Blog

An Informal Survey of Writers About Reading

A discussion with a writer friend piqued by curiosity about the reading habits of writers. I’d love to see some responses to these questions.

  1. How often do you read?
  2. Do you finish every book you start?
  3. If not, what causes you to stop reading a book?
  4. What’s your definition of flowery language?
  5. Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book?
  6. How important is the first line of a book or story?
  7. Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read?
  8. Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader?
  9. What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)?
  10. Did you leave a review?

 

Blog

Storytellers

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay (Altered)

Day 337

I come from a long line of storytellers. To me, a good oral storyteller is hard to come by these days. We do not seem to spend enough time together to regale one another with stories like I remember. But when we take the time, magic happens.

I have written here how much my grandchildren love the stories I make up. They are fly by the seat of my pants kinds of stories and by the next day, I have forgotten most of them. The key is, however, they remember.

When our first grandson was born, at bedtime we always retreated to bed and I told him a story. This went on for years. Now he is a senior in high school and he still remembers, but the stories have ended. I have decided to write a story for him when he graduates about the coming of age of the protagonist of these made up stories. I know he will like it.

I really enjoy fellow bloggers’ fiction and poetry they so generously share in their blogs. I recently read a serial written by Pete over at BentleyPete that was a bit of a ghost story. Click here to read Moving Day if you are not already following him.

Pete’s story helped me recall all the ghost stories we were told growing up. Sitting around the campfire listening to scary stories perhaps helped me fall in love with a good story. So many urban legends (our stories pre-date that term) about local people and the mysterious circumstances and unexplainable events that haunted them. I remember one about three coffins in the sky floating over the mountains, the aliens my dad saw, the body of a drowning victim never recovered, the mysterious heavy weight on the trunk of a local man’s car, etc. Then there were the Appalachian mountain legends — the Brown Mountain Lights, the Creekfield Woman among many, many others. All fodder for a good ghost story.

The ability to spin a good story and make you feel like you are there is a well honed craft. I am really enjoying Teagan’s latest serial where she uses suggestions of objects from her readers for inclusion in her serials. Her latest endeavor has us boarding the Delta Pearl for a riverboat adventure. If you are not reading along, you should check it out.

Linda G. Hill who so generously hosts writing challenges is a successful writer and editor. Where does she find the time?

Yesterday I read Frank’s blog where he posted part of a poem he penned. It was beautiful. He shared the entire poem and through further discussion I discovered he has a collection of his poetry published.

I started investigating which fellow bloggers have work published available to purchase. I have several selections in my shopping cart on Amazon to buy. I want to support those writers who so generously share their work for me to enjoy.


To those who write here — thank you. I look forward to discovering other things you have written and supporting your efforts. I also look forward to all I have yet to discover. Reading what you write is not only enjoyable, but it also makes me a better writer.

Blog

Care for a Hand of Cards, Anyone?

Day 127

IMG_2719When I lived in Florida I wandered into a little upscale antique store in Winter Park. I was perusing the well-organized display cases when a small deck of cards caught my eye. By small, I mean miniature. Maybe two inches by three inches.

“Oh, wow. A miniature deck of Authors“, I said.

Authors? You are the first person to ever recognize those cards.” The cashier was surprised.

“We played all the time when we were kids.”

“Amazing. I have never heard of it!”

I passed on paying $29.00 for the miniature deck of cards, however.

Today I ran across a post on Facebook and someone mentioned the game of Rook. Ahhh, what fun! The memory wheels were set in motion.

Authors

We always had a deck of Authors cards. I knew all these authors names by heart as well as several of their books from playing this game. The face I remember most vividly was that of Robert Louis Stevenson. According to Wikipedia, the authors most often represented were:

  • Louisa May Alcott
  • James Fenimore Cooper
  • Charles Dickens
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Washington Irving
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Sir Walter Scott
  • William Shakespeare
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Mark Twain
  • John Greenleaf Whittier

I think the set we might have owned is available for sale on eBay if you want to take a look.

Rook

Rook is a card game we always had lying around the house. I remember playing at my grandmothers’ houses as well as at home. This is another of many card games where one bids on the opportunity to name the trump suit and using trump cards to take tricks.

We played Rook a lot. Adults and children together. I used to love playing, but I must admit it has been a number of years since I’ve even seen a Rook deck. Again, the set we owned (red cards) is available on eBay.

It was interesting to discover that the Rook deck was created as a substitute for a regular deck of cards which some religions associated with gambling or fortune telling. They were often referred to as Christian cards or Missionary cards. I never knew that until today!

Cards Were a Source of Amusement

It seemed we played cards a lot more than most families do today. Everything from Old Maid to poker to cribbage to euchre to gin rummy to hearts to spades and of course solitaire. Anything to pass the time when there wasn’t much opportunity for things like television. The only one I was never exposed to was bridge.

I do remember, however, that my mother was a bit of a sore loser. I’ve seen her throw the deck of cards across the room if she lost too many hands in a row.

Now, as I sit here, I cannot remember the last time I played a hand of cards. How about you?

 

 

Blog, Writing

Introductions

Day 98

One of my writing lessons today was all about getting the reader interested in the story you have to tell. It made me think about what makes me want to continue reading. Of course, the first line is key.

I found this great infographic from Scribendi.com which they will generously share as long as they are properly credited. Fair enough! Please click on the link below the image and check out their website. They have some helpful articles for writers — and they provide editing and proofreading services to boot.

Compelling First Lines of Famous BooksInfographic created and owned by Scribendi.com

What a powerful list of novels first lines! My most memorable has always been A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

As I ponder the beginning of my book (I am learning the beginning of the book is often not discovered until well into the writing) I ask — what is your favorite book? Do you remember the first line? Or maybe it’s not your favorite book, but one that has stayed with you over the years.

As I was researching today, I also ran into a writing prompt I’ve seen many times before. If you were writing an autobiography, what would your first line be? Well, folks, reducing one’s life into a compelling introductory sentence could be difficult. Definitely food for thought.

It’s been a good, full day. Now I am off to ponder words and try to decide if I am going to enter this writing contest that fell into my lap today.