Tag Archives: writing

Slaves, flaming swords, and re-outlining a novel

There are only two more weeks left in Preptober, with only 13 more days to go before the start of NaNoWriMo!

So my WiP is still about escaped slaves, escaping slaves, former slaves, and a slave holder and catcher or two, with a few assorted other MCs to be mentioned later (if someone is interested: please let me know in the comments). And it is still revolving around the Ever-Turning Flaming Sword, but I’ve just realized, in writing my most recent scene rough rough draft, that I need, yet again, to reset a couple of important base points from my main plot!! Argh!

I’m also finding that I hate writing the detailed outline for each scene of my novel, which I’ve been working on since June, now.

I needed the high level scene outlines, which I scribbled on 3×5 cards, and then hated when it came time to lay them all out so I could see the main plot and my three subplots.

Now that I’m writing my detailed scene outlines, one page of a4 paper for each scene, those 3×5 cards are coming in handy, while I am cursing the fact that I just grabbed any scrap of paper or my smart phone (to bring up workflowy) when ideas would hit me, and now have a vast array of bits of different colored paper marked up in different colors of pen and highliter colors, workflowy notes, and my spreadsheet, which I use to lay out the scene order and number, while assigning a preliminary word count to each scene.

To make matters worse, I’ve found that I actually prefer to type the rough draft scenes into a word processor (for page by page wordcounts), rather than writing on paper, as I’d planned.

So now, I have partial scenes written and spaced out in my notebook with literally 6 different types and sizes of paper, in 8 different color markings, and then 2 places online to look: I think that the sequel will be all on soft-copy!! –

 

So, I am now rapidly re-rePlotting my WiP, to avoid the tractor-trailer sized plot hole I only just discovered, via my 3rd subplot… 

More on my continuing striving with sword and slave tales next time, friends:

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of literacy and hope that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different sources to translate the word “slave” into Hebrew.

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please, OR:

3.) Share your thoughts on your writing process.

Any ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!

ShiraDest

Preptober for NaNoWriMo 2020 CE

October, 2020 CE = 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

Sacred Study Saturdays, flaming swords, and writing a novel

It’s still Preptober, with only 15 more days to go before the start of NaNoWriMo!

I’m not ready to write my novel! I need to finish researching, and this week’s portion has my favorite fantasy item that goes into my novel!

It is the end of the first week of the new Torah study cycle, Parashat Bereshit!

Since my synagogue (as most, if not all, Masorti/Conservative movement shuls now do) follows the Triennial Torah reading cycle, rather than the Annual cycle, so now it takes us three years to read the entire Torah, rather than just one.  I still sort of miss the Annual (Full) cycle, but I also admit that it is much easier to keep up with when doing other work.

This week, the Bible again, from the beginning:

October 10, 2020 –

 

page 22
 

1.41% “Genesis 2:19 recalls the famous Rabbi who carried a note in each pocket, 1 of which read:
עפר אני
I’m dust”

 
October 14, 2020 –

 

page 22
 

1.41%“Gen 2:20-25, naming, sleep, rib, and naming again: All by the man…”

 
October 15, 2020 –

 

page 22
 

1.41% “5th reading of Parashat Bereshit:
וַיְגָ֖רֶשׁ אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיַּשְׁכֵּן֩ מִקֶּ֨דֶם לְגַן־עֵ֜דֶן אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִ֗ים וְאֵ֨ת לַ֤הַט הַחֶ֙רֶב֙ הַמִּתְהַפֶּ֔כֶת לִשְׁמֹ֕ר אֶת־דֶּ֖רֶךְ עֵ֥ץ הַֽחַיִּֽים׃
So after banishing the man, who lived east of the garden, The Chruvim and the The Ever-Turning Flaming Sword guard the way/road to the Tree of Life.
Interesting that the commentary asserts that The Sword must have been known”

 

So, it turns out that this week contains part, a fun and interesting part, of the inspiration for my WiP.  I love it when my writing coincides with my curiosity interests, like history and languages. The struggle becomes not to get too far into the research and forget to write!

That sword is not held by any angel, person, nor Cherub, but turns on its own, and was apparently a known magical or spiritual object in the ancient Mesopotamian world. That is all I’ve been able to find about the Ever-Turning Flaming Sword, so I guess that gives me plenty of leeway for my characters to ‘find’ information about it… 

More on my continuing striving with Biblical tales next week, friends:

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of literacy and hope that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different sources to translate the word “sword” into Hebrew.

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your thoughts on how you like each of the resources you found,  perhaps as an update on your GoodReads reading,

4.) Write a blog post or tweet that uses a Hebrew word, tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!

ShiraDest

Preptober for NaNoWriMo 2020 CE

October, 2020 CE = 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

struggling with my outlining

This is just a quick complaint, and I shall now return to my scene outlining!

Any encouragement is appreciated!

Shira

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!

ShiraDest

October, 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

Thoughtful Thursdays, almost Hoshanah Rabah (and praying for rain in the desert), and 15 minutes of WiP research prompt writing for PrepTober

So it is almost sunset, still the 5th intermediate day of Sukkot, and getting closer to the traditional day for the joyful circumnaviation of the synagogue (ok, not this year…), and the prayers for rain which I usually avoid: but now I realize that the entire world needs more fresh water. But they didn’t back in 1838 Baltimore:

Back to -Oh, no, it’s almost November! Er, NaNoWriMo!!

Here is where I am in my research for my WiP, which brings me more and more clarity as I research where various MCs might have spent their respective days, according to their various stations in life.  Where to keep all of this information is also an interesting problem, as I jot down notes by hand from books, or find websites and journal articles online.

So, now my timeline is progressing, also, as I set dates for MC births, when Ice Cream arrived in MD, and news of the first Mardi Gras parade down in New Orleans.

Some of my more interesting recent notes thus far, as I gather them via Twitter:

My MCs could have met #FrederickDouglass just before he left Baltimore, but as Frederick Bailey, still… https://twitter.com/ShiraDest/status/1313574177450926082
 
” A bigger school and new chapel were built in 1836. The new chapel is especially significant because it was not only for the use of the convent of the Oblate Sisters of Providence but was also used by Baltimore’s black Catholics.” oblatesisters.com/history #wip #WhoByFireIWill

https://twitter.com/ShiraDest/status/1314348610088251395-

 

So, it turns out that plot and character development go hand in hand, for me, with research, which I love as it fleshes out everything as I consider each subplot.  More on my continuing striving with escaped slaves and family stories next time, friends:

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of empathy that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different resources to show slavery related history, like slave pens, near you.

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your thoughts on how you found each of the resources you found,  perhaps as an update on your GoodReads reading,

4.) Write a blog post or tweet that discusses slavery or some related aspect of injustice, tells a good story, or just makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!

ShiraDest

Last day of ‘normal’ chol haMoed Sukkot 5781

October, 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

Preptober on an intermediate Sukkot Wednesday: Day 7 (from Edana Ülf’s NaNoWriMo 2020 Prep #7 prompt): World Building

So I just saw that there is a structure to this prep month of October, before NaNoWriMo, apparently, though I’ve still not found the origin, nor the rest of the (31, presumably) prompts (?). I’m still not sure if pushing myself to start writing my Rough Draft while I’m still outlining is a great idea, but I know that I’m getting sick of outlining, so why not?

So, like Edana, I am going to write for 15 minutes on a specific aspect of my story’s society and/or culture.


My WiP is set in 1838, mostly in Baltimore, but also will move for about 13% of the scenes (6/46 of my total scenes) down to Ann Arundel county (near Annapolis, the state capital).  Since my MCs are mostly Colored workers, slavery figures prominently in the story (especially since my protagonist is an escaped slave), but I also have to deal with differences between Baltimore City and the surrounding counties of northern MD vs those of the Chesapeake Bay, like Ann Arundel, where my protagonist, his wife, and his son, are from.  Since he was high status on the plantation from which he fled his depraved master, he does not fit in well in Baltimore, where though most Black folks are free at this time, most came from lower positions on plantations further south, and are darker skinned, so despite the relative lack of skin-color barriers (according to the author of Freedom’s Port), there is still discomfort for him, as a light-skinned man.

There is also a rising level of anti-free and anti-Black & MU sentiment among the white population of Baltimore city, since the 1831 uprising in VA, and also due to increased immigration of mostly Irish but also German immigrants, taking semi-skilled jobs that had earlier been available, like caulking, from the colored workers.  So friction is growing in this previously liberal city, and most of my characters are on the lookout for the increasing danger of being kidnapped and sold (whether free or not). 

Religiously, oops, next time…

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of literacy and hope that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different resources on slavery in the late antebellum (last three decades before the Civil War) period.

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your thoughts on how you like each of the resources you found,  perhaps as an update on your GoodReads reading,

4.) Write a blog post or tweet expanding your thoughts on the above, or a story that tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!

ShiraDest

3rd day Chol HaMoed Sukkot, 5781

Preptober, 2020, aka: 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

Thoughtful Thursdays, and NaNoWriMo prep

Here is what I have figured out about my personal writing process thus far:

Protag, conflict, antag, play with plot ideas, pick one as the Inciting Incident

Logline

Story Spine

back cover copy

Main Plot outline

subplot outlines

then either: synopsis and rough draft,

or

rough draft and synopsis (2pg, 3pg and 7pg)

 

So, it turns out that trying to write my synopsis simply does not work, for me, until I’ve got the scenes outlined already.  I personally cannot use a synopsis as a top-down outline, but I do need a plan, with tone (via the tagline) and story throughline (via the logline and back cover copy) to get me to the scenes.  Which I do need outlined before I can write confidently.  The problem is that I like to just write, but I know from previous NaNoWriMo experiences that editing what I wrote without outlining is enough to make me give up after 3-6 revisions!  So, more planning, now!  Until next week, friends!

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of literacy and writing that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different reasons to write your own novel, either just for yourself, or for publication.

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your thoughts on writing in general, if you feel moved, here in the comments.

4.) Write a comment about your experiences with NaNoWriMo, or why you do not like the idea of NaNoWriMo. I’m working on a novel starting a bit earlier.  My historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill comes from my own family history.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!

ShiraDest

September, 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

Looking for a partner in time… to write new cultural commentaries!

This post is a whim, completely off focus and off topic, so please forgive me: I’ll be back on my winding track, as I continue to make my blog more straight and narrow, shortly. But for this moment…

Who doesn’t dream of the perfect partner: a soul mate, that one person on this planet with whom you mesh completely, who gets you, and whom you also get and complete? Who can finish your sentences, and even re-write them better than you first wrote them?!

I write to rewrite my story. I study the sacred texts, particularly in Hebrew, and I plan also one day to learn them in Arabic, for guidance on how to rewrite my story. I also look to Rumi, to Octavia, to Olivares and to Betüş. But the Bible is my native culture’s foundational text, and so I must learn first how my origins have shaped me, and thus how to reshape my future.

Then, I look to other influences for signs of what has been, what might have been, and what could yet become.

Anyone care to join me?

I’m using Biblical and other sacred sources.

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

Looking for a study partner

I write to rewrite my story. I study the sacred texts, particularly in Hebrew, and I plan also one day to learn them in Arabic, for guidance on how to rewrite my story. I also look to Rumi, to Octavia, to Olivares and to Betüş. But the Bible is my native culture’s foundational text, and so I must learn first how my origins have shaped me, and thus how to reshape my future.

Then, I look to other influences for signs of what has been, what might have been, and what could yet become.

Anyone care to join me?

I’m using the JPS Etz Haim, but we can add other sources if a Chevrutah/Study Partner wishes.

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

Alonso, por Omar R. La Rosa

Learning languages to read EMdT fanfic, or to get a better job (with health care): both are long-term good things, verdad?

Link and artwork used here by permission.

The image above of Alonso de Entrerríos, 16th century Spanish soldier and 21st century secret agent, is from a wonderful piece of fan fiction, written in Spanish, which is based on the series El Ministerio del Tiempo.   Learning a language gives one access not only to the joy of seeing historical settings come to life in the hands of skilled writers like the author of this serial work of fan fiction, Omar R. La Rosa, who continues to inspire “Ministericos” as dedicated followers of the series are called, but also gives one another advantage.

If you take the time,”about a year,” to learn a language that may or may not come in handy later, like Cmdr Ivanova, you too could end up commanding an elite force of future paladins dedicated to protecting the vulnerable and saving the galaxy!!  Maybe also saving the entire planet earth from COVID-19 by explaining to them in their own languages that smoking makes it worse, and why everyone needs #UniversalHealthCare! 🙂

“¡Por Santiago y por España!”
“We live for the One, we die for the One”

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE

Black Women Writers at Work: Review of an older but very persistently worthwhile book

I am so glad I happened to see this book Black Women Writers at WorkBlack Women Writers at Work by Claudia Tate
at the public library.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was moved with both recognition, and with fear, at Audre Lorde’s comment that “it’s scary because we’ve been through that before. It was called the fifties.” Then I was moved with that stirring to act, upon reading in print what I have known and been told in different words since Dunbar (High School): “My responsibility is to speak the truth… with as much precision and beauty as possible. … We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”
And we must not remain silent while the blood of our sisters/brothers/neighbors/communities/fellow human beings is shed.

Sherley Anne Williams reiterates this responsibility of a writer to write as well as one can and to “say as much of the truth as I can see at any given time.”

Although this book is dated, and does not include my favorite author (Octavia Butler), I am so glad that I read this book in spite of my initial misgivings. From Bambara’s hope that “We care too much … to negotiate a bogus peace,” to DeVeaux’s “responsibility to see,” I find my own compulsion to write validated by the responsibility of a writer to render individual expression into a universal expression, and to give voice to the voiceless/unseen/erased. To show the unspoken and to “empathize with the general human condition.”

Society needs all perspectives because without those perspectives, we are missing vast parts of what our society actually looks like, which leads to deep problems. Writing, as was pointed out, must transcend individual experience, but it also comes from and is filtered through individual experience, so we desperately, as leaders from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to Octavia Butler have pointed out, need every point of view.

Last note (not in my GR review): I think that this book has helped me to see that my intended audience has two possibly conflicting sections –
I. those who have endured traumas in early childhood or also in adulthood, particularly due to structural racism, and
II: those who can change that situation.

View all my reviews

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

April, 12019 HE