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Archive for April, 2014

Meet the Author Karen Whiting

KarenWhiting.Profile

 

Karen’s Background

Karen Whiting grew up in a small rural dairy community in Connecticut and then married a Coast Guard officer with whom she enjoyed moving and living in different areas of the US. Family has always been important for Karen. She lived on the same street with many relatives and loved being part of an extended family. She also found the military community is a family too. Her greatest joy is being part of God’s family. Karen and her husband reared five children and she now has nine grandchildren. With a degree in math, Karen never expected to become an author. Friends urged her to write about the activities she created for her family, and God also nudged her to write. It’s been a delightful learning experience, and Karen just completed her twentieth book. (Look for it in 2015).

Karen’s Published Works

Karen is the author of several inspirational craft and activity oriented books for girls, including God’s Girls and The One Year My Princess Devotions. Her books for women include pocket guides on time management and one-year devotionals. Her award winning co-authored book, Stories of Faith and Courage From the Home Front shares true accounts of women, families, and volunteers on the home front of American Wars from 1755 to the present day. Her newest release is Nature Girl: A Guide to Caring for God’s Creation. It’s packed full of information, activities, experiments, and fun get-togethers for girls.

Fun Facts About Karen

  • Karen and her family directed a teen puppet ministry for thirteen years that combined her love of youth with her creativity and interest in puppetry.
  • She loved Howdy Doody as a girl and so enjoyed learning puppetry as an adult from Margo Rose, one of Howdy’s creators.
  • She enjoys adventure. Karen has ridden a camel in the Canary Islands, scuba dove off the coast of Bermuda, white-water rafted in Australia, and enjoyed horseback riding in may countries and states.
  • Karen survived unexpected disasters, including four lightning strikes, two major hurricanes (though one damaged half her home), and two spontaneous fires to her homes.
  • Karen is part of the Just18Summers blog that shares ways to maximize the parenting years.
  • Her children time how quickly she moves from sitting with them to getting on the floor and playing with her grandchildren. They know she’ll always be a child at heart.
  • Growing up in the country she learned to sew, knit, crochet, rug-hook, can, and many other crafts and homemaking skills. She still enjoys them all!
  • As a teen, Karen did acrobatic clown performances to help raise money for charity causes.
  • Karen’s mind works like a popcorn popper that continually pops out new ideas. She uses the brainstorming ability to write her books and also to help other authors and ministry leaders.
  • Karen has been a member of Officer’s Christian Fellowship for four decades and helps with OCF activities and Bible studies at the US Naval Academy.

Check out Karen’s latest book!

 Nature Girl: a guide to caring for God’s creation

Whiting.Bk.Cover.NatureGirl

http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Girl-Guide-Caring-Creation-ebook/dp/B00DL1HZWG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398715737&sr=1-1&keywords=Nature+Girl+by+Karen+Whiting

Explore and enjoy the outdoors while learning how to conserve resources and care for God’s creation. Spa parties with recipes to create skin care products, parties at the park, and healthy eating gatherings make the book fun for girls. Experiments with soil, solar energy, and more help girls investigate nature. Crafts, games, and fun quizzes add make learning exciting. The 175 pages, co-authored with her daughter Rebecca White, are packed with information and fun!

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April 21, 2014

Today’s Writers’ Tip

WRITING FICTION PLOTS

Plot Number 18:

WRETCHED EXCESS

Mildred Pierce

The Lost Weekend

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

 

I think you’ll probably agree with my assessment of this plot. If you’re down in the mouth at the time, don’t write this fiction plot, and don’t read a novel with this plot in full swing. You might walk away depressed or in need of a good shot of caffeine to get you through the rest of the day. However, although this fiction plot can be a tear-jerker, it also requires intense planning and storyboarding, working your way to a whopper of a climax and a big “crash” at the end. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of the Wretched Excess Fiction Plot:

1. Wretched excess is generally about the psychological decline of a character.

2. Base the decline of the character on a character flaw.

3. Present the decline of your character in three phases:

a. How he/she is before events start to change him/her

b. How he/she is as he/she successively deteriorates

c. What happens after events reach a crisis point, forcing him/her either to give in completely to the flaw (tragedy) or to recover from it.

4. Develop the main character so that his/her decline evokes sympathy.

5. Don’t present him/her as a raving lunatic.

6. Take particular care in the development of your character because the plot depends on the author’s ability to convince the audience that the character is both real and worthy of their feelings for him/her.

7. Avoid being melodramatic. Don’t try to force emotion beyond what the scene can carry.

8. Be straightforward with information that allows the reader to understand your main character. Don’t hide anything that will keep your reader from being empathetic.

9. Most writers want the audience to feel for the main character, so don’t make your character commit crimes out of proportion of our understanding of who and what he/she is. It’s hard to be sympathetic with a person who’s a rapist or a serial murderer.

10. At the crisis point of your story, move your character either toward complete destruction or redemption. Don’t leave him swinging in the wind, because your reader will definitely not be satisfied.

11. Action in the plot should always relate to the character. Things happen because your main character does (or does not) do certain things. The cause and effects of your plot should always relate either directly or indirectly to your main character.

12. Don’t lose your character in his madness. Nothing beats personal experience when it comes to this plot. If you don’t understand the nature of the excess yourself (having experienced it), be careful about having your character do things that aren’t realistic for the circumstances.

So, the bottom line for writing this fiction plot is to do your homework. Thoroughly understand the nature of the excess you want to write about, and go for it!

Next time we’ll look at the fiction plot number 19 & 20: ASCENSION & DESCENSION.

All information compliments of:

Tobias, Ronald B (2011-12-15). 20 Master Plots (p. 189). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

http://www.amazon.com/20-Master-Plots-Build-Them-ebook/dp/B006RAIXXI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390841564&sr=1-1&keywords=20+Master+Plots

(I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing good fiction in any subgenre!)

Happy writing!

Marsha

 

Please check my latest publication on Amazon:

No Furlough for Mandie

Volume 4

The Snyder County Quilting Bee Series II

 

No.Furlough.for.Mandie.Cover

Mandie and Tobias Schmidt, missionaries to Jakarta, Indonesia, have waited two years to come home to Snyder County for a six-month furlough. With their nine-month-old baby, Lydia, the couple plans to spend quality time with their families and travel to numerous states, presenting their ministry to Mennonite churches, whose congregations pray for the couple and sometimes offer financial support.

But Mandie and Tobias’s furlough is cancelled after only a few weeks because of a crisis back in Indonesia. What happens that forces the couple to consider returning to Indonesia immediately?

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Lisa.Lawmaster.HessLisa Lawmaster Hess

Lisa’s Background:

Lisa Lawmaster Hess is a transplanted Jersey girl who has lived in Pennsylvania for most of her adult life.

Did she always want to be a writer? Lisa tells us, “In my eighth grade career report, I declared my intention to become a magazine journalist, but once at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, I studied psychology and education.” After earning her master’s degree, Lisa worked as an elementary school counselor until June 2012. Now, she keeps busy as an adjunct professor at York College of PA by day, as a community education instructor in the evening, and writing whenever she can.

Lisa’s Published Works:

Lisa is the author of Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce, both inspired by her interactions with her elementary school students. Currently, she’s at work on a non-fiction book on organization, a sequel to Casting the First Stone and revisions on a novel with a whole new cast of characters. For more information about Lisa, check out her website (www.L2Hess.com) or read her blog (“The Porch Swing Chronicles”) at www.L2Hess.blogspot.com. Casting the First Stone is her first novel.

Fun Facts about Lisa:

  • Lisa is an adjunct professor of psychology at York College of Pennsylvania.
  • She loves to tap dance but is incredibly rusty.
  • Her favorite place to write is on a screened-in porch at the condo she and her husband rent at the beach. Their traveling companion is their teenage daughter, Leah, and there’s usually another teen along for the ride to keep things interesting.
  • The title of her blog, “The Porch Swing Chronicles” was born when she wrote the first post sitting on a porch swing at her brother-and sister-in-law’s house one Memorial Day weekend.
  • She developed a love of theatre in high school and she still does community theatre shows whenever she can. Currently, she’s in rehearsal for a cabaret that will be performed in April.
  • Lisa sings with the contemporary choir at her church.
  • Her Snyder County connection is a school counseling internship in the Selinsgrove School District under the tutelage of Wendy Hummel (still a Union County resident).
  • Lisa spent six years living on-and off-campus in Lewisburg, PA, while pursuing her BA in psychology and her MS in education at Bucknell. During her final summer in Lewisburg, she worked the early A.M. shift at a daycare and evening hours at the Short Stop Mart, and she recalls more than one occasion in grad school when she was scraping change together to get her staple dinner—a meatball grinder from House of Pizza on Market St. In 1985, a grinder and a soda cost $3.17, a meal she still seeks out whenever she visits Lewisburg.

Thanks, Lisa, for stopping by my blog today and letting us know a little bit about you and your latest work!

Casting the First Stone

Casting the First Stone Cover.

Marita Mercer and Angel Alessio are linked by only one thing—a relationship with the same man. When Angel’s husband decides to pursue custody of the child he fathered with Marita thirteen years ago, both women are forced to consider what they will—and won’t—do to protect the lives they have built and the families they have created.

http://www.amazon.com/Casting-First-Stone-determined-families-ebook/dp/B00I2F1A18/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397487312&sr=1-2&keywords=cASTING+THE+FIRST+STONE

 

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April 7, 2014

Today’s Writers’ Tip

WRITING FICTION PLOTS

Plot Number 17: DISCOVERY

Death of a Traveling Salesman

Ghosts

Oedipus Rex

If you’re considering writing a “discovery plot,” take a good look at these characteristics, which are quite involved. A writer who does an excellent job with this type of plot will create a character-driven plot. The universe revolves around him or her. Let’s review how to write a good discovery plot:

  1. A discovery plot is more about the character making the discovery than the discovery itself.
  2. If the protagonist is searching for something, the focus of the story is not the search itself; it’s a search for understanding about human nature.
  3. Focus the story on who the character is, not on what the character does.
  4. Start the plot with the understanding of who the main character is before circumstances change and force the character into new situations.
  5. Don’t linger on your main character’s “former” life; integrate past with present and future.
  6. Place the character on the pinnacle of change. Start the action as late as possible, but also give the reader a strong impression of the main character’s personality as it was before the events started to change his/her character.
  7. Make sure the catalyst that forces the change (from a state of equilibrium to disequilibrium) is significant and interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention.
  8. Avoid being trivial. Don’t dwell on insignificant detail.
  9. Move the protagonist into the crisis (the clash between the present and the past) as quickly as possible, but maintain the tension of past and present as a fundamental part of the story’s tension.

I’ve never written a discovery plot, and in my opinion, it seems like one of the most difficult to master. But now that you have your ammunition, go for it!

Next time we’ll look at the fiction plot number 18: WRETCHED EXCESS.

All information compliments of:

Tobias, Ronald B (2011-12-15). 20 Master Plots (p. 189). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

http://www.amazon.com/20-Master-Plots-Build-Them-ebook/dp/B006RAIXXI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390841564&sr=1-1&keywords=20+Master+Plots

(I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing good fiction in any subgenre!)

Have a great day writing!

Marsha

Please check my latest publication on Amazon:

No Furlough for Mandie

Volume 4

The Snyder County Quilting Bee Series II

No.Furlough.For.Mandie.Cover 

Mandie and Tobias Schmidt, missionaries to Jakarta, Indonesia, have waited two years to come home to Snyder County for a six-month furlough. With their nine-month-old baby, Lydia, the couple plans to spend quality time with their families and travel to numerous states, presenting their ministry to Mennonite churches, whose congregations pray for the couple and sometimes offer financial support.

But Mandie and Tobias’s furlough is cancelled after only a few weeks because of a crisis back in Indonesia. What happens that forces the couple to consider returning to Indonesia immediately?

Read Full Post »

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