From the Write Angle

Site Admin Uncategorized October 14, 2014 Leave a reply
Posted: 12 Oct 2014 10:00 PM PDT
by Jemi Fraser
Last month, my post talked about 5 Tips to Trim Your Writing. This month, I’m tackling the opposite. With my current rewrite, I attempted to plot (kaboom!) and ended up with a shorter story than I expected (15k shorter).
So, now I’m focusing on how to flesh out a story without padding it. Some of the things I’ve discovered:
Fleshing it Out Tip #1 — Emotions
This one I’m having a blast with. I write contemporary romance, so it’s all about the emotion, but I think that’s true for most stories. It’s the emotions that pull me in and make me gobble up those pages, no matter what the genre is.
Delving into the character’s emotions helps the reader connect and makes the writing much more interesting. For me, plot is obviously important, but it’s how the characters respond to the plot that intrigues me. So, show that!
Fleshing it Out Tip #2 — Show, Don’t Tell
Another fun one, and very connected to #1. Telling removes the emotion. Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said, “Don’t tell me the old lady screamed, bring her on stage and let her scream”? Looking for those telling words/sentences in the draft helps me find places I can strengthen my story and make it longer/more compelling at the same time.
Fleshing it Out Tip #3 — Dialogue
Connected to #2! I love dialogue and tend to include a lot of it in my writing naturally, but there are still places I find where I can have my characters really showing…by telling. Dialogue infuses the story with life and lets the readers hear your characters talking. It also gives the reader a visual–and mental–break from narration, thus increasing the pace of your story.
Fleshing it Out Tip #4 — Description
Blech. I’m not an especially visual person or writer. My descriptions tend to be focused around the emotions of the characters. And I’m not a fan of reading paragraphs of description either, so I tread very, very carefully when I do this.
For people, I sprinkle in the description. A mention of hair colour by another character here, a comment about height there. Nothing obvious, certainly no looking in the mirror and offering up a self-evaluation. For example, rather than saying my character is short, I’ll have her drag a chair over to reach something off a high shelf.
For places, I don’t mind stringing a sentence or two together to anchor the reader in the setting, especially when it’s a new place. I try to focus on what the character would notice, and only on what is relevant to the story.
I’d rather leave most description up to my readers, but I’m learning I need to include those anchors and let the readers fill in the rest.
Fleshing it Out Tip #5 — Character Arcs
This one is more complex than the first four. Here, I’m looking for the pace of how my characters are growing. I want them to slowly learn to change, have strategically placed AHA! moments, and obstacles tossed in their paths to have them second guessing their realizations. This is another instance where I find Scrivener invaluable. I can colour code, or use the side bar, or make another file to put side by side in order to track the arcs. Then I can spot where the arc needs some help, tweak a scene here, add a scene there, throw in another obstacle, or three.
There are many more ways to flesh out a story (adding in a subplot and looking for plot holes to fill in come to mind), but these are the 5 I’m working with. Any tips to add? Do you like fleshing it out or do you prefer to trim?
Jemi Fraser is an aspiring author of contemporary romance. She blogs  and tweets while searching for those HEAs.

Humour, Quality Speeches & Fierce Competition!

Site Admin Uncategorized October 14, 2014 Leave a reply

Humour, Quality Speeches & Fierce Competition!

If you’d like see a toxic mix of these three – please come along to the Toastmasters Division K Humorous and Table Topics Contest at a terrific venue, details as below-

Contest Venue: 
1 Churchill Place
Canary Wharf
London E14 58P 

Date: Tues 21st Oct 

Functionaries and contestants to arrive by 6.30pm for the briefings, with a view to start the contest by 7:15pm.

Place guaranteed if you register by 15th Oct.

Tabletopics Contest (District 91)

Happy 90th Birthday Toastmasters International!

Site Admin Uncategorized October 7, 2014 Leave a reply

The first official Toastmasters meeting was held in October 1924 in Santa Ana, California. Why not celebrate the organization’s milestone with a themed club meeting devoted to Toastmasters’ history? Check out the 90th Anniversary http://www.toastmasters.org/90thanniversary webpage for fun resources to use throughout the anniversary year.
Planning a Speech Contest?
Ensure your contest is a success and contestants are eligible to compete by using the most up-to-date documents. Download the latest speech contest materials for free, and consider purchasing and presenting awards to celebrate contest winners’ accomplishments.
Speech Contest Rulebook Update
New versions of the Speech Contest Rulebook will now coincide with the Toastmasters program year. The next version goes into effect July 1, 2015, and the 2014 version is valid until then. The rulebook will be included in the May club officer mailing; clubs will not receive one in October, as was done previously.
Coming Soon: The New Toastmasters.org
Stay tuned for announcements on the debut of our new, sleek website. The redesign will provide easier navigation, interactive multimedia, a resource library and a new online store.
New Accredited Speaker
Congratulations Barbara Khozam of Escondido, California, for achieving the Accredited Speaker designation at the International Convention in August. Accredited Speaker is an elite designation signifying mastery of professional speaking techniques. Applications for the 2015 program will be accepted between January 1 and February 1.
Read the Toastmaster Magazine on Your Tablet
Get instant access to the magazine on your iPad, Android or Kindle Fire tablet today to enjoy interactive extras such as videos and photos. Download the free app from the Apple, Google Play or Amazon app stores.

The Strength of a Great Team

Site Admin Uncategorized October 7, 2014 Leave a reply
It always surprises me how everything comes together at Lewisham Speakers Club, well last week was a meeting of two halves.
Jason opened the meeting and welcomed our guests, Michael, Jason, Robert, Serena, Joanne, Patrick, David and Peter from Meridian before handing over to our Toastmaster Katy whose warm and generous personality held the rest of the meeting together Judith, introduced the warm up on what we would do with lottery winnings, the most popular choice was a long holiday.
Then I as grammarian, encouraged us to become comrades, and quite a few met and surpassed the challenge, by using the word.
Peter, being a true Toastmaster stepped in as Timekeeper and kept us all on time. Then the Lewisham Magic Happened as our three speakers had a common theme, of observing the ordinary and learning from it.
Kirk took us back to a Saturday as the movies as a child as after watching The Devil Wears Prada, he pacified his Rotwelier of a boss by solving an equation and whilst teaching won his American ca
Habibu, then noted the importance of eye contact in Europe and explained that hazel or amber eyes actually have green and brown specks, very evocative, before reminding us that above all our eyes enable us to expand our vision.
And Kirk and Habibu were joint winners then John, again took us back to our childhood of living in the moment, having been Dolphin watching in America where the sea was like pea soup, and encouraged us all to keep our minds open to our surroundings and actually live in the moment and then be more relaxed.
Our evaluators, Jason, Shernett (evaluating for the firt time) and Serena, picked up on the power of personal stories, confident voice projection and the power of rhetorical questions enabling our speakers to become even better. Serena was awarded the best evaluator title.
After the break, Serena became Topics Master and this section was an opportunity for our guests to show us there existing speaking talents, and I as Topics Evaluator as a result had an easy job for the record, due to their quality so giving much for commendation.
Jason, our Best Table Topic Speaker used humour as he recounted confessing to hitting a neighbours car as a child and despite telling the truth had to pay £54 for the repairs!  He’s not sure honesty always pays?
Patrick was definite about which he prefers a city or beach holiday, Why? Because his reward from a cycling holiday will be a few days at the beach, good to be decisive.
Michael, told us that his pet hate is litter but also reminded us how sometimes caution is called for if standing up for our rights can be too risky, very wise and more powerful being personal Joanna admitted that one of her bad habits is being late and as she explained how she finds herself rushing to catch up, her voice speeded up for added effect.
Peter, also speaking about being late told us how his family delayed him and over time he became resigned that he couldn’t solve jams in the Blackwall Tunnel with great gravitas for added impact.
David admitted that he would struggle to pretend to like a boss to get a promotion and his gentle body language supported his message.

Another encouraging, educated and energised evening of Lewisham Spaekers Club. Looking forward to the next soirée!