Since it is reminder day, I thought I would be fitting to stir up some old memories.
I apologize in advance to the people of other nationalities and generations who cannot relate to my memory.

Back when I was a kid there was a TV show I used to watch with my parents every week. Most of the spoken humor I was too young to get, but the characters would get themselves into exaggerated situations that were almost slapstick in nature and that I could understand completely.

That show, a spin-off of "Happy Days", was "Laverne & Shirley".

At the kick-off of the title music, the two main characters would link arms, do this little crouch-bob dance and say, "Schlemiel. Schlimazel. Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!". Being a child, I would sing along and do the dance. In fact, I was so obsessed with the sounds of the words schlemiel and schlimazel I would often blurt them out for no reason - at any time of day, in any social setting. Of course back then, most people identified the words with the show immediately. But no one ever told me they had a meaning.



Today, thanks to the magic of #wordoftheday and dictionary_reference. com I was brought back to that childhood memory and have something explained that I had stopped questioning long ago.
schlemiel [shluh-meel] noun, slang.
An awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right.

schlimazel [shli-mah-zuh l] noun, slang.
An inept, bungling person who suffers from unremitting bad luck.





What are you building for Act II? Be the Bard you've always wanted to be and #gowrite

Another brick in the steps to Bardishness - APAD. We are exactly halfway through the month of April go be a poet now and share it with us. It's a known fact that quoting poetry improves your posture - added benefit.

Did you read what our Flames wrote for Act I? Today is your last chance to show your appreciation for their work through votes. #govoteflames and share a little #commentlove
(Be sure to check out Willa the Wisp's story in Act I - she's a true Flame.)

What's that you say? You want to write 10k words or more in the month of April? And you want to do it from a virtual tent? Well go join the campers over at Camp NaNoWriMo - there are two weeks left in their spring event. Get your words out.

Just a few reminders today, mon Flames.

A Shakespeare inspired month-long contest is in the offing.
Go forth and pen Act I with a mind  to The Bard's line -
"We know what we are, but know not what we may be."
Week one submissions are due Sunday by 11:45 pm edt.

It's a poem a day in April, or what we like to call APAD.
Dive in now and sing to us of beauty true.
Your soul will thank you.

And then there's Camp NaNoWriMo for all you rugged types.
Sit by the fire with Cedar and thousands of other campers - spinning yarns, telling tall-tales, and eating virtual S'mores.

See you tomorrow.

 
Reminders only today.

Be sure to read, comment, and vote on the week two submissions for "What Worlds May Come".

There's still time to write for week three - "Live To Tell The Tale".

Are there any workshops you would like to explore? Maybe we can do it together. Comment your suggestions below.
Good morning to you, Flamefolk.

Do your characters get along?

I have a novel I started back in 2008 that is a far-future, full sci-fi, epic adventure through the stars. It is very precious to me as it was the first work of long fiction that I was ever able to commit myself to intensely and it was my NaNoWriMo project for that year. I reached a word count of about 165k after NaNo (without an ending). Exhausted, I put it away for a bit. When I took it back out I saw that it was not an unfinished novel but a great word beast that needed cropped, tamed, trained, deloused, and quite possibly exorcised.

My solution to this was to start rewriting the tale in snippets that condensed scenes to the best parts I'd written the first time around. I shared one such snippet with Boyfriend, my official beta reader, who (upon reading it) grabbed me by the shoulders and demanded to know why he had never heard about any of this before. Or he may have texted the question, the whole shoulder thing sounds a bit dramatic for him. I explained about the beast and the Catholic church's unwillingness to send a priest. Boyfriend dashed his stein to the floor and demanded I send him the entire work so that he might judge its worthiness. In the end, he didn't like it. The really boring stuff I was writing around with the new snippets intrigued him, but the parts and characters I loved he didn't.

One of his major complaints was that everyone got along.

To explain, I have two complete story tracks following one main character each. Main 1 is alone on her track and provides much of the history of the story in her reminiscences. The other is the hero who picks up stray humans he finds in destroyed or unsuitable ships as he travels across the Milky Way. The population on his ship goes from one to about eighty over the course of his journey and there are about twelve key players who provide the meat of the story in dialog and interaction with Main 2. These are the people who get along in a way that bugs my reader. I contend that they are being polite and respectful after having been rescued and that they are working together as a team against a common enemy. He says there's no way those twelve people would all play nice with no interpersonal conflict.

I figure there's a way that we are both right in this, but I haven't found that mix yet so I haven't rewritten the scenes. Since he brought it up, it's something I've started paying more attention to when reading or viewing TV shows and movies. The Walking Dead is a great example of a group of people who are bonded in adversity, need each other, and are always surfing through interpersonal conflicts while dispatching their enemy as a team. I need those guys on my spaceship. We are also watching our way through one of the Stargate franchises where all of the characters are trapped aboard an ancient Ancient alien vessel that is something like seven billion light years from Earth. They are in constant interpersonal conflicts and the four key characters are always scheming in ways that make me dislike them. I don't really want any of them on my crew, but if I maybe had one of them things might be more interesting.

This novel has a long way to go to get from beast to writer's best friend.

What are your thoughts on interpersonal conflict between characters in your writing and in your chosen form of entertainment intake?
Does that conflict happen naturally as you write or do you have to work at it? Do you have an ideal ratio?

Enlighten me :)




Just a few reminders and announcements and such -

February series of mini-contests 1 of 4 was won by RicoChey for the topic "Curioser & curiouser".

February series of mini-contests 2 of 4 was won by RicoChey for the topic "PBJ".

February series of mini-contests 3 of 4 is in the voting phase right now. Please put an end to RicoChey's reign of terror when casting your vote for the topic "Heart-shaped Paper".

Do you want to do more in the fight against RicoChey? Then join us for the final week of writing drabble in mini-contest 4 of 4. Submissions are due Sunday by 11:45 pm. The topic is "Ha! --  would a madman have been so wise as this?"

There are also a few workshops for dialogue if you want to work, work on the talking in your writing.  You really need to stop procrastinating and do that. (Note to self.)


#gowrite #fiction #writing #nonfiction #poetry #drabble #brigitsflame
'Tis Wednesday, Flames. Aside from being my day to chatter, it is that mid-week slump (or peak) for some that must be endured to get closer to the weekend.

I have a few writerly things I'd like to discuss with you, but I feel more whimsical than writerly today. (Or maybe just extra tired.) So let's play a little game.

In the car last night, Boyfriend and I were talking about songs on the radio and their names. He happened to have the radio tuned in to a country station, so there were some fun opportunities. During the mockfest, Boyfriend tells me there is a song called "Sunshine and Whiskey" where the singer is comparing a woman's kisses to these two things that, to him, are the best things in the world. Boyfriend comments that sunshine's okay, but whiskey is gross. I'm not a huge fan of either, so if we were being super literal that hottie on the beach (in the song) would be fairly lukewarm.

Similies like this are accepted for the songwriter's sake as being in the good, or pro column in context - regardless of who is listening. But what if you are a vegan and the singer is waxing poetic about a juicy steak? Or the cowboy days of wrangling steer? Or you're afraid of dogs and the singer is bemoaning the loss of his faithful hound?

This is your chance to write a little diddy where the comparisons are not broadly appealing, but specific to your tastes and sensibilities.

Start with one of these lines and fill in your favorites.

"Every time you kiss me it's like... ... ..."

"I'm dreaming of ... ... ..., but I would trade them all for one more night with you"

".... ....
These are a few of my favorite things."

Have fun with it. Do more than one if you like. Heck, write us a whole song.

Enjoy




A few reminders -

Week one of our February Tiny Tales [Curiouser & Curioser] was won by RicoChey. Balloonhat came in a close second with one measly vote less. Both submissions were excellent, but there can be only one.
The second of our drabble mini-contests [PBJ] is in the voting phase, make sure you read, comment, and vote before tomorrow night. Every vote counts.
Drabble 3 of 4 is open for submissions by all. The topic is "Heart-shaped Paper" and was inspired by our own resident poet, Kathy. #gowrite
Finally, join in the Dialog Workshop we have four exercises for you to explore.

Have a great week!

#flamechatters
Good morning to the fine Flamefolk out there.

Not long ago, Bardi asked you guys if you've created a place of your own within your writing. I'd like to know how you feel about world-building in general, as a writer or a reader?

I know that not all of our writers are science-fiction or fantasy writers, which are the genres one might immediately associate with the idea of world-building, but I believe world-building is something we see in novels across genres. It is not just space ships, alien landscapes, and shires, world-building can be any limiting setting that is as integral to the story as your characters.

Those corset-busting Harlequin romances set their breathless little vamps in 15th century Scotland or 18th century France - even if it's an era passed with accurate historical markers, it is still a world the author built in order to control the characters and events by the rules or mores of the day. In my tweener years, I read several books in a series called "Sweet Valley High" - the "world" in that case was a modern, middling town and the high-school all the town kids attended. In Veronica Mars the world was Neptune Beach California. Is the real Neptune Beach anything like the corrupt and seedy place in the TV show? Maybe, maybe not, but if it weren't for that seedy side the protagonist might have grown up to be an accountant instead of a P.I. and then there would be no interesting story to tell.

When it comes to worlds within the pages of a book, I am an advocate, as long as it is done well and correctly. Tolkien is labeled as the first author to create a complete world in his novels - with maps and languages and lore - and I do love what he did. (For me finding a map inside the cover of a book is the promise of a true adventure.) But this is not the only option when building a world, and not every reader has the patience for it. I would argue that Tolkien was the first to create an elaborate world of that kind. You cannot deny that the dingy, orphan-hating London of David Copperfield or the stormy Moors of Wuthering Heights were any less encompassing of their stories and players for lack of orcs and Rivendell.

So let me bring this back around to the point. (I'm a bit scrambled today, I apologize.) In longer works of fiction, to what level do you flesh out your worlds? Do you paint them as you go with a roll of the dice here and a "I need more tension" over there? Or do you build it first and then unleash your characters on the world? What's your ratio of world known by the author to world revealed to the reader? As a reader, do you prefer minimalist worlds or elaborately constructed ones?

Talk to me.




And now for our reminders -
February Series of Tiny Tales 1 of 4 is available to read and vote on. Please go show your support and appreciation for your fellow Flames. Deadline on voting is tomorrow night.

February Series of Tiny Tales 2 of 4 is awaiting your submission(s). If you or someone you love is a writer, please pass on the link and join the fun. It's good for you.

Our darlin' Kathy lioness has updated the dialog workshop with some new exercises, don't miss out.

I have set-up a little nook for you guys to interact over your 100 words. It's not a formal workshop with assignments and such, but it is there for you if you need some flamecrunching.

#gowrite #flamechatters #brigitsflame #govoteflames

 
Good morning to all of my friends in the Flame,
Today I am here to ask the question - what brings out the character loyalty in you?

I’ve mentioned before that I have an affection for detective novels that began when I was a small child. (If you have small children who like to read, find them some Encyclopedia Brown books. The character was first published in 1963, 29 novellas followed and a movie is in the works. It’s a great series for teaching deductive reasoning to your little Sherlocks. /promo)

Though I love my fantasy novels with faeries and magic, and my science fiction novels with aliens, robots, and space exploration, I have never outgrown my first love for a good Who(AndWhy)Dunnit.

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the television series Veronica Mars. Yes it is a high school setting and I am far from high school age, but the stories were solid and the character wise beyond her years. I watched every episode in a DVD marathon. Then sqeeeed with joy when the movie came out last year and gobbled that up. Recently, my Audible account served up an audiobook that continues the series from where the movie left off (read by Kristen Bell) and I spent three sick days listening to Veronica solve the case of “The Thousand Dollar Tan Line”.

I tried to explain to Boyfriend why I enjoy this detective so much even though she started out as a nosy teenager. I don’t think I did her justice and I’ve been trying to put it into words ever since. Why is she such an appealing character to me? Well to start, she’s sarcastic. Veronica is street smart and book smart. She has a great relationship with her father, but she does what she’s gonna do whether he allows it or forbids. Veronica is highly observant and the writers do not allow her to miss obvious things for the sake of furthering the story. (I can’t tell you how many times I have yelled at characters in books for missing the obvious.) She is witty, loyal, stands for the underdog, chooses her friends wisely (although I think her first boyfriend was a questionable choice), and she is a little bit broken. The writers/creator made her very relatable and truly realistic (if a teenage, unlicensed PI can be realistic).

Some of these traits can be found in other characters I have loved over the years, so as I spell it out a type begins to emerge that includes Gregory House, Mal Reynolds, and Harry Dresden (just to name a few). Oh and Boyfriend himself, though he doesn’t solve any mysteries; smuggle cargo through space; and (sadly) is not a wizard.

What’s your type? Share some characters you get excited over and involved with; tell me what you love about them? Do you find yourself building your own characters with their traits or voice? Can you draw lines from these fictional people to the RL people you have folded into your inner circle?

Talk to me.




A few reminders -
Be sure to vote on our January week four submissions - Utopia: Search For Meaning

Join in February's story soupçon - dash off those drabbles and drop them here. Curiouser & curiouser is your prompt this week. There is a related workshop space reserved for those who want to crunch their words in good company.

Have you followed our Instagram feed yet? Do you get your Brigit's Flame notifications through Twitter or Facebook? You can follow us just about anywhere now, we are even across the street at that bus stop watching you when you think you are alone...


#brigitsflame #flamechatters
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