Thursday, May 30, 2013

Some Of My Favorite Starting Hooks

Today, I was going through some of my favorite starting hooks to get some inspiration and thought I would share them with you. Some are fairly recent, while others are very well known. All of them grab me as a reader and I am hooked! Enjoy!

In the beginning there were nine of us. We left when we were young, almost too young to remember.
     I am told the ground shook, that the skies were full of light and explosions. We were in that two-week period of the year when both moons hang on opposite sides of the horizon. It was a time of celebration, and the explosions were at first mistaken for fireworks. They were not...
                     -I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane. For a second they stood quite still, wands directed at each other's chests; then, recognizing each other, they stowed their wands beneath their cloaks and started walking briskly in the same direction.
     "News?" asked the taller of the two.
     "The best," replied Severus Snape.
     The lane was bordered on the left by wild, low-growing brambles, on the right by a high, neatly manicured hedge. The men's long cloaks flapped around their ankles as they marched.
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

They took Mother away today.
     I was on my energy board when they came. They didn't knock. They just came in, men in black uniforms. Enforcers. I shut off my board and stumbled, hitting my hip against the metal sidebar. They didn't say anything but held up their hands in a way that told me to stop and not come any closer. My meter was only halfway to the finish point. Mother had gotten off her sleeping mat when she heard them at the door and stood there, head down. How tangled her hair looked, gray and lifeless.
     They asked which sleeping mat was hers. She pointed to mine. I started to say, "No that's mine," but she gave a little shake of her head so I kept quiet. One of them rolled up the mat and put it under his arm. The other one tied short, dirty ropes to Mother's wrists. I knew not to cry in front of the Enforcers but tears burned hot behind my eyes.
-Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck with Harriet Parke

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
     However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

I see visions in the fire sometimes, images of the past or what is yet to come. The fire-sight does not lie. But I did not see the witch hunter who would ride in to scour our town of sin, so I did not know to run.
-Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

If I had to do it all over again, I would not have chosen this life. Then again, I;m not sure I ever had a choice.
     These were my thoughts as I raced away from the market, with a stolen roast tucked under my arm.
     I'd never attempted roast thievery before, and I was already regretting it. It happens to be very difficult to hold a chunk of raw meat while running. More slippery than I'd anticipated. If the butcher didn't catch me with his cleaver first, and literally cut off my future plans, I vowed to remember to get the meat wrapped next time. Then steal it.
-The False Prince:Book 1 by Jennifer A. Nielsen

What are some of your favorites? I would really like to know.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ahhh, the power of  

     Lately, I have come to find that oxymorons are kind of like chocolate--a daily dose can do me good. And why not, they're like little jokes wrapped up into two words. They're like teeny, tiny little brain-teasers to see if your awake. So, without further ado, here are a few to make you smile and maybe even giggle today.

soft rock
a fine mess
absolutely unsure
brilliantly dull
clever fool
definitely maybe
dull roar
bare naked
good grief
hasten slowly
girly man
going nowhere
running idle
act naturally
known secret
near miss
objective opinion
critical acclaim
pretty ugly
exact estimate

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What would you grow in your life and why?

     Today, I was reading a magazine whose theme was about growing things that are healthy. It posed a question for all its readers:  What would you grow in your life and why? It could be anything--friendship, business or even a talent. I pondered the question for a moment and then of course my answer came down to writing.
     In my garden of life I have grown and cultivated many things--piano, running, knitting (if you count four crooked scarves and an attempt at a baby blanket-which I totally do), gardening, cooking, and parenting (this one is an on going cultivation). I am sure there are many other things I could add to the list, but none of them take up more space in my little garden, at the moment, than writing. 
     Why writing? 
     Well...I love to read. Some might say I am an avid reader. Because of this, I am constantly hunting for the next great book to read--one I can lose myself in. Sometimes this hunt can be quite frustrating. As I thought about what it was I was looking for, I became intrigued by the thought of writers being able to navigate their own stories and dictate (to an extent) where their dream would go. That's when I began researching how writers did their craft.
      I have found that the craft of writing fascinates me. It's a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Some days I am thrilled with where my story takes me and how the characters are blossoming right inside my mind. But, then there are days where inspiration feels like it has fallen off the face of the earth and I am scared that I will never write down another good word to save my life. Those are the moments I want to quit and give up. The creeping suspicion enters my thoughts that there is a good chance my story may never see the light of day...that maybe I am wasting a lot of time.
      Normally, that is where I would say enough is enough and quit...if my story and the characters inside my head would let me. (Enter the crazy lady.) But they won't. When I try and take a step back, I catch myself thinking about the story and a different route my character could take. Then I find myself back at the keyboard typing furiously away. Now I know something I never knew about myself. 
     I. Need. To. Write.
     I have also learned something else as equally important. 
     I. Am. Not. Alone. 
     So, I suppose what I am saying is that no matter what stage we are at in our lives, there is always a plot of earth in our minds waiting to be cultivated. Inside that dirt is something waiting for us to find. Something we may never have thought ourselves ever trying to do. It's thrilling and exciting and scary and frustrating...Heck! (I'm from Utah.) There are times when we feel down right exposed and vulnerable. But, those are the moments that I have found myself growing the most. In the end, isn't that what we are all here for? To find our inner selves? 
     Happy gardening, to all of you brave enough to explore what is waiting for you! I hope you find courage when there is doubt and happiness when you have your moments of inspiration!     


Thursday, May 16, 2013

A writer is a writer 
just like
a runner is a runner...

     Just recently, I was at a writers conference (LDStorymakers) and when asked the question, "What do you write?", I found it extremely hard to even admit to the fact that I was a writer. As I fumbled for the right explanation to exactly what I felt I was, I realized something astounding...even though I had been trying to write roughly 1,000 words a day, I didn't feel like I could call myself a true writer.
     This is when the wheels in my mind started to turn.  
     What are some of my hobbies? Running. I love to run. Was I always good at running? No, I had to work at it. I had to run "x" amount of miles everyday. Eventually, I felt good enough to enter races and found that there were hundreds-if not thousands-of runners at various stages in their running careers. Do they all consider themselves runners? Heck, yeah! (I was thinking of a stronger word, but couldn't bring myself to type it.) 
     That's when it hit me.  
     When I firt started running I had heard some wise person say that runner's never use the word 'jogger' to describe themselves. We all work hard at the sport no matter how fast or slow we are. You must own the title, for that is what you are.
     Could the same thing apply to writing?
     You bet your booty!
     I work at writing just like I work at running. So, dang-it! I. Am. A. Writer. I'm owning this title just like a fisherman calls himself a fisherman. Like a golfer is a golfer and a swimmer is a swimmer. Like a reader is a reader and a biker is a biker. Like a baker is a baker and a cook is a cook. Like a doctor is a doctor and a laywer is a...well, you get the point.
     Now, all you novice writers out there humming and hawing whenever asked the question, "Oh, are you a writer?", I want you to stand up tall, square your shoulders back and say with a smile, "Why, yes." (Nod your head) "I am a writer." For that is exactly how I will be replying from now on. 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

is the birthplace of  everything we're hungry for--
joy, faith, love."
 -Brene Brown

"Show up and be seen  
is the key to everything 
we want in life."

-Brene Brown

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hello, everyone! My name is Stephanie Morley and I am about to embark on something even more terrifying for me than the act of child birth...Starting a writer's blog! (Que the gasps) I know, I know, you're probably thinking one of two things:

1.) What's the big deal? 
2.) That's not that big of a deal. 

But hold on folks. Before you think any further, know this...I am a novice. Sure, I have made up a multitude of stories in my head and may or may not have shared them with a few family members and friends. But never have I ever written them down, tried to perfect them and then share them with complete strangers before! Eeeek! (Que my scream) So, I suppose what I am trying to say is this:

I am a writer who is perfecting her craft every day. I will be commenting on my progress, posting things that inspire me and sharing a bit of my own writing. Although I do not enjoy making mistakes and blunders in front of a few-possibly hundreds-I will for the sake of improvement. So with that said, I invite you with timidly open arms and ask that you be kind. Remember, we all must start somewhere and this is my starting point.