Tag Archives: Online Writing

Building Characters In Fiction Writing

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The best part of writing short stories for me, in the past, has been building characters from my imagination. Granted, most of those characters weren’t as well rounded as they should have been. Perhaps, that’s why I’ve only placed in fiction writing as a runner up or with an honorable mention,but never won first, second or third place- penning a winning poem is a walk in the park in comparison!

I’ve always done well with my personal writings also, but after numerous rejections of my stories in fiction writing competitions this year alone, I was prompted to do something about it and that’s why I took not one, but two Fiction Writing Classes! Dang, I’m so glad I took the plunge and followed through with something:)

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It doesn’t matter if your characters are for an animated tale, a thrilling suspense novel or a shoot em’ up cowboy in a Western, characters have to be realistic to you and to your readers. I feel I’ve learned a lot more than when I started writing fiction from taking the online classes at FutureLearn and Iowa University. These are free classes lasting 8 weeks and taught by some of the bestselling authors and masters at teaching aspiring writers and authors the business of fiction writing.

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Here are some refresher tips from my FutureLearn Writing class I thought worthy of a fare thee well shout out:

Get to know about your character’s inner life: what they want, think, remember, resent, fear, dream, deny.
Get to know about your character’s behaviour, what they wear, buy, eat, say, work at and play at.
Get to know how your character speaks and how this changes according to context, mood and intention.
See and describe your character vividly, how they look, how they move, their possessions and surroundings.
Focus on your character’s contradictions and conflicts in order to create a complex person and also to generate plot.
Remember the main methods of character presentation: summary, appearance, habit, scene, self-portrait and combinations of these method

Contests, Announcements,And Other Stuff

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Good Monday Morning!

Two upcoming contests sent in my email over the weekend by Evette Collins of Hurston Hughes Writers are from The Good Housekeeping Magazine and The Real Simple Story Magazine. I tried last year with the Real Simple Story, but, didn’t quite get there….Have no fear, I’m up for the challenge this year. Only, I’m going for The Good Houskeeping one:) Thanks Evette for paying it forward!

Also, over at Terri S. Nelson’s,, The Reflection From Women Series website, she’s busy gearing up for the launch of the second book in her series, “Reflections from Women on Life’s Defining Moments” due out around August 26th. That cover is gorgeous!

I will be reviewing this latest book in the Reflection from Women Series for my readers at clara54 and if there’s anyone interested in submitting a story to Terri’s next book series, “Reflections from Women in Midlife” visit http://www.reflectionsfromwomen.com.  I was one of the lucky contributors in 2010’s “Reflections From Women On Life’s Turning Points” and  was very, very thrilled to have made the cut from hundreds of submissions!

Along those same “story” lines? Keep in mind that I’m still accepting your authentic woman stories at my motivational site for women http://authentic-woman.net! and I will be launching my own story via my 1st ebook there!  “A Life Toward Authenticity-My Authentic Woman Story” is nearing its 2nd revision and hope to be available for download by month’s end- stay tuned!

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING SHORT STORY CONTEST http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/win/fiction-contest?click=main_sr — NO ENTRY FEE Limit to 3,500 words. Story should reflect an aspect of women’s lives today. Open to US residents 21 years and older. Deadline September 1, 2011. Only one entry per person. Grant winner receives $3,000 and possible publication in May 2012 issue. Two runners-up will receive $750 and possible online publication.

An essay contest from Real Simple magazine; the topic is “When Did You First Understand the Meaning of Love?” The prize is $3,000 and a trip for two to New York to meet the editors. The deadline is Sept. 15, 2011.
Check it out at:
Okay, so who’s up for the contest challenge?

Book Review: Patrates And The World Of Magical Creatures

Have you ever read a book from cover to cover and just never wanted it to end? You like it so much, you become disappointed when you’ve finished it? As a reader and writer of book reviews, I’m here to tell you, Patrates is a wonderous book of magic and folklore from Albert L. Z., a first time local author, who also did the book’s illustrations. When I first started to read the book, I had to go back to parts of the content’s definition page of creature clans, homelands, powerful leaders and evil doers, just to familiarize myself with all of the mystical names that I would come to know and recognize. Those strange names and characters helped to shape the most intergal part of the book’s story and weave a tale of a mystical reality in my reader’s mind.  
Tata is a young woman of immense beauty. She is not so much like the other members of her Manananggal Clan that lives in the woods of Patrates, her homeland. She is adventurous and longs for the day of her “Awakening Ceremony” where she will get her wings and secretly visit the human world. It is not enough for Tata to play games on the human who visit their soil to picnic and litter their grounds. The humans, she thinks, deserves to be taught a lesson.
Tata and her ghoul friend, Kudo, an ugly little creature that Tata’s family has forbidden her to see, set out to tease a group of young humans who have come to the forest. Three young men, no older than Tata. Kudo casts a spell on the unsuspecting boys, causing much merriment for the invisible pair.They are happy and protected from human eyes because of an invisibility spell that had been cast over Patrates for many thouands of years.The spell that the Kudo casts, seems to cause confusion upon the boys, save for one.The one called Andre, doesn’t seem to be affected by the attempts of Kudo ‘s magic!
Andre has a good life in his human world. Parents who love him, a bit strict on him, even though he is nearly a grownup.He has a curfew when he goes out with his friends. Still,Andre is happy and obedient to his parents. But, he’s concerned about the dreams. His mothers asks if he’s still having them. He tells her about the lady in white, reaching up to him in the wee hours of night, as if to say, “Come with me”
Andre is drawn to the forest. Tata gets her wings. One day she sets out on her own to test her wings around their homeland, venturing into the woods, where she hear screams. It is the Haedus, a precious & magical creature that lives every 100,000 years. She investigates the commotion and sees the creature trapped in a human device. That isn’t all. Tata sees the human, Andre being chased by the haedus owner, Agua Diwata, an evil and magical creature who captures Andre in her water bubble. What should Tata do? Expose herself to this human and perhaps put her own family in danger? Leave him to the evil Diwata’s revenge?
There’s the tease, dear readers! Patrates And The World Of Magical Creatures gets an Albert Ebert thumbs up for its adventure, believability, magical & mystical writer’s imagination!
To purchase a copy of Patrates And The World Of Magical Creatures by Albert L. Z., visit www.Xlibris.com and Amazon.com
Clara54 was provided a complimentary copy of this book for review. No compensation was awarded. 

“That Loving Feeling”

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 Ok, so Clara54 is actually posting a bit earlier than usual:) It’s because I’ve got that “loving feeling” for you guys and for this whole creative vibe that’s going on, online and off. I mean I’m in a place where my spirit soars and I need to share some Good news! Good news!

First off, my poem SYLVIA was accepted in Poetry Rivals 2010 competition & scheduled for publication November 30th 2010. I’ve known about it for a while and thought what a perfect time to share the great news with my loyal readers! As you know from reading clara54, I spent the last weeks working on writing short stories of Fiction. At present, I’ve recycled one story from years ago. Fashioned another that I opted to send via snail mail for submission to Zoetrope-All Story Contest. This contest has a submission deadline for October 1st and a small fee. I also submitted an online essay to SimpleLife for their contest that states “I Never Thought I’d Become” and of course, I had plenty of ammunition to complete that one!  

Sylvia Browder, founder of National Association Women On The Rise has welcomed me into the fold of Women Entrepreneurs where I will be contributing to their expert page on Women Issues. Ms. Browder has also kindly retweeted my last post on facebook and other venues associated with NAWR, which have caused an onslaught of readers for clara54!

I returned to work today after spending some time off and I was literally welcomed back with open arms by co-workers and patients! This outpouring of love from the staff and my beautiful patients, made me humble and think that maybe I should take a respite more often:) As one nurse put it  “Wow, seems like everybody’s coming up & giving you hugs” …Ok, so there’s always going to be “haters” in the group:) Moving on…

Today, I got the best news from opening my emails. The editors over at The Printed Blog Network reviewed  both my blogs and liked what they read so much that they have asked me to join their network! Joshua karp, the founder also let me know that that this is the first Print publication as well as a paying publication. I wasted no time accepting this one.It’s a good thing when editors invite you to join their team and I’m feeling good because my blogs got some love from The Printed Blog Network. You can check these guys out (and very soon yours truly)  at www.theprintedblog.com on twitter at www.twitter.com/theprintedblog  and http://www. facebook.com/theprintedblog

Well, that’s my good news for today & clara54 is just going to bask in ‘That Loving Feeling” for a bit longer because not one day is like the next!

How about it?  Come on, share the good news and feel the love!

A Review Of This Is My Beloved…

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One thing I like to do when I’m hanging out with the girls, is go antique  shopping. One friend of mine goes in search of the understated crystal that’s hidden about in disguise except for her uncanny eye for detail…Me, I’m usually caught somewhere lost among the bookstalls, searching for that gem of a read that got away.  I’ve collected quite a few keepsakes along the way too, including  some authentic looking love letters of Emily Dickerson. (according to my untrained eye)

The gems I wanted to share with my readers  today are portions of poems (because I’ve been thinking about writing love poems) by Walter Benton, a Russian Poet who lived most of his life in the United States. In the book “This Is My Beloved” the poems are written as Entries with the month and date as opposed to todays titled poetry entries.  Here are some favorite passages that resonates with a recent re-connect & he’ll probably read this post and blush:)  which leaves the reader tangled in a web of rich imagery and emotions (good? bad? indifferent?preplexed?) oh shucks, enjoy!

Entry November 12

I waited years today…one year for every hour, all day-though I knew you could not come till night, I waited… and nothing else in God’s hell meant anything. 

Entry April 28

Because hate is legislated…written into the primer and testament, shot into blood and brain like vaccine or vitamins

Because  our day is of time, of hours-and the clock- hand turns, closes the circle upon us: and black timeless night-sucks us in like quicksand, receives us totally- without a raincheck, or a parachute, a key to heaven or the last long look

I need love more than ever before…I need your love, I need love more than hope or money, wisdom or a drink…

Entry November 25

There are no stars tonight to get my bearing by. What time is it? What season? What year? The sky sags…bellies. The city gargles dust in the streets…AND

“I am lost on an Island somewhere between two rivers.

Blind buldings are all around me-

and the earth is covered with flat stones. And over me, the low dark roof-the harbor’s lifted morass and the belchings of many chimneys…

Although the book was written in 1943, it has been reprinted 29 times. My copy was published in 1963.

What about you guys? Have any great finds you’d like to share with clara54’s readers? Give it a go! (psst and you?) don’t go getting ideas:)

My Friend Molly…

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What a beautiful morning guys! I’m writing today to talk about Molly. Yea. you’re probably thinking, how grand, it’s not about clara54 right now:) Well, you’d be wrong, sorta.  Molly is an RN with two young children and a husband to boot. Yep, men need to be cuddled as well. I digress, but, the point here  is, Molly is juggling a stressful job, being a wife & mother, and going back to school to get her Masters Degree.

Molly, I find, has a secret. A secret much like I had when I was a few years younger than she is now. Friday, Molly asked if I’d take a look at a couple of stories she’d written online at FanStory.Com. I said “sure I will” and I did. As a creative who has become quite adapt at scouting out and recognizing the “gift” in others, let me tell you, Molly has the creative writer’s gift!

The story is about Molly’s grandmother, written in descriptive voice in her native Johannesburg.Right off the bat, I’m haunted about how dark it gets at night in Africa. I become caught up in the  young girl’s fear. I’m wondering how long the next bus takes, reading how Molly misses the bus that takes her to her grandmother’s house way in the desolute countryside. Then it rains, adding to Molly’s fears because she’d never been out & alone so late before.   

When the frightened young woman exists the bus to walk the remainder of the way, she is crying and find herself doing something she’d never done before; Praying…praying for her grandmother. The moment in the story comes when Molly hears her grandmother calling out her name. Her grandmother had come to meet her because she knew Molly would be afraid…just like a grandma! 

I never got to read the second story from Molly due to time constraints, but I definitely will. She tells me she’s working on a manuscript, only 200 pages so far. I think about all of the stuff that sometimes take priority over our creativity and I can relate. But, I also know that when I give Molly my thoughts on her work? She already knows of the writer within. At some point, she’ll have to open herself to that…

Ok, so, next week, it’s all about me:) There’s stuff I’m working on and lot’s of stuff coming your way as well. How about you guys? Met any great, clueless creatives out there?