jotting down ideas for new stories or characters!! In the last few weeks I’ve found that two or three newer plots are forming in my head and I have to capture them while they are fresh and new, almost always when I am away from my computer!! Plus I am title-challenged, meaning when it comes to putting a name to my work it borders on the impossible. As I sit at the keyboard and ponder over titles and their meanings and their possible appeal my mind will draw a huge blank. Moments later, while waiting in line at the bank or at a fast food restaurant I think of the perfect one, only to have it disappear by the time I arrive home. Jotting down key words or these sudden title inspirations is a must!

I have to empty my purse often….checking the pieces of paper and little notes I’ve jotted down….keeping some for later use and throwing out others that I won’t need. Now I need to find a way to file all my notes and keep them handy without creating another to-do pile on the desk!

Loving the fall inspiration,

KW

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