Where Does It Start?

Where Does It Start?

When I pick up my copy of Pen and Keyboard’s “Celebrating the Seasons”, I marvel at the variety of views on life and the human condition in the poems and stories. Where do these ideas originate?

To me, the mind is a field of dandelions as it disperses multiple seeds. Each fluffy parachute is looking for a spot to land and produce a new source of joy. Grab at one of those thoughts and plant in your mind or scribble it in a notebook. Is it that lost soul from America you meet on a train ride in Australia? The odd couple seated on a bench in New York’s Union Square Park? Or the friend who sold all his art and worldly possessions to travel to India’s poorest regions to help?

Plant that small encounter in your mind and then let your imagination feed it. There may be other side shoots and you do some pruning till you have the strong central bloom of a story.

Curiosity improves your story after a thought seed is caught. My story, “50 Candles”, in the anthology started with a remembrance of a friend whose life has been devoted to helping displaced people in Asia. Since I have not been fortunate enough to visit there yet, I found a new world while researching that area.

So let your mind wander. Grab at words that float to you, unusual sights and strong smells and let your imagination run wild.

B.S. Adamsons
                                               Pen & Keyboard Writers

Characters I Have Known

Characters I Have Known

At book signings and personal appearances, I’m often asked about the characters in my writing – Where do they come from? How do I view and develop them? Are my characters images of me and my friends?

I’ve recognized two categories of main characters. Either they carry the story forward or their evolution is the story. Other characters – we’ll call them supporting characters – are present to add credibility and realism to the events.

As I write, I keep a profile on each of my characters. In a separate file on the computer, I have a complete description of each of them. As they morph with the changes in the plot, I compare their reactions and comments with the profile to be sure that they remain true to themselves.

No, I’m not avoiding the big question – are all of my characters biographical? Yes! Most of my main characters have aspects of my personality and/or experience. I don’t have to imagine a reaction if I have actually lived through a given experience.

Other characters have traits that I recognize in people around me – be they friends or adversaries. If I need a certain characteristic, I can draw on my knowledge of others and their probable actions or reactions.

Regardless, I have to see the plot developing as a movie in my head. The next scene depends on the way my players (characters) would handle the situation – not what is on a script. So, my characters take an active part in the writing process.

I’ve found that if I’m true to the characters, they are true to my story. If you are a friend of an author, watch for yourself in their published works. Sure, the name will be different – sometimes cleverly disguised – but the traits and speech patterns may reveal your starring role.

If that’s the case and you recognize yourself, enjoy your fame as it was probably meant as a compliment.

Joe Scavetti
Celebrating the Seasons – an Anthology

Take Your Writing to The Next Level

Take Your Writing to The Next Level

Are you wondering how to drag your words from the pit-of-despair and tow them to higher ground? It’s simple. Join a writing group.

When I joined Pen and Keyboard Writers, I found people seeking to improve their writing skills, same as me. The group offered encouragement, answered how-to questions, and gave constructive critiques.

Being in a community of like-minded people and receiving feedback can enrich beginners as well as bestsellers.

Three tips to improve writing:

  1. Music. When writing action scenes, I listen to action movie music. It helps me visualize the foot race or the car chase or the uppercut, sending the bad guy flying across the room. When writing your next love scene, put on some romantic instrumental music. See if it revs your creativity and increase visualization.
  2. Establish a writing habit you can live with. Maybe, like me, you have heard all kinds of writing advice. Some say writing every day for long hours paves the way to success. And for some that may work. But after writing for a while, I found I had to figure out my own plan, commit to it, and stick to it. I challenge you to find what works for you.
  3. Patience is a virtue. Lord knows I wish there was a way to write quicker. But as of today, I have found nothing. So, settle in and be patient. In the end, the efforts you put forth will reveal the fruits of your labor.

You don’t have to go alone, join a writing group and enjoy the ride to publication.