Upon returning to homeschooling Nichole and Brooke in English and science, I've decided to broaden my scope for this series. Instead of simply sticking to grammatical rules, I will include simple primers on literary devices as well.
The elementary versions of these lessons will stick to explaining what the devices are and how to recognize and interpret them. The high school level classes published here on the blog will cover this as well while also speaking about utilizing them in your writing.
I might not have had a lot of time to really dig into any creative projects or make much progress on the ones I'd already started over the past couple of years. But this doesn't mean I forgot about them.
Sad as it sounds, I kind of coped with this desire to create and little to no time to do so via Pinterest. I might not have had time to make something, but I could usually scroll through Pinterest for about five to ten minutes each night and pin some things I thought I'd find useful once I had a bit of time again.
I have boards full to bursting with prompts and pretty stitches or psychology articles and infographics. I have pins of various mythological creatures and stories, all types of herbs, medical knowledge, funny geeky things, and all sorts of other things. Whole sheets of words pinned when I was just starting to have issues with aphasia after decades of not noticing the "spells" due to a lack of speaking in general.
It's an odd mix mash for those who find my public boards, but I have found them a source of useful information and an endless source of inspiration. I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to talk about today, so I started looking through. And I found this image.
A few weeks ago, I talked a little about how I came to realize the way I experience the world isn't how the majority of people experience it. As a result of that particular journey and the things I learned along the way, I came to realize I had written at least two of my characters as autistic without actually setting out to do so. Having come to this realization, I had a choice.
Rewrite them to be neurotypical, which is another way of saying "normal," which in and of itself is just a way of describing how the majority are, or I could keep them as they were.
The thing is, I cannot really imagine either Pyrrha or Asa being any other way than how I have been writing them. Plus, for me at least, nothing has really changed about how I view either character. Both are still strong, intelligent, kick butt women. They have places where they struggle and places where they shine like anyone else. There's just a concrete, neurological explanation behind some of theirs.
I wish I could say returning to writing after almost a year and a half of barely writing at all, aside from business correspondence, has been a breeze. Well, I suppose I could, technically speaking, but it would be a lie.
Truth be told, returning to writing and soaping has been difficult and rather frustrating. It isn't for lack of trying or a lack of desire to begin creating again. I'm just horribly rusty, so it's a bit like returning to a sport after sitting on the sidelines for a season or two.
Creativity, much like any other mental skill, has been compared to a muscle so much it has become a bit cliche. The thing about cliches though is they come to be because they contain an element of truth. "Use it or lose it" applies to mental skills the same way it applies to physical dexterity and strength.
I know this is when most people are talking about their resolutions for the new year. However, resolutions have never worked for me. I get overwhelmed with the thought of trying to make all those changes at one time, and I never make it past week four.
For me, starting slow with some easy things, making those habits, and then adding to them works far better. So I found where I wanted to be at the end of 2020, and then I broke down the steps I would need to take in order to get there into workable goals.
It takes me a fairly long time to establish something as part of my routine, so I have made these quarterly goals. I will come back at the end of each quarter, tell you how I did and list my new goals.
All this winter, there's been one thing that's caught my eye every time I take Lily out for a walk. Trees bare of their summer leaves stand out in stark contrast with the clear blue of winter skies. The appearance of one covered root to crown in ivy is even more striking, but there's been something "off" in the appearance of the tree in our backyard.
What might be wrong with it has been bugging me for months, and I got the answer the other day.
While trying my hand at teaching high school back in the fall, I spent so long away from my current rough draft, I forgot half of what I'd written. So I've been going back to read through it. In doing so, several issues with the rough have been jumping out at me, but they all stem from one factor common in rough drafts, lacking conflict.
Readers have their favorites, and they don't enjoy seeing them put through the wringer, but at the same time, what are the chances they would be so fond of those characters if they never struggled? No matter if your story is plot driven or character driven, without conflict, there is no story.
I think we've all seen or heard the "tortured" artist trope at one time or another. It's no secret a high percentage of notable artists, be they writers, poets, musicians, painters, sculptors, or any other kind of artist, have or do suffer from a range of mental health problems. Because of this correlation between mental health problems and creative success, popular notions of creativity have come to romanticize them as part and parcel to creative genius.
I hate this notion so much! Even if there's some truth to it, it's a dangerous and irresponsible idea in so many ways.
* Originally published on March 8, 2010 via Diary of a Work-at-Home-Mom.
Sunday evening was singing night for our congregation, being the first Sunday of the month, and one of the songs sung was "How Great Thou Art." The song has never failed to drag "Oh What a Grace" from the recesses of my memory. Not that I compare the songs but because I had a tune similar to its melody running through my head when I penned the first draft.
It's hard to believe that was nearly a decade ago now. I don't remember exactly which Sunday it was, but I seem to remember it being sometime in late spring or early summer of 2000. I was listening to our preacher speak on a particular Psalm one Sunday morning when the words started nagging me. By the time we were heading home, I was desperate for a piece of paper and a pen. The lines came tumbling out, and a half hour later, I had the first draft.
I spent a few weeks trying to put music to it to no avail. I asked a friend for help, but nothing seemed to work. So I asked the congregation's preacher if he knew of anyone who could put music to lyrics, thinking he might be more familiar with local talent considering the years he'd helped organize The Musical Explosion. He gave me Mr. Stevens' name and number, and the rest is history.
Looking back on it, it feels like ancient history. I was barely out of high school, only in my second semester of college. I was still smarting over having to swap a chemistry major for English because I was having these uncontrollable shaking spells that nearly resulted in a big accident in the labs. I had yet to meet C. L. and was just starting to seriously consider writing as a career.
Even then there was a surreal feeling about this piece. It came quickly and with an ease I rarely associate with any bit of writing, let alone anything outside of fictional prose. I'm not a poet. "Little Eyes" and "A Day in the Mind of a Child" are flukes. I found it difficult to believe I'd written this one then, and I find it next to impossible to believe now. I barely remember it, and what memories I have are more impressions of where I was, the need to get my hands on paper now, and the scratch of graphite across the page. I don't remember the writing of it at all other than the occasional feeling a word was off and counting the measure.
Maybe that's why I was so embarrassed when song leaders would make sure to point me out when they'd lead it. What did it matter I happened to be there? What did it matter who wrote the words or the music? The song was meant for the praise of God.
There are three things these three works have in common. First is their form. These are the only poetic pieces I have ever done and not immediately destroyed. Second, they come from a different place. I don't know how to describe it, but I was in a different head space when I wrote these poems/lyrics than I'm typically in when I write my stories. Instead of brainstorming, painstakingly building them up a concept or a word at a time, I saw or heard something and they seemed to spring fully formed onto the page. And finally, they have a different purpose. While I did feel the need to share them through publication, I haven't seen them as work to be sold. The poems were published in nonprofit college journals, and the song was spread from hand to hand. As far as I know, it's never been put into a songbook, but it's not like I'd ask for payment if it was. That's not why I asked for Mr. Steven's help finishing it. I just want it to be sung somewhere by someone, by congregations or just someone going about their daily work, I'm happy either way.
I've heard it's still sung at some congregations around the Tennessee Valley. Personally I haven't heard it in years, and I doubt I will. Mom told me years ago song leaders find it intimidating to lead a song when someone that wrote the words or composed the music is sitting on a pew. I suppose she might be right, though I find it disheartening to think they'd believe I'd be insulted or something if they didn't get it note perfect.
Though remembering how much of a nitpicking Grammar Nazi I used to be, at least when it came to pet peeves like double negatives and subject/verb agreement, before I grew up and learned to control those knee jerk reactions, I can see where they might think I'd be a little snippy. But really, as long as it can be followed, it's good.
We’re finally to the last back to basics post on verbs, the irregular verbs. These are the rule breakers that refuse to follow the same rules as the rest for the different tenses. They can seem intimidating at first, but don’t worry. Although they don’t follow the same rules as most, they do follow their own set.
Let’s start off with the state of being verbs.
Be, am, is, was, and were are all different forms of the same verb, be. Is, am, and was are singular. Are and were are plural. Be itself can work either way, depending on the tense. Are and is are in the present tense. Was and were are past tense verbs.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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