Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group for December 2013



Anna Nordeman







 

Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh for starting Insecure Writer's Support Group.


This is my tenth post for IWSG. 


For those who would like to see my list of how-to-write-books, please go here
[If what I write here is difficult to understand, go back to my IWSG-posts for August here, for September here, and for October here, for November here.]

For my December edition of IWSG I would like to explore how some ideas in older books live again in new books; how stories inspire stories. Last month I mentioned the example of J.K. Rowling's incredibly successful story, the Harry Potter-series. 
  

 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Harry-Potter-Philosophers-Stone-Rowling/dp/0747558191/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386024139&sr=1-4&keywords=harry+potter


If you have read the Harry Potter books and/or seen the films, you may or may not have noticed motifs and themes from other stories. Yet, Harry Potter seems so fresh and original, as if Rowling invented it all. But she hasn't. 



http://www.amazon.co.uk/Harry-Potter-Philosophers-Stone-DVD/dp/B00288A1MY/ref=sr_1_6?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1386024426&sr=1-6&keywords=harry+potter













Let's take the example of how the main villain, Lord Voldemort, is connected to our hero. They can read each others mind from great distances. It is Harry Potter's ability to read Lord Voldemort's mind that enables him to defeat him. Where have we seen or read this before? In Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, of course.



http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dracula-Penguin-Classics-Bram-Stoker/dp/014143984X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386024789&sr=1-2&keywords=stoker+penguin


















 
Rowling has been careful to never use the word 'vampire' in her series. In the Harry Potter books there are witches, wizards, shape-shifters, werewolves, giants, dragons, unicorns, centaurs, flying horses, and a treasure trove of mythological as well as made up magical beings; but no vampires. 

But Rowling does let Lord Voldemort do a lot that Dracula can do. One of Dracula's victims can see into his thoughts and help defeat him. This is a motif that is too good to not use, especially since Rowling steers clear of tainted blood and sharp teeth for Voldemort. She leaves that to her werewolves. My guess is that this is a strategic decision. Dracula and vampires have become hackneyed, while connected minds was still fresh when Rowling wrote Harry Potter. 



http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chronicles-Narnia-Lion-Witch-Wardrobe/dp/B000EPE7AU/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1385991794&sr=1-1&keywords=chronicles+of+narnia 



















Borrowing images, motifs and even characters has been done ever since stories were first told by the fire in cave dwellings. A good example of a borrowed villain is the Snow Queen in C.S. Lewis' series The Chronicles of Narnia. Where has C.S Lewis found her? 'The Snow Queen' is one of the Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales! 


 












A convincing villain is an asset to any story. So if you can't create your own, borrow one from the best!
 

Best wishes,
Anna











First Commenter: Alex J. Cavanaugh












Friday, 22 November 2013

WEP Challenge for 22nd November 2013 - Sharing


http://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.se/2013/11/get-linked-for-weps-november-blogfest.html



Welcome to WEP's Blogfest for November [=Write-Edit-Publish, formerly 'Romantic Friday Writers'] Challenge for Friday 22 November 2013 - 'Sharing':


'Oh, we were just talking about how nice it is to share our home with you two-leggeds!' says Mathilda and looks up at me holding my camera.


























Best wishes,
Anna










First Commenter:

Tanya Walton
of
Allotments 4 you

http://www.allotments4you.com/





Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group for November 2013



Anna Nordeman







 

Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh for starting Insecure Writer's Support Group.


This is my nineth post for IWSG.


For those who would like to see my list of how-to-write-books, please go here
[If what I write here is difficult to understand, go back to my IWSG-posts for August here, for September here, and for October here.]

For my November edition of IWSG I can report that we now only have six cats, from the original eleven we had in July. (The last kitten we are going to sell, Bamse,  went to a young family living in neighbouring town, Nyköping, on October 15th.) Life is slowly returning to normal. I am student-teaching and have no time for blogging or NaNoWriMo at all. I am writing this post on October 16th and scheduling it for November 6th. But I will reply to all who leave comments.


This photo made them choose Bamse
Thanks to Denise Covey's monthly writing exercises for Romantic Friday Writers (RFW) and now her new blog, Write-Edit-Publish (WEP), I've stumbled upon an idea for a story that I like. But I've decided to not try to complete it for NaNoWriMo. I am treating my story like a delicate infant, and only plan to work on it when I know I have the time do something worth saving. It will take  longer than 30 days to do it this way; but I don't care. I'm sure that I'll be much happier with it in the end.

I have to get a paying job. I was disheartened when I read Yolanda Renee's post about how little money she received in royalties for her first mystery, Murder, Madness and Love. I've read it, and it's a great story. I am certain that she put a lot of time, thought and hard work into it. If a really good writer like Yolanda is not earning very much for her efforts, who am I kidding? I may never get published! And if I do, who will read my story?

But it must feel good to have succeeded in writing a book of your own and seeing your story in print. I'd still like to try to write a novel and get it published.

Yesterday, I took a look at the other extreme, and watched a short documentary film, A Year in the Life by James Runcie (to be found on the extra DVD with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) about J.K. Rowling writing the last book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She has earned a lot of money from these books, that took 17 years to write. Hers is a rags-to-riches/Cinderella-story that the majority of us will never ever come close to. 

But I'm not putting her down. I'm glad that someone can do it, and especially someone, like Rowling, who seems to not have forgotten what it was like to be poor. According to this film, J.K. Rowling has given away millions of pounds to different charities that help families in need, and to multiple sclerosis research. Her mother died of MS without ever knowing how successful her daughter's writing would become.

I haven't given up my dream of writing. But for now, I will have to write papers about education and schools and work as a student teacher. If I do well, maybe I will be able to get a teaching job.

Thanks to all who read this post. Good luck to those who plan to write for NaNoWriMo in November! There is a lot to be learned from trying.


Best wishes,
Anna











First Commenter:

Wendy Tyler Ryan

of

Wendy Tyler Ryan - Author

http://waitingforpublication.blogspot.com/2013/11/iwsg.html



These treasuries feature my jewellery!










Best wishes, 
Anna











First Commenter: 

Tanya Walton 
of 
Allotments 4 you 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

WEP's Blogfest for Wednesday 30 October - 'HAUNTING!'




Welcome to WEP's Blogfest OCTOBER [=Write-Edit-Publish, formerly 'Romantic Friday Writers'] Challenge for Wednesday 30 October 2013 - 'Haunting'


http://tgunwriter.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/halloween-blog-hop-trick-or-treat.html
 

Here's my text:


The Haunting


Maria Blixt awoke suddenly, frightened in the middle of the night. She did not know what had woke her. Was it a loud noise? She felt for the light-switch to turn on the lamp by her bed. No, nothing was disturbed in her bedroom. Everything looked as it did when she had gone to bed several hours before.

She lay back in bed, turned off the lamp and closed her eyes. Had she locked the door? Yes, of course she had. It was almost Halloween, maybe she was being haunted. What a silly thought! She was no gullible child anymore, scared of ghost stories that her older brother told her when they were alone waiting for their parents to come home. No, Maria was a rational adult and not a frightened little girl running to her mother’s bed after dreaming nightmares. No, Maria knew that there were no such things as ghosts, or she had stopped believing in them a long time ago.

Time is such a strange thing. You live your life and time seems to go slowly when you are young. But then, somewhere in the middle, things start moving quickly and suddenly you are not so young anymore. What seems like yesterday, is actually ten, twenty, thirty or forty years ago.  And as time passes, people die; people you know and love. Maria started counting all of the people she had known and loved, or at least liked, when she was a child; all these warm-hearted people who were kind to her; who cared for her; were no longer living. Ghosts. Are they ghosts now?

She thought about various aunts and uncles and her grandparents, and even her own parents, all of whom she missed and wondered where they were now. Have they just evaporated? Why so many gone? She did not live in a war-torn country; most of them died of natural causes, and did so when they were quite old. So this must be normal, Maria thought. I am the one who has grown old.

Wouldn’t it be nice if some of these lovely people could come back to visit, thought Maria, but then shunned the thought and immediately tried thinking about anything else. Imagine if they returned as ghosts just to visit me? But what would she say to her grandfather, if he returned for a visit? Or would he even recognise her? He passed away when she was still a child. Would he understand that this old woman was once the small child who looked up to him? Would he understand this and still love her? Or her father? Would he forgive her for not living exactly the life that he dreamed of for her? Can ghosts forgive? Can we, the living, forgive?

Maria did not like where her thoughts were leading her. What was it her father taught her about how to avoid sleepless nights? In his youth, when he was in the army in the War, sleeping in damp tents in foreign countries, with bombs flying overhead, he would just ignore the sounds, close his eyes, and sleep. It was as if he had pulled down a shade over a window. 'Pull the shade down!' he would say. There was nothing they could do if one of the bombs dropped on their tent. So he would try to sleep and hope for the best. And by some miracle he did survive the war.

So why am I such a coward? thought Maria, There are no bombs dropping here. But I'll try Daddy's method and just pull down the shade...

After a time, Maria stop thinking about ghosts, and was almost asleep again, when the door handle moved. Maria opened her eyes wide.

’What was that?’

As the door handle jerked and snapped, Maria jumped out of bed and walked to the door, watching closely how the door handle turned again and the door was pushed ajar.

Maria froze with fear.

But in the ray of light coming from the hallway, she could see the small four-legged figure of her own tabby tom, Sammy.

’Oh, Sammy! You nearly scared the daylights out of me!’ said Maria out loud to the seven-kilo ginger feline, who looked up at her and replied with a short yap as a greeting. 

’Do you believe in cat-ghosts? I mean, do you have nightmares about cat-ghosts?’ asked Maria scooping up Sammy and carrying him with her back to bed.

Sammy lay beside Maria and purred. Both Maria and Sammy were soon sound asleep.




Word count: 759 (NCCO)




















This story is completely fictional. Any similarity to events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright 2013 Anna Christina Wigren Nordeman


P.S. 
After reading Yolanda Renee's comment, I feel the need to explain some of the background to this story. 

Yes, this story is fictional. I am not Maria Blixt, but I have lent her my own father's story. My dear sweet father, who passed away in July of 2006, had been in the U.S. army during World War II. He was drafted, but because he had a college education, he could become an officer, which probably helped him survive. He was sent to England and then Belgium and Northern France. He landed in Normandy in a troop transport boat, but thankfully was not among the first who landed. As quartermaster it was his responsibility to see that his men had the supplies that they needed. And this could be anything from soap to firewood. 

On one occasion he and his driver were sent off to purchase something from the local people. This was either in France or in French-speaking Belgium. He was chosen to do this because he was the only one who had studied French in college and was fluent enough to communicate with the locals. 

When he and his chauffeur returned, no one was there. Something had happened while they were away getting supplies. A big surge from the German army, most likely. There was just a note saying where they were to go. He never found out if everyone was killed or taken prisoner or just scattered with the wind.

My father never talked about his experiences of the war. It was toward the end of his life that I started asking him questions, but, alas, he had forgotten so much. There was not much he could tell. But he never forgot the fear of sleeping in a tent in Northern France and listening to bombs being dropped overhead. It was unnerving and different people reacted differently to this kind of pressure. My father stopped smoking. He gave it up. Which was a good thing in the long run. But the dampness and cold left him with arthritis and back problems to the end of his days.

He never complained. He said once to me that he was just so happy to be able to come home. Not everyone got to do that.

Peep
So this is one of two true stories that have inspired my short story. The other true story is about a cat named Peep, who was so tiny and hungry at birth, on April 5th 2011, that he peeped after food all the time.

One of Peep's siblings was stillborn. I did not want Peep to die too, so I kept feeding him special kitten-milk, in case his mother did not feed him enough. I fed him until he started growing normally and he became a pretty big cat. But the name Peep stuck.


Peep as an adult




















I was worried that Peep may have suffered mental damage due to his early malnutrition. But it turned out that he became a very clever and inventive cat. He learned how to jump up and pull a door handle and then, with the help of his sister, Mathilda, push the door open. The cats worked together! I have seen him do it, so I know how he did it. I had to use a strap to bind the door shut when I wasn't at home, if I did not want the cats to invade my workroom and do mischief there.

The first time I discovered that Peep could open doors was very spooky. It was late at night, well after midnight. I knew that the children were not at home. He opened the door and my heart skipped a beat. I thought I was going to see a ghost! It really scared me. 

Peep is first cat on the left















Peep does not live with me anymore. He is the only one of his mother's kittens that my former husband let move to the farm, a paradise for cats. He can run free outside and climb trees and hunt mice and dream about catching birds.

For my story, I used my ginger boy cat, Lars, to be the door-opener. In reality, none of my remaining cats opens doors anymore. (To my great relief. It makes life easier if they don't.) 

For those of you who live with round door knobs, the Swedish or European door handles are what make this story possible. Any dog or larger cat can learn to jump up and hang on the handle and then push with their hind legs open the door and get into a room.

I am going to take a photo of a door handle to show this. But right now I need to take a break.

Best wishes,
Anna
Thursday 31st October 2013

-------

Today is November first, my father's birthday. He would have been 96 years old today. (Happy Birthday, Daddy! I miss you.) This is what my father looked like when I was in my teens:


Look, I had braces!














I have received several comments about the door handle or latch. Please look at this photo and tell me what this door-opener is called. 


This is little Rosetta pretending to open the door.

















Some of you, who live with round door knobs that require some effort to open with a hand with an opposing thumb, have mentioned a scene from a movie about dinosaurs coming back to life and invading a room thanks to these easy door-openers.

Come on folks, Jurassic Park is fiction! Let's get back to reality! There are times and situations when these door handles are a godsend. There is a wonderful description in Dean Koontz' novel Midnight, about one of the characters' dog who can open these specially installed latch-door handles. This man is a Vietnam-vet and he is paralyzed from the neck or chest or waist down. I think he can only use his left hand. But thanks to this amazing dog, he can live alone in his house. Dean Koontz has written in an afterword that this part of his fictional tale is true and even included an address for readers to send donations to this worthy cause of training dogs who can help people with handicaps.

I can't find my copy of Midnight, so I can't tell you exactly what page this is on. I would just like to defend door handles. They are also easier for people who don't have a helping dog, but who have, for example, arthritic hands and have difficulty grasping and turning a round knob.

Geographically, I am curious as to how widespread door knobs are, and what would you call these door handles that Nancy calls latches? What do your door openers look like where you live?

Best wishes again,
Anna
November 1, 2013

------
























Best wishes,
Anna










First Commenter:

Yolanda Renee


 













of 
Defending the Pen 



Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group for October 2013



Anna Nordeman







 

Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh for starting Insecure Writer's Support Group.


This is my eighth post for IWSG.


For those who would like to see my list of how-to-write-books, please go here
[If what I write here is difficult to understand, go back to my IWSG-posts for August here and for September here.]

For my October edition of IWSG I would first like to give a quick update on my home life situation. Those who visited in August and September, know that I spent a good part of my time taking care of eleven cats, six kittens and five adult cats. I can now report that the cat population has been reduced to seven cats, three adults and four kittens. Life is a lot easier now. Many thanks to all who read and commented. 

I was able to write a story for W-E-P (Write-Edit-Publish, formerly Romantic Friday Writers.) that I hope to expand into something a little longer. I've written a little more to it and will let it be my post for my October-edition of IWSG:


Moving on.. or Melissa's New Life


Melissa Hart woke up one morning to find that her bed had grown during the night. It was huge. She walked around on the soft down coverlet that seemed to be three or fours times the size that it was the night before. Yes, the bed had grown in width, breadth and height. She looked down at her slippers on the floor beside the bed and tried to guess the distance. Then she noticed her hands: Instead of fingers, she had small appendages with retractable claws. Her arms were covered with hair! Fur! What had she become?


***

To continue reading, please go to this page here.

Best wishes,
Anna












First Commenter:

Yolanda Renee
of 
Defending the Pen 

 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Write-Edit-Publish Challenge for September - 'Moving On'
















Welcome to WEP's Blogfest SEPTEMBER [=Write-Edit-Publish, formerly 'Romantic Friday Writers'] Challenge for Friday 20 September 2013 - 'Moving On...'

Here's my text:

Moving on...

Melissa Hart woke up one morning to find that her bed had grown during the night. It was huge. She walked around on the soft down coverlet that seemed to be three or fours times the size that it was the night before. Yes, the bed had grown in width, breadth and height. She looked down at her slippers on the floor beside the bed and tried to guess the distance. Then she noticed her hands: Instead of fingers, she had small appendages with retractable claws. Her arms were covered with hair! Fur! What had she become?

Looking out from the edge of the bed, Melissa searched for a mirror or a glass table with a cake that says "Eat me!" on it. She hopped off the bed with ease and landed on all fours. Then she found a full length mirror on the inside of an open closet door: There was a cat looking back at her from the other side of the glass. A small tortoise-shell cat or kitten, is what she had become!

How did this happen? Am I dreaming? wondered Melissa as she wandered about the room trying to discern where she was. She was not, as she first thought, at home in her own bedroom. But the room seemed familiar. Then she heard a voice: "Come Kitties! Time for breakfast!" 

Oh no! thought Melissa as she arched her back and her fur stood on end, It's Catrina, my former sister-in-law! Catrina has at least five cats! But I still don't understand, why I am a cat! Have I died during the night and returned as a cat? But how could I remember my life as a human being?

Melissa leaped up onto a chest of drawers, thinking there may be a purse or a wallet with some identification. Where's my handbag?! 


On the nightstand by the bed she spotted a leather shoulder bag. There it is! Melissa jumped up on the bed again and pulled the handbag to the middle of the bed. Using her front paws and face she found her cellphone in its own case with shoulder strap and her wallet with identification and credit cards. She removed her driver's license and debit-card from her wallet and squeezed them into her cellphone bag. Then she tied a knot on the strap to shorten it and put her head through the loop so that she could carry the bag as a cat-size shoulder bag. It hung in front of her like a bib.

Where do I go now? she wondered looking for an open door or window. The door to the hall was ajar, but she was ready to hop up and open a door if needed. Luckily, she was still in Europe. It would be harder to open a door with a spherical American door knob!

No one in the hall. But which way? Melissa followed the light from a room that had a washer and dryer. She leaped atop the dryer and escaped through an open window. She was outside now. Free at last! 

Stick to the woods, Melissa! said an inner voice. And she did. She ran until she was out of breath. I should be able to climb trees, she thought and climbed a medium sized birch that swayed in the wind at the top. But what a view! Now all she has to do is decide where to go. It was a rural area; there were fields and meadows and farm houses. It was autumn, too. She still had time to find order in her life before winter, if this was to be a permanent condition. Or maybe it was only temporary and she could return to her life as a human being. She had her driving license and bankcard with her, in case. But could she just walk into a bank and ask for help? Could she still talk? She could at least still think. And as long as you can think, there is hope.

Melissa looked hard at the landscape beneath her and spied a children's tree house built solidly up in an old oak. She scurried down the ever-swaying birch and ran toward the oak. Would there be children using it? She would have to take that chance. Maybe they were at school. When Melissa had climbed up to the tiny room built between ancient boughs, she felt safe. She could rest here and think about what to do next. She put down her cellphone bag and remembered with horror that she did not bring the battery-charger. She could perhaps make one or two phone calls. Try to speak, Melissa! But she could not form the words. She sounded like a cat! But she could send a text message! But to whom? Perhaps to Olof, her former friend and love?

Pressing the phone buttons was not easy. She ended up holding the cellphone between her hind-legs and pressing the buttons with the unsure digits of her forepaws:

Dear Olof,
Forgive me. Please help me. Could you rescue a kitten hiding up in a play house in an oak tree behind the Nilssons barn? I will explain everything if you do me this one favour. 

I still love you. 
Melissa

P.S. 
Send a text message to my cell phone if you cannot do this.  I seem to have lost my voice and cannot speak on the phone.

Melissa waited.  Nothing happened right away, so she curled up beside the phone and lay her head on the bag as a pillow.

Finally, she heard a signal for an incoming text-message.

Dear Melissa,
I'll take care of the kitty. I'm on my way now! But when will I see you?  And I still love you!  
Olof

Melissa  punched the words: 'You'll see me soon', but she had no idea how she was going to explain all of this to Olof. She would just have to take one thing at a time. Melissa fell happily asleep.


Word count: 997 (NCCO)

Kitten Elsa held by my daughter, Elisabet
 



















This story is completely fictional. Any similarity to events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. But for those who follow my blog, it is clear that my cats have inspired me!

Copyright 2013 Anna Christina Wigren Nordeman












Best wishes,
Anna










First Commenter:
Yolanda Renée
of
Defending the Pen







Translate a text here:

My shop parltradet has curated these Etsy treasuries: