Monday, October 29, 2012

To Believe or Not To Believe

I just finished reading Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer (Harper Teen, 2011). 

In any dystopian/fantasy/paranormal novel, the author faces the question of how characters accept the weird things that happen to them. If the hero stubbornly refuses to believe in the bizarre events, he appears stupid. If the heroine jumps on the paranormal bandwagon immediately, she isn’t credible. There must be doubt, but not for too long.

Archer does a fantastic job of portraying a girl who is torn between thinking she communicates with ghosts and fearing she is going insane. Many of the episodes occur at night and have a dream-like quality without ever being a dream. Also the tastes of the alternate realm start small and expand as Tansy is drawn into the ghost’s world. Her fear that others will find out increases as the ghost begins to affect her perception of everyday life.

For my current project, a fantasy novel, I need to revisit my protagonist’s acceptance of the plot’s premise. She needs to spend some time walking the tightrope between belief and disbelief.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Fourth Dan Test

Last Saturday, Sam tested for his fourth degree black belt in Taekwondo. My husband took nearly 700 photographs, and I've begun to sort through them.

Sam doing a form or poomse.

another kick
Master Shinn and Master Deatrick are seated at the table.

Sam lands a head kick on Justin.

Sam (in red) is sparring with Neil, the drummer in Jeremy's band.

This kick didn't score, but look at the expressions on the kids' faces.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Day Late

more sun through leaves
I didn't alter the color.
watching the river run
fall in abstract

Friday, October 19, 2012

Overheard #217

"The truth takes kind of a lot of energy."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Putting the Sin in Syncopation

Lately, my writing has taken a backseat to music notation. Jeremy is creating complete scores of three of his songs for college and scholarship applications. I help decipher Jeremy’s fiendishly difficult rhythms and occasionally enter lyrics in the music notation program.

To check for mistakes, we can use the notation program's playback function. The guitar track has a typical electronic tone, but the vocal line sounds like a heavenly choir of tenors, an interesting effect in heavy metal music. The virtual tenors sing all notes, “Aaaaah” as if they’re going to segue to “alleluia” or “amen”, but so far they haven’t.

The title of this post was taken from a 1921 Ladies’ Home Journal article in which Anne Shaw Faulkner suggested, “the demoralizing influence of the persistent use of syncopation, combined with inharmonic partial tones” was responsible for the corruption of America’s youth.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Overheard #216

"There are no small solos – only small instruments."

Thursday, October 11, 2012


This is what I found most interesting this week. 

Preliminary research suggests that different parts of the brain are involved when people are immersed in what they’re reading as opposed to skimming.

At Literary Rambles, Lorin Oberweger offers excellent advice on putting an emotional hook in a query letter summary. 

The Swagger Writers are doing an fascinating series called The October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge. Members recount a childhood memory for each year starting at age one. Today is year 11, so scroll back for what has already been posted.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Morning Light

 I do like to photograph light streaming through leaves and petals. Click on this one to enlarge it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Okay, so there are lots of pictures of fallen leaves, but I thought it was intersting that the dew droplets formed only on the leaves that were overturned.
Orange maple leaves this time.

And yellow leaves to round out the fall spectrum.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Overheard #215

"At this point, a lot of the mistakes have been made."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Heart of the Story

Authors are often asked what inspired their stories. Perhaps it is more import for writers to consider their personal connection to the idea. What was the driving force behind the time, effort and heartbreak of writing the novel?

It’s easy to forget the heart of the story when slogging through revisions. My spy novel failed because I lost sight of why the story was important to me. Several well-meaning critiques suggested I cut much of that material. Perhaps the concept wasn’t of general interest. Perhaps I hadn’t figured out how to tell it. Once my personal connection to the story was removed, and my main character was relegated to tag-along sidekick, the story wasn’t mine anymore, and the manuscript became generic.

I’m currently reading The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011), a history of the four daughters of Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra of Russia. I know that the tale will end with bullets and bayonets in a basement, but the heart of the story, the loving and realistic relationship between the sisters, keeps me turning pages.