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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Welcome to 2014 Virtual Blog Tour - This Stop Stamford, CT

After over a month I am a little better and ready to start blogging again. The loss of my husband will forever be in my heart, however, I'm a writer and I need to continue to write. Anyone who reads my blog knows all about me, but for those who don't know me my Profile is right here. I am a retired teacher and an author of one published novel for YA, IF I COULD BE LIKE JENNIFER TAYLOR, found at MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and one soon to be published YA novel, AFTER. I also write a bit of poetry.

I was asked by Pearl Ketover Prilik to participate in the 2014 Virtual Blog Tour and so I am doing that now. First a little about me and where I am living. I am living right next to the water in Stamford, CT. I love being able to walk along the boardwalk where I live and see the water and the birds that are living wild here. A few years ago I photographed the swan mother and her babies. I also love seeing the egrets that live here too. We have plenty of ducks and lots of geese as well. There are little inlets all over where I live and the ducks and geese love to swim there. The apartment complex keeps the grounds and there is a path by the preserve where bunnies sometimes come to peek out to see if it's safe for them. The boats in the marina create a picturesque setting when I look from my terrace. We also have a pool for the apartments and though I haven't used it very much I plan to get out there as soon as I can. 
                                           Swan mother leaving her nest in the rushes with her
                                           swanlings.

                                          The view from the boardwalk

                                            View of Stamford Harbor
                                               
                                                               Great Egret

We didn't always live here. We were forced to move because of a fire in an apartment next door to ours in a two family duplex. We suffered a lot of smoke damage and the other apartment was completely gutted killing two of our neighbors. I wrote a blog post about this event called Time to End the Curse of 2009.We were put up in a hotel and then we wound up staying there for over a month until we found this place in another city from where we had lived. In fact it was in another state. We had always lived in New York, so moving to Connecticut was a very big step for us.

Now it's time to thank the person who asked me on this tour, (Dr) Pearl Ketover Prilik. Her bio follows, but it doesn't say anything about how talented and warm hearted she is. She pretty much brought all of us together and started and finished two poetry anthologies. She is modest and her poetry is enchanting. 






Dr.) Pearl Ketover Prilik is a writer/psychoanalyst living on the South Shore of LI with her husband and Oliver, a human -in -disguise as a cat.  She has had three non-fiction books published, was editor of a post-doc psychoanalytic newsletter and editor/contributor of two poetry anthologies –She has been delighted to have poetry and micro-fiction published in a number of online and print literary journals and is currently and still successfully avoiding editing two completed novels. Although she is known alternately as pkp, Dr. Pearl, drpkp and a few other alias she claims to have committed no crime outside the purview of the grammatical.


The next part of this Virtual Blog Tour is to answer 4 questions. Here are my answers:


1.                What am I currently working on?
                  Currently I am in the middle of editing my upcoming novel, AFTER and I am in the second round of edits for this. I announced this novel as WHEN MY LIFE CHANGED, but after working on it for awhile and suggestions from my kids I decided to change the title. This novel as did my last one, took a great deal of time to be published. So I am very happy it will finally be out there. I think people who read my first book will find this one very different. It is about a fifteen year old girl whose father calls one night while having a heart attack. He goes on to need bypass surgery and this changes her entire life in one moment. It has a love story and of course a mean girl too.

                 Also I have another novel called FOOTSTEPS ON THE SAND, which is still a WIP. I wrote the entire novel and then after it was critiqued decided to add a ghost to it. So I am doing that after I finish my editing.
2.               How does my work differ from others of its genre?
           I think my work differs from others because I write about social issues in a very realistic way. I incorporate my own life experiences in a fictional way using characters that are not at all like myself.

         In my poetry I also use my own life experiences, but usually I am inspired by events that cause me to need to write. With poetry the words come easily and flow, but mostly my work tends to be realistic too.  
3.               Why do I write/create what I do?
   I never know what is coming out of my head when I start to write. Sometimes it’s poetry and sometimes it’s the beginning of a story. I never know what the character might be until I write it. So I have written in several genres including short stories and even flash stories a couple of times. Lately since participating in the Poetic Asides challenges I tend to write from a prompt for poetry. I have written flash stories for challenges in newsletters too and several of them have been published.
   
4.               How does my writing/creating process work?
         As I mentioned before I get the idea for a story and I start to write. However, this process of getting an idea happens when I have a full sentence or phrase in the case of poetry, in my head. Then I write that down and the writing goes from there. I don’t usually plot anything because the story moves itself. Once I have a character I do develop that character by doing a character wheel to find out all I can about him or her. This requires intense scrutiny of their environment, likes and dislikes and even what they might have in their closet. I also find out about their parents or friends and create these characters as well. This usually happens after the initial paragraph or two is on there. Then I decide what motivates this character the most and the story moves from there. I don’t know the ending yet, because that will happen as I write the story. It’s more like I and the characters melt together and I’m writing as they are in each scene. If I have a narrator this helps to move the story along too. Writing mostly for YA my stories are in first person, so it’s like I am constantly thinking what will I do now. The dialogue comes from the situations as if I were conversing with the characters and it’s important to know the voice of your character as well. Each character will approach each other very differently and so you need to keep continuity with them. However, this is not conscious for me and usually I just go with the flow and revise afterward.

That brings me to the plotting part. After I have written maybe a half of the novel I usually wind up needing to focus on plot. It’s important to have the character dealing with lots of problems so the story can move forward. I try to go by the way I was taught. That is your character needs to have three problems to solve and then you move to the climax where it seems all is lost and your character is doomed. So I have to go back and check to see if I have done all this. Once this is settled and all of the plots are done including the ones for the secondary characters, I can continue the story and move to the end. As I said I don’t know the end of my story when I start, because I don’t know how the characters will interact and figure out how to solve the problems they face. However, I always stop when I think it’s the end and that works. I know this sounds very haphazard and there are writers who make outlines and plot beforehand and know their endings, but that is not how I write. It makes for a very dynamic experience for me while I’m writing and I enjoy that.

Then there’s the revisions, which come after I have done the first draft. I put it away for at least a month so I can pretty much forget about it. Then I look at it and decide if it’s worth revising. If I like it, which happens for me all the time, I start rereading and rewriting as I go. I might cut words or even at one time I cut a character. Sometimes I find that an action a character did doesn’t work or maybe the dialogue needs changing. After I have done all this I show it to someone who I trust. Usually it’s another writer I know, but I have used critique groups too in the past. Now I give it to my daughter who is my best critic. She tells me the truth and I use what she says to help me.

When I am completely happy with what I have written I send it to my publisher and both times it has been accepted for publication.

For poetry I don’t go through the same process. With most poems I write them and post them almost immediately. For publication I do go back and check and rewrite a little, but from years of writing poetry I tend to get out what I want to say immediately.



Now for the people I have invited. The first one is someone I have known for a long time. She is a poet and familiar to most of us who know her from Poetic Asides. She is:


                                   CLAUDETTE YOUNG




Claudette J. Young began writing seriously in 2008 and continues to write in multiple genres. She strives to learn something new each day—a new poetry form, new writing technique, new foreign word, or whatever strikes her fancy. Her primary genres are poetry, science fiction/fantasy, flash fiction, children’s literature, women’s fiction, along with creative non-fiction, essay, and memoir. She tries to cover all of her bases by writing for audiences that range from young children to senior citizens.


Claudette has been published in numerous online publications for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, as well as print magazines and two international poetry anthologies. She continues to hone her craft by working on multiple projects, including book-length ones. Her regular work can be viewed on her collaborative website and blogs at:            http://www.facebook.com/l/PAQHiFTekAQGPt_zJEj0PFmcq0shCTu_f1YDpGzIUhva1zA/2voices1song.com/ 

as well as 
http://www.facebook.com/l/hAQEx_h3MAQHAIE9cOVPjp1oRe5bzd4N4FCtJQvpOWhC-jA/www.claudettejyoung.com/

Unfortunately at this time I was unable to find two more people and I will try to add them if I do find them. Meanwhile please enjoy Claudette's blog and please leave a comment here and on her blog. Also please visit Pearl's blog too. You will find all the poetry on each of these blogs very magical. Enjoy!!!

Until the next time, thanks to all of you who sent me prayers and hugs and good thoughts during my time of mourning. I am still very sad a lot of the time, but as I said in the beginning we are all trying to move through this.

On July 24th I am going to reinaugurate my monthly show on Red River Radio. I will remind all of you about this on my Facebook page and Twitter. Meanwhile, please visit our new Facebook page:

Red River Radio Network

12 comments:

  1. How happy to see you as part of Pearl's tour Barbara...and an enchanting leg of the tour it was too. You can't go wrong when you lead off with swans, especially a Mama and babies (amazing how the cygnets almost look blue in that light, yes?). I hadn't heard how you had come to live where you are now before. I'll have to go back and read some of your work from that time. It must have been unsettling in so many ways. I am a great fan of NYC and would have found that wrench alone(leaving there) a heart-breaking proposition, never mind all the other things that went on. I'm very impressed with your prodigious output, I need to take a page out of your workbook I think...great to see you working through your grief also Barbara, I know how hard that can be.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sharon!! The swans are amazing and I took those photos two years ago. She lost her mate and hasn't had babies since then. You know swans mate for life.

      We moved from North White Plains which is in Westchester about 40 miles from NYC. Click on the link to read what I wrote about why we had to move.

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  2. I like how you think, Barbara. We work in so many similar ways, at least as far as poetry is concerned. It's good to know that I'm not alone in that. And your first book was delightful to read. I'm looking forward to the next.

    I want to thank you for giving me the chance to participate in this tour. It's been a pleasure to follow your example. Thanks again.

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    1. Thank you, Claudsy!! It's good to know there is someone else who approaches poetry like I do.

      I hope you will like this second book , because it is different. We'll see. I don't even have a cover yet. Can't wait for that!!!

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    2. It is so nice to see you blogging again. That is a good sign.

      I enjoyed reading about your writing process, I always find it interesting how different writers have methods that work for them. I recently went to a writing seminar through SCBWI. The author who was speaking has published 6 young adult books. He has found a process that works for him. Basically, it is writer for two hours, Play Video game for an hour, write two hours, eat lunch, write three hours, play video games again, write. I thought that was unusual but he says he has tried many approaches and this is the one that is most productive for him.

      Good luck with After. It sounds like a good one.

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    3. Thank you Linda. Each writer has their own process. I basically don't write any set time. It's when the muse strikes and then I tend to write nonstop for awhile. Usually it's at least 2000 words by the time I'm finished. I love that author's process though.

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  3. Very pleased to read this and get an understanding of how you do what you do so well, Barbara! I look forward to reading more.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Walt. I am delighted you feel this way!!! I have to admit I haven't had a chance to go over and read your post, so I am looking forward to that!!

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  4. Delighted to see these other comments. Yes, I was here first - to comment and yes Barbara I've had the same dreaded slippy finger erase a comment that I enjoyed... soooo here I am again... can't promise it is the same as I didn't save but the enthusiasm is unwavering. I am delighted that I asked you to join the tour and doubly delighted that you did so! Your voice positively rings through each sentence - it is SO GOOD to hear you <3 Your description on your work process is actually a short course on writing - truly excellent - I am delighted and eagerly awaiting AFTER - by the way I LOVE the title - Thank you for the kind words you directed my way - they are deeply, deeply appreciated. Great to see you back Meandering and I'll "see you on the radio" :)

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome Pearl!! Thank you for reposting your comment. You could have just copied your last comment, because I sent it in the email. But this one is terrific and so you!!! Glad you like the new title. Soon I will have a chapter you can read, but I'm still editing the book.

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  5. So glad to read some of your words again, Barbara! It was interesting to read about your character wheel. Do you use a template? Take care. :)

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    1. Yes, actually I do if I need it. It's very basic and if you are interested I can send you to the link where you can find it. I did a whole workshop on this and maybe I can find my notes too for you if you want them. Let me know and give me your email so I can send them. I find if you flesh out your character you don't need a plot. It just flows from the character's motivation as I said.

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