Copyright 2013 Pacific Northwest Writers Association. All Rights Reserved
Talking to Ourselves
by Jennifer Paros
“There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you—just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.”
~ Shel Silverstein
Sometimes, while out and about, I become aware I am talking to myself. Once I was in the produce section of the supermarket, holding a melon, and speaking my thoughts (quietly) – How long will it take to ripen? Is it good? It doesn’t smell sweet . . and when I looked up a young man had taken notice of me. It was then I realized there was a high likelihood he was curious, not in a flattering way, but in a that-lady-might-be-crazy kind of way.
The realization was sobering. But talking to myself, in one form or another, remains a favored method of communication for me. And though leaking inner commentary about the state of produce rarely leads me to great insights, there is another kind of talking to myself that can.
I’ve kept a journal for years and often written out dialogues with whatever is bothering me – from physical ailments to nervousness, to people I was certain were screwing up my happiness. For a long time, although the conversations helped, I was sometimes frustrated over not getting the answers I wanted. more...
How Writers Can Use Twitter Effectively
by Kristen Lamb
Twitter is one of the most powerful forms of social media for authors and one of the best ways to go viral. Yet, I’m amazed at how many writers ignore or abuse this platform due to ignorance or misinformation. Twitter is a tool, and when used improperly it’s ineffective and can even create epic damage.
Try hanging pictures with a chainsaw and see how that works out.
What is that # Thingy?
The # is called a hashtag. The purpose of the hashtag is to connect people all over the globe according to interests and hobbies. The # is a word filter. Twitter uses magic algorithmic fairies (#s) to gently guide our 140 characters to where others might actually see them and care.
This means if I want to connect with people who love puppies, I can add #puppies at the end of a tweet, click that hashtag and POOF!!!! A magical column will appear filled with other people who love sharing and chatting about #puppies, too.
There’s a reason the information and entertainment industries all have hashtags. The History Channel wants fans to be able to talk about #AncientAliens. Fans can collectively chat about #DowntownAbbey or gasp about #hoarders, #dancemoms, or #preppers. We can even join global viewing parties to make friends and have fun as we watch #Sharknado.
Best BAD movie EVER. more...
How the Universe Slapped Me Silly
by Lisa Fernow
I had the pleasure to interview Bill Kenower recently and we got to talking about why people write. That got me thinking.
One reason I write is to experience Eureka moments. The flash of recognition when you catch a glimpse of your unconscious mind at work. When you realize you’ve tapped into a deeper meaning you didn’t intend. When your synapses fire and say, Howdy.
I’ve always fought the idea that these moments come from some force outside myself:
“My characters took over.”
“The writing seemed to flow through me. I was just the vessel.”
The chances of some unseen force guiding my writing seems as remote as finding Jimmy Hoffa’s body.
But as I revised, and revised, and revised my tango mystery, Dead on Her Feet, I started to notice … signs. more...
First Aid for Fear
by Linda DeMers Hummel
In my childhood two worries consumed me — bear attacks and appendicitis. They were long shots at best, since my neighborhood barely had a squirrel, and appendicitis never got any closer to me than the boy across the street, who was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Although he recovered in a few days, I knew it was just a matter of time before appendicitis came looking for me, too.
When I became a writer, different worries met me at my desk every morning.
I worried about my personal essays being too personal. I wrote about my brother’s suicide and why my grandmother cried at Sunday dinner but agonized over wording that wouldn’t upset my family or friends. When I wrote about how it felt to be a mother of teenagers in light of my semi-wild college years, a friend felt moved to call and admonish me for “putting all that out there.” I had to decide if it felt better not to write. It wasn’t much of a fight. So I gave up that worry.
I worried about other writers’ successes, as if there were a special room somewhere for writers who had “made it,” and the more of them who took up space, the worse my chances got. My fears kept whispering that my clips weren’t strong enough, and I’d never break into their elite club. My voice wasn’t distinctive. My modifiers dangled from time to time. The list went on. But so did I.
On an ordinary Wednesday afternoon, an editor from Newsweek called to say they’d be running the My Turn column I’d submitted. Another fear down, and then it was time to fall right into the next one. more...
Happy New Year
by Cherie Tucker
It’s time for New Year’s Reminders. We did talk about using the apostrophe with the New Year’s holiday before, but it’s been quite a while, and since both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day have come and gone and you might be asking people what they did to celebrate, here’s a quick review of how to do that correctly.
In Tony-Award winner Frank Loesser’s song, “What Are You Doing New Year’s,” the next line is “New Year’s Eve.” Loesser reiterated what the question was simply to clarify that this was an invitation for the evening and not for a football game the next day.
“New Year’s” always means the holiday when it’s written that way. It’s capitalized, for one thing. And whether or not there is the addition of the words “Eve” or “Day,” the implication is that there is another word, it was just left out.
There was a TV commercial that ran on New Year’s Day that implored viewers to come to the “New Years Blowout” and save, save, save. They left out the apostrophe, which was a blunder, not a saving. The same rule holds for dialogue:
“So,” he stammered, “would you like to spend New Year’s together?” more...
The Fifth Stage of Surprise: Acceptance
by Jason Black
This article is the last in a series exploring the five stages of surprise, as a writer’s adaptation of the familiar “five stages of grief” emotional cycle. Last month dealt with depression. This month, we’ll look at acceptance.
Acceptance is when your characters finally integrate the reality of their past experiences, either good or bad, into their understanding of their own lives. Strictly speaking, acceptance is a moment in time. The importance of this moment cannot be underestimated, either for characters or for real human beings.
However, when people talk about acceptance, they’re usually talking about the period of time after such a moment, because that’s when people display changes in behavior, emotion, or attitude. Often, stories reach their climax in this period.
Nevertheless, both facets of acceptance are important to the novelist, so we will consider both.
Acceptance as a Moment
This facet of acceptance is an epiphany. A character’s moment of clarity and insight into how they relate to the world now, in contrast to how their life may have been before.
An acceptance moment is a turning point. Prior to it, the character had an incorrect or incomplete view of how they relate to the world, based in beliefs that were true before the unpleasant surprise that kicked off their five-stage response. These beliefs aren’t necessarily true anymore. After the moment, the character’s view has come into alignment with what’s true in their world more...