Monthly Archive: June 2014

Writing Blog: Beginning Text Using Character Traits 0

Writing Blog: Beginning Text Using Character Traits

  Our task as writers is to share enough character traits in the first page or two to grab and hold the reader. So what traits will do that? How do writers decide what works? It’s a deep dark secret; one even the writer often doesn’t know how to share until the story has gotten underway. That means writers often return to the first pages after they’ve written a chapter or two to show us the character in action. (First chapters are frequently tossed out once the story is underway because we need to start as close to the action as possible...

Writing Blog: Show Not Tell 0

Writing Blog: Show Not Tell

Show Not Tell is a shortcut statement to remind writers to show characters actions rather than tell us about them. An example might be…(Tell) Mary was mad  vs (Show) Mary balled up her fists, turned on her heel and slammed the door on her way out. Both achieve similar ‘ends’ but for me the showing is more visual and engaging. Here’s my question: Why to multi-million book selling authors continue to tell us actions? Are they tired, lazy, above the axiom to show their characters? Are their readers so excited to read whatever they write they’ll read anything they write? Are their...

Day 84 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Thanks! 0

Day 84 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Thanks!

Thank you for joining me on my 84 days of blogging. It’s been a challenge! Now I’ll slip back to 1-2 blogs a week so I’ll have more time to work on finishing When the Music Stops. Thank you also to those of you who joined me at my book events. I met a lot of new people around my stops and made at least one new best friend. I discovered that most drivers are courteous and drive very fast on the open roads of Eastern WA and along I-90 to and from Billings.  I also discovered I can drive...

Day 83 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Author Q&As #4 0

Day 83 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Author Q&As #4

What is the most important message you hope readers will take away from 84 Ribbons ? All careers have struggles as well as successes. It is important to meet those challenges, honor our definition of success and work to change what is holding us back. Since writing Marta’s story, I’ve been told she’s strong and resilient; “I couldn’t do what she did”. That is not true. When our commitment to our passions is strong, most everyone can dig deep and find inner strength. We discover more about ourselves every time we solve a problem. It is my hope that the trilogy...

Day 82 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Looking Back 0

Day 82 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Looking Back

If you arrived after the first day of my 84 days of blogs, I hope you will take the time to look back and find the topics that interest you. I’ve tried to cover 84 Ribbons book topics, share information on ballet, let you in on a few secrets and answer questions about writing. After June 12th I’ll return to writing one or two blogs a week. Please let me know if you have lingering questions I might answer. I also invite you to invite your friends who enjoy or perform ballet to join us.

Day 81 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Results 1

Day 81 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Results

I have an amazing book of traits called The Emotional Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. I depend on it to help me delve into various situations I create for my characters to navigate. Over the last couple of week, I asked you blog readers to share your thoughts. After reading the novel, the traits  that you feel Marta demonstrates (from the two lists I provided) include: anxious, determined, humble, resourceful and nostalgic. Some of you added your own ideas: persistent, imaginative, talented and sacrificing. Your choices interest me as I move forward with Marta’s story. I agree with...

Day 80 of 84 Days of 84Ribbons: A Secret 0

Day 80 of 84 Days of 84Ribbons: A Secret

Madame Cosper holds many secrets from you and from me. Much as I try to peel back her layers, she refuses. I’m afraid if I push her too hard she’ll use her cane and thump me! I know she loved to dance and had an illustrious career in Europe and on the East Coast but she is stingy with why she came to Montana. Maybe it was Herbert. I’m not certain yet. I do know why she is so hard on Marta. She sees Marta as a reflection of her teen self: talented and naive as well as fragile yet determined....

Day 79 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet History 1

Day 79 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet History

So, ballet started in the 16th Century. It began as a social court dance then became a specialized career and grew to include women. Early music was classical with music written specifically written for ballets. Since early on, choreography stressed flexibility, rhythmic flow and beautiful lines of movement. In modern ballets the emphasis often shifts to expressing more theatrical and less fluid movements which no longer adhere to the classic forms. Which is best? Classical or modern? It would be as if we tried to compare driving cars with baking a cake: there are similarities of course, but the differences...

Day 78 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Stretching 0

Day 78 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Stretching

Dance are often on a quest for greater and greater flexibility. To that end, they may  actually go too far and create weakness instead of strength in what they do. Here are two new suggestions about stretching that all of us should heed. 1. Don’t hold static stretches before warming up. If you hold a static stretch for more than 30 seconds before you warm up you may damage your ligament and tendons. Instead, keep the muscles moving, flowing from one position to  another. If you force your use of your muscles without warming them up, you may injury your joints....

Day 77 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Life after Dance 2

Day 77 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Life after Dance

This month Kaori Nakamura will retire from Pacific Northwest Ballet. She’ll join other premiere dancers like Patricia Barkley, Suzanne Farrell and Mikhail Baryshnikov by retiring after two or more decades of dancing. Many move on the focus on their young families; others become artistic directors, guest instructors or guest performers. Still others form their own dance academies. Like many of us, it is difficult to walk away from a career that consumes us from a very young age. Finding a replacement life experience often takes patience as well as capital. Gelsey Kirkland is a prime example of a dancer turned...