Apr 30 2016

#atozchallenge Z is for Zak @thezakkhan #Writing #Editing #NaNoWriMo #WLCAuthor

The craft of fiction writing is the Theme for the #atozchallenge 2016 on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Click for my theme details

26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




#writetip Make chracters like weird things. image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Z is for “Zak”
Book: How To Build Good Writing Habits by Zak Khan
@thezakkhan
My dice roll: 241 (ebook location out of 499)
Lesson: Regular, Positive Criticism

Find someone to give you honest criticism, even if it’s sometimes harsh. Criticism and opinions from others, especially in the early stages, can spark ideas. Share your plot, theme, and premise.

This will also toughen you up for when rejections come from agents, publishers, or reviewers. Getting your name out there is a mark of success.

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You may notice that I went hashtag crazy with this title.

There’s no writing to be done for this exercise. So I’m going to spend my final challenge day suggesting two places where a writer might get this “Regular, Positive Criticism.”

Beta Readers are difficult to find. Join the World Literary Cafe and make the search easier.

World Literary Cafe

Get support online or off with NaNoWriMo.



Be a #nanowrimo writing buddy of @JLenniDorner

I’m now going to plug 3 people from one of my local nanowrimo chapters who signed up for the atozchallenge.

http://uniquelymaladjustedbutfun.blogspot.com/ — Jamie Dorner (My cousin-in-law, friend, and lovely assistant.)

http://iveybooks.com/ — The group leader

https://jrvincente.wordpress.com/ — ADULT CONTENT erotic writer

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#ShoutOut and Thanks to Editor Sam

of Red Line Editing for making this month’s posts as error free as possible.

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Socialize online with J Lenni Dorner:

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@JLenniDorner is in space 20 on the A to Z challenge 2016



Featured Share of the Day: Programs providing free books for children are funded by your click.Books are donated to children in need.

Apr 29 2016

Make lawn watering a GOAL to prevent greener grass on the other side #quote

goals image



My exceptionally wonderful news from last month:

I was in WRiTECLUB2016! I am JavaInMe.

How did I do? What did I write? See these three links:


http://www.dlhammons.com/2016/03/write-club-2016-bout-15.html WIN!

http://www.dlhammons.com/2016/04/write-club-2016-cage-bout-5.html WIN!

http://www.dlhammons.com/2016/04/write-club-2016-playoff-round-3.html Loss.

#quote You can always learn and you should always learn. @JLenniDorner blog @YogiProducts tea tag

The MAIN LIFE GOALS:

  • Publish two decent-selling book series (speculative fiction)
  • Survive at least another 39 years
  • There’s also the Bucket List.

 
 

2016 Goals:

  • Have 6500 Twitter followers ~ currently at 5990 — up 327 from last month!@JLenniDorner on Twitter
  • Download the update for my blog theme, whatever that might entail
  • Keep Supporting Diverse Books
  • Be part of 4 blog hops/fests.Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Participate in at least 2 #OABookClub reads
  • Rewrite and edit my urban fantasy novel, then get the new query letter out there Even more progress!
  • Enter 3 writing contests 1- Entered #WRiTECLUB2016, got in. 2- Entered and won OA Flash Fiction
  • Publish or be published somewhereMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goalx3!
  • Participate in Reading Challenges

 

Goals for May:

  • Leave a comment on 50 blogs
  • Read and review five books
  • Take part in Bout of Books

Bout of Books May 9 to 15, 2016 #boutofbooks @JLenniDorner participatant

  • Post my A to Z Reflection post on May 9
  • Be part of the Who’s Your Hero blog hop

Blog Hop Who's your hero May 8-18 2016



Rafflecopter Giveaway link in coffee cup image from @JLenniDorner #TeamArlee Arlee's #atozchallenge Ambassador badge 2016 @JLenniDorner

 

Review of Goals for April:

  • Comment on at least 60 blogs EACH WEEKMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • VOTE on EVERY Write Club Cage bout, Quarterfinal, and Playoff. Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Read and review two booksMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Be there every Thursday in April at 9pm EST for #azchat on TwitterMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Post my A to ZsMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Check out the responses to my guest post on Arlee’s blog on April 11Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal


 

#quote If the grass seems greener on the other side... water your lawn -image @JLenniDorner blog about goals

Featured Share of the Day: Have goals? Need encouragement? This blog hop is for you!Monthly hop to support anyone with goals and blog.

Apr 29 2016

#atozchallenge Y is for #Writing for Young Adults #WriteTip on YA Series Fiction

The craft of fiction writing is the Theme for the #atozchallenge 2016 on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Click for my theme details

26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




Writer #quote #humor image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Y is for “Young”
Book: Writing for Young Adults by Sherry Garland
My dice roll: 33
Lesson: Writing Series Fiction

Publishers of YA series try to appeal to the broadest audience possible. Ten tips are given for those braving this task:

1. Hook with an action, problem, or change in the opening.
2. End chapters on cliff-hangers.
3. Have believable dialog. Avoid slang because it gets dated. YA publishers tend to reject profanity.
4. Skip lots of description and dialog. Use verbs instead of adjectives and adverbs as often as possible.
5. Flashbacks should be avoided or kept short.
6. Use the five senses in every scene.
7. Moral lessons need to be subtle, not preachy.
8. Adults shouldn’t solve the story problems for teen protagonists.
9. No explicit sex.
10. Young readers want a protagonist that’s two or three years older than they are– thus narrowing down the age of your core audience.

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Check out the current best-selling book series for young adults on Amazon.

....

Have you read any of these? If so, did it follow the 10 rules?



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@JLenniDorner is in space 20 on the A to Z challenge 2016



Featured Share of the Day: Have goals? Need encouragement? This blog hop is for you!Monthly hop to support anyone with goals and blog.

Apr 28 2016

#atozchallenge X is 10 #Writing #WritingPrompt Idiom War and #azchat reminder

The craft of fiction writing is the Theme for the #atozchallenge 2016 on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Click for my theme details

26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




#quote If I were a dragon I'd hoard books instead of silver and gold because knowledge is the greatest treasure- image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

X is 10 in Roman numerals
Book: 10 Step Creative Writing Activity book: Command your Imagination by Tiffany Hilliard
My dice roll: 16 (ebook location out of 21)
Lesson: Idiom War writing prompt activity

X is a hard letter! My fellow #azchat participants inspired me to use the Roman numeral version, which led me to this book on Amazon.

This book doesn’t have lessons; it has writing prompts. And the dice landed me on location 16, which is activity 6. The objective is to spend 10 to 15 minutes writing a short story using one of the ten idioms listed. Then write the same story with another of the idioms.

I’ve chosen 9- Kiss of Death and 5- Get on like a house on fire.

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Meeting her was the best and worst thing that ever happened to me. She drew me in with her sly grin. But, little did I know, I was nothing more than a mouse to her feline self.
The parties were wonderful. Every one she took me to lasted into the wee hours of the morning. Some lasted all weekend long. The one on the island never ended.
We took her helicopter. I thought, at the time, that she meant to impress me by showing off her piloting skills. Really, it was just a way to keep me from leaving voluntarily. That should have been the kiss of death. But I was star-struck. Too blind by her tricks to realize the end game.
I’m dancing around it. Let me tell you about the weekend that I died.

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Meeting her was magical. We got on like a house on fire. I bought her a drink; she bought me a car. It sounds like a gift. I should have known better. I should have listened when my friends and family warned me that she was poison. Their confrontations were no match for her eyelashes. I’d tell her what they said, she’d bat those beauties, and I would be back under her spell.
Was I ever free from it?
Free. That’s a word I didn’t appreciate. Then she brought me to the island. I was impressed that she had her own helicopter and knew how to fly it. Did it occur to me that I’d be trapped? Of course not. But there I was, no way to escape. The greatest party of all time— for some guests, anyway. For me, it was the last one. Let me tell you about the weekend that I died.

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Which version do you prefer? Do you enjoy finding idioms in novels? Would you rather type or handwrite for a 10-minute brain-freeing writing activity?



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Featured Share of the Day: SMASHING Cancer in a Demolition DerbySMASH cancer! Demolition Derby details.

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#AZChat on Twitter 9pm EST every Thursday in April 2016Don’t miss tonight’s #AZChat on Twitter at 9pm EST!
Know of a blog in the challenge getting less than 5 comments? The #AZChat might #FlashMob it! Come ask.

Apr 27 2016

#atozchallenge W is for Writers #WriteTip Wired for Story by @LisaCron

The craft of fiction writing is the Theme for the #atozchallenge 2016 on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Click for my theme details

26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




Numbers #FunFact image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

W is for “Wired” and “Writer’s”
Book: Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron
@LisaCron
My dice roll: 221 (ebook location out of 4030)
Lesson: What a story is.

“A story is how what happens affects someone who is trying to achieve what turns out to be a difficult goal, and how he or she changes as a result.”

The breakdown:

Plot is what happens; it’s the issue that keeps the protagonist from the goal.
The protagonist is the someone.
A goal is a story question.
The change is what it’s all about.

Readers want to experience how it feels to be in the situation, all from the safety of their reading spot.

Here’s an example of this lesson using my Fractions of Existence book.

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The plot is that Xavier needs to reunite his kind, but he doesn’t know where to look or why they’re separated.
The protagonist is Xavier.
The story question is “will Xavier reunite his kind in time to prevent the apocalypse?”
The change is when Xavier decides he’d rather the world ends than risk Gwendolyn’s happiness.

Fractions of Existence is a story where Xavier needs to reunite his kind, but doesn’t know where to look or why they’re separated, and this affects Xavier, who is trying to achieve what turns out to be the difficult goal of reuniting his kind in time to prevent the apocalypse, and then he changes his mind, deciding he’d rather the world ends than risk Gwendolyn’s happiness.

The plot is then that Gwendolyn leaves her life to be with Xavier, but it’s a struggle to get there.
The protagonist is Gwendolyn.
The story question is “will she make it, and, if so, will he keep her?” (One could argue the bigger question is “what are they”…)
The change is when Gwendolyn climbs out of her shell and bravely crosses the country to get to Xavier, not knowing if he’s even still interested.

The second half of Fractions of Existence is a story about Gwendolyn leaving her life to be with Xavier, and the struggle to get there, which affects Gwendolyn, who is trying to achieve what turns out to be a difficult goal of making it across the country to man she’s not even still sure wants her there, and how the journey changes her as she climbs out of her shell to take the road-trip.

In Fractions of Existence, Xavier needs to reunite his kind, but he doesn’t know where to look or why they’re separated. He needs them to reunite in time to prevent the apocalypse. He changes his mind when he gets to know Gwendolyn, the missing one he sought, who has no idea what she is. He decides he’d rather let the world end than risk Gwendolyn’s happiness by ripping her life apart. The second half is about Gwendolyn leaving her life to be with Xavier and her struggle to get there. She crosses the country alone, still unaware of what she is, to reach a man she’s not even sure still wants her there— a journey that requires her to climb out of her shell.

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Does that story sound interesting? Have you ever broken down one of your stories this way?

Is my final paragraph here better than the descriptions from my LETTER S post? Would you recommend using that paragraph instead of the ones from my LETTER G post about query letters?



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Socialize online with J Lenni Dorner:

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@JLenniDorner is in space 20 on the A to Z challenge 2016



Featured Share of the Day: Blog Blitz focuses blogosphere energy for fun!Blog Blitz focuses blogosphere energy for fun!

Apr 26 2016

Signed up for #boutofbooks 16

I’ve talked about it in so many posts over the past six weeks (at least) that if you DIDN’T see this coming… well, you must be new here. (Seriously, it’s my Featured Share on Mondays!)

I’m very excited to be in the reading marathon. All of April was spent blogging and blog commenting. I’ve written, I’ve edited, and I’ve socialized online ’till my fingers bleed! (Okay, it was just a hangnail, but that doesn’t sound as cool.) My reward, by book-cation, is coming.

GOALS: Read and Review 5 books, visit at least 50 other participants, enjoy the challenges (or whatever).

Bout of Books next read a thon is May 9, 2016





The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

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Apr 26 2016

#atozchallenge V is for Villains #Writing Character Traits @RayneHall

#atozchallenge V is for Villains #Writing Character Traits @RayneHall

The craft of fiction writing is the Theme for the #atozchallenge 2016 on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Click for my theme details

26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




image of every letter and number monogram on the blog of @JLenniDorner

V is for “Villains”
Book: Writing About Villains by Rayne Hall
@RayneHall
My dice roll: 371 (ebook location out of 1091)
Lesson: villain character traits

A psychological profile of the antagonist.
There are fourteen villain character traits listed in chapter four. Decide which of those apply to the villain in your story (or will apply, if there isn’t a story yet).

I’m playing along, as I have been all month. Here’s mine featuring The Eyes in the Shadows from my Fractions of Existence book.

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Intelligent— This is a must for this sect. The required reading list to pledge yourself to the cause has books in several languages, at least one of which is considered a “dead” language.

Psychologically astute— Is being part of a fanatical religious sect a psychologically sound decision? I’m not going to debate where the gray area is between faith and crazy. But no one in the sect is on track for being taken away in a white coat and locked into a padded room. (Then again, they do engage in torture. But so have many governments.)

Single-minded— Nothing distracts them from their goal. That’s part of the pledge to join this sect, so obviously it applies.

Good-looking— Some of the members are appealing to the eye. It isn’t an important trait, or one that’s relevant in this story.

Popular— Those in the sect would say that the leaders are popular. It’s by invitation only. Outsiders aren’t aware that it exists. Internally popular would probably be the best description.

Trauma Survivor— Gray area here. The Eyes in the Shadows sect believes that being alive, being on Earth, is the worst possible punishment. Living is traumatic, in their opinion and belief system.

Hubris— Yes, The Eyes in the Shadows consider their faith to be superior.

Self-centered— The sect puts the needs of the faith before all else. Living is, after all, a punishment. So if others have to suffer to end the madness of life on Earth and get everyone on to the next spiritual plane, so be it.

Ambitious— The goal is the bring the apocalypse. Considering that’s never been done before on this world, it’s a pretty lofty goal. They have to annihilate Xavier and his kind first, which is why they’ve been failing for thousands of years. But they think they’ve finally figured out the key!

The end is near gif #Simpsons on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Unscrupulous— The end does justify the means to this sect.

Enjoys challenges— I’m not sure if they enjoy them or are just willing to face them because they want to get everyone to the next plane of existence. Enjoy it or not, they do some challenging tasks without complaint.

Has a good side— They think they’re saving your soul. As with most religious debates, you can’t prove them wrong. They see their work as good. And they have done charitable things over the centuries to aid those who suffer. It’s another gray area on this one.

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I used 12 of the 14 traits listed.

Who’s your favorite fictional villain? What trait do you think makes him/her/it/them so deliciously evil?




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@JLenniDorner is in space 20 on the A to Z challenge 2016



Featured Share of the Day: Lehigh Valley Gay Men's Chorus chocolate fundraiserLVGMC has a chocolate fundraiser going on

Apr 25 2016

#atozchallenge U is for Understanding POV #Writing Point of View #WriteTip

#atozchallenge U is for Understanding POV #Writing Point of View #WriteTip

The craft of fiction writing is the Theme for the #atozchallenge 2016 on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Click for my theme details

26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




Blue dragon reading image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

U is for “Understanding”
Book: Point Of View: Understanding Which P.O.V. is Best for Your Story and Using it Effectively by Alfie Thompson
My dice roll: 599 (ebook location out of 653)
Lesson: Some rules for effective POV

Avoid “felt” words, such as: felt, saw, thought, suspected, wondered, wished, figured, expected. Show us what’s going on in the mind or heart of the character.

Be careful when using “as if” in descriptions. “The car was old, as old as if Henry Ford himself had driven it off the assembly line.” That could be tweaked.

Characters should speak with the same voice as when they think, normally. Don’t change the vocabulary or accent, unless there’s a very good reason (like the character is lying about their identity).

Use the five senses to bring out details in a scene and reflect who the character is. Texture, shape, size, and smell are good descriptors.

Let thoughts, actions, and speech show emotions. Avoid emotional adverbs like angrily, happily, sadly, joyfully, etc.

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Wend’s car announced her arrival at the small blue house with a loud squeak from the brakes, a noisy puttering from the engine, and the door squealing in protest at being opened. Bits of rust crashed onto the pavement as she slammed the door shut and then pressed against it with her hip, until the latch finally clicked. She wiggled her key in the lock of the trunk. “Come on, Poppy Jalopy,” she said to the mostly reddish-orange car. The trunk finally gave way so she could retrieve her bag.

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Can you tell that Wend’s car isn’t brand new and perfect? Do you sense that she’s frustrated without the emotion being mentioned? Can you imagine what this car sounds like?

Have you ever watched the movie “Uncle Buck?”

What might be another example of a book or movie with a beat up car?




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Socialize online with J Lenni Dorner:

@JLenniDorner on Twitter WhatAreThey on Facebook pages Author J Lenni Dorner on G+ JLenniDorner on Pinterest Follow J Lenni Dorner on Tumblr Find J Lenni Dorner on AboutMe Connect with J Lenni Dorner on LinkedIn
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@JLenniDorner is in space 20 on the A to Z challenge 2016



Featured Share of the Day: Bout of Books next read a thon is May 9, 2016Next Bout of Books Read-a-thon= May 9, 2016.

Apr 24 2016

#Writers Check These Sites Out

#FlashFiction by @JLenniDorner won the @OpAwesome6 contest #WEPFF - HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE WINNER 2015 @JLenniDorner New to You Reading Challenge
World Literary Cafe

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Featured Share of the Day: Brandy Robertson is doing an Act of Kindness every day in 2016 @blr098

Apr 23 2016

Disappoinment

Nearly Headless Nick from Harry Potter image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

“Once again, my request to join the Headless Hunt has been denied.”

Hello esteemed challenge host applicants!

Thank you for applying to be a Bout of Books challenge host for our 16th (!!!) readathon. Unfortunately, due to a low response, we’re doing something different this time around, and won’t be having outside challenges. :'(

However, please consider signing up to be a challenge host in August for our 17th Bout of Books.

If you have any questions, shoot us an email!

Thanks,

-Amanda and Kelly

My big idea was as follows:

Make a flag using books.
Break out some books with red, blue, green, yellow, black, white, orange, gray, purple — arrange them so it looks like a flag.
Will you use the real flag of your nation? Or perhaps a flag from something you’ve read?
Remember- the object is to arrange some books to recreate a flag, NOT to just find a book with a flag on it!
Get your picture (real pic, collage from searching covers online, etc) and put it up somewhere for us to see.

I still might do this during the challenge, but I know very few people would hear about it. The fewer people that know about it, the less that can play along, and thereby it becomes less fun. I shall need to think on this a great deal.

Bout of Books next read a thon is May 9, 2016Next Bout of Books Read-a-thon= May 9, 2016.

Apr 23 2016

#atozchallenge T is for Story Tension #Writing #WriteTip

The craft of fiction writing is the Theme for the #atozchallenge 2016 on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Click for my theme details

26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




John Green #quote image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

T is for “TENSION”
Book: HOW TO DEVELOP STORY TENSION: 13 Techniques plus the Five Minute Magic Trick Guaranteed to Keep Your Readers Turning Pages by Amy Deardon
My dice roll: 117 (ebook location out of 908)
Lesson: Events should make it worse

Tension building relies on the protagonist being worse off after the events you throw at them. A series of equally bad events does not increase tension.

“I burned the toast to ash. There were no filters for the coffee maker. My eggs expired. I dropped the bacon on the dirty floor.” — All of those are bad. The situation has not moved the character into a different place though. Everything can be solved in one grocery trip or by going out to breakfast. If the toast had started a fire, the coffee maker broken while trying to put out the flames, the eggs resulted in food poisoning, and the bacon on the floor lead to a slick surface that resulted in a head injury— that would build more tension.

For my example, I’m going to outline Gwendolyn’s scenes from Fraction of Existence.

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The story opens with Xavier encountering Gwendolyn’s scent, but the reader doesn’t know that.
Xavier and Gwendolyn then “meet” in an online RPG chat. He’s in NYC, she’s in southern California.

Far away, in the Golden State, a gray-eyed maiden typed replies to her new gamer friend. She did not know the impact they would have on each other. She never considered how much common history two strangers could share. Falling for him would be unlikely. Such a union being conspired against seemed unpredictable. She couldn’t know, as she typed her next line, how much the course of her life would change.

“Gwendolyn. You asked what my real name is, it’s Gwendolyn. But you can call me Wend.”

They become friends, then deal with a scheduling conflict that keeps them apart for a month.
She asks him to be her date to a wedding, but he can’t make it.
Wend finds out that Xavier isn’t in the LDS. This news makes her worse off because she doesn’t date outside her faith.
Her family gets on her case about her fear of the wind after finding out she slept in a closet, again.
Then her father arranges a marriage for her to his friend, Tred. She tells Xavier this. His response is:

“In the game, your character, Candra, believes in romance. I’ve seen your reactions when my character has brought you flowers or written poetry for you. Has your intended brought you flowers or written poems for you? Or does none of that hold true to who you really are?”

Wend is worse off because his words lead her to feelings of guilt and then of temptation to cheat on Tred.
Tred takes Wend on her first ever unchaperoned date. She is dressed wrong. Her mother changes Wend’s attire, like she’s a child. Tred isn’t a dream date.
She babysits her nephew. He almost chokes to death. A freak storm of tornadoes rips through the area. Something in her mind shifts, but she can’t get it focus. She calls Tred for comfort but ends up worse off when he criticizes her for this.
Wend ends up in a phone call with Xavier instead. Though he cheers her up, she feels worse off because they argue about his telling her that she’s beautiful.
Tred has breakfast with Wend’s father. He asks if something is wrong with her and says he’s not sure if Wend is ready to marry. She’s worse off because she’s letting down her family.
Wend calls Xavier to cry about this. A woman answers his phone. She’s worse off because she fears that Tred doesn’t want her and Xavier moved on overnight.
She reveals that her deepest fear is that she’ll end up with a husband who doesn’t want her. And possibly that her marriage will be null and void if it isn’t consummated. Xavier makes it worse by leading her into temptation.
Wend receives flowers from Xavier. Her shifted mind tingles again, but she still can’t focus on it— like almost remembering something or forgetting what one is saying in mid-sentence.
Tred comes over to visit. Wend vomits on him. She hides in her closet. Tred and her family find her and insist she comes out. Wend’s dress gets caught, resulting in a pantie flash. She finds out her younger sister has been reading her diary. Her mother ends up dressing her, again. And then she has to go outside in the wind, which she’s terrified of, to face Tred.
He wants to move the wedding up. Have the ceremony in two weeks, on New Year’s Eve. And then leave her with his children while he’s gone for the next eight months. She ends up worse off because her temper takes over and she runs away.
Wend ends up at an appalling ocean-side hotel in gang territory. She calls Xavier to tell him that she walked out on Tred, and she details the humiliation she suffered. She asks Xavier to come get her. He says he can’t leave because he’s protecting a friend, but he offers to send someone to get her. Wend flips out at him for not coming to save her.

“Protect you. Right,” Xavier said slowly, as if the idea hadn’t occurred to him.

“You really would leave me here, wouldn’t you? I’m sorry I didn’t make an appointment for your attention! I didn’t check your precious schedule before calling to ask you for help.”

“Wend, it isn’t like that. I just don’t see you as helpless. I am certain that no one could ever hurt you against your will,” Xavier explained.

“Well you’re wrong about that, Xavier Patrick Doyen, because you just have! Don’t bother sending anyone for me. I’ll figure this out on my own. Or maybe I’ll call my fiancé, like I should have in the first place!” As she hung up the phone she wished that somehow it could make a loud sound that would leave his ear ringing for a while.

In the morning, she sits in the hotel room, planning her wedding on a piece of spare paper. She makes herself sick with worry thinking about the honeymoon and what she and Tred would wear to bed. An image of Tred laughing at leaves her mind worse off. The fear gets traded for guilt when her fantasy switches to Xavier. She’s worse off because she can’t picture a happy wedding night with her fiancé, but she can with someone else.
Wend goes home and apologizes. Tred tells her that he never plans to consummate their marriage. Wend realizes she left her phone at the hotel. Her sister drives her back to get it. Wend has a complete meltdown.
Tred takes Wend to a wedding planner. He’s already planned nearly the entire event. She flips out. Tred calms her down. Wend agrees to spend Christmas with him and his children. They resume planning the wedding. He joins her and her family for a nice dinner. When he goes to leave, he finally kisses her on the lips. Everything seems perfect.
Xavier calls while Wend is out Christmas shopping. He says he’s flown in and would like to meet up to exchange presents. He offers to take her to an expensive, exclusive restaurant. She agrees, and then she goes shopping for something to wear to such a place. She ends up worse off because she realizes that she doesn’t belong in his world. She calls him to cancel. He offers to meet her at the Santa Monica pier instead.
It goes well at first. But then they have a fight.
Wend takes a shower. A slip and fall almost kills her. She thinks she hallucinates Xavier saving her. For a moment, the tingle in her shifted mind becomes clear. But it slips away as she comes too and is carted off to the hospital.
She tells Xavier that she’ll accept his apology for the fight at the pier if he’ll take her Christmas shopping. He agrees and comes to get her. She asks him to come to dinner and meet her family. Tred is there too, waiting. Wend’s family is cold to Xavier. Tred has words with Xavier out of Wend’s earshot. Then Xavier tells her that he’s leaving; he’s heading back to NYC. She’s worse off because her heart breaks.
Her family and Tred watch her every move and check her phone to ensure she has no contact with Xavier.
Christmas.
Wend doesn’t fit into the sweater that Tred gave her and insisted she wear for the holiday. She doesn’t wear it. She ends up worse off because he scolds her for this.
She finds out how strict Tred is and how he runs his household. She’s worse off because it feels suffocating to her, and she can’t imagine living like this.
Tred shows Wend around the house. He shows her their separate beds.
Christmas gifts are opened. Every one that Wend brought is deemed inappropriate. The children worry they’re in trouble for even opening such gifts. Wend is worse off because she’s made a terrible first impression.
The children eat some cookies that Wend brought. But it’s peanut butter cookies. Wend didn’t label them. The children are allergic.

“Stop telling me how sorry you are! Those are my children— my flesh and blood. I would do anything for them. You could not know how much I love them. And you… you came in to my home and nearly killed them! There is no amount of apologizing that will ever make this right.”

Tred breaks up with her. She’s worse off because she’s let down her family, nearly killed some children, and has ruined Christmas.

A conversation with a cab driver leads her to realize she belongs with Xavier.
She’s too afraid to face her family to pack properly, so she leaves everything behind and decides to drive to NYC. Wend gets as much money as she can from an ATM. She’s mistaken for a prostitute at a truck-stop diner. Her phone dies and she doesn’t have a charger. She blames herself for a storm but then decides that’s ridiculous. A “nightmare” makes her think she’s gone insane, though it seems like a warning to end her trip.
The next night, her “dream” makes her long to get to Xavier. Something stirs again in her shifted mind, but she still can’t quite grasp it. She wakes up and learns that wind gusts have caused damage outside. Travel is suspended.
Wend finally gets back on the road. Her car breaks down in the night. She ends up sleeping in it, cold and alone.
She gets towed into town. Wend uses the bathroom at the repair garage. It’s plastered with pinups. She’s worse off because the visual of those women triggers her insecurities, leading her to feel she isn’t good enough for Xavier. She recalls that he left her and wonders what she’s doing. The mechanic calms her down. But then she’s worse off because he doesn’t have the part for her car.

“I need to get to New York City. I can’t wait around. I want mine to be the lips that he chooses to kiss at midnight when the ball drops.”

Wend buys a bus ticket, the only one she can get. But she’ll just barely make it to NYC in time. And she’s worse off because now she’s flat broke.
She can’t take a cab or a subway once she leaves the NYC bus terminal. She’s been wearing the same clothing for a week, so she looks like a vagrant. Xavier’s doorman treats her as such, at first. Then she finds out that Xavier isn’t home.
Wend ends up at Times Square. She spots Xavier. The battle to get through the crowd is on as the ten-second ball-drop countdown begins.
(One more scene and the story ends, but it’s not happily ever after.)

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Does that feel like a decent amount of tension to you? How much tension do you like in books? What’s your favorite high-intensity scene of all time (book, movie, TV— any fictional source).




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Apr 22 2016

#atozchallenge S is for Save the Cat #Writing #Logline #ElevatorPitch

#atozchallenge S is for Save the Cat #Writing #Logline #ElevatorPitch

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26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




Protractor-- instrument used in measuring or drawing angle. Pro-tractor -- What makes this farming joke funny. Image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

S is for “Save”
Book: Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
My dice roll: 300 (ebook location out of 2914)
Lesson: Logline (Elevator Pitch)

In scriptwriting, they call it a logline or a one-line. For books and articles, we call it an elevator pitch. Either way, it’s a summary that can be fired off in under thirty seconds. It’s tweetable with room for a hashtag.

The conversation:
“Do you want to watch this?”
“I don’t know. What’s it about?”
The answer will be short. And that’s a logline.

For those of us trying to make a sale, that logline or elevator pitch needs to have four components.

  1. A hook. An ironic one is strongly recommended. You want an emotionally intriguing itch that needs to be scratched.
  2. A mental picture that promises a complete story.
  3. A sense of who will buy it. Which genre’s fandom is going to ship you and your work the hardest? What’s the appropriate age group to market toward?
  4. The title. A good one will give a clear idea of what it is and what it’s about.

Write one, and then go ask people if they like it.

Here are my attempts:

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In Fractions of Existence, Xavier’s secret identity is an affluent young professional living in NYC. The Eyes in the Shadows work to bring about the apocalypse by killing Xavier and his omnipotent kind. Xavier must reunite his kind to become powerful enough to stop them. In order to do that, he needs Gwendolyn to remember what she is before it’s too late.

228 over Twitter’s 140 limit

A guy with an extraordinary power is trying to save the world from a crazy religious sect that’s figured out how to cause the apocalypse. But he has to get this girl, who’s he’s never met, to fall in love with him so she’ll agree to help. — Fractions of Existence

123 over Twitter’s 140 limit

Bad guys aim to end the world, good guys try to save it, and a girl doesn’t know she has a power that can sway the outcome in Fractions of Existence.

10 over Twitter’s 140 limit

A team of super beings has been divided up. Becoming whole is the only way to save the world. Fractions of Existence is a journey of discovery and deciding what matters most.

34 over Twitter’s 140 limit

Fractions of Existence has a hero who surrenders, a damsel who almost independently succeeds at overcoming distress, and a villainous group that seems to win.

19 over Twitter’s 140 limit

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Guess who’s TERRIBLE at writing these things?
*raises hand*

Do any of those five catch your eye? If you’ve read some of my other posts ( http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com/tag/existence/ ), do you think these feel accurate? Can you suggest a better one?

PLEASE fill out the short survey!


Create your own user feedback survey

Do you have a logline or elevator pitch for your work? Share it here!




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Apr 21 2016

#atozchallenge R is Writer’s Resistance and @RosanneBane #WritersBlock #smell #coffee

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R is for “Resistance” and “Rosanne”
Book: Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance by Rosanne Bane
@RosanneBane
My dice roll: 139
Lesson: Getting neurons together for a writing routine

The experiment is to select and evocative scent, focus on the smell or memory of the smell, then list all the words that come to mind in a five to ten-minute freewrite.
Some of the suggested scents are vanilla, bacon, or coffee.

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Scent chosen: coffee

  • Reading
  • Poetry
  • Hotels
  • Writing
  • Love
  • Coffee shops
  • Other writers
  • Laughter
  • Breakfast
  • Family
  • Warmth
  • Flavor
  • Variety
  • Choice
  • Dessert
  • Dating, falling in love, making new friends
  • Bookstores
  • Traveling
  • Safety
  • Sophistication
  • Normality among those I don’t (or didn’t) otherwise fit in with
  • Sunrise
  • All-nighters
  • College

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One smell evokes many memories.

The purpose, and next step, is to pick a scent or taste and have it present every time you write for several weeks. Thus, the neurons of your brain will associate that smell or taste with writing. The more that particular ritual (eating a certain candy, burning a scented candle, etc.) is associated with writing and ONLY with writing, the more effective it becomes as a ritual trigger.

Meaning that, if you lit a “cherries on snow” scented candle every time you sat down to write, your brain would come to associate that scent with writing. Thus, if you felt a case of writer’s block coming on, lighting the candle could fight it off.

Brain: “Smell that? It must be time to write!”
Fingers: “Okay.”
Heart: “Yay! Let’s do this! Woot thump thump woot!” Let's do this image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Muse: “Incoming ideas.”

Trained behaviors become an automatic process. The smell becomes a way to tell your brain that it’s time to write.

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Do you have a writing ritual? Are there any scents or tastes you always incorporate when writing? Will you try out today’s lesson?

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Apr 20 2016

#atozchallenge Q for Quick Guide to Character Flaws #Writing @RoseFblog

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26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




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Q is for “Quick”
Book: Write Away: Quick Guide to Character Flaws by Rose Fischer
@RoseFblog
My dice roll: 72 (ebook location out of 193)
Lesson: Character Flaws

Figure out what keeps getting a character into trouble. Use the answer to identify his or her main flaws.

Remember the Journey of the Hero from yesterday’s post? That’s where this book suggests looking for those big “trouble” scenes. I’m going to focus on Gwendolyn for today’s example.

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What gets Gwendolyn into trouble most often in the story is that she doesn’t know what she is— but that’s not exactly a character flaw.

Fickle, selfish, and sheltered — Wend has all of those traits, though she doesn’t seem to be aware of it. If she weren’t fickle, her father might not have arranged her marriage for her. Tred suggests that Gwendolyn should put the needs of his children before her own. If she were less sheltered she might not get railroaded all the time, and she probably would have found a better way to travel to New York.

She tries hard to fit the mold of what her parents and religion tell her to be. But she ends up with a strange, secret life that disrupts her normal/ intended one.

Wend is afraid of change, but she is mesmerized by Xavier, who leads a life vastly different from her own.

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All well-written fictional characters have flaws.
What’s your favorite that you’ve come across? Would the story have been the same if that character didn’t have that flaw?

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#WriteTip from Editor Sam

You have to be careful with flaws. I once read a YA novel that was agonizing to finish because the protagonist’s “disregard for authority” made her entirely unlikeable. She was more like a caricature of a rebellious character by the end because she showed no self-awareness. I think even the worst flawed character can be saved in the esteem of the audience if they show that they know they have a problem. Which is not a “favorite” per say, but I do find it to be a solid cautionary tale.

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Apr 19 2016

#atozchallenge P is for Plot #Writing Outline the Journey of the Hero by @stephaniedraven

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P is for “Plot”
Book: Plot Your Book In A Month…With Scrivener by Stephanie Draven
My dice roll: 578 (ebook location out of 2246)
Lesson: Outline the Journey of the Hero

You do not need Scrivener to do this lesson. (But it helps.)

The Outline for the Journey of the Hero. The steps are sometimes in a different order, and sometimes they go by other names.

The Journey of the Hero image

I’m going to fill it in using Xavier and Wend from my Fractions of Existence story.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

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Ordinary World: Xavier is leaving work.
Call to Adventure: The Inciting Incident that makes the protagonist want a change He realizes that the missing one of his kind is out there. Therefore, reuniting his kind and preventing the apocalypse is possible.
Refusal of the Call: As Xavier gets to known Gwendolyn, he realizes that she may not be happier or better off with him and their kind. She doesn’t seem well-suited to the tasks she’d have to perform if he reunited her with their kind.
Mentor: Guidance, inspiration, encouragement Heath present arguments in favor of Xavier being honest with Wend about what she is and pursuing her.
Crossing the Threshold: The rules are different The Eyes in the Shadows (antagonist group) make a move meant to flush out Xavier and his kind.
Tests on the Road: Training and preparing Xavier finds ways to hint to Wend that their kind exists. He secretly helps her tap into her power.
Preparing for Danger: Defeating problems Wend’s mental breakdown gets Xavier off his stalling butt. Jez cautions Xavier as he packs for California.

“We weren’t ready to know the truth when we were younger. Being apart from us is keeping part of her stuck in that same innocent youth. Her mind needs time to prepare; it needs a chance to form the question before you bombard it with such an overwhelming answer.”

Wend tells Xavier that feels she does not fit into his life.
Hero Confronts Greatest Fear: Things go bad Xavier gets Wend to agree to meet him for a “non-date, just two friends exchanging Christmas gifts and hanging out at the Santa Monica pier.” It doesn’t end as planned.

“You are the most conceited, arrogant, pompous man on the planet! I never want to see you again. Good-bye!”

Hero hits Bottom: Xavier has secretly to bring Wend back from the brink of death. He also has to get her to speak to him again.
Object Received: Way to achieve goal Wend is willing to talk in exchange for a shopping partner.
Chase: Xavier is invited to meet Wend’s family. Tred, her fiancé, shows up.
Final Confrontation: Xavier realizes that he might not be what’s best for Wend. He can’t offer her the life she seems to want— one that’s quiet and normal. The New Ordinary World: Wend is not allowed to decide for herself who she’s permitted to be friends with as it upsets her arranged-marriage fiancé.
Death/Resurrection: The hero has changed Xavier gives up his quest to reunite his kind and save the world. Call to Adventure: The Inciting Incident that makes the protagonist want a change Xavier leaves. He walks out of her life. But, now that she’s met him, she’s drawn to him. Something inside her shifted. Her mind prepares, forming a question that will have an overwhelming answer.
Hero Returns Home: A new home, or new place for the hero Xavier accepts the world is probably going to end and he and his kind are likely going to be defeated. But he believes Wend will have a happy life right up until the apocalypse. Refusal of the Call: Wend meets her fiancé’s children. She’s determined to make the relationship work.
Mentor: Guidance, inspiration, encouragement Meeting the children goes terribly. She realizes that she can’t live like this. She no longer belongs in this world, if she ever did. Then a conversation with a cab driver makes everything click.
Crossing the Threshold: The rules are different Wend decides to drive across the country to get to Xavier.
Tests on the Road: Training and preparing She can’t pack. The bank is closed for the holiday, so she can’t access much cash.
Preparing for Danger: Defeating problems A “nightmare” in a hotel. She questions if this is the right choice.
Hero Confronts Greatest Fear: Things go bad Wend’s car breaks down.
Hero hits Bottom: The car can’t be fixed in time for her to get to NYC by midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Object Received: Way to achieve goal She spends the last of her money on a bust ticket.
Chase: She makes it NYC, but Xavier isn’t home. Wend spots him in Times Square. The battle to reach him is on as The Ball is coming down.
Final Confrontation: She watches as Xavier kisses someone else at midnight.

* MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD *

Death/Resurrection: The hero has changed Every part of her body is broken. Wend has been kidnapped and is being tortured.
Hero Returns Home: A new home, or new place for the hero Wend’s safe and happy life is over. She will never be the same again.

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Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Did this Journey of the Hero interest you?
What object or advice have you received that helped you achieve a seemingly impossible goal?

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Apr 18 2016

#atozchallenge O is for Orson Scott Card #Writing Openings #WriteTip Beginnings @orsonscottcard

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O is for “Orson”
Book: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
@orsonscottcard
My dice roll: 95
Lesson: Beginnings of novels

Beginnings of novels must reveal information that promises an interesting story. Concepts introduced should be relevant to the whole story, not trivial information. The immediate situation should be clear.

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It was the smell that made him do it. Xavier’s nose was attacked as he stepped out of his Manhattan office building onto the bustling sidewalk of Madison Avenue. It wasn’t a food smell, or one found in nature, or even a kind of perfume. The athletic, agile man tripped twice as he swam through the crowd to find the source of this scent. Not the hotdog cart. Not the bouquets of flowers. Not the tall, unnaturally blonde woman wearing Chanel No 5 (and little else). It was a scent he knew but couldn’t place. The smell was like a migraine trigger, except his head didn’t ache with pain.

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REWRITE

Xavier discovered the smell by accident, and it caused him to act out of character. Xavier’s nose suffered from the attack as he stepped out of one of the Manhattan buildings he owned, into the five o’clock crowd of the Madison Avenue sidewalk. The smell did not match a food, or one found in nature, or even a kind of perfume. The man’s biceps flexed when his dancer’s reflexes failed as he tripped twice while swimming through the crowd to find the source of this scent. He knew the scent but could not recall from where or what. The smell took over his brain like a migraine, except his head didn’t ache with pain. Could he follow his nose to find a way to prevent the apocalypse?

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1- Is it clear that the immediate situation is that Xavier has to find the source of a certain smell, and that both his conscience and subconscious mind are locked into it as urgent and important?

2- Is that situation powerful? Have you ever needed to know where a scent or sound came from, and that need felt urgent and important?

3- Do you prefer the scene with or without the list of smells that it is not? (Not the hotdog cart. Not the bouquets of flowers. Not the tall, unnaturally blonde woman wearing Chanel No 5 (and little else). )

4- Do you know what city this story is set in?

5- Have you concluded that Xavier is wealthy and physically fit?

6- Is some or all of the rewrite an improvement, in your opinion?

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@JLenniDorner is in space 20 on the A to Z challenge 2016



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Apr 17 2016

Blogging lesson on the purpose of img alt #atozchallenge extra post #html

For those of you who already know about this, here’s a music video instead.



THIS POST ALSO APPEARS ON THE A TO Z CHALLENGE MAIN BLOG

I am not a coding expert. I learned all of this by watching other people, Google searching, and trial with lots of error. (Ha ha)

But here’s an important tip on something I do know about– using the img alt in the HTML of your posts.

  1. Blind and visually impaired people sometimes use the Internet. There are programs that read to them, partly using the HTML of websites. I didn’t know this when I started blogging. A blind woman told me about it. She said the “img alt” tag is used to read what the picture is of… assuming there’s an alt tag, of course. “Image of a woman on horseback.” vs “32343” You can understand now how defining your image is more useful than leaving just a number or something.
  2. Pinterest captions your pin based on what is written inside the alt tag. Readers hitting the share button might be too lazy to edit that. What do you want people to read when your image is clicked from the Pinterest (or other sharing) site? Tag yourself with your Twitter handle if you have one! It works.
  3. Sometimes image hosting sites go down. The picture you used doesn’t appear. What you wrote in the alt tag will show in place of the image. Consider what you’d at least like your readers to imagine for the downtime duration.
  4. With Internet Explorer, hovering the mouse over the image will create a small pop-up text block of the “alt” words. (Firefox and Opera do this with the TITLE tag instead of ALT. The two seem similar otherwise.)

Always keep it relevant, meaningful, and short!


And now it’s example time!

Blogging from #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z April 2016
The A to Z Challenge



The how and why of img alt code in HTML by @JLenniDorner Blogger image

The how and why of img alt code in HTML by @JLenniDorner WordPress image

WHAT DOES ALL THAT MEAN?

center means that it will be in the middle of post, not to the left.
a href I have hyperlinked my image. If you click it, it takes you to another webpage.
target=_blank That other webpage will open in a new window or new tab, so you don’t leave me!
img means image
src means source — that’s always the URL where the image is hosted
alt THAT’S what this image is about. I have Twitter handles and a hashtag to increase the viral trending.
backslash close your tags

NOW YOU KNOW!

#quote @JLenniDorner Ask not what the participants of the #AtoZChallenge can do for you, ask what you can do for them. #Kennedy

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Apr 16 2016

#atozchallenge N is Novelsmithing #WriteTip Animal Characteristics to Describe People @SheppardDavid

The craft of fiction writing is the Theme for the #atozchallenge 2016 on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Click for my theme details

26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




book dragon mug from bookphile of tumblr image

N is for “Novelsmithing”
Book: Novelsmithing, The Structural Foundation of Plot, Character, and Narration by David Sheppard
@SheppardDavid
My dice roll: 1646 (ebook location out of 2581)
Lesson: Use characteristics of animals to describe a character.

Capture the physical and emotional essence of a person using animal characteristics. An example from James Salter’s Light Years is provided.

I rewrote the example using Xavier from my Existence books.

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Xavier is dressed in his tuxedo, having as few predators as an orca, his short hair spiked, the Irish flames crackling. His real concern is keeping life on Earth flowing: preventing wars that eliminate millions of humans, keeping the world habitable, ensuring the safety of plants and animals. The rest is a bonus; it’s part of the disguise. He has a smile that distracts thoughts, one people become so addicted to that they’ll break out of their shells to earn a glance at it. Benches twice his weight, teeth that gleam. He hides his truth in extravagance. He orders the latest cars, only those in limited supply, collecting them to blend in by standing out. He is twenty-four. His dream, one in particular, drowns him, suctioning him to a past he can’t remember— a giant pacific octopus in the abyss of slumber. He lives like a tortoise. As friendly as a manatee. His true purpose is concealed to outsiders like an oyster’s pearl.

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This certainly isn’t my usual “voice,” but the lesson was interesting.

What do you think of the description? Has anyone ever described you using animal characteristics? Which animal characteristics might you use to describe Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, or Jimmy Fallon?

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Apr 15 2016

#atozchallenge M is for Manuscript Revision by @hollylisle #WriteTip for Weak Words

The craft of fiction writing is the Theme for the #atozchallenge 2016 on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Click for my theme details
 

26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




http://hollylisle.com/one-pass-manuscript-revision-from-first-draft-to-last-in-one-cycle/



M is for “Manuscript”
Book: One-Pass Manuscript Revision: From First Draft to Last in One Cycle by Holly Lisle
@hollylisle
My dice roll: 6 (ebook/pdf location out of 8)
Lesson: Weak Words

Is your scene full of weak words? The lesson recommends looking for:

  • Is
  • Was
  • Were
  • Very
  • Passive Voice
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs
  • “To be” verb forms
  • Change “He was tall,” to “She looked up at him. And up. And up.”

*note* This eight-page pdf was reprinted from Holly Lisle’s Vision: A Resource for Writers, Issue #9 (May-June, 2002). I believe I got my copy from a contest, newsletter, or as part of a class.

When figuring out the “to be” verbs, I referred to this article: http://blog.penningtonpublishing.com/grammar_mechanics/how-to-eliminate-to-be-verbs-in-writing/

I’m going to use my opening scene from Fractions of Existence.

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It was the smell that made him do it. Xavier’s nose was attacked as he stepped out of his Manhattan office building onto the bustling sidewalk of Madison Avenue. It wasn’t a food smell, or one found in nature, or even a kind of perfume. The athletic, agile man tripped twice as he swam through the crowd to find the source of this scent. Not the hotdog cart. Not the bouquets of flowers. Not the tall, unnaturally blonde woman wearing Chanel No 5 (and little else). It was a scent he knew but couldn’t place. The smell was like a migraine trigger, except his head didn’t ache with pain.

Xavier begged pardon, passed, and pushed into a crowd of tourists. They were the horridly easy to spot kind: twelve people in matching neon pink tee-shirts, all carrying cameras and paying more attention to the sights than their valuables. He had to reach the source of the smell. Urgency whipped him into a frenzy. He moved beside a short young lady and sniffed her.

“What are you doing?” She skewed her face. Never had Xavier been on the receiving end of such a look, as if he were a madman invading her personal space.

As he sniffed her again he realized, indeed, he was just that.

“There’s a scent about you I can’t quite place.” A flash blinded him as he spoke. “I think it’s your scarf. Where did you get it?” He rubbed his eyes.

A portly woman shoved against Xavier while reaching for the young lady’s arm. “I’ve got his picture, Ophelia. The crazies are well-dressed here, aren’t they?” She turned to the others. “All part of the experience at Bella’s Tours.”

“You have lovely accents.” Xavier bowed. “Northern Mississippi?” He faked a smile when there was no answer. “Sorry for the intrusion. I am Xavier Doyen, of…”

The portly woman poked him with her thick middle finger. “These here are my group. You best be movin’ along. Go on.” She motioned with her chin.

Xavier’s nostrils flared. He glanced at the portly woman. “No.” Xavier’s vibrant green eyes blazed, flecks of blue flaring in bright swirls of burning white. The woman grabbed her neck. Her face went beet red. Xavier shut his eyes, shook his head, and cleared his throat. The woman doubled over, water spewing from her mouth. He turned away.

“I need to know where you got your scarf.” Xavier touched Ophelia’s chin to redirect her gaze. The coughing woman stole the attention back. Xavier pulled three bills of a large denomination from his wallet. The young lady eyed the money. Her hand shook as she took the cash.

“My cousin, Irving, found it at a secondhand store. See the purple hearts knit in with the black waves? I had a dream once like that.” Ophelia unwound the scarf from her neck. “Never imagined someone would want to buy the scarf off my neck. Are you a fashion designer? Will it end up on a runway?”

Xavier stepped away from the offered scarf. “Secondhand store,” he repeated her answer as he shook his head.

“Yes. He stopped at one by the beach when he was in California. I’m afraid I don’t know more.” She pressed the scarf to his hand. “It’s yours. It isn’t worth near as much as you gave me. A perfectly good scarf though. Then again, I don’t know much about fashion.”

“No. I couldn’t possibly keep it.” Xavier imaged the smell driving him to this sort of bizarre behavior every day. He looked to the portly woman. She was shivering and asking members of her tour group to take her pulse. “Do any of you have some water?”

Ophelia pulled a water bottle out of her bag. The label, featuring pictures of the statues of Atlas and Prometheus, caught his attention.

“A water bottle depicting man’s teacher of fire and the Titan for whom our nearest ocean is named. Ingenious,” Xavier remarked.

“I bought it at Rockefeller Center.” Ophelia pointed in the direction from which her group had come. “They have statues there that look like the pictures on the bottle.” She spoke slow and clear, in the tone one uses when stating a fact that should have been obvious.

Xavier sighed. Millions of people walk by silent Titans every day, without a single thought about them.

He poured a few drops on the corner of the scarf, then held it in his hand and concentrated. The drops revealed dozens of memories to his mind. Nothing of any use, nothing that explained the scent. His fingers pulled away just as one final memory came through. Though fuzzy, it was all the proof he needed. The missing member of his kind was out there. She had worn this scarf.

Xavier eyed the drop on the tip of his finger. There was a chance now, a hope of preventing the apocalypse. He cradled the precious water drop. “Thank you,” he said to Ophelia before he walked away.

“You’re sure you don’t want the scarf?” She called after him, but he vanished into the crowd. Just one more sardine of the sidewalk.

55 weak words

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The smell caused him to act out of character. Xavier’s nose suffered from the attack as he stepped out of his Manhattan office building and into the five o’clock crowd of the Madison Avenue sidewalk. The smell did not match a food, or one found in nature, or even a kind of perfume. The man’s biceps flexed when his dancer’s reflexes failed as he tripped twice while swimming through the crowd to find the source of this scent. Not the hotdog cart. Not the bouquets of flowers. Not the woman at his eye-level, with hair in need of another bottle of bleach, wearing Chanel No 5 (and little else). He knew the scent but could not recall from where or what. The smell took over his brain like a migraine, except his head didn’t ache with pain.

Xavier begged pardon, passed, and pushed into a crowd of twelve. Easy to spot tourists in matching tee-shirts, all carrying cameras and paying more attention to the sights than their valuables. He had to reach the source of the smell. Urgency whipped him into a frenzy. He moved beside one in a scarf and sniffed her.

“What are you doing?” She skewed her face. Never had Xavier been on the receiving end of such a look. Only a madman invading personal space deserved such an offensive expression.

As he sniffed her again he realized, indeed, an invading madman described his current state.

“There’s a scent about you I can’t quite place.” A flash blinded him as he spoke. “I think it’s your scarf. Where did you get it?” He rubbed his eyes.

Another woman shoved against Xavier while reaching for the lady’s arm. “I’ve got his picture, Ophelia. The crazies are well-dressed here, aren’t they?” She turned to the others. “All part of the experience at Bella’s Tours.”

“You have lovely accents.” Xavier bowed. “Northern Mississippi?” He faked a smile. Neither answered him. “Sorry for the intrusion. I am Xavier Doyen, of…”

The woman poked him with her thick middle finger. “These here are my group. You best be movin’ along. Go on.” She motioned with her chin.

Xavier’s nostrils flared. He glanced at the woman. “No.” Xavier’s vibrant green eyes blazed, flecks of blue flaring in bright swirls of burning white. The woman grabbed her neck. Her face went beet red. Xavier shut his eyes, shook his head, and cleared his throat. The woman doubled over, water spewing from her mouth. He turned away.

“I need to know where you got your scarf.” Xavier touched Ophelia’s chin to redirect her gaze. The coughing woman stole the attention back. Xavier pulled three bills of a large denomination from his wallet. The lady eyed the money. Her hand shook as she took the cash.

“My cousin, Irving, found it at a secondhand store. See the purple hearts knit in with the black waves? I had a dream once like that.” Ophelia unwound the scarf from her neck. “Never imagined someone would want to buy the scarf off my neck. Are you a fashion designer? Will it end up on a runway?”

Xavier stepped away from the offered scarf. “Secondhand store,” he repeated her answer as he shook his head.

“Yes. He stopped at one by the beach when he was in California. I’m afraid I don’t know more.” She pressed the scarf to his hand. “It’s yours. It isn’t worth near as much as you gave me. A good scarf though. Then again, I don’t know much about fashion.”

“No. I couldn’t possibly keep it.” Xavier imaged the smell driving him to this sort of behavior every day. He looked to the woman who had interrupted. She shivered as she asked members of her tour group to take her pulse. “Do any of you have some water?”

Ophelia pulled a water bottle out of her bag. The label, featuring pictures of the statues of Atlas and Prometheus, caught his attention.

“A water bottle depicting man’s teacher of fire and the Titan for whom our nearest ocean is named. Ingenious,” Xavier remarked.

“I bought it at Rockefeller Center.” Ophelia pointed in the direction from which her group had come. “They have statues there that look like the pictures on the bottle.” She spoke slow and clear, in the tone one uses when stating a fact that should have been obvious.

Xavier sighed. Millions of people walk by silent Titans every day, without a single thought about them.

He poured a few drops on the corner of the scarf, then held it in his hand and concentrated. The drops revealed dozens of memories to his mind. Nothing of any use, nothing that explained the scent. His fingers pulled away just as one final memory came through. Though fuzzy, it provided the proof he needed. The missing member of his kind existed somewhere. She had worn this scarf.

Xavier eyed the drop on the tip of his finger. A chance, a hope of preventing the apocalypse, all due to one memory. He cradled the precious water drop. “Thank you,” he said to Ophelia before he walked away.

“You’re sure you don’t want the scarf?” she called after him, but he vanished into the crowd. Just one more sardine of the sidewalk.

21 weak words

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I left some of the weak words that I feel bring clarity.

Does the scene feel stronger to you? Would you cut more or less words? Have you ever done this exercise?

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“What are you doing?” She skewed her face. Never had Xavier been on the receiving end of such a look. Only a madman invading personal space deserved such an offensive expression.

What might be a better way to phrase “skewed her face” for this image

What might be a better way to phrase “skewed her face” in this case?

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Socialize online with J Lenni Dorner:

@JLenniDorner on Twitter WhatAreThey on Facebook pages Author J Lenni Dorner on G+ JLenniDorner on Pinterest Follow J Lenni Dorner on Tumblr Find J Lenni Dorner on AboutMe Connect with J Lenni Dorner on LinkedIn
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Winner of the @JLenniDorner super secret bonus prize is @lexicalcreation

Congratulations to @lexicalcreation JEN for winning the SUPER SECRET BONUS PRIZE from one of the giveaways that just ended on this blog. Be on the lookout for this little dragon!
Ooak dragon necklace by ARAartisticcreations

Apr 14 2016

#atozchallenge L is for Writer’s Lab #Prompt Protagonist Failure

The craft of fiction writing is the Theme for the #atozchallenge 2016 on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Click for my theme details

26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples




#Supernatural Dean sexy seductive half smile image

L is for “Lab”
Book: The Writer’s Lab: A Place to Experiment with Fiction by Sexton Burke
My dice roll: 112
Lesson: Writing Prompt about a protagonist who fails

A protagonist normally achieves a goal by the end of the story. Write a scene or story where the protagonist comes close to succeeding, but ultimately fails. Is the scene satisfying for the reader?

*spoiler* In my book Fractions of Existence, Xavier fails. His goal is to reunite his kind, but he doesn’t do that. He is supposed to lead his group so they can prevent the apocalypse. He wants his true mate to know what she really is and fall in love with him all over again. Instead— … read the scene to find out!

And no, the hare is not just a hare.

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A strong wind lashed at his back. He failed to hold back his own tears any longer. “Of all that this world has to offer, you matter the most to me. But you must make your own choices. I will support you, even if I deeply wish that you had chosen me, instead. I must go. If you come with me, you will lose most of the life that you have right now. But Wend, if you stay, I must make one request of you.”

“What’s the request?” she whimpered.

“You must work on controlling your emotions, on focusing your breathing through each one, especially the truly strong emotions— such as grief, anger, and elation. I will be watching. I will know if you do not heed this request, but I cannot promise to be able to help you in time if you ignore it.”

“Then you won’t be far?” Wend sniffled. “You cannot be far if you will watch me.”

Xavier opened his eyes and laughed softly. “I can count tornadoes from New York, Wend.” One side of his lips curled up in a seductive smile.

She gave him a confused look. His fingers moved to her chin, his thumb brushed her lower lip for the smallest moment, and then he whispered good-bye.

~~


Xavier parked at the side of a road constructed on a cliff jutting over the ocean. The driver’s side mirror reflected the face of a man without a smile left in him. The hare on the passenger seat perked his ears up as Xavier pulled out his phone and wallet.

“Not sure what your plans are for the next few days, but if you aren’t coming back for Christmas, or aren’t planning to use typical transportation, please ship these to Jansen.” He placed the objects on the seat beside the hare, who nudged his hand with its nose.

“I can’t.” He barely managed to say before bursting into tears. His fingers shook as he unbuttoned his shirt. “I’m sorry that these will be a bit large on you. It is your favorite designer, though.”

The hare made some terrified squeaking sounds.

“I will not force her to reunite with our kind. I would sooner let this world end than to deny her the choice to keep the life she has forged for herself, here.”

Further sounds of fearful protest came from the animal.

“I have to go this way! I can’t bear the idea of a flight back across the country.” Xavier thrust his door open. He stepped out, shed the rest of his clothing, and turned to face the sea below. “Thank you for everything my friend.”

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Ian Somerhalder with one side of his lips curled up in a seductive smile- image
Was the scene satisfying to you?



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Socialize online with J Lenni Dorner:

@JLenniDorner on Twitter WhatAreThey on Facebook pages Author J Lenni Dorner on G+ JLenniDorner on Pinterest Follow J Lenni Dorner on Tumblr Find J Lenni Dorner on AboutMe Connect with J Lenni Dorner on LinkedIn
Author page of J Lenni Dorner on Amazon Author J Lenni Dorner on Smashwords friend J Lenni Dorner on Goodreads Nanowrimo buddy J Lenni Dorner Networked Blog @JLenniDorner Linky Followers @JLenniDorner Bloglovin

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ENDS TODAY!


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