Bloggin’ With Britney

Author’s Biography:

Britney Pieta is from Glen Ellyn, IL. She is the Blog Administrator and Administrative Assistant for The DuPage Writers Group, NFP. She earned her Associates in Liberal Arts in 2011 and also completed the Consumer Marketing Certificate at College of DuPage in 2012. She is currently pursuing Certified as a Copywriting Specialist from Business Training Institute. Her writing interests include all genres, but she is primarily focused on: poetry, short stories, children stories, and inspirational pieces.

 ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————- The Creator Archetype

By Britney Pieta
 
What comes to your mind when you think of a creative person? Do any of the following attributes listed below pop out or stand out at you? If you are a writer than you would very much likely have some of the characterizations as described by Carl Jung for this soul type!
 
(Check out this list for more of the archetypes)
 
The Creator
Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
Core desire: to create things of enduring value
Goal: to realize a vision
Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution
Strategy: develop artistic control and skill
Task: to create culture, express own vision
Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions
Talent: creativity and imagination
The Creator is also known as: The artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.
 
Now go ask all your creative friends if this archetype sounds a little, a lot, or exactly like them!

4 Ways to Reveal Setting in Your Story

By Britney Pieta
(Source: Professor Tammie Bob, Fiction Class, COD, Spring semester of 2010)

Setting can be defined according to Google as: “The place or type of surroundings where something is positioned or where an event takes place.”

Setting Includes:

Locale—place of where the characters meet. ex. café, library, church

Weather, atmosphere, air quality—ex. rainy, fog, humid

Season—ex. spring, summer, fall, winter

Time of day—ex. morning, noon, evening

Era—ex. Roman, Elizabeth, Victorian

Social environment—ex. loud, crowded, noisy

1)  Reveal setting through motion. (action verbs—dancing, strolling, jumping)

2)  Reveal setting through a character’s level of experience. (ex. where the character grew up—suburb, urban, country)

3)   Reveal setting through the mood of your character (feelings—love, pain, sick; emotions—happy, sad, angry; attitudes: positive, neutral, negative

4) Reveal setting through the senses. (sight, hear, touch, taste, smell)

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Details and Description—Using Verbs Rather than Adjectives

 By Britney Pieta
(Professor Tammie Bob, Fiction Class, COD Spring semester of 2010)

 Oddly, it is the verbs rather than the adjectives a writer chooses that create the strongest images in a reader’s mind. Odd, because early on we learn that adjectives are “describing” words.

What image do you get when you read:

Steve was the fastest runner on the team.

Instead you could say:

Every race began with a cloud of runners bobbing almost in unison. Then the cloud thinned so you could distinguish individual runners by the color of their shirt. And soon, Steve, a blur of blue, would jet out of the cloud, flying along the track, alone. 

Having Steve “jet” and “fly” is more convincing than telling the reader he is the “fastest.” The verbs give the reader something to “see”.  But so do nouns and objects, which are key to what is generally referred to as “detail.”

As you write, you look around your setting and choose what’s there that reinforces your story, that creates mood and meaning, character, time, significance. You choose how to present those objects. Making these choices is key to your story…if everything is listed, it seems random and boring, over-described. Beginning writers often do this with characters, describing their appearance as if issuing an all points bulletin: Six feet tall, red hair, blue eyes, glasses, goatee, gray tee shirt, jeans, sandals.

Better to choose the details, and work them into the action.

Another example is:  “Kevin picked a scrap of food of his red goatee and seemed to consider the long, dusty gray toes splaying from the ragged straps of his sandals before he spoke.” 

You get an image of Kevin, and some of his character emerges as well.

The uses, and amount, of significant detail varies by writer, according to their style, sensibility, and era. Some details may be ambiguous, but too often newer writers confuse uncertainty in a reader with their own vague awareness of the story, which results in an unfocused, even pointless narrative.

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Tips for the Holidays

By Britney Pieta

Holidays are a special time of year but for some of us it can be a difficult time because we just have suffered a loss or still feel the effects of a loved one’s absence…

Here are some tips for getting through those meaningful but hard days:

Don’t be alone on Christmas or New Years day. Being alone just adds to the already sad thoughts and feelings you might have. It takes a lot of courage to face the world after a death but being alone while the rest of the country is having a good old jolly time except you— won’t do you any good.

Go caroling, visit a nursing home, go to a Christmas play—just get out of the house because you will find that doing something for others will always bring a smile to yours and their face. Spreading Christmas cheer will cheer you up to in the process and the party is just getting started! If you are like me at least go somewhere for the food!

(Side note—One thing to remember is to not do anything you are uncomfortable doing. We are all at different stages of grief and you don’t want anything to open wounds or trigger intense emotions.)

Keep traditions alive. Even if that person who normally did that tradition with you isn’t with you anymore, I believe with all my heart that person is still with you in spirit and would smile to see you continuing it. Traditions will bind you and that person forever and help the memory of him/her carry on.

Create new traditions in honor of your loved one. Along with doing the same traditions maybe there is something new you could do to remember your loved one. It will give the holidays a new meaning and give you a new way to feel closer to that person.

Talk about old memories, play board games, laugh at old videos or pictures from past Christmases or holidays. It is always nice to remember how not all of your life has been “from hell” and that if you had good times then you can have them again.

The holidays are a good time to get your thoughts out on paper.

After you follow these suggestions it is important to write down your memories of how the holiday went for you. You can journal about this, add it to your autobiography/memoir,  write your relatives letters, or even post what happened on facebook.

Some questions you may want to ask yourself which you may wish to write about:

How was I able to get or not to get through the holidays this year? What were my feelings and thoughts going through my head?

What was my favorite part/aspect of the holidays?

How can my friends and family make the holiday season easier for me?
What would I like to do next year?

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10 Christmas prompts: (some prompts to get you writing)

Christmas is my favorite time of year because….

I believe the true meaning of Christmas is….

What I like most about Christmas….

I stay up late to wait for Santa Clause the night before Christmas because….

I was good, bad, or both this year because….

If I could ask Santa Clause for one thing it would be….

It is better to give than to receive because….

If I could time travel to the first Christmas I would say to baby Jesus….

The qualities I see in both Santa Clause and Jesus are…

If I could change anything about Christmas it would be….

My own prompt example: What I like most about Christmas….when it’s a white Christmas. After opening up gifts I like to go outside and make snow angels, kick some icicles, and warm up inside again by eating some hot chocolate. Then I go for a horse carriage ride in the winter wonderland of snow and sing to the song “Baby its Cold Outside while wearing my warm turtleneck.

Winter words:

Boots

Blizzard

Chapped lips

Coat

Cold

Earmuff

Eskimos

Frozen

Glove

Hat

Horse and carriage

Icicle

Ice-skating

Iceberg

Hot chocolate

Mittens

Numb

Polar bears

Rosey pink cheeks

Scarf

Shivering

Shovel

Sleet

Snow angels

Snowman

Turtleneck

Wind

Zero degrees

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Which Word Should I Choose?

By Britney Pieta

Some of you may think it’s the lack of words (writers block) that makes it hard to write, but I believe it’s the exact opposite. There are so many words to choose from and so many ways to present your writing, so how do you decide which ones to use?

My Journalism teacher—Cathy Stablein, from College of DuPage described it as being like a surgeon. You have to choose your words with precision and accuracy.

You might want to ask yourself:

  • Is this given word’s meaning I have selected the most exact/closest word I can find for this particular sentence that I have imagined in my head? (Ex. weeping vs. sobbing)

1. Samantha sat in her car weeping so hard she couldn’t breathe.

2. Samantha sat in her car sobbing so hard she couldn’t breathe.

Which do you think is better?

  • Am I adding so many difficult vocabulary words that my reader is lost or confused? (Ex.“quixotic” which could be changed to the word idealistic or impractical.)
  • Are the words I have chosen staying true to the character’s personalities in my story? (Ex. an atheist who others call himself “righteous,” but isn’t in any religion and abhors that word.)
  • Are the words I have chosen going to be interpreted differently depending on the audience who reads it? (Ex. a young adult audience vs. elderly audience)

Remember to not be afraid of rewriting and rewriting over and over again because you might not portray it right the first time. As a writer the words flow through you and sometimes if you never use certain words or know the right word but can’t put your finger on it—(buried somewhere in your head) it is helpful to consult a dictionary or thesaurus.

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7 Ways to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

By Britney Pieta

Most people seem to get stuck at some point when they write…

Some describe it as, “I hit a brick wall that I couldn’t get past.” Or “I reached a dead end.” Or “I can’t get my mind’s wheels turning.”

Being able to let your creative juices flow is important if you want to get anywhere with writing.

2 Quotes that have inspired me from “The 12 Step Life Recovery Devotional”

book by Stephen Arterburn: “A book is written word by word and line by line.”

“ Success comes inch by inch, stroke by stroke, step by step.”

So here are my ideas for getting your writing going. You can try one, all, or use your own special ways to do this. Have fun!

1. Change your format of writing: You might be better at writing in one format than another, but you never know where your writing will lead you. So just let it grow and transform and let your inner writer take you wherever it wants to go. (ex. if your piece starts off as a poem but it becomes a short story or vice versa)

2. Brainstorm: This is taught in school but is useful in real life. If you can’t think on your own, have another person brainstorm with you. It is said that, “Two heads are better than one.” Make a list of topics to write about and then branch out into specifics. (ex. a house—memories/special occasions, people, pets, seasons, food, sounds)

3. Go people watching: Observe people in their natural surroundings. Sometimes little gestures a person makes or part of a conversation you hear while someone is talking can spur on other ideas. Bring a notebook wherever you go, so you can write it down right away and won’t forget. (ex. zoo, mall, park, ice skating rink, Starbucks/Panera Bread)

4. Read a lot: Some of our ideas can come from things already published. Often you can find a new way of looking at something and add your own unique plot. In the Bible it says, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”(Ex. “Spindles End” book—a different version of “Sleeping Beauty” or the show “Smallville” based off the original Superman series)

5. Add to projects you are already working on: Sometimes if you can’t think of something new you can just work on something already started. It’s sometimes better to finish what you have started and concentrating on just one thing because then your mind won’ t be going off in a million different directions. (ex. novel, short story, screenplay)

6. Relax—Try not to think too much as you write because it stops the flow. When you are relaxed the words flow better because you aren’t worrying and having racing thoughts as much going through your head as you are writing. (ex. try meditation/yoga, walking/jogging, nature music, drinking tea/hot chocolate)

7. Continue later—If you start something but can’t finish continue where you left off some other time. Sometimes your inner writer needs to spend some time soaking in and taking in life. “God didn’t make the world in a day,” so you don’t have to rush the process. (ex. take a break, set certain goals for each day–word count)

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The Power of Words

By Britney Pieta

Words are a powerful force in the world…just think about the words “I love you,” and  it instantly affects how you act and feel about the person who said it.

To write well, summon your inner writer and remember to use words as a force for good. You never know who will pick up a copy of what you have written.

Here are three Bible verses about the power of words:

  1. Proverbs 16:24: “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul, and health to the body.”

Analysis:

  • · Words are food and water to the soul. They give strength and vitality back to us. (ex. a poem on love, friendships, or good memories)
  • · Words keep us going in hard times and make the good times even more beautiful. (ex. a song on the radio says, “Hold onto Jesus,” a song at your wedding)
  • · Words wash over you like a warm bath, by cleansing and healing your mind. (ex. reading the Bible, prayer, meditating)
  1. James 3:3-5: “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

Analysis:

  • · The words we speak out loud can bring us down or lift us up. (ex. your worthless vs. you are valuable, “you can do it!” vs. you will fail)
  • · Words can maintain or destroy relationships. (ex. verbal abuse vs. honesty)
  • · Words can change nations and the world. (ex. “I Have a Dream,” speech, )
  • · Words can have the power to change the direction of your life. (ex. someone says, “I believe in you,” and encourages them to follow their dreams, a conversation with a mentor)
  • · Words have the power of life and death. (ex. bullying drives someone to suicide vs. a person speaks blessings over you )
  1. Proverbs 12:14: “A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words.”

Analysis:

Whenever you write— whether it be a letter, poem, or story—each time you are planting a seed in the reader’s heart that can help them grow as a person. Every time you accomplish something for one of your writing projects, whether big or small, you will see over time how much you have grown and the beautiful effects of what you have spent so much time  creating.

So keep writing no matter how hard it gets or whatever is happening around you. Something you have written could be exactly what a person or the world is looking for and needs.

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Story Triggers
By Britney Pieta

When you are looking for the next big idea that is going to your new story, novel, screenplay, etc, you need some kind of idea to get you going. That is where story triggers come into play. Story triggers—just like lighting a firework—will be what you need to spark your writing.

Some stories for me come through the question, “what if?” This is different than a prompt because it allows you to ask nearly an endless amount of questions. Being someone who worries a lot I do ask the question, “what if?” In that case, worrying does have a purpose for me. This requires great use of your imagination and asking questions about things you daily encounter. Inventors use this all the time to come up with new things people have never done before. This is the time to let your imagination run wild and not be kept in a cage. Just let it run loose. You can compare it to when you are walking a dog and it starts running and pulling you with it. Let your writing take you to great places. Angela Booth from http://www.copywriter.typepad.com said, “Your writing comes alive when you use your imagination, but you have to be willing to let go, to enter your imagination fully.”

My second idea for story triggers is to just to expand or view in a different perspective something that has already been published in the creative fields of books, music, and art. Your idea is like a branch on a tree. The trunk is already there and the branches (your idea) are what grow from it. For me, I add my own spin and twist to my story that has never been done before.

Story Triggers taken from: (Professor Tammie Bob, Fiction Class, COD Spring semester of 2010)

1. Anything you see that makes you ask, “What was that?” (ex. A biology professor shoplifting grapefruits, a dog that is friends with a cat, some kind of saucer or space like object in the sky)

2. “True Life” (ex. Is there a story you inevitably tell everyone you meet? A story you tell again and again? What’s its importance to you? What’s the “real” story?)

3. News stories and photographs. (ex. You see a front page piece about a 12-year-old arrested in Cleveland, you read a story about a ghost haunting, you see a Jesus like figure in shape in a cloud in the background)

4. Things You Connect. (ex. Miracles that defy doctor’s explanations, what someone said in your past is coming true now, you share the same birthday as your best friend.)

5. Idiosyncratic details. (ex. Things that make you angry, scared, laugh out loud, annoying or habitual gestures or tics. )

6. “Global” Issues Made Intimate. (ex. hunger, homelessness, racism, as they show up in the lives of relatives, neighbors, friends)
For each trigger you come up with, do some brainstorming about what interests you about the idea.

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Conflict

By Britney Pieta

(Professor Tammie Bob, Fiction Class, COD Spring semester of 2010)

 Conflict is essential to plot.  Without conflict there is no plot.  It is the opposition of forces which ties one incident to another and makes the plot move.  Conflict is not merely limited to open arguments, rather it is any form of opposition that faces the main character. Within a short story there may be only one central struggle, or there may be one dominant struggle with many minor ones.

There are two types of conflict:
1)  External – A struggle with a force outside one’s self.

2)  Internal – A struggle within one’s self; a person must make some decision, overcome pain, quiet their temper, resist an urge, etc.

There are four kinds of conflict:
1)  Character vs. character  (physical) – (ex. The leading character struggles with his physical strength against other men, forces of nature, or animals. )

2)  Character vs. circumstances (classical) – (ex. The leading character struggles against fate, or the circumstances of life facing him/her. )

3)  Character vs. society (social) – (ex. The leading character struggles against ideas, practices, or customs of other people. )

4)  Character vs. himself/herself (psychological) –  (ex. The leading character struggles with himself/herself; with his/her own soul, ideas of right or wrong, physical limitations, choices, etc.)

Authors can keep their storylines edgy by not promising the audience anything to what will happen. If the reader reads something that doesn’t also leave the choice of something ending badly, then the writing is boring. It reminds me of when my dad is watching a baseball game and when and if the Cubs win, he screams, “Yes!” The Cubs always seem to lose, but when they do win, it’s even more meaningful. If the good guy eventually gets his escape, but not until after a long battle, it makes it seem more realistic too. In real life, succeeding in something takes a lot of effort and time.

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DuPage Publication Review Party

By Britney Pieta
      On the evening of June 18th at the Carol Stream Public Library, members of the DuPage Writer Group, NFP read their works from this year’ s literary journal: “Possibilities 2012”! The place was full. It was very enjoyable to see the variety of writing styles and the different pieces, all unique and beautiful in their own way.
The following is a list of those who read and the title of their writings:
Christine Seagrave read a poem, “To Veterans Everywhere and Those that Care About Them”
Carol Neumann read a poem, “I Forgot to Knock on Wood”
Maxine Ledford read a non-fiction piece, “ Saving the Hibiscus”
Natalia Toreeva read a poem , “The Cliff
Beth Orchard read a poem, “Place”
Mark Donovan read a memoir piece, “The Vice ( as in immoral) President”
Rich Keyworth read an essay: “Water”
Mike Gebhardt read a poem, “The Mountain Calls for Me”
Jim Palmer read a poem, “Water- Maui Hawaii”
Vince Manno read a short story , “The Blue Bowl”
Rose Calkins read a memoir piece, “Hide and Go Seek- The Prodigal”
Carole Ellermeier read a poem , “Rural Free Delivery”
Britney Pieta read a poem, “Jesus Intercedes for You.”

If you did not get the chance to come to the publication party, you may still buy the journal at: https://dupagewriters.wordpress.com/. Scroll down the page and you will see it. They are selling for $13.00 plus $2.00 shipping. You can pay by paypal or by check. Please check out our website for enjoyable upcoming events and readings. We start-up our new writing season this September. Come join us at one of our meetings and experience the joy there is in creating your own writings!

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Writers and Mental Illness part 1

By Britney Pieta

            A friend of mine was reading something to me about a lot of famous writers who had mental illness or nervous breakdowns sometime during their life, some of them being very severe. A few well-known authors that come to mind who suffered mental illness are: Charles Dickens, David Wallace, Edgar Allen Poe, and Virginia Woolf. Not saying that every writer will experience mental illness, but you have to watch out for it and be aware of the signs.
           We as writers often times live in our own little world. Some of us basically “live inside our heads” and our imagination, so sometimes we lose touch with reality. Some of us also lose touch with the outside world because we stay in our little creative zone inside our house, which it can be a good thing to have your own space. BUT you have to have a balance. Just as people can get lost in a book reading it, we can get lost in the process of writing it.
     “Artists, musicians and writers quite often work alone, and when they begin to fall into depression, they do not have the support and encouragement as do people that regularly work in a setting that has co-workers that would notice a change in personality, mood, or signs of depression,” Sherri Granato, from yahoovoices, said.
So my advice to you is to:
1.      Join a writers group—somewhere you can share your writing and be with others like yourself so you are not lonely.
2.      Get out of the house—work on some of your writing projects out in nature or in a public place like Starbucks, McDonalds, Panera Bread, or the library. Remember you are not under lock and key like Cinderella!
3.      Take a break—don’t spend all of one particular day writing non-stop.
4.      Don’t be all dark and dreary—add some humor to your writing to make you and others laugh.
5.      Play other roles—you are not only a writer but also a family member, friend, mentor, etc. You don’t want to push away the people in your life because you have no time for them. So don’t forget that writing isn’t the only thing you can do for others.
In part two of this series on mental illness I will tell you how to inject humor into your writing.
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Adding Puns to Your Story

By Britney Pieta

 Adding puns can make writing fun, give it more variety, and make it more colorful by playing with words. Adding  humor gives people different ways to look at things. This helps people to enjoy and savor your words.

Below are a few ways to add puns into your writing:

  1. Using clichés- Put a new twist on cliches
  • · Ex. “You are what you eat.” (“If we are what we eat, I don’t want to all be JUST potato chips!”)
  • · Ex. “Buy one get two free!” (my dad used this to describe having triplets)
  1. Use a  cliché  and elaborate on the literal meaning
  • · Ex. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” can literally give you good health
  • · Ex. “You eat like a pig!” which means you may literally eat as much as a pig does or in a pig’s manner
  1. Use words homonyms -words that sound the same yet have different meanings.
  • · Ex. “Can you picture what that picture looks like?”
  • · Ex. You turn right on that street right?”
  • · Ex. With a person’s name—“Hey Paige can you turn that page?”
  • Ex. “We will hedge our bets on that hedge fund.”

Now it’s your turn! Create some funny puns and see how fun writing can be!

How to Add Suspense to Your Writing
By Britney Pieta
“The suspense is killing me.” This is a very common cliché that is used when someone is waiting for something to happen and it hasn’t yet. The longer you hold your reader’s attention, the more shocking the surprise. It also will lead to a stronger emotional reaction. While most popular in mystery and horror stories, suspense can be built into any story no matter the genre. The few tips below will help you to create suspense in your writing that will keep your readers turning the page and wanting to come back for your next story.
1.  Hook your readers right from the beginning with an introduction that starts in the middle of the action. This will leave your readers wanting to keep turning the pages to find out what is the problem.
Ex.   The knife cut right through the canvas. She pulled back in the dark and held her breath hoping the intruder would leave. She thought, How did it all go so wrong?… Could it be Bobby’s valentine?  And then a deeper slice ripped through the canvas just missing her heart. Beads of sweat were gathering on her lip and on the back of her neck. This was just the beginning…or was it the long torturous end…
2. Place your characters in a surreal situation of impending doom.
The above example places her either in a darkened backstage theater or an art gallery after hours with a person wielding a knife.
3.  Do not use a steady pace when telling the story. Speed up the narrative as the suspense increases.  Use shorter sentences and clipped dialogue. Next slow the pace down by writing longer sentences and slowing down the action with interruptions to create a cliffhanger .
Ex.  “ Duck!” Brad shoved Gil’s head down into the foxhole.
                “ Ah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!“
          The shrapnel from the grenade made a gaping hole on the side of Brad’s face. His hand was trembling as the blood gushed forth.
          “Help!”  “Help!”
            ” Damit!!!”
“Mason!! Mason!!”
          Gil foolishly tried to yell over the sound of the artillery fire for Doc Mason who was the medic. He pulled Brad close adding pressure where he could to stop the bleeding. It seemed futile. The river of blood was everywhere. Filling-up the hole and soaking them both.
4.  Surprise readers with something that first appears normal.Nothing in life runs perfectly to plan for anyone. Make nothing straight-forward for the main character.
 Ex.  An average wedding day, workday, or holiday turns into earth’s doomsday.
 Ex. A person is driving and having fun listening to the radio when an alien spaceship forces the car off of the road
5. Use the setting and mood to create suspense. It does not have to be a hit you over the head with the obvious approach of “it was a dark and stormy night!” It can be very subtle with something slightly-off to create an unsettling suspenseful situation.Ex. Jess loved the fall when all the bounty of the earth seemed to burst forth with its fruits. She lay in the grass feeling the warmth of the sun and smelling the crispness just starting in the air.Ex. “Hey Jess… Are you dreamin’ again? You are a dreamer, you are. Can’t get ahead in the world bein’ a dreamer. I can teach ya how to get ahead in this world.” Bob had a mocking tone and came over to her smelling like a stale empty whiskey bottle left over night in the barn . Jess immediate felt a sick feeling in her stomach.
            6. Create a really good hero and a really good villain. The hero is someone the readers are rooting for and the villain would be someone they love to hate. The above example gives us such an idea.
          Enjoy sharpening your story by using the suspense tips above. The more you use them in your writing, the more comfortable you will be and the more improved your stories will become as you draw you readers in.
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Writing Your Own Inspirational Quotes Excericse

By Britney Pieta

            There is a writer inside all of us. You may have read some famous quotes by well-known people and wondered to yourself, “How did they come up with that? I wish I could say something that eloquent and smart.” The truth is…you can! Sometimes all it takes is someone to get you started with an idea and then you can fill in the rest. Below are some templates of the backbone of a quote. Try your hand at some of these and see how you can sound like someone famous—you’ll be surprised at how easy and fun this is! You’ll be sure to impress your friends and family with your wisdom.
1.      Life is like___
Ex. “Life is like an endless journey, we are all trying to get somewhere better than where we are right now,” Britney Pieta
Ex. “Life is like a box of chocolates,” Forest Gump.
Ex. “Life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs,” anonymous.
2.      I have found that if you ___
Ex. “I have found that if you are facing a dark time in your life, all you have to do is turn the light on,” Leroy Kattein.
Ex. “I have found that if you give love to others it is bound to come back to you,” anonymous.
3.      When___is ___that is when you__
“When it feels like God is very far or distant, that is when he has the opportunity to really be the closest,” Britney Pieta.
“When times are hard, that is when you need to get on your knees and pray,” Britney Pieta.
4.      If___ then ____
Ex. “If God is for us, then who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
Ex. “If life hands you lemons than make lemonade,” anonymous.
5.      Don’t/never___unless you__
Ex. “Don’t look down upon someone, unless you are helping someone up,” anonymous.
Ex. Never say “No,” to something unless it’s to something morally wrong,” Britney Pieta.
6.      __without___is____
Ex. “Life without love is meaningless,” anonymous.
Ex. “Life without adding humor every now and then makes life bleak,” Britney Pieta.
Everyone has a unique way of looking at life so anyone can write a good quote and be quoted years later down the road!
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Using Compound Words and Alliteration

By Britney Pieta

In school we learn a lot about the different parts of words to help build our vocabulary. You have probably heard of prefixes and suffixes by now. In subjects such as science and medicine, these are added to root words to help define the term and categorize them.  Writers can have fun with them too. Here are two short exercises to get you going. The first one is using compound words and the second one is using a form of alliteration. Enjoy!

Exercise 1   Steps:

1. Take one compound word and divide it into two words.

2. Then make a sentence using those two now separate words.

3. Take a moment to admire the quote or pun you have just written.

4. Go create more!

Example  1: beloved= be love.

· “God calls us his beloved because he wants us to emanate and be love for others”.

Example 2: breakfast= break fast

· “I want to eat breakfast, so I guess now I’ll break my fast!”

Example  3: carefree= care free

· “Whenever I do something good for others, I care about others for free”.

Exercise 2 Steps:

1. Take two alliterative words that both start with the same letter and are close in   spelling but have different meanings/ definitions.

2. Now create a sentence using the two new words.

3. Take a moment to admire the quote or pun you have just created.

4. Go create more!

Example  1: bitter/better

· “Sometimes painful moments that taste bitter, can be actually better for you.”

Example 2: last/lost

· “The last time I got lost in a book was when I was reading the book upside down.”

Example 3: mess/message

· “When you clean up your life, your mess becomes your message.

Example  4: test/testimony · “The greatest trials and tests you face can someday be included in your testimony.”

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Steps to Building a Novel

By Britney Pieta

            Hope you enjoyed November’s National Novel Writing Month! The excitement may have worn off, but writing is a lifelong process that never ends, especially for those who could write all day if they had nothing else to do.  If you didn’t have the time to start a novel last month, are continuing writing a novel, or want to start a new novel and need some more advice—here is one person’s steps to building a novel. I will mention some other resources at the end. Keep writing!

According to www.plotbuilder.com:

1.      Think of an idea for your novel. You will need to have a plot, climax, characters, etc. already thought out. If you can’t think of much, try basing some of your characters on people you know or taking settings, plot info, etc. from real life.

2.      Separate your idea into three parts: the beginning, middle, and ending parts of your novel. Write a couple of sentences to summarize each part. Don’t make them very descriptive, but make them tell more about the events that happen. You want to make it short and sweet.

3.      Split each part in half, and make a paragraph about each of the six parts. This way you can summarize each half of the beginning, middle,  and end parts, leaving more room for details.

4.      From there, go into separate descriptions for each chapter. You have planned out events in six parts, so now you must divide those into chapters.  Write 1-2 sentences about each chapter.  Write only about the main event in the chapter.You want to start out small, then grow from there.

5.      Go back through your chapter outline and double the length of the chapter summaries. So, you should add an additional  3-4 sentences this time for each chapter summary. Again, only write about the big things in the chapter events.

6.      Go back again and double that, making 7-8 sentences for each chapter summary. This is when you can start adding minor details about the events in the chapter.

7.      Now start adding dialogue and descriptions. Make each “chapter” 20-25 sentences, adding only the important quotes and descriptions to only the major events in the chapter. The rest can be a plain summary. It will be a bit choppy and inconsistent after this step, but keep in mind that it’s not the resulting chapter.

8.      Now change all the “plain summary” parts in the chapters into descriptive writings with dialogue. Remember to only add the most important quotes and descriptions. After this, each chapter should be about 500 words.

9.       Next, add a few more quotes and descriptions to each chapter. You’re still building the body, so don’t add anything too minor. Just get everything important in there first. When you are done with this step, each chapter should be somewhere around 1000 words.

10.      Finally, add all minor details, dialogue, and descriptions to your chapters. Each chapter can be anywhere from 1500 to 3000 words, depending on how many chapters you’ve created. When you are done doing this for each chapter, you should have your finished novel.

More resources:

http://www.writersmarket.com/

http://www.writersdigest.com/

http://www.novel-writing-help.com/how-to-write-a-novel.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Novel

http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/novelwriting/tp/noveladvice.htm

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7 Poetry Christmas Card Ideas

By Britney Pieta

            Most of us are used to sending hundreds of Christmas cards to family and friends every year. It can become a boring routine, but why not do something special and make some by hand this year? Creating a hand-written card can be done at any age and can become a great keepsake for your family or friends.

In  “Pinocchio’s Christmas” there is a beautiful song about the power of poetry:

“Put your love in a  poem….roses are red…put your love in a letter…words never said…whisper love when you feel shy…sing of love and the world will cry…save your love for a present…give it away…the perfect gift for Christmas day.”

So here are some ideas for starting a heartfelt poem for someone you love: (remember honesty and simplicity is the best !)

1.     Share your favorite Christmas memory with the person (can be humorous or silly too).

2.      Replace a well-known jingle tune with their name and slightly different wording.

3.      Tell the person what they mean to you (even the mushy stuff).

4.      Make a list and thank the person for what they did  throughout  the year.

5.      Share the parts of Christmas you associate with them.

6.      Draw a picture to go along with the poem.

7.      Write the words “I love you,” over and over.

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The Gift of Mr. Pookie

By Britney Pieta

The Gift of Mr. Pookie is inspired by a true story about a mother finding a velcro monkey at the Dollar Tree store and giving it to her two daughters a few years before she died. This picture book will take you on a journey with Mr. Pookie and his owners, Britney and Kristin, where this seemingly inexpensive gift has a heart of his own. How far will Britney go to find Mr. Pookie someone to love—a monkey of his kind? Could it be possible for Mr. Pookie to be reunited with his true love from the place they first met at the factory?

Author’s Biography:

Britney Pieta is from Glen Ellyn, IL. She is the Blog Administrator and Administrative Assistant for The DuPage Writers Group, NFP. She earned her Associates in Liberal Arts in 2011 and also completed the Consumer Marketing Certificate at College of DuPage in 2012. She is currently pursuing Certification as a Copywriting Specialist from Business Training Institute. Her writing interests include all genres, but she is primarily focused on: poetry, short stories, children stories, and inspirational pieces.

Click the link below to order “The Gift of Mr. Pookie”

http://booklocker.com/books/6603.html

Author Britney Pieta’s personal website:

http://britneypieta.com/

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The Publishing Process as a First-Time Author

By Britney Pieta

             I just published my first book in December 2012. It was a very long and difficult process, but the reward of seeing my finished work in my hands is amazing. It was worth all the pain and effort! But I would gladly help anyone to avoid making some of the same mistakes I did. I had about six different editors work on it over the past three years including myself. Getting my illustrator motivated to start working on the pictures and finish them was also a challenge. You will want to find an illustrator that is devoted to you and your book, has the time to work with you, will stick to your plan, and meet closely enough to your deadlines.

What I would have done differently: (some of these mistakes are actually quite funny!)

  1. It is best to stick with an editor that works for the publishing company. In the end, you won’t have to  combine everyone’s style into their style. “Editing is not an exact science,” so be prepared for the very different styles of editing.
  2. I would have made sure my illustrator knows exactly how I wanted the pictures to look—down to the smallest details. Also, I would not pick someone to help with the colors who is partially color-blind. (Or else they will give you green hair without realizing it!)
  3. I would have added a “Thank You Section” for those who helped me write and make the book.

So now to include a few things I did right….

  1. Three years of persistence made me appreciate the hard work that goes behind the scenes for a writer.
  2. I didn’t let my pride get in the way in perfecting my book’s manuscript.
  3. Even though I couldn’t find an agent for my book—self-publishing has its own blessings and advantages.

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How to Write a Good Query Letter

 By Britney Pieta

       Oh the joys of the dreaded query letter….This is a defining moment for a writer. The process of writing your book and having it edited is done. It’s a lot of hard work to be done with the manuscript but the journey isn’t over quite yet. Now you must face your next biggest challenge. You have to get your foot in the door at a publishing house which is typically through a literary agent. Here are some steps to writing a query letter.

1.      Write a cover letter

  • · Include the name of the literary agent, a paragraph description of your book, thank them, and sign with your name.

2.       Write a clear concise description of your book

According to ehow.com every query needs a hook. Grab the editor’s attention with a solid hook. A hook is a succinct sentence about the article or book queried.”

  • ·Is if fiction or non-fiction?
  • ·What section of the bookstore will my book be displayed on?
  • ·What is my book’s word count?
  • ·What is my book about? (ex. title of book, summary)

3.      Purpose of the book

  • ·Why did I write this book in the first place-what is my vision for this book? Why was I the best person to write this? What do I uniquely have to offer?
  • ·Who will specifically benefit=my target market?

4.      Motivation and qualification

  • ·What inspired you? List your personal (how young you were when you first discovered your talent, any small achievements) and professional experience (any experience that relates to the book industry or writing)
  • ·Why will readers want to read? (ex. morals/lessons, encouraging reading skills, is unique and unusual)

5.      List the names, authors, and publishers of similar books

  • ·How does my proposed book differ from competitive titles? (*You have to be aware of what has been published on the same topic.) If your book is too similar to another book you may want to change your book’s plot or angle to reflect something different!

6.  Where you would like to have your book sold?

  • ·. This can be bookstores or online

7.  Skills and resources to market book

  • ·What is my plan to work with the literary agent to reach my goals of marketing my book? How will I further develop the necessary skills I need to become a successful author?

8. Table of contents and outline

  • ·This is important for novels and longer books, the agent can skim to get a better idea of some of the things covered in your book.

9. Send two or three sample chapters

  • · Ehow.com states: “Close the letter by thanking the editor or agent for reviewing the proposal and for his time and consideration. State that an outline, table of contents, bibliography and sample chapters are included for review.” If your book is very short (such as a children’s book), look at the agent’s website for specific directions related to what they require for a shorter book.

10. Self-addressed stamped envelope

  • ·A lot of agents prefer to have your manuscript mailed, rather than by email, but this varies with different literary agents. If you do mail it, be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope so they can return it back to you.

11. Format

  • It is important to have your query letter in the right format-to add a professional look to it. Ehow.com states:  Query letters maintain a universal format with writer’s name, address, phone and fax number and email address placed in the upper right corner of the letter. Writers must address a specific editor or agent. Type single space using 12-point font with everything aligned along the left margin. Review the query letter for spelling and grammar.”

Works Cited:

http://www.ehow.com/list_6519319_steps-writing-query-letter.html#ixzz2KYZmAdoY

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Nature Exercise Writing Prompt

By Britney Pieta

Here is a writing exercise in honor of spring that is just around the corner— that may help you understand yourself better (your personality) and the way you would like others to treat you. This is not only for us women! 😉

If I were a flower I would be….

  1. What color would I be? (ex. reds and oranges stand for bold personality, purples and pinks for sensitive personality, blues for cool and calm personality, white for purity and innocence)
  2. Do I prefer full sun, partial shade, or complete shade? (full sun represents thriving on a lot of positive energy such as  love, happiness, inner joy)
  3. How much water would I need? (represents how often you need to be refilled and refreshed from periods of stress)
  4. What kind of soil do I thrive in? (represents your  environment.  Ex. Well-drained soil-you like balance, fertilized soil-you need a lot of love, thin soil-you can hold yourself together on your own pretty well, thick soil-you need a lot to keep you together)
  5. Do I need a lot of care or do I grow better with no care and no daily maintenance? (Do I prefer independence-no maintenance or dependence-lot of extra care, do I prefer solving problems on my own or others helping me? Do I need a lot of attention or no attention?)
  6. What kind of shaped petals would I have? (am I sharp edged-square, pointy/ or soft edged-circle, oval? Do I have a thick skin or thin skin? Do I love to stand out-big petals, or do I prefer to remain unnoticed-small petals?)
  7. How many layers to my flower head would I have? (many layers means you have a complex personality, one layer means you are very easy to figure out)
  8. Would I be surrounded by other flowers in clusters or would I desire more space to myself? (Am  I introverted-space or extroverted-clusters? Do I need a lot of social time or alone time?)

Now take the time to put all of the pieces together and describe your inner flower…

(And maybe even draw your own personalized flower of yourself.)

Ex. I am a purple flower, who prefers partial shade, watered often when dry but not over-watered, some fertilizer, somewhat high maintenance, circular thin small petals, many layers, a few clustered flowers but spaced a few inches apart.

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4 Ways to Get Your Imagination Engine Started

By Britney Pieta

     Using your imagination is more than for movie characters like Willy Wonka or Walt Disney. In someone’s imagination is where every creative piece ever written, sung, or acted out first originated. Here is something to help get your imagination engine started for writing…

1.       Practice daydreaming.  Studies show that people who daydream are highly imaginative and creative people. It is a great way to imagine all sorts of humorous kinds of scenarios that could play out when trying to solve a problem. It is also great for writing dialogue and drama when thinking of all the possible ways characters will interact with each other.

2.       Write down your dreams you have at night. Dreams are one of the bridges to creativity. They are the way some inventions are born. They also may also help you practice using symbolism, similes, analogies, and metaphors in your writing because your writing has many different layers and hidden meanings.

3.       Practice abstract thinking.  Abstract thinking is a higher form of thinking that will enable you to make new connections and insights from ordinary events, objects, and previously conceived ideas that will let your writing have a life of its own and give it freedom and room to express itself in any way it chooses.

4.       Don’t be afraid of Pandora’s Box. (aka your mind) There is no reason to be afraid of brain storming. If you practice pouring all of your thoughts on paper or a computer (whether it seems silly or exciting) you can find at least one thought that could become something great and inspiring. Usually whatever comes first to your mind is a good way to start a writing project because it is letting your mind flow freely.

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Using Action Verbs With Setting in a Story
By Britney Pieta
 “Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in a pot nine days old…” This saying also applies to action and setting in a story. Some could easily start reading a book and find it boring and say it doesn’t have any action. But how do you define action? There are many types of setting and action in a story. Knowing how action and setting link together can help you choose books at a bookstore that you will stay interested and finish all the way to the end. Or if you are the writer then you are in charge of starting that process of interest.
Exciting/fast-paced action: For this kind of action your story may be good in settings such as western (ex. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Oklahoma!), outer space (ex. Star Wars, Star Trek), battles (ex. Lord of the Rings, Saving Private Ryan), superheroes (Superman, Batman).
Some good action words: ambushing, chasing, crashing, colliding, fighting, hitting, riding, running.
Varied /mixed amounts of action: For this kind of action your story may be good in settings such as a neighborhood/home (ex. Mr. Rogers, Sandlot), school (ex. Saved by the Bell, Sky High), and hospital (ex. Grey’s Anatomy, Heart of Dixie)
Some good action words: gossiping, jumping, learning, playing, rescuing, rushing, saving, skipping.
Low/slow-paced action: For this kind of action your story may be good in settings such as night/camping (ex. E.T., Twas the Night Before Christmas), vacations (Marykate and Ashley),  and romance, (ex. Nicholas Sparks, Titanic )
Some good action words: cuddling, holding, hugging, laughing, relaxing, savoring, touching, walking.
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Rhyming, Lines, and Shapes for Poem Structure

By Britney Pieta

A big part of what makes poetry great is structure and the way it’s put and held together. You could have all the ingredients for a sandwich out but if you don’t put them together, then you can’t eat and enjoy your sandwich very well. Below I list some patterns with rhyming, lines, and stanza shape.

1.      Patterns with Rhyming

·         No rhyming at all. Sometimes the message is better expressed without rhymes.

An example: (by author)

We start our journey with nothing but ourselves,
With no attachments, no burdens, just the clothes on our backs,
As children we have baggage of stuffed animals and blankets.

Growing up, life seems to hand us more and more things to carry,
We carry a backpack for school and take on the task of learning,
Given grades that seem to tell us of our worth…

·         End with a word that rhymes with the previous line before it. Or you can switch up and have a rhyming word come every 2 or 3 lines.

An example: (by author)

I want to do more than just survive
I desire my life to be more than just fighting to stay alive
I’ve got to find a way to really open my eyes
And not only be just here for pleasures
But find a way to keep afloat in all of the soul’s adverse weather

·         Just have the last two lines rhyme as in a sonnet.

An example: (by author)

Smiling on the inside,
When I am near the ones I love,
Who walk the path with me

Smiling on the inside
Because my spirit is so alive.

2.      Patterns with Lines

·         Have a reoccurring or repeating statement that appears every so often—such as every 2 lines.

An example: (by author)

All of your wishes that have come true,
That you thought happened only once in a blue moon,
Save for a rainy day.

All of the bad things that have turned out for your good,
That you never thought ever really could,
Save for a rainy day…

Make some lines shorter or some longer to add emphasis

·         An example: (by author)

(This one uses all short lines)

Memories
Lots of memories
That make me smile to myself
Shake my head in shame
And cry in pain
From my childhood
Feelings coming up…

3.      Patterns with some kinds of stanza shapes

·         Looks like a staircase

This usually has lines that get longer as the poem goes on.

An example: (by author)

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

I picked these flowers from the moon,

But if you truly love me please say thank you—

 Or I’ll have to give some to the messenger girl too!

·         Looks like a sandwich

Has short lines in the beginning, long lines in the middle, and shorter lines again at the end

An example: (by the author)               

Hamburgers are good,

They have cheese, ketchup, mustard, onions, and pickles.

            Therefore they are good.        

·         Unusual shapes

The lines are of various different lengths with no pattern at all. Some people get creative and make unusual shapes such as: a flower or a triangle.

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Connecting With Your Characters

By Britney Pieta
            We often hear to truly understand another person you must: “put yourself in their shoes.” In order to write stories with great depth and richness, it is important to become your characters…even though in reality they are just figments of your imagination. Here are some things to remember to help you get more connected with your characters.
1.        Let each of your characters take you by the hand one at a time and show you their inner worlds. It is important to let them lead the way. In this way your story or novel will literally write itself.
2.      Spend some time getting to know each of your characters: write your own character persona of everything that makes them unique. (ex. personality traits, moods, temperament, likes/dislikes, habits, goals, places they like to hang out)
3.      Watch how “Character A” interacts with the other characters. Are you making sure “Character A” is being true to the persona you initially described for him/her? It is ok for your character to evolve over time as he/she grows but it is important for it to come about naturally.
4.      Lastly while it’s ok to use examples from your own life (most of us write out of our own life experiences) for a character that is similar in traits to yourself, “Character B” deserves a chance to let himself/herself be their own character and it’s ok to go beyond what you know sometimes.
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Writing Prompt Exercise: Self-Awareness
By Britney Pieta
Even if you are aware of who you are as a person, we as human beings learn something new literally everyday about ourselves and the world around us. Here is a psychological writing prompt for you to discover more about yourself. If you are a writer you may also realize that is just one identity you may have. The real YOU consists of many different roles, qualities, gifts, and talents. Try this out!

                                                                                                                             First ask yourself: “What am I?” or “Who am I?”

List everything that comes off the top of your head.
Some questions I found while searching the web:
What are my skills?
What are my hobbies or things I do for fun?
What would I do all day if I had nothing else to do?
How would I describe my personality?
What are my best qualities? How can I make them stronger?
What are my worst qualities? How can I work on those things?
What are my life’s causes/passions?
What makes me the most happy and alive?
What people and activities energize me? Make me feel depleted?
What do I see as the purpose and meaning of life?
What is my life’s mission?
If I could sum up my life to this point in one sentence what would I say?
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Invent Your Own Cliches
Britney Pieta
Here is an exercise on creating your own unique clichés based on real phrases we use every day. So if you are tired of hearing the same old statements why not make your own and amuse your friends? Dare to be silly and start a new trend! If you know of a different cliche that you like better,   go ahead and create your own beyond these examples. 😉
Directions: Use    a verb or adjective in the blank spots of the phrases  below .     (depending on what you think sounds better)
1.      It’s raining __ and___. (original: “It’s raining cats and dogs.”)
2.      An___a day keeps the__away. (original: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”)
3.      All that ___is not___. (original: “All that glitters is not gold.”)
4.      A___saved is a __   earned. (original: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”)
5.      I have a___in my ____    (original: “I have a frog in my throat.”)
6.      No___, no___. (original: “No pain, no pain.”)
7.      We’re not in____anymore. (original: “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”)
8.      The___less____ (original: “The road less traveled.”)
 
9.      Roll out the ___ ___. (original: “Roll out the red carpet.”)
 
10.  The__will come out___. (original: “The sun will come out tomorrow.”)
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Analyze Your Handwriting

By Britney Pieta

Have you ever wondered what your handwriting says about you? Each person’s handwriting is unique like a snowflake. Things such as the way your writing slants, the size of your letters, or the way you form your letters can reveal many things about your personality and inner qualities you have. It also may reflect your current mood. So take a few seconds to really look at your writing and see where you fall in according to this website:

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/handwriting-101-00000000015886/index.html

If Your Writing Slants…

To the right: You are open to the world around you and like to socialize with other people.

To the left: You generally like to work alone or behind the scenes. If you are right-handed and your handwriting slants to the left, you may be expressing rebellion.

Not at all: You tend to be logical and practical. You are guarded with your emotions.

If the Size of Your Letters Is…

Large: You have a big personality. Many celebrities have large handwriting. It may suggest that you are outgoing and like the limelight.

Small: You are focused and can concentrate easily. You tend to be introspective and shy.

Average: You are well-adjusted and adaptable.

If your loops are….

Closed for L (meaning the upstroke overlaps the downstroke): Feeling tense? This implies you are restricting yourself in some way.

Full for L: You are spontaneous and relaxed and find it easy to express yourself.

Closed for E: You tend to be skeptical and are unswayed by emotional arguments.

Full for E: You have an open mind and enjoy trying new things.

If Your S’s Are…

Round: You are a people-pleaser and seek compromise. You avoid confrontation.

Pointy: You are intellectually probing and like to study new things. The higher and pointier the peaks, the more ambitious you are.

Open at the bottom: You might not be following your heart. For example, you always wanted to be an artist, but you have a career in finance.

Printed: You are versatile.

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Creating Basic Storylines for Plot

By Britney Pieta

Have you ever noticed that movie or book plots have a lot of the same storylines but somehow they make them new, refreshing, and exciting? Well you are right… Different genres do have the same overall structure but at the same time they have different details in between.

First let me describe what goes into a  plot according to:

http://www.learner.org/interactives/literature/read/plot2.html

What Goes into a Plot?

Narrative tradition calls for developing stories with particular pieces–plot elements–in place.

  1. Exposition is the information needed to understand a story.
  2. Complication is the catalyst that begins the major conflict.
  3. Climax is the turning point in the story that occurs when characters try to resolve the complication.
  4. Resolution is the set of events that bring the story to a close.

Here are some popular movie or novel genres each with a basic storyline:

Fantasy or Science Fiction: (ex. Superman, Spiderman, The Hulk, The Karate Kid)

Exposition: A boy or a girl has an ordinary existence when suddenly…

Rising Action: The boy or girl discovers they have superhuman abilities.

Inciting Incident: The boy or girl discovers they are part of a prophecy and have been chosen and the boy or girl starts on their journey.

Climax: The boy or girl is caught up with their new identity and must save the world.

Falling action: The boy or girl has to choose whether they want to be ordinary or superhuman.

Denouement: The boy or girl escapes from those who are chasing them to live the life they want to choose.

 

 Action adventure: (ex. The Wizard of Oz, Princess Bride, Brave, The Man in the Iron Mask)

Exposition: A boy or a girl lives an ordinary life on a farm or in a quiet neighborhood when suddenly…

Rising Action: The boy or girl wishes for a life beyond their ordinary day to day existence.

Inciting incident: The boy or girl wants to run away to live their dream.

Climax: The boy or girl finds amazing adventures outside of their comfort zone.

Falling action: The boy or girl is on top of the world and realizes how they have reached their full potential.
Denouement: The boy or girl either goes back home with their new memories or continues their new life never forgetting where they originally came from.

 

Romantic: (ex. The Titanic, The Great Gatsby, West Side Story, Twilight)

Exposition: A girl and a boy are living their own live in their own little worlds when suddenly…

Rising Action: Something happens that makes their worlds collide.

Inciting incident: The girl and boy get to know each other and their relationship blossoms.

Climax: The girl and boy face opposition from others, the world, or within themselves.

Falling action: The girl or boy says or does something that makes them drift apart.

Denouement: Something causes the girl or boy to change their mind and they are reunited and live happily ever after.

 

Comedy: (Malcom in the Middle, The Bill Cosby show, Sister – Sister show)

Exposition: A girl or boy is planning something mischievous to ruin someone’s plans such as date when…

Rising Action: The plan is starting to go into action and all is happening well.

Inciting Incident: Something else starts to happen that messes up the original plan.

Climax: The perpetrator of the plan witnesses chaos and tries to make everything better.

Falling Action: The people affected by the plan calm down and laugh it off.

Denouement: The mischievous boy or girl wonders what he/she can do next. 

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Fill in the Blank Christmas Tale
 
By Britney Pieta
Everyone knows the Twas the Night Before Christmas story, now here is your chance to create your own version of what really happened that day. Have fun!
 
Twas the__________(noun) before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a __________ (animal) was stirring, not even a mouse.
The ________(noun, plural) were ________ing (bodily function) all snug in their beds,
While visions of ___________(gross foods) danced in their heads.
Then out on the _____________(outdoor place) there arose such a clatter,
I ____________(verb past tense) from the _____________(piece of furniture), to see what was the matter.
When what to my wondering ____________(body parts) should appear,
But a miniature _____________(noun) and _______ (number)___________(adjective) reindeer!
With a ____________(adjective) old _____________(athlete) so ____________(adverb) and quick,
I knew it must be St. Nick.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Down the chimney, ______________(favorite rock star), ___________(verb, past tense) with a bound.
He spoke not a __________ (silly noise), but went straight to his work,
And filled all the __________ (noun plural),  then ____________ (verb, past tense) with a jerk.
And laying his __________(body part) aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the __________ (part of a house) he rose.
And I heard him __________ (verb),
Ere he __________ (verb, past tense) out of sight.
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Summary Vs. Scene

(Source: Professor Tammie Bob, Fiction Class, COD, spring semester of 2010)

What is the difference between summarizing an event and using scenes to describe an event in a story? When is it better to use one over the other? Read more below to find out!

Summary and scene both have an impact on the reader’s sense of time within a story. Summary takes an event or a group of events and relates the action very quickly, in the broadest strokes, giving the reader the sense that time is passing very rapidly, mostly because it takes the reader very little time to read it.


1. For instance, here is a summary a character might give of an experience at school:


A shy girl named Kay, had trouble believing-in and loving herself. Her kind teacher Professor Loveheart was worried about her because she was a good student and  her grades were slipping. It is just the area of “Love 101,”wasn’t her best subject. The day she was called to the office would be a wonderful turning point in her life

So why would a writer choose to use summary, to speed up the reader’s sense of time passing?

• To catch the reader up to the present as quickly as possible.
• To cover weeks, months, or even years in a few sentences.
• To convey necessary but not necessarily interesting information to the reader.

2. Scene, on the other hand, is just like a scene in a movie. It slows down the action to a single moment or series of moments, includes action, setting, and dialogue.


A single scene of great detail will make it appear to the reader to occur very gradually, and the passage of time will seem to slow down or even stop. Notice how much more slowly the events occur here. The reader is close to the action and to the characters and feels invested in what’s happening.

“Ms. Kay, the headmaster would like to see you in her office,” the voice boomed from the school speakers.
Everyone in the class went, “ouuuu….you must be in trouble.”  The kids whispered as she walked past. She was scared and was gripping her book very hard, trying to get out of the classroom without any more unnecessary attention.
​            Kay gulped loudly. Her hand was shaking as she turned the doorknob very carefully looking through the door just open a crack.
​            “Youuu…Youuuu wanted to see me….?”
“Come sit right over here by me Ms. Kay,”  She said patting the chair with a very warm and kind smile.

And why would a writer choose to slow down the reader’s sense of time?

·         To develop character, to invest the reader emotionally in the story,

·         To increase tension,

·         To introduce important

·         Characters and situations.

 

1.      If it’s important or interesting enough to be the crux of the whole story, then it deserves a detailed, well-developed scene. There will still be times when you will need to summarize information for the reader in order to “fill in the blanks,” so to speak. The trick is in choosing the right times.

The most emotional, the most conflicted, the most humorous , the most crucial moments will need to go in scenes. Linking those important scenes will be brief moments of summary, moving the reader from one important moment to the next, from the past to the present, the present to the future.

 Janet Burroway, in Writing Fiction, says that “summary can be called the mortar of the story, but scenes are the building blocks.” Both will be necessary to building a good story.

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Dialogue vs. Description

By Britney Pieta

Some of us think we write better dialogue then the descriptive parts of our writing, while some of us are the opposite. Here is some background information to help you get an understanding of dialogue vs. description and how to switch from using each throughout your story.

Dialogue:

What is it?

Dialogue is when two or more characters engage each other in a conversation through words.

When do I use it?

You use dialogue anytime the characters want to communicate with each other.

How do I make it sound natural and conversational?

1. Think about how if the characters were real how it would sound

2. Don’t force it- leave natural pauses

 3. Remember that run-on sentences are okay for dialogue

Why is this part of a story important?

A big portion of a story is characters interacting with each other and it helps you see inside the character’s minds. It is the life blood of the story. It keeps the story moving along.

How to make a good transition from dialogue to description?

Think about where a person would naturally end a conversation. If you have been going on for pages with dialogue, it may be time to go back to description for a little while.

Ex. of ineffective dialogue

            “Hi how are you?”
“Good. You?”

            “Great.”

            “That’s good.”

            “Yep.”

Ex. of effective dialogue

“Hey, where have you been?”

“I have no idea….I was….”

“What…what happened?”

“I’ve been having blackouts and not remembering where I’ve been.”

“We must get you to a doctor!”

“You mean right now?”

“Yes now! We got to get to the bottom of this. This isn’t normal.”

“Alright… But it could be nothing.”

Description:

What is it?

Description it the use of adjectives or action words to give an account of something that uses your five senses.

When do I use it?

You can use it when describing the physical features of a character, the background of a setting, to describe something using your five senses: touch, taste, hear, see, and smell.

How do I find the right descriptive words?

You can use a thesaurus to look for similar or close words, play around with the words to see what fits the best, and try to imagine you are in the scene and telling us what you are observing from that scene.

Why is this part of a story important?

It is important for setting different scenes, giving you an image of what the main characters look like, and it is a break in between dialogue.

How to make a good transition from description to dialogue?

For this too, think about when you have done enough description and need more interaction with the characters.

Ex. of ineffective description

A big rock stood out against the blue sky and the green grass that I walked towards.

Ex. of effective description

A big rock the shape of a heart stood out proudly against the bright blue and cloudless sky. The rock was hidden within tall, lush green grass and beckoned me to get a closer look.

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Revision, Revision, and More Revision

By Britney Pieta

            Oh no! The dreaded word every writer must face is making its rounds. And what is that word exactly?…Revision. Revision can seem like a lengthy process but it’s not so bad if you break it down into small and manageable steps. Here is one website’s power checklist to help you in the process of editing your piece.

According to:   http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1086861-The-Power-Revision-Checklist

  The Power Revision Checklist

1.  Show, don’t tell. Use telling details and vivid imagery.

2.  Write with precise nouns and verbs, to eliminate the need for an overabundance of modifiers.

a.  Eliminate countless “-ly” words and other adverbs by using specific power verbs.

b.  Eliminate excessive adjectives that add nothing to the noun.

3.  Avoid the passive voice. Write in the active voice. Be direct, aggressive, positive, and clear. Use the passive voice only when necessary to convey a particular mood or attitude.

4.  Limit the use of uncommon words– inexorable, obfuscate, expunge, etc., which tend to be showy. Instead use simple, common, direct language.

5.  Avoid weak (indefinite) words– almost, about, appears, approximately, probably, nearly, virtually, seems, etc. Avoid all “-ish” words– greenish, palish, roughish, and on. Be precise. Your reader wants clear, definite, precise images, not nebulous, vague abstractions.

6.  Avoid office or business language– “At this point in time.” “At this juncture.” “Upon notice of this situation.” Replace with simple, direct language such as now, when, then, etc.

7.  Avoid common cliches– white as snow, quiet as a mouse, sweat like a dog, slept like a baby.

8.  Avoid endless synonyms for “said.” Effective writers know “said” is invisible and craft the dialogue to express the emotions.

9.  Avoid having characters speak with a sneer, grin, laugh, chuckle, growl, etc.

10. Avoid excessive dialect in dialogue.
Use just enough to get the point across– don’t try to invent a whole new manner of spelling to mimic an accent.

11. Avoid entering the story from behind the narrative with funny comments, or statements like: “If she only knew what was waiting for her at home,” or “little did she know.”

12. Avoid exclamation points! A well placed exclamation point adds emphasis! Continual use of exclamation points makes them generic! And renders them void of impact! Okay!!

13. Avoid three dots in a row ( . . . ) to indicate a pause or interruption in dialogue. Use the dash– instead.

14. Keep sentences and paragraphs short. This makes for easier and more direct reading.

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How to Build Your Characters
By Britney Pieta

If you were to describe all the main characters in your story are you able to give a full picture of all the facets of that character so that a reader could identify with them? Would you be able to mold the character and give him/her life throughout your story from start to finish? Here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to outline a specific character.
According to: http://www.maxinethompson.com/Apr06.html
How to Build Your character’s Personality
1. If your character applied for a job, what would they put on the application?
2. What is your character’s religious background?
3. How does your character’s physical appearance affect his self-esteem?
4. What are some of your character’s mannerisms?
5. Is your character urban bred or country bred?
6. What is your character’s social or economic class?
7. How many family members are there and what birth order was she born in?
8. Where does she live?
9. What kind of work skills does she have and how does this affect her role in the story?
10. How is your character different from others and how does that affect the story?
11. Is your character married or single? Any children?
12. Any physical handicaps? Speech impediments?
13. What makes your character an outsider from the norm in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or ability?
14. In what ways is your character conflicted?
15. What is your character’s deepest secret?
16. Outline your major scenes and use index cards for each character.
17. Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen to my character?
18. How can it get even worse?
19. Who is going to solve this problem? Your hero or heroine or a helper? (Preferably your protagonist will work out his own problem.)

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Fill in the Blank Similes and Metaphors
By Britney Pieta
Do you know the difference between similes and metaphors? Do you actively use them in your writing? Here is a short exercise to help you think creatively and give you the chance to practice using them. Below are some fairly used examples. What new metaphors or similes can you create from them to give your writing more spice?

Similes
The light came in like a __________. (ex. flood)
Springtime after winter is like_______after________. (ex. rain after drought)
Comparing apples to oranges is like____________. (ex. comparing people to animals)
As wild as a___________. (ex. horse)
You are as pretty as___________. (ex. a flower)
Your skin is as soft/rough as_____________. (ex. silk/sand paper)
The cars headlights are as bright as___________. (ex. the sun)
An annoying laugh is as painful as____________. (ex. hyenas)
The weather is as moody as ___________. (ex. a girl)
The years go by as fast as____________. (ex. expired milk)

Metaphors
Beauty is__________. (ex. skin deep)
Angels dance on a_________. (ex. pin)
Green with___________. (ex. envy)
A light bulb went off in her/his___________. (ex. head)
Money grows on_____________. (ex. trees)
Read between the___________. (ex. lines)
My life is going up/down____________. (ex. hill)
I’m at a___________ (ex. crossroad)
Let your fingers do the__________. (ex. talking)
Fly like the_______ (ex. wind)

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How to Add Depth and Richness to Your Life as a Writer
By Britney Pieta

“What goes in must come out.” The more relaxation time, knowledge, and self-reflection you allow yourself, the more fuel you give to your inner writer. In turn this leads to greater passion, beauty, and inspiration that will come pouring forth as it flows from your hands to the paper. Here are three ideas to help you add more depth and richness to your life as a writer.

1. Get some R & R time.

Go into your inner world whenever you are not doing needed in the outer world. As a writer your mind needs a break from the chaos and noise of the external world. You need time to develop your inner writing muscle. Some of the most beautiful insights are found when you are reflecting on memories or going off on fun adventures in your imagination.

2. Research.

Spend some time searching on Google any questions you have about the meaning of life, why things are the way they are, or any other intellectual or philosophical questions that you are wishing to learn about. By gaining more understanding and knowledge you will find your writing also begins to have more depth as you will be able to share your insights and add a new perspective that wasn’t there before.

3. Think out loud. (self-talk)

Some people will say if you talk to yourself it is a sign that you are mentally ill. However, that’s not always the case! Talking out loud after thinking about something helps you process what is happening around you and make sense of things. It also helps you focus your attention. Of course there are better times to do this. You can think out loud in the car, while you are at your house, while sitting in your backyard when no one is around.

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Short Dictionary Exercise: My Perfect and Ideal Day

By Britney Pieta

Get ready to get out your old fashioned dictionary! This exercise involves picking out words at random—whether you know them or not— and creating a paragraph from the words you have selected.

Directions

1. Using the letters of your last name and first name, pick one word that starts with each letter of both of your names from that letter’s section in the dictionary. It can be any word and it may be fun to close your eyes and see where your finger lands.

2. Next, compose a short paragraph describing your perfect or ideal day as a writing prompt. Write the vocab words in descending order as how your full name is spelled.

Here is my example:

B R I T N E Y P I E T A

For my perfect day I would be benevolent to others, rescuing all the lost kittens, and infecting others with my warm tingly hugs. Then I would pick some wildflowers and embellish my house with lots of yellow daffodils and pink lilies. After I would get on my hands and knees in the sunlight and pray for world peace, while asking God to intervene for those who are suffering. Next I would use my empathic skills and touch others hearts by writing letters or sending heartfelt emails. Lastly I would gaze up at the sky and be in awe at how wonderfully good this day turned out.

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Create Your Own Life’s Movie Prompt
 
By Britney Pieta
 
This is a prompt exercise about creating your own life’s movie. It is designed to help you think about yourself personally and how you can translate what you see in movies into reality. Who said that fairy tales can’t come true or that you can’t have all that you want in life and more?
 
1. Genre:
Is my life’s movie mostly a comedy, romance story, action/adventure, fantasy, or horror (<–hopefully not this last one)
Or is my life a mixture or combination of certain genres? (Pick the ones that represent you the most.)
 
2. Setting:
Is my life’s movie held in the countryside, suburbs, or city?
Is it held in historical or modern time?
 
3. Characters:
Who are my loyal supporters and sidekicks who would be the main characters with me in my movie?
Who are the people, situations, or forces of nature that would be my adversaries/greatest challenges that I defeat?
 
4. Soundtrack:
What songs would I play on my movie that relate to my overall themes or special moments in my life? (ex. Raindrops Falling on My Head, Pure Imagination, Walking on Sunshine)
 
5. Lessons/morals:
What lessons or morals sum up my life’s existence?
What are the lessons I have to learn over and over again until I finally accept them? (ex. honesty, love, kindness, patience)
 
Now put it all together and see what unfolds. Maybe you can even use it to help write your personal autobiography!
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4 Steps to Creating Your Own Lyrics
By Britney Pieta
Have you ever heard a song on the radio and wanted to write your own lyrics but didn’t know how? Here are some steps to get started on creating your own lyrics. Who knows, maybe you will hear your own original lyrics being sung on the radio some day!
According to: http://www.essortment.com/write-song-lyrics-60774.html1. Write down who your audience is. You will need to keep this in mind while writing the lyrics so you can target them. After all, if you were writing a song for children you would certainly avoid adult material of any kind.2. Next, write down the subject of the song, the idea or the message you want to convey, and the story the song will tell. The subject of the song might be falling in love; the message might be that there is someone for everyone; the story might tell of a man and a woman who meet and fall madly in love with each other. This is a good time to write down the words to the chorus of the song. The chorus is a bridge or connection from one verse to the next. It must make sense to sing the words of the chorus in between the verses. From the chorus, you will also need to make-up a catchy title for your song.3. The next step is to write a rough draft of the first verse of your song. This verse should draw attention to your song and make your audience want to listen. Don’t worry about it being perfect at this point; you will refine all the verses and the chorus later. Now, of course, you will need to write the second verse. In this part you will need to continue to tell the story and explain what the action is. Don’t be too detailed; this is a three minute song, not an opera. Next comes the third verse. Tell more about your story here, and add relevant information to your story. You really want to enhance the story line from verses one and two, because the next verse will close the song. It’s time to close the song by writing the fourth verse and bring it all together like the last chapter of a book.4. Finally, read over your lyrics and change your sentences into lines. After you have lines, you will need to go back and change the ending words so they will rhyme. Do this with the chorus too. Every lyric should be of relatively-equal length so the song will glide along and not be choppy.——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Using Your Five Senses for Adding Aliveness to Your Writing
 
By Britney Pieta

Our stories are filled with the sense of sight, and if we do it well, our readers will know exactly what we’re describing. But if your descriptions only tell where things are and what they look like, your readers are missing out. When you include all five senses (touch, sound, taste, smell, as well as sight) in your writing, your setting will truly come alive. Look at some of these examples and see how it helps you improve the vividness of your writing!
 
Sight
Sight is the most commonly used sense in fiction, and includes any description of what something looks like, where an object is placed, anything the character sees, any action the character observes. You don’t need to describe everything; choose the particular details that are important to the scene.
 
Sound
In a quiet place, a single sound takes center stage. A busy place can be a cacophony of sound. As writers, we need to close our eyes and listen for the sounds in each scene:
  • The birds sang sweetly.
  • The tinkling of broken glass.
  • She shrieked with joy.
And don’t forget onomatopoeia, in which the word is pronounced like the sound: crash, buzz, zoom. Psst! Thwap! and so on.
 
Smell
What would the world be like without the smell of flowers, new-mown grass, wood fires, or baking bread? Readers don’t need to smell everything possible as your characters go through the story, but a few, well-placed descriptions can make a scene real.
  • As stinky as a dirty diaper.
  • It smelled like rotten eggs.
  • It smelled clean and fresh, like Grandma’s laundry.
  • He reminded her of her grandfather, a scent of peppermint and tobacco.
  • The street smelled of gas fumes and hot tar.
Taste
Taste seems to be the forgotten sense when it comes to fiction. It doesn’t belong in every scene, but well-chosen descriptions of taste can make your reader feel as if he or she is living in your story. Also, taste is closely related to smell and the two may go hand in hand, with no relation to food.
  • The street smelled of gas fumes and hot tar, and left an oily taste on her tongue.
  • The sour taste of vomit.
  • As salty as a potato chip.
  • Thick, not-too-sweet chocolate, with a hint of orange.
  • The metallic taste of blood.
  • The bitter taste of getting her mouth washed out with soap.
Touch
Texture is another sensory description that gets forgotten. Again, when something is important to your character, make a point of including the sense of touch.
  • She caressed the cool, smooth cover of the laptop.
  • The lotion gave her baby-soft skin.
  • He was tied tightly, and the rough bark gouged his back.
  • It was as soft as rabbit’s fur.
  • The biscuit was as hard as a rock.
Don’t feel like you must use equal amounts of all five senses; sight will still take the majority of your descriptions. Sound will probably come second, especially when you count dialogue. Just remember to use snippets of the other senses when appropriate, and your scenes will have a sense of being there.
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“Too Good to be True”
What Are You Thankful for This Thanksgiving?
By Britney Pieta
Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s too good to be true?” Do you find yourself questioning its truth? If you could think of anything in your life or what you observe in the world that is both too good to be true and real, would you change your mind about this statement? In this reflective exercise, you will write 10 things in your life that are both true and real.
Here is my list of 10 things:
1. Twenty-four hours with no negative health symptoms coming up
2. Getting prayers answered just in time or instantly
3. Finding moments of joy in unusual or ordinary places
4. Jobs that I can do that I love and get paid
5. More than one 70 degree weather days in a row
6. Buy one/get one free offers on my favorite items
7. Free money/grants from school (although small)
8. Free food samples/Cookie dough ice cream
9. Butterflies/breezes/beautiful sunsets
10. Last but not least—A God that has unconditional love for us!Now you create your own list!
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Christmas Wish Letter to Santa Prompt
By Britney Pieta
This exercise is about letting out all of your deepest held thoughts about what you wish not only for yourself but for those around you to have this Christmas.
Here is my letter to Santa:
Dear Santa, I know there are some things that you can’t change in the world, but here are a few things I wanted to ask anyways. Maybe you even have enough influence to talk to the Big Guy upstairs. Most people are not as famous as you are. So here it goes… I wish for all those who are in need of love this season, to have people give them love in a miraculous way, and that no one will have to spend Christmas or New Years alone. I wish that you will help people remember the true meaning of What Christmas is about and help us carry that spirit beyond December 25th. Thank you for listening,
Your fan forever,
-Britney
Now it’s your turn. Write out a letter to Santa about what you wish for yourself and the world to come to pass. You don’t need to mail this of course but it’s a way for you to reflect and keep your hope, joy, and faith alive as the New Year rolls in. That is what Christmas is all about.
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Write a Time Capsule
By Britney Pieta
 
A new year has already arrived. This new year comes with many more possibilities and opportunities. Even if you don’t like to think too far in advance, there’s still a part of us that wonders if life will be the same five years from now. Here is your chance to not only reflect on what this New Year has to offer, but for the years to come in your own personal time capsule!
 
 
  • Lists of favorites. What do you like most today? What are your favorite movies, books, television shows, songs, moments, people, celebrations, surprises, lessons, quotations or achievements?
  • Important questions and feelings. What are the big unanswered questions currently in your mind? What feelings predominate in these times? How do you feel about your life and the world around you? What do you enjoy about today? What are you thankful for?
  • Goals and aspirations. What do you pursue today? What is the vision for your future life? What are the things you’re looking forward to? What are your hopes for your future self? How much or in what way do you expect to be different when you get the letter?
  • ‘A Day in the Life…’ How’s your everyday life? How’s a typical day at work? At home? Who do you interact with daily? What do you enjoy doing every day? What are the daily trivialities you’ll miss tomorrow?
  • Highlights of the year. Which funny facts do you want to remember or laugh about in the future? What were this year’s 10 best things/worst things that happened to you? How would you describe this year in one sentence? In one word?
  • Lessons learned and advice for yourself. What advice would you give to your future self? What important lesson did you learn recently and don’t want to forget?
Find a place to hide your time capsule and remember not to peek at it until five years has past. Then re-open it every five years and see how life changes!
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Writer’s Block

By Britney Pieta

All of us writers have experienced writer’s block and know the frustration it can cause when you are in the middle of writing a story that is just starting to get good. Here are some tips that can help not let anything stop your masterpiece from being finished.

Writer’s Block Tips:

According to: http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/writersblock/

  • Taking notes—jot down ideas and phrases as they occur to you. Free yourself from paragraphs and sentences for the moment—use flow charts, arrows, boxes, outlines, even pictures.
  •  Freewriting/Brainstorming—when you’re not just blocked, when you’re stonewalled, try freewriting. Sit down for ten minutes and write down everything you can think of about your topic.
  •   Piecework—sometimes, starting at the beginning induces Perfect Draft Syndrome. It may be easier to get started if you approach the task sideways. If you’ve got a plan for the article or manual, choose a section from the middle or a point you know well and start there.

My tips:

  • Remember to relax before you start writing and during the writing process itself.
  • Set reasonable small goals each week.
  • Don’t worry about saying it perfectly right away, as the best ways to say something will be revealed with time.
  • Choose one idea and see how it develops, if it doesn’t work well choose another.
  • If choosing one idea is too difficult, ask those around you their thoughts on how something sounds.
  • Keep in mind how you think your audience will perceive your writing and interpret it.

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Experiment Emotional Scenes with Different Angles

By Britney Pieta
 
When you think of a highly intense or emotional scene in a movie or T.V. show, you may wonder to yourself how it would have played out if there was a different main emotion that the characters felt. You may even imagine scenarios in your mind when something bad happens to you and how it would have been different if you reacted angrily versus in a happy state of mind. Thinking in various emotional angles can help you find the best emotion when writing out a scene because this influences how people perceive your story. Here is an example to help you understand what I mean by different emotional angles.
 
Scenario: A breakup between a young boy and a girl who are deciding to end their relationship….
 
Angry: I wish I never met you!…I’m wasting my time even talking with you right now!
 
Annoyed: Why do you always have to be like this?…Sometimes I don’ t know whether to hate you or love you!
 
Sad: There won’t be a day that goes by where I won’t think of you…I only wish we could give this another chance…But I understand if this is what’s best for us.
 
Surprised: I can’t believe this is happening….why are you telling me this now?
 
Confused: But I thought we were such a good couple! You are not making any sense…
 
Happy: I am so glad this is over! I am free at last!
 
Try this out on your own and see how by just changing the emotional angle you can change the ultimate feelings you will also evoke in your audience.
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Alternate Endings and Choosing the Best Ending
By Britney Pieta
Many movies have special features with alternate endings or other scenes that might have changed how the story would have happened if they included those scenes in them. Choosing the ending is very important and difficult for a writer, because there are so many different endings or approaches you could take. Many movies leave things unfinished or have endings that were not dramatic enough and leave the audience feeling unsatisfied. Here are some of my thoughts on choosing the best ending for your story.
1. Think about if all of the major issues the characters were facing are resolved for the most part.
2. Think about your overall message of the story and how the ending might finalize some of the last remaining points you are trying to get across to your audience.
3. Ask yourself if your ending leaves too many questions unanswered. Remember that a little bit of unanswered questions is good because it encourages a discussion going in your audience and helps them decide what your story ultimately means to them.
4. Ask yourself if your story’s ending is exciting, emotionally stirring, or captures the audience’s attention in a big way. This makes your story memorable.
5. Ask yourself if you do want your story to continue on to a different book or a screenplay and how you might be able to engage the audience to want to read or see more of your story.
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How to Write a Youtube Video Script to Sell Your Book
By Britney Pieta
 
For all those who are trying to sell their new book as a new or experienced author, here is some good information to get your product out in a technological format. This is for all those Youtubers out there who may be interested in hearing more about your exciting, unique, and original masterpiece!
 
 
1. KISS (Keep it Short and Simple)
While content trumps length, it’s critical to keep your script to a manageable length. Thirty to sixty seconds is ideal. Once you get above ninety seconds, you better have some pretty great content, or you’ll start losing viewers fast.
Creating a concise script depends on using short sentences and simple language. Always try to avoid industry jargon and make sure to have someone outside of your company review the script before signing off.
 
2. Set the Tone
Video is powerful precisely because you have the ability to choose a tone for your company and connect with your customers in a way that text cannot.
The tone you choose to write in often depends on the intended audience. However, with any script, it’s safe to assume that your audience wants to watch something engaging, unique and useful. In that case, be personal. The viewer should be able to relate to what you’re talking about. In certain situations (most, in my opinion), a little humor can go a long way.
 
3. Start with an Elevator Pitch
There are exceptions, but most great marketing videos start with a clear and compelling elevator pitch in the first five seconds. An elevator pitch is your hook. It should quickly convey the core message behind your product or service. Crafting a great pitch can take a lot of time (here are some tips from Businessweek), but once you’ve nailed it, it can significantly help people remember who you are and what makes you unique.
 
4. Tell a Story
Everyone loves a good story, so why should your video be any different? A story, in essence, is a progression with a beginning and an end. Along the way, it identifies a problem and presents a solution.
Start by identifying the pain point. What is the problem your product or service solves? Make sure you present it in a way that your audience can easily identify with. Oftentimes, walking through a simple scenario or case example can help viewers connect.
Once you’ve painted a compelling picture of the problem, present your solution. What makes your product or service the ideal solution? Why should they choose you over the competition? Be clear and confident with your value proposition. Your solution should create a desire in the viewer to act, and act soon.
 
5. What’s in it for Me?
Throughout the script, never forget to be continually answering the key question every viewer will have, “what’s in it for me?” From start to finish, your video should be focused on your potential customer, what they want and how you can help them get it. Finally, end your script with a call to action – a next step the viewer can take to get started.
Writing a great script is hard work, but when you do it right, it will pay dividends. By using a personal tone, simple language, an interesting story and a valuable offer, you’re well on your way to creating a video that sells.
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7 responses to “Bloggin’ With Britney

  1. Britney:
    I look forward to reading about your passionate interest in writing. The art of writing is one of the great methods of expression that people have available to them. I had a professior in College who said ” You don’t know what you think or feel until you try to write it down”. I think that has a great deal of truth to it. Writing helps us explore reality and our impressions of truth and knowledge. Best wishes in your writing adventure.

  2. Beth Orchard

    Here is my tongue in cheek prompt using some of your words! 🙂

    If I could change anything about Christmas it would be the frozen icicles that form on my rosey pink cheeks as I step out into the wintery landscape. It is not my favorite time of year to be shivering as I shovel piles of snow to get my car out of the driveway, nor do I enjoy the zero degrees the temps hover around for what seems like years. I personally don’t mind wearing mittens but do prefer to think of Christmas as more than just the frigid cold Arctic blast that lasts for months, rather it is the warm coziness of having family, friends and beloved pets nearby to sit with and enjoy a game, sip hot tea and just think about the quiet, tranquil beauty of the inner hearth and outer landscape (from inside, thank you very much).

  3. Kristin

    There are so many things I like about Christmas: the cheerful lights-music-faces, warm food, family time, and news of our Savior (= If I could time travel to the 1st Christmas, I don’t think I could say anything in awe of who He is, I could only hug, bow down, kiss his feet, and hold him for a long time. If I could change anything about Christmas, it would be on January 25th when there is a higher chance of snow. If I could ask Santa for one thing, I would ask him for confidence!!

  4. As one ages it seems the circle of life becomes more apparent and you truly understand that it is not the material things in life that fill you with joy, but rather the rich relationships you have with family, colleagues and friends. So it is better to give than receive because in the giving you extend your reach to touch others and when they touch you back the circle is completed and you too become whole. We do not give to get, but when the giving becomes a way of life the blessings are poured upon us, enabling us to give even more. What is God calling you to give? When the time is right it will become clear to you.

  5. D. Elwell

    One of the things I try to do in my writing is challenge my reader and one of the ways I do this is to use words that they might not encounter in everyday life. I don’t believe they have to be difficult as you suggest in the following point you make in your blog:
    “Am I adding so many difficult vocabulary words that my reader is lost or confused? (Ex.“quixotic” which could be changed to the word idealistic or impractical.)”

    I admit that using words like quixotic is a slippery slope for the writer because he/she risks losing readers if they have to sit next to their dictionary to wade through a piece, but on the other hand, aren’t challenging the imagination and, dare I say educating, things writers owe their readers? We were taught the importance of expanding vocabulary in grade school. I believe quixotic is a much more colorful word than idealistic or impractical. When I see that word I see Don Quixote tilting at windmills with his lance; a pretty vivid image for a reader. Quixotic is a good word that references Don Quixote as he pursues his “impossible dream”.

    I wish I knew the answer to this conundrum as it is something I struggle with as I write. I invite your thoughts as well as those of other bloggers on this.

    • Britney Pieta

      Good point, but what I was trying to say was that adding difficult vocabulary words is like adding spices to something. Some is good but too much can be burdensome on some readers and hard to swallow. For me if I am constantly stopping while I am reading to look something up I feel its hard to get through the book I am reading. I guess this is why writers write for different audiences. I appreciate your comment though thanks!

  6. D. Elwell

    Britney, I believe we’re saying the same thing regarding the use of words to challenge our readers. I say challenging and you say adding spices. Either way we are on the same track. We need to use just enough vivid, colorful spice to our writing to keep our readers engaged. If we don’t do that, then what’s the point?

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