Tag Archives: Kansas

#SATurday: The Lightning Lesson

23 May

#SATurday The Lightning Lesson

When I was little, part of my bedtime routine was taking a shower at night. But—as my mother would have it—we had one very important rule. No showering if there was a thunderstorm outside. She told us we’d be electrocuted if we did.

Now, being little and a future artist, you should know upfront that I was a tad bit dramatic as a kid. (Maybe a little today, too.) But there was one night where a babysitter said I had to take a bath before my parents came home . . . even though it was raining. I freaked out. And by “freaked out”, I mean screamed and cried while I took a birdbath out of the sink (and I’m pretty sure my babysitter considered quitting her job because I never saw her again.)

Fast-forward a few years later and I got over my phobia my mom instilled in me. I wrote it off as one of those nuances she had, one of those personality traits or funny stories you tell around the table . . . until I got strep throat. That day, while I was napping around the house, I happened to watch Myth Busters—the taking a shower during a thunderstorm episode. And if you’ve never seen it, I suggest you watch it (if you want to be terrified of thunderstorms for the rest of your life, that is). I tried to find a legal sample clip, but alas, Myth Busters charges $1.99 via YouTube, so here’s an article that explained what happened in the episode: Is It Dangerous To Take A Shower During A Thunderstorm?

Lightning photo provided by Bruce Guenter, modifications made under creative commons license.

Photo provided by Bruce Guenter, modifications made under creative commons license.

Now that you’re statically charged, you must feel how I felt—horrified that I ever doubted my mother. She wasn’t a dumb woman. What trekky could be? But—being a teenage artist—I think rebellion came naturally, even when she wasn’t physically here to rebel against. (I am walking proof that you can, in fact, rebel against the dead . . . and I say that with the utmost respect . . . especially now that I’m older and realize how right she was about, oh, everything.)

You see, originally, I wrote this off as a nuance—something I said above but didn’t entirely explain. While growing up in Kansas, she lived in this two-story house on a golf course, and the old chimney had been struck by lightning numerous times. Numerous times. I still remember my grandfather sarcastically repeating the phrase “Lightning never strikes the same place twice.” Because it does. At least, it did. It struck my grandparents’ home—the same one I wrote about in The Secret Garden of Trees—and later, while we were living in Georgia, our neighbor’s tree was struck with lightning. I cannot even begin to describe how loud that moment in my life was. But there was fire, and then, the rain came down so hard that the fire was gone, but the tree was split to the roots, and my mother and I happened to be sitting in the living room near it when it happened. I thought lightning was just a phobia of hers. Now I realize lightning is just a part of nature—as obvious as that sounds—and it’s better to be cautious of it but also to recognize the beauty of it.

Nature has a way of reminding us just how human and fragile we are, but nature also shows us just how majestic the world can be. It is both frightening and fascinating, but today, I find those two words are very much the same when held under the thunderstorm umbrella of respect, and I respect my memories of nature just as much as a cherish my memories with my mother . . . yes, even the lightning hitting the tree one.

~SAT

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Q&A about “Take Me Tomorrow”

9 May

In case you missed my interview with Whispers in the Dark radio, here it the link. You can still listen to the entire show, and I even gave away some extra information about Take Me Tomorrow. The host also recorded four of my latest poems, and he is a wonderful reader, so I highly recommend his show.

Two fantastic blogs reviewed Minutes Before Sunset this week, so please take the time to check them out by clicking the links provided:

Confessions of a Book Geek said, “If you’re into your paranormal/fantasy stories but want something fresh and different from the vampire/werewolves/witches tales we all love (but are in desperate need for a break from), then I highly recommend Minutes Before Sunset and The Timely Death Trilogy.”

Books for Thought agreed when they said, “I was pretty much hooked as soon as I started it, which is a huge accomplishment.”

Check out everything these two readers had to say because their book blogs are highly entertaining.

The day has come! I am revealing more information about Take Me Tomorrow, and I am answering YOUR questions, comments, and more. Everyone is linked to, and I hope you enjoy the answers. But first –

Take Me Tomorrow is on Goodreads, so please add it to your bookshelf today by clicking this link or the photo below:

goodr

The Guesses:

I was going to share all of the guesses, but there were so many and many of them were very long! (Thank you so much!) That being said, the post was way too long with everyone’s awesome guesses (practical stories) so I am only going to link to their websites. As marketing continues, I’ll be sure to repeat my favorite guesses, but here are excerpts from my top three favorite guesses:

1. Auntie Doris: “…I reckon that he only has tickets for that very afternoon, so he goes to New York or Liverpool, but probably New York, with his brother, and they make a fortune, but he never forgets her, and so he sends for her and her father and pays their passage over, and when they get their they get married and a top physician cures the fathers back. And the brother marries an American girl, or a Scouse girl but probably an American girl. Am I right? Do I win?”

You weren’t right, but your guess was a story all on its own, and you did win! Feel free to email me at shannonathompson.com, and we can discuss a guest spot on my blog 😀

2. Things Mattter: A History Blog: “I’m guessing it’s a time travel love story in which this girl knows she’s going to fall in love with this guy but it hasn’t happened yet and she decides to change the future.”

I thought this guess was the closest – mainly because it deals with trying to change the future.

3. Inkwell & Paper: “The angel of death comes along and she begs for one more day, saying “Take me tomorrow.” She is given medicine that will last only 24 hours”

I really loved how she both took the title and the cover “Rx” into account. Plus, her plot sounds wicked.

But thanks goes out to everyone that participated: Legends of Windemere, Tuan Ho, Taking on A World of Words, sociallydecrepit, Timothy Bateson, Sun Mountain Reviews, Amber Skye Forbes, Jonas Lee’s Imaginarium, Ron Estrada, Susannah Ailene Martin, and Ray’s Works.

I also wanted to thank THE RAMBOVA FILES. For sharing the news.

The Discussion: Questions, Statements, and Answers

Below I’ve included all of the websites of those who have asked about Take Me Tomorrow. SAT refers to me, but you will see other initials without links. That is because they asked questions on my personal Facebook, and they do not wish to be linked to. Everything bolded are the main points. Enjoy!

First and foremost,

The Animation Commendation: “What is this about if I may ask?”

SAT: Take Me Tomorrow is a YA, dystopian novel surrounding the existence of a clairvoyant drug. I’ve included the synopsis from Goodreads below, but this is not the final synopsis:

Two years after the massacre, the State enforces stricter rules and harsher punishments on anyone rumored to support tomo – the clairvoyant drug that caused a regional uprising. 

But sixteen-year-old Sophia Gray has other problems. 

Between her father’s illegal forgery and her friend’s troubling history, the last thing Sophia needs is an unexpected encounter with a boy. 

He’s wild, determined, and one step ahead of her. But when his involvement with tomo threatens her friends and family, Sophia has to make a decision: fight for a future she cannot see or sacrifice her loved ones to the world of tomorrow.

Elizabeth Jamison’s PhD Journey: “Shannon, is this a new series? The cover is absolutely fantastic! And how did you finish another book so quickly? It seems like the others just came out. You are amazing.”

SAT: It is the first novel of a series. Originally it was five novels, but I cut it down to only 3. I’m currently hoping to make it two novels. I wrote Take Me Tomorrow when I was 19, so it’s been finished for a few years now. I wasn’t planning on releasing it until November, but after speaking with AEC, I decided it wasn’t doing any good sitting on my laptop, so I’m publishing it now. Also, the story begins in August, so I thought it would be neat for readers to be able to read it during the season that it takes place in.

A Midget with a Huge Imagination: “I hope you’d give me the opportunity to read your work, Shannon! The cover looks amazing and surely this will be another page-turning novel from you!”

SAT: Definitely! I am taking interviewers and reviewers now, so please feel free to message me at shannonathompson.com.

Desirable Purity: “I really want to know this. What is the thought behind this title: Take Me Tomorrow?”

SAT: Explaining in complete detail would ruin one the biggest “shockers” of the novel, but I will try without spoiling it. The clairvoyant drug is called “tomo” – short for “tomorrow” – At least, that’s what the protagonist thinks. There are two scenes in particular to look out for in order to understand the title completely. The ending of chapter fifteen and the ending of chapter nineteen.

LW: “Thought it was you on the cover at first. Lol”

SAT: That is not me on the cover, but I’m glad someone said it, because I’ve actually had a few people say it (including my publisher) and I wanted a chance to clarify that the model is not me – although, the protagonist, Sophia Gray, does have brown hair.

JF: “Where was this pic [the cover] taken? Kansas City area?”

SAT: I can’t say where this picture was taken exactly, but JF is onto something. Take Me Tomorrow is dystopian, but the setting is the Topeka Region, one of seven regions in the State. That being said, “Topeka” isn’t in Kansas. The book technically takes place in the Kansas City, Missouri area. So look out for that explanation in the novel because it is stated.

ABB: “Glad you kept the Rx! Looks Awesome!”

SAT: What? Someone already knew what Take Me Tomorrow was about AND they knew about the Rx? That’s right. A few years ago, I had this novel posted on Wattpad. I gained a couple hundreds fans (Oh, how I wish I could reconnect with them!) and I received some fan art. (It was my first time receiving fan art ever!) I’ve actually shared this fan art before on my post – Writing Tips: Different Perspectives – but it’s been a while since then, so here’s the photo: (Notice a slight change in the title from “Take Me To Tomorrow” to “Take Me Tomorrow.”) You also might have more curiosity after seeing this drawing.

One of the coolest part of writing is when one of your fans creates something for you. This is fan art from a novel of mine on my previous Wattpad account. Sophia and Noah, my male and female protagonists.

One of the coolest part of writing is when one of your fans creates something for you. This is fan art from a novel of mine on my previous Wattpad account. Sophia and Noah, my male and female protagonists.

I hope this answered your questions and sparked even more curiosity! As the author, I am definitely looking forward to this release. It’ll be my first novel released that is told from one perspective, and I cannot wait to share more as the release gets closer. Feel free to ask more questions below, and I will answer them!

Don’t forget to add Take Me Tomorrow on Goodreads or to “like” the novel on Facebook.

~SAT

The Story of Bogart the Cat

7 May

Don’t forget! I am being interviewed tonight LIVE on Whispers in the Dark radio from 9 to 11 p.m. (EST) Click here to join, and call in to speak with me:  (347) 884-9923. Until then, check out four of my horror poems the host read for his site by visiting my Other Poems page and clicking the links at the top – OR you can click the links below: (I highly recommend listening to at least one. Not because they are my poems, but rather because Viktor Aurelius is a chilling reader.

In-sum-knee-ah (Insomnia)

This Waiting Place

Her Button Collection, Now Mine

Glitter Rain

After announcing Take Me Tomorrow and sharing the cover, I wanted to share a fun post about my life with everyone – and nothing is more fun than my most trusted companion, Bogart the Cat. You’ve seen photos of him, you’ve read about him, and you’ve even read a blog post by him, but I’ve never explained how Bogart and I met to grow into the cat-friendship we have today.

Before I explain the moment I met Bogart the cat, I want to clarify how I came to the decision to get a cat.

I hated cats. Despised them. Why?

  1. I grew up with dogs – one husky and two malamutes to be exact
  2. When I was seven, my neighbor’s cat scratched me across the face, and I had to wear an eye patch to elementary school – a lasting impression on child me.

I swore off of them. A decade would pass before I would be opened to the wonderful world of a cat lady.

This is a real picture of Lucifer when he was forcing his love on me.

This is a real picture of Lucifer when he was forcing his love on me.

It was 2010. I was a sophomore in college. My roommate agreed to watch a friend’s cat for a while. His name was Lucifer. Yes, Lucifer. And – to my horror – the cat attached itself to my room of all places. (We later found out that the girl who used to live in my room had cats, so this explains why every animal we ever let inside our house gravitated to my room at one point.) At first, I tried to fight him. I kept my door closed – even when I went to the kitchen for a snack – and I avoided him as I went to and from class, especially when he peered at me through cracked doors or parted blinds.

Then, time passed. I started petting him. He purred – which was cool – and he liked tuna as much as I did. Overtime, I settled. I let him in my room, and he watched birds from my window. What can I say? He grew on me. But there was one moment in particular that convinced me to love cats again.

He was sleeping in my bathroom sink. I shared the bathroom with my roommate, and at first, he would leave if we turned on the sink. Then, eventually, he stuck to his guns, and he would sit in the falling water with a smug grin (I swear – an actual grin) on his cat face.

He reminded me of the Cheshire cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 

I laughed so hard that I cried. Even I had to admit it: I liked cats again. I liked them a lot. They were different from dogs, but I liked different. (I still like dogs, of course.)

That’s when the owner came and got him.

The house was quiet. No more cat in the sink. No more cat begging for tuna while I used the can opener. No more cat scratching at my door. No more cat anywhere.

It was lonely.

After careful consideration, I decided I wanted my own kitty cat. In fact, I bought all of the cat’s supplies before I even looked. The last thing I wanted to do was to get a cat and be ill-prepared. I had a climbing tower, a litter box, a pound of food, and even more toys. All before I looked for a kitty. In fact, I had so much stuff for a cat that visitors thought I had a cat, even before I actually had one.

So I was a little bit ahead of myself…but it worked out, because there was a Christmas sale at Wayside Waifs.

In this fantasy, Luna would bring me magical, writing pens.

In this fantasy, Luna would bring me magical, writing pens.

I was just going to look. I swear. My dad was driving, and I still remember what he said on the drive up there, “You will know her when you see her.” (He said “her” because I was set on a female black cat that I could name Luna – after Sailor Moon, of course.) I laughed off his cheesy advice as just that – cheesy. I didn’t know how right he would be.

We entered the cat part. I remember seeing a tabby cat and one grey one that walked around like he owned the place. Then, we turned a corner.

I’m not even kidding when I say this: We met eyes, and I knew.

I practically flew across the room with excitement. I didn’t know if he was a girl or a boy. I just knew that the little kitten was the “one.” I was filled with absolute delight. Bogart – at the time, he was named “Mikey” – just stared up at me with a mixture of confusion and horror. (But don’t worry. He warmed up to me.)

Bogart at Wayside Waifs the day I adopted him. He was four months old.

Bogart at Wayside Waifs the day I adopted him. He was four months old.

I played with him, and I still knew. Wayside Waifs made me play with three other black cats (his siblings) but I still knew. “Mikey” was mine. I signed the paperwork, and his name was officially Bogart. (Named after Humphrey Bogart, of course.)

Now – for the sad part: his past.

Bogart was found in a box on the side of a highway with his three siblings – two girls and one boy. His ears were badly damaged, and the kittens weren’t in good shape. It took four months for them to heal up well enough (and get big enough) for Wayside Waifs to put him and his brother in one cage and his sisters in another. I was the second person to play with Bogart, and the only person to take him home. We had to wait a few weeks because Wayside Waifs was waiting for him to gain enough weight for neutering. (They neuter and spay all of their animals.) But that Christmas was pretty fantastic.

Christmas time

Christmas time

Since then, Bogart and I have been through a lot together. 

We’ve made friends, went on walks, and hung out with family.

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We’ve moved, and then we moved again.

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We’ve blogged. (No, seriously, he has blogged on here before.) And we’ve worked so hard that we’ve passed out on my laptop.

work

So we took a break and drank a lot of coffee. (Okay. So I drank the coffee.)

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And before we knew it, we got published. (That is a paperback of Minutes Before Sunset beneath him.)

Bo

And even though we got nervous and hid,

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We found a way to smile and celebrate together.

smile

But – most of all – we became best friends. He is my pal. My buddy. My black cat. My Bo-Bo, Fatten, Bo-kitty, Bogie, little panther – my Bogart. And now you know the story behind the little (okay, 18 lb.) cat that I share on here.

~SAT

Remember: I am still accepting questions and comments about my latest novel, Take Me Tomorrow. If you ask a question or comment, leave your website in the commetns below, and I will link to you on Friday’s post when I announce even more!

What Changes From the First Draft to Publication?

20 Mar

With the release of Seconds Before Sunrise only one week away, I have been thinking about how much The Timely Death Trilogy has changed from the original version to the published novels. Since the second book isn’t released yet (but is available on Amazon) I thought it would be neat to share some of the major changes that happened in Minutes Before Sunset from the original version to the final publication. That way, when the second novel is out for a little while, I can share those changes, too.

Now, as many of you know, there are many drafts of one novel – sometimes a lot more than what writers want to be reminded of. The changes you are about to read about happened over a series of rewrites and edits, so that’s why there are so many changes. If I had to guess, there was one absolute rewrite and an uncountable number of edits. I had about six beta readers on the original versions of the trilogy, but I had three on the version read today. This isn’t my norm. This just happened because I wrote the novels between 2005 and 2009, so Minutes Before Sunset had seven years between writing and publication. I had many opportunities to refine it both as I was writing the last two novels and when I went back the last time before its second version was published. But – alas – here we are:

Length: Be open to cutting it down (or even expanding it!) 

For me, most of my novels are 136,000 words, but I almost always cut it down to 80,000 by often combining scenes and characters or by cutting them out completely. Minutes Before Sunset was my first instance where this happened, and maybe I’ll share cut scenes one of these days, but they might not even work anymore with the current storyline. I actually love cutting down the word count. It challenges me to create more meaningful scenes, and it definitely forces me to push the plot forward with numerous reasons (like action and detail) rather than having separate chapters for everything.

Character names: (It’s okay to change names. Just have a purpose)

Jonathon isn’t sure how he feels about this.

Pierce (shade form of Jonathon) isn’t sure how he feels about this.

I’m sure why this one stuck out the most to me, although my guess would probably stem from the fact that I still see them as their original character names. So why change them? I’ll get to that in a second. Below you’ll see a small list of original character names followed by their publication name.

Colton changed to Noah. Brent to Jonathon. Jonathon to Pierce. Brethan original had both a dark and a human name, but now he is only referred to by his Dark name. Jessica had a Dark name as well. And Eric’s previously girlfriend is almost impossible to remember how many changes she went through.

These changes happened for many reasons, but they mainly happened to keep a character distinct from one another. I couldn’t have a “Brent” related to a “Brenthan.” I mean, I could…at first, I wanted it that way because they were brothers, but I realized I could play on identities in a more psychological way rather than physical name. In the future, I will write more tips on naming characters, since I’ve done it before. Fun fact: a lot of editors/publishers changes character names to be more memorable. My publisher didn’t do anything like that, and I’m really happy I got to keep my “common” names for my human characters, like Eric, Jessica, and Teresa – because the normalcy of their names was intentional, allowing their paranormal names to be more effective, like “Shoman” “Bracke” or “Eu.”

A lot changes in editing, but it mainly happens during rewrites.

A lot changes in editing, but it mainly happens during rewrites.

Location: It can be really hard to change this, but it can also be worth it. 

Kansas – Originally, I wasn’t going to have a town at all. (Of course, there would be one, but it wouldn’t have a name, and I definitely didn’t want to mention the state.) At first, I wanted this town to seem like it could be anywhere, but then I realized it could seem that way while still being physically located somewhere, so after much consideration, I went with Kansas for many reasons, mainly because I don’t feel like many novels take place in the Midwest, especially paranormal or YA books.

Events: Don’t be afraid to add or take scenes away.

The Naming – the ceremony at the beginning of Minutes Before Sunset was actually added last minute. It was in the trilogy, but it was shown much later. I decided to show it in the beginning because I realized it could help ground the rituals of the Dark while also showing where the identities happen.

The ending – I actually don’t want to spoil too much, but the actions Jessica took in the final scenes with Darthon originally didn’t exist. The way to kill him wasn’t in it either. But she’s a fighter – more than most characters actually – and I knew in the editing that I had to include her in the fight. Plus, it allowed a foreshadowing for the third novel I’ve been dying to add without changing the story too much.

Other than that, a lot of dialogue changed and a few character appearances weren’t originally there. I even flipped a few chapters around and cut out other chapters completely. But it all ended up being the same story – I just needed to edit it to find out where certain scenes actually took place.

Perspective: Another difficult area to change.

At first, I showed Jessica’s shade side, but in the rewrite, I choose not to show her paranormal perspective in the first novel. She originally was named at the end of the first novel, too, but it didn’t feel right for reasons that will be explained in the third novel, Death Before Daylight. (Dun. Dun. Dun.) I also wanted to show a few scenes from Darthon’s perspective, but I never wrote one, because he’s a loud mouth. His identity would’ve been revealed in seconds. That doesn’t mean I didn’t consider it during rewrites, though. It just didn’t work out.

Other: Have fun with the small stuff, but it can shape a character.

I already wrote about cars, but Eric originally drove a 2009 Charger instead of an older version. Mindy had a more important role (I even considered having her completely aware of the Dark and the Light) in the first novel. And some of the characters’ descriptions changed. Surprisingly, the attitudes of the characters didn’t change a lot through the first novel, but they do later on! In my other novels, I have found that my characters have chanced dramatically from one version to the next, but this trilogy is an exception, probably because I wrote the second book first.

My changes in the first novel actually heavily impacted the changes in the second novel, and I am looking forward to being able to share that with everyone once the second novel has been released for some time. In fact, I think most manuscripts change a lot from the first draft to the final piece. I actually had to look a lot of my changes up in my notes from the first draft because it becomes difficult to remember everything that you discard or morph into something new.

What about you? What has changed from your first draft to your published work? I feel like this has an endless array of possibilities, but these are just a few of mine. I would love to hear about your novels and manuscripts. Share below!

~SAT

Minutes Before Sunset is on sale until book 2 releases March 27!

Minutes Before Sunset is on sale until book 2 releases March 27!

Pennsylvania

25 Jul

So I’m back! And I’m really glad everyone kept my blog going while I gone on family business. I am really busy right now–I just got back, but I have my final this Friday. It’s all great, but I thought today I’d simply share my trip with everyone :]

Pennsylvania Sunrise

My dad and I drove from Kansas to Pennsylvania–about a 17 hour drive–and this was the sunrise we were met with upon arrival.

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Gettysburg 

My dad and I decided to visit Gettysburg while we were there since I’ve never been there, and my dad hasn’t been there since he was young. Fun fact: it was the 150th anniversary.

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Everyone knows how historical this battle was in U.S. History, especially in the Civil War, but I didn’t know just how large (or how perfectly preserved) it is. We took a two-hour bus tour and we still didn’t see the entire thing. I think the most interesting part was how the survivors actually returned and built all of the monuments exactly where important events happened, so the fields have these statues throughout the miles of history.

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I think another story that really stood out to me was how many people died AFTER the battle simply because they’d walk across the fields and leftover ammunition would explode and/or injure someone. They also believe up to 1,000 bodies of Confederate soldiers are left in the fields. Crazily enough, they found one of these bodies partially unburied in the 1960’s–over one hundred years later.

National Soldier Cemetery  

Another part of Gettysburg is where every Union soldier was buried. There are more memorials for certain groups, and this one was New York’s:

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Hershey Park

I LOVE roller coasters, so two of my cousins, my uncle, my aunt, my dad, and I went to the amusement park that smells like chocolate! There were lots of roller coasters, but I think my favorite was Storm Runner or Sky Rush. Lots of fun. Lots of chocolate.

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Finally

We headed home after a couple of days, and this was the sunset we were met on an Indiana highway.

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Basically 

I had a really good time visiting my family in the state I was born in. I regret to say that the reason for our trip was a death in the family. My grandmother, L. Noreen Thompson, passed away July 13, 2013. She was a wonderful woman, and I’m proud to be a part of her lineage. Below is the last family photo I was able to be a part of. You might recognize it from a previous post since I shared it November, 2012, but I wanted to share it again, because–although it doesn’t have the entire family in it–it was the last time I saw my grandmother, and the photo means a lot to me!

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So I’m back, and I will be continuing ShannonAThompson.com! 

Thank you for your support 😀

~SAT
….

I regret to announce the book signing event has been canceled. 

Minutes Before Sunset is available at AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboDieselSony, and Apple.

Writing Tips: Beautiful Characters

22 Feb

When I wrote about “Beautiful Creatures” last Wednesday, my follower, Wordschat, said “This looks so much like a Twilight wanna be but then again anything with ‘beautiful people’ will be.” (Wordschat’s blog reviews many aspects of his life: books, TV, movies, and novel–along with politics. Anything that effects his Canadian life, and I find his insightful writing to be a wonderful example of how we can take advantage of our technological world to communicate our opinions effectively.)

But–I wanted to discuss this “beautiful people” in novels, because, like many of you, I’m sure you’re sick of it. It’s repetitive, shallow, and, in the end, it’s impossible to relate to. Novels, it seems, go into this world where everyone (as long as they are a main character) is a walking super model (or a model in the making.)

What is with this and how can we, as writers AND readers, change this???

Readers: Demand a change. You have the power. Not the writer. Based on what you buy and react to, the industry WILL change. The industry HAS to adapt to what YOU want. But you have to demand it first.

Writers: Stop. It’s that simple. Instead of telling the reader how beautiful they are physically, explain the little things that make them beautiful to others. Use their personality.

Another way to show beauty is explaining what is beautiful to your character. This painting is beautiful to me. Not only does it depict my favorite actor (and cat!) but a wonderful painter took the time to create something lovely, specifically for me, and that gesture is beautiful.

Another way to show beauty is explaining what is beautiful to your character. This painting is beautiful to me. Not only does it depict my favorite actor (and cat!) but a wonderful painter took the time to create something lovely, specifically for me, and that gesture is beautiful.

Think of it this way: if you’ve ever had a lover yourself, what makes them beautiful to you? I hope your first thoughts don’t go straight to their physical aspects. It goes to their personality—who they are and how they continue to grow into the person you love. They aren’t set in stone—they are human—and they have flaws.

Personally, I find flaws are the most attractive part about a person. Not only do they describe a history, but they create a vulnerability that, when the narrator focuses on them, shows the endearing emotions of a character. This goes for all characters—not just lovers or protagonists.

I’ve created a list of attributes you can consider when thinking of how to create a “beautiful person” through personality rather than by physical forms:

Gestures: Actions speak louder than words. There is a reason this is such a popular phrase. Use it. Does a character go out of his/her way help, to show that they care? Consider creating a character who’s bad at explaining their emotions, so they, in turn, show it. Maybe they cannot make eye contact—so, in the rare moments they do, it means something.

Speech: Perhaps they are great with their words, but you cannot explain yourself in every situation, especially when a lot of people are around. Allow their conversations to change between different characters. Show how they change from one person to the next. This will show who they sympathize with and/or who they dislike. It will also create a relatable, emotional person, who may not even be aware how much they give away with their speech.

Physical: So they’re chiseled and their jaw line is impeccably defined. Great. I don’t care. Maybe I’m not attracted to that type of man, so why should I care? Keep your reader in mind. Use your narrator, and focus on the little things, THEY find beautiful. Consider using scars, birthmarks, injuries, or how they can never control their hair or expressions. Allow these physical aspects to create a beauty that is unique to the person, the narrator, and that will effect how the reader will respond.

I have one last disclosure: There, of course, are exceptions, but I want you to think about why they become exceptions. An example would be a novel about someone’s extreme beauty causes them disconnect. Their beauty puts them in situations where they cannot connect, because they feel as if people only like them because of their physical appearance. In this case, however, when you really get down to it, it’s their insecurities about connection that allow them to be beautiful. It shows a thought process. It shows an emotional response to the world. Use beauty in a way that readers will sympathize with how they are effected–not how they look. 

~SAT

If you're interested in how I'm doing in the Midwest snow storm: this is a carport in my apartment complex that collapsed beneath the weight of snow. Eek.

If you’re interested in how I’m doing in the Midwest snow storm: this is a carport in my apartment complex that collapsed beneath the weight of snow. Eek.

Writing Tips: Read Your Oldest Piece

5 Feb

[November Snow is now on Facebook: Join me here :D]

Recently, I posted “Writing Tips: What’s on Your Desk?” and I had a great time reading about all of your writing spaces. Ironically, however, I have to admit that my desk is not normally that clean. I’ve recently moved places, and moving gave me the opportunity to be that clean. (Maybe in a few weeks, I’ll take another picture.) Us artists seem to generally be messy people (even though we ALWAYS know where our stuff is.)

During my move, I found a lot of old paperwork in folders and binders, and yesterday I decided to go through them and reorganize them. This was the piles of book notes I was creating:
SAMSUNG

Among these papers, the oldest piece of writing I could find was a written assignment I wrote in sixth grade (2002-2003). I think it’s great to read what we’ve written previously, because it shows how we grow, so I thought I’d share the beginning of mine. (I found six pages, front and back, so it’d be a lot to put on one post.) I’m not editing it either, so you can see how I’ve grown, and I think you all should dig through old works, and do the same. You’ll see how much you’ve grown (and you will feel great!) Then, you’ll know, without a doubt, you’re still growing, and that’s a great writer feeling too. 

So here we go:

“I want to put something down on this paper right here, but what I am, what I feel, can’t. There isn’t a word to describe it. I’m so confused on what life is, or what it’s sopposed to be. I guess life isn’t supposed ‘to be’ anything. Life takes turns in unexpected ways. And that, that is what happened to me. It started as a normal day. Wake, take Shower, blow dry hair, say bye to dad and dog. Not my mom, we fought last night about how my friend, Angel, supposily got drunk. Thats not why shes in the hospital. I know, it sounds weird a girl named Angel, but got drunk. I don’t really know how to explain, except that when we were little I couldn’t say Angelia so I turned out saying Angel, on account of my grams always called me that, so I all ready knew how to say it.”

You may see a lot of grammatical errors in that paragraph. I sure did. But the main thing I noticed was how I began a story. It read like my personal diary. I started to write to explain my feelings, and it turned into something else completely. What I find interesting is I think this is the time where writing turned serious for me. Instead of writing my emotions out, I wrote so my emotions could come out. 

Reading your old works can teach you more about your writing style than you might have thought about. 

Have a great Tuesday! I’m excited for the Undergraduate Reading Series tomorrow night. I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes.

~SAT

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