Heidi Mannan lives in the mountains of North Idaho. When she's not busy recording the bizarre encounters of her imagination, she enjoys, among other things, nature walks, yoga, and cats. Visit her at www.heidimannan.com
From back cover: Quirky, trepidation-riddled, red-in-the-face Betty Brown sees herself as the soil that lies unnoticed beneath the beauty of flowers. Her life is humdrum until she moves to the rural mountains of North Idaho, where her Uncle Frank disappeared. Her search for Frank leads her to an impossible choice between her most revered ideals and death.
My biggest problem with writing is that I don't have as much time for it as I'd like. I often hear other writers complaining that they are stuck or "blocked" and can't write a single word. I think this must stem from fear of failure, whether it be failure of rejection or just the inability to make a story or character turn out as imagined. Whatever the case, I think one solution is to put yourself in a setting where you don't normally write. It might spark new inspiration, even if you
I'm deviating from the topic of writing today to post about a great giveaway. As many of you know, I'm homeschooling my son. Last year for kindergarten we used Oak Meadow syllabus as a curriculum base and it worked pretty well for us. It uses Waldorf philosophy and includes a lot of nature based activities.
This year, I'm using Oak Meadow's first grade syllabus as part of a tailored curriculum that fits my son's learning style, which is very visual. I love that about teaching him my
"Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment." ~Thomas Carlyle
Letter Z is the least used letter of the English alphabet, at 0.07%. That's not to say that Z is inferior to other letters. On the contrary, this little lightening bolt symbolizes accomplishment. It is the last letter of our alphabet and if you've made it to Z, you've made it all the way.
I'd like to congratulate all those in the A to Z challenge who made it to Z. Bravo
"Knowledge is indivisible. When people grow wise in one direction, they are sure to make it easier for themselves to grow wise in other directions as well. On the other hand, when they split up knowledge, concentrate on their own field, and scorn and ignore other fields, they grow less wise--even in their own field." ~Isaac Asimov
I'm currently in the process of preparing my sons first grade home school curriculum. He taught himself how to read when he was four and can rea
"You fail only if you stop writing." ~Ray Bradbury
Here is the prologue to my manuscript, Turning Red.
One in the morning. The ticking magnetic clock on the fridge matched the throb in Betty's head. From windowsills framing darkened glass, and from nearly every inch of counter space, a variety of plants seemed to stare at her, awaiting an explanation.
"I know, I'm not usually out this late. Anti-death penalty sit-in and then coffee
"The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing." ~Sigmund Freud
Voice makes a writer recognizable, unique and special. Yet it's something many authors struggle with. It's well worth the effort to find your own personal writing voice. It's the very thing that will make your manuscript stand out among the throngs.
Finding your voiceDon't try to copy anyone else. Trying to mimic another author is one of the sur
"Write a little everyday, without hope and without despair." ~Isak Dinesen
One of the best stories I've written to date came from a dream. Upon waking, I quickly jotted it down and there it sat in a notebook for a few years. Later, when I pulled it out to make a story from it, I found it needed very little editing. When I jotted it down, I wasn't trying to make it perfect, I was just letting it come out naturally.
I wish it was always that easy. Just sit down for a fe
"Great stories happen to those who can tell them." ~Ira Glass
We've all heard the warning, no, the rule: Show, don't tell. But, while showing should be the dominant force in writing, there are instances when telling is the best avenue.
When to tell -To compress time - Say your character just experienced something so extraordinary that she has to tell someone. She probably needs help, after all. Rather than having her actually rehash what readers just sa
"Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm." ~Abraham Lincoln
Some books have the ability to open up and allow us to step into them. Setting is often a key factor in making this possible. More than merely where a story takes place, setting creates boundaries for a story and forces characters to react. For instance, if a story takes place in Montana during winter, you can't have your character gardening outdoors. Shoveling snow would be more likely
A quick little aside from A to Z ... Last Sunday, my blog was nominated for the Liebster Award by the lovely Miss Kate over at My Next Life. Thank you Ida Chiavaro @ Reflex Reactions, for nominating me for the award today! Since Kate nominated me first, I'll be answering her questions. I don't think I'm up for doing this twice. I'm always up for a challenge, so here's what I have to do:
1. Post the award on my blog2. Thank the blogger who gave me the award and link back to the
Anyone who's submitted their work for publication has seen the face of rejection. Probably many, many times. I happens to ALL writers. Check out this list:John Grisham’s first novel was rejected 25 times.Beatrix Potter had so much trouble publishing The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she initially had to self-publish it.Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, received 121 re
"Above all, a query letter is a sales pitch and it is the single most important page an unpublished writer will ever write. It's the first impression and will either open the door or close it. It's that important, so don't mess it up. Mine took 17 drafts and two weeks to write." ~Nicholas Sparks
Writers agonize over query letters. Personally, I dread the synopsis more, although, considering the above quote, writing a query letter still makes me sweat. In a query, you have
"I always have a basic plot outline, but I like to leave some things to be decided while I write." ~J. K. Rowling
Although it's pretty obvious, I'll take a moment to define plot. Plot is the what happens in a story and the sequence in which it occurs. Some writers like to use outlines to plot their novels before they start, others do best just jumping in and deciding how things will happen as they go. Either way, a good plot needs certain elements.
"Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes." ~Voltaire
It's always a good idea to have someone else read your writing before you deem it finished and send it out into the world. Because, let's face it, you're only one person with limited perspective. The more beta readers the better, because there are as many opinions as there are people. If you had 100 people read your book, reader 101 would point something out that everyone else overlooked
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." ~William Shakespeare
Picking the right names for characters is one of the things writers agonize over. Names are important. In picking the right names for the populace of a book, you must know your characters. Is a character strong and fearless or petite and frail. It should fit not only who they are, but also their ethnicity and time era.
“The function of the middle is to develop the implicit promise made by a story's beginning.” ~Nancy Kress
Often writers will delve into a story with much enthusiasm and then, even if they have a good idea where its all going to end, flounder through the middle. You know, all that stuff that has to happen to get us from point A to point B. Here are some tips to help keep your middle from sagging. Focus. Never lose sight of your through-line - the main plot line. It can be h
"Fiction is the truth inside the lie." ~ Stephen King
Fiction is made up. Does that mean it's just a bunch of lies? Well, let's see, the definition of a lie is to intentionally mislead. While writers sometimes exaggerate to make a point come across stronger, their purpose of writing fiction is most often to point out significant truths about life and the human existence. Yes, we fiction writers make up all sorts of stuff: characters, events, worlds and whatever else we want - and
"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." ~Stacia Tauscher
No imagination can parallel that of a child. What better time to begin planting the seeds of storytelling in our kids than while their creativity is at its most fertile and lively? My son began making books when he was very young, about three or four. Of course, he couldn't yet write. But he could draw. That's how young children tell stories, through their artwork.
"It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end." ~Ursula K. LaGuin
Working hard to achieve our goals is an important part of a healthy life. If our only focus, however, is the payoff at the end, we're robbing ourselves of our life essence. Think about that. It's easy for a writer to care more about finishing a story and having it published than the journey. But that's a huge mistake. There's a lot to gain from the journey.
"I sometimes find that in interviews you learn more about yourself than the person learned about you." ~ William Shatner
Here's an interview I did for the New Sun Rising project. It's a wonderful charity anthology that sends all proceeds to the Japanese Red Cross. My story Moon Kisses is included.
Title of piece contributed to New Sun Rising Moon Kisses
What was the inspiration behind your piece? Sometimes writers work from a visual such as a painting or phot
"Humor is mankind's greatest blessing." Mark Twain
I've often heard writing humor is the hardest type of writing. I can see the point; humor is even more subjective than the craft of writing itself. But it's fun, and fun is always worth it. Let's look at some ways to make readers laugh, or at least smile.
A word about perspective
Humor is all about perspective. How you, or your characters, view the world or situations is where the funny is
"The features of our face are hardly more than gestures which have become permanent." ~Marcel Proust
In order to create multidimensional, life-like characters, we as writers need to not only understand the people who populate our pages but also know how to portray their emotions. We've all heard about the show don't tell rule. It's vitally important to show how a character is feeling without coming right out and saying Bob was sad. One way to do this is by using gestures,
"Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life." ~Simone Weil
Today I'm posting a teaser from my short story, Call Me Crazy. It's available in an anthology titled I'll Never Go Away (Volume 1), published by Rainstorm Press. CALL ME CRAZY
My shadow wears red mittens Waving to all that pass My shadow dances and sings And stops to look at beautiful things While I am trapped and bitten.