Setting up my website  – https://glenniswritingabc.wordpress.com

Website Beginninings

Ok

My first newsletter is up, thanks to the programme called ‘smore’. Quite brilliant really. Simple. Except it took me a while to remove the spelling mistakes. Just for fun I have left them  – hoping you, my reader, can locate them. 

Hint – there are 2. And some bad writing to boot. But all has been corrected on the live smore site.

Ok – now to setting up the website. 

I’ve been blogging on WordPress for a couple of weeks. The blogs are appearing on my Facebook page. How that happened I don’t know. That’s  – 

Facebook a/c – Glennis Browne Author 

http:www/facebook.com/glentrev 

But no complaints. Something works between Facebook and WordPress.

As my novel is soon to be published, it’s time to develop my website.

I’m publishing with Xlibris.com. Both hard copies and ebooks will be available under my name:- Glennis Browne and/or ‘The Fortune Seekers.” Ebooks will be available on all ebook sites – Amazon, Kindle etc as well

But is that enough to be found by the world? No, not from what I see. 

Hence, my attempt to build my first website. Finally I have managed to sort out a domain name, after paying the annual fee.

My web Domain name is –   https://glenniswritingabc.wordpress.com

I really am feeling my way, friends.

That’s it. I hope that is it anyway. Not the easiest to remember, as I really wanted to use my author name – Glennis Browne, but when setting up my WordPress blogg I invented glenniswritingabc. At least that was available.

Now, when the website is up and running in a few hours, look in on it and see how I’ve progressed designing the site. Apparently it’s like ‘paint by numbers’, following templates. But we shall see, shan’t we? I’m happy for any tips by the way. 

Finally, a little something to wet your appetite. 

Would you like to read a teaser from ‘The Fortune Seekers?’

Just looking for a few paragraphs now:- aha, here we go:-

Glennis Browne
The Prologue and Introduction to Part 2
 – setting the scene. As life in the 1850s was different to the 21st century…

Conformity

The formative years for Charlotte Mertons, as also was the case for Dan Mathews, were influenced by a strong church presence. In the 1850s, in Britain, most families were guided by the teaching of the various Christian churches.

The nonconformist Methodist churches in Clavering were as focused on controlling their congregations as the nonconformist churches had been in Wales.

Physical as well as spiritual health of the congregations is important. The intention is to encourage commendable behaviour, believed to ensure families within the congregation live wholesome lives. Many rules have been made regarding what a wholesome life is.

To achieve such, the population are encouraged to conform. This in itself is a challenge.

In the 1850s, a change of direction occurred regarding ‘marriage’ between first cousins, which deemed such marriages as ‘unwholesome’.

Prior to this, first cousins regularly married, as those of marriageable age were often confined within local villages. Finding a marriage partner was often limited to the only partner available, who might be a cousin.

With the increase in mobility of women, due to the growth of the railroad in England, women were no longer confined to their homes.

The population now socialised with non-relatives throughout the land. Marriage between first cousins naturally decreased.

At this time, Charles Darwin proposed a theory affecting first cousins who still wanted to become married.

Darwin, one of the Victorian population who had chosen to marry his first cousin, fathered a family of ten. Sadly, three died in childhood.

According to Darwin, the deaths were due to the close blood relationship between himself and his wife, by genetically passing on health issues.

The Methodists, who desire healthy, wholesome lives, supported Darwin’s philosophies after a very methodical and principled deliberation.

Decreeing: If ill health and physical imperfections are passed from parents to their children, and it follows imperfections will be more pronounced between first cousins. Therefore, the goal of reaching perfection, as God intends it, is unattainable.

From that time on, the betrothal of first cousins was no longer permitted within the church.

Another principle established was in regards to sexual relationships.

At the time, English statistics recorded women of lower socio-economic groups were becoming married on average at the age of twenty-six to twenty-eight years. A very high percentage producing a baby before nine months passes after the marriage ceremony.

What followed within the church was a doctrinal interpretation in regards to sexual relations before betrothal and marriage, regulating against such behaviour.

Unwed women known to have given birth to children out of wedlock were ultimately disgraced and accused of being ‘loose women’, branded by the church as sinners.

Children, born under these circumstances, were given the label of ‘bastard’. The children, born out of wedlock, carry this label all their lives due to their unknown or unregistered paternity.

Therefore, urgency to marry became important, as ongoing sexual relationships outside of marriage continued, producing many ‘illegitimate’ children.

With this background in mind, we go back in time to the middle of the 1850s.
..

Sorry, we won’t do that at this time. Wait for the book to be released in late June/early July to discover the story of heartbreak, hardship, love, lost love, emigration… And so much more.

See you next week, Glennis

https://glenniswritingabc.wordpress.com

The Fortune Seekers preview

My manuscript has gone its merry way to the place where completed manuscripts end up! With the publisher.
Time for a preview?

It’s now time….

Here we go…. Read on
‘Daniel, do it. Take your life into your own hands’, it mocks him, laughing as it taunted.

 

‘This isn’t the freedom I’m after!’ His cry is from his heart.

 

‘You misunderstand freedom, Daniel. You want freedom? Then break free, step off into the unknown. Come follow me!’

 

The mocking voice drives his confused mind unrelentingly into a place of greater instability.

 

‘Leave me alone!’ Dan screams.

 

The strong Atlantic air current pushes against his body, his raised arms making him unstable. He wavers in the wind, unsteady on his feet.

 

Momentarily, neurotically, believing he is enjoying the instability of the erratic swaying sensation, despite the pounding of his heart and the rising tension disturbing his mind. His breathing is rushed – he is panicking – yet doing nothing to prevent disaster.

 

‘Go on. Don’t be scared. Take the first step. For once take your life into your own hands, and follow me’, repeats the eerie voice.

 

‘No!’

It unrelentingly continues challenging Dan.

 ‘Stop shrinking back from decision-making. For once, take control.’

 

‘I want freedom, not death.’ His cry is weak and unconvincing.

 

‘Death is without sting for those who believe. Death brings freedom. You do believe this?’ taunts the demonic voice.

 

‘No!’

 

‘Set yourself free from being controlled. Think for yourself. Be a man, Daniel. Follow me. Step into the unknown.’

 

A shudder passes through Dan’s body. Confusion compounds.

A bewildered cry to the heavens comes from deep within his tortured soul. ‘Not this way. Freedom isn’t found this way . . . Oh God, help me!’

 

Around him, thunderclaps travelling across the sky echo around the hills as if the taunting spirit is spreading its fingers wide, throwing lightning from the booming clouds suddenly formed overhead, -determined to frighten the man on the cliff edge as a battle rages in the heavens.

 

Dan stands his ground, whispering, ‘God, help me . . . to live.’
Just a teaser. The Fortune Seekers should be published end of June on Xlibris .com.au and all ebook sites.

Creating Memorable Characters…

Create memorable characters….guest blogg

Do we always have to create memorable characters?
No.
It depends on the genre.
In an all-action thriller focused on pace and plot, everyone but the key players can be wafer-thin. They’re disposable.
The same is often true of detective fiction, even the quality sort. In John Dickson Carr’s famous ‘locked room’ mysteries, the only rounded character is the sleuth, Gideon Fell, and he’s larger than life. All the other players are pawns on a chessboard.
But what if we do want to bring our characters alive–make them colorful?
Here are eight tips that will help you to create memorable characters.
 1. Use Character Labels

Do we remember characters who are introduced with a bald description?
‘He was a short man, stubby, with a protruding chin.‘
Probably not.
So why mention those details at all, unless they’re important to the story?
Because we can use them later as labels.
‘His face appeared at my elbow‘; ‘The stubby man entered‘; ‘He poked his long chin at me.’
And so on.
However, characters who are identified by labels alone have no personality. That’s just as well if they quickly vanish from the tale or meet a nasty end.
But what of the others?
A fast way to make characters – minor or not – more memorable is to dress them in a metaphor as soon as they appear.
‘My first impression of Fergus Lafferty was of a furze bush. Tall, prickly and bent by the wind.‘
Then keep playing on that metaphor whenever you refer to the character:
‘The furze bush glowered’; ‘He walked unsteadily, bent by the wind.’
The first visual snapshot usually defines the character, just as first appearances do in life. Of course, first appearances can be deceptive. (Jess, a squint-eyed shrew, really has a heart of gold etc.)
Language then expands the character snapshot.
How often have we read stories where everyone uses the same bland idioms? A great opportunity for characterization is lost.
But we don’t have to push language to the point of quirks and caricature to distinguish a character. A mere change of cadence can do it.
Here’s a puritan vicar, described as ‘lank, shabby, proudly erect:’
“Who was the thief I cannot tell, and it is not for me, a priest, to seek him out.”
His short block-like phrases replicate his rigid mind. They contrast with the breezy speech rhythms of the detective he’s addressing: Reggie Fortune, a whimsical man.
‘Reggie laughed. “My dear chap! Oh, my dear chap!”’ (H. C. Bailey, Mr Fortune Explains)
Character labels can be great fun, especially if we add descriptions of dress, mannerism, occupation, and the like.
Then we’ve created rounded characters, haven’t we?
Not yet. Only flat characters.
They may be memorable, even colorful, but they lack life.
So how do we raise our game?
Here are seven far more subtle tips. All depend on ‘shadow’ characterization, the ability to say important things obliquely.
2. Bring in a Doppelganger

This is guilt by association.
The character reminds the narrator of someone else, quite by chance. Or the character brings to mind an unrelated incident.
We can do it blatantly: ‘S/he was a typical nerd [drop in your term of choice].’
Or indirectly:
‘He put me in mind of my cousin Joe – all smiles, but the soul of a weasel.’
‘For some reason, she made me feel like a foolish child.’
‘The last time I’d heard someone laugh like that was in high school when the class bully dropped a lizard down my shirt.‘
3. Use the Knock-on Effect

If the reader has already formed a strong opinion – positive or negative – about the narrator or another character, their opinion of a third party will be colored by that person’s opinions.
Suppose the village shopkeeper, an honest man, whispers to the narrator:
“I don’t like that young fellow who’s just moved into the cottage. Stuck-up city type. Thinks he’s too good for the likes of us.”
The reader is inclined to dislike him too.
Or a bigoted old lawyer describes a new woman barrister in his chambers, sniffily, as:
“Our token bit of skirt.”
At once, we feel sympathetic towards that woman.
(Needless to say, the reader’s opinion – in both cases – might be shockingly subverted by events.)
4. Employ the Nimbus Tactic

Here, the character’s ‘nimbus’ – the cloud of reputation that precedes them – suggests their personality even before they appear. You can do it in one line.
“A solid man. Blue chip football scholar. Harvard alumnus. Youngest colonel in the regiment.”
“She was that awful person in the newspapers. Remember?”
“Reliable worker, always cheerful.”
“I wouldn’t trust her an inch.”
5. Use the Habitus Technique

In sociological terms, ‘habitus’ is a ‘pattern of norms or tendencies that guide a person’s behaviour and thinking.’
It’s a useful concept, especially for ad people. They know that if a customer cherishes antique cars and vintage wines, they’re likely to enjoy opera and vote Republican (or, in the UK, Conservative). And vice versa.
We can use it in fiction to characterize a person by their habitual environment and possessions.
Again, a single phrase can reveal someone’s true personality—or, at least, the personality they want to convey.
Perhaps we first meet the character in a characterizing setting: a church vestry, exclusive hotel, biker bar, etc. That association lingers in the reader’s mind.
Or they appear at their place of residence. Rented or owned? Ultra-clean or scruffy? Downtown or in the suburbs?
Is their living room filled with books or motorcycle parts? Bare-walled or hung with sports regalia, political cartoons, abstract art, family photos?
A person’s home defines the person. It’s the simplest, most authentic way to give a character depth.
Above all, how does our narrator or point-of-view (pov) character feel about that environment? Are they relaxed and reassured, or uneasy and repulsed? Show their responses and you’ve helped to characterize them too.
For example, a newly famous actress visits her parents’ squalid trailer house, sidesteps the garbage, tosses off her Jimmy Choo shoes and sighs, “Home, at last!”
6. Describe a Mental Filter

A variant on the habitus technique is the mental filter that the narrator or pov character applies, perhaps unconsciously, when they assess a person or their environment.
Try it yourself.
Suppose you meet an interesting woman. What’s the first thing that impresses you? Her $500 pashmina shawl, elegantly contoured hair or impeccable manicure? Or her resemblance to Kim Kardashian?
No prizes for discovering that you are, respectively, a couturier, hair stylist or manicurist. (Or a randy young man.)
What we first notice in a stranger reveals our own personality or profession.
Likewise, if you were invited to wander around a stranger’s house at will, what would you check first? Instinctively.
The book shelves, if any? The kitchen appliances and fridge contents? The cleanliness of the bathroom? The state of the garden, if any? The market value of the property?
If you pay special attention to any one of these things, chances are you are – respectively – a book lover, keen chef, house-proud person, hobby gardener or realtor.
If you’re the pov character in a story, that little survey will have told the reader more about you than about the householder.
Let the main characters in your story make similar assessments of the people they meet. You’ve done two jobs at once!
7. Introduce a Cameo Incident

One way to introduce a major character and make them instantly unforgettable is to involve them in a revealing cameo.
In one of G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories, the priest is sitting on the carpet cross-legged, trying to pin a hat onto the head of a naked doll. No explanation is given. The sole purpose of the scene is to illustrate Brown’s child-like simplicity.
In just one incident, Chesterton has summed up Father Brown.
Some critics have found a deeper explanation. Brown’s hapless job as a priest is to impose Christian morals (the hat) on recalcitrant humanity (the naked doll). The incident is symbolic.
Symbolism can add great depth to a characterizing incident. Want to suggest a character’s tacit nobility? Introduce them with a bright light shining behind their head. If they’re villains, have them step out of the shadows. A cliché, but it works.
8. Use Narrative Voice

This is a trick of characterization that the reader doesn’t see coming.
Entire scenes are written in a voice or style peculiar to the main character in that scene. Not just the dialogue, but every word of exposition (description or explanation) too.
The pov can be that of the narrator, author, or any character you wish. But the chosen idioms, vocabulary and sentence rhythms indicate, subliminally, whose scene it is.
For example, both these passages are written by the omniscient author but each has the distinctive voice of their principal characters:
‘The lab was precisely cuboid, 20 meters on each side, with titanium-reinforced concrete walls that were tested to stop an 81mm mortar. But they weren’t as tough as its Chief Clinician, Jane Mandrake – 6ft 1in, 210 lbs – whose wiry fingers could rip apart a one-inch phone book.’
‘The lab was a womb of light, fragrant with chlorine. She was scared to speak lest her breath contaminate its purity. Jane gripped her arm with a hand as big as a catcher’s mitt. But it was surprisingly soft. As she would soon discover, Jane was a lady of paradox.’
It’s not hard to tell by their narrative voices alone, which scene applies to each character. The mature scientist uses precise clinical descriptions; the impressionable young girl – newly enlisted as a lab assistant – thinks in sensual terms and metaphors.
Their characters have depth before their persons have even been described.
In a complex novel, the major characters will acquire several layers of depth as the story proceeds. The plot events will round the characters.
But our first task is to bond the reader with the narrator or protagonist(s). Their viewpoint – the ‘I/eye’ in the story – is the place where the reader will sit throughout a long journey.
Unless we’re writing pulp, we’d better furnish that place quickly, and as richly as we can. One of the most successful ways to do so is to create memorable characters.
What quirks of character have you found memorable in the stories you’ve read? How did the author do it? Share your experiences in a comment below. Every comment gets a fast, thoughtful reply.
And if you enjoyed this post, please share it on social media.
About the author:
Dr John Yeoman, PhD Creative Writing, is a top-rated Amazon novelist. He judges the Writers’ Village story competition and is a tutor in creative writing at a UK university. He has been a successful commercial author for 42 years. You can find a wealth of ideas for writing stories that succeed and gain a big 10,000 word ebook – 15 Wily Ways to Write Better Stories – in his free 14-part course at Writers’ Village.

The Candle Fickers

Today life rushed at me. Shocked me. Waking me into reality. Reminding me of what I already know, but forget easily.

I am reminded – Life is like a flickering candle. 

One moment brightly shining, keeping our dreams and schemes alive;

 – exciting, 

– our lives full of hope.

The next moment, an unexpected wind disturbs the brightness and strength of the flame. It flickers, causing uncertainty about its’ future. Life’s future. Our future. 

Will the flame return to shine brightly?  Or will the circumstances snuff it out?

Today news came, reminding me about life. And about death.  As life’s length is unknown. We all know this. There is nothing we can do to prolong our time, except care for our body, our mind and our soul.

Need I write of the every day decisions we all make, in trying to prolong our lives;

–  about eating healthily, keeping fit, – and regarding alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.

– of being gentle on ourselves, forgiving ourselves, and forgiving others. 

– removing the sources of stress by addressing the issues that challenge us.

– making better choices about people and situations.

And then there is the unspoken one. Considered to be taboo, private, personal and even offensive! 

Causing anger, splitting families, the reason for wars throughout history. Certainly contentious.

 It’s the decision of accepting or rejecting that we have a ‘Soul’ – that ‘God Part’ evidenced within all cultures and societies since human life began. For all time, this has been a part of mankind – we either accept it or reject it. 

But how do we accept it?

– simply by accepting our soul is real, followed by listenning to the prompting of our soul,  such prompting draws all of mankind closer to God.

Today I’ve been reminded of these things. It is a harsh reminder, a sad reminder, and a wake up call. As today news came, reminding me about life. And about death.

As you see, a life-long friend has been diagnosed with leukaemia. Untreated, he has maybe three months. Treated… God only knows the length of his days.

How can this be? As my life-long friend has many goals. In his retirement he has yet to do the things he has planned. 

His grand children are babies – so young. He has much to pass on to them. Let alone the shortened time with his wife and recently married children. 

The flickering candle must not blow out.

 ‘Not yet! Please not yet!’ This we pray. Hoping our cry is heard, hoping our tears are seen by the one who knows the exact time – the exact number of days allocated to each of us.
Today I realised again, that a life without hope, without faith, without belief in prayer being answered, must be dreadful. 

Without any hope of eternity ones remaining days must be depressing when facing death. Here one day, gone the next and all for what reason?

Without really knowing that; if the flickering flame is extinguished today or in three weeks or some years ahead, it will not mean eternal darkness. 

The end! Nothing! Over! All for nothing! 

Without knowing of a love greater than we have known and a promise, must be soul destroying. Causing fear and anxiety.

As, believing that the flickering candle will keep eternally burning, brings peace. As a renewed soul believing in Jesus will never be extinguished. That is God’s promise. 

For today life rushed at me. Shocked me. Waking me into reality. Reminding me of what I already know, but forget easily as I go about my allocated days.

 It’s not instinctive to believe. It’s not something to research and throw questions at. Or to analyse. As those attitudes know nothing about faith or hope. Faith is not logical. If it was, it’s not faith!

It’s from the soul – not the mind. Simply a decision to give in to. And by faith believe in. 

As the other option is not an option at all – making everything on earth utterly meaningless. A candle extinguished forever.


The flickering candle need not be extinguished.