FOCUS and Our Lives In Story Structure

time dreamingAs I prepare the material for this evening’s writers’ meeting, my mind drifts back in time to an event I can’t relive, can’t change. It was decades ago. I’m no magician. I can’t go back and undo the past; I can only live with the results.

Then I jerk my mind back to focus on the task at hand: preparing notes for the meeting.

We will be discussing the 2nd part of Act II tonight and the Hero’s journey. I’m going over an email a member sent sharing her ideas on this. She writes, “We either go with the flow, give up and be miserable, or we take the risk and go on a journey no matter what we leave behind.”

And my mind wanders to the past again, thinking about my life and comparing it to the Hero’s journey, to the structure of a story. I went with the flow and gave up. I know where that led.

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The Value of Writing Every Day

My goal for more than ten years has been to write a long epic fantasy series, and while I was set on the goal, little had been accomplished. By October 2018, I had two books written and book number 3 containing about 30,000 words. It was far from the epic adventure I’d envisioned more than a decade ago.

For a few years, I’d had wonderful spurts where I’d write 10,000 sometimes 30,000 words in a month, but there were many months I didn’t write anything. And there were writing projects I took on unrelated to the Castle Keepers series. While I’m glad I wrote the humour and two romance novels, they didn’t bring me closer to my goal: author of a ten-book fantasy series.

Last October, I put my foot down and I promised to not only focus on the fantasy series but to write every day. Every day.

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What is Your Character’s Favourite Food?

Biscuits and Cranberry Jam
Homemade cranberry jam on my homemade biscuits.

I read an article last week about character flaws and quirks. Every one should have them unless it’s a nameless character there for one line.

This got me thinking about my characters and their quirks. I love quirks because we all have them, and they make us unique. My characters also have their favourite unique food they like that might not be liked by the average individual. I think everyone has this, too, so it goes well in a story.

I love cranberries, and I’ve eaten cranberry sandwiches for as long as I can remember. All through school—all 13 years—I’ve eaten these sandwiches for lunch. While many classmates in high school bought their lunch at the cafeteria, I brought a bagged lunch with, you guessed it, cranberry sandwiches. It was my thing. When I started working, the main item in my lunch was that sandwich. (PS: I’ve never had a urinary tract infection.)

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The Value of Entertainers in Our Lives

Thank YouI don’t remember a time when strangers singing songs or acting out a story were not part of my life. As a kid in the 70s, I had already formed an attachment to some and called them my favourites.

K. C. and the Sunshine Band, Donna Fargo and Marty Robbins brightened my days with their music, and I sang along with every song. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Linda Carter (Wonder Woman) and  Lindsay Wagner (Bionic Woman) entertained me on the small and big screen, bringing stories to life and enhancing my dreams. The Waltons felt like watching family as there were so many of us and so many of them, and I had always felt like Elizabeth Walton.

The 80s delivered artists such as Bryan Adams, Alabama and John Cougar to my ears. I was in Heaven listening to my Mountain Music and when told to turn off the radio, I’d say, “I Ain’t Even Done with the Night.” I was a teenage, eager to run and see where life would take me, but I also had my down times, and songs like Lonely Ol’ Night and Missing You got me through rough days when my engines revved so high I thought I could jump the moon but couldn’t because I was only 17, and days my heart ached so bad I thought it would break wide open and bleed out.

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Why Do I Write?

Why I writeI’ve been asked many questions over the decades concerning writing, but one that often stands out is: Why do you write?

I’ve answered this with a question of my own: why do you fish, why do you build houses, why do you do what you do? The obvious reason is because I want to.

Telling others why I loved fishing was easier than explaining why I loved to write. I mean, to many, writing was school work, which they were thankfully graduated from and wouldn’t have to do again.

Lately, I get this question with an add on: Why do write so much?

Ten years ago, I couldn’t answer this question nor the simple one (why do you write) as accurately as I can at this moment. It’s not that I’ve thought about it any more; the answer simply comes to me when I’m asked.

Why do I write like a mad woman?

The Short Answer

I have stories that need to be told before I die, and I want to live where I love.

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Book Review: Passing it on Before Passing On by H. L. Foster, M.Ed.

Passing it on Before Passing On

by H. L. Foster, M.Ed.

Rating: 4 Stars

Before I Begin

Let me tell you where I stand before I review this book. I come from a family with a long history of alcoholism. I grew up with a father who couldn’t control his drinking, and I’ve seen aunts, uncles and siblings go down that hard road. I am not an alcoholic; I see things from the other perspective. While I’m not addicted to alcohol, I feel I have developed characteristics stemming from being conceived under the influence and living within the shadow of an alcoholic.

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My Epic Writing and Personal Goals for 2019

Eye on the DestinationAs an epic fantasy writer, I suppose it is only fitting for me to make epic writing goals. Normally, I don’t, but 2019 will be different. I’ve been feeling it in my bones since September that this year was going to be my year.

For the past five or six years, I’ve been all over the place with my writing and editing. I’ve not made a lot of headway with my books; it’s disappointing. I’ve done a lot of work with little to show for it. Last summer, I realised why.

I spent autumn figuring out the best course of action and putting a few things in place. Now that the prep work is complete, it’s time to launch the new goals, ones that will get me closer to what I desire.

Changes

Obviously, there will be changes. To make time in my life to meet my 2019 challenges, I had to reduce time spent on other projects and other types of work. This means, once I finish the two editing/formatting projects scheduled for 2019, I won’t accept others.

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