"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Émile Zola, 1840-1902

Influential French novelist, the most important example of the literary school of naturalism and a major figure in the political liberalization of France.

He wrote short stories, essays, plays, and novels. Zola was nominated for the first and second Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 and 1902.

To read FREE copies and translations of his work: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/z/zola/emile/

Monday, April 28, 2014

Youth Versus Age

The younger generation challenging the older is a popular and well-used theme. This timeless conflict provides ordeals for the children standing up to the parent(s), and the guardian experiencing his/her own mortality when they remember similar episodes with their own parents. This generational drama can often be found on the page.

Fairy-tale struggles with wolves and witches may be ways of expressing those same conflicts. Notice how "dark" figures are often the experienced characters pitted against the "newcomer" or child? Ex. Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, etc. Joseph Campbell spoke of the dragon as a Western symbol of a tyrant who has held fast to a kingdom or a family until all the life has been squeezed out of it.

The age conflict can be experienced internally as well. The plot conflict may arise from a struggle between an old and comfortable lifestyle, and a new, unknown and untried one. The new self can't be born until the old one dies.

Science Fiction - Fantasy authors use a similar technique in time travel stories. Will the hero return to his/her own time, or will they be better off in the past/future?

In some cases an Ordeal can cause a healing of wounds between a hero and parent. Campbell calls this possibility "Atonement with the Father." Sometimes a hero, by surviving an Ordeal or by daring to challenge the authority of a parental figure, will win the parent's approval and the seeming conflicts between them will be resolved. Ex. Sister Act II: Back in the Habit

What are some of your favorite examples of age conflict?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Xtra, Xtra

"Extra! Extra! Read all about it!"

Years ago whenever there was breaking news and the normal daily had already been delivered, they would sometimes print a second paper delivered later in the day with the urgent news - An 'EXTRA' edition.

This was long before television, and even radio, made it easier to disseminate news.  The Newsies (paper boys) would stand on the streets calling the chant, "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!"

Over time slang has dropped the e, and people still use the "Xtra, xtra!" exclamation to capture attention.

For a fun movie try Newsies. A young Christian Bale, Bill Pullmn, and Robert Duvall star in this 1992 musical based on the New York City newsboy strike of 1899. When young newspaper sellers are exploited beyond reason by their bosses they set out to enact change and are met by the ruthlessness of big business.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Writing What You Want

"If there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." - Toni Morrison

"I just write what I wanted to write. I write what amuses me. It's totally for myself." - J.K. Rowling

"Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it... The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." - Sylvia Plath

"You own everything that has happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better." - Anne Lamott

"I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the thing I am afraid of." - Joss Whedon

"If it's still in your mind, it's worth taking the risk." - Paulo Coelho

"If I waited for perfection I would never write a word." - Margaret Atwood

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." - Cyril Connolly

"I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear." - Joan Didion

"Nothing haunts us like the things we don't say." - Mitch Albom

Friday, April 25, 2014

Villanous Heroes

While some villains exult in being bad (Joker in Batman), many don't think of themselves as evil at all. In their own minds they are right, the heroes of their own stories. A dark moment for the "hero" may be a bright one for the "Shadow". (See demonization or villains as heroes opposite: here.) The arcs of their stories are mirror images: When the hero is up, the villain is down. It depends on point of view.

By the time you are done writing a screenplay or novel, you should know your characters well enough that you can tell the story from the point of view of everyone: heroes, villains, sidekicks, lovers, allies, guardians, and lesser folk. Each is the hero of his own story (Thus, the reason for so many sequels and series.)

It's a good exercise to walk through the story at least once in the Shadow's skin. Or better yet, give your villain his/her own story. Make them your main character - the true hero of their own story. You can read my own version of this for FREE here: Broken Angel.

Who are some of your favorite villainous heroes?

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Unsolved cases are a common theme in books, movies, and television. We crave puzzles, and our curiosity drives us to resolve a mystery.

Bestselling fiction author DiAnn Mills is just one example of a writer using real-life cold cases in her writing. Her newest series is based on Houston FBI cold cases. Many authors have used unsolved murders, and unexplained phenomenon to create their own tales. Our obsession with the Titanic, the disappearance of Amelia Earheart, UFO's, and the Bermuda Triangle are just a few other examples.

I challenge you to a writing exercise. Take all of the available research on an unsolved case, and condense it into a feature-length story. If you choose a homicide case that has been under investigation for years, especially if there was a trial, you will have to condense hundreds of pages of material into one compelling story. Once you have mastered all the facts, see if you can figure out exactly what happened and why the killer has been able to elude the police.

What are some of your favorite unsolved cases?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Just as learning is an important function of the hero, teaching or training is a key function of the Mentor. Training sergeants, drill instructors, professors, trail bosses, parents, grandparents, crusty old boxing coaches, and all those who teach a hero the ropes, are manifesting this archetype.

Of course, the teaching can go both ways. Anyone who has taught knows that you can learn as much from your student(s) as they do from you.

Who have been some of your favorite teachers, Mentors, and/or hero turned Mentor?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I'm working to complete several submission pieces right now. Deadlines are looming and I'm excited about finishing a few projects.

Most recently I've been writing for Southeast Texas Family Magazine - you can see my April article here: http://setexasfamily.com/2014/03/25/11-perfect-picnic-spots/ and for Southern Writer's Magazine - you can find some of my agent interviews in the March and May issues. They are both good quality magazines working toward meeting the needs of two of my passions - family and writing.

Some of my other submission ideas (for other publications) have fallen by the wayside. I'm hoping to get back to them when I have more time. If you're looking for some submission opportunities, try my post last week on Markets. or try a short story contest from Southern Writer's Magazine: http://www.southernwritersmagazine.com/contest.html.

What submissions pieces are you working to complete?

Monday, April 21, 2014


"Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer."   - Susan Sontag

Most writers don't have a favorite book, they have a hard time narrowing the choice down to just one. They may name several, a series, or a favorite author instead.

However, if you ask any teacher, or successful author for their writing tips, reading will certainly be recommended. In fact, for many, reading occupies more of their day than the act of writing. When asked to describe his daily routine, Portuguese Nobel Prize winning novelist Jose' Saramago answered, "I write two pages. And then I read and read and read."

If you plan to write, keep a reading journal. Record what you read, what you liked, or what struck you as powerful.  Thinking about and understanding why a book appeals to you will help you develop as a writer. Try reading a variety of genres. It will inform your writing and help you understand the minds of your own readers.

So, what are you reading? What books do you recommend, and why?

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Whether you are interviewing someone for an article or a character for your novel, you should vary your questioning styles to gain the most valuable information. Here are four of the best type of questions to prepare.

1. Closed - These can be answered with a one or two word response, usually "yes, or "no". Generally, it is better to avoid these unless you want a precise response that you have not received using other methods. Ex: "Do you feel he is the best candidate for the position?"

2. Open - Requires a more elaborate response, giving the interviewer more details. Most closed questions can be transformed into open by adding "Why" or "How" to the beginning. Ex: "Why do you feel he is the best candidate for the position?" You can also gain more expansive information if you lead with an encouraging statement, such as "Can you explain...", "Describe...", or "Tell me the story of..."

3. Rephrasing - If you are unhappy with a response, try rephrasing or repeating to gain more information. Politicians are used to this media tactic, and will continue to evade the same question repeated several different ways. But it's a useful strategy to employ with other contacts when they have avoided the question or you would like a more detailed response.

4. Loaded or Leading - You want to avoid these type of questions at first. If you begin a question by providing the answer in the beginning, some subject will close down as they will feel you are telling them what to think.  Ex: "Don't you feel he is ill qualified to be a candidate?" However, if an interview is going nowhere fast, these questions are a good way to inspire emotional responses, and answers. Ex. "Would you agree that...", or "Is it fair/accurate to say that..."

Friday, April 18, 2014


"Perseverance is the difference between good and great..."

The American work ethic is based on the idea that hard work is rewarded. Do you believe this to be true, or do you think that there are other mitigating factors to take into consideration when it comes to success? Is all that hard work really worth it?

For example, take the classic children's book, The Little Engine That Could. In print for more than 100 years and still selling 10 million copies annually in English alone, this story is a metaphor for Americas can-do attitude. While larger locomotives insisted they couldn't get over the mountain, the smaller locomotive chugged along, all the while saying, "I think I can, I think I can." Even when faced with overwhelming odds, the little train persevered, finally getting to the other side of the mountain.

How about you? Has perseverance ever paid off for you?

Thursday, April 17, 2014


In some stories, tension is created when the hero is running out of options. The coping mechanisms no longer work, other people get fed up with the hero, or the hero is placed in increasingly dire straits until the only way left is to jump into the adventure.

In Sister Act, Whoopi Goldberg's character witnesses a mob murder and has to go into hiding as a nun. Her options are limited - pretend to be a nun or die.

Other heroes don't even get that much choice - they are simply "shanghaied" into the adventure, conked on the head to wake up far out at sea, committed to adventure whether they like it or not.

Tension can also be felt when a character knows what they want, but then discover they have options they never dreamed of, or thought possible before. Will they leave their job, home, friends and family for the adventure?

How do you use options to create tension, or dilemma for your characters?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop." - Vita Sackville-West

British author Vita Sackville-West, author of the prize-winning narrative poem The Land, cite the absolute necessity of writers to ply their trade. Many would agree, and are known for similar quotes. Once bitten by the bug, writers find it "necessary to write" lest the days "slip emptily by." Just as so many of us won't miss a day at the gym, writers develop the need to write every day to keep their heart and soul intact.

Beyond the visceral need to put pen to paper, writers also feel the need to record the moment. As Sackville-West so aptly describes, once the moment passes it is quickly forgotten. A priveledge and a duty, many writers spend their days writing in a journal, recording their lives and that of relatives, to pass down to their own children. Take a look at the best-se
ller list. It is FULL of nonfiction titles: memoirs and biographies.

Even fiction writers feel the need to record ideas, information, and even create worlds based on dreams and fears before they are forgotten and lost.

What drives your necessity?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


There are many markets available to writers. Here are just a few. Please remember to always check submission guidelines before you send your work.

The First Line - http://www.thefirstline.com/ The submission topic changes every three months. 

Chicken Soup for the Soul: They usually offer about five or six submission topics at a time: http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

Pedestal Magazine - Now accepting submissions from new authors as well as established, with varying pay scales and opportunities: http://www.thepedestalmagazine.com/submitguidelines.php

YOGA JOURNAL - http://www.yogajournal.com/general_customer_service/about/editorial_subs_guidelines/Yoga Journal covers the practice and philosophy of yoga. We welcome professional queries for the follow departments: Om. This front-of-the-book section covers myriad aspects of the yoga lifestyle. These short (150- to 400-word) reported pieces are largely freelance written. This department includes Yoga Diary, a 250-word story about a pivotal moment in your yoga practice.  Eating Wisely. A popular, 1,400-word department about relationship to food. Most stories focus on vegetarian and whole-foods cooking, nutritional healing, and contemplative pieces about the relationship between yoga and food. Well Being. This 1,200-word department presents reported pieces about the integration of a regular yoga practice and health. E-mail a well-written query to queries@yjmag.com. Pays $50 to $2,000.

ZOETROPE - http://www.all-story.com/ We consider unsolicited submissions of short stories and one-act plays no longer than 7,000 words. All-Story does not accept submissions between September 1 and December 31. Pays $1,000.

ACTIVE AGING http://www.activeagingonline.com/ContactUs/  The source for news for and about people 55 and better in Sedgwick, Harvey and Butler counties for more than 33 years. Topics include senior lifestyle, profiles, interviews, nostalgia, travel, health. Query first. Articles are 750 to 1,000 words and pays ten cents/word.

AMBASSADOR MAGAZINE http://www.niaf.org/about/contact.asp  Query with clips. Provides information about all things Italian American. Covers personalities, food, film, culture, travel and Italy. Articles are 1,000 to 1,500 words. Pays $300 plus $50 for photos. Query don@niag.org - editor Don Oldenburg.

ONE STORY http://www.one-story.com/index.php?page=guidelines One Story is seeking literary fiction. Because of our format, we can only accept stories between 3,000 and 8,000 words. One Story is offering $250 and 25 contributors copies for first North American serial rights. We accept submissions from September 1 through May 31.
WHIDBEY STUDENT CHOICE CONTEST http://whidbeystudents.com/student-choice-contest/student-choice-contest-rules/ NO ENTRY FEE The contest is open to all writers of any age and at any stage of their writing careers. The competition is open to short-form manuscripts of 1,000 words or fewer in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and children/young adults. Held monthly. Winners will be notified by email and a $50 check sent by US post.

ZAMOOF! MAGAZINE http://zamoofmag.com/for-grown-ups.php?bp=3165Submissions are welcome from youth readers or their parents/care givers. Send letters, short stories up to 800 words, poetry, craft ideas, recipes, puzzles, jokes.
STUFF KIDS WRITE http://stuffkidswrite.com/ Please share with us! We are seeking funny notes, cards, letters, or stories kids have written. Submissions can be current (scribbled yesterday) or ancient (pulled from the preschool file).

GREYSTONE http://mygreystone.wordpress.com/submit/ GREYstone, a subdivision of BRICKrhetoric, is now accepting submissions of poetry, artwork, flash fiction, photography and scientific art from students {and teachers} K-12 for our quarterly online publication which comes out in the months of February, May, August & November. Submissions are accepted year-round, and submissions to multiple genres are permitted.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Letters are Magic

Many cultures believed the letters of their alphabet were far more than just symbols for communication, recording transactions, or recalling history. They believed letters were powerful magical symbols that could be used to cast spells and predict the future. The Norse runes and the Hebrew alphabet are simple letters for spelling words, but also deep symbols of cosmic significance.

The magical sense is preserved in our words for teaching children how to manipulate letters to make words: spelling. When you "spell" a word correctly, you are in effect casting a spell, changing these abstract, arbitrary symbols with meaning and power.

We say "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me," but this is untrue. We know that words have power to hurt or heal. The simple words of a letter, email, or phone call can strike you like a hammer blow. They're just words - marks on paper or vibrations of air - but mere words such as "Guilty," "Ready, aim fire!," "I do," or "We'd like to buy your book" can bind us, condemn us, or bring us joy.

They can hurt or heal us with their magic power. The healing power of words is their most magical aspect. Writers, like the shamans or medicine men and women of ancient cultures, have the potential to be healers.

Whether written or spoken, using those letters (and words) also gives an individual the power to persuade and transform others, perhaps an entire nation, and subsequently the entire world.

What letters, speeches, or books have had the biggest impact on you?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kübler-Ross Model

The Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief, is a series of emotional stages experienced when faced with any form of catastrophic personal loss, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or income, major rejection, the end of a relationship or divorce, drug addiction, incarceration, the onset of a disease or chronic illness, an infertility diagnosis, as well as many other tragedies and disasters (and even some minor losses).

It's important for writers to be familiar with these stages. Assuming your characters are human, they will be experiencing these emotions as well, either on a small or large scale. Grief is one of the most powerful and personal emotions in the human experience, and a writer who implements the stages effectively can bring a reader into an intensely intimate and vulnerable moment with a character.

The stages, popularly known by the acronym DABDA, include:
  1. Denial — As the reality of loss is hard to face, one of the first reactions to follow the loss is Denial. What this means is that the person is trying to shut out the reality or magnitude of their situation, and begin to develop a false, preferable reality. Ex for a child: “Mom and Dad will stay together. They aren't seriously getting a divorce.”
  2. Anger — "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; '"Who is to blame?" Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Anger can manifest itself in different ways. People can be angry with themselves, or with others, and especially those who are close to them. It is important to remain detached and nonjudgmental when dealing with a person experiencing anger from grief. Ex for a child. “I hate Dad for leaving us.”
  3. Bargaining — "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if…"
    The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow undo or avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Other times, they will use anything valuable as a bargaining chip against another human agency to extend or prolong the life they live. Psychologically, the individual is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just do something to buy more time…" People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example "Can we still be friends?" when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it is a matter of life or death. Ex. for a child: "
    If I do all of my chores maybe Dad won’t leave Mom."
  4. Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die soon so what's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?" During the fourth stage, the grieving person begins to understand the certainty of death. Much like the existential concept of The Void, the idea of living becomes pointless. Things begin to lose meaning to the griever. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and sullen. This process allows the grieving person to disconnect from things of love and affection, possibly in an attempt to avoid further trauma. Depression could be referred to as the dress rehearsal for the 'aftermath'. It is a kind of acceptance with emotional attachment. It is natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty when going through this stage. Feeling those emotions shows that the person has begun to accept the situation. Often times, this is the ideal path to take, to find closure and make their ways to the fifth step, Acceptance. Ex. for a child: “I’m sorry that I cannot fix this situation for you.”
  5. Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
    In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. This stage varies according to the person's situation. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief. This typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable mindset.

Are your characters experiencing any of the five stages of grief? What are some ways you can depict those emotions instead of just naming them?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jambalaya Writer's Conference

I just attended the Jambalaya Writer's Conference for the third year in a row.
This year, the 11th annual Jambalaya Writers’ Conference and Book Fair took place on March 22, 2014 at theTerrebonne Parish Main Library in Houma, Louisiana with New York Times best-selling author Adriana Trigiani as keynote speaker.
Trigiani, award-winning author of the Big Stone Gaptrilogy and Lucia, Lucia, has written plays and television scripts. She is a documentary filmmaker, as well. 
Other presenters included prolific bestselling novelis tHeather Graham, Barefoot Books editor Katie De PalmaThe Night of the Comet author George Bishop, Jr., Love Finds You in New Orleans author Christa Allan and Kid Chef Eliana, among others.
Conference registration for the one-day event is only  $35. A Novel Excerpt Contest and a Poetry Contest are held in conjunction with the conference and have additional entry fees for interested participants - about $5 each.
Attendees are able to network with other accomplished and aspiring writers, editors and publishers. The Book Fair provides a variety of both professional development volumes and reading materials for pleasure.
Support for the conference comes from a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council. The Arts Council of New Orleans administered the grant.
Doors open at 7:30 a.m with the first session kicking off at 8:30 a.m. The event runs until 5 p.m. at the beautiful Terrebonne Parish Main Library, 151 Library Drive in Houma. For details on next years conference, look for the facebook page. They start planning in May.
Have you been to this conference? What has been your favorite conference to attend?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I Will Survive - the Book

My "I" post for last year's challenge was I Will Survive. It was a submission call for personal stories of survival, inspired by Gloria Gaynor’s Song “I Will Survive”. You can read the original post here: http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/2013/04/i-will-survive.html

Of course the title has changed to We Will Survive: True Stories of Encouragement, Inspiration, and the Power of Song. I mention this because I saw the book in stores recently, and I am curious.
Did any of you submit to, or get published in it? Do you know anyone who did? Have you read the book?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Happy Endings...

I'm a sucker for a happy ending. Some people might say that makes me a sap, or call me unrealistic. Perhaps I'm just an optimist? Life can be depressing enough, I want my entertainment to be guaranteed to end on a high note.

Hollywood films link happy endings with the world of fairytales, which are often about the achievement of perfection. After all, how many stories have you heard end in "and they lived happily ever after"? Fairy tales bring shattered families back into balance, back to completion.
Weddings are a popular way to end stories. Marriage is a new beginning, the end of an old life of being single and the beginning of a new life as part of a unit. New beginnings are perfect and unspoiled in their "ideal" form.

Don't get me wrong. I don't expect the guy to always get the girl. There are many forms of happy endings. Striking up a new relationship is another way to show a new beginning at the end of a story. It doesn't need to be a romance.
In Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart makes a difficult sacrifice, giving up the chance to be with the woman he loves. His reward, and the "happy ending" is his experience, his new alliance with Claude Rains, As he says, in one of the most famous tag lines in the history of movies, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
He didn't get the girl, but it's still a happy ending. He's discovered the truth about his past, the woman he loves, and the kind of person he wants to be now. A happy ending is the result of ANY gained knowledge or abilities, fairytale or "reality".

What are some of your favorite "Happy Endings"?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Genealogy Submission

Anyone interested in recording family history can enter the 2014 Reminiscent Writing Contest. There is no entry fee. Any story that does not embarrass or harm anyone may be entered.

This year's theme is "That Old House". Entering a story into this contest helps you to create a family treasure for yourself and others.

Stories must be typed, double-spaced, and have no more than 1000 words or four pages. Use a cover sheet with your name, address, phone number, email address and the name of your story. Do NOT put your name on any pages of your story. You can turn in your story anytime on or before December 30, 2014.

The winner will be announced at the 2015 Reminiscent Reading Program. The first place winner will receive $25. All participants receive a copy of the book containing all of the stories.

For more information, call the SWLA Geanealogical and Historical Library (337) 721-7110. You can also email them gen@calcasieu.lib.la.us or visit www.calcasieulibrary.org You can also visit the library at 411 Pujo Street, Downtown Lake Charles.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Forgiveness Submission

The Power of Forgiveness -

Have you ever noticed how forgiving someone frees you to move on with your life? It can be a major decision though, especially if you feel you were seriously wronged. For the "New Year New You" 2015 season "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books plan to publish a book about the power of forgiveness. Let them know how forgiving someone changed your life. It can be something small like forgiving a rude driver who cut you off, or it can be something big like forgiving someone who caused a major negative event in your life. How did forgiving someone change your life in a positive way? Were you able to reestablish a relationship after forgiving? Did letting go of your hurt feelings heal you and bring you a sense of peace? Help others find the same resolution by sharing your story. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is June 30, 2014. You can learn more or submit at: http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/submit-your-story 

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Everyone in the room heard the scream followed by the sound of shattering glass...

Everyone needs help sometime...

Try one of these writing prompts. Even if it's only a paragraph.

Feel free to share your creation in the comments below. Happy Writing everyone - have a great weekend!

Friday, April 4, 2014


Generally the villain of a story represents the hero's fears and unlikeable, rejected qualities: all the things we don't like about ourselves and try to project onto other people. This form of projection is called demonization.

People in emotional crisis will sometimes project all their problems in a certain area onto another person or group who become the symbol of everything they hate and fear in themselves. In war and propaganda, the enemy becomes the inhuman devil, the "Dark Shadow" of the righteous, angelic image we are trying to maintain for ourselves. The Devil himself is God's shadow (opposite) a projection of all the negative and rejected potential of the Supreme Being.
Sometimes we need this projection and polarization in order to see an issue clearly. A system can stay in unhealthy imbalance for a long time if the conflicts are not categorized, polarized, and made to duke it out in some kind of dramatic confrontation. Usually the Shadow or villain can be brought out into the light. The unrecognized or rejected parts are acknowledged and made conscious despite all their struggling to remain in darkness. Dracula's abhorrence of sunlight is a symbol of the Shadow's desire to remain unexplored.

Villains can be looked at as the hero's Shadow in human form. No matter how alien the villain's values, in some way they are the dark reflection of the hero's own desires, magnified and distorted, her greatest fears come to life.
So, how can you make your own villain appear the complete opposite of your hero? Think of physical attributes as well as emotional, mental, and ethical reasoning.

Who are some of your favorite villains?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy

Fear and self-doubt are common enemies to success. Even our most admired mentors, or highly heralded entrepreneurs have encountered those issues. However, they learned to recognize, and overcome, those crippling anxieties.

"Somehow I can't believe there are many heights that can't be scaled by a person who knows the secret of making dreams come true. The special secret can be summarized in four C's. They are: curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of these is confidence." -Walt Disney

"Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Confidence:The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” - J.M. Barrie

 "A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage." - Sidney Smith

 The secret to success is constancy to purpose.  - Benjamin Disraeli

Sometimes, it's difficult for us to prevail against our own trepidations. We may need a hand in bypassing the dread, panic, or downright terror that seizes us. The key is to realize we all experience those emotions, and instead of allowing them to control us, we need to surround ourselves with tools and people that will help us realize our full potential.
Be confident about yourself. Don't let naysayers erode your belief in yourself. Create a vision for your goals and remain true to them.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
                                             - Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson admired the beauty of brevity. He urged authors to remember that the goal in writing is to communicate an idea, not show how many words you know.

Strive for brevity in your own work. Write first. Then edit. Remove all the words you can live without and still tell your story. Does your piece still make sense? Are your ideas clearly communicated? Then, your editing works. You are "tightening your writing."

Tweeting is a good exercise in brevity. Just think how much information can be conveyed in 140 characters or less. Remember that when it's time to revise.

Always write with an open heart. Never limit yourself in the first draft. However, keep Jefferson's words present as you edit. After all, he helped write the Declaration of Independence, the document establishing the right to be an independent nation, using less than fourteen hundred wisely selected words!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Aroho, Autumn, and Amazon submissions

AROHO'S TO THE LIGHTHOUSE POETRY AND CLARISSA DALLOWAY PROSE PRIZEhttp://aroomofherownfoundation.org/awards/to-the-lighthouse-clarissa-dalloway/ --- NO ENTRY FEE. AROHO’s To the Lighthouse Poetry and Clarissa Dalloway “everything but poetry” Book Prizes are awarded annually to one woman’s excellent unpublished collection of poetry (48 to 96 pages) and prose (50,000 to 150,000 words), respectively. We encourage and enjoy a diverse range of topics and styles for both competitions. For the Clarissa Dalloway Book Prize, accepted genres include but are not limited to memoir, biography, novel or novella, young adult literature, and graphic novels. Winners receive $1000 and publication of their submitted collection by Red Hen Press. In addition, AROHO will provide promotional efforts and coverage of some related travel expenses, constituting an additional $1000 in value. Deadline April 1, 2014.

AUTUMN HOUSE LITERARY CONTESTS http://www.autumnhouse.org/contest-submissions/ --- $30 ENTRY FEE. Autumn House is accepting entries for its annual literary contests which award cash prizes in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The Poetry Contest will award publication and $2,500 to the winner in each category. Deadline April 30, 2014.

Amazon Novel Contest, a novel writing contest for original, unpublished or self-published, fictional, English language manuscripts of any genre that is not offensive, pornography, publicity, indecent proposals, technical manuals or guides. Only accepting the first 10,000 entries.

Today is the first day in the "A to Z" blog challenge. There is very little time left to join. For more information, please click the badge at the top of the right column. Happy Writing!