Tag Archives: writing

Snape, A Character To Study


Mother Nature Network on May 7, 2016 has an interesting article titled,

“3 lessons Severus Snape taught us about life” click here.

(Quotes are from Laura Moss’s article and photo from Pinterest)

“While the character of Snape is Rowling’s creation, it’s Rickman’s performance that brings him to life and makes Snape one of the most memorable and layered characters in modern literature. Indeed, it was his ability to capture the subtleties and emotional depth of the character that allowed Snape to teach us these important life lessons we’ll remember. Always.”

“Lesson 1. There’s more to people than they show you.”

Moss says Snape is often unfair and cruel to Harry and his friends. In Dumbledore’s office, when Harry sees Snape’s painful memories in the Pensieve, we sympathize with Snape’s complicated character.  Snape hides his courage, sacrifice and ability to love deeply. Only  Dumbledore knows that side of Snape and promises, “My word, Severus, that I shall never reveal the best of you.”

People make assumptions about other people they don’t know and often about people they do know.

“Lesson 2. Love is worth fighting for.”

Snape’s love for Harry’s late mother, Lily, is strong enough for him to risk everything to protect Harry at the end.  “Rickman’s portrayal of the character hints at the tortured man he truly is, endearing us to Snape despite his many faults.”

Remember how many  months we wondered if Snape was as ruthless as he seemed or if he would end up being a hero?

“Lesson 3. People can change.” Read Laura Moss’s article to find out how she explains that lesson.

I believe people can change and I’m joyous when they change to better themselves and the world.

I want to write an in-depth character like the example Moss gave us, don’t you?

The only character I have written that could change enough at the end of my books would be Samuel, my antagonist in Hada’s Fog. I could write the change in the follow-up YA novel that has the same characters as Hada’s Fog but from Lily’s point of view. I’ll keep Moss’s article in mind and see if I can pull it off with Samuel’s character.


Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Editor of Written Across the Genres

Author of Hada’s Fog


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What Did You Do This Weekend? Watch A Movie, Go Shopping, Or?

Sleepless in Seattle movie promoWe planned to watch The Wolf of Wall Street, but as we finished our computer work, the TV station we had on happened to show Sleepless in Seattle. I thought I had seen it before, but I hadn’t and it hooked me into the story right away. What was the hook? The boy who misses his late mother and Tom Hanks, the father who misses her too.

The Wolf of Wall Street stayed in it’s Netflix envelope until we have time again to see it. Wolf of Wall Street


If you’ve seen The Wolf Of Wall Street, what is the hook?



The next day, I took my parents shopping and I ended up making the biggest purchase. We have a new chair. I enjoy my white wicker furniture, but one of the chairs has a few wicker holes in it from overuse. The store where my mom wanted to shop had a sale and the new chair fit me perfectly. I couldn’t leave it in the store since it was made for me. Now it has replaced the holey wicker.

Wicker with window

Wicker now in extra room.

Hada, from my novel Hada’s Fog, would prefer the new chair.   Jill, the protagonist in my Sci-fi novel, Norman in the Painting, would have the wicker chair in her house.

Chair new dim

New chair in living room










Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Editor of Written Across the Genres

Author of Hada’s Fog



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Would You Like to Know About the Volcano Rabbit?

volcano rabbit endangeredThe volcano rabbit is an endangered species. It is one of the smallest and oldest of the rabbit species, measuring about twelve inches long and weighs about one pound. They have “short brown to black fur, short legs and rounded ears. This species of rabbit does not have any visible tail.”

Their habitat is “on the slopes of four volcanoes in central Mexico, south of Mexico City.” Populations are dwindling because of “habitat destruction, climate change, and hunting.” Mexican law made hunting the Volcano Rabbit illegal.

The above information is from http://www.warriorechidna.blogspot.com/

“”To learn more about the Volcano Rabbit, visit the following sites:




*IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature”

Volcano rabbit sleeping

Sleeping Volcano Rabbit

I think these rabbits living on the slopes of volcanoes would make excellent characters for children’s stories.

Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Editor of Written Across the Genres



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A Quote About Travel

book open to first page

“The world is a book,
And those who do not travel,
Read only a page.”

By Saint Augustine

To me, reading a book is traveling. When I read Aegean Dream by Dario Ciriello, I felt as if I had gone to the Island of Skopelos. When something reminds me about the book, I can imagine the places he described as if I were there. I hear the people speaking Greek, I feel the outside and the insides of the buildings during the day and night. I smell and feel the soap his wife made.

I finished Jane Smiley’s Some Luck and I know that Iowa farm plus the neighboring farms. She wrote a series and I bought the second book so I could return to Iowa.

Our reading group chose Run by Ann Patchett for this month’s book. I’m right there– Massachusetts in the snow (even if it’s a hot day where I live in California).

I’ve traveled to many countries and states in the past, but with all the hassle to fly these days, I’d rather be home with a book. It’s my favorite way to travel.   What do you think of Saint Augustine’s quote?book and candle


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Writing Prompt

summer fun old fashion

Now that summer is half over and school will begin in about a month, how have your children spent their free time? Our house is in a court with three families who have children under the age of 11. They’ve been playing basketball and baseball in the mornings and evenings. The afternoon is too hot. My cat likes to watch them and so do I. Their team sportsmanship, their social interactions when they are distracted, and their determination to win are inspiring. Last summer, I wrote a poem about how considerate they were toward each other during a game. This year I thought of a couple short stories to show the changes they are making as they grow up.

A prompt to write memoir flash fiction or write in a journal to record this special year in their lives would be valuable in the future. They will be different next summer.

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Quotes by Writer Iris Murdoch

Iris MurdochIris Murdoch quote about people on other planetsIris Murdoch, an Irish-born British author and philosopher,  was born July 15, 1919 and died February 8, 1999 at age 79. She ranked twelfth on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.” She wrote 26 novels and followed the tradition of novelists like Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, George Elliot, and Proust. Murdoch was married for 40 years to John Bayley who wrote two memoirs about his life with Murdoch. Shortly before her death, he wrote Iris: A Memoir. After her death, he wrote a  sequel called Iris and Her Friends. His memories of Murdoch as she developed Alzheimer’s disease was made into a film with Kate Winslet portraying Murdoch.

Iris Murdoch quote about odd peopleIris Murdoch secrets of happy

Iris Murdoch a novel in sensoryIris Murdoch on bereavement

I haven’t read anything by Murdoch, have you?

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Writing Prompt in a Quote

lost quoteCoppola name on wire arch entranceToday I went with three of my long time friends to meet a mutual friend at Frank Coppola’s Winery Restaurant. We had an hour and a half drive from the south and the friend from the north had about 45 minutes to get there.

Heavy, dark clouds followed us and a misty rain teased the windshield as we drove through the wine country. The positive energy as we passed under the Coppola’s arc increased. An impressive castle-like building and swimming pool welcome visitors. The restaurant with movie artifacts surrounding it serves excellent food, especially the salmon.  Each of the five of us takes a turn bringing our symbolic bling-covered centerpiece. At our last meeting, it appeared to be irretrievable because no one said they had it. Today it took it’s place on the wood table and Carol admitted that she had had it all along.

She said, “I lost what was in plain sight.”

What a great idea for a short story or novel. It’s general enough to fit any genre. It has a poignant feel and for me, it’s a hook.

What was lost? When it was found, was it too late or was it a solution?

What does Carol’s quote mean for you?

coppola with camera

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Writing Scenes with Gifts

giftHow does your protagonist respond to gifts? If your book is a romance, you probably have a scene where the female protagonist receives a gift. How do you show her surprise, her shyness, her faking that she likes it, or her joy because it’s perfect?

In a mystery or a thriller, does the criminal give a deadly gift? Is the receiver suspicious or duped into thinking it’s a nice gesture? How would you show the response?

I watched a video today about people’s reactions to receiving a puppy as a surprise gift. The expressions of children who have wanted a dog for a long time, had big eyes and a frozen body posture at first.  Many covered their faces to hide their overwhelming feelings, and then cried with joy. Interestingly, very few reached for the puppy as if in disbelief that it was for them. When someone placed the puppy in their arms, they held it and leaned their cheek on the dog. Adults opened their mouths in surprise and immediately picked up the little animal with happy squeals of delight. By the end of the video, I had tears from seeing so many people loving their new puppy.

What kind of gift would you add to your story?

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Weather in Fiction Can Create Sensory Disadvantage

James Boyle's Ni'il book cover One of my Facebook friends,Cynthia Helen Beecher read my post, “Using Fog in Writing” and told me about Oregon author, James Boyle, who had a reading in Healdsburg recently.  Fog is one of the characters in his trilogy.

I became a FB friend with him and in our chat, he said “Fog is a nice device for creating a vulnerable, isolated mood.” The titles of his books are “NI’IL: The Awakening,” “NI’IL: The War Within,” And “NI’IL: Waking Turtle.” available on Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Niil-Awakening-James-Boyle/dp/1440108676

Boyle says, “Weather (usually bad) plays a factor in all the books. It puts the good guys at a sensory disadvantage.”


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The Romance Category in Written Across the Genres

Sharon Shivak Simply IrresistibleIn previous posts, I gave examples of Mainstream Fiction short stories published in my anthology, Written Across the Genres. The Romance Section features two short stories, three poems, and an excerpt from Sharon Burgess’ novel, Simply Irresistible, which she published on July 11, 2014. It is available on Amazon or it can be ordered at local bookstores.

Here are a few paragraphs where Jordan pays attention to his newly hired veterinary assistant, Kat, for the first time:

Suddenly coming back to himself, he spoke abruptly, “Well, Ms. Morelli that was a timely intervention you made. However, I am not certain how you think we should resolve the problem. You are aware, are you not, that I don’t have a senior discount policy at this clinic?”

“Well, you should have.” She straightened her back and glared with a force five tornado assaulting Mount Rushmore. “Old people living on pensions can’t afford high prices. Frequently, their pets are the only family they have, the only ones who care about them. Seniors are forced to choose between feeding themselves and taking care of their animals.”

“And why should this concern me?” Jordan asked. He saw a look of disgust on her face. His attitude had shocked her. He wasn’t certain why he cared, but suddenly he didn’t want this pert young woman to think badly of him.

FrontCover of Written Across the GenresHIWritten Across the Genres is available on Amazon and Kindle or local bookstores.

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