Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Camp Nano by Bonnie Le Hamilton

As anyone who follows this blog knows, last November, the ninth to be exact, I was involved in a car accident. An accident that left me with a concussion, meaning, from that point forward for two months, I couldn’t read, watch, or get on my computer; that also meant I couldn’t write.

I’d made it around 25,000 words before I was told I needed to stop doing the very things I like the most, but most importantly, it meant I wasn’t able to finish the Nano for the first time since I started doing it. (There was one year where I didn’t get my win verified because I was on dialup back then and I was having phone line issues; the site wouldn’t load my manuscript.)

Anyway, when the notice came out about Camp Nano a couple of months ago, I decided that I’d try and do it this year. I usually don’t because July is after all my birthday month, I’ve never wanted to push that hard in July, but well, I’ve had trouble getting back into the habit of writing since that accident, so I decided I needed to try.

And I have to admit it’s been an extremely slow start for me. In fact, the first five days of July I averaged adding just 620 words a day to my WIP (The WIP I started back in November). And for the first eighteen days, I only averaged 999 words a day — not much better. I usually average 2,000 words a day, sometimes even more, from day one in the Nano.

I’m way behind my goal, which is again 50,000 words in the month. I’m hoping to actually finish my WIP.

But at this point, I’m going to have to write 3,000 words a day to do it. So far, I managed that yesterday, and I’m not counting this blog, so I’m going back to my WIP.

Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Senior Years by Konnie Enos

When I was a child it wasn’t uncommon to hear stories of children getting ahold of some type of medicine and eating them like candy. Before long people decided the best way to combat this was to put child proof, but not adult proof caps on the pill bottles.
Not long after these were introduced a humorous story came out about an older lady traveling alone. She had several medicines she had to take daily and they were now in child proof bottles. Since she had trouble getting the caps off herself, she told the hotel staff she might need help. They told her no problem they had an expert. When the time came she did need the help and they sent the expert in. It was a child.
It may have been nothing more than a humorous story but it was ironic that the woman needed the assistance of a child to open a child proof cap.
However it was after this story came out that pharmacies and drug companies started packaging some of their medicines in bottles that didn’t have child proof caps on them. Then they came out with two sided caps. One side is child proof and the other is easy open. My pharmacy will send my medicines with a child proof cap on them but also with an easy open one on the side. Your choice.
Since I was all of five when child proof caps were invented, I can’t really remember a time before they were around and I learned how to open them by the time I was ten. I found the story of the traveling senior citizen funny because I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t read the directions on the cap and get it open. Just like I could.
Then I learned about arthritis. After that I learned that some seniors just get weaker in the arms and have weaker grips.
As an adult, after computers became more widely used, they started talking about this syndrome that had been around for a long time but was now becoming more wide spread, and it affected the hands, carpal tunnel.
Okay, so there might be reasons older adults can’t open their pill bottles.
I was not one of them.
Then again, I wasn’t old.
Some years after I was told I had carpal tunnel I was prescribed a medicine that came in a child proof bottle. It was a squeeze and turn type, but it was particular in how it was squeezed. It was an as needed medicine but I don’t think I took it more than a few times simply because I could never get it open. If my husband wasn’t there to do it for me then I simply couldn’t take it. Considering it was for my asthma, it wasn’t a good thing.
The next time it was prescribed for me I convinced the doctor to request an easier open dispensing method. Now I get that particular medicine in individual dose easy twist open vials.
Even with that, I had no problems with any other type of child proof cap.
Until recently.
My dog needs allergies medicines once in a while and her pills are in a bottle with a simple push and twist cap. For the life of me I cannot get that thing open. I have become that senior lady in the story who can’t open the child proof caps.
Do you want to hear the funniest part?
My dear, older husband (by a whopping six months) does open that bottle for me, each and every time.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July Birthdays by Bonnie Le Hamilton

I wrote the poem below way back in my high school days, and I wouldn’t say I yearn for today all year anymore, quite the contrary, but I thought about this old poem when it came to writing this post.
Dawning on the horizon

So beautiful and bright,
A new day, but just any day,
Today is the day, the very day,
That special one,
That comes only once,
The day of all days!
The day that I always yearn.
Yesterday was for fireworks,
Today is for ice cream and cake!
It’s here! It’s here! It’s here, today!

I’m not the only one with July birthdays; I know a great many with birthdays this week, Actually I know people with birthdays from the first through the sixth, four today including myself, and several others scattered throughout the rest of the month.

And the other day I learned a few things about July.

July’s flower is the water lily. According to Buddhism, enlightenment is associated with this blossom. Brides choose it as a bouquet, since it represents chastity and purity of heart and soul. In Western cultures, water lilies represent eloquence and gracefulness.

July’s bird is the Eagle! How great is that? I personally love eagles and have a collection of them. (I also love Naiveties and owls, but those are other issues). Native American’s see the Eagle as a symbol of strength, leadership, and vision.

And finally, July’s birthstone is the ruby. This gemstone represents passion and love, it is as resilient as sapphires and only slightly softer than a diamond, plus some consider the ruby to bestow harmony, success, and emotional balance and contentment to its wearer.

And I really need to me a ruby ring! J

And Happy Birthday to all July babies! And happy writing everyone.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Stream of Thought by Konnie Enos

Do you ever have one of those weeks with all the best intentions and a nice to do list but then it just doesn’t happen. Seems to me this week there have only been two things I really needed to do other than the normal errands, and I haven’t gotten either one of them done.
One thing I’ve needed to do is finances, which I have worked on, but not completely updated, nor have I done my usual preparations for the new month and payday is coming fast upon us. I’m behind schedule. This means I’m going to be spending, well I’m assuming as much of today and tomorrow, and Friday, and possibly Saturday and again on Monday and probably still on Tuesday as possible updating my checkbook registers, balancing accounts and paying bills. Yes, it takes me that much time. If it was just my own accounts I could do it in a day, but I have to deal with the men in my family too, and their accounts. I could spend all day on how frustrating my husband is and another day on how frustrating our oldest son is, which is almost as bad as his dad.
Then again, I won’t get to spend any full day on finances anyway because my family won’t let me. At some point they’ll need me to run them somewhere or go to the store or there’ll be some reason they need my attention and of course it’ll be more important than getting the bills paid.
The other thing I’ve needed to get done this week, and I even started, at least three different times, was writing this post. Now writing anything has its own set of problems. There is still the very real issue of interruptions, but there is also the problem with losing your train of thought.
Three different time I started this post and got a fair piece written than last my train of thought. I couldn’t finish it. I couldn’t even make sense of what I’d already written. Scrap that. Start again. Then that one didn’t even work.
I can easily blame my distractions. Most of the time I was in the middle of writing and one or more family members would either come in to talk to me or they’d insist I needed to be doing something else. Okay so at least once that was taking them to a doctor’s appointment and another time it was going to the store because we were out of things. But honestly none of those ideas worked because they weren’t well thought out to begin with. Or maybe they were too well thought out. Sometimes just typing what you are thinking works far better than trying to focus on a topic.
I’ve been told, more than once that steam of thought writing can simulate the creative process. Maybe it can. It can sure help get a post written when no ideas are coming to you.
On the home front two special things have arrived in the mail since I last posted. First, and just this week, I received a wedding announcement from my oldest child. The other one was a letter to our youngest daughter accepting her into the program at her college she wanted to get into, her first step on becoming a veterinarian.  
And lastly, next week we celebrate the birth of our nation. I saw a post on Facebook asking what symbolized the Fourth of July to you. My first thought was birthday cake. Bonnie and I celebrate our birthday the next day.
Have a Happy Fourth. Happy Birthday Bonnie.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

POV By Bonnie Le Hamilton

POV stands for point of view, or rather where the person is standing to view a scene. If you’re talking about a place it could be a scenic lookout, but even then, by looking at the same spot from a different direction or distance, you can see something different.

I actually know of a spot, where, when driving a particular road, you’ll see up ahead on the left what looks like a face formed in rock, but as you get closer, that formation will spread out until there is no recognizable face at all. At a distance, the formation appears to be much narrower than it actually is, and only small protrusions of the longer formation can be seen from a distance. And those outcroppings combined with what is visible of the formation appear to be a face.

Prospective makes a huge difference. The same goes with what we are writing in our stories. And I know I’ve said this before, because it can make a big difference. Generally, as writers we tend to lean toward writing a scene in the POV of the character with the most to lose. Essentially, we write a scene in the POV the character with the strongest feelings, in doing so we must recognize that the other characters who view that same scene will view it differently.

Not because of where they are standing, but because of how they are feeling. All of us filter what we see and experience through our own emotions, so each of us experience the same event differently, because we feel them differently.

And just because one character doesn’t like what happens, doesn’t mean another can’t hate the event too, but for totally different reasons. And to say one characters feelings are immaterial is ludicrous. The feelings of one character doesn’t cancel out the feelings of the other, even if you are only showing one POV, both characters have feelings. 

I think the romance novels which have the “he said/she said” scenes depict this quite well, and I’m certain I showed it myself in a phone conversation scene I wrote years ago. In that, I included each character’s feelings to what they were saying and hearing. It was a simple back and forth, but it wasn’t they’re words which told the story it was their thoughts.

Each of them viewed what was being said differently, because they each felt different about it. That isn’t to say one point of view is wrong and the other is right, because they are both correct.
The event is the same, but the emotions are different, and one interpretation of the event doesn’t cancel out the other interpretation because everyone bases the interpretation on their feelings, not on the event itself.

Someone once told me that sometimes you could learn a lot about a character writing a scene from that character’s prospective instead of the one you have. I think that for some it will be an eye opener, just like when we try to see real events from the prospective of someone else. If we do it right, we see the difference and come to understand the other person better, if we do it wrong, the gulf remains.

In writing, we must at least visualize the feelings of every character involved, so that we show their reactions correctly. It is by far not the whole picture, but it is at least some of it.

Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mom’s Big Day by Konnie Enos

Being a mother isn’t the easiest job in the world. There is there no effective guidebooks covering everything so you are pretty much doing just about every single job you can think of all at once. You are also on duty twenty-four/seven from the time you have your first child until the day you die.
As a mother I think the hardest part is raising well-adjusted, capable, human beings. That alone takes a great deal of effort and you’re almost completely on your own.
There are tons of books out there on parenting. And there will probably be lots more. And it would be easy to find parenting books that didn’t agree with each other, or with tips and ideas that really don’t work for your family.
I’m going to repeat myself now. No two people are exactly alike. You can’t find answers in books because there isn’t anybody else exactly like “Jonny”.
Don’t get me wrong. Those parenting books can help. Glean what you can from them, but because each child is an individual, you just have to figure out each of your children to know what works and doesn’t work with them and for your family.
That’s the hard part, and time consuming.
You spend twenty or thirty years putting all your time and effort into raising these kids, hoping for the best, praying they turn out okay and then just waiting to see the end results. That’s all you can do, wait and see how it all turns out.
You watch them as they grow up and always wonder if you are doing things right. If maybe you should handle something differently.
They go through their rough spots, their teenage rebellion, and you’re positive you’re not doing it right. They have problems in school or making friends and you wonder what else you can do or what you did wrong. It never gets easier because every bump in the road you wonder what you did wrong and what you need to change to make things better.
But dealing with another human being means they have a roll in how things turn out too so you can never tell what the outcome will be. With your first born you could just take away the TV, but your second born doesn’t mind spending hours alone in their room. Each child is different. So it’s hit and miss, a learn as you go experience, raising kids.
But one things for sure they are probably not going to come right out and tell you how to raise them or that you are doing things right. That’s why you have to wait and see how they turn out.
My children are getting to the age where I can start to see how they are going to turn out. My oldest will be getting married soon and her two sisters are in college. (My boys are in high school.)
But the real test is seeing how they do raising their own kids. We’re clearly not there yet.
But the other day I had two separate conversations with my two daughters still at home. I don’t remember how either one started other than I was driving each one somewhere, or really what we were talking about to begin with. I also know that I never mentioned my first conversation to the second girl. 
But at some point both my daughters said, “You got it right, Mom.”
I raised them right. I did a good job. Made my day.
Oh, and Happy Flag Day.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Write What You Know by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Writers the world over have probably been told a time or two to write what they know. I heard it a lot in high school, and at some point, I began to wonder how any author could come up with more than one story, if authors can only write what he or she has experienced personally. To my mind, even all those years ago, I didn’t think I’d be able to write a decent story, if I had to stick with only things I’d personally experienced.

I mean I did try. My two novels dating back that far have a heroine who was two years behind in school. That was something I did know. And in one of them, I originally had a scene where the hero and heroine meet while watching a pair of swans taking off in flight from a place called The Oxbow, it’s on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park.

The setting exists, and that pair of swans did once take off in flight, but there had only been one person standing on the bridge above watching — one young lady. Me.

And, just so you know, that’s one sight I will never forget.

But even as I wrote both of these stories, I felt like I wasn’t really writing what I know. Yeah sure, I’d seen those swans myself, and yeah sure, I had been two years behind in school, but neither of those characters were twins. I’m a twin, I know what being a twin is like. And yet, while I have had characters that are twins, I’ve yet to write a story where the heroine is a twin.

And I’m still not sure why.

Then I discovered Dick Francis.

Now anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of his. I have been for years, but well after reading a couple of his books, I started thinking he must have led a fantastical life, considering all the careers he knew so much about. I was beginning to wonder how I could ever write anything when I had such limited experience. Then I learned a few things about him personally.

Number one, he had been a jockey, which explains why horse racing plays such a major role in many of his stories, but he’d also been in a pilot in World War II, explaining his stories where the hero is a pilot. But he never lost a hand; he never suffered the injury his character Sid Haley suffered nor have I ever discovered any information on him saying he was a fraternal twin like his character Kit Fielding.

And what of the artist living on a Scottish mountainside? Or the wine merchant, or the glassblower, and oh so many other characters. He didn’t do all those things! It was physically impossible for one man to have that many careers in one lifetime.

So how did Dick Francis do it?

Research! From what I’ve read of him, he’d interview people in those fields, picked their brains for details, or even follow them around for a few days. And his writing shows that knowledge, making each novel interesting and fresh.

So the take away is, write what you know, but don’t limit yourself to personal experience. Go out there and find the information you need to make your story realistic!

Happy writing everyone. J