Preptober for NaNoWriMo

24 September 2021

Old books on a shelf

Hi y’all,

I know this is a wee bit early before October but I wanted to go ahead and share some resources to help you prepare for National Novel Writing Month (November). If you have problems finishing a manuscript NaNoWriMo might help you finish. It teaches you how to muffle/choke your inner editor. Bribery works for my inner editor.

What if you aren’t writing fiction and still want to participate in this frenzied event? You can be a NaNo Rebel. A NaNo Rebel is a NaNoWriMo participant who chooses to write something besides a novel of at least 50,000 words in November. Some rebels choose to revise and edit their novels, while others wander into the worlds of nonfiction, video games, scripts, and academic writing.

Back to the topic of novel writing. It’s easy for a nonwriter or someone who only writes short stories to say, “writing a novel can’t be that hard.” It can be. Many people wistfully say they want to write a novel one day. I’ll bet they started to really think about it, then broke out into an icy sweat while slowly backing away from that idea.

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I’ve found that breaking such a large project into smaller pieces makes the process less overwhelming and easier to organize. I write my stories in Word but keep them organized in Scrivener.

To have an idea of where I’m going, I write out what I know about the major plot points and/or the pinch points in my story. This is a good start but I also need a way to keep myself on track without interfering my flow of creativity. Using the Hero’s Journey and the 3-Act Structure, along with the plot points I’ve written out give me a road map to follow. BUT, this method also gives me the room I need if I come up with ideas that are better than my initial effort. A Google search brings up lots of resources to help you prepare for NaNo.

Reedsy has an article that explains the Three Act Structure if you’re unfamiliar with this story structure. https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/story-structure/three-act-structure/

Here’s a link for the Hero’s Journey if you’d like to know more. https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/story-structure/heros-journey/

Author, Eva Deverell has plethora of writing worksheets to help get your Preptober off to a great start! https://www.eadeverell.com/preptober-schedule/

The NaNo website has helpful information, too. https://nanowrimo.org/nano-prep-101

Here’s the word count breakdown to reach the 50,000 word goal: 1,667 words per day or 7 pages. If you can’t sit down and write that number of pages in a single sitting you can write 556 words in three sessions which will keep you at the daily goal.

Do you have a child or teen who’s a writer? NaNoWriMo has a Young Writer’s Program.

I hope the links provide a good starting place for your novel preparation. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, don’t put it off. Take the plunge! Don’t worry if you don’t reach the 200 pages goal what’s important is that you learned more about writing, yourself, and maybe made some new writing friends.

Keep writing and creating!

Tambra

P.S. Don’t forget my Essentials of Characterization and Plotting workshop starts October 6. Here’s the link to register! https://www.heartsthroughhistory.com/event/the-essentials-of-characterization-and-plotting/

My October Workshop

September 10, 2021

Hi everyone,

cartoon cat writing at a desk.

I hope y’all are doing well!

I wanted to let you know I’ll be teaching my Essentials of Characterization and Plotting workshop. It begins October 6, 2021 and ends November 1, 2021. The cost for Hearts Through History members is $15, non-members $25. This is the only time this year I’ll be teaching it.

The length of the course is four weeks. I post lessons every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you’d like to read testimonials from people who’ve taken the course you can find it on my website: https://tambrakendall.com

Here’s a list of the lessons. I’ve tried to organise the material so the lessons build on each other making the material as cohesive as possible.

  • Lesson One: Brainstorming
  • Lesson Two: Backstory, Plot Sketches, Show, Don’t Tell and Effective Description
  • Lesson Three: Character is Action, Plot is Action
  • Lesson Four: GMC – Goal, Motivation and Conflict Goal, Urgency, Motivation
  • Lesson Five: Writing Strong Characters and Viewpoint, Deep Point of View, Stimulus and Response
  • Lesson Six: Sagging Middles
  • Lesson Seven: Scene and Sequel Structure
  • Lesson Eight: Plotting Methods
  • Lesson Nine: Creating Dimensional Characters
  • Lesson Ten: Adding Tension and Danger
  • Lesson Eleven: Writing Sexual Tension
  • Lesson Twelve: Basic Worldbuilding

As you can see, most of the lessons can be applied to other genres of fiction besides romance. I hope to see you in October!

Here’s the link to register for the workshop: https://www.heartsthroughhistory.com/event/the-essentials-of-characterization-and-plotting/

If you’re at my website, please consider signing up for my newsletter. In exchange for signing up, I offer a mini-journal. The schedule is approximately every quarter, unless something special is occurring. I’m passionate about using essential oils/natural healing, recycling/upcycling, Celtic mythology, the Templars and Arthurian history.

Have a great weekend!

Tambra

Recycled Lay’s Plastic Chip Container

July 1, 2021 by Tambra Nicole Kendall

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share with you my latest recycle. I’m sure you’ll find a number of uses for this project. I hate throwing away the plastic Lay’s chip container. Here are some of the things I used them for: watercolour brushes, silverware/plastic ware for camping or picnics, crayons, markers.

Today, I used some decorative tape (with paw prints) around the body. It will be added to Smudge’s tote bag to hold an extra leash, a roll of doggy poop bags and leaving enough room for a baggie with some treats and a small squeaky toy. I’m positive cat lovers would find a use for this idea.

Recycled plastic Lay’s chip container

I hope y’all are doing well and that this quick idea will help you. Camp NaNoWriMo starts today, so I’m off to see what I can get on the page. If you happen to participate in the literary activity you can find me as Tambra Nicole.

Hugs to all! Tambra

Papermaking!

23 April 2021 by Tambra Nicole Kendall

I’ve always loved the originality of homemade paper. The cost sometimes can be an issue. With my quest recycle and upcycle I looked into making my own paper for small journals and to paint on. I ordered this frame https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08PDWTBQF and this book https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N9LSZ6G

Easy Papermaking book

I have a VitaMix and there is no way I’m going to use it to make my paper, so I went to Walmart and bought a 56 ounce blender for $20. By creating my own paper from junk mail I can also add things like flowers, flower petals, glitter to my pulpy mess. I haven’t made anything yet since I just purchased the blender.

I think a hand crafted journal is going to be a great contest prize. The winner can use it for themselves or give it as gift. Maybe sewing isn’t something your interested in, but this might be something for you to explore. This could be a project you can do with your kids. There are lots of video’s on book binding. I love Nik the Booksmith, Sea Lemon and Jenniebellie’s video’s on book binding methods.

homemade paper

Homemade papermaking will work for all the areas of writing I do. As with most creatives when I sew, paint, or do crafting it helps stimulate my imagination and writing.
In a previous post I had mentioned holding a contest for my blog subscribers. I signed up for Rafflecopter, so you’ll be seeing a contest in the near future.

I’d love to hear if you’ve done this before or if this post nudged you to try this technique. Here’s a link to the process of homemade papermaking:: https://www.sensiblehomeschool.com/how-to-make-homemade-paper-a-tutorial-with-pictures/

Stay well and safe! Happy Crafting!

Tambra Nicole

Tambra’s Refashioning and Upcycling Resources

17 April 2021

tape measure, thread and material

By Tambra Nicole Kendall

Hello friends!

I wanted to share my favourite sewing and refashioning resources with you. One the things I’ve missed most during the pandemic is the chance to go and poke around in my local thrift stores. Recycling and upcycling items help my creativity while giving something a brand new life. To some people this sort of activity isn’t fun, but for me it’s exciting. So, if any of you are contemplating the joys of refashioning and upcycling come along with me.

I understand not everyone is excited about sewing, refashioning, and thrifting. If you know someone who is please pass the link to this post to them and share the love.

There is a difference between recycling and upcycling. RECYCLING is the destruction of waste and making something new. Example: Automobile windshield glass made into drinking glasses.

UPCYCLING it taking an item and creating something new from it in the current state it is in. Upcycling is creative and reduces the need for recycling. Example: My purse made from a pair of old blue jeans. I get lots of complements on this purse and I love it. Pinterest has lots of ideas for upcycling denim as well as other sewing projects.

Jillian of ReFashionista.net is the one person I credit with giving me the courage to even attempt refashioning. She gives clear directions and warns you of possible pitfalls along the way. I love her sweet, bright personality that’s bursting with creativity. I hope you’ll stop by and take a look at all her wonderful creations. https://refashionista.net/refashions/dress-refashions/

After the ReFashionista got me enthralled with refashioning I found other ladies who are of the same mindset. I came across Beth of The Renegade Seamstress creates amazing refashions like Jillian. Beth has wonderful videos that show you step-by-step how to create a variety of projects for yourself, your family, and your home. If you’re looking for a book with a great variety of refashioning projects check out Beth’s book. I’ve already chosen the first project to make out of my copy. You can find the Renegade Seamstress here: https://therenegadeseamstress.com/

I wanted to add So Sew Easy is another fab resource. These ladies have a nice variety of projects and at various difficulty levels for wherever you are in your sewing journey. https://so-sew-easy.com/

On YouTube there are a number of women I watch and learn from. Coolirpa https://www.youtube.com/user/coolirpa, With Wendy https://www.youtube.com/user/withwendy, Annika Victoria https://www.youtube.com/user/AnnikaVictoria24..

Some of you know I love vintage clothing and I’ve found some amazing designer/seamstresses. Bernadette Banner has absolutely gorgeous Victorian/Edwardian period clothing. I think if I ever met her we would be friends. She made an Inverness coat and a Lady Sherlock outfit, an 1890s ballgown. If your interested in this era of fashion, please visit Bernadette’s YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHtaUm-FjUps090 S7crO4Q/videos

For 1920s era on up, Evelyn Wood is fantastic. I believe she has course on Teachable, too. I just love her personality and the way she explains how and why she makes the decisions she does in her refashions or whatever garment she’s creating. I love learning about vintage sewing skills. You can find Evelyn here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ59owAiWL2IgaANbG-jm0Q

For dress eye candy on Instagram I always look at Molly Nguyen Designs. Her exquisite ballgowns and wedding dresses with floof and sparkle make me so happy.

If you’ve always wanted to try sewing or upcycling I hope I’ve given you enough places to encourage you to step in and give this a try. Or, if you have some basic sewing skills you’ll find plenty of places here to inspire you.

Take care until we meet here again! Tambra Nicole

News to Share

Hi y’all,

I wanted to let you know that Coffee Time Romance interviewed me and now it’s ready. I’d love it if you could stop by and comment. https://coffeetimeromance.com/interviews/interview-with-tambra-kendall/

The other news I wanted to share is I have a shop at Society6. If you’re looking for unique gift ideas, I just might have something to fill that need. Or, if you’d just like to see some of my photography you can do that, too. https://society6.com/tambranicole

Anne’s Flower Garden, taken at Chicken Paradise, San Antonio, Texas

I hope y’all have a blessed week!

Tambra Nicole Kendall

Basics of Writing a Short Story

Basic of Writing a Short Story

January 25, 2021 by Tambra Nicole Kendall

Quill pen, ink well, books, and paper

When I began writing I started out with articles and studying children’s literature. Gaining a bit of confidence, I submitted one of my articles to a local writing group’s contest. It was the first time I’d entered my writing in a contest before and I was nervous.

I won third place!  One of judges contacted me about publishing my article in his magazine. He was active in Toastmasters International and he had a dynamic presence. A few years later I joined Toastmasters International and it gave me the confidence to speak to an audience about writing and teaching. What does this have to do with writing short stories, you’re asking. Well, writing a speech uses the same skills. You need to be focused, making every word count, have a beginning, middle and end, leading to a satisfying conclusion.

On my bookshelves I have several writing craft books by Jack M. Bickham, a former Creative Writing Professor at the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Bickham was a protégé of the late Dwight Swain.

 Much of the information in Bickhams books still apply today. Years ago, I had the honour of meeting him. He was a gracious and gentle man. If there had been a way for me to take his university courses I would have jumped at the chance. Jack Bickham wrote over eighty novels, and three books for Writer’s Digest Books. Mr. Bickham also wrote The Apple Dumpling Gang which was made into a movie in the 1970s-early 1980s, I think.

Study the masters of short story writing. What story situations do they tackle? How do they create characters you relate to?

Here’s what I’ve learned writing short stories and information from Mr. Bickham. I hope this will give you a place to start. Learning to write short can be a fun challenge.

Tambra’s Short Story Tips

Write out what you know about the characters and the story you want to tell. Go through it and edit out the parts that don’t push the story forward. In short stories you usually find two to three characters because you don’t have the room for more.

Remember this is a short story.  Traditional short story word lengths run from 1,500 (six pages) to 5,000 words (roughly 20 double spaced pages.)

Six pages is going to call for some concentrated, concise writing. Twenty pages still means you need a narrow focus and must making every word count. Some people find writing short easier than writing long. This will take some practice but don’t forget to have fun. I believe writing should be fun and exciting.

When writing a novel, you have the luxury of delving deeper into the GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict) of your main characters and villain, a complex plot with room for a bit of backstory. Flashbacks and backstory slow the pace of your story which is why they must be trickled in. If you’re unfamiliar with GMC I highly recommend Debra Dixon’s book, GMC. I can’t tell you how much it helped me. From her I learned to love plotting.

Drop your character into trouble as soon as you can. But make sure the situation can be resolved in a satisfying manner in allotted number of pages you have available. Rushing the ending will make the reader feel cheated and dissatisfied.

Remember you don’t have time for long passages of backstory so a few sentences to let the reader know. Example: Gina and Dee Dee met at college and Gina invites Dee Dee over for supper and a study session.

Gina opened the door holding her new puppy. “Come on in!”

Dee Dee white knuckle gripped her tote bag and licked her lips. “Can’t. Dog.” Her brain and body were frozen.

Gina frowned and walked back. “A bad experience with dogs?”

Dee Dee nodded.

“She’s asleep. Can you hear her snoring?”

Dee Dee stepped inside and closed the door. “A neighbor’s Chow Chow jumped the fence and bit me.I was three years old. I’ve been scared of dogs no matter the size since then.” She swallowed. “I have wanted to pet a puppy. It would nice to at least be able to do that.”

Gina sat on the sofa and Dee Dee followed. “If you want you try softly petting her with your index finger on her head.”

 Slowly Dee Dee reached out and stroked the Westie’s head. Her fur was so soft! The knots in her chest and stomach loosened making it easier to breathe. She did it. She actually pet a dog.

     In the example I didn’t do a long flashback on Dee Dee’s situation that led to her getting bit. The readers need to care about the characters. Everyone has been scared, so we understand how hard this must have been for Dee Dee.

     Your plot will probably be on specific event that can be handled within the limits of the genre. Give just enough information about the setting so the reader isn’t confused.

    The other elements of fiction writing apply. Adding in the senses, enough description so the reader is transported and can visualize it. Check the flow and pace of your story.

Every word, every sentence counts. Readers emotions, their hearts, must be pulled in and engaged in the story you are telling. Writing short will serve you well if you write longer pieces of fiction. Writing short it forces you to write tighter and more concise. You’ll find yourself getting to the heart of a scene much quicker.

I’ve never regretted started out writing short pieces of fiction and nonfiction.

I hope this post helps you understand the basics of writing short stories. It’s really fun! I hope you give it a try. You might like it.

Hugs to all, Tambra Nicole

Books, pen, pencil, and eraser

Introducing…Smudge MacRuff

Hi y’all,

Smudge Alpin MacRuff has a new Doggy Bloggy. I guess my blog isn’t big enough for the both of us so he has his own.

In the Chewspaper, there is a section for Interview with Authors and their pets. So far, we have three authors filling out the form and getting their information together.

Come on over and join in the fun! Maybe you’ll find a new author to add to your towering To Be Read pile. We’d love for you to subscribe!

https://smudgemacruff.wordpress.com/

smudgeapril2019

Smudge Alpin MacRuff . Dis terrier wants YOU to be happy when you visit his Doggy Bloggy.

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement! Smudge and I hope you are finding the information on our blogs informative and fun!

Love to all! Tambra and Smudge

Make the Most of This Time

 

July 20, 2020

Hi y’all,

I hope you and your families are doing well. There are so many changes to adapt to it can be overwhelming. Stress levels are up for a multitude of reasons. My wish is that you find something of use in this blog post.

Recently, I learned gardening is being used as therapy in the UK and it’s helping people. If this interest’s you and you haven’t done it before. Start out small. Educate yourself in the area you’re interested in and have fun. Here’s a link if you’d like learn more about green therapy: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/13/green-therapy-gardening-helping-fight-depression

If you’ve always wanted to write books but keep putting it off, do it. Start with a short story. Find a group of writers. Want to write fiction and nonfiction? Lots of us do! I have a teatime cookbook and a journal both available on Amazon.  Or, you might be interested in nonfiction such as memoirs. I have a friend, Joan Neubauer,  who’s written a great book on this topic. You can find her book here: From Memories to Manuscript: the Five Step Method of Writing Your Life Story

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The Scottish-English Texan: 56 Teatime Recipes

I create stories to entertain people, an opportunity to be transported to another place, or assist someone by looking at something in a way that gives them greater understanding,  For my visual art, my goal is to bring beauty to the person looking through my portfolio.

Monet's Roses

Tambra’s Watercolour and Gouache tribute to Claude Monet

Having delicate health means every single day is a precious gift. I focus on what I can I do today: finish edits on my novella, tweak that short story for middle graders, try to sketch and paint a mermaid in ProCreate. From the time I was twelve years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer and artist. Of course, these are not optimum conditions, but my drive to continually be creative is an integral part of me. Not being able to create makes me physically sicker.

I challenge you left-brainers out there to be creative (in a positive way, please.) Colouring is a stress reducer. Cooking can be creative, building something from wood, woodburning, soap making, sewing, gardening, learn to play a musical instrument, recycling/upcycling items. If being creative is new to you don’t automatically say what you’ve done is a piece of crap. A new skill takes time to learn so give yourself a break and have fun.

Make the most of the time you have right now. What can you learn, create, and share with others? I believe I was given the gift of storytelling and writing as well as art. Not everyone will like my writing and art, but some will. Being creative reduces stress and stimulates areas of your brain that will help you think of out-of-the-box solutions in your life.

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Smudge Alpin MacRuff

I hope you find a creative activity is fun, that you can share with family and friends.

Maybe we can take away something positive from 2020. A deeper understanding of how precious life is and how to make the most of it. Smudge Alpin MacRuff wants you to be kind and love one another.

Wishing you peace and love,

Tambra Nicole and Smudge