Tag Archives: art

5 Ingredients To Spice Up Your Fiction

Happy Valentines Day, my Valentines! Have you been rejected by major fiction publications because your story just didn’t have the spice? I cannot tell a lie:) I have, many times. But, you know what, even though writers tend to follow the golden rule when it comes to writing fiction- adding sex, religion and money to the mix,it’s not always about that sizzle. Sometimes it’s the butter that makes a great batter. (famous for analogies I’m not)

is put it in writing

Here are five ingredients that will add spice to your fiction and bring it up a notch!
1. Conflict
2. Action
3. Dialogue
4. Feedback
5 Editing

Whoever said, “Easy reading is damn hard work”, made a believer out of this writer. It’s no secret that in order to become one of the greats (writers) you have to read and write. It’s how creatives learn how the writing process is done. Now go out and write your greatest fiction to date!

Feel free to add your saucy ingredients to writing a great piece of fiction with my readers and always treat yourself special, not only on Valentine’s Day, but, every single day of your life.

How Free Online Writing Classes Can Add Value To Your Storytelling Skills

My brother asked me the other day if I was putting what I’d learned from taking two writing classes to good use. In fact, I am currently working on editing a fiction piece for submission to a huge story contest and I’m using some of the techniques I re-learned in these free online Fiction Writing classes to make my copy shine even brighter.

thonline

Suffice it to say that I read a lot. Once my pain meds kick in to help alleviate the arthritic stiffness in my hands, I tend to write a lot…and I’m capable of telling a good story, like most die hard creatives. I’m also not opposed to spending money to make money on tools to help me reach my publishing goals, but, I’m also not opposed to taking advantage of free online classes either. Both fiction writing classes were free and offered by prestigious universities. (to be clear; these classes also encourage you to apply to their fee based classes after your course completion.)

Recently, I read a quote from an esteemed story teacher/author and lecturer on his blog, that said “You get what you pay for. And that usually applies to ‘free’ on-line writing groups too. Alas.”

If this sentiment is insinuating that ‘free’ classes and on-line writing groups are, essentially, a waste of time? I beg to differ. Classes, both online and off that I’ve paid my hard earned money for in the past, doesn’t even come close to the rewarding experience and valuable writing gems I garnered from these free online university classes…in other words, these classes surpassed my expectations by adding to the value of my storytelling skills!

If you are considering taking a class or joining a writer’s group in your area of interest or expertise, in either an online fee based or free platform, go ahead and do that. Your future professional writing career will thank you.

In the words of author and prolific writing friend, Audrey Chin, after reading an edited version of one revised class story, “The difference between your version 1 and version 2 of Bailey’s is the best demonstration of how much we can get out of feedback and a supportive writing community.”

thfree

What are your thoughts on free versus paid online writing classes? Just curious :)

Marguerite Beck Rex: Gardner’s Blessing

Clematis on patio

Blessed be the gardener who sees each leaf,
Who knows the reckless branch and tames it.
Blessed be the one who wields sharp blade                   and loving rake.
Blessed be the root torn out for weed
And blessed be the gardener who replants it.
Blessed be the moles who shoulder                                through tubers and bulbs,
Who loosen clay to loam, bring air beneath this sod.
Blessed be the water that helps earth                        crumble into itself.
Blessed be the sentinel cypress,
The gentle, leaning birch,
The tall and watchful oak,
The shape of green,
Well-tended and well loved.

 

Book Review: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

A tweet from Ms. Terry McMillan advising another person to definitely pick up a copy of Tayari Jones 3rd novel, Silver Sparrow, has spurred me on to get this review out for my readers:)

The story is set in 1980’s Atlanta & centers around a Southern family caught up in the drama of lies, loves and emotional breakthroughs, due, entirely to decisions grownups make. At the age of 5, Dana Lynn is excited to show the picture she’d drawn at school  for her teacher to James Witherspoon, her father.  Her fathers’ reaction to seeing the two sets of families in young Dana’s drawings, however, only baffles the young girl. She, after all, knows about Chaurisse, his other daughter and her sister, so what’s the problem?

 She soon learns the ugly words used to describe her family’s existence. Dana’s father is a bigamist and young Dana Lynn is the “secret”. The author’s clever pairing of the sisters encounters- planned entirely by Dana and unbeknownst to Chaurisse, the fathers’  “legitimate” daughter,moves the characters along in a gripping series of events that will have the reader wondering what’s going to happen next.

The story is told through the eyes of both sisters, which makes for an interesting perspective on how children handle crisis. It also begs to ask the question? How far should adults go in keeping secrets as a means to protect their children? Tayari Jones Silver Sparrow has been compared to a Toni Morrison‘s The Bluest Eye. A professor at Columbia University, Farah Jasmine Griffin said in an interview profile of the author’s work “Scholars are starting to recognize that Southern Writers are also global writers” 

After reading Ms. Jones latest book, I’d have to agree:)  Tayari Jones blogs at Tayari Jones.Com

Clara54would like to thank Algoquin Books for providing a copy of Silver Sparrow for review…

A Novel Preview, Poetry Page, And Stuff on the Horizon

Morning All!  There’s a bit of a chill in the Illinois air this morning as I’m sitting in my computer room reading from my to- do list. First, I have to finish a geat novel for a clara54 review from Tayari Jones. In Silver Sparrow, we get to know about 2 sisters with different mothers, but, same father. Only one girl knows about the other.  At five, Dana Lynn is only too happy to draw a picture of herself & her mother, along with her father & his other family for her teacher…

Dana Lynn is happy that her teacher likes her drawing; so happy, that she takes it out to show her mother and father. At 5 years of age, Dana Lynn will learn from her father that she is” the secret.” Tayari Jones story is set in the 1980s Atlanta and centers around a middle class African American family. I’m loving the way the author weaves this web of fiction! I won’t give more away, but, the review of Silver Sparrow is on the horizon!

Recently found out that more of my poetry was  featured on their May/June Femme Vip website here: http://www.femmevip.com under Purple Lounge Section.

Taking an online writers’ Village “Master Class” for competition short story writing . There’s also a short story competition with a deadline of June 30th. Guidelines can be obtained by writing cwriting@btinternet.com  Good luck!

Okay, that’s a short recap of what’s to come & what’s happened since my last post. Today I’m literally winding down from a weekend of nurse duties and attempting to cross off a few more things on this Monday’s to-do list before I can curl up with a good book! 

Adieu…

Poetry And Art From Marguerite Beck-Rex

Many Aspects of Patrise, 2009

 

That summer day, sitting in that rattan chair,

she was fully engaged in that conversation.

From left to right, she could seem quizzical

or reflective, straight-forward, doubtful

or understanding.

She could appear younger or older;

her hair, either short or shorter,

more or less curly, and pulled back or not,

depending upon the humidity.  It could glint

red or brown, depending upon the light.

As to why her dress color and her sleeve length changed,

and why she sometimes wore glasses, sometimes not,

those, and other questions, are for someone else to decipher.

Those of you who love great poetry & art, raise your hands! Or, simply visit Marguerite’s http://inkpaintwords.wordpress.com/

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The Long Road from Closed Doors to Here

I come from closed doors.
doors locking me in,
doors locking me out,
doors closed by my mother,
her voice saying “Close that door!”
I come from doors I learned to close on myself,
and doors I was too frightened to open,
“Don’t go out” and “Don’t go in” and “Don’t Move”
never turning a doorknob, rapping knuckles in air.
I come from my mother’s voice saying
“No, you don’t need college”
declaring
“Learn typing and stenography.
That’s a real education.”
I come from fearing what might strike me
if I turned that doorknob.
I come from my father saying nothing.
I come from doors then closed to most women,
a society singing “No! No!” in chorus
Mother’s voice loudest of all,
her piercing descant of
“Typing, Stenography! Typing, Stenography!”
was all I could hear.
Yet, I come from books, newspapers, sermons,
from voices as shrill as my mother’s.
I come from the day when I finally noticed
how many women wait behind closed doors.
Closed doors were not just my personal secret,
Not my singular fate in my singular life.
I come from screaming
“All women are blocked by closed doors.”
I come from joining the banshees
wailing for all women.
I’ve made it my life’s work to fling those doors open,
to find those doors hidden in hallways and alleys,
to turn rusty keys and to oil creaking hinges.
I’ve pounded gates open from inside the fortress
and rattled them wide from without.
Many doors are now open,
but voices still caution…
some doors seem newly closed to me.
When I hear the voice of my aging calling,
she sounds like my mother,
though she wears a young face.
 
Marguerite Beck-Rex is such a wonderful 80 year old, inspiring “today’s woman!” She is a former editor, reporter and columnist for women issues! She is also a great artist and poet. She resides in Washington, D.C.  Marguerite ‘s skills as a group organizer for other artists are legendary. She has definitely become an unofficial mentor of clara54’s! Enjoy my dear readers and stay tuned for much more about this wonderful woman! Alright… you can visit her site http://inkpaintwords.wordpress.com/
 
Hi, Marguerite, thanks for inspiring me to keep going, Clara.
 
Have you met anyone that ignited your confidence lately?