Thursday, March 31, 2011

Love Your Main Character - Exercise 3

Writing Exercise: What is your main character's idiosyncrasy? Share in Comments Section. 
My response is at bottom.

Idiosyncrasy --  an individualizing quality or characteristic of a person or group, and is often used to express eccentricity or peculiarity ("a peculiar temperament" or "habit of body").

Danya Larson's Idiosyncrasy --

Danya unconscientiously touches and twists the pearl ring on her right hand, especially when she is nervous or anxious. The ring belonged to her late mother. Danya's father gave her the ring when she was 16 years old, along with a pearl necklace and earrings. Danya has worn the ring ever since.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Paying It Forward - Blog Award

I have been awarded the "One Lovely Blog" Award by Heidi Windmiller of 
Thank you, Heidi! I'm honored.

Here is what Heidi said about my blog:

Dawn @ The Write Soil -- Dawn posts interesting writing exercises and encourages followers to do them along with her. I am a new follower of hers, and I see greatness in her future. 
When you win this award, you are to pay it forward to three deserving blogwriters. (Oh Goodie!)

There are so many wonderful blogs out there, but I have chosen the following three because of the encouragement and inspiration they offer. Please stop by to visit them!

I pass the "One Lovely Blog" Award on to:

Inspiration, Art & Creativity by Amanda Trought.
Amanda, your blog is truly lovely. Your art is lovely. Your outlook on life is lovely. I will be coming to visit your blog regularly. It is peaceful and beautiful there. Some of Amanda's posts are Friendship, Balance, and Making Handmade Books.

Pocketful of Playdough by Brianna.
Brianna, I love the honesty in your posts. Each day, I check to see if you have a new one up (no pressure!). My favorites are Saving Cinderella (I laughed and cried!) and This isn't Alice in Wonderland (about your grandmother's Alzheimer's). Your stories on Alzheimer's, Running, and Motherhood are lovely.

Seeds of Encouragement for Christian Writers by Pam.
Pam, Thank you sharing Jesus in your writing ministry! If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be "on fire" to write right now. I love your post Journey to the River (about the ducklings) and Sticks and Stones (a devotion about hurtful words). Pam is currently working on a Devotion for Writers book (go Pam!).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Love Your Main Character - Exercise 2

I'm still working on learning to love my main character, so won't you join me?

Writing Exercise: Write about where your main character would go on vacation. My response is below.

Danya Larson - Beach
By Dawn M. Hamsher

Danya goes to the same place every year for vacation -- to the beach, Ocean City, New Jersey.

Danya rents the same two-room garage loft. It's small, but has everything she needs. She
spends most of her time on the beach, two blocks away. 

In the evenings, Danya walks the boardwalk. She loves Mack & Manco pizza, T & M Monkey Bread and Boardwalk Fries. She loves the book store there, Atlantic Books, where she worked for several summers in college. The owners still welcome her like a daughter and set aside books for her to look through. They know she always takes home at least one beach-type book to remember her trip by.

Danya's father sometimes comes for a day or two on the weekend of her beach trip and they enjoy a nice dinner out, but the rest of the week she is alone (the way she likes it). Free to read, free to sleep, free to take a walk, free to sit and watch tourists. She always finds it amusing to see the tourists coming off the beach, unaware of their angry red skin and the pain they will suffer later.

If there is a rainy evening, Danya will watch the family vacation DVD her father gave her a few years back. It contains old clips of her mother, father and herself at the beach.  

  • Danya sleeping on a beach towel under a shade umbrella. Her mother stroking her baby feet and kissing her cheek.
  • Danya sitting in the sand, crying and reaching for her mother. Her mother would pick her up. She would stop crying. Her mother would set her back down. Danya would start crying because she didn't like the gritty sand on her skin.
  • Her mother holding Danya's hands as the waves came in. Her mother would lift her and her toes would skim the water.
  • Danya helping her mother build a sand castle, decorating it with seashells, seaweed, twigs that they had collected from the shore. 
  • Danya being pulled on a boogie board by her father. After they dried off, Danya's father took the camera and zoomed in on her mother. Her mother was smiling, telling him to turn it off. Her father held the camera sideways and kissed her mother, getting it partly on tape.  Then Danya joined the fun, jumping on them both, knocking the camera to the ground. The film was still running, capturing a jumble of feet and flicking sand.
It had been 26 years since her mother died in the car crash. The beach was the place that Danya felt close to her mother. Danya felt contented there. After watching the tape, Danya would fall asleep, murmuring, "Goodnight, Mama."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why Do You Write?

Writing Exercise: Why do you write?  Write your reasons in the Comments Section. My response is below.

My reasons for writing:
I write for the creativity of it. Ex. Robot
I write to entertain. Ex. Lucky Leprechaun Lotto
I write to help people grow closer to Jesus. Ex. Engraved
I write to learn new things. Ex. My Garden

I write to experience life. Ex. Snow on the Tombstones
I write to improve my book. Ex. Love Your Main Character

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Love Your Main Character - Exercise 1

I love Holly Lisle's Forward Motion for Writers website! Holly gives wonderful insight and advice to new writers. I recommend subscribing to her weekly writing tip.  

In one of her weekly e-mails, Holly talks about the main character:

"You chose this character to be in charge of your story, to have the juiciest role, to be the star of the book, because out of all the characters you're writing in that story, THIS character is the most interesting, the most important...and the one in the most trouble."
Holly goes on to say that a lot of writers make the mistake of giving the good lines to villains or minor characters. Holly encourages writers to love their main character and make them #1.

Wow! It hit me. I had made that exact misake! I didn't love my main character, Danya. I thought that she was boring. Uh oh...I'm in trouble.

I decided to stop working on my book until I could fall in love with my main character. Here's the writing exercise I decided to try.

Writing Exercise: Learn more about your main character. Write about his/her childhood memories.  
My response is below.
Danya Larson, memory from 1st grade, age 6 --

Danya stood on a step stool, staring at her mother. Her mother lay there, with perfect make-up and poufy hair. Danya knew that her mother hated her hair like that. She liked it straight, combed back into a ponytail.

Her mama always said, "You look just like me, Danya. See, our hair is exactly that same."

Danya remembered her mother smiling at her through the mirror, their heads together, both with blond hair pulled back into pony tails.

Danya whispered now to her mother, "Mama, you don't like your hair like that."

No response.

"You don't like it like that," she said again, a little louder, her eyes filling tears.

Even louder she said, "Daddy, she doesn't like her hair like that."

Then Danya began screaming, "She hates her hair like that!  Why did they make her hair like that? Why did they..."

Everyone was staring at her, but she didn't notice. She felt her father's arms surround her. She sobbed into his suit jacket. She felt the white carnation crush against her cheek, but she didn't care.

Her father stroked her hair, saying, "Shhhhhh, honey. Shhhhhhhh. It's OK. We'll fix it before the funeral. You're right, she'd hate it. We'll fix it."

He carried Danya to a seat and began to rock her back and forth. He was crying too. She could feel his
tears land on her neck.

People were trying to talk to Daddy.  Why don't they go away? She's ours. Not theirs. I don't want them to be here.

That's all Danya remembered from that time. She didn't even remember the funeral. Her grandmother had commented later that she had acted like a zombie. Her father defended Danya saying, "Margaret, she's numb. She's in shock. We're both in shock. Just leave her alone."

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Writing Prompt: What does the word "satisfy" mean to you? Write about it today. My response is below.

Today, the Lord pointed out the word "satisfy" to me in two different scriptures. Coincidence? I don't think so.  So, what is God trying to tell me?

I need to be satisfied in life?
I need to be satisfied in the Lord?
I need to seek Him more?
I need to satisfy the needs of my family?
Yes, to all those things.

OK, how do I do all that? 

1. I need to make time for scripture reading and praying daily.
(I haven't been doing that lately.)

2. I need to back off on blogging some.
(I've been getting ready for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, which is good, but I've spent every waking moment doing it, which is not good.)

3. I need to spend more quality time with my family.
(They are bowling right now and I didn't go...sigh.)

OK, I know what my priorities are. I just need to implement!
(Lord, give me the strength to do what I need to do. Help me to feel satisfied in You and to be there more for my family. Amen.)

Whew, I needed that. Thanks for reading my therapy post :0).  Getting off the blog for the rest of the day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lucky Leprechaun Lotto

Writing Prompt: Let's pretend that today is your lucky day! You just won a million dollars from Lucky Leprechaun Lotto! Write about what you would do with the money.

Due to my practical nature, I'd spend the money paying off debt, saving for old age, and giving to church. Since this would be boring, I've decided to write fiction instead. My response is below.

Lucky Leprechaun Lotto
By Dawn M. Hamsher

[Low Country News at 5]

Bill: And now we go live to Goose Creek, South Carolina, where Dalia has a “From Rags to Riches” good news story.

Reporter: Thank you, Bill. Welcome to Low Country News at 5. It’s March 17, 2011 and I’m Dalia Charlton. Boy, do we have a story for you on this fine St. Patty’s Day! I’m here with a very lucky man. This is Zeek "Bubba" Johnson of Goose Creek, South Carolina, who won the Lucky Leprechaun Lotto today, raking in a whopping one million dollars!

Bubba: Hi Mom!

Shanna: (butting in) Hi Keisha, Hi Ashley, Hi Holly Beth. I’m on TV, girls!

Reporter: (taking over) Mr. Johnson bought the winning ticket at the Quickie Stop on Redbank Road on March 2.

Bubba: (leaning in to the microphone) Mr. Johnson’s ma daddy. You can call me Bubba.

Reporter: (getting flustered) OK.  Mr…I mean Bubba. Bubba says he just felt lucky that day. He went into the Quickie Mart to get chewing tobacco and saw the lucky green lotto tickets for sale. He bought $10 worth. He recounts how he almost lost the winning ticket driving to the lake with the windows open.

Bubba: Yep, I was drivin’ my ‘81 Ford F-150 Pickup; I had the radio on real loud to the country station and the truck was kickin’ up dust. I had my lotto tickets stuck in the visor when I hit a pot-hole and the tickets went flying.

Reporter: You stated that you slammed on the breaks and then had to search the truck inside and out for all the tickets? (Bubba nodded) But one was never recovered?

Bubba: Yeah that right. Sure glad that
one wasn't the winner! 

Reporter: Bubba, the Low Country wants to know what you plan to do with the money?

Bubba: I'm gonna buy me a mess o' Coonhounds. Then I'm a gonna buy a new Hemi and get me new aluminum hunting dog crates for the truck bed.  I seen ‘em on the internet. And, I’m gonna buy my mama a brand new trailer, one of those new double-wides. And I’m thinkin’ about getting’ 2 new shotguns.

Shanna: My turn!

Reporter: And this is Bubba’s girlfriend, Shanna Tate who is beside herself with happiness.

Shanna: Yep, I was there in the trailer when they called off the numbers.  I started screaming and jumpin’ up and down.  Then I had to call all my friends, like Suzette and Renee...

Reporter: (interrupting) Did you want to comment on what you’d like to purchase with the money?

Shanna: Oh yeah! Bubba is gonna buy me a real gen-u-ine diamond ring!  He also told me buy something nice for myself, so I'm gonna get one of those there tiaras at Claire's and wear it to make all my friend's jealous. Then, Bubba is gonna take me to a nice restaurant, like Bessinger's BBQ!

Reporter: Well, we’re out of time. This has been live, on location in Goose Creek. I’m sure this fortune won't be wasted on Bubba and his kin. Happy St. Patrick's Day! Back to you, Bill.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring is Coming

Writing Exercise: Observe the changes in nature (Spring) and write about it. My response is below.

Spring is Coming
By Dawn M. Hamsher

The lake is slowly melting, it’s not yet spring. A gentle rain falls softly on us. It’s warm for early March and we walk the dogs on the gravel path around the lake, smelling earth and wet leaves. The dogs run ahead, through pines and naked hardwoods, sniffing. 
I look out on the lake. The center looks like white frosted glass, where the ice has not yet melted.  Further in, the ice is marred by pock-marks and at shoreline, it has completely turned to liquid.  Small streams of water flow at the edge of the whole lake, warmed by the earth. 

My feet squish on wet gravel and mud. I see two ducks, one male, one female at the water’s side. I breathe deeply. I feel at ease. I can begin to shrug off the long, harsh winter. Spring is coming.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Writing Exercise: Meditate & write on a passage of scripture.
chosen Isaiah 49:16 (NIV). "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."

By Dawn M. Hamsher

How wonderful to know that God loves me so much that I am engraved on his palms! I am not written in pencil or washable ink.  I am engraved and therefore, never out of His sight.

How comforting to know that God has me cradled in His hands. His hands are strong and powerful. No matter what is going on in my life, I can rest in His capable hands, for He is in control.

How joyous to know that if God has engraved me on his hands, then he has also made me permanent in the Book of Life. I look forward to eternal life in heaven.

How sobering to know that my engraving then must rest in the nail holes in Jesus' hands. Those holes were put there by human sin, including mine, when Jesus was nailed to the cross. Though, Jesus' death was necessary to reconcile us to God, it is sad to think that my sin helped kill Jesus.

How humble I feel to be redeemed. I don't deserve it, but God loves me that much that nothing I did or can ever do will separate me from my Lord since I chose to follow Him.

How thankful I am to be permanently engraved on the palm of God's hands.

God would like to engrave you on his hands too.  Just ask Jesus
to be
your savior and it will be done.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Writing Prompt: Write on the word "Alien" for 15 minutes.
My response to the exercise is below.

The fuzzy creature scurried across the floor, half running on four paws, half rolling on its entire body. When rolling, electrical charges sparked across the top of its roundish body. The creature was only the size of a softball, but fast like a green lizard.  It's fur, if you could call it that, was an odd shade of green and reminded Jerry of soft wires. He didn't know how to describe what he was seeing. The greenish colors on the fur changed like oil sheen as he moved. 

The alien seemed to be drawn to electricity. He rolled to the TV, then to the lamp, then to the portable fan, like he was searching for something. Then he rolled into a corner and stopped. Our old house has electrical outlets directly on the floor. Was he over top one? I peeked slowly around the corner. The creature was still for a moment.  My heart was pounding. Then, I heard "Zurpppp" sound and I saw a spark. Then a metallic popping noise began to radiate from the creature, seeming to hum a rhythm. 

I reached for the camera, which was sitting on the lamp stand a few feet away from me. I had to get a photo of this or no one would believe me. Slowly, slowly. I had it. I carefully held it up to me eye and pushed the button to turn the camera on.  The camera made a small sound, which caused the creature to rear it's small head in my direction.  It's three purple eyes were bugging out. There was a loud pop and all the lights in the house went off and in that startled second, he was gone.  I was left holding a camera that was ready to take a photo.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Writing Prompt: Write on the word "Robot" for 15 minutes. Below is what I wrote on the topic. Also linked to Sunday Scribblings prompt "Clean".

by Dawn M. Hamsher

I am the silver robot standing unused in the closet. My name is KLN3000. My gender was programmed as female due to the nature of my work, cleaning. I wait patiently to be activated (all robots are programmed for patience).  According to my calculations it had been 8 days, 3 hours, 22 minutes since my last use. This was way over the owner manual's recommendation. I should be deployed on a daily basis so that cleaning can be done properly. Also, my compartment is full of dust and dirt.  The humans have failed to fulfill that manual requirement also. They should clean me after every use to prevent component failures. Sigh. This assignment has not lived up to my programming. Better save battery life, charging down till human's activate.

"Beep! Beep! Beep!" My sound regulator announces that I've been activated! Room coming into view. Components on-line.  Compartment is still full.

Giving error message, "Trash compartment in KLN3000 is full.  Please remove compartment, empty contents, and replace empty compartment. Thank you." 

The human follows the directions.

I respond, "To activate KLN3000 for dusting, press 1. To activate for floor sweeping, press 2". 

The human presses 2.  My floor motors burst into life and begins sucking particles off the floor. My rollers begin spinning and I am propelled slowly forward.  My internal clock starts counting down the allotted 15 minutes of vacuuming. Hmmmmmmmmm........ I am doing the job I was made for!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Personification - gives human qualities to something that is not human, such as an animal, an object, or an idea.

(Ex. The rusty pinking shears screamed in protest when forced to open her jagged teeth.)

Writing Exercise: Practice using personification. Choose an animal, object or idea and give human qualities to it. Some ideas are listed below. Write your personification in the comments section!
  • window 
  • hunger
  • hamster
  • invisible
  • carpet

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blog Design

Exercise for Bloggers: Read the articles below and evaluate your blog's design.   
Anatomy of a Great Blog Design by Danny Brown gives great advice on these blog design topics
  • Custom Header 
  • Blog Layout
  • Blog Navigation 
  • Blog Typography
    I've been having fun customizing my header (you might see several headers before I find the exact look I want). Feel free to leave comments or suggestions about my blog design. I'm still a newbie!


Metaphor - compares two seemingly unlike things without using like, as, than, or resembles. A metaphor says that something is something else.

(Ex. My sports car was a rocket on a test launch, flying through the night.)

Writing Exercise: Practice using metaphors. Write three metaphors, one for each of these bullets.  You choose the comparing word for each.  Share your metaphors in the comments section!
  • mother and _____________
  • Frisbee and _____________
  • goat and _____________

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Simile - compares two seemingly unlike things using words like, as, than, or resembles.

(Ex. The melting ice on the lake resembled a pot-holed street in need of repair.)

Writing Exercise: Practice using similes. For inspiration try comparing some of the below words together.  Should make for some interesting similes! Share one of your similes in the comment section.

clouds                space ship             hair              turkey             rainbow
her face             stove                   melon            cashier            steel
feet                   anchovies             boat              oil                  bird seed
house                 blanket                gold               laundry           camper
salad                  dream                 thread            guitar             lamp
pumpkin             tidal wave             desert            computer        church
garbage dump     angel                    glove             tail                 puzzle
sheets                book                    soap              goggles           push pin

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Revealing Setting

Writing Exercise: Write a setting that will tell the reader about a character without presenting the character directly.

On her blog Pocketful of Playdough Brianna give us the above challenge on her post Fun Character Exercise. My setting is below. What does the setting reveal about the character? [This setting is adapted from the book I am writing, The Library Chronicles.]

Revealing Setting
By Dawn M. Hamsher

The cramped paneled room had two mismatched bunk beds (one red metal, one dark lacquered wood), one on either wall, a dresser under the tiny window, and another dresser stuffed in the closet.  The three boys utilized the dressers and the clothes rack in the closet. But the one who used the fourth bunk had no dresser and was only allotted the space under the bunk for storage.  While the rest of the room was a mess of unmade sheets, tossed football uniforms and empty soda cans, this bunk was different. The comforter was worn, but clean. A handmade orange cat pillow lay on the blue checkered blanket. The floor under the bunk boasted five rows of carefully folded items: jeans, t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, hoodies, and sneakers (two pairs deep). Behind the clothes were two white bins.  One held underclothes and socks, while the other held hair beads, pony tail holders, plastic colored barrettes, headbands and a thin shiny silver belt.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What Could I Do?

Writing Exercise: Search on-line for a magazine that accepts submissions. Write and edit an article to submit.

What Could I Do? [submitted to Pockets, a Christian Child's Devotional, Upper Room] 
by Dawn M. Hamsher

Everybody was talking about it. A really powerful earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, 2010. The news said 316,000 people died and 300,000 more were injured. 

Even though I’d never been to Haiti, I, Gillian, felt I had to do something for all those people who were hurt and had lost their homes. But I’m only ten years old, so what could I do?

I decided to ask my mom for ideas on ways to help, but most of the time she frowned and tried to change the subject. Once though, she did tell me a news story about a boy in England who did a bicycle race, which raised thousands of dollars for Haiti. 

Hmmm…good idea. 

“Could I do a bike race?” I asked her.

“No,” Mom said. “Riding on the streets with traffic would be dangerous.” 


“What about a scooter race instead?”

“No, Gillian,” Mom said. “Not everyone has a scooter and it could also be dangerous.”  
Shot down twice.

So, I started thinking safety.  What would be safe from cars and could be done on sidewalks? Walking. That’s it! I could get lots of people to walk through town and we could earn lots of money to give to Haiti! This one was going to work, I just knew it.

“What about a walk?” I asked Mom.

“I don’t know. A big walk through town would require police to help people cross at intersections and someone could still get hurt.”

“How do you get hurt walking?” I asked.

She didn’t really answer me, but started talking about a big word: “liability”.  I don’t know what that is, but I know that Mom is afraid of it.

Rats. Do you see where this is going?

I was beginning to think that my mom wasn’t going to give in. I knew though that we were supposed to help people in trouble. It says so in the Bible:

Luke 3:10-11 (NLT) The crowds asked, “What should we do?” John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”

So, I wasn’t going to give up. Here’s what I did.

     I told my mom that Jesus would want us to help Haiti. Then, I begged her every day until she gave in. Once mom was onboard, things got moving.  
  • We planned. We did decide to do a walk, but instead of walking through town, we picked a local park that was closed to traffic.
  • We researched charities and found the one we wanted the money to go to.
  • We asked for help. I got my best friend, Megan, my Girl Scout troop, and my church to help (and God even helped by giving us a warm day for the walk). We made posters, baked cookies, and collected money.
  • We did it! On Mar. 17, 2010, we walked for Haiti. By getting sponsors, selling baked goods, and setting up a donation table at church, we raised over $2,000!
Mom says she’s proud of me for not giving up. She says I helped her faith grow by seeing us kids make such a big difference. I think she’s right. Kids can do awesome stuff, buy they might have to do a little begging and not give up!

So, now that I figured out what I could do, I ask you, “What can you do?”

Girls pose beside poster they made and the bake sale table

Stretching before Walk for Haiti