Showing posts with label Rocky's Mountains. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rocky's Mountains. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Writing - The Best Part

For many writers, writing is what you do. What you have to do. If you aren't creating storylines in your head, you'd be writing poetry on receipts. Yes, I feel that way as well. And writing is work. Finding that perfect phrase, a unique metaphor or the correct emotion does not always come easy. 
But it's fun too!
And for me, the best part . . .
is the learning something new part.

We are told often by experienced writers to write what we know. So we may start out writing about our lives, our families, and the towns where we grew up, but eventually we run out of material and that's when, in my opinion, the fun begins to happen. It's at that moment that you probably find yourself wishing you knew more about any number of things - so you learn about them first hand. 

When I wrote Rocky's Mountains I needed to learn more about gold panning and read stories about lost gold mines in Wyoming. When I wrote Fire in the Hole, I took a long backcountry trip to Yellowstone and experienced first hand the land I would write about and rock climbed with guides. With Perception, I attended spiritualist churches and meetings where spirituality took stage. 

Truly I feel blessed to be a writer, if only to have a reason to experience life more fully through characters that are formed in my head. Today I encourage you to do your research:

1. Learn a new craft - pottery, sewing, knitting, candle making or wood working.
2. Take a trip - explore the world around you with purpose.
3. Find an activity - go backpacking, rock climb, river raft, water ski or canoe.
4. Go back in time - discover clothes and jewelry, customs and habitats.

Where has your writing taken you? And better yet, where are you headed next!

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D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Setting to Remember

I love an unforgettable setting. Whether I'm experiencing it, writing it or even reading about one, a good setting can create an unforgettable image that will stay with me long after. The challenge is how to write a great setting? First of all, like all great writing, it's a must to remember to use your five senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and probably most important for setting, smell.

Setting is everything that places your reader: you need to let your reader know when the action is occurring - time of day, time of year, and era. That's not all, your reader also needs to know where in the world, or out of this world, your scene is taking place? Finally, also consider the weather as part of your setting.

Just like everything in your writing, your setting must serve a purpose. The setting either needs to work with your plot, work to create your character, or both.

"One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it," Chekhov famously said. In my novel, Rocky's Mountains, the characters are camping in the forest. When a tornado rips through the valley, they are left trapped. 

"We crawled along the edge of the rock face with branches and limbs whipping above us. Frequently Rocky would stop and I could tell he was searching for a way up and out of our tree-tunnel. The world clawed at our clothes and everything smelled of Christmas and death—pine trees and mold. Some of the needles stabbed at me, poked into my skin and were left to hang there—no time to pull them out. We struggled through mud and water. . ." Later they see trees scattered like "toothpicks" and taste blood from their injuries.

Setting can also be used to create a character. Alma's restaurant in Rocky's Mountains is a small Wyoming diner, named after the owner's greatest love - his horse. 

"A cowbell clanged as I opened the door of Alma’s cafĂ© and the intoxicating aroma of old-fashioned grilled hamburgers, homemade French fries and coffee surrounded me. According to the engraved sign over the door, the dive served food and spirits. From the stuffed two headed calf sitting high on a shelf, to the brands burned into the wood plank tables, the diner practically exuded the essence of the old west." 

After your first introduction you learn of the smell of the green stuff that comes in on the boots of the ranchers and it reminds you who frequents the place. You hear the gruffness of the owner's voice as he asks for your order. You see him spit tobacco. You know the characters belong.  

When creating a setting, work to define the space and place in such a way that your reader knows why it's mentioned.

Exercise: write about a room, restaurant, outdoor area or other place you know well. Now rewrite the setting creating an atmosphere of romance or mystery. Finally, take two completely different characters and put each of them in the space. How does each of these changes affect your setting? Give your reader not just a great story, but also a place to remember.
_____________________________

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction. She loves to tell stories of personal growth where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is the author of Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception, her latest book dealing with the subject of death and the afterlife. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

Her novels are available in electronic format here, or print format here
You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook
Or you can just contact her at d.jeanquarles@yahoo.com



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