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Writing Tips: Prequels and Sequels

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Recently I’ve returned to the Fabled Forest  writing a new book for the series of children’s books.   
Emma and the Aardvarks will address endangered species when two sisters, aardvarks, arrive unexpectedly in the Forest. Just when I think a series has run its course another book pops into my head. 

I write fables (not fairy tales) with a lesson in every story. Subjects like bullying, running away, being different, ecology and so on. 

For you new writers:  A sequel, of course, is a new story that continues (almost) where you left off in the last one. It has reoccurring characters and the scene is usually the same as in my forest. 

A prequel is a story of what happened before your current book.  For example: I might write a story about Emma’s life before she entered the fabled forest and met all her mystical friends.

Is there a prequel or sequel to a story you have written? I’ll bet there is. This idea is very popular with readers. If they like a story, they want more of the same.

GIVE IT TO THEM! 

 

Cinderella's stepsister stumbles into the Fabled Forest clearing

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May: Boo Walker, June: Anne D. LeClaire and July — Catherine Ryan Hyde
 
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Interview (part 3) with writer, Anne LeClaire

Anne with friend, Deborah

Q. How long after were you published?

AL. I spent the next three years writing and rewriting and learning how to write a novel, getting to understand the importance of structure, etc. I was very fortunate to work with the brilliant Linda Grey

Q. Do you think we will see, in our lifetime, the total demise of paper books?

AL. No. When my previous book, The Halo Effect, came out I visited forty-eight book clubs, mostly in person although a few were skyped. Over and over, I heard from readers that they love to hold an actual book. They used eBooks out of convenience but the tactile satisfaction, the holding of it, gave them a pleasure they didn’t get from an eBook. I have both and think there is a place for both, but my first love is paper.

Q. What makes a writer great?

AL. Define great. And to whom? Compilers of 100 greatest lists? Or those who list books that have been timeless in appeal? At what age? Loving a book is so personal.
Another thing I witnessed when visiting book clubs is exactly that. I do know what compels me to recommend a book – to press it into the hands of friends and near strangers, and that is a combination of characters and their stories who haunt me long after I have finished, that make me think and feel and change me in an essential way.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

AL. A roller-coaster.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

AL. Eleven of my books are novels, one is a memoir in which I explore my practice of not speaking two Mondays a month (Listening Below the Noise) and I have written on children’s book. (Kaylee Finds A Friend.)

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

AL. Remember that book, Everything I Need to Know in Life I learned in Kindergarten? Well, many of the things I needed to learn in life, I acquired in writing: What makes people tick? How do we learn to forgive? What is the purpose of grief? How do we grieve? How do we love? If we want to love and be loved, why do we sabotage ourselves? Above all, by sliding into the skins of characters very different from me, I began to develop empathy That’s one of the great things fiction can do for readers and writers.

Q. What’s your down time look like?

Red Sox fan

AL. That depends on the seasons. In the winter, I am a house mouse. I read and rest and go inward. Do yoga. Attend movies or concerts or theatre with friends. The rest of the year, I am more active in my down time. I swim, run, hike, hang out at the beach. I’m always reading regardless of the season. One time inspired by an exercise in The Artist’s Way, I decided to do a one-week reading fast. I lasted three days and those days weren’t pretty. I actually grew short-tempered. Reading is like oxygen to me.

Did you miss the beginning of this interview? Click here
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   April: Poet, Joe Albanese, May: Boo Walker, June: Anne D. LeClaire and July — Catherine Ryan Hyde
 
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Interview with author, Anne LeClaire (part 2)

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

AL. Mornings and into the afternoon are the times I write. When I am working on a first draft, I can usually only put in four hours before I need to stop. (I am always surprised by how physically tiring writing can be). But when I am working on rewrites, I can go until late in the afternoons. I love doing rewrites.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

AL. Remember how good it feels when you are finally at the desk writing.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

AL. Where? Everywhere. Dreams, newspaper articles, overheard conversations and, as the book progresses, from the story itself.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

AL. Love of story. Almost as soon as I could hold a pencil, I was scratching out stories, some only a sentence long. And reading, of course, lead fuel to the fire.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

AL. I’ve had times when character comes first and times when an idea or situation grabbed me initially. Five of my novels rose out of situation and five from character.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

AL. Yes. I lose all track of time. One time my husband had been out for hours and he came into my studio and asked what I had for lunch. I told him I hadn’t eaten yet. He informed me it was 3:30. I thought it was probably around noon.

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

AL. My most recent book was published this May. The Orchid Sister is set in Mexico and Cape Cod and concerns many of the themes that fascinate me: how we deal with grief, loss, betrayal, families, faith and fear. In short, all the big things in life.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

AL. I have written as long as I can remember. I had a newspaper column in the local paper when I was in high school. In my 20s and 30s I wrote for newspapers and magazines. At the same time, I was beginning a novel. At the encouragement of an editor at Yankee Magazine I sent a brief outline and sample chapter to an agent. Four months later I had enough for her to submit to a publisher who bought the book on the basis of an outline (which I actually had to learn how to write) and three chapters.
I still haven’t mastered the skill of outlining a book. I think I like the story to unfold as I write it instead of knowing everything ahead.

Did you miss part I? Click here

The conclusion will be on June 28th. Don’t miss the end of this terrific interview.

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   April: Poet, Joe Albanese, May: Boo Walker, June: Anne D. LeClaire and July — Catherine Ryan Hyde
 
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Interview with best selling author, Anne LeClaire

TS. Anne LeClaire is a best-selling author of ten novels, one memoir and a children’s book. She lives on Cape Cod and is married with two adult children. I discovered her in one of my searches for new (to me) authors and found ‘The Orchid Sisters‘. 

writing space

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?  Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

AL. For years I worked at a desk in the far end of our bedroom. My next space was in the guest room in a friend’s home with a view that over looked a salt water pond. After a year there, I upped my game and rented a single room in an office building only two miles from our home. Then in 1991, I designed my dream work space. It is attached to my home and when friends first saw it they likened it to a chapel. It has lots of light and a vaulted ceiling and I enter it through a set of French doors and small library alcove that serves as a transition between two lives.

Q. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

AL. Attire first: I wear very comfortable clothes – usually sweats. I once read about an author who put on a suit and went out his front door, re-entered his home through a side door and went to his writing space as if to a job. That sounded like a lot of work to me just getting to the desk. Plus uncomfortable. I mean, a suit?
I usually have a cup of tea or glass of water at the desk. I always begin by checking my email (also known as an act of procrastination) before settling in to begin. I then open up the file to the work from the previous day and begin by working on that and before long I am into the new work. Why this way of beginning is important for me is because I don’t have to begin with a blank page. I am seduced into the new pages.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

Anne with friend

AL. With social media, web sites etc, my life is pretty much an open book. I give lectures and teach workshops both throughout the US and internationally. I am a licensed pilot. My music tastes are varied, encompassing opera, classical, county, jazz, ragtime and  tunes from the 40’s.
I guess readers might not know about the summer jobs I held while in high school and college: Two summers working in the Connecticut valley tobacco fields, two summers working in a plastic injection-molding factory, a summer as a dishwasher on Cape Cod and a summer as a chambermaid. Great experiences for a future writer (although I didn’t realize it at the time) which helped broaden and shape my social views.
One other thing: Once Jane Hamilton, Gail Tsukiyama and I opened a benefit with a Rap performance. I can confidently say there is little chance of being back for a repeat.

Join us for Part 2, June 21st

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   April: Poet, Joe Albanese, May: Boo Walker, June: Anne D. LeClaire and July — Catherine Ryan Hyde
 
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New 10 Minute Play, ‘Parkland Requiem’

Requiem: an act or token of remembrance…

Mass shootings are a part of our current culture. Not until now did I have something to say (write) about the mass murders that plague our nation. One day after the horrendous mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal building did I begin writing. 

Synopsis:

This ten minute play for teens (in the classroom) is to honor and memorialize the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. It focuses on a small class of students hidden away in safety by their English teacher and what happens while they wait for the shooting to stop. But the question begs will they ever be safe again?

The murdered victims:

My character, Mr. Hale is fashioned after Scott Beigel, 35, a geography teacher and the school’s cross-country coach. He was killed after he unlocked a door to allow students in to hide from the shooter,

Alyssa Alhadeff
Aaron Feis
Martin Duque Anguiano
Nicholas Dworet
Jamie Guttenberg
Chris Hixon
Luke Hoyer
Cara Loughran
Gina Montalto
Joaquin Oliver
Alaina Petty
Meadow Pollack
Helena Ramsay
Carmen Schentrup
Peter Wang

Want to see more one act plays? Click here 
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   April: Poet, Joe Albanese, May: Boo Walker, June: Anne D. LeClaire and July — Catherine Ryan Hyde
 
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Need a Journal for the Creative Writer?

My dear readers and fellow creative writers, don’t forget about the wonderful journals that I have created just for you.

250+ lined, blank pages for your writings, musings, and ideas. Each blank page is embedded with an inspirational quote from a famous author, writer, actor or director.  Some ‘how to’ sections (from me) to help and inspire you to get started; either writing your first short story or beginning that new novel you’ve been prevaricating about.

How To Begin
That All Important First Sentence 

How to Choose the Subject of your Story or Playtest
Formatting your Play
How to write Dialogue
How to Create Rich, Exciting Characters for your Novel
Story Arc

“I wanna write!” “I’ve got a story.” “I’ve always wanted to write.” 
Writers write!  Full stop. Period.

 

To Purchase

 

 

 

 

…and for expectant Mommy

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   February: Rick Lenz, March: Patrick Canning, April: Poet, Joe Albanese and May: Boo Walker, June: Anne D. LeClaire,  July: Catherine Ryan Hyde
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Book #1 (of 10)

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Book Review ~ Little Teashop on Main

reviews, authors, writing

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5 out of 5 quills  ~~ A Review

The Little Teashop on  Main by Jodi Thomas is a lovely story about three best friends (from cradle to grave) brought together when a play-date turns into a tea party. Their friendship is not without troubles but the light of these women’s love for each other shines through every page.  Forging careers, finding love and finally the ultimate test of their friendship. 

Jodi Thomas’ writing is flawless. Her stories are interesting. The characters are well drawn and the reader cares about what happens to them. The highest praise I can give a writer. This is a good summer read and I highly recommend it.

 

Did you miss my Interview with Jodi Thomas?

Release date: May 7th. Pre-order now!
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   February: Rick Lenz, March: Patrick Canning, April: Poet, Joe Albanese and May: Boo Walker 
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My Letter to Charles Bukowski

A buffoon for a leader
Gauche, socially inept, dangerous
Waving his arms around trying to find words
In his non-existent vocabulary

A little yellow man waits, with a warhead,
To blow our west coast into the sea

The Russian bear awakes from a
decades long sleep
Sniffs around the buffoon and his
weak spots
Where to strike first?

Muslims take the rap for all the violence against the fat, over-indulgent, rich country and its infidels

A country known for taking in ‘your tired, your poor, your huddled masses’ locks its doors
Goes from house to house, plucking out the illegals, leaving families decimated
Children in cages
Has Hitler finally reincarnated?

Meanwhile the planet warms so that one can hardly recognize it

Dear Hank,
Nothing new here

TS: I found a letter Bukowski wrote back in 1993 which inspired me to answer him in 2017.
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   February: Rick Lenz, March: Patrick Canning, April: Poet, Joe Albanese and May: Boo Walker 
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In Honor of National Poetry Month

I’m a humble poet, a rambling rhymester, a free verse fanatic, a Haiku sycophant. I love other poets and their scribbles and I worship at the altar of Charles Bukowski. For the month of April I celebrate National Poetry month with some of my own scribbles. 

Fragrance of Life © Trisha Sugarek

Cool rain drums on blistering
asphalt, the scent streams into
the nostrils–hot, grassy smell of
summer, freshly cut-smoky
cedar lingers on the air

Fresh popcorn drenched in
butter, I sit in the dark, musty
movie house. Childhood
memories of Tom Mix dashing
across the screen

A breath, deep of rain-damp wool,
heady peat of whiskey
neat. Old butt-imprinted leather
and the dusty, pulpy smell of a
well thumbed book as the page
is turned

The mule drawn plough turns the
rich, boggy earth beneath an
autumn sky. With luck and some
rain the larder is full at harvest
time

Wrapped in strong arms, nose
pressed to warm skin smelling of
soap and outdoors. Drinking the
heat in with the smell of the
man, your man

Sweet puppy breath. Pure
doggy conviction that you will
love him as much as he loves
you

Candles and incense in the
great cathedral… the heart fills
with faith, hope, and
expectation

Soft curls, sweet skin, the babe
squirms closer… powdery
newness, innocence, and trust

Briny, sharp tang of the northern
sea. Balmy, yielding, essence
under the Southern Cross
Green aftertaste, fishy decay
and salty fresh scent of the
clean-swept beach

Sultry air twines itself through the
Quarter, crushed sugar, wet
pavement, yeasty bouquet of
hot beignet. Warm beer,
praline sweet, heady grape
Old river water slugs along

Stifling, coppery smell of blood
be it the battle field, hospital,
crime scene, butcher shop, or
birthing room…

Cloys in the nostrils sticks in the
back of the throat like old
mucus,

Icy sweetness of winter air,
frigid sting of snow to come…
sharp pine tantalizes the senses,
as harsh breath smokes the air

Steaming manure in fresh straw,
roasted peanuts, pink spun
sugary sweet…
the pungent animals stalk the
cage. Sawdust under old
canvas glows like old gold in a
shaft of sun light.
The Big Top!
Childhood rushes back

The smell of her on your
mustache… you don’t want to
wash your face… lose the
intoxicating scent of her love

New trees struggle to rise above
a sea of old petroleum.
Pine sol lies still on the cold tiles,
stale baloney on old bread.
Rancid tired clothes reek of
cheap cologne
The truck belches halitosis

Move on down the highway

Sharp fall gusts through the
quaking aspen,
pitchy sap barks in the
crackling fire,
snowy air assaults the senses

The loon sings, warming and
plucking at the heart.
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   February: Rick Lenz, March: Patrick Canning, April: Poet, Joe Albanese and May: Boo Walker 
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‘Windstill’ ~~~In Honor of National Poetry Month

Windstill © by Trisha Sugarek

Subtle silence
Windstill
trees await the next
message on the air

Windstill
not a whisper of birdsong
not a leaf-rustle intrudes
as it falls
fluttering to the ground

The wind has departed
beyond the next hill
leaving in its wake
Windstill

Will it return? The breeze
dancing amongst the leaves
to the tune of the forest

Shall the still wind haunt
amongst the trees?
or come roaring back, shrieking?
Windstill
                                                         ********

There isn’t anything lovelier than receiving reviews from my fellow poets as I celebrate Nat’l Poetry Month.  My free verse, “Dear John” was featured on the home page of Poetrysoup.com and received these: 

‘Trisha,this poem spoke to my heart. Very raw with emotions and beautifully written, Keep that fire burning,it will light up the pathway for your John.’ Chinwe Igbozurike

and

Trisha, I really enjoyed stepping behind your eyes for a brief eclipse with your heart! Wondrous writing!’  red barchettadrive
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   February: Rick Lenz, March: Patrick Canning, April: Poet, Joe Albanese and May: Boo Walker 
To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!