Monthly Archives: July 2017

The Lines between Past and Present Fade

 

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Today I read in the news that, “Several days of civil unrest have rocked Poland as hundreds of thousands of people across the country protest the government’s bid to replace Supreme Court judges and the EU threatens to intervene.

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My YA historical fiction novel, Rising Hope, tells the story of six Polish teens who find hope, despite great loss, when their Boy Scout and Girl Guides troops fight alongside the Polish Underground Army against the Germans during WWII, culminating in the 1944 Warsaw Rising. Book two will follow the book’s fictional characters as they join a spy network NIE, during the Cold War, a resistance effort against the newly installed Communist government in Poland.

For the sake of Poland and its long struggle for freedom, I hope the current leaders listen to the protestors. After Poland overthrow Communism, it created a new constitution that called for courts and tribunals to constitute a separation of power, independent of other branches of power (Chapter VIII, Article 173). Political opponents, rights groups and the EU say that the changes the current ruling party has proposed will “undermine the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary, a fundamental democratic principle” (UK’s Express).

For those wanting more background, the Express explains, “Since being elected in 2015, PiS [meaning Law and Justice, the current majority party in Poland] has tightened government control over courts and prosecutors, as well as state media, and introduced restrictions on public gatherings and the activity of non-governmental organisations.

“Last week, parliament passed another bill that ends the terms of current members of the National Council of the Judiciary, one of the main judicial bodies, and gives parliament powers to choose 15 of its 25 members.

“Political opponents, rights groups and the EU say the changes undermine the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary, a fundamental democratic principle.”

What do you think? Let me know.

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Sleuthing & Subtext

I just read two thought-provoking articles that shared gems I hope to employ in writing the first draft of my next novel’s first chapter – hopefully by this weekend!

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One article discussed what the mantra of “show don’t tell” actually means. The writer boiled it down to the concept of “sleuthing” – creating scenes where readers must conduct a bit of detective work in order to figure out what’s going on with the characters. This makes readers feel more engaged in the story, helps them feel as though they’ve come to know the characters better, and provides them with a sense of ownership of the people and the scene. “Since the reader did some work to figure out what was going on, they now feel included, emotionally invested.”

 

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The second article illustrates how we can create subtext in dialogue by taking into account all of the forces acting upon a character at a particular moment. Using the illustration of a crumpled ball of paper getting thrown into a trash can, she shows that, while the goal of the shot is to make the ball enter the receptacle, more forces come into play than just the person’s goal of making the shot. Other forces, such as the pull of gravity, the friction of the air, the breeze from the ceiling fan also come into play. The person making the shot makes an assessment (albeit subconsciously) of all those forces before taking the shot. In the same way, “With each line, we [need to] take into account all of the forces acting upon a character.” The protagonist’s goal “is not the only force acting upon the character, it is simply the most dominant. Like the fan breeze that bends the path of the paper ball, other forces will bend the behavior of a character. This is the source of subtext.”

I’m looking forward to creating scenes that invite my readers to do some sleuthing in order to discover my characters’ wants and needs. I also hope to take into account all of the forces acting upon my characters at a given moment in order to create plot points that utilize subtext. Sleuthing and subtext will add layers of dimension to my characters while also deepening my readers’ emotional connection to the characters and the story.

 

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Blissful Scribbles

Musings through the journey of writing my first novel

ACFW - DFW CHAPTER a.k.a. DFW Ready Writers

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

ACFW SFBayArea

Northern California Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers

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Spoken words are fleeting, but written words last beyond a lifetime.

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"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

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I make Children's Books

Under His Wings

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

Cathleen Armstrong

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

A Writer's Diary

Author, Educator, Consultant

Blissful Scribbles

Musings through the journey of writing my first novel

ACFW - DFW CHAPTER a.k.a. DFW Ready Writers

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

ACFW SFBayArea

Northern California Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers

Letters to Noah

Spoken words are fleeting, but written words last beyond a lifetime.

Sontag Writing Dreams

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

marsha ottum owen

I make Children's Books

Under His Wings

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

Cathleen Armstrong

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

A Writer's Diary

Author, Educator, Consultant