Three Links 4/24/2020 Loleta Abi

Image by aalmeidah from Pixabay

Three Links 4/26/2020

Loleta Abi


1. “In various posts here, we’ve explored how many concepts in writing don’t quite match the general understanding of a word or phrase. That’s why I start many posts with basic definitions to ensure we’re all on the same page.

But of the many words with confusing meanings in the writing world, probably none are more confusing than scenes and sequels, both words that refer to multiple concepts in the writing world. Once we’re all clear on some common definitions, today let’s look at the purpose of sequels in our story and how to write them.*smile*

Definitions: Types of Scenes and Sequels

Starting with the basics of scenes, there are 3 ways we tend to use the word:

  • Setting-Focused Scene: The school-style definition is an event in a specific place and/or time. When the setting changes, it’s a new scene. (Note: This definition is almost never relevant to writers, as the other definitions make more sense for how we write.)
  • Storytelling Scene: A mini-arc of events that usually occur in a specific” I’m astonished to discover most of our turning points in our stories are done in sequels (the action/reaction part of our scenes).

2. “As a middle-aged woman of fifty-seven (or “Boomer” as my children mockingly refer to me lately) I’m arriving quite late to my career as a writer. Most of us were told that if we hadn’t published a novel by age thirty, there’s no way we’d ever have a literary career. I’m not even sure what a “literary career” means these days. All I know is that I love to write. 

As a young girl, I inhaled words. Losing myself in a book allowed me to forget my uneasy reality of living in a dysfunctional alcoholic family. My sanctuary was the library; it was a place I could escape the emotional chaos at home. The structure of neatly shelved books made me feel safe; the inky smell of the printed pages calmed me. In the library, surrounded by words, I was truly myself.

I was always told I was good at writing. But having been pushed to succeed in playing the piano since the age of six, it never occurred to me that I could choose something else to do with my life. So I went with music, and graduated with a degree in piano performance. I married right after graduation, began teaching piano, and started a family. I was generally content, but there was always a sense that something was missing in my life.”

3. “Over the years, I’ve received many emails from writers asking me to be their writing mentor. I’m honored by the requests, but like many authors with larger-than-they-can-keep-up-with platforms, I simply don’t have time to fulfill every request for help I receive.

Instead, I hope my blog here can act as a “virtual mentorship,” as many of my posts are essentially brain dumps of everything I know about a topic. I’ve joked before that one reason my posts are epic-length (and take me so long to write, often requiring 6-8+ hours of work) is that I’ve learned too much stuff about writing to keep my brain dumps short. *snicker*

But recently I did volunteer to become a writing mentor, and I want to share this opportunity with hopeful mentees here. So let’s talk about how to make the most of a mentorship — real or virtual. *smile*

What Is a Writing Mentorship?”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “If you missed yesterday’s post, I’ve been chatting with my retired cop/coroner buddy, Garry Rodgers. Today, you’ll hear about all Garry’s shenanigans, including how he almost killed Neil Young and how his possessed kitchen was out to get him. Haha. Hard to explain. Just read the Q&A.

Sue: You chose indie publishing over traditional. So, how do you decide where to publish?

Garry: I was exclusive on Amazon, but my much more successful indie friends said I was leaving a lot on the table by not “going wide” with Kobo, Nook, Apple, Google, and other outlets. That’s now in progress. From the Shadows and the rest of the “based on true crime” series will be available on other eBook platforms and I’ll soon convert my other work.”

2. “Feeling overwhelmed and fearful is part of our new normal. When “The Kid” comes to visit, we chat outside and stay six-feet apart. It kills me. I’ve always been a hugger, but I also want to protect him, our daughter-in-law (who works in the E.R.), and our grandchildren. You may be experiencing the same thing with your family. These feelings of helplessness can have a profound impact on us. The world is collectively grieving. None of us are immune.

What if I told you that you had the ability to escape?”

3. “Maybe it’s just me, but although veggies are increasingly hard to come by in this area, one vegetable lingers, reluctantly available: spinach. And I don’t know why. Spinach is goddamn amazing. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, for one. For two, it tastes amazing. No, it may not have the COLON LOCOMOTIVE powers of, say, kale, it’s still green and healthy and all that happy shit.

But, for some reason, people aren’t buying it. Again, around here. Maybe where you are, everybody’s Popeye looking for muscles, but here, they’re leaving that and Brussels sprouts on the shelf. Lockdown still won’t push them to the fringes of the produce aisle, I guess?

(Here’s my Brussels sprouts recipe, before you ask.)

Maybe it’s because The Kids Today are like The Kids Of Yesteryear and just won’t eat spinach. (And only now is it occurring to me that Popeye was some kind of vegetable propaganda. Same way an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and carrots “help” your “eyesight” and other such vegetable legends.) I sure didn’t eat spinach when I was a kid, are you nuts? No, no, I had a discerning palate. It was Spaghetti-Os or nothing, you vulgarian. Toss a couple hot dogs in there? C’est magnifique.”

Some Things More Serious:

1. will stop you from being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake. — John Cleese.

By PJ Parrish

I’ll never forget this piece of advice I got from my agent: “No one is waiting for your stand alone thriller.”


3. “When I think about the many novels I’ve written, I realize I don’t always start with a plot idea. Sometimes a topic or theme intrigues me, or I’ll have an image of a character in the throes of a moral dilemma. I remember reading about how C. S. Lewis came up with his Narnia series. He had a picture in his mind of a faun carrying a parcel and an umbrella through a snowy wood. From there, the The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe sprang into existence.

The novel I’m currently writing, a supernatural thriller called Lightning Man, also was sparked by a picture in my head. I saw a man at the top of a mountain, his arms outstretched in a messianic surrender to the heavens, willing lightning to strike him for the tenth time, intending to stop a terrorist by sacrificing his life as he grips the bad guy. From there I had to ask a lot of questions to find my story, and I encourage you to do the same with the ideas that excite you.

I wove a complex plot around that character and climactic moment I saw in my head (it’s taken me a couple of years, but it’s all in place now). But it all started with a picture of a nebulous character.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:




Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “Today’s guest is fiction writer and poet Shveta Thakrar! Her story “The Rainbow Flame” was a selection in Year’s Best Young Adult Speculative Fiction 2015, and her work can also be found in Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales RetoldToil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & WitchcraftA Thousand Beginnings and Endings: 15 Retellings of Asian Myths and LegendsThe Underwater Ballroom SocietyUncanny MagazineMythic Delirium, and many other publications. Star Daughter, her debut novel, was described in the Rights Report as “contemporary YA fantasy inspired by Hindu mythology [that] follows a half-mortal/half-star girl who must win a celestial competition to save her human father’s life”—and is coming out August 11!”

2. “In a desperate final attempt to save nineteen-year-old Mia from herself, she gets transferred to Dolor University, a reformatory college in the UK that housed deranged and dangerous young adults who viewed the private institution as their own personal playground. Mia didn’t care. She needed feelings to care. She’d keep her head down, ignore everyone, and make it through the next two years effortlessly.

Though Mia never anticipated Ollie Masters.

With green eyes, tattoos, and the voice of a poet, she is quickly drawn to him. But because of her sociopath tendencies, she knows it could only end in one of two ways. Either he will be the one to free her from her past, or she will be the one to destroy him.

**WARNING: Mature content, adult language, graphic sexual content, and disturbing matters may trigger an emotional response. Read at your own risk.**”

3. “This book is a fun read and as an extra bonus it will make you reminisce about all of the first dates you might have experienced.

As I have been with my loved one since the dawn of time this book also made me think about how I’d cope in this new dating world with things like Tinder. It feels so different to the one I left which was all about eyeing up a love interest on a crowded dance floor of a cheesy nightclub and working out how you could ‘dance’ your way over to him without making it too obvious and then once in his vicinity showing him through the medium of drunken interpretive dance what a catch you are. *Sigh*

Moving on swiftly, this book by Zara Stoneley is perfect for reading in lockdown. It’s funny, lighthearted romantic comedy with some interesting characters.

Here’s the blurb:

Right place.
Right time.
Wrong guy …”

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