Sunday, February 26, 2012

Writing dialogue

  Dialogue should have one of these two functions:
1) Reveal character.
2) Move the story forward.
This is what Catherine Ann Jones states in her book "The Way of Story".
 When I edit my stories I keep those functions in my mind. I ask myself, " Do these words have a purpose?" I get rid of unnecessary chatter. I also read the dialogues aloud to know if they sound natural and realistic.

Dialogues can help us  show the reader something about the character. They can also contribute to shed light on the theme in subtle ways. Words sometimes lead to something that is not expressed but can be felt or intuited.
Catherine Ann Jones mentions that we can use dialogue to offer some back story about the characters. She sets Shakespeare as an example of this. Interestingly, I'd read some advice against using dialogue to reveal back story. I don't take this piece of advice seriously. The best lessons in writing are always learned by reading other writers' work.
  What are the challenges you face when you write or edit dialogues in your stories?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Water, a source of inspiration

Whenever I get stuck with an idea, or just for the fun of it, I like to be close to water. It works marvels when I need to roll my thoughts into stories. Sitting by a lake, contemplating the ocean, listening  to a stream or river flowing, walking by a pond, are all gifts to my creativity.
There is a pond close to my house and I like to peer out the window to rest my eyes on it and let my mind wander.
Here you are some interesting facts about water:

-Our bodies are made up of 60-70 %  water
- Coffee, tea and soft drinks contain caffeine - not just water. The diuretic effects of caffeine make your body lose water.
-Our brains need water. Why? Studies have shown that if you are only one percent dehydrated, you will likely have a 5 percent decrease in cognitive function. If your brain drops 2 percent in body water you may suffer from fuzzy short-term memory, experience problems with focusing, and have trouble with math calculations.
- Don't take water for granted. One billion people worldwide have no access to safe drinking water. 
-Half of the world's hospital beds are filled with people who suffer water related illnesses.
I was visiting the aquarium in Milwaukee a couple of weeks ago when I thought about writing this blog entry. At that instant, a man approached me to ask for feedback on a website about the conservation of water. 
Here is the link to his website:
www.h2oscore.com
Now go and enjoy a nice sip of cool water.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Leo Tolstoy

 Many of Leo Tolstoy's novellas reveal his life philosophy which was centered on the idea of helping others.

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) is well-known for his novels "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina". I believe, however, that his novellas also deserve our attention and analysis. The dilemmas he exposed through them are timeless.

 I've had a review of some of his novellas published on the Southern Pacific Review. You can check it here:

 Leo Tolstoy's novellas

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thanking my enemies

 I don't like to have enemies. Who does? Yet I have to admit that they've had an impact on my writing life.
  Don't we need conflicts in our stories? Thinking about enemies from my past and what they have done to me has helped me to create realistic stories that captivated readers and made them empathize with the narrator.
  We need tension, don't we? Enemies have inspired me to write stories where tension builds up easily. They have led me to craft thought-provoking stories where I exposed the dark side of human nature.
 "There's good and bad in everyone" says Paul McCartny's song, so I was able to find something good about some of those enemies unless the character was a psychopath. Enemies have ignited rage, fustration, shame, strength and even wisdom and patience. I put everything to good use and explored those emotions to the best of my ability.
   Creative writing has allowed me to see my past under a different light. Don't be surprised if some of the toxic people out there help you create your next popular story.
  To a writer, each experience is a gem, a potential treasure of creative endeavors. I prefer to have friends, of course, but life is not always beautiful.
  Did negative experiences with people fuel your creativity?

Friday, February 3, 2012

The "Smart Cookie" award


 I want to thank Cindy from  http://dreamersperch.blogspot.com/ who gave me the "Smart Cookie" award a couple of weeks ago.
 Now I have to do a number of things as the recipient of this award:
1) Thank the award giver and add a link to their blog. (See above).
2) Share some interesting facts on anything.
3) Pass the award to other "Smart Cookies".
I am going to give this award to the following bloggers:

Elizabeth Varadan aka :  http://elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com/

Liz Davis http://novel-moments.blogspot.com/

Karen G http://karenjonesgowen.blogspot.com

Rick Watson  http://dorahighschoolalumni.blogspot.com/

J.L Campbell http://thecharacterdepot.blogspot.com/


Rebecca Kiel: http://rebeccakielpages.blogspot.com/

Now I will share some interesting facts. I have an interest in the mind and the human brain so I will say something about them.
1) Meditation has been shown to have beneficial effects on our brains. A study showed that after meditating for eight weeks the brains of those who meditated showed measurable changes in gray matter density in areas related to memory, empathy and learning. (MRIs were done to show the findings).
2) According to the same study, meditation also reduced gray matter density in the amygdala, an area of the brain connected to stress and anxiety
3) Exercise protects the brain as it ages. It has been shown to improve concentration and learning.
4) Studies suggest that  exercise helps to preserve mental functions and it may help to prevent Alzheimer's dementia.