Monday, July 29, 2013

More on PSWA and Riddle Answers

Yup, I'm late posting again this Monday.  Things have been a little hectic. Last week I was helping out at my grandson's band camp. Prepping, serving, and cleaning up lunch and dinner every day for 120 hungry marching band members and staff.

Then this weekend I was out with our local disaster recovery team helping an elderly couple who had major wind damage in their yard.

It's wonderful to be able to help but this morning, I'm really dragging.

However...on to the topic of the day, 
more from the PSWA Conference.

(By the way, I finally figured out how to get pictures out of my phone.)

 Pouring through my notes, it's hard to decide what to share. Today, I'm going with some excellent tips on adding realism to your story.  These are from a panel presentation by Michelle Perin, Kathleen Ryan, Janet Greger, Madeline Gornell, Michael Angley, Steve Scarborough and Ellen Kirschman.

Setting -
  • Use or create a map(s) of your setting and post it near your writing spot. Add photos or postcards to keep your visuals fresh in your mind. 
  • Visit the setting location when possible. 
  • Research geography (Google Satellite maps are good for this) and weather patterns. If you visit your site in summer, but set your story in winter, make sure you make the correct adjustments.
  • Use your characters' reactions to the setting rather than describing it to help the reader feel the surroundings.
Characters -
  • Use attributes of people you like when creating your protagonist. Use attributes of people you dislike for your antagonist. 
  • Include speech patterns in your characters' profiles. 
  • Give your character a birth date and use the traits from the appropriate astrological sign.
 Note: if you use jargon or foreign phrases to add authenticity, make sure the reader knows what those words mean.

 Of course, attending any writers' conference always means getting together with friends and making new ones. Here I am with Conference Program Chair Marilyn Meredith and a new friend, author Sharon Arthur Moore.

 Okay, I don't want to run long here so let's get directly to...

The Official Answers to Last Week's Riddles

 1. The River Ravi flows in which state? - Liquid.

2. What is the main reason for divorce? - Marriage (hard to have a divorce without one)

3. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become? - Wet
My thanks to everyone who gave them a try (with or without offering your answers). How about you? Did you get them all?  Two? One?  Care to try again on Wednesday?

Thought for the Day:



Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Missed the riddles last week so I just tried them out on my daughter. I laughed and she rolled her eyes.
I draw maps and sometimes clip pictures to help me get scenes right.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I got two of the riddles right.
Describe your character's reaction - I'm going to remember that one.
And that's a big tree! Nice of you guys to help clean it up.

Maria Zannini said...

I hope that elderly couple made it through all right. I'm glad you guys could help them.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Google Earth and Google Street View help, too. I'm fortunate I got to visit many of the locations in my books.

I like the thought for the day!

Robin said...

Excellent tips. Never considered astrology before, but that is worth considering.

Good point on that thought for the day!

Stacy McKitrick said...

Ahh, band camp. I do NOT miss those days! Haha!

Did not get any of the riddles, but then I didn't try all that hard.

Hope the conference rejuvinated your writing mojo. It usually does for me! It's why I like going to them so much.

Lydia Kang said...

That is a brilliant aphorism.

And those are great writing points, thank you for sharing!

Carol Kilgore said...

Love the thought for the day! Thanks for sharing more info and photos from the conference!

James Garcia Jr. said...

Hi, L.D. Oh-Em-Gee! What a small world! Do you know that Marilyn Meredith has reviewed all three of my books and that we have attended small events together? So funny! Who Knew?


Donna K. Weaver said...

Visiting the setting site is great advice. It can brings things up for you that you just don't consider when doing a Google Earth search.

Julie Flanders said...

Thanks for sharing what you learned at the conference, great tips! I'm sorry to hear about your neighbor's damage, the wind we had here in Cincy was crazy too. On a brighter note, the band camp looks like it was a lot of fun!

mshatch said...

I'm a big mapper when it comes to fantasy - it helps to know how long it will take a character to get from point A to point B.

LD Masterson said...

Susan - Yup, my jokes are groaners and my riddles are eye-rollers. I haven't tried drawing maps yet but I think I will for my next story.

Alex - Which one did you miss? We managed to clear six downed trees (all big suckers) and got all the branches and assorted mess off their lawn so it was a productive trip.

Maria - Luckily their house was undamaged. The closest tree landed about five feet away. It would have smashed through the roof.

Diane - Where would we be without our Google? I created a fictional setting for my WIP but mixed in specific places I've been to.

Robin - That was a new idea for me, too.

Stacy - My mojo is going but my book is out to my beta readers right now - which made working band camp doable.

Lydia - You're welcome.

Carol - Well, sharing a couple photos sure got easier once I figured out how to get them out of my phone. *grin*

James - Have you ever been to the PSWA conference? That's been Marilyn's baby for a number of years.

Donna - I'd love to choose some exotic setting and use researching the site to justify the trip. Alas, the budget still rules.

Julie - The people we helped are up in the Sandusky area. Lots of heavy damage up there. We didn't have that in Dayton.

Karen Walker said...

How lovely to help neighbors in such a community spirit. The conference sounds fabulous and those are great tips, LD. Thanks.

Maryann Miller said...

I missed the riddles last week. Even though I was finished with drama camp, I was still busy last week. My grandson came out for a few days before heading to Boston for law school. Visiting with him trumped online stuff. (smile)

I can relate to your busyness at the band camp. That is how it was for me for two weeks of the drama camp, but I only had 29 kids to handle. I couldn't imagine doing lunch for 120. They eat like vultures.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Boy, you've been one busy lady, haven't you? The conference, band camp, disaster recovery work... sounds like it's time for a nap.

The conference sounds amazing, and the tips are terrific. Except for the one about astrology, maybe. The only way I can see that working is if the writer were into astrology. Otherwise, the characters' signs (and their "meanings") would be irrelevant. Although my character DOES read her horoscope every day... HA!

Sue McPeak said...

It does sound like you are a very busy lady. So glad you worked in the writers conference. I appreciate all the tips on settings and characters you shared. Thanks for your visit to my blog CollectInTexas Gal...muchly appreciated.

Sue CollectInTexasGal~Today's Post~
Tombstone Tuesday...Who Was Inez?

Stephen Tremp said...

I never thought of using astrological signs for character development. But this is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

LD Masterson said...

mshatch - Hey, I almost missed you. Your comment came in while I was answering previous comments. So your maps have time/distance factors worked in. Makes sense.

Karen - The disaster team is a faith based group. My church got it started but we have volunteer members from a;most a dozen area churches. A nice way to give back.

Maryann - Yeah, it's amazing how much food they can put away. Especially after marching all day.

Susan F.S. - A nap. I like the sound of that. I think the idea behind using astrology was it would give you a set of attributes already put together and you'd have to work with it.

Sue - My pleasure.

Stephen - It was a new idea for me, too. And you're welcome.

Murees Dupé said...

Thank you for the great writing tips. I will definitely try them. I really hoped that you enjoyed the conference. I like the thought of the day. It sounds so true.

Angela Brown said...

I'm getting somewhat caught up now. Sorry I missed the riddles. By the answers, I'm sure I would have racked my brain-leftovers and come up with none of them lol!

I love the tips you shared. They are helpful whether the story is contemporary or fantasy, especially since some fantasy locations are based on real areas.

Angela Brown said...

I'm getting somewhat caught up now. Sorry I missed the riddles. By the answers, I'm sure I would have racked my brain-leftovers and come up with none of them lol!

I love the tips you shared. They are helpful whether the story is contemporary or fantasy, especially since some fantasy locations are based on real areas.

Romance Book Haven said...

Thanks for sharing your conference experience. Sounds like you had an awesome time!

Fun answers!


LD Masterson said...

Murees - You're welcome. I hope you find them useful.

Angela - I'll toss out some more riddles on Wednesday if you'd like to take a try.

Nas - Thanks. And thanks for coming by.

Lexa Cain said...

It's awesome that you're doing so much to help others. Band camp sounds fun -- probably more for the band members than you!

Ha! I should have read the tips about location before messing myself up last week! :-)

Heather Holden said...

Wow, you have been busy!

Loving all these tips. The astrological sign one is something I've been doing for a while now. (I own a book full of birthday personality readings and everything!)

Crystal Collier said...

I need to work on directing my character's speech patterns. I mean, yeah, I've got dialect down, but idioms and phrases common to specific cultures or demographics? I think that's where dialog gets interesting.

Way to be productive and community oriented. You rock!