image: header
Home | About | Contact | Editing Services | Resources | Workshops | Mythic Impact Blog | Sowing Light Seeds

“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Write with Impact: Thank You


I have so appreciated all your interest and feedback over these past few years as I’ve posted my writing workshops on the blog as a free version while I revised and edited and listened to your questions and suggestions.

Since Words with Impact is the final in the series I am going to close down the writing blog. Hopefully I will be able to get the rest of the workbooks up on Amazon soon to join the three that are now published.

In the meantime if you have any questions please message me on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy Writing

Continue to Read Deep, marcy

Friday, June 28, 2019

Words With Impact: Discern Typology Viewpoint

Workshop: Discover Words That Sing

“All this time the Guard was looking at her, first through a telescope, then through a microscope, and then through an opera-glass.”  Lewis Carroll

Alice does not change being Alice despite the various ways in which she is being observed, but the perception of her is altered by the method by which the Guard chooses to see her.

Just as images and word pictures feed our imagination through metaphors, so can a study of map-making enlarge and enrich our connections with the places we inhabit. In his book, the Geographer’s Art, Peter Haggett says that, “If the historian uses mirrors to look back and the physicist uses mirrors to look forward, then the geographer’s use of the mirror analogy lies in a different dimension—that of space.”
What exactly do we see in that space regionally and historically? Are places mapped by linear distance as in a conventional map or by spatial configuration?

Haggett gives an example from a vacation he once took at a lakeside village nestled in the Austrian mountains. As he traveled back and forth across the lake by boat he realized that the lakeside did not quite measure up to the conventional map. Some routes he took were fast routes and others slow. Which speed was taken would influence the map form or scale of the lake. He put together four different sketches to try to determine how nine locations reflected or related to the lake itself based on: distance, time of journey, cost of journey and frequency of service. He concluded that each map showed a “different aspect of the spatial structure of this settlement.”
His experiment on vacation opened up a whole new outlook on how maps can measure location and identity of place.

Today we can click our computers for directions and are given a choice to find a destination by conventional map, or street view or aerial. Why do we choose which version we do? How does your character approach space in his world? Why does it matter what she sees?

Action Steps:

1. Visit a favorite place of your own where you like to sit and watch the view. Take a pair of binoculars and a magnifying glass. Pick one focused spot and look at it intently for a few minutes each time using first your own natural sight and then each of these lenses.

2. Write down the differences you see with each one.

Share: Did you see something you’ve never noticed before? Can you adapt the experience for your character?

Read deep, marcy

            “On with dance, let joy be unconfined, is my motto.”         Mark Twain

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Words With Impact: Discern Typology Geography

Workshop: Discover Words That Sing

“For some minutes Alice stood without speaking, looking out in all directions over the country – and a most curious country it was… ‘I declare it’s marked out just like a large chessboard!’” Lewis Carroll

There is a geography app game for children (and adults) that help to learn about world countries. Three sections ask questions such as language or landmarks or capitals, and then there is another that is by shape only. You have to identify the country by its image, like a puzzle piece. 

Two things surprised me while playing with my five-year-old grandson. One, how much I’d forgotten about world geography factually, and two, that it was almost impossible for me to identify a country based on shape only. However after playing the game only a few times, my grandson had almost instant recall on all the shapes and a high percentage of recall on flags. Whenever it was my turn he cheerfully showed me the right answers. The game had become a mutual teaching opportunity, as I in turn helped share with the capitals. At least I had one high area to succeed in.

The ability to step back and see the landscape through an unexpected image opens up a flow of possible thematic and plot ideas that might not have occurred otherwise. It gives us a chance to stop and play again with our creativity, especially as we move deeper in the middle of the story, which sometimes becomes sluggish and difficult to navigate.

Twists and turns, ragged edges and soft flowing lines turn into new metaphors, new possibilities, and new connotations to explore. What symbolism can we apply to a land that is shaped like a chessboard, or a stone dragon, or a blue marble? How can we turn them into theme types?

Action Steps:

1. Take different portions of the map you are using for your setting whether a full world or a small town. Make copies. Then ignore all the names and usual details and instead find shapes within in. Draw random lines around them.

2. Color-code them.

3. Or draw a shape over a section of the map and then look closely to see what is highlighted within that section. Color-code the new details.

Share: What perspective or theme or metaphor did you discover in your map world by seeing it as shape only.

Read deep, marcy

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Words With Impact: Discern Typology as Commitment

Workshop: Discover Words That Sing

“Of course the first thing to do was to make a grand survey of the country she was going to travel through. ‘It’s something very like learning geography,’ thought Alice,…” Lewis Carroll

Last week we looked at the image concept of a threshold as a decision of choice. But a Threshold can also be used as a typology for a crossing, which can include walking away from a place, or a relationship, or choosing to no longer be who we were a few minutes earlier. Often that moment of decision become a life metaphor or signpost. A threshold can also be developed as a Commitment.

Just as we plot out a map to a new location, this category requires taking a deliberate step of faith. We are not forced. We choose with as much insight as possible, even with an unknown outcome. Sometimes the decision is plotted out ahead of time, and sometimes it’s spur of the moment.  But we accept the potential consequences before we act.

 Alice follows the rabbit down the hole even though the crossing feels as if she’s in a dream. Her curiosity overrides the penalty she fully expects for wandering away.
Consider a character’s rationalization in a space movie when someone who has never traveled through a time warp has to choose to get "beamed up.” Their career is in the line and that desire to be a part of exploration and discovery is strong enough to squash legitimate concerns.

Do you know anyone who manages to get into an airplane when terrified of flying? What makes the person choose--commit to this action?

Or go backwards. A person refuses to cross the threshold and is held in her immediate sphere, much like phobias trap people, such as agoraphobia. How does a life get mapped out that is restricted by fear?

And yet sometimes choosing a restricted boundary line can be freeing creatively. Emily Dickinson lived a reclusive life. The majority of her poems only became know after her death when her sister discovered the extensive works.

Action Steps:

1. Make a list of your character’s fears from childhood.  Then put her in a situation where she has the opportunity to change it.

2. What steps does she take?

3. When does she hesitate?

4. What gives her the ability to push ahead?

Share: Which question was the most difficult to develop? Why?

Read deep, marcy

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Words With Impact: Discern Typology Theme Threshholds

Workshop: Discover Words That Sing

“Thresholds are necessary in the creative process in giving an idea somewhere to go.” Tim Wynne-Jones


Earlier in Deepen Vocabulary we looked at some ways we can influence our words with ambiguity like crossing a threshold. Here we’re looking at thresholds as an example of conveying image symbols with almost silent connections that undergird themes like the web threads without being as direct. Themes can often become a silent and powerful tool for typology impact through questions and choices and possibilities. Whether the purpose is for one scene only or an ongoing thread it invites personal participation.

 Do we open the locked door at the end of the spider-coated hallway? Are we ready to hear the words written in the old manuscripts found buried under the house?

When Eve saw that the tree God had forbidden, “was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave it also to her husband with her, and he ate.”
Pandora couldn’t contain her curiosity and opened the box. “Out flew every kind of disease and sickness, hate and envy, and all the bad things that people had never experienced before. Pandora slammed the lid closed, but it was too late.”

Both these women were well warned before they succumbed to temptation, but what about the times there are no clear directions. We have good reason to hesitate before the unknown.  When do we need courage to resist a threshold, because the consequences are beyond our control and could bring great suffering, or risk stepping into the unknown to bring light into darkness?

If Lucy had not opened the door at the back of the wardrobe and discovered Narnia, she and her siblings would not have been instrumental in breaking the White Witch’s spell. By willingly entering the Beast’s palace, Belle breaks the curse. Hercule Poirot follows every lead possible until he can bring a culprit to justice.

Change, no matter how small, can create mental and emotional chaos as you turn into a different direction, physically or emotionally. To cross a threshold though requires a choice, even if it has been forced upon you like a refugee fleeing his war torn land. All sensory memory is heightened and sharpened. It is not just the moment that is at stake, but the journey that follows it. Thresholds become part of our soul shadows as much as our physical bodies cast their shadow. And the question can linger. “Did I choose the right fork in the road?”

Action Steps:

1. Look at the literal thresholds in your character’s daily world and choose one to explore as a figurative threshold. 

2. Think of ways they could become a life-changing threshold for your character: doors, windows, cupboards, gardens, railroads, or books.

3. And/or put your character into a moment of choice. Overwrite all the sensory details in the initial draft. Then write up the brief scene twice, once for each possible decision: to flee or fight, or to submit the accepted dogma either socially or personally.

Share: What main theme connection did you choose? Why?

Read deep, marcy

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Words With Impact: Discern Typology Genre

Workshop: Discover Words That Sing

“The poet—when he is writing—is a priest; the poem is a temple; epiphanies and communion take place within it.” Denise Levertov

Genre Typology Threads

One definition of an epiphany is that it is a moment of revelation or insight. As we saw earlier symbol webs can strengthen genres through a variety of image styles. Readers often lean towards one or two genre styles because of the insight they want to explore for themselves. We also have our favorite style or depth within those choices as well. Both a cozy mystery and a psychological thriller give insight into a murderous revelation, but the details and the descriptions of each will be very different.

As readers we lean towards the subjects and styles where we want to discover or understand the revelation the story unfolds. Symbols, images, concepts, and themes can be expanded both in a genre style and or as a thread borrowed from one genre to another to give a fresh view. And a very ordinary situation can be developed into a very different perspective like the shifting mirrors we saw earlier.

For example: sometimes we don’t need to search for mystery. It can happen during an ordinary day. The unexpected happens, either positively or negatively, shifting our perspective into a whole new direction. Suddenly the ground shifts out and the familiar, the foundation, is cracked opening into a world we do not know and cannot understand.

Choices follow. Do we get out a flashlight and investigate the new terrain, however hesitantly, or hide away and hope the world tilts back to normal in the morning? Perhaps a little of both enables ourselves, and our characters, to cope with sudden change.

In the movie Larry Crowne, when he is called into the office for a special meeting, Larry confidently expects to receive yet another employee reward. Instead he is fired for a supposed lack of education. Which is a total mystery to him. He grew up in an era when high-school education was the only requirement and work experience became the criteria for advancement and evaluation. Now none of it is considered valid? When and how did the life rules change? Or did they really?

Although still in shock, Larry begins to build a new life trying to adapt to a new culture for him—college. Like a young child entering the world of kindergarten everything is a mystery. Some days are extremely difficult and bewildering. However he also embraces the unknown with curiosity, changing not only his life but also those around him—especially his worn out, jaded instructor. He finds a way to blend his past and present into a rich discovery.

Action Steps:

1. Even if you do not have a mystery in your novel choose a situation to become a mini-mystery parable with long reaching significance.

2. Pick a scene where your character is pressed for time. Make a list of possible obstacles, such as a flat tire. Have a good ‘helper’ come alongside to assist, but keeps making the situation worse.

3. Then, when your character finally reaches his goal, he realizes that the interference saved him in some way—maybe from a huge embarrassment. How does that change his perspective on his frustration?

Share: What common question became a typology thread? Was there one word or concept that could be developed into several angles?

Read deep, marcy

Friday, June 21, 2019

Words With Impact: Discern Typology Character

Workshop: Discover Words That Sing

“Chart how each symbol you use changes over the course of the story.” John Truby

Character Typology

Does this character description remind you of anyone in particular?

-on top of the power hierarchy but his power is not boundless
-can be still be opposed, deceived, and tricked although dangerous to do so
-in a long term marriage but has endless affairs
-does not participate in petty arguments and schemes of daily activities
-can be extremely vengeful

Based on familiar movies, my first response might be a dictator or a CEO of a vast financial/business empire, or a James Bond 007 villain. But these are some of the characteristics given in Greek mythology to Zeus. Somehow they still sound quite modern. Truby notes that the character Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story can be compared to a goddess, not only because of her beauty and grace but also her coldness and fierce sense of superiority to others.”

Each genre also has its own special qualities for heroes. A place to begin might be to list what you consider to be heroic qualities. Are you looking for a Batman or a John Wayne, or is your hero a parent who shows up every day. What do you consider to be the difference between a hero and a role model? These questions will help you decide where to look for the ‘types’ that will best flavor your novel with the right added depth whether you are looking in characters, plots, or setting.

Action Steps:

 Example: In New Testament scriptures Peter was named the Rock, and the promise given that Christ’s church would be build upon him. In ancient Israel a strong foundation meant a rock foundation, both for the Temple of worship and for any military protective walls. Peter’s new name as symbol echoed his past history and bridged into his new character and role.

 From modern culture, Rocky Balboa does not seem to fit his name at the beginning of his story but like Peter grew into it. What traits did he build upon to become his name?

1.     Make a list of your character’s traits, positive and negative.

2.     Note where the change points are. Choose one and make a list of possible symbols that define that particular action or emotion.

3.     Then list as many variations of that symbol as possible.

4.     Use John Truby’s opening quote and make a chart of your choices.

Share: Did you discover more positive or negative options? Did any surprise you?

Read deep, marcy

"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
image: footer