A friendlier way of outlining

A great post from Craig Boyack on the Story Empire Blog, explaining his system for organizing his storylines. Easier (and probably more organic) than a full-on outline, yet a way to stay on track. I’m definitely giving this one a try! Check it out for yourself. 🙂

Story Empire

This post was a special request, and I’m happy to explain my process. I’m going to ask you pantsers to read it too. I may not change your mind, but you might glean a tip or two anyway. Today, we’re going to talk about outlining, but we’re going to do it my way.

Remember the old scientific outline we learned in junior high? It’s basically worthless here, so don’t panic. We aren’t doing anything like that today.

I like to follow a three act structure, but there are other methods you can adapt. The biggest change is to start storyboarding. No more Roman numerals, indents, and lower case progression.

I’m going to place the image here, then we’re going to talk about it.

I use a virtual cork board called Pinnic. I used to use Corkulous Pro, but it doesn’t seem to be around any longer. They tell me one…

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#NationalPoetryMonth – #SummerMagic – Promises

 

Another change of pace for today’s offering. (Are you getting tired of these yet? Hope not.) This one is from the second half of the book, and I hope it touches some of you. ❤

Promises
By Marcia Meara

Up we climb again, My Love
On yet another autumn day,
Our trail meandering, higher, higher,
Amidst October’s blazing glory.
The pines are dressed in mossy green,
And glowing maples shed flaming leaves,
Keeping us brilliant company
Under the blue silk sky.

Remember our first time
Climbing this trail?
My God, we were young, and
Filled with each other!
You held my hand, and urged me on.
Wait until we’re there, you said,
Just wait! You’ll see it’s worth the climb.
And it was, My Love.
Oh, it was!

We stood at the top,
Locked in warm embrace,
Our hair, whipped by the wind,
Our hearts triumphant.
Gazing across the rolling hills,
Your radiant face was lit with pride,
As though you had created
All this wonder
Just for me—a wedding gift!
A thing of splendor our hearts shared,
Over and over, every autumn.
Our place. Ours alone,
As though no other lovers
Ever climbed this way.

Years and years ago, it was,
That first ecstatic, heavenward climb.
Yet here we are once more, My Own,
Returning to this ancient spot.
Proving some things do prevail—
Deepest faith, and promises
Sworn in love
Abide,
Just as the land before us does,
Rolling on into eternity.

Take me back, you begged,
Back to our mountain.
I will, My Love, I swear it.
I will.
And here we are.
I’ll keep my promise. No tears today.
But oh, for another smile, another kiss!
Another chance to see your face,
To touch your cheek, to hold your hand.
Gone by so fast, like wind-blown leaves,
All our precious hours and minutes!
But didn’t we use them well, My Love?
Oh, yes! We used them well!

My heart in pieces, I let you go,
And watch as you drift away,
A swirl of grey against the blue.
Your soul soaring, riding the wind,
Then settling lower over the valley,
As you become one
With our hills.
And someday, My Love, my only love,
You’ll feel my soul come drifting down,
To rest with yours once more,
Part of the earth in this sacred place,
You and I, together.
Forever.

Buy Summer Magic Here: Summer Magic: Tales of Life and Love

My poems have also appeared in the following Silver Birch Press Anthologies: 

Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 5) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2B8jhWX

Summer: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 3) Kindle http://amzn.to/2BhzE4q

SILVER: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2A3XxPb

Green: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 2) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2jTQsdt

 

#NationalPoetryMonth – #SummerMagic – The Ambush

Time for another one from Mac’s adventures, those many summers ago. Hope you enjoy it.

Ambush
by Marcia Meara

Silent, sleek, deadly,
The predator climbs high, high,
And stretches out full length
On the smooth, sturdy limb.
Well hidden within heavy green foliage,
His wait begins.

Panting slightly as the sun climbs
And dappled light pierces the shade.
Heat rises, but keen eyes miss nothing
And sharp ears catch the first soft footfalls
Of unsuspecting prey, moving quietly
Down a curve of narrow trail.

Patience is everything.
Lie still, still, still!
No slight movement to cause alarm.
Hunger growing, mouth watering at
The smell of food coming ever closer.
Body tenses, ready to leap.

Humans are slow, pitiful creatures.
Lacking panther senses to warn them
Of danger lying overhead.
Teeth bared, growls erupting,
Body drops downward,
Ready for the kill.

With a shout, the man falls,
Hand over his heart.
You got me, you little panther, you!
Don’t eat my fingers!
Don’t eat my toes!
I brought you peanut butter and jelly.

Gotcha good, didn’t I, Dad?
I was patient, like you taught me.
Grabbing a sandwich, he dances away,
Calling over his shoulder,
Race you to the pond now!
After lunch, I want to be a fish.

 

 

Buy Summer Magic Here: Summer Magic: Tales of Life and Love

My poems have also appeared in the following Silver Birch Press Anthologies: 

Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 5) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2B8jhWX

Summer: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 3) Kindle http://amzn.to/2BhzE4q

SILVER: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2A3XxPb

Green: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 2) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2jTQsdt

 

#NationalPoetryMonth – #SummerMagic – The PickUp

I’m loving the excuse of National Poetry Month to share some of my poems with you for several reasons. One is because I had some minor surgery last week, and that on top of a bad cold has left me feeling a bit too dragged out to do any serious braining. 😀 Posting poems means I don’t have to stay vertical very long, which works for me right now, so here is another for today. This is where I should say “And now for something completely different,” because it is. Hope you enjoy this gal. Her approach is far removed from that of our last damsel, and maybe she’ll make you smile. Or not. 😉

The Pick Up
By Marcia Meara

Standing near the shop,
I watch.
People rush in and out,
Jostling, hurrying.
Carrying steaming cups
To offices nearby.

I wait for the right one.
Finally! He exits and
Heads toward me.
My heart stutters
With pleasure
As I admire him.
He’s tall, wide-shouldered,
Very blonde.
A Viking in Armani.
Yes, I think. Oh, yes.
He’s just as perfect as
He looked yesterday.

With careful timing,
I step into his path,
And we collide.
Oh! I’m so sorry!
He stops, surprised.
Then bends to pick up my purse.
Handing it back, he smiles.
My fault, he says.
I should have been paying attention.

We stand for a moment,
Assessing each other,
Then I laugh awkwardly,
And flash him a look
He can’t mistake.
His eyes widen slightly,
His smile, as well,
And I know.
He’ll be here tomorrow,
Ordering latte, and
Looking for me.
I’ll be waiting.

Buy Summer Magic Here: Summer Magic: Tales of Life and Love

My poems have also appeared in the following Silver Birch Press Anthologies: 

Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 5) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2B8jhWX

Summer: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 3) Kindle http://amzn.to/2BhzE4q

SILVER: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2A3XxPb

Green: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 2) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2jTQsdt

 

#NationalPoetryMonth – #SummerMagic – #CampfireGhosts

Another one from the Mac at Ten section of my little book, and perhaps a bit more fun than love gone wrong. Hope you enjoy it!

Campfire Ghosts
By Marcia Meara

Dark clouds
Hide the silver light
From his wide-eyed gaze.
Night reigns
In blackest glory,
Held at bay only
By the orange firelight.
The trees are gone,
Lost in gloom.
Everywhere,
A wall of black,
Except within
The fire’s warm
Circle.

Sparks rise up,
Twisting high
Until they disappear,
Lost in the darkness,
Only to be followed
By legions more.

Whippoorwills call,
And foxes bark,
And the night settles like
A blanket over all.

Grilled food
Is gobbled down,
Leaving behind only
The sweet scorched
Scent of burnt
Marshmallow.
He wears a smile
Dressed in melted chocolate,
And licks his sticky fingers
Clean.

The air turns cooler,
As day is forgotten,
And jewel-bright embers
Glow in heaps of ash.
He’s waited as long
As a young boy can.
Shivering, he asks,
Is it time?

A warm arm
Pulls him close,
Holding him safe,
And he asks again.
Is it time now, dad?

Yes, says his father,
His voice a deep
Familiar comfort
In the ink-dark night.
Yes, I believe it is.
Let me see,
Shall I tell you
A new one?

Will it have
Clacking bones
And eyes that glow?
Will there be cold wind
Whistling through trees,
And bats swooping,
And owls calling?

Of course, says his dad.
All of that, I’m sure,
For isn’t that what
You love the most?

Oh, yes, he sighs,
Safe and warm,
Eyes growing heavy
And sleep close by.
Tell me, dad,
Like you always do.
Tell me a story.

Buy Summer Magic Here: Summer Magic: Tales of Life and Love

My poems have also appeared in the following Silver Birch Press Anthologies: 

Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 5) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2B8jhWX

Summer: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 3) Kindle http://amzn.to/2BhzE4q

SILVER: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2A3XxPb

Green: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 2) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2jTQsdt

 

 

#NationalPoetryMonth – #SummerMagic: Poems of Life & Love – The Last Rose

A slight change of pace today, from our little boy camping in the mountains, to something a bit less jovial. Because, you know. Life can’t be all rope swings and summer smiles.  Hope you enjoy it, anyway. 😀

The Last Rose
     by Marcia Meara

Late July, and
The day drowses,
Air heavy and still.
Bees moving slowly from
Flower to flower,
In a dance weighed down by heat.
Sleepy hours spent dreaming, longing
For other places, other chances.
Anything better
Than one more day
Spent under this weight,
With movements made slow,
Like easy prey.

He walked out of the dust
And into the garden,
The answer to a prayer.
Wickedly handsome, he came to her with
A smile full of promises she chose to believe.
Take me away, she begged.
Yes, he whispered, of course.
Whatever you want, my beautiful girl.
He gave her dreams of cool, green hills
And kisses that tasted of summer peaches.
Sweet lies on a sweeter tongue,
Promises whispered with hot breath,
Against already burning skin,
And everywhere, the smell of roses
Thick on the summer air.

But winter came,
Bringing brittle wind
Seeping under the sill,
As cold as hungry lies
Told when the sun was warm.
Her heart is a frozen stone
In the center of her breast,
The chance of rescue,
Gone. Forgotten.
A faded rose in a dry vase
Drops one last petal to the floor,
As gray as her life
In this barren room.
Empty promises fled
With the summer sun,
And left nothing behind
But dead dreams and dying hope,
Gasping and huddled
Against the bitter
Cold.

Download Summer Magic here: Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love

My poems have also appeared in the following Silver Birch Press Anthologies: 

Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 5) Kindle Editionhttp://amzn.to/2B8jhWX

Summer: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 3) Kindle http://amzn.to/2BhzE4q

SILVER: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2A3XxPb

Green: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 2) Kindle Edition http://amzn.to/2jTQsdt

 

 

#NationalPoetryMonth – #SummerMagic – Mac at Ten

Another poem from Summer Magic, though I don’t have a picture that works as well for this one. I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with the view from the very top of Wake-Robin Ridge–or at least, the way I imagined it, since WRR only exists in my mind.  Hope you enjoy this one, though since it’s from Dad’s POV,  it is a bit more introspective than the last.

Bruises
by Marcia Meara

Pale blue eyes,
Fringed in black,
Look out at the world
With the wild, free spirit
Only a ten-year-old boy
Knows how to nurture.

A shock of black hair falls over his brow
As he frowns thoughtfully,
Examining a scab on one knobby knee.
A souvenir from yesterday’s hike,
Acquired while showing off for Dad.
Again.

Long and thin, his scraped-up legs
Have become maps of small hurts,
Tracing each day of his summer.
A scratch here, from picking
Wild blackberries,
And a bruise there, from
Swinging on a low limb.
Those and so many more,
Injuries acquired while calling,
Watch, Dad, watch!
See what I can do!

Badges.
Attesting to his bravery,
Marking his adventures,
And confirming in his mind
His place among Immortals.

His dad sighs, all too aware
More bumps and scrapes
Lie ahead.
No way to guard him
Against the future bruises
Life will bring.
His boy will be marked,
Abraded by time and
The world around him,
Though some scars will be
Much less obvious than others.

 

#NotesFromTheRiver – #WednesdayWonders


West Indian Manatee

Celebrating my friend Doug Little’s one-man wildlife photography exhibit at Enterprise Heritage Center & Museum, today’s #NotesFromTheRiver post features an assortment of some of my personal favorite photographs taken by Doug along the St. Johns River. Hope you’ll stop by and check them out, and please considers sharing, too. THANKS!

#NotesFromTheRiver – #Wednesday Wonders – The Photography of Doug Little

#NationalPoetryMonth – #SummerMagic: Poems of Life & Love

I’ve been told it’s National Poetry Month, and who am I to argue with a lead-in like that? In celebration, I thought I’d share one of  my poems from Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love. Since it’s been hovering around 83 to 85 degrees here for a couple of weeks, I figured a summery one was in order. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

The Rope Swing
by Marcia Meara

Sailing up, up into
Blue summer sky,
Hot rope rough against his hands,
He shouts with joy, and lets go.
For a crystal moment,
He hangs suspended,
Frozen in time
Like a fly in amber.
All awkward angles–
Shoulderblades and
Elbows, and
Knobby knees,
Painted against the sky,
Heart filled with fierce joy.

Dropping, down, down
Into clear green water
Cold on his skin,
He sinks to the silty bottom,
And sits suspended
In an alien world,
Watching  the silvered flashes
Of tiny fish darting to and fro,
Startled by his sudden appearance.
I am a fish, too, he thinks,
And holds his breath
As long as he can.

Finally, he rockets up,
Through a stream of
Tickling bubbles,
Breaking the
Surface of the water,
With a loud whoop of
Childish exuberance,
All thoughts of becoming a fish
Forgotten as he
Scrambles out,
Shakes the water from his hair,
And, grinning, hitches up his
Baggy shorts.

He’s ready
To do it all again.
Flying through the summer air,
Dropping into the cold water
To commune with fishes
Silvered in refracted light,
Then leaping to the surface,
A boy of ten once more,
Laughing through an endless summer
Made perfect by a cool green pond,
And an old rope swing.

~~~

Buy Summer Magic Here: Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love

My Poems have also appeared in the following Silver Birch Press Anthologies:

Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 5) Kindle Edition: http://amzn.to/2B8jhWX

Summer: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 3)  http://amzn.to/2BhzE4q

 Silver: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies) Kindle Edition: http://amzn.to/2A3XxPb

 Green: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press Anthologies Book 2) Kindle Edition: http://amzn.to/2jTQsdt