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Archive for May, 2015

Saying goodbye to your characters is hard. Not that I’m killing them off. No, it’s at the end of the story and it’s time to let my characters ride off into the sunset.

It isn’t the first time I’ve had a hard time letting go. Some I get to love them so well I end up writing another another story with them, but this time. I’m afraid this is the end of the line for me with the Jensen family. They’ve traveled a lot, seen a lot, did a lot, and now they’re off on their own. I will miss them and think of them often with fondness.

Writing characters is like adding to your family or adding to your friends. You get to know their life history and all their quirks good and bad and you still love them.

I’m actually having a hard time ending the story. Usually I’ve writing quite a bit, but it’s slowed down because I don’t want to see them leave. Or maybe I didn’t want to ‘get to the part where one gets shot. It was as traumatic to me, as it was to his siblings. I should be done in a week, but I don’t know. At the rate I’m going, it might take even longer.

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Auggie Jones, named after her Grandpa Gus can’t wait to go to the new school. Once there she’ll finally get her shine. After the first day, that feeling ends. Well-to-do Victoria has made Auggie see her home life in a new light. Beloved Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, is now an embarrassment. Her cozy home’s dissolved into an old and worn out hovel just like the rest of houses on her street. But when the Beautification Committee¬† targets her neighborhood as an eyesore and fine the owners for not keeping their homes up to the Committee’s standards, Auggie is determined to show she and her neighbors have style and beauty of their own.

One can’t help but admire Auggie for charging ahead even when you know something’s going to happen and Victoria likes to make sure something bad does. Her mother is gone except for her picture on a billboard. Auggie pictures her in Hollywood.

I liked how everyone in the neighborhood gets to know one another during Auggie’s efforts to save the street. The story is a good example of how a few can push their views and opinions and how the underdog can win. The characters are well developed. Auggies best friend, Lexi ditches her to be friends with Victoria who gets Lexi to cut her beautiful hair, but she doesn’t cut her own. Victoria is a wonderful bully, all shiny who makes others feel like trash.

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This doesn’t have anything to do with writing, but I’ll get this off my chest. On Earth Day the news carried a feature on budge travel and interviewed an editor from Budget Travel Magazine. When the little teaser came on, I thought neat. I wonder what area they’ll talk about. The island of Maui and a cruise to Alaska it turned out. I guess my idea of budget and theirs is on opposite ends of the spectrum. I was expecting a park on the main land, one easily reached by car. Or maybe they’d talk about camping somewhere.

Seriously Maui?

Getting to Maui ain’t cheap. Getting to Alaska isn’t all that inexpensive either although I’m sure one can find an frugal cruise. I wonder who’s budget they’re comparing these trips to.

And that’s pretty much my gripe about so called ‘budget’ travel. You’ve got to make plenty coinage in order to go to those places. What’s wrong with highlighting what one has locally? I’ve taken many a trip that lasted a week and cost less than a thousand dollars. Most of the money went to fuel costs. Next came camping fees. If one really wants a budget trip, take day trips. Bring your lunch and snacks. There are plenty of free places to visit. Now that’s budget.

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Ages ago I started a science fiction story, but never finished it, probably because I couldn’t think of a way to end it. Over the years I remembered the story often, but thought I lost it. Each time it popped up in my mind, I itched to finish it. One day, I told myself, I’d find it and finish it. It was a good story. The good story got better over the years.

A few weeks ago, I found that story. I’d been going through my unfinished folder on my computer, changing stories from their original format into a Word document. Fortunately I’ve been able to open them all in Notepad. And there, under some strange acronym, I found the story.

Cool.

I couldn’t wait to read what I wrote. I’m finding out it wasn’t so great after all. The premise is okay. I’m surprised it meshes nicely with today’s world as it beings with a group of soldiers fighting terrorists in an airport in Rome. However, the writing is not so great and I get bored quick with it. It’s going to need quite a bit of work before I even consider finishing it.

Despite that, I am pleased with how my writing has progressed over the years. That makes finding old stories nice. I can’t wait to see what else I’ll uncover in that folder. I sure wish I knew what I was¬† thinking when I named the files thought.

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When the Morrors offer to save Earth from climate change, the people didn’t they’d turn the world into a deep freeze. Twelve-year-old Alice Dare has only known her world at war with the Morrors. Sad to say the aliens are winning. Advancing ice forces her school to close and she’s sent to Mars. Unfortunately that means she’s also joining the military. What with her mother being an ace fighter pilot and her father underseas also helping the war effort, the army is a family affair.

But, maybe staying on Earth might have been safer especially after all the adults disappear and a Lord of the Flies atmosphere reigns at the base.

This is a funny story with a gutsy hero and well developed aliens. The robots are cool. There’s the teddy bear who watches over the little kids except it has a glitch which makes it act strange and scary. Kids Alice’s age have a Goldfish minder who’s always bright and cheery and ready to teach math making it rather aggravating, but there’s more to the Goldfish than just math as Alice and her friends, Carl and Noel, the brothers from Australia, and Josephine find out. I laughed out loud when Josephine pulled out duct tape to fix things.

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A few months ago, I wrote about my writing experiment, where I wrote first the exciting bits and later put them all together. I’m nearing the end and am experiencing the problems I knew I’d encounter – finishing the piece.

I suppose it isn’t all bad because this week I wrote a very broad outline consisting of four lines and I’ve already crossed one off. I hope to cross off the second one by the end of next week, and then it might either go slow or fast because the aliens have to be dealt with and then some conniving, evil teenagers bent on getting perceived revenge on the main character will get their comeuppance.

When I’ll be finished on it, I don’t know, but I will plug away and even if I get a paragraph a day that is good. It’s progressing.

The big question is, was this a successful way of writing a story? It’s a long way to write a story, that’s for sure. I think I wrote the individual scenes in the spring of 2013. It was a bit of a fun way to write. I didn’t get writer’s block and I didn’t have to stop and think: and now what happens? My main problem was getting to a place and having the time to write the scenes. The down side is having to connect all the pieces and make some fit. I had one scene, a funny one, that didn’t fit until I made it into a dream sequence. The biggest disadvantage is that nowhere did I tie it together for a ending. That’s what I’m trying to do now.

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