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Posts Tagged ‘Ingermanson’

I was tagged in the ‘Elevens Tag’ by Emily Dring at Ficklebrain. So, it looks like I’ve got eleven questions to answer. If I have tagged you, you’re next! Look to the end of this post for my new eleven questions and get typing away…

How to play Elevens Tag:

  1. Post these rules.
  2. Post a photo of yourself (if you want to) and/or eleven random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.
  4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them.
  5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

Mary Ann Manga Face

1) Is there anything that you like that most people don’t, or that you don’t like that most people do? Getting up in the morning and having to interact with other people. I like to start my day very slowly and quietly, puttering, drinking tea, hugging my cats, and not talking and rushing around. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like the idea of a regular office job. I’m a night owl through and through, and the world is always getting in the way.

MA&ZU

2) Can you name one funny thing that you believed to be true when you were younger (which isn’t true)? That it’s frivolous, irresponsible or foolish to be an artist. That art is a nice hobby, but you have to do something sensible and practical to survive. Now I know that if you are called to be an artist, in any medium, then that’s what you need to do. Follow that passion. Use your talent and vision. I regret not following my instincts when I was younger. I was always trying to be sensible, please others and make them proud. Now, I’m trying to make up for lost time. Trying to get closer to the real me.

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3) Which fictional character do you relate to the most and why? Jo March, because she knows what she wants, she is determined to get it, she just doesn’t fit in, and she is willing to give up the love of a good man and the good life he can provide her to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. And Elizabeth Bennett, because she’s idealistic and a bit naïve, an introvert, and believes in true love.

4651808861_7ae17b432c_z4) Can you name three places in the world that you would like to visit but have not yet had the opportunity to? Thailand, Greece, Eastern Europe (Prague/Warsaw/Kiev)

5) What has been your proudest achievement so far in life? Completing three novels. No, having my son. No, completing my novels. No, wait… Having my son taught me about commitment and discipline and patience and integrity, and that made it possible for me to write my novels.

my son when he was small

6) How do you think we can tell ‘good’ writing from ‘bad’ writing? Good writing doesn’t get in the way of the story, either by being too awful or too spectacular. It’s pleasurable to read beautiful writing, but I don’t like to be distracted from a well-structured, creative, deep and entertaining tale about interesting, believable characters. That’s the main thing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7) If you could only drink one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Probably tea. But I’d miss white wine.

Elizabeth_II_greets_NASA_GSFC_employees,_May_8,_2007_edit8) If you were the Queen of England for a day, what would you do first?  I think QEII is a pretty strong, incredible woman who has generally been a great monarch for the modern world, under trying and constantly changing circumstances. I admire her. Maybe I would try to get the Royal family to step back out of the spotlight a bit more. Let them find normal. Even though the English people seem to like what they do, and of course there’s the whole noblesse oblige thing. They do live a life of incredible privilege, but at a high price, I think. And the press won’t leave them alone, anyway.

9) What exactly is it that gets you really excited about a book, film, programme or song that you love? … a well-structured, creative, deep and entertaining tale about interesting, believable characters. The character arc.

10) What good quality do you possess that you don’t think gets enough exposure? I’m very tolerant of others’ differences. Very open-minded. But because people are often embedded in who they are and what they believe, and not afraid to express opinions, I find I often bite my tongue, not wishing to offend those with different views to my own. I always figure I’m better off listening and observing anyway, and maybe I’ll learn something that will change my mind on a topic. This has happened many times already. So I don’t hold too many strong opinions. It probably makes me appear weak-minded or dull, but there’s a lot going on upstairs. Sometimes it’s because I just don’t have a position, for spiritual/metaphysical reasons. I’m very apolitical. This makes blogging difficult for me. I can’t abide empty chatter, and I don’t like to lock in too many ideas either. I’m constantly working things out.

S-Tolerance

Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.” -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

11) Why did you start blogging on WordPress? Well it was/is just a web site to begin with.  A place-holder, so that anyone looking for me (the unpublished writer) would find the right me. Then, because I understand writers can’t be eccentric hermits these days (much as I’d like that), and I need to create an author brand, a community, an island in the vast sea of the internet that can be my home. A place to figure out who I am and who I’m talking to, and what I have to offer. I’m still working on that.

There we have it! Eleven questions answered, and now eleven to ask! Even if you weren’t tagged, please feel free to play along. Here are your eleven new questions:

1)   What is your favourite happy meal?

2)   What genre of fiction do you love the most and why?

3)   What belief do you try to convey through your blog, explicitly or implicitly?

4)   What dangerous thing do you dream of doing, if only you had the courage?

5)   If you could live your life over, what one decision would you change, knowing what you know now?

6)   Do you believe there is life in other galaxies?

7)   Who is your favourite comic actor and what do you love about him/her?

8)   Which book have you re-read the most?

9)   If you could learn and master a new skill, what would it be?

10)  Which real historical character do you most admire?

11)   If you could live and work in any city in the world aside from where you are, which one would you choose?

My eleven tagged bloggers are:

1) Karalee @ http://5writers5novels5months.com

2) Christine @ http://christine-ashworth.com

3) Gretchen @ http://gretchenkwing.wordpress.com

4) Maggie @ http://maggieamada.com

5) Karen @ http://KarenMcfarland.com

6) Kim @ http://KimCleary.com

7) Lynn @ http://lynnkelleyauthor.wordpress.com

8) Jason @ http://JasonAndrewBond.com

9) Connie @ http://stilettosstoliandscribbles.wordpress.com/

10) Arthur @ http://arthurcrandon.com

11) YOU

 [Are we connected on Twitter yet? If not, why not? Let’s get sharing – find me at @Mary Ann Clarke Scott.]

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Recently I realized there’s a definite pattern to the books that I’ve been writing. In some ways I suppose it’s obvious, but since it’s quite unintentional, it kind of caught me by surprise.

The female protagonists, and often the males as well, in at least two of my novels, and probably another three that I’ve outlined, are adults in their mid-thirties to early fourties, and who have, for one reason or another, chosen to put their energies into their career at the expense of finding love. Sometimes their single-minded focus on their careers is related to their backstory– something that happened to them in their family of origin or in their youth. Sometimes their avoidance or downplaying of love in their lives is due to their commitment to their career, but often to their backstory as well. Sometimes committment is the issue.

These things tend to get muddled together, and often there are issues characters don’t want to admit to or confront. Personally, I think this makes for interesting values-in-conflict story-telling, just like Randy Ingermanson recently wrote.

When it comes to career, we’re talking about identity. For modern working women, this is a complicated issue. I discuss this a bit in the Essay elsewhere on my website entitled: What is it about romance? I also think that this pattern is not uncommon, and that not all women talk openly about this issue with their friends. Men possibly not at all. For a serious, career-driven woman to admit that she is looking for love seems like a cop-out. It’s something that should “just happen” but never take one’s attention away from the all-important career. It feels like they are pandering to outmoded “fairy tales” from the past. Perhaps today, with internet dating sites, the whole “mate searching” problem has become more open and explicit than it was in my day. Even if women are open about wanting to find love as well as have their career, I think it remains a challenge for modern women to be comfortable with the idea that they place importance on finding true love without feeling like their identity as a professional woman is somehow compromised, or that they will be perceived as not “serious.”

Identity in conflict with a character’s essence is how Michael Hauge talks about the character arc in a plot. It reminds me of Maureen Murdock’s writing in The Heroine’s Journey. It differs significantly from The Hero’s Journey in that for men, there is only the quest. For women, there is both the quest and the hearth–the desire and need to nurture and have a family. Perhaps these two goals have always been in conflict for women through the ages, but the Feminist movement brought it into the light. I happen to think that in these Post-feminist times (and I mean that like Post-Modernism, the Feminism hasn’t gone away, we’re just living in the historical wake of a huge societal change) the challenge is all the greater because each successive generation of women openly discuss the rights we’ve come to expect less and less. So much is taken for granted, that I think individual women often struggle alone to come to terms with these conflicting values without the rhetoric to guide them.

In Murdoch’s view, the Heroine’s Journey is not linear, but rather circular, or perhaps spiral. A woman may begin the journey by rejecting the “mother” and embracing the strong “masculine” role for herself, but she cannot attain her ultimate essence until she takes a little detour down to the underworld of the primal Earth mother, embraces her essential feminine, and returns, having discovered the source of her own power. Only then can she come to terms with her own mother, internalize the strong male and emerge empowered as her true feminine self, as both a “warrior” and a “mother” figure (whether or not she in fact is or becomes a mother). (My sincere apologies to Maureen Murdoch if I’ve completely mangled her ideas in my attempt to distill and condense them here.) This “coming to terms with the essential power of the feminine” brings to mind the re-told stories of Clarissa Pinkola Estes in her Women Who Run with the Wolves. There’s a Jungian link between these two writers, so the connection is no accident. In any event, the journey is a bit more complicated for women. Murdoch suggests that any given woman may be stuck at, or experiencing, a particular place along this path, which raises certain issues and puts particular challenges before our heroine.

This is how I envision my heroines. Depending upon their individual story, I try to keep in mind what challenge they most need in order to take the next step toward their own happy ending, and find a way for that to happen in my stories. You may or may not recognize Murdoch’s Jungian stages in my stories, but they definitely help me trace each of my heroine’s journeys.

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