Setting Mirrors Character Part 2

I’m picking up where I left off last post. I reviewed how the right setting helps the character reveal backstory and inner conflict in a natural way. Today I want to share a few examples of setting projecting mood.

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Secrets & Charades is my Historical Romance set in 1872. Dr. Evangeline Olson goes west as a mail order bride. A newly married couple who are strangers are going to be nervous and fearful until they get to know each other. Jake is a very practical man. Their first stop on their journey back to the ranch is at one of his line-cabins. It’s a soddie (a house constructed of dirt) that his men use if they are too far away from the ranch to make it home before dark. This is their non-honeymoon night based a a promise Jake made to Evangeline when they first met.

Evangeline scanned the dimly lit room. The lantern revealed bunk beds built right into the dirt wall, inhabited by insects. “That bed might move after all,” she muttered under her breath. “Would you prefer I cook?” She hoped her reluctance wasn’t obvious in her voice. “Show me what supplies you have.”

“I generally keep a few things on hand, but there’s other provisions in that box on the table. I’m gonna tend the horses. Watch the damper on the fireplace. It has a mind of its own.”

Evangeline’s hand trembled as she began the simple meal preparation. After placing two potatoes to bake in the hot ashes and securing a pan of beans on the fire, she set about cleaning the table with the underside of her dress. A spider met its demise as it crawled across the table.

“God,” she whispered. “I asked for a change. Help me make the best of it.”

As she reached into the box for the tin plates, she gave thanks for one blessing. “This is the least romantic place I could imagine. I hope Jake agrees.”

 

The dirt and dimness help emphasize her anxiety and her last line flows from her heart to her surroundings.

In this next example Jake takes her on a side trip on the last leg of the journey to the ranch. They visit the homestead he grew up in. This gives him an opportunity to tell her some unpleasant things about his past as they look at the run-down place.

 

Standing in the ruins of his past, Jake shared his history. “Ben taught my pa everythin’ he knew about ranchin’. They became good friends.”

“When did you move from here to your ranch?”

“After the war, I came home in pretty bad shape. The girl I’d hoped to marry had married my little brother, Robert.” Jake tried to sound matter-of-fact even though raw emotions lingered near the surface with his fatigue. “My pa died while I was off fightin’. I couldn’t bring myself to live in the same house with Robert and Nora, so I hired on as foreman for Ben.”

Evangeline nodded for him to go on.

“I was drinkin’ and carryin’ on, tryin’ to forget the war, not proud of my actions back then.” He removed his hat and wiped the sweat from his forehead with his sleeve. “Ben took me under his wing and showed me the light. Helped me forgive myself and receive God’s forgiveness. Came to Jesus because of Ben. I owe him my life.”

As they wander through the abandoned house and barn, Evangeline suggested they fix the place up. Her attitude gives him hope that this marriage can work.

There are times in the close confines of the wagon they fuss with each other because of fear and fatigue. Readers learn bits about their personalities as the story continues.

 

As you build your story world, think about places certain things can be revealed.  Places that seem natural for inner reflection or verbal sparring. I just completed a novella set in a blizzard on a ranch in Kansas. My settings are limited through most of the story. There are many scenes in the cabin, some in the barn. But key scenes take place out in the snowy woods, and in town.

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Don’t just write a setting for setting sake. Your last vacation destination to Merrimac Caverns might not be the best setting. Unless, the fear and anxiety you experienced while the tour guide led you through the dark recesses fits your heroine’s escape plans. Then bring up all those observations and link them to your characters feelings.

A tour of downtown Aurora in New Duet was necessary for my readers to understand Isabella’s new life. Evangeline’s first visits to shops in Charleton, Texas in Secrets & Charades helps readers know her better as she met its inhabitants. And the store room on the snowbound ranch in my novella gives a feel for the past without lots of verbiage.

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What is your favorite scene from a novel that brought you closer to the characters?

 

 

 

 

 

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A Visit with Devotional Author Martin Wiles

Devotional writing takes a special gift. Martin Wiles has it. I’m happy to have him as my guest today. Welcome Martin. As always, my interviews start off with my guest sharing their writing journey. martinwilesheadshot1

I played around with writing a little during college when my English professor forced the class to keep a journal. Initially, I hated writing in it every day, but as time progressed, I enjoyed it more and more. For some reason, my first genre of writing entailed poetry. Poetry wasn’t a genre of literature I had read earlier in my life, so I’m not sure why I was pulled in this direction. When my father died in 2009, I became serious about writing. How or why the two connected, I’m not sure. My father never wrote anything except the sermons he preached and the Bible studies he taught. Nor did he ever have anything published. I began writing devotions, and, eventually, began to think about having a number of those devotions put together in a book.

Devotions are not easy to write, and people don’t realize just how long it takes to write an entire book of devotionals. You’ve done more than one. Tell us about your latest published project?

Although I’ve had several articles and devotions published in a variety of publications, my latest published book is Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). This was a follow up to Grits, Grace, and God (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). Since I’ve lived in the South my entire life, these titles were an attempt to put a Southern flare on the devotions. The titles are eye-catching.

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What kind of research goes into writing a devotional?

Since my books are devotional in nature, research normally isn’t required unless I choose to use an opening illustration that isn’t personal. Google is my best friend as I search for facts relating to the illustration.

What inspired you to write your book, and when did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

As mentioned earlier, my father’s death, for me, was the beginning point of my writing journey. My father was always there for me, but then again, he wasn’t there for me. Church consumed his life (He was a preacher.), and my brothers and I felt a little second class to his parishioners. When I lost him, I realized how much I missed the connection I wished we would have had. I suppose writing became cathartic, but then later became an endeavor to comfort those who were also going through difficult times of whatever nature. Eventually, the devotions became so numerous that I began pursuing putting them together in a book. As readers commented on how the words helped them, I became even more determined to pursue the gift of writing that God gave me. I think your experience resonates with readers. Thanks for your honesty.

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Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Actually, two. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT). During a very difficult time in my life, when life virtually fell apart, I experienced that peace. I couldn’t explain it, but I bathed in it every day.

I love these verses too.

Now, I’m going to ask one of my favorite questions. If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

No matter how young you are, when you know God has gifted you in an area, pursue the gift. I waited until the last quarter of my life to do so. I often think how much further along I might be with my writing skills and career if I had started earlier.

I can say amen to that.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

First and foremost, my wife. She continually supports my efforts and tells me how proud she is of me, even when the rejection letters pour in. Of course, my mom is my biggest fan and brags on me to everyone—even when she sometimes gets the facts wrong. And then one special editor friend who encouraged me and helped me with the first devotion I submitted for publication. Because of her support, I’m now the Managing Editor of that same website.

What a blessing for you.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Though not one of the most popular, Historical Fiction is my favorite genre. I love history and fiction, and this combines the two and makes for a relaxing read for me.

Obviously, it’s one of mine too.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My favorite place to write is a place I don’t often get to write from: any place that overlooks a beautiful mountain view. I feel closer to God while in the mountains, and the ideas for devotions seem to flow freely there. In lieu of that, I rise at 5 each morning and retire to my chair or the kitchen table.

Martin, thanks for sharing bits of your life and your writing journey. You are also doing a give-away that works a little different than we usually do on Jubilee Writer. Can you please give us the details?

Yes, a Kindle version. The winner will receive a code     with which they can download the Kindle version of Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church.

As always, the winner will be chosen on Friday. I’ll send the winner’s name to Martin and he will contact you. If you are not a regular subscriber but want to enter please leave a comment with your email as myemail(at)my server(dot)com. I’ll pass a long the winners name and email to Martin. And as in all my drawing please leave a comment here on the blog not on other social media. So, if you are reading this on Facebook click to come to the blog and enter. Thanks.

More About Martin:

Martin Wiles is an author, English teacher, and freelance editor currently residing in Greenwood, South Carolina. He is the founder and editor of Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). Wiles also serves as the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and as an assistant editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina. Wiles has authored Grits & Grace & God and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), Morning By Morning, Morning Serenity, Grace Greater Than Sin (America Star Books), Authentic Christianity (Smashwords) and is a contributing author in Penned from the Heart (Son-Rise Publications), and Rise (Chaplain Publishing). He has served as Regional Correspondent and Sunday school lesson writer for the Baptist Courier and also written for LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum. He has also been published in Christian Living in the Mature Years, Mature Living, Open Windows, Proclaim, The Secret Place, The Word in Season, Upper Room, Light from the Word, Reach Out Columbia, Mustard Seed Ministries, Journey Christian Newspaper, Common Ground Herald, The Quiet Hour, Power for Living, Halo Magazine, Joyful Living Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, Sharing, Today’s Christian Living, and Plum Tree Tavern. He is a regular contributor to Christian Devotions, PCC Daily Devotions, Theology Mix, Inspire a Fire, and is a regular columnist for the Dorchester County Eagle Record, the Orangeburg County Times and Democrat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal.

Buy links:

https://www.amazon.com/Grits-Gumbo-Going-Church-Martin/dp/1941103847

https://www.shoplpc.com/product/grits-gumbo-and-going-to-church

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/grits-gumbo-and-going-to-church-martin-w-w-wiles/1124477466

Visit Martin:

Website: http://www.lovelinesfromgod.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martinwilesgreenwoodsc

Twitter: https://twitter.com/linesfromgod

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lovelinesfromgod

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martin-wiles-5a55b14a

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/martinwiles

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/103365483951277333062

Don’t forget to leave a comment here to enter the give-away.

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A Vist with Suspense Writer Krista Wagner

I’ve invited Krista Wagner to visit me today. Her new YA Supernatural Mystery has a title to die for. Welcome, Krista. Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.KristaWagnerauthorphoto

I started writing plays and songs when I was seven and finished my first novel in the ninth grade. From there, I was both editor and contributor to my high school’s literary magazine and co-authored a zine. I have had six novels published so far and am currently at work on a prequel to my debut novel.

Now tell is about your latest published project.

My YA supernatural mystery Cassi Is In A Coma is the third book in the Small Town Secrets series. It is a cross between If I Stay and Remember Me and deals with the worst kind of betrayal.

How do you research for your book?

Cassi revolves around a comatose state so there was a lot of research I had to do. I read up on professional organizations, medical sites as well as stories of those who personally experienced comas. The novel’s MC also has ocular albinism, another condition that I had to invest research on, including an interview with a fellow author.

What inspired you to write Cassi is in a Coma?

Everyone, at some point, will be betrayed, and I wanted to write a story where the main character experiences it at an astounding level—all of her friends betray her–. The sense of betrayal is something relatable, something we want to be able to find a way to get past.

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

When I was seven. That’s when my heart poured into both reading and writing.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

 1 John 3:18: “Let us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and truth”

Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing a bit about your creative process.

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More about Krista:

Krista Wagner is a 70’s product best known for her spiritual suspense and fictional realism. In addition to being a recipient of the Reader’s Favorite 5-star seal, she has been praised by award-winning screenwriter Sean Paul Murphy for her writing skill and strong plotting. Wagner holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is an English associate instructor with an indispensable faith in Christ.

 

Blurb: A Small Town Secrets Novel
A cross between If I Stay and Remember Me

“You are not wanted”

Cassi Walker has been Royal High School’s most-liked girl for the past four years, but a lot can happen in two days. Suddenly, she’s the school’s most-hated girl, but before she can figure out why, a ten-story fall off a water tower sends her into a coma. Soon, rumors start to fly that it was attempted suicide. Unfortunately, she has no memory of those final seconds before the harrowing event. Through a strange barrage of dreams, flashbacks, and an out-of-body journey, Cassi will attempt to expose the secrets and uncover the mysteries behind what happened to her. But will she be able to handle the truth?

Buy Links: https://www.amazon.com/Cassi-Coma-Small-Secrets-Novel-ebook/dp/B07DH24458

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassi-is-in-a-coma-krista-wagner/1128896896

Social Media Links:

Find out more about Krista here: kristawagner.wixsite.com/author/bio
Follow her on Facebook: facebook.com/kristawagnerofficial/
Twitter:twitter.com/IntentBook04
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8509957.Krista_Wagner

If you enjoyed this interview and want to see more subscribe before you leave and recieve my latest post in your email.

 

Writers Need Time to Recharge

 

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On the road to a relaxing destination of your choice.

 

 

As writers we need a getaway from time to time. All work and no play can turn our creativity into mush.

A getaway forces me to kick it up a notch as the vacation approaches, so I am freer to enjoy the time away. Afterwards, I’ll be better able to focus on finishing my contracted work by being well-rested and relaxed.

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Photo by Digital Buggu on Pexels.com Bed & Breakfast to sleep the day away to regenerate your writing muse.

I have mixed emotions about my upcoming getaway. My daughters gave my husband and I an all-expense paid B&B getaway. That was at Christmas, and it’s taken months to find time to squeeze it into our busy schedules. Even now with a deadline looming, frustration tries to creep in, causing me to doubt the timing. But we need this. Three days of “we” time with no other responsibilities. A time for relaxation and recharging.

Anyone who thinks a writer’s life is easy has never lived it. And now that I’ve more novels coming up and more ideas to frame—not to mention marketing—I’m far busier than ever before and much more tired. My time is not my own.  I don’t get to clock out and enjoy a day off.

We planned this time and we worked the plan. I’ve got guest blogs covering next week’s Jubilee Writer blog and worked ahead in my novella so I’m still on schedule.

Do the same for yourself. Plan time off. Whether it’s a week at the beach, touring museums, hiking or sleeping ‘til noon—do it.

 

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I love museums. This was taken at the Confederate White House Museum in Richmond Virginia.

 

Break away as often as you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a solid relationship with those you love.

What kind of getaway do you enjoy to recharge you for

writing?

 

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to Jubilee Writer for more writerly advice.

Ten Tips for Writing a Rough Draft in 30 days

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November is NaNoWriMo month. Writing a novel in a month is a great goal. A daunting one for most of us. Not a perfect novel. Just the first draft. I usually don’t participate in NANoWriMo. Thanksgiving and lots of birthdays makes it too challenging. I tend to do the one-month marathon in March during Seekerville’s Speedbo. That month has worked the last few years for me. But you can choose any month to write your rough draft in 30 days.  First, you need to get a few things done before hand.

  1. Complete your research

By this I mean basic research. Setting, plot development, vocabulary for genre, backstory information such as medical terms, military speak or police procedure. You can add more detail for clothing etc. during the rewrite phase.

 

  1. Have notes, outlines. Character sketches and setting maps finished.

Notes help you remember what you wanted to write for specific scenes. Character sketches guide you in your character’s responses to situations. The sketch helps remind us of bad habits, fears or past hurts.

 

  1. Plot out your daily word goal 

The goal is up to you. Divide the require end count for your genre by the days you plan to write. You can plan a specific word count goal that gets you half way or three quarters through your manuscript. That’s usual enough of an incentive to finish it.

80,000 divided by 30= 2667 daily goal

45,000 divided by 30= 1500 daily goal

80,000 divided by 25= 3200 daily goal

45,000 divided by 25= 1800 daily goal

 

  1. Figure out what time(s) of the day are best for you to write each day.

I prefer mornings because my creative juice gets drained after 7pm. My day job days tend to produce a smaller word count unless inspiration hits at night.

 

  1. Choose your quiet place(s) for maximum productivity.

If you work better surrounded by noisy family, go for it. Most often there is that desk in your office, the kitchen table or the recliner in the den where creativity blooms. Sometimes a location away from home can help inspire reaching a word count goal.  I can’t do Starbuck or Panera’s because they’re just too noisy. But give me a study room at the library and I can knock it out of the park.

 

  1. Resolve to do your best and not quit writing until your 30 days have past.

Even if you don’t reach your word count goals because some days got complicated. You’ve managed to get more words on paper than if you hadn’t accepted the thirty-day challenge.

 

  1. Do it with friends.

NaNoWriMo and Speedbo encourage working with others. They provide help and encouragement all along the way. You can gather a few writer friends and hold each other accountable for your progress. Weight Watchers uses this same strategy. We know any hard thing is easier when we don’t feel alone. Writing is a lonely endeavor.

 

  1. Reward yourself

Set short and long-term rewards. A specially Latte or your favorite decadent treat for a weekly word count goal. Perhaps a week-end excursion for complete the 30-day challenge. If you tell your spouse you’re plan is a romantic get-away if you meet the challenge, they will probably do all they can to ensure you succeed.

 

  1. Post it on Social Media

This accomplishes two things. Additional accountability and early marketing for your book. Those who follow your progress are going to be curious about the finished project.

 

  1. Prayer and reflection

Time with the Lord brings clarity and encourages our spirit. Daily revitalization is a key to perseverance.

Hope you found these tips helpful for whenever you decide to take a 30-day challenge. My last two books began at Speedbo.  I’m gearing up to complete my next rough draft through Speedbo as well.

I’d love to hear how thirty-day challenges have grown your writing career. Share any other tips you’ve found helpful.

Pictorial Reflections on July 4th Celebrations

 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Independence Day an official federal holiday in 1941. The Fourth of July has taken on many forms in various geographic areas of the country since the first commemoration on July 4, 1777. Rural settings celebrations had neighborhood potlucks with group games such as potato sack and three-legged races. Families enjoyed visiting and rarely were there fireworks. But time away from daily chores made the day just as exciting. The mayor or some other dignitary read the Declaration of Independence and other well-known speeches of our forefathers. People hung on every word. Then exploded with applause when the recitations were finished. Patriot music commemorate the day.

I’ve collected some photos of July 4th celebration throughout history.  It’s fun to see how the holiday has evolved.

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Some things never change.

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Early 1900s parade.

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Notice the greased pig  and slippery pole contests.

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Civil War Veterans march in a parade circa 1890s

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A women’s foot race early 1900s.

Fourth of July celebration, hurdle race (colored)

Hurdle race at an African American celebration. Looks painful.

Check out the photos below. Children portraying the fife and drum players from the revolutionary war often were parts of parades during my childhood. Not the tricycles in the last group. Bike parades around a neighborhood were not uncommon in the 1950s and 1960s. The other two picture are taken decades earlier.

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Uncle Sam appeared in every 4th of July celebration.

Ben Shahn - At the July 4th celebration, Ashville, Ohio, 1938

What decade do you think this is?

 

Parade photo

Parades still continue to mark the day.

 

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Do you recall all the Independence Day fun you’ve enjoyed? Don’t forget to take a moment to thank God for the freedom you have.