Grab a Glass or Cup

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There are many styles of glasses in the South. Some not quiet as famous as the canning jar. Although, I do have a set of them. The red solo cup even has it’s own song. I was going to post the video, but could only find the unedited version. I’ll let you google it on your own.

If you come to my house there are four types of glasses we use. Each has a distinctive purpose. Each has it’s on style. I do have a set of nice stemware, but let’s be real. That only comes out on holidays.

  • The Tervis cup. I don’t know if this is a Southern thing or not, but you can’t throw a mullet without hitting someone walking around with this insulated glass. It is the standard beverage holder in my house. We each have our favorites. Mine has Wolverine. They hold both hot and cold so they’re versatile. They even come with lids, perfect for a road trip.
  • The Mardi Gras cup. These must be caught in the wilds of downtown during Mardi Gras season. They can hurt when you get hit in the head, duck. Since they are free and easily replaced they’re perfect for outdoor use. My hubby likes to use them to put out grill fires. They don’t have to have Mardi Gras on them to work. Most small businesses and eateries have heir own version. When kids have friends over these are the cups we use.
  • The Jelly or canning jar. No I do not have any with a stem! When my girls were transitioning from sippy cups to real glasses I bought a case of these. The small jars fit nicely in tiny hands and were solid enough not to break easily. I think only three have survived. Larger versions can be found at every catfish shack and bar-b-q joint in the south.
  • The red solo cup. Otherwise known as the party cup of the South. If your coming to a grill party or birthday party, you will receive one with your name written in black marker. It’s quick and easy. These genius little cups have a dual purpose. They make great ice cream bowls! You’ve already got them. Why buy bowls? Granted they now sell plastic cups in many different colors, but red is the house color.

I know, you really didn’t need to know what’s in my cabinet. Drinking utensils are basic. We all have favorites. They fit our personalities and lifestyle. The same is true of the characters we write about. You probably won’t set out to write a character who only uses a canning jar, but if your character has a favorite drink it will influence the type of glass they use. If they have a penchant for drinking multiple cups of coffee each morning, they will have a favorite mug. I’m willing to bet it’s a big one too. If they’re always on the run, practically living in their car, then a travel cup or mug would fit them better than a cheap plastic cup.

It’s a small thing but it adds to the layers of your character.

What does your protagonist drink from?

-CK

 

What Makes a Hero?

I’ve been binge watching the Arrow over Christmas. Just finished season 3, so I’m done until season 4 is on DVD. I guess I can get back to writing. The show made me wonder, what is a hero?

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I would use the google definition but it ticked me off when it said, typically a man!

According to Webster (1983):

  1. a mythological/legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability.
  2. a man admired for his achievements
  3. illustrious warrior
  4. one that shows great courage
  5. the main male character in a literary work
  6. central figure in an event.

Hmmmm, not sure I approve of all that! I’m not going to rant about the capabilities of women. I’m using Hero as gender neutral.

When I think over the mountain of books I’ve read over my life, certain types of heroes come to mind. This isn’t the scholars list of heroes, this is just how I see them.

  1. The Perfect One: The hero is perfect. He/she has no problem in making a decision. There is only one way. Everything is black and white and they never drift over to the dark side. I call this the Superman hero. Like Superman they never make a wrong or questionable decision. He never cheated on Lois Lane and sent Lex Luther to prison for his terrible crimes. These are great heroes when we are young, but as we grow they begin to seem flat and unrealistic.
  2. The Lonely One: The hero that remains alone, even after saving the world. He separates himself from the rest of society either because of the chaos he has seen or the baggage he carries. He/she is destined to be alone. Poor Frodo suffered this fate. He destroyed the One Ring only to return to the Shire alone. I assume you know how it ends after her returns. He didn’t get the girl, Sam did. It’s a bit melancholy but believable. You undertake this great quest, how do you return home and be happy? I don’t think it was just from the blade of Mordor. I think Frodo’s scars were mental as well.
  3. The Chosen One: This hero is the only one who can defeat the villain. No one else has the skill, ability, or prophesy to do so. These heroes are readily available on every YA shelf. Harry Potter is the chosen one…or is he? Sorry couldn’t resist. For whatever reason this hero must defeat the villain, that is his only purpose. The overall plot surrounds the ultimate battle.

    Heroes in waiting.

    Heroes in waiting.

  4. The Scholar: Not all heroes use their physical strength. Some use their mind. I love these. They’re smart. Take Hermione Granger. No matter what Harry was capable of, he could not have survived without the intelligence of Hermione. Brute force only takes you so far. Someone has to know how to break into the enemies computer system and unleash a nasty virus. Some may say this is the realm of the sidekick, I disagree.  They are heroes.
  5. The Misfit.  This one is popular in YA. The hero that is a total screw-up and only becomes a hero when tested. But even then, they make huge mistakes. They usually lack experience and are thrust into battle unprepared and must learn as they go. We cheer for these because we see ourselves in them. If they can be a hero, why not me? Percy Jackson comes to mind. Like the Perfect One, we outgrow these as well. Eventually this hero must grow and become something more.
  6. The Amateur: This isn’t your traditional Fantasy genre hero. The one I’m thinking of is usually found in the cozy mystery genre. The every man/woman. Usually a woman. She’s living her life and then out of no where someone dies. She’s tasked with the burden of solving the crime. No experience in law enforcement, just smart and nosy. Miss Marple comes to mind. She’s not a traditional hero, but she saved many from jail and others from murder. She’s persistent. This hero is consumed with righting wrongs and keeping the innocent out of jail. No super powers necessary.

    Knights in the woods.

    Knights in the woods.

  7. The Warrior:  We love a warrior. They fight the epic battle of good vs evil. They are the knights, soldiers, and samurai. They fight for the cause regardless of personal loss or danger. They are battered, bruised, and blooded. Good warriors have a dark side. They have seen and done terrible things in battle. But they stand true to the cause. Think about Beowolf, Lancelot, and Jamie Frasier. That last one is my favorite. It’s not uncommon for their lives to be tragic.
  8. The Anti-Hero: This is my personal favorite. They are dark, angry, and cross every line imaginable. They aren’t always a hero, sometimes they are the villain. Everything is grey. Every decision they make is based on their perception of the cause. In comics, Wolverine is the perfect anti-hero. I would place Professor Snape in this category as well. He even died not wanting the world to know he was a good guy. This is the hero that will kill an innocent, if it will stop a worse fate. They make difficult decisions other heroes would shy away from.  Anti-heroes have layer upon layer of back story and experience to play with. They keep the reader guessing.  In a world where the lines are continuing to blur, the anti-hero is becoming more relevant.

There’s probably dozens of other examples and types of heroes. These are the ones that kept me awake last night. My newest project is the tale of a hero. I am sorting out the character and the kind of hero she will be. It’s so much fun.

What is your favorite type of hero?

Who is your favorite hero?

-CK

 

 

NaNoWriMo Prep 101

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. I am signing up for my second year. I actually won last year, but it’s still sleeping on the shelf. I’m no expert on NaNo, but I thought I would share a few of my NaNoWriMo prep tips. I’ll include links at the end for websites with more information to help you along.

First off, I am a planner!

 

Planner Badge

If you don’t believe me look at this:

100_9619These are the scene cards for the 2015 NaNo Novel I am writing. I’m about 3/4 of the way through with the plotting. I don’t usually use note cards. Normally, I write a massive flowchart on art paper, but I’m not set on the sequence and want to play with it a bit. This is book 3 in my mystery series. The story takes place just before Halloween. You can expect plenty of small town high jinks. Originally, this was going to be a short story, but the characters disagreed.

I’ve also roughed out the character sketches for the villain, victim, and scapegoat. There will be more minor characters as I write but theses are the main new characters to my imaginary world.

My plotting/planning is a composite of many different processes I’ve read about. The Weekend Novelist Writes A Mystery by Robert J. Ray and Jack Remick  was very useful when I wrote my first novel and I use a lot of ideas from that book. Especially on characters. Another good resource I use is, How to Write a Damn Good Mystery by James N. Frey.

I’ve got my plot cards and my characters. Now what. On my calendar, yes I have an actual calendar, I have blocks of time marked off for planning my novel. Even though I have the bones of my novel, there’s still planning to do. Several characters have not shown up for work this week. I don’t know if they aren’t in this book yet or not. Because this is part of a series, I have to work on the series plot/character arcs. There are certain subplots that run through my novels and I have to make sure they show up in this one as well. That’s still on my to do list.

Let’s not forget research. I have a little more research to do on Iran, poison detection, and abusive relationships. Fun book!

Recap,

NaNoWriMo Prep 101

  • character sketch
  • plot main scenes
  • research
  • line up subplots

If you are participating in Nano, or thinking about it, here are some sites that may interest you:

NaNoWriMo–  this is the official site’s prep page

Writer’s Digest–  nice article on outlining vs not outlining

Write it Sideways– tips and resources

SurlyMuse– a hot off the presses post about prepping for NaNo in seven days or less

There you go, that should keep you busy for a while. If you are participating you can find me under the name: writechik!

What’s your plan for NaNo?

CK

 

Is it Sunday Already, Row80 check-in 1

I skipped the Wednesday check in, because we just started the round. It’s been a busy week. I started out strong with the writing goals but fell apart mid-week. I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t be trusted to plot. That and I was stewing over character relationships. This is my first attempt at trying to write an abusive relationship and I don’t want to be cliche or flippant. Be sure to check out the other Row80 participants and share some positive feedback.

Mystic Brew finished it’s rounds of critique at CC. I think it went well.  I came back with plenty of ideas to strengthen the story. This one’s dark and nothing like what I have written before. It’s out of my comfort zone and needed honest feedback.

On with the goals:

Begin revisions of book 2 in my Dragonfly Mystery Series- nope
-Send out queries for Dead in the Waternope I have it on my calendar to start next week.
Plan 1 new short story- not even an idea of where to begin. Time to pull out some writing prompts

Edit/Revise Mystic Brew, I’ve started printing off the critiques.
-Finish plotting Book 3 in my Dragonfly Mystery Series- yes. I have a character sketch for the killer and victim. I need to focus on the scapegoat. Need to finish those and start the plotting this week to stay on track.
-Participate in NaNoWriMo and write book 3: 50,000 words- in November
-Read 8 books- (2)I finished Gator Bait and loved it. I also finished Code Blue by local author Joyce Scarbrough. Loved it. I started another book but didn’t finish it, lost interest.
-Be a good human and socialize online- yes, I networked on CIR and my Crime writer’s yahoo group as well as Row80, etc.. I did reach out to indie book reviewers about reading my short story collection. Don’t know if that should count.
-Be a good Baptist and join a Wednesday night group- no. It’s so hard for me to find a group. I love my church but I am not that social!
-Finish my daughter’s bedroom- We haven’t made any progress. Homecoming week at school. We have the shell for the closet built, the closet doors, and the bookcase. Still need to build the desk and build a wall.

 

How was your week?

CK