I am always amazed at the ability of people to knuckle down and respond to off the wall writing prompts. And respond with grace and wit. My students are writing police procedural, fantasy, women's fiction, environmental issues, and what appears to be a Southern Gothic ghost story -- all books I look forward to reading someday.
Monday was spent in talking/writing about their protagonists and I think each of the students got a clearer sense of who those folks were or will be.
I assigned them the task of doing observations -- noting down interesting overheard conversations, descriptions of interesting sights, random profound thoughts -- anything that might find its way into a novel. And they had some goodies.
One of my observations was the bumper-stickered car I posted yesterday. One could construct an interesting character from the passions inferred -- or one could describe a character by the bumper stickers on his/her car.
(Query -- are bumper stickers a peculiarly American thing? Do people in other countries paste their preferences on their cars?)
Yesterday we worked on dialogue -- writing believable conversations, using BEATS instead of TAGS (see HERE) to enrich the reader's sense of what is going on, writing dialogue in which one participant is silent but responds with body language, writing dialogue when more than two are in the conversation, et cetera, et cetera.
While they write, sometimes I go out and take pictures. And sometimes I blog.
Then they read what they've written and the class comments.
And then I give them another prompt and off they go!
Arrived at John C. Campbell after what should have been a two and a half hour trip stretched to almost four due to a serious traffic jam. I was tempted by but, due to time constraints, couldn't stop at the American Museum of the House Cat next to an Antique Mall. Perhaps on the way home. . . .
Have met my class and sent them off with a writing assignment for tomorrow. I want them to introduce their main character from that character's point of view AND from the point of view of someone who doesn't much like them or sees them differently.
It's a diverse group and I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with.
Folks often ask about (or seem to see) family resemblances in babies. I'm no different -- to me, Josie looks like her father when he was a baby. For all I know, she may look like Claui too but I haven't seen pictures of Claui as a baby.
Ethan, Vicki, and Justin, 1978
Justin sees the resemblance but points out that Josie is prettier . . .
Claui and Josie
You be the judge . . .
John and Justin, 1978
John and Justin, 1978
I'm off today for week of teaching at John C. Campbell Folk School. I should have internet access but one year it was down. So don't be worried if I don't post.
As always, I hate to leave home for fear of missing something. My big pink Oriental lily(I think it's a Stargazer) is about to bloom --for the first time since I planted it two or three years ago.
And, of course, Josie. She is changing so fast -- beginning to interact with me and really lock eyes. She had a little spell of looking as if she was trying to talk when I was talking to her and making faces. And she smiles!
A week is so short -- for me it's just a blip in the 3, 862 or so that I've lived so far but for her right now, it's one fifth of her whole life.
An assortment of strange life forms on the ocean floor?
A collection of odd mineral formations in a recently discovered cave?
A collection of growths on the floor of the Senate? Beings that function without hearts, enabling them to cut taxes for the wealthy and drive up the profits of the insurance industry while cutting health care from the most vulnerable?
Nope, it's just the cream of asparagus soup that's been lost in the back of the refrigerator too long.
Whew! For a minute I thought I spotted Mitch McConnell!
Seriously, if you are opposed to this disaster of a health bill, let your Congress critters know, loud and clear.
(Yes, I hear you -- first a giant spider and now this. I'll get some Josie pics up ASAP.)
June 25-July 1 -- John C. Campbell Folk School. I'll be teaching A Practical Guide to Writing Popular Fiction. Your novel starts here with this intense, week-long class. We will focus on writing realistic dialogue and creating characters that move through and interact with a fully realized setting. We will discuss different approaches to plotting, tricks for building suspense, means of ensuring continuity, and the avoidance of info dumps. We'll also talk about forming or joining critique groups, the ins and outs of self editing, agents and how to query them, as well as the various publishing alternatives available today. All levels welcome. Link to JCC HERE.
All images and content are subject to copyright and are the sole property of Vicki Lane Mysteries. If you would like to use something from my blog on your blog or website, please email me and ask first. I'll probably say yes.
I'm the author of The Elizabeth Goodweather Full Circle Farm Appalachian Mysteries from Bantam Dell. The series includes SIGNS IN THE BLOOD (LA MONTAGNE DES SECRETS in France), ART'S BLOOD, (LE SECRET DES APPALACHES in France,) OLD WOUNDS,IN A DARK SEASON (Anthony Nominee, Best PBO), and UNDER THE SKIN. There's also THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS (a spinoff/standalone)chronicling the unexpected life story of Miss Birdie, one of Elizabeth's neighbors.
Currently I have just completed a historical novel, dealing with a massacre in my county during the Civil War.
I came to this weird business late (my first novel was published in 2005) and am still trying to figure it out.
As my novels are set in a place much like my real life home, I thought I'd use this blog to share pictures of our farm and county. I've been blogging for nearly nine years now, on an almost daily basis, and the topics have ranged from writing, chickens, food, books, quilts, flora and fauna of all sorts, to the occasional tiny rant. There's no plan, but there are lots of pictures.
There's more information about me and my books on my web site: http://vickilanemysteries.com/