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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sample Feedback: Betta’s Song Chapter One Excerpt 2

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults


Attack (2)

“Are you not afraid of Balak? Sometimes I think he makes the boys throw things at me. No one tries to hurt me except when he is there.” She felt a thin line of moisture form along her forehead. Drops glistened against the thick, black hair pulled back from her face exposing her hairline scar. She continued to tremble and her hands shook.
Betta rested her hand on Narah’s shoulder. Betta hesitated. “Narah, you have not fainted for several months now.”
Narah’s slight body still shook. “Will there…..will there be many people tomorrow, Betta?”
            “Yes, but you need not speak to anyone, Narah, if you do not wish to. You can stay by my side at all times. You may find that your fear of people has left you now that you are eleven and there no one will know you. No one will bother to tease you or try to frighten you. We are all going to hear the prophet. That is on everyone’s mind. Remember we will spend time with Timon, too.” Betta chuckled. “Won’t he be surprised to see us!”
            Narah clasped her hands together. “Oh Betta, I can’t wait to see his face. I shall fix him his favorite flowers from the stream. Will there be room in the cart?”
            “I’m sure we can fit them in. Be careful, the bank is slippery.”
            “How do you know?” Narah asked. Then she pointed at her grandmother’s canes. “There’s bits of mud on the bottoms. Betta, you are not supposed to go to the stream without me.”
“I did not,” Betta smiled. “I just hobbled along the top edge. It is such a pretty day. I do need some of the tall willow grass near rock point. The large basket still has to be edged, and if I can finish today, it will dry tomorrow while we are gone.”
            Narah smiled and Elizabeth murmured a prayer of thanksgiving for protection, then she hugged Narah. “Go now to pick your flowers for Timon and a handful of grass for me.”
            Narah blinked at the bright sun as she stepped outside. First she looked toward the village, but the pathway was empty. She glanced at the only other hut set apart with theirs from the other villagers. Iscah, their friend, dozed in the shade rocking her new baby. Her three year old, Jael, sucking her thumb, slept beside her. Narah smiled. Even when asleep, Jael must dream of food.

Share: What positive or negative personality trigger points do you identify for each character? Why?

Read deep, marcy




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sample Feedback: Betta’s Song Chapter One Excerpt 1

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults


Revising requires re-seeing.” Jack Hodgins


What kind of feedback will you need? Each of us has personal strengths and weaknesses. And we all need at least one or two critical readers for our projects. One of the most important skills a writer can develop, says Hodgins, is to develop the ability to read your own work as if it had been written by another, and learn to listen to your story.

Since Betta’s Song is now published, I’m hoping that its feedback has passed the test. And yet, each reader has different criteria regarding whether they want to read on or not.


Attack (1)
“Narah, stop fidgeting!”
            Narah, face flushed, turned around to face her grandmother. Twinkling blue eyes softened the old woman’s words.
“Child, you are too restless, you will become feverish.”
            Narah crossed the small room to lean against her grandmother. Stroking the weathered cheek, Narah breathed deeply, sighing. “It is such a long wait, Betta.”
            “Is your wait one of excitement, child, or are you nervous?” Betta tilted Narah’s face upward.
Before she could reply a muffled curse sounded outside their door and Narah dodged behind her grandmother. Betta motioned to a thin basket in the dim corner and Narah yanked it next to them.
            “Good day, Balak.” Betta nodded as he stomped through the doorway. “Your basket is ready but still damp. Narah was to deliver it to your wife by the supper hour.”
            “Your stupid brat should be working the fields, Elizabeth.” Balak wove unsteadily, peering around the room. “Instead she hides behind you. The wife needs extra help. I will take her.”
            Betta grasped Narah’s shaking body. “I am sorry to hear your wife is in need, Balak, but as I cannot walk today, Narah will stay with me. Some families are bringing their babies to us while they work the fields this afternoon.”
            Balak snarled and threw a small pouch in Betta’s lap. A trickle of flour seeped through. “You and your brat would starve if not for us, Elizabeth.” He leaned into Elizabeth’s face. “You need to be more grateful.”
            Elizabeth gripped her canes as she rose. Balak stepped backward. “Thank your wife for the flour, Balak. I hope your work in the fields goes well today.”
            Balak’s face reddened, then he turned abruptly, snatching the basket as he left. Narah eased her grandmother back into her seat and scooped the spilled flour into a wooden bowl.
            “He was angry, Betta, when you mentioned the fields.”
            “Of course, child. Do you see other men standing around the village mid-day? They are all hard at work.”


Share: What is your immediate first impression of these three characters? Why? What one word might you choose for each?

Read deep, marcy


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Overview Voice: Point of View Case Study with Beowulf

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

Beowulf

This is one of the oldest written legends still being explored, perhaps not with the same intensity as Cinderella, but also is known just because of its name. The following three authors kept to the truth of the legend itself, but at the same time approached it from a different story within the legend.

They tell the age-old tale of Beowulf using the same content, almost word for word in the description of Beowulf’s battles with Grendel, and his mother, yet by their style, they depict three different heroes in the person of Beowulf himself.

Rosemary Sutcliff tells her version of Beowulf in prose, but retains the poetic language throughout.  She uses the age-old story opening, ‘once upon a time’, to hook her readers to the tale in Beowulf. 

“In the great hall of Hygelac, King of the Geats, supper was over and the mead horns going round …..And their Captain sat in the Guest Seat that faced the High Seat of the King, midway up the hall, and told the news of the coasts and islands and the northern seas.”

By beginning the tale through a narrator, she sets up a mystery. “And he drank deep from the mead horn as it was handed to him, and shook his head, and waited to be asked why.” 

Without losing the poetic sense, Sutcliff gives background to Beowulf himself. “To the other men in Hygelac’s hall that night the seafarer’s story had been no more than a far-off tale, though one to raise the neck-hair and set one glancing into the shadows; but to Beowulf it was word of a friend in dire trouble, and an old debt waiting to be paid.”  

She begins the poem by setting it in an historical content before the legend, establishing tone, setting, character, and conflict.  Her style adds poignancy to Beowulf’s heroism, by giving the readers a sense of his character before we see him as the warrior. He is both heart and duty bound to commit aid.

In Beowulf the Warrior, by Ian Serraillier, the story begins with the description of Heorot, the huge hall, and the night Grendel first attacked, setting a scene of terror.  Serraillier retains the poetic form of the story and heightens the tension by focusing on visual images.

             “A hideous monster lurked, fiend from hell,
                        Misbegotten son of a foul mother,
                        Grendel his name,…
                        He, one night, when the warriors of Hrothgar lay
                        Slumbering after banquet, came to Heorot,
                        Broke down the door, seized in his fell grip
                        A score and more of sleeping sons of men
                        And carried them home for meat.”

By setting the story with a larger-than-life threat, the author prepares for the arrival of a larger-than-life hero in Beowulf. He comes with warriors, but fights both Grendel and mother alone, since no one else is strong enough to overpower them.  He is a hero of immense abilities.

Robert Nye, in Beowulf A New Telling, uses prose and begins his story with the legend behind the first king of the Danes, Scyld Scefing, a giant man, whose descendant is Hrothgar who builds Heorot. 

“Hrothgar had a backbone that would bend to no man.” 

Hrothgar grimly takes on the battle against Grendel, almost losing his own life. It is these battles that the poets spread wherever they go, one of which is told in the court of Hygelac, king of the Geats, uncle of Beowulf.

Nye goes on to describe Beowulf as young, below average height, disproportionate body, and weak eyes. “He had been badly stung by bees as a boy.” Beowulf had made the best of all he had, putting each imperfection to work in the service of his integrity. Thus, his real strength lay in the balance of his person—which is, perhaps, another way of saying “that he was strong because he was good, and good because he had the strength to accept things in him that were bad.” 

In this version it is Beowulf’s wits and inner sight that prevail. In the finale Beowulf uses bees to stop the dragon, leaving the reader with a sense of humorous irony. As he dies Beowulf gives his own instructions:  “Tell them what you like, the ones out there, but remember the world will need to be a little older before it understands this last exploit of Beowulf. Yes, and all the others too! Meanwhile, it must have an ordinary kind of hero to believe in. Make sure you give them that, Wiglaf.’”

Each version by each author gives the same exploits of Beowulf, but with a different kind of hero in each. One is a hero of dedication and compassion, one almost superhuman—seemingly invincible, and one an ordinary man, who recognizes his own strengths and weaknesses. Each hero is brought to life by the author’s style, choice of their story, and of their curiosity into the legend.


Action Steps:

            In what ways do you think the authors’ decisions re voice and point of view contributed to their individual styles?

Share: Which version interested you the most? Why?


                                                             Read deep, marcy










Thursday, July 6, 2017

Overview Voice: Viewpoint Decisions

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

In the book Writing for Children and Young Adults, Lee Wyndham reminds writers that the viewpoint is not “which person (author, hero, onlooker) tells the story, but through whose eyes and heart the story is told.” With that distinction understood then the choices the writer selects will thread throughout the storyline with consistency and clarity.

This then links your point of view back to your plot, your theme, and your conflict.

I think that heart becomes the key factor that will connect with your readers. For example, the classic line from Oliver Twist “please, sir I want some more,” has been said in several ways from the original sentence to movie and play adaptations. But the core viewpoint is the very hungry young orphan Oliver mustering up the courage to ask for more watery gruel. The viewpoint decision is timeless as any child can relate to being hungry and so, regardless of the way the story is retold, it instinctively connects heart to heart.

So what emotional link do you most want your readers to respond to?

Sometimes you may know from before your begin your story and sometimes the choices and decisions will change and surprise you as you write your first draft and see your own ideas from a different perspective.

One resource I highly recommend for YA authors in particular is Wild Ink, by Victoria Hanley.

There are two invaluable reasons to read Wild Ink’s second edition. First, it encompasses a thorough introduction to the diverse YA market. Second it demonstrates an excellent understanding of voice from which all writers can adapt her principles to their own audiences. The wide range of possible topics, styles and content Hanley supplies are also shown by the interviews she includes from several YA authors in fiction and non-fiction. I found it interesting that one common thread amongst everyone was the repeated need to be true to the voice of the story.

Hanley gives an outstanding Your Inner Teen Exercise to help identify where you have strengths or weaknesses identifying with the emotional range necessary for honest character development, voice, and dialogue.


Action Steps:


1.     Choose an important episode for your character from your story brainstorming. Make it one that you either plan to incorporate in this story or one that has a major influence on back history for her personally.

2.     Write the scene up from each of the three viewpoints: omniscient, third person, or first person.


Share: Which one is the most effective to connect your reader to your character’s heart?


Read deep, marcy



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Invisible Light Free Promotion

White Stone Series Special Free Giveaway. Last day Today


Invisible Light

Meet Ashia, a teenager uprooted from her home and family battles against depression and hopelessness to find God’s light.

When seventeen-year-old Ashia abruptly moves to San Francisco five months before her graduation, she is propelled into isolation both at home, and school, where she is seen as an intruder. When she uncovers a web of deceit exposing a counterfeit principal manipulating the school system for personal gain, her emotional darkness begins to close around her. Ashia attempts to battle depression and hopelessness. She searches for the Lord’s light and finds refuge in her poetry.


Book Two in the White Stone Series: Hope, Faith, Heart


Six young women face life transitions that create tense relationships and struggles of faith. Will they have the courage to challenge their personal fears and experience new beginnings that stretch their hearts into hope?


Click on the cover and go straight to Amazon. Hope you enjoy her story. If so, please take a few minutes to post a review, or a star rating, or both. Thanks!


                                                                 Read Deep
                                                                      Marcy

Monday, July 3, 2017

Invisible Light Free Today

White Stone Series Special Giveaway Day Three Free


Invisible Light

Meet Ashia, a teenager uprooted from her home and family battles against depression and hopelessness to find God’s light.

When seventeen-year-old Ashia abruptly moves to San Francisco five months before her graduation, she is propelled into isolation both at home, and school, where she is seen as an intruder. When she uncovers a web of deceit exposing a counterfeit principal manipulating the school system for personal gain, her emotional darkness begins to close around her. Ashia attempts to battle depression and hopelessness. She searches for the Lord’s light and finds refuge in her poetry.


Book Two in the White Stone Series: Hope, Faith, Heart


Six young women face life transitions that create tense relationships and struggles of faith. Will they have the courage to challenge their personal fears and experience new beginnings that stretch their hearts into hope?


Click on the cover and go straight to Amazon. Hope you enjoy her story. If so, please take a few minutes to post a review, or a star rating, or both. Thanks!


                                                                 Read Deep
                                                                      Marcy

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Invisible Light Day One Giveaway

White Stone Series Special Giveaway Free Day One Today.


Invisible Light

Meet Ashia, a teenager uprooted from her home and family battles against depression and hopelessness to find God’s light.

When seventeen-year-old Ashia abruptly moves to San Francisco five months before her graduation, she is propelled into isolation both at home, and school, where she is seen as an intruder. When she uncovers a web of deceit exposing a counterfeit principal manipulating the school system for personal gain, her emotional darkness begins to close around her. Ashia attempts to battle depression and hopelessness. She searches for the Lord’s light and finds refuge in her poetry.


Book Two in the White Stone Series: Hope, Faith, Heart


Six young women face life transitions that create tense relationships and struggles of faith. Will they have the courage to challenge their personal fears and experience new beginnings that stretch their hearts into hope?


Click on the cover and go straight to Amazon. Hope you enjoy her story. If so, please take a few minutes to post a review, or a star rating, or both. Thanks!


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