Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Strong Dialog Series #1

I've been reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (1993 edition). When I read the chapter on Dialogue Mechanics, I wanted to create visuals to go with the tips. Note: These contain my wording and examples, but the idea was inspired from the book. I'll post one a day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Re-Name My Characters!

I need help with four of my character names! Below I have listed the current name and a brief description. Based on that, could you suggest some fitting names?

1. Stock - Bad guy, does the dirty work for the lead bad guy. He is stocky, thick-headed, dim-witted, and likes to eat roast dog (yeah, gross!). Balding. He's not a mean person by himself, but he's in a bad crowd and follows out orders that are pretty nasty. He has no problem killing if the boss tells him to do it. He desperately wants approval from his partner in crime. His favorite past-time is wrestling and whittling. He's made some really nice wood carvings.

2. Tess Gilmour - Looking for a new last name for Tess. Tess is African American, vibrant, artsy, adventurous, and a good friend. She studies people and gets to know them. She is interested in the little things and gains trust easily. Her outfits are colorful. She loves long skirts and gaudy jewelry. She is a painter and sculpture. She always has her sketchbook and pencils.

3. Annalee (This name is okay, but I'd like some other options) - She runs a tavern called The Good Traveler in a rural location of my made-up world. She has seen hard times. Her son was kidnapped 30 years ago and she never got him back. She is a hard worker. Often overworked and tired. Older looking than she really is. Thin. Husband is a good man, but he is lazy. She has blond hair, which is turning gray. She is sharp and knows how to run her inn well. Task-oriented.

4. Cemetery Keeper (aka Gatekeeper) - Need a real name for him. He is old. Knees are shot. Needs to retire. Missing two teeth and eye sight is failing. Has protected the cemetery for 42 years. Short and slight in stature, but stronger than he looks. Lives alone. Whistles to keep himself company. Loves to hear a good story.

5. Dodds vs. Dubbs - Do you have a preference between these too names? All we know about this bad guy is that he flubbed up a job and the lead bad guy killed him off. He's mentioned several times. 

If you would like to offer suggestions, just put the corresponding number with the suggested name in the Comment Section (Example: 1. Brodrick). Thanks for your help!

Monday, August 29, 2011

See Photo Write - Bottles of Lies

Today was my day to post for Monday's  
See Photo Write photo prompt on 1st Writes. 
I wanted some fantasy!  
If you'd like do this writing prompt, write a post and linky it on the See Photo Write link above! Below is my response. 
Bottles of Lies
by Dawn M. Hamsher

Alandra's aunt had always been a wild beauty with admirers from kingdoms near and far. Alandra never questioned the beauty until today when Mab stopped by. 

"Oi 'ave a package for Mistress."

"I'll give it to her for you."

"Oh, no young miss. It's only for 'er. Can't leave it, but oi late and Missus Blightly is a right crank, she is."

"Really Mab! Do you think I wouldn't give a package to my aunt?"

"Oh dear, oh dear, o' course you would. Forgive me, Miss." Mab bowed and quickly stuffed a small package into Alandra's hands, closing her fingers around it. She leaned in and her oniony words said, "This be only for your aunt 'n remind her to follow the directions exactly. I best hurry now!"

Alandra carried the package in and unwrapped its silvery paper and twine to reveal a little ornate bottle filled with a pearly white liquid. Attached to it was a hand-written note from the famous potion-maker herself.

Porcelain Skin Potion

Two drops, no more.

One per cheek will make skin like fine china.

As with the others, apply at sunrise.

Alandra slipped into her aunt's room and easily spotted the bottles on her dressing table. She could tell they were all from Golweina. They all had the same silver bases and slender tops. 

Alandra had always assumed that they were perfumes, but had wondered why Aunt Deidre had flown into a rage one day when she caught Alandra looking at one. Now she knew. They were powerful beauty potions, not to be played with.

Alandra set the bottle down with thump and looked in the mirror at her own reflection. She pushed her hair behind her ears. She could easily find fault with her crooked smile, her plain brown hair, and her ears that were a little too pointy. There was a time when she would have tried a potion, but not now. Drayden loved her the way she was. She smiled at that.

She left the potion, with its note still attached, there in front of the others, sitting on top of its silvery paper. She knew her aunt would be angry, but at least there would be no more lies.

The Campaign

I am a Campaigner!

What's that mean?

Official Goal: The Platform-Building Campaign (formerly called Crusade) is a way to link
writers, aspiring authors, beginner bloggers, industry people, and published authors 
together with the aim of helping to build their online platforms.

My Goal: Network with other writers to encourage and be encouraged.

Click the Shield to go to Rachel Harrie's Campaign post.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

ShoutOutSaturday (S.O.S)

Every Saturday I SHOUT OUT a favorite blog or post!

                             Today's love goes to:

'Inspire Me' Link Up over at Heart and Soul Pursuits Blog: 
Do you have an inspiring story to share or do you just want to read some inspiring stories? If so, this is the place! What a great way to share our writing and encourage others!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Spark Blogfest - Post #5

Today's post is about blogs that "spark" me!

Spark 1 -- 2 Encourage
I shared about Pam on Post #1, but today I am sharing her blog because it is so encouraging to Christian writers. So, pour a cup of tea, visit her blog, and stay awhile. She's a kindred spirit.
Playdough is fun. It's creative. It's soft and pliable. Many colors can be smooshed together to create something remarkable. Brianna's blog is playdough. I go there everyday to to see what's in her pocket. Her stories are honest and from the heart...and I love them.

Spark 3 -- Writercize
You know how that power walk, swim, or run gives you energy and makes you feel great afterwards? Writing is no different. If you want to get rid of the flab, you need to writercize. Join Alana, your personal trainer, and try her writing exercises!

Spark 4 (Honorable Mention) -- =]v[=  
I have to mention Matt Conlon's Stick I.T. Comics. They are hilarious and they inspired me to write my own comics!

What blogs "spark" you?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Spark Blogfest - Post #4

Today's post will be a little different for Sparkfest. I'm turning it into a writing exercise!

Writing Exercise: Write about "a spark" for 10 minutes.  

My response is below.

The spark fluttered and sputtered in the darkness. The tiny pinpoint of glimmering light moved slowly through the forest, searching. It stopped occasionally to rest on tree branches, but only for a moment at a time. It was careful not to cause damage. If the wood started to smoke, the spark reluctantly moved on. No need to burn the whole forest down because of his failure.

How could he have lost her! He had the perfect disguise, a single, minute spark, not even the size of a flame. Perhaps that is why he did lose her. He had become bedazzled by the light of the roaring campfire as it crackled around him. When he looked to where she had been standing, he saw only the scruffy men, some drunk, some singing, some already snoring. The girl, who he was paid so richly to follow, was gone.

I'd love to have you join in! 
Continue the story in the Comment Section or write your own "spark" entry!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Spark Blogfest - Post #3

Today I'm answering this question from Christine Tyler's Sparkfest:

What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current WIP?

My WIP, which is my first book, is Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure. 

The author that inspired it is the greatest author of all time...

God. Yep, God! He gave me the idea for the book and has hand in it every step of the way. Whenever I get stuck, I open the Bible and there are words that inspire me and words that directly relate to my book (and yes, it is fiction). It has been an awesome experience to write with God's help.

I've heard people say that first books never get published.
Q: Do I think mine will? 
A: If God wants it published, it will be published.

Is God/Jesus ever a part of your writing?  If so, how has that made a difference? 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Spark Blogfest - Post #2

Today I'm answering this question from Christine Tyler's Sparkfest:
What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer? 

This little chapter book (yes, I still have it), M for Mischief by Richard Parker, copyright 1965, is what sparked me! 

I was in the third grade when I read it. It was about 3 children who found an old stove in a summer cottage. The strange thing about it was that it only had one setting -- "M". The children boiled an egg on "M" and when Andrew ate it, he disappeared.  The stove was magic!

As soon as I read the book, I tried to write my own book filled with magic, but it did not turn out very well.

That was my start. How about you? What childhood book inspired you?

Monday, August 22, 2011

See Photo Write

This is my 2nd post today. Scroll down for Sparkfest entry!

Monday's photo prompt on See Photo Write screams science fiction! I've never written that, so I'm excited to give it a try! If you'd like do this writing prompt, write a post and linky it on the See Photo Write link above!

Below is my response. 

Solitary Confinement
by Dawn M. Hamsher

The moon of Lydria was just a sliver on the horizon now. I'd watched this stupid moon for a month now inside this cramped security pod. How long would I have to wait to be summoned for my trial?

The pod, model CELL5800, was a spacious 6' x 6', one of the newest in the Galaxy fleet, so I had been told by the disgusting half-breed Mercenian guard. How lucky for me. There was just enough room to stretch out. Just enough room to go insane.

I have had plenty of time to explore my environment.  I have a luxurious seat, which folds down as a bed and up as a waste disposal unit. I have an exercise bar from the ceiling and I can turn the compartment's gravity on and off whenever I want or set it to the gravity level of my choice. Now that's freedom! 

The pod is installed with a 24 hour voice recorder. I guess they are hopeful that the solitary confinement will cause me to confess. Before being stuffed in here, another detainee yelled to me, saying that the pod will immediately take me to the security base for sentencing if I confess. Good to know. I wonder how many innocents confess just to get out of the box. Most of the time I just sing as loud and as off-key as I can in hopes that Security might tune in and get an agonizing earful.

The pod's autovender is stocked with waste disposal wipes, stale water, and 2 months worth of meals. Great. And first rate meals they are too, all dehydrated. I'd only heard about the brand DexGourmet before this. But now I can say I've had the pleasure of trying all the delicious-sounding meals: Blackened Leon Eel with Churod Rice, Savory Gero Tips and Kuloroots, Silon Pasta with Wild Truffions. Now I know the truth; They taste just like plasteen containers they come in. 

Oh, I almost forgot the best part of the pod. The window. The window with the most excellent view. Well, it was excellent for about a week. Now, I can't stand it. The water never changes. The darkness never changes. Only the moon changes like the slow creeping of time. I wonder how many other poor souls are out here in security pods, living out their own hell.   

OK, blog buddies, did you like this? I enjoyed it so much I want to write more! Right now I have no idea if my character is male or female or if he/she is innocent or even what the charge is. What are your thoughts? Should I write more?

The Spark Blogfest - Post #1

For the opening day of Sparkfest, I'm going to answer the question on the Sparkfest button:

Who set you off?

Her name is Pam.

Two years ago I walked into a writer's group at my church and Pam was the leader. I really had no expectations. I wanted to try something different. I had no idea that it would change my life. 

Pam started with devotions and then did a writing exercise. Write about "a sound" for 17 minutes. I wrote furiously about the slap slap of double dutch ropes, one of my childhood memories. That set me off. 

At home, I began writing about more childhood memories and then about some painful adult memories. Not too long after, I began writing a book. Two years later, I have two published devotions, a blog, and I'm editing my book.

Pam is the one who set me off. Her writing ministry is the reason I am writing today. She is a kindred spirit and a calming, steady rock who is always there for us newbie writers. Her encouragement and support has helped me blossom. I cherish her as a mentor and a friend.

If you would like to get to know Pam, she is at 2 Encourage and 1st Writes.

So, who set you off?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

ShoutOutSaturday (S.O.S)

Every Saturday I'm going to SHOUT OUT a favorite blog or post!

                             Today's love goes to:

Sabina at Solo Female Traveler:
I will never be a world traveler, but I can experience the world through Sabina! Check out her amazing travels to the Middle East!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Spark Blogfest

I'm gearing up for the Christine Tyler's Spark Blogfest from Aug. 22-26! -->
To join, click the link and sign up. Then post that week about any of these three questions.
What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer? 
What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?
Or, Is there a book or author that changed your world view?

As writers, we're always striving to get out a message of inspiration to others. This blogfest is a celebration for those who have done this for us. Join the Spark Blogfest, aka Sparkfest, by posting your answer to any of the three prompts above (or make one up as long as it fits the theme).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Killer First Sentences

Yeah, I'm attending WriteOnCon!  I just got done reading "How to Write a Killer First Sentence" by Jodi Meadows. She offers advice and lists examples of great firsts and why they are killer

Her closing question "What are some of your favorite first lines? Why?" inspired today's Writing Exercise.

Writing Exercise: Go get a stack of books. Write down the first line from each one. Evaluate each one. Did it work or not? Why? Share one of these in the Comment Section. My response is below.

I picked 5 books off my shelf.

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The tired old carriage, upped by two tired old horses, rumbled onto the wharf, its creaky wheels bumpety-bumping on the uneven planks, waking Peter from his restless slumber.
Nope, didn't work for me, except for the fact that I knew the Peter he is speaking about is Peter Pan, which is why I bought the book. Don't get me wrong, I like carriages and wharfs, but the sentence is boring. So, let's read one more line to see if it gets better.
The carriage interior, hot and stuffy, smelled of five smallish boys and one largish man, none of whom was keen on bathing.
Yes, this worked for me and got my attention. It involved the sense of smell and it made me wonder why 6 of them were stuffed in. Where were they going? To a ship? I want to read more to find out.

Wobegon Boy by Garrison Keillor
 I am a cheerful man, even in the dark, and its all thanks to a good Lutheran mother.
It works for me! I am hooked and I haven't even read the book yet (it is my husband's). I will add it to my reading list. First, happy and dark don't go together, so that's intriguing and then throw in a Lutheran mother. I want to read just to see where he can possibly go with that!

Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer
The first thing Hannah said to the dog: "I don't know if there's enough room for you on this island. I'm already here." 
Yes, it works. Will she keep the dog? I want to know. You already learn a lot about Hannah from these two sentences. She is a loner. Will she let anyone into her world?

For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
He lay flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees.
Nope, didn't work for me. I thought it was boring, so I read one more line about a mountainside and a road, but I was still bored. 

Redwall by Brian Jacques
Matthias cut a comical little figure as he wobbled his way along the cloisters, with his large sandals flip-flopping and his tail peeping from beneath the baggy folds of an oversized novice's habit.
Yes, it worked for me! I can exactly imagine the character and I like him! I want to know more about the little critter. I can picture the young mouse tripping over his own feet.

Now, it's your turn! Please share a first sentence and why it worked or didn't work for you!

Monday, August 15, 2011

See Photo Write Challenge - Girl in the Mist

Wow, striking photo on 1st Write's See Photo Write (photo writing prompt) today!

Check it out and join us in writing. Just write about the photo and then linky it to 1st Writes.


Here is my response:

He watched her as he had so many times before, but today was different. Something was wrong. She walked out on the rocks without her friends today when daylight still glinted on the water. She sat there for hours, sometimes rocking back and forth, sometimes bent over hugging herself. Her usual perfect hair hung lifeless and her perfect preppy clothes were mussed. 

Danny looked out on the lake. He could no longer see the tree line. The mist was coming in and soon he wouldn't be able to see his hand in front of his face. He couldn't let her stay out there. She might slip in. He might lose her.

What should he do? His kind didn't talk to girls like Alisha. His kind watched them and dreamed about them, but didn't approach them. He would be in big trouble if anyone found out. He waited as long as he dared, then walked over by the shore. His heart was pounding and he could barely speak.

"H-hi," his voice cracked. "The mist is coming in. Y-you should come away from the water." He waited for what seemed a long time before she even looked up. When she did, her vacant tear-stained eyes slowly focused on him. 

"You. You're the one --the one who watches me."

Danny said nothing.

"You shouldn't be here you know." 

He nodded to himself and looked down.

She got up, walked off the rocks past him, and headed back to her parent's lake house.

He shouldn't have talked to her, but at least she was safe now. He followed behind her till he saw her enter the house. Then he stayed till he saw her bedroom light go on. He was about to turn away when he saw her come to the window. Was she looking at him? He couldn't tell for sure. Then her right hand touched the glass. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

WriteOnCon - What is it?

WriteOnCon is a free, interactive online writer's conference that will be held Aug. 16-18, 2011. It is free, but you must register to participate!

Thank you Mel Fowler for sharing about WriteOnCon or I'd still be in the dark about it!

I'm looking forward to doing it this year and even though I work during the day and will miss some of the live stuff, videos and comments will be posted after wards. 

Check out WriteOnCon's 2010 Conference. There are some great writing tips in the blogs and videos there!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Writing Prompt - Water Dripped

I posted a writing prompt over at 1st Writes:

The water dripped...

Here is my response. Writing for only 5 minutes and 100 words. Let's see what we get!

The water dripped harshly in the filthy sink. Tink, tink, tink. The sound was driving me crazy. It was the only sound I could hear. I was laying awake in this hell hole of an apartment. I lay with the lights on, but even that didn't keep the cockroaches away. I couldn't believe I was living like this. Too proud to go groveling back to my parents. I had my wallet stolen earlier in the night. I lay on the filthy mattress and sobbed. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a rat scurry into the kitchen. I jumped up on the table. That was it! I had to get out of here, but I had no where to go. It was 3 am in the slums. No, I would have to wait till morning. I pressed my back against the paneling and waited and watched. Tink, tink, tink. I prayed I would make it.

Your turn! If you write on this, linky on 1st Writes!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

                  Lucy Adams and Pam have awarded me:   

Thank you so much ladies! You have two of my favorite blogs!
According to the directions, I am to share 7 things about myself. Then I pass the award on to other versatile blog friends who in turn, will link back to me and follow the instructions again.
So-o-o-o, you may not have known:

1. I love the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. 
Such good advice in there!

2. I LOVE to read middle grade chapter books! 
Does that make me a kid at heart?

3. The best nap I ever had was in my pop-up camper. 
I could have slept the day away!

4. The neatest thing I ever saw was a fully functioning tree house. 
Friends built it out in a forest and the adult son actually lived it for a year or two. 
It had a living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and balcony. 
It was cramped, but awesome!

5. The best dog I ever had was a yellow lab named Jessie. 
I still miss him.

6. I jerk every night as I am falling asleep. If I am still awake, it feels like I'm falling.
(It has a name: hypnic jerk.) 

7. My favorite song right now is Casting Crowns "Glorious Day". 
The song makes me cry. Here it is with sign language.

To learn more about me click the Meet Dawn page. 

I will pass on the award to a few others later this week!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

See Photo Write Challenge - Sieur de Monts Spring

See Photo Write is a Photo Prompt on 1st Writes
Here was today's photo prompt and my response.

Sieur de Monts Spring, Acadia, Maine

Eliza looked down.

They had been courting for two years. George continued to press her to set a wedding date. How could she tell him that didn't love him, that she had never ever loved him. She had been flattered that he had asked her to dance and it was easy to be near him, but she didn't love him.

"George, there's something I need to tell you..."

"Yes, Eliza dear. I am all ears."

"Oh George, I-I don't love you," she blurted.

He took her hand gently and whispered, "Eliza, I know that. I've known that a long time, but I love you and for me...that is enough."

----------------------------------------------------------------100 word drabble

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Imagination Sparks Blogfest - Homeschool Yourself!

I've joined the Imagination Sparks Blogfest! Each day we are to post 1 idea that would spark the imagination!

Here is today's idea:

Get a high school or college writing textbook!

We have a great used bookstore that also sells homeschool textbooks. I found some gems in there and I'm slowly going through the texts doing the exercises. I've also gotten some great ideas for writing by doing the exercises (see My Garden). So, if you're nerdy, like me, go get a book. It's guaranteed to brush off the rust!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Imagination Sparks Blogfest - Disconnect!

I've joined the Imagination Sparks Blogfest! Each day we are to post 1 idea that would spark the imagination!

Here is today's idea:

Get away from the internet!

I get super productive when I am away from the internet. The internet sucks my life away, so I really love car rides, vacations, or just getting out in nature. I can focus on writing if I am away from the internet.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Imagination Sparks Blogfest - Read a Book!

I've joined the Imagination Sparks Blogfest! Each day we are to post 1 idea that would spark the imagination!

Here is today's idea:

Read a book in the genre you're writing in (and hopefully love).

I am encouraged by books that I love! The authors of those books were once aspiring authors like me. What do they have that I don't? Learn from those authors. Learn from those stories! There is a reason you love them and that means others love them too. Don't steal their ideas, but do learn all you can from them!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Imagination Sparks Blogfest - Call on God!

I've joined the Imagination Sparks Blogfest! Each day we are to post 1 idea that would spark the imagination!

Here is today's idea:

Seek inspiration from the Lord.

When I am stuck, I turn to the Bible for inspiration. I can't tell you how many times, scripture has offered just the right word or phrase I needed to get the writing juices flowing again. I know I shouldn't wait till I get "stuck" to turn to Jesus. He is always there for me. I just have to seek him. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Imagination Sparks Blogfest - Be A Tree

I've joined the Imagination Sparks Blogfest! Each day we are to post 1 idea that would spark the imagination!

Here is today's idea:

Write from an unusual POV.

Pick an insect, animal, plant or tree, or an inanimate object and write as if you were it. I've done this one before and it is a lot of fun (see Mama Mosquito). 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Imagination Sparks Blogfest - Don't Write

I've joined the Imagination Sparks Blogfest! Each day we are to post 1 idea that would spark the imagination!

Here is today's idea:

Get creative in another way (besides writing).
When I can't write, I do something else creative. That sometimes helps get me back on the writing track. I like to sketch with pencils. I also create two comics on the computer for extra fun.
Sketch of rocks - Maine coast line 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Imagination Sparks Blogfest - Photo Write

I've joined the Imagination Sparks Blogfest! Each day we are to post 1 idea that would spark the imagination!

Here is today's idea:

Use photos as writing prompts.

To spark the imagination weekly go to 1st Writes blog called See*Photo*Write. Our group created this Monday photo prompt. We each write about the week's photo on our personal blogs, then we linky it to 1st Writes. We'd love to have you join us!

I also have a page call Foto Prompts with some great photos to spark your writing. Hope you enjoy!


See Photo Write Challenge - Cat Fight

There is a pretty cool photo on 1st Writes blog today for See*Photo*Write Challenge. I'm going to cheat this week and make my entry just 3 words! 

"Bring it on!"

Won't you join the fun and write something for the challenge? 
Just post it on your blog and link it to 1st Writes See*Photo*Write linky!