Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Making Friends Monday



Thanks to Tristi Pinkston for having me on her blog for Making Friends Monday.  Here is some info about her, including how to get to her own blog. 
Tristi Pinkston has been blogging since 2006.  On her main blog, (http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com) she covers everything from writing tips and the life of a published author to kid funnies, spiritual thoughts, and embarrassing moments. She also has a weight loss blog, one for writing challenges, another for her fictional characters … and she lost count of how many others she has.  You can find the links for them on her sidebar.
Tristi is the author of five published novels and a whole kit ‘n caboodle of unpublished novels.  Right now she’s focusing on cozy mysteries, although she has written historical fiction in the past and plans to write more in that genre.  She works as a freelance editor and a virtual book tour coordinator.  She loves taking long naps, being charmingly annoying, and watching good movies.  She’s a Mormon, a homeschooler, a Cubmaster, and most of the time, a headless chicken.

USA BOOK NEWS ANNOUNCES WINNERS AND FINALISTS OF THE “BEST BOOKS 2010” AWARDS

Mainstream & Independent Titles Score Top Honors in the 7th Annual “Best Books” Awards

LOS ANGELES – USABookNews.com, the premiere online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalists of THE “BEST BOOKS 2010” AWARDS (BBA) on October 26, 2010. Over 500 winners and finalists were announced in over 140 categories covering print and audio books. Awards were presented for titles published in 2010 and late 2009.

Trail of Storms
by Marsha Ward (iUniverse) was named the Finalist in the Western Fiction category.

USABookNews.com is an online publication providing coverage for books from mainstream and independent publishers to the world online community.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Finding Your Theme

by Marsha Ward

Several years ago, I had a wonderful week in cool Prescott, Arizona, where I attended the Hassayampa Institute for Creative Writing at Yavapai College. In the friendly atmosphere created by the limited enrollment and the nurturing faculty and staff, I got to know many fine folks, and did revisions on work that had been mired in mud for a long while. The intensive writing workshop helped me focus on aspects of my writing that I had neglected. I had a chance to reach deep within myself to find emotions and conflicts that needed to be present in my characters to make them real.

The most important thing I found, though, was my theme, my reason for writing. I'd agonized over this issue for years. Why DID I write? I knew I felt compelled to do so, but did not know the underlying motivation.

It took me by surprise, when I was asked a single question, that the answer I gave was my theme, my motivation. The question was, "What do you want to share with the world through your writing?" I was blown away when my answer provided me with the purpose I'd been seeking to identify for such a long time.

I said, "I write to help people find hope amidst their trials, to learn to overcome, not just to wallow in misery."

Now you may think that doesn't apply to a novelist's work, that it's more suited to an essayist or a self-help guru. However, as I look back over my books, I think it fits nicely into what I have written. My principal characters pick themselves up in various ways and go forward with their lives. They illustrate how personal attributes and growth can help a person persevere.

I was very glad to have found my theme at long last. However, I don't go into every writing session thinking, How can I make my characters toe the mark and hold to the theme? I build my characters' attributes, motivations, and conflicts carefully and then let their actions come forth. Because I do this legwork out of my value system, the theme will be there, in one form or another, when I have finished.

How do you find what you want to write about? Maybe the same question I was asked will help you isolate your theme, too.