28 January 2013

Re-introduce myself Blog fest

Aniin, Greetings.  I am Niiganabiik, aka Mildred R Holmes, daughter of a long line of Anishinabeg men and women.  I write articles for my tribal newspaper.  In 2003, I chose layoff status for the winter and decided to write a novel.  A high school goal accomplished.  That goal was added by the goal to be published.    The novels are in the fantasy genre due to the inclusion of magic.

I post on three different blogs: a personal journal, writer journal and a family history.  The family history is rarely updated.  Personal and writer are updated at least weekly.

{Edit:  This was set to post at 0400 on 28 January 2013.  Once again, the schedule hasn't worked for me.  I've been away from my home computer doing a good deed and didn't have the means to double check.  I just got back this evening and will now blog-hop.  Thanks to all who read my last post and commented.  This post is now a bit longer than the 100 or so words.}  {And if anyone can tell me why the schedule post doesn't work, I'd appreciate it.--Disregard.  I know what happened.}

26 January 2013

Meditation on my Path

Winter time.  Time for meditation.  Time to assess my goals.  I've been checking a lot of websites for research, for fun and games, for learning, seeing what's out there in the "library" that contain millions of "books," maybe billions by now.  The most important thing I figured out is I need to know what it is I want and need as a writer, as a person.  There are so many opinions and "suggestions" that I may easily get caught up in something and lose my focus.  I figured out that it is okay to pick up hints, ideas, and tips here and there, as long as it is useful to my goals and objectives.

One person path
Walking one's own path.  This path is used by one person, day after day, coming and going from point A to B. He started by putting one foot in front of the other when the snow was soft.  It would have been easier to walk a path that was shoveled.  The shoveled path leads out of his way by a few dozen steps.  He concluded that it was easier to make his own path.  This path has no one in front or behind to pick you up if you trip.

Two or more person path

This path is traveled by two or more people, is used more often and is wider than the other.  There is more than one use for this path.  Three specific reasons why they also don't use the shoveled path.  It's not as long as the other path, doesn't take them out of their way and is less treacherous.  In the event one trips, there may be someone to help.

Follow in someone's footsteps
Someone told me that to follow in someone's footsteps involves not putting your foot directly in that person's footprint.  One makes one's own path even while following in someone's footsteps.  The path then ends up a little wider and easier for the next person.  {This is one of our customs.  I was losing my balance.  The toe should have been barely discernible from the other.}

The easiest path used for a variety of reasons.  This path has been built up for support, requiring maintenance to keep open.  More room to find one's balance if one trips.  And because more than one person can fit, one can have help all the way if one needs it.  Easier to pick oneself up than on the other paths.  {Whose job is it to keep the path open?} 

The start of all three paths to get from point A to B.  One makes the decision about the path one wants to take.  This is where I find myself at this point.  I stand considering where I want to go, which way to travel.  Three paths all with combinations I could use to get where I'm going.  They all connect to another path leading in different directions, whether I stay in the known, safe place or go to unknown, possibly less safe place.  I could choose to make a completely new path, one with unknown qualities.  Start with one foot on a path, take the next step forging a new path?  Which one do I choose?  

21 January 2013

Plots and more plots

Over the course of the past couple days, I've been researching, well, okay, surfing, the Net.  I started out by trying to find an easier way to draw a squiggly line tracing a path I needed for my stories.  This led to an examination of sites for fantasy maps looking for one that may have already been drawn.  On one site containing a fantasy map generator, the person recommended a book "20 Master Plots and How to Build Them" by Ronald B Tobias.  This, of course, sent me on a quest.

Whereupon, I found the book at Amazon.  Read the sample which led me to Writer's Digest.  I resurrected my user name/log in info so that I could download "20 Master Plots: The Checklist."  Did a search that didn't turn up what I was looking for.  Didn't use the right keywords.  Howsomeever, I did find a whole lot more info, checked the forums, went to a couple of the other associated sites.  No luck finding the checklist.

I did, however, find out in the course of my meandering I had forgotten what I was searching for in the plethora of information.  By then, after a few breaks which included shutting down my browser, thus erasing my history, I had forgotten where I had found the original recommendation.  Aha.

I returned to Amazon, hoping that I could find the book that way and find the name.  Mistake.  Browsing history there didn't contain the book.  But, I did find it after searching Writer's Digest books.  Returned to Writer's Digest and with the right key words, found the checklist and downloaded it.  Checked it and decided to return to Amazon and purchase said book.

I immediately skimmed through both, which, after sleeping on it, I did another search for "The Whale Husband."  This legend had been featured by Tobias as a story with no plot as compared to "Two English Gentleman" being a story on the verge of a plot.

Tobias did state that "In all fairness, the story probably has many hidden connotations that are available to the original teller and listeners, but as it is here it seems to fail our expectations of what a story should be.  Those expectations are what plot is all about."

I knew there had to be more to the story than the summary given here.  Thus my hunt to track down the original legend of "the Whale Husband."  OOh, yeah.  This hunt led me various places.  Sufficient to say, I needed to find the right key words once again.

A site, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, has a page, Totem Poles and the Stories They Tell that depicts the whale as a "villain" in the Northwest Coast Indian legends, as the whale is a staple in their diet.  It gives a one sentence summary of the tale of a young woman kidnapped by a whale and after assistance from friendly birds and animals and the use of "black magic," the husband was able to rescue her.

The reason I knew there had to be more to the story is simple.  I grew up listening to such stories.  Weell, not the Whale one, others like it.  Our stories and legends are more complex, more subtle than the simple summary in Tobias' book or Ye Olde Curiosity Shop's further enlightenment.

In fact, in the old, old days, one story was told over the course of many days, a mini-series complete with acting out some of the parts.  The complex nature of the stories is the reason many storytellers were trained from birth to tell them.  The subtle nature the reason stories were only told during the winter months.  There was more time to fill, at least in the cold parts of the country.

They are plots within plots within plots designed to make one think.  There were usually four or five plots involved to get to the point of the story.  Translating the stories as told involves a number of things: knowledge of English as a second language, knowledge of customs-why we do the things we do, and the patience to get them right.  Most of the stories would be unwieldy as read in a book.  Think "War and Peace."  Thus, many are cut down to one or two, or simplified when telling it to someone who is not familiar with the old ways.

And the reason many elders do not like to tell the old stories.  Youngsters these days are impatient.

Miew.  Miigwetch.

19 January 2013

Monday morning kind of day

Getting out of bed on mornings that register below zero is not my favorite thing to do.  It's harder to open that door and walk outside into the cold freezing air.  Then to sit and start a car, brush the snow off, get any ice off the windows, debate with oneself if the engine is warm enough to drive.  Man, the to-do's one must contemplate just go 1/2 mile and come back.  It's a shock to discover that halfway from the house, one has forgotten to put on gloves or mittens and the steering wheel is cold.  Huuhmm.

I've discovered, much to my dismay, revising and editing a story can be like that.  Getting stuck on one detail is akin to opening that door and walking outside into the freezing cold.  I've been opening the door to my world for the past few weeks and discovering that getting into the driver's seat is hard for me to do when I know the destination, but the snow is swirling and making it hard to see where I'm going.

This morning, I finally made a map of one of the villages.  I showed it to mom.  She turned her head to hide the amusement as she knows how important this is to me.  My son heard us discussing it.

"There's a website-deviantart dot com.  There's artists who do work for commission."

Huhhnah.  According to several sources at fantasy map making sites, authors giving writerly tips and general advice columnists, I really don't have to worry about any maps being beautiful on my end.  What a relief!  My publisher will hire an artist regardless of how much work I put into these maps.

Wait!  Right this moment, I have no publisher.  I am my own publisher.

05 January 2013

A break in the day

And no, I don't plan on putting up the whole book.  Just the first few scenes.  The book has already been through the spellcheck, weak sentence and repeats.  Now at the cutting of what is really backstory and have added scenes here and there.  (Sis, I'm still waiting for your comments on the first sentence or whatever it was you had in mind.)

I've got the instructions for how to use that handy dandy Paint.NET program.  I can do my covers.  One less item tic'd and now working on that in my spare time.  hahahohoheehee.  I was spending a lot of time in the forums over there and was getting the hang of it.  Then I happened on the thread containing the link to "Mastering Paint.NET 3.5.10" by Scott Stringer.  It saved me a lot of trial and error which is what I had been doing.

Ahh, I should have kept the first cover I experimented with.  What a...the title and my name disappeared completely.  I was hanging out over there trying to find out how to get them back.  And trying to cut something from one image to overlay reminded me why I am in complete awe of those like Michael Offutt who can draw.  I was checking out his artwork.

Chuckling to myself thinking about my inability to trace even.  I, who can sit for hours putting thousands of teeny, tiny, beads on a cloth background can't draw.  Hmm.  I'm at the age where I could take an art class.  Naaah.  I'll settle for admiring artists like Michael.

In my travels around the net recently, I came across a lot of posts at various sites detailing goals and such for the year.  Mine have been done during August, the month of my birth.  I have already had to change deadlines for self publishing.  Forgot one very important thing. The cover.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I knew one had to be created.

I didn't take into account exactly what needed to be done.  Howsomeever, that important detail is quickly coming under control.  One thing the back burner has done:  revising my short stories has turned up a few more grammar errors that I missed.  I've taken a couple photos and will try for a decent cover.  I looked at the photo sites and decided I didn't want the hassle of getting copyright permission at this point.  Mostly, no money to pay as the photos I liked were expensive.  My to-do's are longer, adding items to the growing plans of things that need to be done.  Hmm. Well, onward and upward.