Monday Meanderings - February 20th
1 day ago
Dear Oh. Z. Osborne,
I saw your blog and found out you have an interest in aliens and wizards, so I wrote a middle grade novel called THE NEW NEIGHBORS. I think you'll like it. I know I do.
Wizard is living the life most sorcerers do, with one exception.... THE NEW NEIGHBORS. The new neighbors moved into the volcano next door. At first he didn't think that anything was wrong with them, until he went over to welcome them to the town. When he was done welcoming them, he had suspicions that his welcome was to the planet-- not the town! Were they brain eating aliens? Have they come to take over the world? Find out in my new middle grade novel, THE NEW NEIGHBORS.
I have read many wizard books, such as HARRY POTTER and FABLEHAVEN. I also have a degree in sorcery, so I am a wizard. Thank you so much for your time.
los macho amigo
Dear Mr. McNutt,
I've heard that you liked stories that have animals take over. I think you might be interested in my middle grade realistic fiction TRAPPED, complete at 200 pages.
Obama and family are camping on the desert island of Velk-A-Bomba, and they got dropped off with no way to leave for five days. When a team of highly organized raccoons threaten to steal all of their food, Obama and family must make a plan to outwit the raccoons or starve.
I am a highly qualified writer. I have a PHD in writing. I'm president of the High Society Book Club, and for the last eighteen months, I've been stranded on an island with no food or water except the ocean. I invite you to look a little closer into my book. Thank you for your time.
Dear Mr. Beus,
I read in a magazine that you like stories about the future. So I think you would be interested in my middle grade novel, THE DISASTER, complete at 250 pages.
My book is about a 15 year old boy named Zach. Zach lives in an army camp, and they get attacked by villains from Uple. One of the villains, a shape shifter, gets in to the base where Zack is using a laser to shoot down the villains in their flying saucers. But the shape shifter gets a hold of the gun and aims it at earth instead.
I have a major in college for Inventions and the Future from U of U. I also have a minor writing degree from BYU. If you would like to read my book, let me know. Thank you for your time, and have a good day.
Dear Mrs. Hancock,I heard that you like monkeys. My book is a mystery / adventure, called THE KILLER FORTUNE. This book has 350 pages, and is also middle grade.The main character is Monaca. She is a half flying monkey and half human, and lives in the desert. She finds a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. They give her a fortune cookie, then a minute later, the fortune comes true. Now she goes there every day, but today was different. She got this one fortune that said You will be hunted. Now can she escape, or will she be hunted?I am an expert on monkeys and the desert and fortune cookies. I study them so I know I am an expert. So if you are interested, give me a call. Thank you for your time.Ginger Faultwww.monkeys.com
|Yes. I'm a little excited.|
seduced by power,
broken by control,
and consumed by love...
Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the Resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there's more at stake than a few broken hearts.
But there is a traitor among them...and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for.
Vi, Jag, and Zenn must set their problems aside for the Resistance to have any hope of ending the Thinkers' reign. Their success means everything...and their failure means death.
|By Moses (The Crowd For DMB 1) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons|
My daughter started Pre-K in August. I’m still adjusting, but she’s loving it and doing really well. She’s very peer-oriented, but she’s a little bossy and a lot opinionated, so I knew this year would be more of a social experiment for her than an academic one. I found this to be true when she came home a few days ago, upset that one of her friends had said she didn’t want to play with her.
I took the news well (WHAT LUNATIC TODDLER DOESN’T WANT TO PLAY WITH MY ANGEL??!) It was a sad little crisis, though not unexpected. Girls will be girls, especially at the ripe old age of four. But after talking it through, I realized that the other girl wasn’t saying she didn’t want to play at all; she was just tired of the game they’d been playing every day at recess for weeks—the reenactment of some story my daughter made up about two little bats being chased by a giant “comtagious” bat named Maleficent.
Like many creative geniuses, she clearly isn’t being recognized in her own time.
Once I’d ferreted the truth out of this tangle, we talked about how friends should share and take turns choosing what to play. And since then, the sun has returned to shine upon the toddlers of Room 30. It was just disappointing that my daughter’s feelings were hurt over a simple misunderstanding.
And that got me to thinking. Misunderstandings are the culprits behind a lot of our real life problems. As such, they’re perfect for our stories—an ideal vehicle for creating conflict, which leads to tension, which creates heightened emotion in both the character and the reader, which leads to awesomeness all over the page. So, while we want to avoid misunderstandings in real life, we should look for ways to develop them in our stories. Here are a few natural ways for misunderstandings to take place:
Things Not Said. In my opinion, this is the most common reason for communication mistakes. People either deliberately leave things out, or just don’t articulate their thoughts clearly and important information is lost. In Princess Academy, Miri is frustrated and hurt when her father won’t let her work in the quarry like the other girls. She assumes it’s because she’s weak and small and worthless in his eyes, so she doesn’t discover until she finally confronts him at the end of the story (*spoiler alert*) that her mother was killed in the quarry and he can’t bear the possibility of losing her, too. If Miri had brought this up earlier, that plot line would’ve come to an end, throwing the whole story out of whack. To maintain tension, don’t let your characters confront. Keep them assuming and stewing and simmering until the story’s climax, when everything is finally made clear.
Things Overheard. How often have you walked into the middle of a conversation and gotten confused about who or what was being discussed? This scenario can just as easily lead to misunderstandings on the part of your hero. When he jumps into a conversation, or overhears two friends talking without knowing the context, he’s left to make all kinds of assumptions—ones that can easily be incorrect. This is an easy way to frustrate your hero, build conflict between him and the other characters, and lead the reader astray.
Misinterpreted Actions. It’s been said that up to 95% of our interactions as humans are nonverbal, so a large part of communication involves interpreting the actions of others. When a person misreads these clues, it leads to problems. In Hate List, main character Valerie is as shocked and horrified as everyone else when her boyfriend opens fire in their school cafeteria. As she reviews the past year with Nick, she begins to see clues that she missed. Her flashbacks provide a great example of how one person can misread another’s actions, in this case, with devastating results. To ramp up the conflict in your story, make sure you include some clues about what’s really happening, but in such a way that they can be misinterpreted by others.
Misperceptions. So much of the conflict in our world is a result of misperceptions. People look a certain way, so we assume they are a certain way. Someone makes one bad decision and we jump to the conclusion that this is who they are. Prejudice, guilt by association—these things are a result of making snap judgments about someone’s character or personality. In The Wicked and the Just, when Cecily and her father move to Caernarvon in Wales, she assumes that all of the Welsh are uncivilized, untrustworthy, and ungrateful. This misperception leads to big-time trouble. As much as we don’t want to be prejudiced, to some degree, we are. Apply this common fault to your characters to create difficulties and give them room to grow.
So, apparently, misunderstandings can be beneficial. If you’re looking for ways to increase conflict or stretch out the tension over the course of a story, hopefully these tips will help.
Scary thought, isn't it? Dreaming big enough that the dream scares you. It takes a lot of guts to dream big! But the big dreams--- those are the really awesome ones.
"If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough."
~ Lowell Lundstrum
|Daniel Schwen [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons|
|By Vinayaraj [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons|
|On a totally unrelated side-note, does|
anyone else miss the days before
Roni Loren was sued, when you could
use whatever image you wanted, and
be blissfully unaware that you were
doing anything wrong?