The Writers Circle: Holidays in Writing

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

There are holidays in every month, but the big holiday season is upon us. Are holidays – religious, national, or cultural – a big part of any of your writing? Have you written an entire story around a holiday or incorporated a holiday as a major element? Have you written about a holiday with which you were unfamiliar and had to do research to make it authentic in your story? How did you do the research?

 

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

The Writers Circle: Gifts for Writers 2014

What’s with all the red?

Today is December 1st–World AIDS Day. The fight against AIDS is very personal to me, and my co-owner/editor has agreed to let me make this change to show support for World AIDS Day.

I lost my father 25 years ago when the disease was a death sentence. Today because of the hard work of hundreds of thousands of people, that’s no longer the case. In a few more years we might even have a cure.

Here are some quick links:
Learn more: http://www.worldaidsday.org/
Learn more: http://www.red.org/en/learn
Do Something: http://www.worldaidsday.org/act-aware.php
Do Something: http://www.red.org/en/act
Donate: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/natnationalaidstrust
Donate: http://www.red.org/en/act/donate
Buy something (charity gets a cut): http://www.red.org/en/shop/

Thank you for your taking the time to read this. And if you used any of those links to support, or learn more about, a cause that’s important to me, I thank you for that, too.

And now, I’ll turn your attention back to writing and today’s topic of Holiday gifts for writers.

–Dale

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

With the holiday season upon us, thoughts turn to gifts for us or for our loved ones. What do you, as a writer, wish someone would give you as a gift this holiday season? What are you planning to give to the writers on your gifting list?

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

Thanksgiving Day 2014

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It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States today. Thoughts turn to traditions and thankfulness, food and football (well, at least for some of us). For many of us, Thanksgiving Day is a chance to write (and maybe catch up on our word counts for NaNoWriMo).

We’d like to know what you, as a writer, are thankful for. What are your characters thankful for?

All of us at Today’s Author wish you and yours a happy, safe and healthy Thanksgiving and holiday season.

 

Just for Fun: Holiday Foods

Let’s get to know our characters a little bit better.  Consider that they are sitting down to a holiday feast. It could be with family, with friends, or with people they don’t know at all.  What do they eat?  Do they focus on the main entree or are they more about the sides? What dietary restrictions do they have and how does the group meal accommodate them? Perhaps most important of all: do they choose a single dessert or do they sample all of the pies, cakes and ice creams that are available?

Just for Fun: Holidays

Pick a character from a current work-in-progress, a past story you’ve written or one you’ve thought up but never used.  In honor of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, think about what this character does when they have a day off from work or school for a holiday. Do they go somewhere or follow any traditions?  Describe your character’s favorite holiday and how they spend it.  You can do this in the comments here or write a quick story and leave a link to it here in the comments.

The Writers Circle: Traditions

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

It is St. Patrick’s Day today, of course, and there are many traditions around how this day gets celebrated.  Thinking of your own stories, how do you incorporate traditions into your writing? I’m talking about traditions from the real world or traditions, holidays, rituals, or other things you might invent for the worlds in your stories. What is the favorite tradition or holiday you’ve invented in your stories?

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

Ordinary Grace in a Wild World

Between the strike of the match and the flare of the candle, I’ve written a masterful book in my head and forgotten half of it before my pen could move. Waiting for the computer to rev up, I revised my protagonist’s dilemma but couldn’t recall my brilliant narrative when the blank page begged for words.  Driving to work I resolved the plot glitch that had given me fits for the past four months. Finally home, I couldn’t order the words into sensible phrases. Dinner, if made at all, congeals in the microwave, the bills are lost in the “urgent” pile on my desk, I must ready a lesson for tomorrow’s class, and my book waits like the ugly stepsister for her dance with the prince. One more night late to bed, too tired in the morning to rise, my muse yawns away inspiration with every open mouth. The life of this writer: to think at lightning speed and write at a snail’s pace. To be so busy with everyday chores that the business of writing doesn’t get done on a regular basis.

For all the ordinary problems I confront every day, there are many I needn’t worry about: That a radical vigilante will set our home aflame, forcing my family to become refugees from our own country. That the drug cartels that have made kidnapping a national pastime in some states in Mexico will practice their skill on my family. That the AIDS virus rampant in Africa will leave my young grandchildren hungry orphans at the side of road. The unpredictable violence in other countries is a galaxy away from the insulated world of my American household.

Sadly, friends await lab reports, anxiously interpreting numbers of diseased cells on the wane or rise. Others mourn the loss of loved ones deceased decades earlier than the full measure of years once expected. Limbs born agile for some now move with spastic jerks, frustrating the intelligent minds of those afflicted. Severe accidents or illnesses have left several close friends with cataclysmic changes that threaten their longevity and the quality of life left to them. But none of these are my problems. I am merely sympathetic.

I do face genuine issues of pressing weight. My mother suffers from a loss of memory so grievous that should I leave the room for a short time, she will greet me as though I’ve been long lost when I return. The expectations of my new job require my attention in ways I didn’t expect when I was hired a few months ago. Still, I’m grateful for this job and thankful for the fact that my mom is still alive.

It isn’t just that I sometimes waste time, later to regret that I didn’t write when I had the time. It’s that I rarely appreciate the boring normality of my life that provides margins thick with nothing so urgent to do as to turn on my computer and write. I am going to eat tomorrow, more than I should or need, and go to work at a job I love. The buses will run on time, even though I don’t have to take them because I own a car. My husband and I have grown up together and now we are growing old together. Our sons remain close to us, their families providing the emotional rock on which I anchor. Predictability is practically a family member and I have little that is critical I must face every day. The barriers to writing success that I face are mostly internal, a lack of organization I need to address. Only I can overcome them and one day I will.

I’ve learned finally, am still learning, something really important. I cannot wallow in the anger I felt over a childhood wrecked with violence and uncertainty. The only way I can live, not merely survive but live, is to forgive and be gracious. It’s better for me to reach beyond myself and be a better person. This season, celebrated in many ways by so many of different faiths, reminds me that I have more learning to achieve, more giving to grant. What I write reflects what I’ve learned, I hope.

At these holidays of glitz and glory, fashion and faith, I will celebrate with my family, four generations that have learned to tolerate others and value our unique “I-ness.” I’ll travel from house to house, sharing feasts, regaling the joy of the youngest among us and the presence of the most aged. I’ll visit friends and stay late to hear all the jokes and stories. The gifts we’ll exchange are small compared to the luxury of our lives. I am lucky to have enough that we can and do give to those who are needy. I am loved and I love. I wish the same for you.

I’ve lit Hanukkah candles. You will light candles of your own. May the flames cast enough brightness that we can all see more clearly exactly what needs to get done, what needs to be written. And then may we do it.

Be well, friends.

The Writers Circle: Holiday Stories

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

It is often said that if a musician records a holiday song, they will forever be remembered because their song will be played on the radio, year after year. Is the same thing true for writers? If we write holiday-themed short stories, poems or novels, do we gain a long-term legacy as well? Should all authors plan on attempting to do this at some point in their writing careers?

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.