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Archive for the tag “Margaret”

Character Revolt

NOTE: brokenbonds_200X300(1)

This post previously appeared on my blog, http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/

This month’s blog round robin is about character revolt: did you ever have a secondary character threaten to take over a novel?

Boy, did I ever. And what’s more, he succeeded.

It went like this: After I wrote Relocated I was haunted by a question that I asked myself during the writing of the book: what happened to  the partners of one of my characters, Ardaval, who is living alone in a large house in the novel. While contemplating this question, as well as the question about the future progress of my main character, Keth’s, romance with Orodi, I started another novel which I had taking place four years after the first one. I meant this novel to answer both questions.

Thus I was concerned with what would become two four-way relationships, the one between Keth, Orodi, Darus, and Jozi, and the one between Ardaval, Brad Reynolds, another character from the first novel, and Ardaval’s two remaining former partners, Nidrani and Imarin.  And I had to pick a main character and a romance to concentrate on.

I’d just finished writing a young adult novel, so I picked Keth as the main character and proceeded to write the novel in the first person, concentrating on his romance. Along the way, I signed up for a writing course that required me to write 1000 words a day for about five weeks, and produced a messy, multi-point-of-view incomplete draft concentrating on the romance between the adults. This consisted of a lot of the YA version rewritten into third person as well as some new material.

I completed the draft of the YA version, which  I called  New Aleyne Novel, revised it, and passed it by a beta reader. She pointed out some weaknesses in the novel structure and wondered if a version concentrating on the adults might result in a stronger story.

So what did I do? A short while contemplating her remarks convinced me she was right, and moreover, I needed to scrap BOTH version and start over. This time I made Brad Reynolds the main character and concentrated on the adult romance. I set out to pick my point-of-view characters and to lay out the arc of the revised story.

I’d never, outside of the messy draft for the online course, written a multi-pov novel,  but I had to pick my point of view characters. Although I loved both story lines, I needed to keep the number of point-of-view characters to a reasonable number.  I picked the four characters in the adult romance: Brad, Ardaval, Nidrani, and Imarin, and in addition, the antagonist, Senator Hank Manning. I rewrote the entire novel from scratch. It became Broken Bonds.

I also needed major help managing the multiple POV’s , but that’s another story.

Here’s to Character Revolt — long may it wave.

 

Blurb:

When Major Brad Reynolds is assigned to head the Terran Federation base on planet Aleyne, the last thing he expects to find is love, and certainly not with one of the alien Aleyni. How can he keep his lover, in the face of political maneuvering and of Ardaval’s feelings for his former partners— and theirs for him?

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Another poem: Cold Stone

Cold Stone

 

Dirt and stone beneath my feet,

clouds and mist above me,

in my ears, the sheep’s high bleat.

Dear, I know you love me.

 

As I wander down the road

I leave you behind me,783813785_2782529629_0

standing in the field I hoed.

Shafts of sunlight blind me.

 

My way is long and dark, alone.

I won’t be returning.

Will our child remember, grown,

a father’s love so burning?

 

Yet I must this journey make

else my soul be fettered.

Your love you gave and I did take,

but it left me tethered.

 

A Token for the Train

I love writing in rhyme, and I have a large number of poems lying around that rhyme. I’m especially fond of this one, which I’ve worked over a number of times.

 

 A Token for the Train813235889_2877218121_0

 

I clatter down dim staircase

to seek shelter from the rain,

duck beneath a turnstile

as I’m kind of short of change.

Platform’s crowded with commuters

who all mutter and complain.

 

Lights first dim and flicker,

fade to black as rumbles sound,

faint at first, volume increasing.

Bodies crowded all around

push me one way, then another.

Cries and caterwauls abound.

 

Folks scurry for an exit.

but I forget which way is out.

I bumble, blind, in darkness

while folks wander round about.

There’s a thunk from on the train track.

Guys beside me scream and shout.

I hear a high-pitched whistle

then the echoing refrain

from the screech and scream of metal

as it protests from its pain,

squeals and squeaks of brakes engaging

while they work to stop the train.

 

The slap of footsteps echo.

A man’s jumped down to the track.

Listen to his grunts and groaning

as he pulls the jumper back,

heaves him on the platform.

My head’s spinning; things go black.

Someone hauls me upright,

electricity flicks on,

train doors close; it leaves the station.

Now the crowds of folks are gone.

I scamper up the stairway

to the street where I belong.

Sleep, Night, and all that

I have sleep apnea, and am in the process of getting treatment. Yesterday I saw the sleep doc and gave her one of my cards.

“Have you written any poems about sleep?” she asked. “I’d be interested to see them.”

I went home and checked. I searched SLEEP and NIGHT in my large Google Docs colletion of poems. I have a lot.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Weather Reportblueroad

The far side of the room
might as well be Europe.
I conjure morning’s gray sky,
stumble over backpack,
piles of pillows
tossed onto cold, bare floor.
I need a new lamp.
I knocked mine
off the nightstand,
my hand unsteady
from sleepless nights
dozing over a book
until four AM.
Coffee spilled
on my kitchen floor,
a wild whirl of my arm,
some time between
sleep and waking.

Night Journey

I drift weightless in nothingness
On my left is a yellow pail
Full of sea shells
On my right, a dirty white fox terrier
The terrier barks and runs towards me

I walk at twilight down a road full of shadows
The only sound is the clack-clack
Of my buster brown oxfords
On the uneven pavement

I round a corner and the fox terrier
Jumps out from behind a bush
He clamps his teeth around my ankle

I walk on a beach
Of smooth pale sand
That slopes down
To a navy blue ocean
A sliver of moon hangs on the horizon
The wind blows in my faceWP_20130517_002

I turn and the yellow pail erupts from the sand
My fingers melt onto the handle
I scream

The fox terrier crawls out of the hole
He jumps up and grabs the pail in his teeth
He pulls and I am free

The next morning the fox terrier
Is curled up on the end of my bed
A shell sits on a table by the door
My feet are wet and sandy

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What is a poem?

718660742_2566843587_0What is a poem? Do you only believe it’s poetry if it rhymes? Has line and stanza breaks? What about prose poems?

Confession time: Yes, yes, I know, poetry is compress language, rich imagery, and prose poems are alive and well. But as for me …

Retro

However much I beat myself over the head, reread the definition, stare into space. compose metaphors based on motes of house dust as they drift down in the slow breeze generated by the fireplace insert, I am unable to convince myself there is such a thing as prose poetry, and, reading this over, I know exactly where I would place the line breaks, and the part of me that turns up its poetic nose at free verse wants to go back and make this rhyme.

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Writing Narrative Poetry

nitesky7 A couple of months ago, I signed up for the first of four parts of an online course in mythic structure. We’re now partway through part two, and I find myself working on a long, narrative poem about a warrior who goes to Hell to seek revenge for his slain fellows.  I started this particular poem as a homework assignment, and in spite of my feeling that the poem was complete in itself, the comments by my fellow students (“what happens next?”) led me to continue it.  I don’t usually write horror stories — in fact, I’ve never written one — but the poem does have its grisly elements. Here’s the first stanza from Part II:

Jovan  strode down a narrow path

where walls gave off an eerie light

and crunch of bones beneath his feet

sent screams of souls to demon’s blight.

If I had to write about this in prose, I doubt I would have come up with anything close to this, but somehow writing in rhyme freed me.   The  poem is the longest I’ve written, and it’s far from finished.  It’s about 26 four-line stanzas so far.

I worked on a number of poems for part one of this course, including another where a soul goes down to hell.

Of all the story structure types I’ve studied, this one — the hero’s journey — feels the most natural. I read lots of Robin Hood, King Arthur, fairy tales, Greek and Roman mythology, and the like growing up, and apparently absorbed a lot about about the scaffolding without being aware of it.  All in all, a fascinating subject, and a rich source, for me, of poetic inspiration.

The Gates of Hell

He stood before the gates of hell

to bargain with a shade.

He drew a breath, then struck the bell

and drew his heavy blade.

The gate was formed from primal fire,

glowed with a steady flame.
But in that hell, his heart’s desire,

and on his head, the blame.

The shadow slipped between the glow

that formed the fiery gate.

Dar raised his sword to strike his foe.

The shadow murmured, “Wait.

“If you would see your love once more,

then listen now to me.

While men have entered hell before,

no man has broken free.”

“And yet I, too, must take a chance,

so shadow, stand aside.

The shadow bowed, and with a glance,

let hell’s gates open wide.

“I’m going now to meet my love.

Though I’ll remain in hell,

my story will be know above.”

Then did the death-bells knell.

 

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How to Generate Rhymes

I love to write rhymed poetry, and as I have started on another collection of science fiction poetry set in the Aleyne universe, I’m planning to write a fair number of story-poems, a format which lends itself to rhyme.

Psychedelic Mountain

Psychedelic Mountain

I have my own algorithm for generating rhymes (more about that later), but I also make use of an online rhyming dictionary and an online thesaurus.

There are as many ways to write rhymed poetry as there are writers, but one of my personal favorites is a rhyme scheme which rhymes only two lines of a four line stanza, either the first and third or the second and fourth. It’s both less overwhelmingly sing-songy and easier to write.

Here’s my algorithm for generating rhymes

As a crossword puzzle fan, I realized early on that, aside from single letters, only certain sound combinations could start words:

consonant plus “R” sound:  br, cr, dr, etc.

consonate plus “L” sound: bl, cl, etc

and a few others: ch, sh, ch,  s + almost all the other two-letter combos, s+l,

and a couple of consonants plus “w” sound: kw (quick),  etc

The key,  of course, is to concentrate on how the word sounds and now how it’s spelled:
Thus, to find all words of one syllable rhyming with “ack”:

b + ack : back
bl + ack:  black
br + ack:  brack (not a word)
bw + ack bwack (not a word)

etc.

Here’s one of my favorite poems. In the seven-line stanzas below, the third and seventh lines rhyme.

 

 The True Nature of Housework

The clack and the clatter
of pots and pans
rattle and ruin the peace.
Sit under the window,
it sounds like a band
that’s quite out of tune.
Will noise never cease?

The gurgle of water
that drips down the drain
says the faucet continues to leak.
The doors on the cupboards
are coming unhinged.
I can clearly hear
the kitchen door squeak.

The plates he just washed
he’ll plunk down with a plop,
creating a crack or a chip.
The dishwasher door
is still open, I know
and I’ll bet there’s a plate
that sits poised on the lip.

The silver’s all tarnished
and needs to be wiped
with pink polish and a clean rag
It’s been just like that
for the last month at least.
It looks like it came from
a rag picker‘s bag.

I sit staring out at the
peaceful blue lake
and try not to think of the mess.
If I sit here and listen
I’ll just grind my teeth.
I’m going inside;
then I won’t have to guess.

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Shakespeare in the Park

The Sheep Meadow fills the area north of the 6...

The Sheep Meadow fills the area north of the 65th Street sunken Transverse Road and west of the disused Central Drive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the biggest influences on my poetic ear was due to Joe Papp‘s free Shakespeare in the park.  I am a native New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan. After Joe Papp won the right to put on the plays in Central Park, we never missed a performance. Even after I moved to the Boston area in 1978, I would occasionally get back to New York to see a play.

One of the reasons was that Sammy Silverman, the attorney who won Joe the permission he needed, was a long-time friend of my father. My dad, Louis C. Fieland, was an attorney, and he and Sammy went way back. How far? Alas, I don’t remember, and my father — and Sammy — are long gone.

After Sammy won the case, we all — my family, Sammy and his wife Claire — attended every performance. We could do this because Sammy and my family were sponsors. That meant we got tickets in exchange for contributing money. The tickets were free for everyone, but sponsors didn’t have to wait in line. Considering the popularity of the plays, this was a great gift.

The Pied Piper versus Goliath: Joe Papp and the fight for public theater

It was 1959 and Joe Papp was having a bad year. Not only had he lost his job at CBS, but also New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses had refused to issue Joe the permit he needed to present New York Shakespeare Festival‘s summer season of Shakespeare in the park, a permit that Joe had obtained without difficulty for the three previous summers.  The commissioner wanted Joe to charge admission. Joe refused. Joe’s vision was of free public theater. Not only did he not want to charge admission, he thought that the city should provide the funds he needed to continue his performances. The war was on.

Joe Papp, more than almost any other man, transformed the face of American theater. Joe, the son of immigrant parents, had only a high school education and didn’t go to an acting school. What Joe had, though, was a vision, optimism, and persistence. He’d need plenty of all of them.

In 1959, Robert Moses was the king of urban planning and Joe Papp was nobody. What chance did Joe have against Moses? Moses had refused to issue Joe a permit unless Joe charged admission. Joe almost gave in, but when Moses demanded Joe charge $1.00 to $2.00 a ticket, Joe refused.

And that’s when Joe got lucky. His attorney, Samuel Silverman had once worked as corporate counsel to the city and knew that Joe could bring an “article 78” proceeding against Moses. An article 78 proceeding could be brought against an official who had exceeded or abused his power. Silverman told Joe he could make a good case that Moses was being arbitrary in denying the Festival use of a public park when other groups obtained permits and in demanding the Festival, a non-profit group that didn’t want to charge anything, charge admission to their performances.

But summer was fast approaching. On May 18, Silverman brought suit against Moses on the Festival’s behalf. On June 2nd, the court found for Moses. Joe was ready to give up but Silverman persuaded him to appeal the court’s decision, and this time the court found for the Festival. Joe had won.

But Joe’s troubles still weren’t over. Moses agreed to issue the permit, provided, that is, the festival could come up for $20,000 in expenses for the city to prepare the site for the Festival’s performances.

Here Joe had a stroke of genius. He asked Moses for the money, and Moses, much to everyone’s surprise, asked the New York City Board of Estimate for $20,000 for the Festival. On June 25th the board said yes. Joe was on his way.

Joe Papp went on to much more. Eventually, the city built the festival a permanent home, the Delacorte Theater, in Central Park. The Festival acquired winter quarters in the old Astor Library on Lafayette Street, where Joe gave young, promising playwrights a chance to put on their plays.

Joe Papp transformed the face of American Theater, giving many actors and other theater professionals their start.  And if you go to New York this summer, you will be able to stand on line for a chance to get a free ticket to see Shakespeare in the Park, all thanks to Joe Papp, a man who had a dream and the belief in himself to go along with it.

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Waiting to hear on a proposal for a workshop

I got email from the Mass Poetry festival letting me know they’d received my workshop proposal. Fortunately they copied the email I sent them, because I forgot to save a copy.

I don’t know if they will go for it, but, hey, at least I sent it in.

Workshop

Even if we don’t suffer from writer’s block, we often dismiss our ideas before they have a chance to develop. How many times has a line of poetry popped into your mind only to be dismissed? A subject you dismissed as trite or as something you’d never write about? What are you afraid to tackle?

Don’t let your inner editor choke you off before you start. This workshop will include a series of exercises designed to free your inner muse.
Equipment Needs

  • Table for Presenters
  • Chairs for Presenters
  • Dry erase board
  • Paper and pencils

Target Audience: Anyone who wants to dig deeper and free themselves from their own critical thinking.What makes this distinctive and compelling? We’re all inclined to doubt the worth of our own work and to not pay attention to what it is we want/need to write. We will use group writing exercises as a warm-up to generating poetry, brainstorm starting lines for poems, write poems from various points-of-view: ex mother-in-law, best friend from high school, glass of water on your nightstand, unused computer keys. Anything goes.

This workshop is meant to be fun, to generate some ideas the participants to take away, and to start to develop some techniques they can use to get started when inspiration fails to strike.

Publicity & Audience Development Plan *I blog monthly on writersonthemove.com, twice monthly on poetic-muselings.net, and on my own blog, as well as guest blogging. I would use these to promote the workshop.

I’d promote on facebook and twitter, try for an article in my local papers, community tv station, and on internet and regular radio as well as emailing my list of contacts about the workshop.

Have you produced this or a similar program before? If so when and where? *I am one of the six Poetic Muselings. We presented a workshop, “Poetry: Not just for writing verse,” at the Muse Online Writers Conference this October.

 

 

 

 

My head is spinning, and more poetry

I’m trying to promote my novel, “Relocated,” so check out this review on askDavid.com:

http://askdavid.com/reviews/book/science-fiction/2539

And check out “Sand in the Desert” as well

http://askdavid.com/reviews/book/inspirational-poetry/2540

 

In addition to promoting the novel,  I’m editing two others. I got tagged in a blog hop and answered a few questions about one of them,  an adult science fiction novel tentatively entitled “Broken Bonds”:

http://margaretfieland.com/blog1/2012/10/17/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop/

I’ve been playing with digital images again.

Here are a couple of poems I’ve written, two versions of the same gray, dreary day:

 

Almost Day

The rain hangs short of falling
and chill air blows
through my open window.

My novel’s turned dull,
the heroine another blonde,
lucky at everything but love.

I’m down to dregs of coffee,
the flavor burnt and bitter,
sandy grounds populate my cup.

I’ve insufficient motivation
to rise from the table
or boot me out of my fog.

My dog humps open the door
rests her grinning muzzle
on my knee.

Anything short of a downpour
is good weather for canines..
Time to go for a walk



Gray Day

My novel’s heroine  has no class.
I’l

Psychedelic Mountain

l have to give the book a pass.

Rain hangs just short of the grass
I hope the gloomy weather will pass

Chill air blows in the window , alas.
I bang it shut, hope shivering will pass

My smoky fire smells of burnt grass.
Time to walk. Don’t let more time pass.

Rain streams down the  window glass
I have to give walking the dog a pass

 

 

 

 

 

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