Tag Archives: Readers

Quilting A Story

I’ve had success this week. I finished quilting a story. I’m not bragging but vindicating my time spent.

I finished the last revision on the first volume of Wisher’s World, and began putting together my next Short Tales Chapbook, My designer will get the cover for these done this week; the latter one today and the other in a couple of days. It’s been a long haul these last few days.

Pink Quilt--Photo Courtesy of debspoons

Pink Quilt–Photo Courtesy of debspoons

While I work on getting the chapbook off the ground before the weekend, revision work on three short stories for submission begins. Like most writers, different projects come in different sizes, shapes, and needs.

Like a quilter matching fabrics to block designs, the act of writing takes on its small challenges. Take the revision of Wisher’s World Vol. 1, for instance.

This story line has been locked inside my head for several years. In that time, Muse has taken the opportunity to embellish character backgrounds, world dimensions and complications, etc. Also, that instigator of rabbit holes used her time to hide secrets from me. Who knew that one of the primary characters was something other than what I’d believed since 2007?

abstract-medical-background_My3tatDOThat shocker came out during the last chapter. Granted, she gave me a hint something wasn’t as it seemed a few chapters previously, but to change a character’s race? That takes guts, especially since it changes the entire dynamics of the overall story line.

Yep, Muse was on her high horse and not willing to hand over the reins. Will the story be better for that revelation? Probably. But the sudden impact of the change staggered me—sort of like when the quilter gets halfway through putting the quilt top together and realizes that three of her blocks had been reversed in orientation.

All writing is patchwork, after all. A splash of dramatic fabric

Fabric Bolts Photo Courtesy of  franky242

Fabric Bolts Photo Courtesy of franky242

color, an occasional stitch of comedic relief, a repeating pattern of character quirks, and on and on with dots and dashes of design elements.

The complete picture comes from the blending of all the elements. And so the writer’s life imitates the design. One day it’s a novella that’s running far too long. That’s when beta readers are brought in to add their opinions. The next day is creation time—developing a new quilt top pattern for a crib or a king-size bed.

Between keyboard sessions are the other elements of life. A stray image sparks while sitting in a restaurant. A quick note on hand paper to remember that spark for inclusion in something already written, or something in development. An overheard snippet of conversation pulls the mind into a world that exists only in the imagination, and becomes a catalyst for a scene.

I’m no different than most writers. My mind never stops working on story lines. Like fire crackers, neurons fire and ideas are born as exploding images waiting to become bits of a patchwork quilt.

The next six to eight months are full of designs; some old and revamped, some barely begun with incomplete patterns as yet. Regardless, I have plenty of fabric to use and more patterns to draw. Along the way, I’m going to share excerpts here. I hope you’ll chime in with your opinions when I do. Readers are the only real reason to write.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ll be back soon. Have a fantastic weekend, peeps. And enjoy the coming celebrations.

 

At Home—Writers, Readers, and Characters

stack-of-books-on-white-background-vector-illustration_z1m6_xvd

If you’re a reader, you aren’t necessarily a writer. But, if you’re a writer, you’re always a reader. Between the two are the characters of whatever story is in view.

Writers may have penned their stories since childhood, as I did. Others come to it later in life. All read books early, and for many like me, the choice of reading material wasn’t dictated by genre or age group. At age ten, I was reading my mother’s lit book from high school. My favorite selection in it was Tennyson’s Lady of the Lake.

By age twelve I’d moved to Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge. Thirteen brought on the complete works of Shakespeare, thoughtfully provided by my father, who’d never read of word of the Bard’s work. Other masters from around the world followed the Bard. The one, though, that stayed closest to my heart was Omar Khayyam’s The Rubaiyat, which was later supplanted by The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

Because of the era in which I grew up, most of the main characters were male. I longed for female characters that went on quests, made serious decisions, etc. I’d long written my own heroines, but the desire to read those written by others kept the spark of writing alive for many years until such characters began appearing in books and films.

stock-photos-v2-004-008Now, this is my question for you. Whether you’re a reader or a writer, which types of female main characters do you prefer in books? Is she the gentle-souled, romantic who lives the good life, working hard to bring harmony to her world? Is she the Lara Croft type, who wades in, guns blazing, ready for any event and then some? What about the girly-girl, who’s more interested in her appearance at the next event, but who can’t change a light bulb to illuminate her surroundings?

It’s my belief that we all have a favorite type of female lead, just as we have a favorite male lead. The question is: what does that say about the reader?

For me, I like strong female characters; strong in personality and in body. Why? It could be vicarious in nature. I was always strong in both. I was the protector of weaker kids on the playground and the school bus. It was a role I took on voluntarily. I still do it to some degree.

stock-photo-2-011I crave the adventure and excitement of the hero’s journey, regardless of story setting or timeframe. I also enjoy the intellectual stimulation of who-done-its. Truth to tell, I’ll read just about anything that can’t move faster than my questing hands. It was a joke during my adolescence that there was a dictionary in the bathroom for my benefit.

What about those girlie-girl characters? If they’re being put into situations that require stamina, intelligence, and a Wonder Woman outlook, no problem exists. If she’s going to whine through the whole story, this reader lays down the book, never to return. Call it a personal quirk. Like most readers, for me to enjoy the story, there must be character growth along the plotline.

Now, after all this discussion of my personal preferences, have you taken a moment to compare yours? What conclusions did you draw?

Tell me, what type of female characters do you prefer and why do you like them? Leave a comment and tell me. I can’t believe I’m the only one out there with character preferences.

Above all else, readers enjoy reading for the sake of the mental pictures, the characters, and the possibility of learning something. Enjoy a story today.