Wordcrafters Writers Conference 2015

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets, Some spare thoughts from a writer | Posted on 22-03-2015

It’s almost time for the conference to wrap up. Again it has been an incredible experience. I intend to add to this, but for now, I’ll talk about an experience from yesterday. I had my craftlab with Alan Clark. It was fabulous.  I have started working on the suggestion. I have no doubt about the dimension that will be added to the story and mostly to the character. I have started up the conversation again with Xandra (the main character of my book), but will need to continue this after I get back home. For now I am going to prepare for the final workshop and wrap up. As I said more later.

It’s now later, the day after the conference has come to it’s conclusion. Last night I worked on the suggestions Alan Clark gave me at my craftlab. I think it’s given me a closer relationship with Xandra. That was the greatest thrill of the conference for me. After attending writers’ conferences since 2006, you would have thought that I wouldn’t continue to have experiences like this. To me it proves the value of each conference I have attended and will attend.

And so I continue the days following Wordcrafters Conference. I look forward to next year, but first I need to gather some of my thoughts and experiences from this one.

One of my strongest beliefs in writing fiction is the need to know your character, the second is to understand them. Something I hadn’t given much thought to before, is that writers create characters the reader can judge. Notice I said characters. In another workshop the importance of supporting/secondary characters was brought to the fore. Nobody wants to go through their lives alone, characters are no exceptions. Some want to be involved, some to control, some to serve. All this and more adds dimension to the story.

In a few of the workshops, the presenters had attendees write. I look back on some of what I wrote during these, and am surprised at what I put on the page. In one workshop I realized the ending for book 2 in my Naldo series.  In another I realized a talisman Finny would need in Misty’s Magical Shed. I haven’t worked out how he will get it or how he’ll use it yet, but my brain is playing with it. I’ll find out in time.

Goals, characters need goals for their lives. This was pointed out to me more than once during the conference. Once when I was asked what my character’s goal was, I couldn’t answer. This only proved a weakness in my thought process at that time. Since then I have come to understand the answer better. Now I can put it into words for the character I was talking about. More important I have a stronger connection with that character.

There was so much more. and I will work with it over the coming weeks and months. For now I have work to do to incorporate some of this into my writing.

 

 

1st Day Wordcrafters Writers Conference

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Some spare thoughts from a writer | Posted on 20-03-2015

Keynote speaker Gail Tsukiyama kicks off the Conference at 9:00 a.m. I still haven’t decided which workshop I’ll start with. One, with Alan Clark, is enticing. The title “What Were They Thinking? The Drama Available in History.”  makes me thing of the book I’m working on about Virginia Josephine Rollins Ort. I’ll report more back here later.

Wordcrafters Writers’ Conference 2015 Experiences- Monday

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Working on my Craft | Posted on 17-03-2015

Thursday, March 19th, we meet in the evening at the Hilton in Eugene to get to know each other a little better. I really enjoyed this last year. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed the whole conference last year.

Eugene is a nice college town, neither to big nor too small. I spent a summer there taking graduate courses at the University of Oregon. That makes me a definite Duck. No wonder I have webbing between my toes.

Anyway back to the topic at hand, the writers conference. This is a chance to hangout with other writers as well as take classes/workshops from best selling authors. Last year, in the evening, there were even opportunities to spend time in the hotel lobby and listen to the published authors talk and be regular people.

Over this week, I will add my experiences of each of the three days of the conference. I might even throw in a little of the side happenings when I come and go. If you have any questions want to have me explain anything, please post it here.

In advance, thank you,

Jodi

Misty’s Magical Shed 9

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets | Posted on 27-02-2015

“Oh dear.” Mama Jack pulled her shirttail out of her jeans. With the care only a grandmother knows, she pressed the clothe against his hand, careful not to put any pressure on the sliver.

Misty nickered. Hold your hand up.

Finny’s hand tremble. His finger hurt and besides, he didn’t know what to expect.

“It’s alright sweetie,” said Mama Jack.

He held his hand out.

The tip of Misty’s horn touched Finny’s injury. Warmth spread through his hand. When he looked again only a slight pink stain of his blood remained. “Thank you.” He scratched the soft muzzle that nudged him.

For the rest of the day, Mama Jack showed Finny how to take care of Misty. First they groomed her, then they cleaned the shed. Finny stayed to spread a fresh bed of straw, while Mama Jack took care of the other farm animals. With daylight growing dim, they returned to the house.

Come back tomorrow, Misty nickered. Bring Raskee with you. We’ll get started on your training. Mirri will be here then. I want you to meet her. Until then, read the second chapter of my book.

“Huh?” Your book?

Misty winked and a sparkle of light twinkled in her eyes. Yes, Misty’s Magical Shed. Chapter one helps you understand Mama Jack. Chapter two will prepare you for the next lesson you must learn. 

***

Finny climbed into bed with his book. “I can’t wait to go back to the shed,” he said.

“You will. Tomorrow.” Mama Jack laughed.

Raskee jumped up beside Finny as soon as Mama Jack shut the door. His strong purr rumbled through the room. He rubbed against the book Finny had pulled onto his lap.

Once again, when the front cover of the book opened, Misty reared on her back haunches. He’d learned they were called haunches from books he’d read about creatures large and small during evenings when mama and daddy had argued in the other room. It was the only way he could block out the anger they threw at each other and the fear their words brought to him.

He forced himself to concentrate on the inside page. The unicorn pawed at the air and landed on all four hooves. On her back sat an almost translucent girl. Her body was stiff and a soft sheen of material flowed around her and down Misty’s back. Beside them a winged horse chuffed. Remember chapter one? About Mama Jack?

Finny’s hands trembled. He turned the page, but there were no words or pictures, only blank sheets of cream colored paper. There’d been something there before. Where’d they go? Snorting drew Finny’s attention back to the inside cover.

Misty stared at him with her soft, midnight blue eyes. They seemed to will him to understand. Without imagination you can’t do anything. Try again. 

Raskee moved so his nose touched the edge of the binding. Instead of a purr, a soft rumble of sound formed a single word. Believe. He nudged Finny’s hand.

The unicorn snorted again. The pages fanned as if a gentle breeze encouraged them to move along. This time more than words filled the pages. A picture of Mama Jack, at least he thought it was Mama Jack, came to life on the page. A woman with long fiery hair had her back turned to him.

“Yes Sweetie.” The soft words settled comfortably in the room. Mama Jack turned around. Her eyes, the same deep blue as those of the unicorn on the inside cover, carried a twinkle of amusement.  “Are you ready to learn about me? To learn about how we became special?”

“Me? Special?” Finny didn’t feel special. He never had. Rather, he always felt weird and different. Those couldn’t be the same things. Could they?

“You decide.”

“But…”

“If you let fear stop you, you’ll accomplish nothing in life. Once you understand, you can make a better choice. Do you trust me?”

“Trust?  I barely know you.” Despite the words, Finny knew he trusted his grandmother more than he had ever trusted anyone. Even his best friend, Joe Trapper, who knew some of Finny’s deepest secrets, couldn’t inspire the strong feelings that forced the breath from Finny when he thought of her. Maybe it was because he realized he and Mama Jack were so much alike.

“We are going home.”

“Home? But Mom and Dad said I could spend the summer. Besides, I thought I was going to learn about you.” Finny felt something about his grandmother he’d only imagined about himself. She is different, but this time he was sure, it’s a good difference.

Misty’s Magical Shed 8

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Short Story Snippets | Posted on 11-02-2015

In the kitchen, Mama Jack waited. Even though she was dressed in clothing like his, she looked like a being from another world, or an astronaut. Maybe it was just the memory of her picture in the book that made him think that.

“Here. Carry this.” Mama Jack handed him a bucket. “There’s grain in it. Maybe Misty will forgive us for dawdling.”

In the yard other animals greeted them. A big red rooster strutted passed. A black and white rabbit jumped across their path and with a twitch of long ears disappeared into the brush.

Among the trees, an amazing sight waited. A shed covered with license plates from all over the world, not just from the United States, stood out from its surroundings. Finny spotted one from Germany and two from France. He studied them. Another one at about his eye level in the wall closest to him, drew his attention most. It wasn’t marked by state or country. At first it was black. In comparison, the others should have been brighter because of their colored or white surfaces. The more he looked at it, the more he saw black volcanic rocks with heat just below the surface. Around the edges liquid fire bubbled.

“We better hurry.” Mama Jack pulled him inside the shed. She tugged both halves of the door shut. Mist swirled around the edges. “I didn’t realize a storm was brewing.” Her frown betrayed there was more to it than that.

A creeping chill tugged at Finny, but before he could get really scared, a sharp whinny pulled him forward.

“Misty’s waiting for us,” said Mama Jack.

Soft as Raskee’s fur coat, a presence, brushed against Finny’s cheek. “Who are you?”

At first there was no answer. Then with a familiar throaty nicker, the voice Finny had heard in the school hallway and later in his room answered. “Franklin George Joidean, we meet at last.”

Finny backed away until he came up against the double door of the shed.

“Why don’t you come closer and see?” Mama Jack’s laugh added amusement to her response.

He obeyed, and stuck out his arm. The soft muzzle of a very large animal nudged his outstretched hand. Finny jumped when a chill wind grabbed the lower half of the shed door and slammed it with a sharp crack.

“We don’t have much time.” Mama Jack stepped forward. “It’s on its way.” Her voice quivered. “Can’t you feel it?”

“Yes.” Misty pawed the ground with her right hoof. “Zeus will be here by next light. And neither will Mirri. Nothing more we can do ‘til then.”

“Zeus? Mirri?” said Finny. He’d studied Greek mythology in school. He knew the power behind the first name during ancient times. Did the second have a meaning too?

Before he could ask, the top of what had been a block against the cold of early morning blew open in two parts. Pop. Pop. Bang. A great gust of wind drove against him. When he turned toward it, a familiar face startled him. It was the man from the school yard and the airport tarmac. What’s he doing here? Finny grabbed for the door, but only succeeded in scraping against the frame. When he held up his hand, a sliver of wood was stuck in it. “Ouch.” He backed against the wall and lifted his arm. “Mama Jack?” The door slammed shut. The latch caught, preventing it from reopening.