Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Writing Basics: Sensory Lists and Descriptive Words

My first experience in learning the writing craft was attending a writing class several years ago.  The class was taught by B.J. Tiernan, author of Standing On A Whale.  She had the class do a writing exercise of five sensory lists.  The purpose of this exercise was to go back to the list when doing descriptions in your writing. B.J. said to assume every reader is blind, so you need to use description when you write. The reader wants details and can connect to you better if you do: "Show, don't tell". 

Sensory Lists
These are five sensory lists and my responses to them as they relate to me. 

Things that are magical - rainbow, unicorn, gazebo, shooting star, full moon
Favorite Smells - scented candles, freshly brewed coffee, baked brownies, roses, hand/body lotion
Sounds I love - rain, wind chimes, piano, ocean, music box
Favorite Sights - watching people dance, ice skating, snow globe, sunset, sunrise
Favorite Feels - soft hands, cashmere, raised lettering, kiss, warm hug

Using Descriptive Words

The importance of using descriptive words is to "show" the reader what you are writing about. I would say one of the hardest things for a writer to do is learn how to describe things and know how much detail to use. I find that reading books about the craft helps, but I think reading the authors in the genre you want to write about is very helpful. You can learn the author's style and how they incorporate scene changes, character development, plot, etc.

Don't tell reader, show reader- how angry are you, write about anger: "red as a tomato" would depict the person was fuming.

Show with words-paint a picture. This will awake feelings within the reader and see what you are trying to tell them. Show as much information as possible but don't do it for too long. 

Do not use "about" - go into the writing directly. Listen to how people tell stories, a writer just needs to embellish and/or exaggerate; people want to hear this. 

In writing, you can do what you want to do. Figure out ways to build details from a simple paragraph-this gives the reader more detail of what is happening. Back any statement you make with a concrete picture.

Be as specific as you can-if you mention a flower, give the name of the flower (red rose, pink carnation) Get used to naming things, name people,this brings the reader into your story.

Choose something specific to write about, then hone in on the details, but not so much that it gets claustrophobic and you lose the thread of the scene or story. Writing detail is valuable and the writer should not take this for granted. 

See the ex ordinariness in your own life. If you see your life as ordinary, this will come out in your writing. Give your full attention to whatever it is you are writing. 

What writing tips have helped you in writing description?

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

7 Tips To Make Your Writing Memorable

1. Write from your heart
2. Choose your words carefully
3. Have a meaning and a message
4. Connect to the reader
5. Draw from experiences
6. Let it be inspirational/motivational
7. Make it easy to share with others 

What are some tips you can share? 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Spirit of Gratitude

(Inspirational Series)

Joel Osteen is a well-known pastor and speaker. His church is the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. I find his messages to be inspirational, comforting and uplifting. I watched a broadcast of one of his sermons today on DVD. His message was about “gratitude and being thankful for the gift of today”.  He said to find things in your life to be grateful for instead of complaining about what you do not have or situations you have no control over.
In our every day lives there are many things that we can get mad, sad or upset about. The trick is to change our attitude to a more positive one and see the good in things instead of the bad. Human beings tend to gravitate to the negative and worry or stress about the worse of things. However, with just a little discipline every day, when we start to get agitated about someone or something, we need to adjust our way of thinking and pray to God for the strength to overcome that feeling and move on. Let go of that side of you that dwells on how miserable your life is. Start being grateful for each day you get to live. We cannot always control our environment and things such as being stuck in traffic, having someone cut you off on the highway, listening to a co-worker complain, a nagging spouse, misbehaving children, argument with family or friends, can wear you down and out. It may not be easy to be thankful when you are overwhelmed with situations, but it is worth a try.

Joel Osteen says each day is a special day. We need to be grateful that we wake up in the morning. Live each day as if it was your last, because it might very well be. Do not take for granted the people in your life or the things around you. It is a joy to be able to see, touch, breath, talk, hear and overall feel alive in the world. Some people that are less fortunate that may be homeless, unemployed, no family or friends, missing a limb or have a disease, have better attitudes and outlook on their lives. They have set their minds to be thankful for life. You do not want to live a life in regret, self-pity, anger, resentment, and depression. Of course, that is not to say you need to be happy at all times or not show your emotions or be discouraged, but the key thing is not to linger in that moment, because then you will not let yourself rise above the situation.

I pray to God everyday for strength to face whatever the day may bring. If I am facing a tough situation or decision, I ask him to enlighten and guide me. When I was younger, I only prayed to him when I wanted something and with not much conviction at that.  I then got upset when I did not get what I prayed for.  In being grateful, we can live better, happier, more productive lives. You will notice a change, because this brings about an attitude change as well. I spent too much time and energy in being negative, depressed and wallowing in self-pity. I was not living each moment of each day, I was focused too much on past regrets and future worries. I lacked the faith to know that God would see me through.

As aspiring writers or established ones, living by this motto will make us stronger. We will be better able to deal with the rejections we might get or overcome the frustration when we can’t come up with anything to write about.  Let’s be thankful that we can read, write (even if we get writer’s block sometimes), make connections with other writers, have supportive family and friends, and have strength to persevere in our goal to just write and one day get published (if this is our dream). Like the saying goes, it is not the destination, but the journey that matters.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My Reviews of Favorite Books on Goodreads

Returning for Valentine'sReturning for Valentine's by Victoria Pinder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this short, entertaining, sweet romance. It was a fun to read story, with a message to never give up on love.

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Whispers: Being with God in Breath Prayers (Healthy Spirituality Journals Book 2)Whispers: Being with God in Breath Prayers by Jean Wise
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book enlightened my understanding of what a breath prayer is and the purpose it plays in one's life. Breath prayers are an excellent way to get spiritual peace, and have a closer relationship with God. The author takes the reader step by step on how to practice breath prayers, as well as explains the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of doing so. The examples given of breath prayers are excellent, and ones you can incorporate in your life right away, and make some of your own in the process. I especially loved the author's use of quotes to emphasize the thought of prayer and its significance in the life of a Christian's walk with God. I recommend making "Whispers: Being with God in Breath Prayers" part of your library; it is a short read that is encouraging in its message to make breath prayers a natural part of your life.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Whispers: Being with God in Breath Prayers

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Second-Chance SeductionSecond-Chance Seduction by Kate Carlisle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this romance story. It was an easy, fun read. Connor and Maggie are endearing and very real. Their love story pulled at my heart strings. The author does a superb job of crafting a tale that has you turning the page.

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Break the Chains, Be Freed WithinBreak the Chains, Be Freed Within by Cristina Isabel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cristina Isabel debuts as an author with her first poetry book, "Break the Chains, Be Freed Within". She shares her experiences and personal battles with depression, sadness and helplessness. Her poems are poignant and thought provoking, with a message of hope that you can overcome your darkest moments. The chains that hold you back can be broken to allow you to be free, and be who you are meant to be. Break the Chains, Be Freed Within by Cristina Isabel

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Control (Shamed, #1)Control by Laura Marie Altom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ella Patton works at a local Walmart in a small town, far away from a loveless marriage and abusive husband. She lives one day at a time, though she feels half of her is dead, the half that knew how to love. Now there are only deep scars and a resolve not to let any man hurt her again. That is until she meets the handsome, and charming, Liam Stone.

Liam Stone is used to having control over everything, especially women. His money buys him anything he wants, and he uses it to offer Ella a proposition that she cannot resist. This starts them on a steamy, rollercoaster relationship, where falling in love is not an option. Can Ella finally find love again in Liam? Will Liam let his defenses down long enough to realize he cannot live without Ella? In an unexpected turn of events, they find that you can only run so fast from your past, before it catches up with you.

This was an enjoyable, entertaining, fast read romance. You cannot help but root for Liam and Ella to get their act together and live happily ever after. But do fairy tales really exist? Laura Marie Altom does an excellent job in keeping the reader engaged from beginning to end.

Laura Marie Altom

ARC received from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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Disguised with the Millionaire (Dangerous Millionaires)Disguised with the Millionaire by Debra Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book! It had everything: romance, suspense, mystery, likeable characters and villains you love to hate. I could not put it down, and have already purchased the other two books in the series. Debra Andrews crafts an entertaining, and intriguing tale that leaves you wanting more. I highly recommend this book as a must read.

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Agent with a History (The Agents for Good #1)Agent with a History by Guy S. Stanton III
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Agent with a History (The Agents for Good) by Stanton III, Guy

“Agent With A History” by Guy Stanton III, was my first crime drama/thriller/suspense novel and I loved it! I was immediately pulled into the middle of the action from the very first page. A gruesome murder is committed, and exotic and stunning NYPD detective, Lisa Tauranto, is put on the case to find out who and why. Lisa is a no nonsense, hard nosed detective, who has a few skeletons in her closet that later come up for air. Through her quest to solve the case, Lisa is led to a mysterious and attractive man that goes by the name of “Flint”. He becomes her protector when her life is in danger and she has no choice but to trust him. But who is Flint and why does he seem to know so much about her, the murder, the people trying to kill her, her history and her knowledge of a hidden treasure? Is he really trying to keep her out of harm’s way, or is he the killer and is just out to get the fortune? We are left guessing as to who is behind all this but know that they will stop at nothing to get what they want. “Agent With A History” is full of intrigue, a touch of romance and Guy keeps the story moving forward with spy tingling action. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read the others in the “Agent” series.

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21 Prayers of Gratitude: Overcoming Negativity Through the Power of Prayer and God's Word21 Prayers of Gratitude: Overcoming Negativity Through the Power of Prayer and God's Word by Shelley Hitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The power of being thankful through prayer leads to a more positive life. We must be thankful for the things we have, and not dwell on what we don't. I totally enjoyed each prayer of gratitude because it led me to reflect on what I was thankful for in my own life.

Shelley Hitz has beautifully written 21 prayers of gratitude, with images and scripture passages, that will encourage, inspire and be part of your spiritual healing. You will want to read these prayers more than once.21 Prayers of Gratitude: Overcoming Negativity Through the Power of Prayer and God's Word

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The Wedding Game (Reality Show #1)The Wedding Game by Amy Matayo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ellie McAllister and Cannon James are contestants in a reality show called The Wedding Game. Ellie has a compelling reason to join the game, but lies to get in, while Cannon is in it for the money. As the winning contestants in the show, they both learn that it is not that easy to win the two million dollar prize, especially since they cannot stand each other. How can they pretend to be in love and happily married for 6 months when they get on each other's nerves every chance they get? The final joke is on them, however, since they do not suspect that the outcome of the show is beyond their control, or that their lives will be changed forever. Will Ellie and Cannon find love, in the process of playing cat and mouse, or will their secrets threaten any possibility of a true relationship?

I thoroughly enjoyed "The Wedding Game" by Amy Matayo. It was entertaining, fast moving and fun. Amy writes a beautiful romance that teaches a lesson in love, compassion and determination. The Wedding Game

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