Humpty Dumpty (Poe Style)

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As a new technique I am going to rewrite a nursery rhyme in the voice of a legendary author. This was way more fun than I thought it could be. I’m still laughing at how easily Poe’s voice seemed to connect to a nursery rhyme.

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Humpty Dumpty revised (in the voice/style of Edgar Allan Poe)

On a dark and dreary night upon a high wall of the city sat a man.

His soul still broken from the death of his lover.

Atop the city’s great wall he sat peering into the distance

Hoping one day to glimpse his bride.

She was taken too soon.

As the cloud of night grew thick and gathered about him

The young man wrestled with the notion of sleep.

Could he finally quiet his soul?

Would rest be upon him?

Or would he forever be tortured by visions of Lenore?

With heavy lids he began to sway.

And from the wall with great force he fell.

On horses did men from the kingdom come.

Rushing through the streets with doctors

Clearing the path through bystanders to attend to the man.

No one was able to revive his shattered body.

Not the king. Not his knights.

Because Lenore came down and woke him from his slumber.

And forevermore he danced with his bride.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Favorite Story Types

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When it comes to reading and writing my favorite story type is the one in which the protagonist must confront himself. Some sort of inner conflict causes the main character to engage in a battle in these types of stories. These are the ones where a misunderstood character rises to the challenges of his life.

Weaknesses are clear from the beginning and the protagonist must overcome the main obstacles of maturity or self-doubt in order to be the hero of their own story.

I love reading the tales penned by authors like Frederick Backman, Mindy McGinnis, Emery Lord, JD Salinger, Markus Zusak, and Kiera Cass to name a few.

 

Build: Five Minute Friday

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I’m getting my butt kicked by my February schedule.

Can you relate?

For some reason I keep double-booking myself even with my efforts to keep a bullet journal. There just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. That’s why it is even more important than ever to build into that schedule some time for me.

A few months ago my husband and I agreed on an arrangement that allowed both of us ample time to focus on our hobbies. On an ideal day, we would each get ONE HOUR to ourselves. For him, it would look like a run to the gym or a drill session with five basketballs. For me, that time would be sitting in front of the computer like I am right now and allowing myself some time to write.

Now, it doesn’t happen this way every day.

There are days when my kiddos interrupt that time and days when my husband never makes it out the door. But, our goal is to make this time a priority every day.

As parents it can be so easy to lose ourselves. I could spend over half a day cleaning messes or changing diapers. But one thing I’ve learned after six years of this gig is that I am a much better mom when I’ve taken some time to focus on  me.

I am thankful for a husband who is supportive and encourages me to take that time.

I am grateful for a daughter that understands when Mom is writing she really needs to be left alone.

This ONE HOUR trade-off with my husband has helped to curb my anxiety and given me a renewed sense of purpose in writing. I’ve taken time to dream again. I’ve taken steps toward reaching that dream. And I’ve begun feeling more accomplished than ever.

How do you build time for yourself during the day?

*This post is part of the Five Minute Friday prompt for the week. Be sure to check out the link in order to see other positive writer’s explore the same word prompt.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Supporting Archetypes

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Every story has ONE protagonist. Sure, there are stories out there told from the perspective of multiple characters, but every reader connects to a single character more than the others. They root for their success above anyone else’s.

That’s where the idea of a supporting character comes from.

Supporting characters are those that help us to see the protagonist better and function to bring out their qualities.

In her book, DIY MFA, Gabriela Pereiera explains a few archetypes of the supporting character. Those archetypes are the villian, the love interest, the BFF, the sidekick, the mentor, and the fool. It must be noted that not every character fits nicely into those categories, but can be under the umbrella of one.

My favorite supporting character archetype to write is the mentor.

I think the reason I gravitate toward the mentor is because this is a character whose wisdom and experiences help the protagonist to see reason. This character is helpful and is generally the type of person I would like to spend time with in real life. My current Work-in-Progress features a mentor character. He lends support and helps to showcase a softer side of a troubled protagonist.

The only thing I’ve had to be cautious of in the use of mentors is making sure that they don’t solve all the problems for the protagonist. Their purpose is to shed light on solutions, but ultimately the protagonist must learn from their selves how to overcome the conflicts of their tale.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

Write One Short Story a Week…

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”― Ray Bradbury

Sounds easy enough.

Short stories could be something as short as 500 words, so how hard can that really be? Well, I’m here to say that for me a short story a week is far from what I’ve achieved over the years. In fact, I’ve probably finished six short stories EVER.

The writing world is full of “professionals” trying to give inspiration to other writers. They mean well when they talk about their own magic formula, but writing is not a tried-and-true craft. What works for one writer may not work for another. We all live different lives, write different genres, and use different methods to reach success.

When I first started writing I was tempted to follow the formula of other writers, but I have since learned that every writer is unique. Additionally, every phase of the journey is unique. What works early in the writing process may not be the best rule to follow as you grow.

Adaptation is imperative for the writing life. If you find a formula that works for you it may not always be that way. If you are still trying to build a system keep the focus on yourself. Ray Bradbury’s method of a short story a week obviously worked well for him. He was a renowned author and his pieces were influential in so much of the sci-fi genre. He’s not a name soon forgotten. I wrote a post about him a few years ago because I am a fan. (5 Reasons to Read Ray Bradbury) But I am not Ray Bradbury. I cannot beat myself up for struggling to produce a short story per quarter (that’s my current goal.)

Gabriela Pereira, founder of DIY MFA, says it best when she explains that the only rule for writing is that there is no rule.

What about you? Have you ever found yourself tempted to take someone else’s advice?

The Ameri Brit Mom

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My Writing Superpower

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The Underdog:

You are the quintessential underdog storyteller and your superpower is creating relate-able characters who have a deep desire to change something in themselves or in the world around them. From rags-to-riches narratives to epic David-and-Goliath-style battles you craft stories with high stakes and compelling characters your readers can’t help but love.

What about you? Take the quiz

The Ameri Brit Mom

Honor Your Reality

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My writing journey hasn’t been a linear one. There have been months of motivated writing sessions and others where I’ve nearly fallen off the map. I’ve taken detours and shortcuts. I’ve even abandoned route several times. While my mind cursed itself for losing focus I’m learning that in those times life needed to come first.

When my heart was breaking for those I love.

When my body was growing a baby.

When work zapped all of my energy.

When anxiety crippled me.

Those are moments in my reality when I set the pen down and just lived. Getting through each day was hard enough I couldn’t push through word counts and pages as well. Some call it survival mode–those days when you do the bare minimum in order to keep your sanity. I’m a human and I find myself on the survivor’s path every now and again.

If you have followed my blog for a couple of years you will remember the year I took off in 2017. My energy was focused on growing my family and my health. I did write here and there, but I put no pressure on myself to produce things for other people to read. I journaled every now and again, but I took that year for ME. Life was changing and my soul was aching. I didn’t live that reality on the page of my blog because it wasn’t the encouraging me that I hope to be as an online writer.

Luckily, that period didn’t last forever.

I returned in June 2018 with a venegence. Strengthened by the trials I resurrected my presence in the writing world. I re-established goals, re-appeared on my blog, and started to think of myself as a writer again.

There will be a day where once again I will have to step away.

We go through periods where the path has been cleared and we can focus on the road before us. Other times, we have to clear that path before we can go any further. We are not robots. We have souls that need rest.

So give yourself some grace. If you find yourself walking through a storm in your personal life it is okay to put your writing life on hold (or at least in neutral.) We have to honor the reality of life. It’s okay!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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I’m working my way through a DIY MFA program based on the book DIY MFA by Gabriela Periera. Throughout the course and book study I will be posting periodically in response to prompts

The Intentional Arc: Fearless Writing

It’s a frigid January day in Ohio.

The temperatures are dipping below zero and ice is coating roads, homes, and vehicles. It’s one of those days when my soul craves a book, blanket, and coffee. Here’s to hoping that the mom life will give me a chance to do all of those things today. But if not, I’m going to reflect on the latest chapter I read in Fearless Writing by William Kenower.

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Have you ever thought about the fact that every act of communication is also the act of story telling?

A phone call home. A status update. A text to your spouse. A smile.

All of these tell a story.

And every story is told from a specific point-of-view. It is our interpretation of facts. For that reason a story is never completely factual. There’s a little bit of fiction in every thing we do. Our minds work to fill in blank pieces or perspectives that we can never know.

Writing is a lot like telling a story. No matter what kind of writing you do there are three arcs that lurk below the surface of every tale:

  1. The Physical Arc– this is the what of the story. The events, characters, setting and plot all comprise the physical arc.
  2. The Emotional Arc– this is the element of the story that traces a character’s motivations and desires. The how of the story is formed by the emotional arc.
  3. The Intentional Arc– this is the why of the story. Every decision you make as the author of a story comes back to this arc. What is the take away you hope to accomplish? What greater truth do you hope to point to? How do you want your reader to be changed after having read your story?

If you keep the intentional arc of your story at the forefront of your mind nothing else matters. You filter every decision through the sieve of your intentions. There are organic ways to carry this out in your writing. It should never seem forced. But returning to this arc again and again will help you to write fearlessly.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Origins

My earliest memories as a writer were journals of misspelled words and imaginary characters. They were learning to grip a pencil and writing until my fingers bled. They were thumbing through the pages of books in my bedroom. Before I read a single book by myself I had penned my own creations.

Growing up, my parents taught me the value of trips to the bookstore and library. And once I was reading on my own I wanted to read EVERYTHING. I loved the characters, settings, and beautiful artwork on the covers.

I was the weird kid that spent hours sorting through my books in my bedroom. The room itself may be a wreck, but that bookshelf was always in order. Stacks upon stacks of picture books soon morphed into shelves of chapter books. And as much as I loved to read I was also inspired to produce my own stories.

If I watched a movie that I didn’t like I would rewrite the ending. If I loved a series I would create my own installment. My parents still have totes of my old notebooks in their basement. It was an obsession. I can remember them joking that I always needed a notebook, but it was truth. And they always provided for my hobby.

I owe a lot to them. I was blessed to have educators and intellectuals for parents. Both of them still read and encourage me in my own journey as a writer.

Now, as I inch closer to the end of my twenties I am still an avid reader. My oldest daughter is six and already reading chapter books. I’d like to think that I’ve fostered some of those same desires in her that my parents passed down to me. Just yesterday she sat with me and we each journaled about our day in our own notebooks.

I’ve only had one poem published in a traditional market, but my dream of becoming a published author is not dead. I’m continuing to pray and believe that one day a novel with my name on the cover will make it through the wolves. But for me it is all worth so much more than that. Even if I never see that dream realized I am still a writer.

I don’t write for anyone but myself.

I don’t do it for fame, money, or recognition.

I do it because there are stories within me waiting to be lived. If I don’t give them space to breathe then I cannot be satisfied.

I’m a busy mom, teacher, wife, and WRITER.

The Ameri Brit Mom 

I’m working my way through a DIY MFA program based on the book by Gabriela Periera. Throughout the course and book study I will be posting periodically in response to prompts. 

 

 

Influence: Five Minute Friday

I’m joining the weekly link-up at Five Minute Friday today. Each week we respond to a common prompt and encourage one another as writers who share our words with the world. This week our prompt is Influence.

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This year I’ve been working to refocus my writing goals. I’ve been influenced by bloggers I follow, authors I love, and programs like the DIY MFA. All of these things mixed with my passion for the written word have culminated in my plans for writing in 2019. I want to write boldly and with a confidence that is unshakable. After all, writing for me has never been about receiving anything, but rather it is about giving what is inside me life on the page (or screen.)

I have started working through the starter kit from DIY MFA which is a FREE program designed to provide subscribers with opportunities which mimic an MFA program. One quote that they sent me which has inspired me to focus my writing is…

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

I am praying that this year I will grow as a writer and be able to influence others in a positive way. I am praying that the book lurking in some corner of my mind will gain wings and soar. I am praying for a community of readers who will encourage me in this quest. Lastly, I am praying for God’s influence to be evident in every word, post, and book that is crafted by my hands. To Him be the glory!

The Ameri Brit Mom