Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Blog Community Story

Thanks to all those who participated in my first Write Along. We’ll have to do the next chapter sometime, I’m curious what happens! BTW, we need a title, any suggestions? Here’s the story:

The ones that don’t bleed right away are the worst cuts. Karen grabbed the dishcloth and pressed it hard against her palm. Great. Now she’d have to go to the hospital. Well, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad after all. This would be the perfect opportunity to introduce herself to Dr. Wright.

With his ruffled black hair and green eyes, she wouldn't mind feeling his hands on a purely medical way, of course.

She grabbed her keys and headed for her car, praying the old Dodge would turnover. Slipping onto the cracked vinyl seat, she turned the key.

And, her car didn't start.

It was a Dodge after all.

With her hand wrapped in a dishtowel (bleeding now), Karen fumbled in her purse for her cell phone.

It was not there!

Karen got back out of the car, trying not to get blood on the interior but failing miserably, and looked up and down the street. All of her neighbors worked, except for that strange guy two houses down, Ted, who always seemed to be home.

Ted came out of his house and stopped on his walkway, staring in her direction. Then a dark brown Jeep pulled up next to her.

"Hey, I need a ride to the hospital", she said to the driver.

"No way, lady, you'll bleed all over my new leather interior. Why don't you get that guy over there to give you a ride?"

"Hey, wait a minute," said Karen, squinting to get a better look at the driver. "You're Dr. Wright!"

Dr. Wright slouched in his drivers seat. "You got the wrong guy, lady." And before Karen knew it he was speeding down the street.

Ted began walking toward her, crossing the street. She was scared and hoped she'd misjudged her strange neighbor.

As he crossed the street, she noticed he was wearing a Harvard sweatshirt.


"I see you've cut your hand," he said, his voice gruff.

“Uh yeah," she replied. His eyes focused on the blood-soaked towel and he licked his lips.

Karen backed away, thinking her only escape was the house... Unfortunately it was locked..... and the keys were still in the car.

"I can take you to the hospital for a price," Ted said, still eyeing the towel.

Karen tried to shift her injured hand out of his line of sight, but he continued to follow her movements until it appeared they were dancing on the sidewalk. "P-price?" she repeated.

Now Tom looked her straight in the eye. His eyes, irises and all, were as black as two shards of coal. "I want three drops of your blood," he said. "For an experiment." He gestured to his Harvard sweatshirt.

Karen knew she needed stitches and the longer she waited the worse it would be. She nodded. "All right. Take the blood. But hurry!"

He grinned. "Don't worry. I just have to get my bicycle out of the garage. I don't own a car but you can ride on the handlebars."

"Bicycle?" she practically screamed the word. "You want to ride me on a bicycle? I'm seriously hurt here, jack-ass! Why don't you take your little bike and shove it up your butt."

She stormed away, mumbling obscenities to herself, but he came right after her.

"You need stitches, unless you plan to keep bleeding. Then I'll get my blood anyway." Tom face was pale and unblinking.

Before he knocked her over the head, she thought, "I should have known better than to trust a bicycle riding nut job from Harvard. Why couldn't he have graduated from Yale?"

Monday, March 27, 2006

Write Along

Call it a writing prompt or just for fun, I want to try a Write Along today. I’ll start with a couple of opening sentences and then each person add a sentence or two and follow the story along. I’ll post the complete story (if we have any success) later this week. Oh, and I invite you to come back more than once to add more prose.

Have a great week folks! Here we go:

The ones that don’t bleed right away are the worst cuts. Karen grabbed the dishcloth and pressed it hard against her palm. Great. Now she’d have to go to the hospital. Well, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad after all. This would be the perfect opportunity to introduce herself to Dr. Wright.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Spring inspired poems

“For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.”
--Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)

“I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers:
Of April, May, of June, and July flowers.
I sing of Maypoles, Hock-carts, wassails, wakes,
Of bridegrooms, brides, and of their bridal cakes.”
--Robert Herrick (1591–1674)

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.”
--Robert Frost (1874–1963)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Links to research links

Today, some links to help you with your research.

Floriography - The Language of Flowers – the meaning of flower names.
WordIQ – this one will take a little playing around with, but it gives all kinds of information, including what was happening in a certain year. It also contains thousands of free books. – unlimited access to books, information, quotations. Lots of classics, including ‘classic’ books on how to write. – a collection of links for writers, researchers, and the terminally curious.
Michelle Pillow’s Writers Research Links Page – an awesome collection of links including paranormal research, historical research, writing craft research,  military, and law research.
Internet Public Library – a public service organization and a learning/teaching environment at the University of Michigan School of Information.
Time and Date – go forward or back in time.
Antique Words - A list of words that were commonly used prior to the 1900s.
Research Links for Writers – a very comprehensive list including the old west, the middle ages, history of medicine, paranormal, etc., etc.
eHow - clear instructions on how to do (just about) everything.
howstuffworks – stuff and how it works sorted in categories such as science, autos, electronics, health, etc., etc.
Mystery & Crime resources – links to resources on mystery and crime.

That should keep you busy for a couple of days. What are your favorite research links?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Working The Home Show

This weekend I am helping my husband man his booth at the International Home & Garden Show held at the International Centre in Toronto, ON. So, there will be no new posts for a few days. If you decide to drop by the show, come to the EcoTech Hydronics & Heating booth and say hello!

This is our booth at last year's show.

Have a terrific weekend and I hope you get lots of writing done!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Stories That Work - links to great articles about writing

Thanks to Lady Tess for the link to Stories That Work. An incredible group of articles by Mary Lynn Mercer for writers that include:
The Three Master Recipes of Fiction - From these three master story types, a writer can cook up unlimited stories.

Balancing Plot and Character - How to juggle scene structure to achieve the desired balance between plot-driven and character-driven fiction.

Five Keys to Effective Internal Goals - Use these five keys to unlock the readers' capacity to care about the protagonist.

Five Keys to Compelling External Goals - The protagonist's external goal can drive a story toward a dynamic destination, but only if it contains these five essential things.

The Usual Suspects - Looking at a character's family and friends as sources of realistic conflict.

The ABCs of Subplots - A simple way to design subplots that enrich a story.

Simultaneity - Maintaining the logic in narrative description.

Tracking Subplots - How to weave the story tapestry without dropping any threads.

The Importance of Plot - How to start with a plan so readers finish the journey.

Solutions to Ten Common Name Mistakes - Tips on how to win the name game when christening characters.

The True Nature of Sympathetic Characters - Five published authors share the secrets of writing sympathetic characters.

Spicing Up Dialogue - The three levels of conversational conflict that make dialogue zing.

Finding Meaning in the Setting - The codependant relationship between theme and setting.

What Does That Mean? - Definitions of terms frequently used by writers.

Recommended Books for Writers - Titles and descriptions of books useful for writers of all experience levels.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Guest writer: Annette Bridges, It's Never Too Late!

Since I have been sick as a dog these past few days, I offer this article by Annette Bridges so that I can keep my weary body under covers. The article is about the celebration of women for National Women’s History Month and the fact that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

Too late? Maybe not!
By Annette Bridges

Do you have dreams that have never been realized? Do you feel like it’s too late to act on them? Well….maybe it’s not!
Since my childhood, I aspired to be a published author. I’ve always loved to write. Keeping a journal was a passion that began when I was nine years-old. But, many years passed without my dream coming true.

You might be thinking, why would anyone (besides my family and close friends) want to know anything about me and my dreams?

March being National Women’s History Month compels me to write not so much about me and my dreams, but about a woman whose life example is encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Even now, as I approach the half century mark, I’m an empty nester wondering what’s next for my life besides becoming a grandmother some day.

The pursuit of dreams, for women and men alike, has long been a powerful force in restoring hope in the face of impossible odds. Its power often comes when we consider that “impossible odds” might sometimes be self-imposed. Such as self-imposed “odds” that make us sigh with dismay: “too old” or “too late.” But to impossible odds, the dreamer and visionary will always say, “Not so!”

Mary Baker Eddy
I first learned of Mary Baker Eddy as an American author of a book that explained groundbreaking ideas about spirituality and health. Ideas that are more at home in the 21st-century than in her own 19th-century world, in fact. She openly challenged the conventional thinking in theology, medicine, and science of her times. So she was often the target of criticism and slander. Consequently, I’ve found that some historic records still don’t tell all the facts of her life correctly.

David Hufford wrote in his book, Eddy: Current Running against the Mainstream, “In the late 1800s, there were very few women in medical schools, in seminaries, or in universities. Mrs. Eddy and a handful of other women upset centuries of tradition when they began to speak and write about religious and medical issues…and to talk openly about the equality of men and women.”

There is much to learn from the lives of others. So, how important it is for his-stories and her-stories to be accurately told.

What inspires me now at this time in my life is Mary Baker Eddy was 54 years-old when her renowned book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, was first published. And, top that with she was 87 years-old when she launched The Christian Science Monitor, as a balanced and ethical alternative to the sensational journalism of her day. A paper that remains a leading international newspaper today, I might add.

Such accomplishments, and there were many others, by a woman during her middle age and senior years, gives me inspiration to imagine the possibilities for my dreams today.

Eddy’s life story is testament to the fact that it’s never too late to pursue dreams. Her own words give some insight into how dreams can be accomplished. “The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible.” Mary Baker Eddy’s life and accomplishments proved this for us all. (

History is filled with accounts of many great men and women who have fulfilled their dreams. Mary Baker Eddy describes their lives as “miracles of patience and perseverance.” And like them and like her, we’ve all got it in us.

Still feel like it’s too late to pursue your dreams?

Well…maybe it’s not!

© Copyright 2006 Annette Bridges
About The Author
Annette Bridges is a freelance writer and lives in Tioga, Texas, with her husband, John. Her B.A. degree is in Sociology with graduate studies in Early Childhood Education. Her goal is to offer a positive message and healing ideas in response to news, current events, seasons and life’s occasions. To read more columns and for contact information, visit

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Say What?

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain

The wastebasket is a writer's best friend. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

A metaphor is like a simile. ~Author Unknown

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. ~Author Unknown

A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer. ~Karl Kraus

If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster. ~Isaac Asimov

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork. ~Peter De Vries

Monday, March 06, 2006

And the Oscar went to…

Here is my 2-cents worth on some of the movies and dresses that were flying around in Oscar-land.


Crash – loved it. A character-driven storyline that shows people have both bad/ignorant sides to them as well as good/kind. Hopefully, in life’s journey, we manage to grow the good side. If you haven’t, go see it.

The Constant Gardner – loved it too. This movie was nothing at all like I expected. It was intense and political, yet an endearing love story. Rachel Weisz did a fabulous job in the role as Tess. Rachel is such a cutie. I also recommend to see this one if you haven’t.

March of the Penguins - Tagline: “In the harshest place on Earth, love finds a way.” Combine that with my love of animals and need I say more? Don’t just see it, buy it.

Capote – I haven’t seen this one yet, but I’m dying to. I heard Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays Truman Capote, was incredible (hence, the Oscar). Apparently he lived in character 24 hours a day while filming and had trouble coming out of it. Did you see this? Do you recommend it?

Walk the Line – Haven’t seen this one either. But, I love Reese, so I’ll probably love the movie. I also love Johnny Cash.

Okay, now let’s move on to the really important Oscar discussion: FASHION. Did you notice all the dresses seemed to be either blue, butter-colored, or metallic/grey/beige??

I loved:
Reese Witherspoon. Outstanding. Nuff said.
Penelope Cruz in her strapless butter-colored dress.
Beyonce. Classic black strapless. Gorgeous and classy.

Not so much:
Kathy Griffin. What is that, green Xmas wrapping?
Melanie Griffith. There’s got to be a cutoff age for gravity defying (not) metallic dresses.
Cate Blanchett. More butter-color. This time in the shape of a toga.
Hilary Swank. Nice dress, but it looks like she had it on backwards.
Charlize Theron – what was she thinking? A puffy balloony thing on one shoulder?? Hmm, what could she be hiding in there?

Click here for more on the "Evolution of Style - The Oscars."

What did you think of the 2006 Oscars?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

(Still) Building My Outline

I know, I know. I thought I had finished outlining, but I haven't. This is my first time trying this method to start a book, remember. I found some software that is just incredible for this task. It's called Free Mind and it's mind mapping software and, yes, it's free!

Basically, it's a mapping tool with tons of features. You can add notes to any node, highlight them, prioritize them, collapse and unfold a branch or level, identify revisions, add graphical links or hyperlinks; the list goes on. And, since I'm a new user, I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface.

Here is a screenshot:

Just click on the picture to get a larger view.

How I'm using it is on one side I've listed characters and settings on the parent level, and then description of each on the next level. Where necessary, I've added a note (like a comment in MSWord) for more detail or for jotting down notes I want to remember for later.

On the other side, I've listed the basic plot elements of a story at the parent level, which guides me to list the gist of each scene from there. Then, again, I make notes on the scenes when I know more details or where I want to go with it. I have used different text colors (and you can format the look, color, backgrounds, etc. of each node and/or each level) for my subplots. Here is a picture of my map for Picture Perfect:

Sorry, no larger version of this image. The information is highly confidential and restricted. But, you get the point. I only wish the image could show you more of the capabilities of this program. I'm not sure of the printing capabilities yet. I hope it will print it in report form including notes.

Before I go, I just want to let you know about another freeware application that I think is fabulous. It's called yWriter by SpaceJock Software. This application was written expressly for novel writing and allows you to develop each scene, characters, and more. It keeps track of your word count and lets you know how many words a day you need to write to reach your goal, it asks about the motivation and goal of each scene and whose POV the scene is. This one does print in a report manner and you can choose from various options.

Here's a screen shot:

Just thought I'd share these great applications with you. What applications do you use for your writing? Or, do you use charts, boards, stickies, or something else?

Have a great weekend,

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Writing Rituals

On her blog, Joely Sue Burkhart talked about how her writer mind is freed to think when she plays Mah Jong. Eve commented that she plays a few minutes of card games before she writes.

It seems many writers have rituals they follow to write, whether it’s using a favorite pen, lighting a candle, or eating apples in the bathtub (Agatha Christie).

Pundits say rituals are a great way to overcome writer’s block, and even recommend creating some (rituals) to maintain a flow of writing.

Yesterday, I was perusing a new book, The Writer's Desk, by Jill Krementz. This incredible book is filled with pictures of famous writers at their desks. Each author also has a little blurb about writing and a lot of them have peculiar, or at the very least idiosyncratic, rituals. (I highly recommend the book, BTW, especially if you’re obsessed with writer’s lairs as I am.)

Personally, I like to go for long walks with my dog to do my writer thinking. Sometimes so much comes to me that I’m afraid I’ll forget something. As I commented In JSB’s blog, it’s time for me to take a tape recorder along.

As for sitting down to write, I’m not aware of any particular ritual, other than lighting a candle and making sure I have some type of beverage at hand.

I’m curious to know if you have any rituals and, if so, what are they?

Here are some links about writer rituals: