Jan. 10th, 2017

[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
It's the final day of Week 4, and looking at the poll, I don't see a single person that I would declare as being "safe" from elimination right now. http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/966583.html

Which is both scary and exciting, knowing that it's coming down to this one last push, and, if this continues, I'm not going to have any idea who is going until I hit that "close poll" button.

That being the case - What are some of YOUR favorite pieces from this week?

100 Weeks

Jan. 10th, 2017 09:15 pm
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
I just officially closed the Week 4 polls, which means that the results are now official - and THAT means we have a new member of the 100 Weeks Club!

Congratulations [livejournal.com profile] puppetmaker40

I'll admit, when she first showed up, I had the "OMG" about her husband. (I'm still a big fan of his work, but I've gotten used to it)

It didn't take me long though to become a fan of her writing as well. More to the point though, I became a fan of the woman herself.

I was lucky enough to meet her at Dragoncon a few years ago, and she is every bit as awesome in person as she is online - and those puppets! Seriously, if you've ever seen one in person, you know what I'm talking about!

She's become one of those people that I always look for in the sign-up sheets, and end up smiling every time I see it.

If you haven't had the chance to get to know her - do so, and definitely check out her writing! You'll become a fan too!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
It's another week and the results are in. As usual, it ended up being really close. The gap between staying and leaving was a single vote.

Less than that if you count the vote I received by email, because they were having trouble logging into LJ. Which is an unusual situation. (Not that having trouble on LJ is unusual, but it making the difference *is*.) Instead of allowing a vote that no one else can see determine who is leaving though, I will be doing something else. I'll mention it in a moment, because first we need to actually say goodbye to someone:

[livejournal.com profile] kristalsawesome

This was a rough week and I was actually surprised to see you going this time around. I really hope that you will continue to Home Game and get back into the thick of things once Second Chance rolls around, because I think you have a lot more to offer this season and I'd love for people to get the chance to read more of your writing.

As for the second person leaving, without that email ballot, there is a tie. Which means there needs to be a tie-breaker between

[livejournal.com profile] dreamwriters and [livejournal.com profile] i_love_freddie!

I'll be posting a comment below. Only those two should comment to it. (so that it doesn't get lost.)

Tie-breakers at Idol - for those who have never experienced them before, are Sudden Death Write-offs!

You have until Wednesday, Jan 11th at 9pm - that's tomorrow. It's Open Topic, so you can literally write anything you want. Bring it! Because this is about survival!

Good luck to you both!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Once again, I was going back and forth between a couple potential topics on my list - and Cynthia broke the tie.

So what did she pick? Not this one. I'm actually going the other direction, because the more I looked at it, the more it spoke to me as "Week 5". :) The other? Will probably be Week 6 or 7. :)

For now though, your topic is

Fear is the heart of love


You have until Sunday, Jan 15th at 6pm EST to link your entries back to this thread.
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
The results are up: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/967722.html
There is another member of our 100 Week Club: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/967458.html

and a new topic: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/968050.html

I also brought you a special treat - one of the most iconic members of the 100 Club, and definitely a bit of a legend in Idol circles.

She is one of those people who I have seen grow as a writer over the years. Which has been awesome, but even better, I've been able to see her life transform. That's one of my favorite things, ever. (and she is one of them as well)

Welcome to your Mentor for this week - the one and only [livejournal.com profile] gratefuladdict!

***

Hello, Idolers!! Thanks for having me this week. Let's talk about setting the mood!

The ability to create and sustain mood and tone is integral to great writing. This encompasses everything from the chill that permeates a horror story to the impish decadence of pillow talk, from the impassioned persuasive essay to the upbeat, friendly and professional tone of corporate email. It's a skill that draws your reader in as you build your narrative.

So, how do we do that?

For me, the biggest tool is rhythm. When I want to up the stress level in a piece - for suspense, hysteria, etc. - I create disjointed sentences that don't flow well. I'll do several short, staccato sentences in a row, and occasionally throw in a long, run-on sentence, so your reading pace starts to raise your blood pressure a bit.

If you want to see how a master does that, read The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. If your heart isn't racing by the end, you have nerves of steel!

You can apply that same technique to create other moods. If you're going for surreal disjointed dream state (my personal guilty pleasure), you can write long, stream-of-conscious sentences that observe more than they judge or act. If you're making an argument about human rights or the culinary merit of sweet potato fries, start slow and measured, then build up to a crescendo of impassioned personal statements.

The key is to read it aloud, or have a friend read it to you. Make sure their voice changes where it should. Make sure they speed up or slow down in sync with the piece. If they don't, you might want to look at your sentence flow again. Shift things until your writing evokes that mood from them.

Another big piece is word choice.

If you are writing that a woman is good-looking, for example, there are a lot of words you could choose from. Is she beautiful, pretty, gorgeous, good-looking, handsome?

Take a step back and think about connotation, rather than just the denotation (literal meaning) of the word. For example, when a woman is described as "handsome," most of us tend to imagine someone whose features or dress are not particularly delicate or feminine. I imagine this woman to be someone who sees wardrobe as serviceable, but is neat and well groomed.

Conversely, if you describe her as "beautiful," I get something really different.* I imagine someone with striking feminine features - probably long hair, big eyes, and a curvy shape. I also infer something about the speaker's perspective - calling someone beautiful could suggest that person has "stars in the eyes" and is awed by her beauty.

And it's not only the connotation to consider here. Say your choices aloud, alone and embedded in a sentence, and see how the words feel in your mouth. They become part of that rhythm as well.

One last thought to consider! Don't underestimate the role that empathy plays in creating strong moods in your writing. If you're writing a personal essay, you might be doing this without realizing it! If you're writing fiction, it takes a bit more work. But if you can immerse yourself emotionally in the moment you are describing, a lot of that mood will come through naturally.

That's enough out of me! How do YOU create mood and tone in your pieces? Are there certain voices or rhythms that feel natural or more intimidating?

After ten seasons of Idol, have you mastered the ominous "hippie about to be kicked" tone?


*Disclaimer: Bear in mind that different cultures and subcultures can have very different connotations for words! It helps to have others read your draft and let you know if any of your word choices feel off to them.

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