Saturday 25 May 2013

Boy In The Magical Forest.

The boy, Ethan, is a real, live, nine-year old boy, and the forest is a real magical forest. This is the story of how Ethan became my number one fan.

Ethan and his mother visited my acreage awhile back, and the first thing we did was go searching for gnomes.

We didn't find any gnomes, but we did notice gnome poop in the horse field. We did find some odd tracks, which could possibly belong to gnomes. And then, we found bones---most probably dragon bones. Ethan took several of these bones home.

I showed Ethan and his mother where Petra and Snarls, and                
all the characters in The Pen Pieyu Adventures (adventure kids books) live in my magical forest.

In the forest, we noticed several wavy, misty, glittering images that darted around---most likey fairies.

Suddenly,  a wild gust of wind that twirled leaves to capture us in its vortex. Then a mighty dragon's roar---or maybe a bellowing cow---that sent us charging, in the other direction.. Then, as if by magic, everything went deadly silent.

That's when we came upon something I'd never seen before . . .

This unique and awe-inspiring mud pie made with flowers and berries, and a horse ornament that has been missing from my house for months. Was the pie magic? Was it made for us? An offering from my story-book characters?

 We were still pondering where the mud pie could have come from when this giant, snarling, wolf-creature rounded the corner.

  Paralized with fear for only the briefest moment, our feet soon took flight. We headed for the safety of the castle gates and then into the castle.
 Once inside the safety of the castle, we made our way to the dinning room where we had lemonade and snacks, and chatted about our adventures of the day.

Since our day of adventure, Ethan has become my (or should I say, Petra's) number one fan. He writes to Petra regularly and Petra writes back. They often exchange gifts.

Ethan has his dragon bones mounted in a frame, although his mother wouldn't allow him to take home any gnome poop (this I don't understand since you don't come across gnome poop that often).

More on Ethan and Petra's blooming friendship in another blog.

Visit me and my fantasy kids books author's website at:

Sunday 19 May 2013

Redundant Again.

Redundancy. Something that is said over and over and sometime over again, and for the most part is just plain annoying.
There are so many phrases that we write and say which say the same thing. The phrases have become so overused that, somehow, they have become acceptable. Believe me, I have been guilty of the "redundant act" myself.
Here are two over-exaggerated paragraphs, but the point is to realize some of the redundant phrases we use far to often. Can you spot how many redundant phrases are used below? 
As an author, he had a major breakthrough of paramount importance with an altogether new book. The final outcome has kept him out of serious danger from total annihilation with the publisher. The writer and the publisher worked in a joint cooperation to create a successful project that ended up being more than adequate enough. 
This author is considered a trained professional, and his past history as a writer helped him plan in advance to eliminate altogether any misconceptions about the project. The final project should create successful prosperity for the author.
Answer. There are 13 redundant phrases in the paragraphs:
- major breakthrough
- paramount importance
- altogether new
- final outcome
- serious danger
- total annihilation
- joint cooperation
- adequate enough
- trained professional
- plan in advance
- past history
- eliminate altogether
- successful prosperity

So, the lesson here is to become aware of these redundant phrases and to eliminate them. Doing so will make us better writers.

Illustrations by Samantha Kickingbird
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copyright, Diane Mae Robinson, 2013

Saturday 11 May 2013

Creativity In The Forest.

Creating, imagining, daydreaming, and writing in the forest is one of my favorite summer
pastimes. I imagine all sorts of
Illustration by Samantha Kickingbird
fantasy creatures and then, just as I nearly catch a glimpse of them, they run and hide behind the trees, giggling at me and my human eyes that can't quite focus on them.

The forest is my inspiration for my writing about the fantasy characters that are featured in my fantasy/adventure children's books series (book two coming soon).

As I imagine and daydream, the trees turn into faces and then materialize as full bodies. They start to laugh and dance and turn into  fantasy characters doing all sorts of things (of course this is just the wind shape-shifting my perception, but we're in creative mode, right?)

This creative process was how Snarls, the dragon, and Petra, the princess knight, were created several years ago--they are the characters in The Pen Peiyu Adventures. And still, years later when I  look at the same tree formations I first saw them in, they are still etched into the bark of their tree homes.

Through the years, and with lots of practice at creative imagining,
I've trained my human eyes to be more preceptive to the
forest and the fantasy characters that live within it. I see gnomes,
fairies, witches, princesses, giants, and of course, a dragon.
Can you spot the dragon guarding my horses?

Creativity is a training process. The same process occurs when we stare into the clouds and make pictures.

I'm often asked at author visits how I get into creative mode. Well, creating characters within the barks and leaves of the trees is definitely a creative process for me. But what of those who don't have a forest?

I have suggestions.

-  Listen to music, especially classical music, to get your right brain stimulated--scientists have proven this.

-  Write and doodles with the opposite hand you usually write or doodle with.

-  Do an art project. I am an artist, so I paint while listening to music. This really stirs up my creative juices    and I can write wonderful things after a session of art.

- Meditate or deep breathing with your eyes closed for at least 20 minutes.

- Dress in a costume relevant to what you are writing about.

- Dance nude under the moonlight. Okay, this one I don't suggest if you live in a town or city. (Okay, I've never done this, but my writer friend swears by it).

This is me in my creative forest.

Creativity is a learning process, and for some of these processes it may be best to practice when you are alone so as not to be judged too harshly by those who do not know how creativity works. Find your creative muse by tying different things--creativity will come to you.

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Saturday 4 May 2013

Which Vs. That.

     That sentence, which has 'that' in it, is confusing me. So should we use that or which in a sentence?  
Illustration by Samantha Kickingbird
In British English, sometimes both are correct. 
Correct:   The dragon held out the paw which was hurt.
Correct:   The dragon held out the paw that was hurt.

     In the above sentences,  that and which are introducing what’s known as a restrictive relative clause.  This kind of clause contains essential information about the noun that comes before it. If you leave out this type of clause, the meaning of the sentence is affected, and it will probably not make much sense. Restrictive relative clauses can be introduced by thatwhichwhosewho, or whom.

     The other type of relative clause is known as a non-restrictive relative clause This kind of clause contains extra information that could be left out of the sentence without affecting the meaning of the sentence.  Non-restrictive clauses can be introduced by whichwhosewho, or whom, but you should never use that to introduce them. Examples:

                 A scroll  listing all of the dragons, which live in the forest, is in the royal  library.

                 The librarian handed her the scroll, which she took.

     A non-restrictive clause is preceded by a comma to set off the extra information. A  restrictive clause  in not preceded by comma because the information is essential  to the meaning of the sentence.

Non-restrictive clause:      The dragon brought his new sword, which was  still shiny.
Restrictive clause:                 The dragon brought the sword that was new and still shiny.

     In the next two sentences, we look at the difference in the meaning of the sentences.

Non-restrictive clause:       All the scrolls, which are about dragons, are in the library.       
Restrictive clause:                All the scrolls that are about dragons are in the library.

     In the first sentence, we are saying all the scrolls are in the library. That they happen to be about dragons is extra information.
     In the second sentence, we are saying that all the scrolls about dragons are in the library.
So think about what you need to say and portray in the sentences you write. Write the sentences well and everything will become much clearer for the reader.

copyright, Diane Mae Robinson, 2013
Visit my author's website here.