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Behind The Words

A journal by Barbara Wood

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You Are You!

by Barbara Wood last modified Jan 31, 2016 09:46

(image of cat in the hat by dr seuss

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Find Your Mountain!

by Barbara Wood last modified Jan 25, 2016 05:47

(image of happy newe year

"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So .... get on your way!" -- Dr. Seuss




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National Popcorn Day

by Barbara Wood last modified Jan 19, 2016 07:27

(image of popcorn bursting out of a book

Today is National Popcorn Day. Pick up a book that engrosses you and makes you smile, (maybe one of mine).  Curl up with it and a bucket of popcorn. If you have a hankering for something other than butter, try these toppings: cinnamon, chocolate chip, pumpkin spice, cilantro/lime, garlic & olive oil, curry powder & coconut oil. ENJOY!!

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Encouraging Words

by Barbara Wood last modified Jan 12, 2016 09:22

(image of woman writing

Those of you who made hew year's resolutions, I hope it's going well. The new year is always a good time to take stock and set goals. Here are a few quotes from famous authors that I find encouraging: 

“Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil - but there is no way around them.”  ~Isaac Asimov

“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.”  ~Robert Benchley

“Being a writer can be an unhealthy profession - no regular hours and so many temptations!”  ~Barbara Wood

“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!”  ~Ray Bradbury

“It is perfectly okay to write garbage--as long as you edit brilliantly.” ~C. J. Cherryh

“A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.” ~Marguerite Yourcenar

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When The End Can Be The Beginning

by Barbara Wood last modified Jan 04, 2016 06:45

(image of happy newe year

I read an article recently where archaeologists in England made a fascinating discovery in the chapel of St. Morell in Leicestershire.  They discovered a 700 year old pair of skeletons- a man and a woman holding hands.  My writer's brain leapt into action, wanting to know what this couple's story was.  How did they end up together in this chapel? Did they really die hand in hand, or were they posed like this?  How old were they were?  Where did they come from?  Were they on a pilgrimage? What were their names, their professions?  If I had spent more time on this, I probably could have fleshed out an outline for a novel.  Their ending prompted me to think of their beginning, just like I have done in some of my novels.  In Virgins of Paradise, I wrote the final paragraph first and worked toward it.  That final paragraph never changed.   Starting at the end can provide an intriguing beginning.

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Happy New Year!

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 31, 2015 06:21

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Happy New Year. I hope that in 2016 all your dreams come true!




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I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 23, 2015 12:58

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One of my morning rituals is to check the weather channel. During the Winter I want to know how rainy or cold it's going to be so that I can dig out my sweaters from the back of my closet and rummage around for an umbrella (that barely gets any use) . El NiƱo promises to be strong this winter, bringing with it lashing of rain to Southern California, although I hear, not enough to make up for the years of drought.

And during the Summer (which seems is year round here), I want to know exactly how hot is it going to be. There is a difference in how I react to say 99 degrees and 105 degrees and I need to be prepared! Experiencing our Summer heat has been particularly helpful in writing scenes that take place in sweltering jungles (Woman of a thousand secrets) or desert like climates (Virgins of Paradise). Wintry landscapes and snow storms I would really have to imagine in order to create those scenes, or perhaps I could take in a few great movies for inspiration (Fargo, Frozen River).

I watched White Christmas last night while I wrapped gifts. The snow was white and glistening, and the jewel tone outfits seemed to burst through the screen. I actually felt a little chilly watching it, so I grabbed one of my sweaters that rarely sees the light of day. I dreamed of living on the East Coast or the Bavarian Alps with a cup of hot cocoa or mulled wine, watching the snow fall in huge flakes while I sat beside a toasty fire. The dream soon faded though, as I have no idea how to shovel snow!

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Emma and Liam

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 16, 2015 09:34

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The most popular baby names in the USA for 2015 are Liam and Emma. I sympathize with expectant parents about what to call their precious bundles. Whether I'm writing a story in medieval times, the 1800's, or current day, choosing names for my characters is a huge undertaking. First, I must consider the character’s age, then race, then place of birth. Sometimes, just introducing the character by name fills in a lot of details for the reader. A woman named Bunny conjures up a different image from a woman named Gertrude. When your heroine walks on the stage, and you say her name is LaTisha, you can bet your reader won’t picture a blue-eyed blonde. Likewise, Sean O’Leary won’t make you think of Latin lovers.

Margaret Mitchell’s original name for Scarlett was Pansy. Her editor suggested the change. And Rhett: imagine if Mitchell had named him Barney!

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The Running Writer

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 08, 2015 12:13

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When I am stuck in the writing process & need a break, there are two things that I do: Wash the dishes or speed walk: I walk until the problem resolves itself or until I've covered 4 or 5 miles, which ever comes first.

I discovered recently that I'm part of a group: Writers tend to enjoy running. While I don't run, I walk very fast!! I refer you to an article in The Atlantic if you want to read further. In a nutshell:

“Why do writers so often love to run? Running affords the freedom of distance, coupled with the literary appeal of solitude. There’s a meditative cadence to the union of measured breaths and metered strides. Writers and runners both operate on linear planes, and the running writer soon realizes the relationship between art and sport is a mutually beneficial one.”

So, my writer friends: do you also like to run?

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Happy Thanksgiving North America

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 26, 2015 04:57

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Is A Picture Really Worth A Thousand Words?

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 25, 2015 07:12

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As a writer, I use words to describe a scene, evoke emotions, describe thoughts and to advance the plot. My hope is always to create a picture in the mind of the reader. When I found out that the Oxford Dictionary's word of the year for 2015 isn't actually a word, I was intrigued. The "word" of the year is in fact an emoji. A face expressing tears of joy - the most popular emoji used today.
Consider this: There are approximately 50 synonyms for "joy". 50!! As a writer, I can express joy 50 different ways. 50 shades of joy!. Examples: bliss, cheer, delight, glee, satisfaction, wonder, felicity, jubilance, solace, treasure, wonder, and cheer. What a selection! Can't get all that in an emoji (no matter how cute).

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by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 17, 2015 09:46

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The Joy And Wonder Of Books

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 04, 2015 12:22

(image of poem)

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Happy Halloween

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 31, 2015 07:19

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Happy Halloween





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Words Are Useful

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 28, 2015 12:45

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I'm interested in words - words are my career.  So, when I came across an article recently in the Washington Post about words, I was intrigued.  Researchers at USC have found an easy way to make a memorable password but which is also highly secure.

Back in the day, yes, I'll admit it, I used a pet name for a password.  I have evolved from then and have an 8 character combination of letters and symbols - something I can never remember and which I need to copy and paste.   It seems the most secure password is a mini poem!  Yes, ACTUAL WORDS.  Most websites don't have enough character space for a full on poem, so the researchers suggest 4 random words.  They even offer a service where they will send you the best combination of words.   4 words will be easy to remember if you make a story out of them:  For example, Hubert camel transient salad.   Hubert while on holiday in Egypt, bought a camel.  They rode across the Sahara where they found a transient beggar man selling salad.  Yes, absurd I know, but this could be remembered if you practiced.  The researchers don't suggest you use a 4 word poem for every password, but maybe just for your master password (which then unlocks all of your other passwords).  I agree!  Now, I just have to come up with a poem about Hubert's long lost daughter!


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For German Readers!!

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 27, 2015 16:03

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The German translation of my book, Rainbows on the Moon is currently available in Germany: Die Insel des verborgenen Feuers.  Loose translation, The Island of Hidden Fire.  I am always fascinated how my titles are translated.  Many times, a literal translation is simply not possilbe, so the the publisher comes up with an appropriate alternative.  I happen to LOVE this German title.  It fits perfectly :)

Enjoy everyone :)

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What If . . .

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 21, 2015 09:00

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Today is the day that Marty McFly traveled back to the future! How did the movie do in depicting October 21, 2015? Well, we're not riding on hover boards, nor are we driving cars shaped like bullets, and we're definitely not wearing metal caps. I bet the creators of the movie had fun dreaming up what a future 25 years ahead looked like, back in 1985. They had a blank page, where anything was possible. That's what writers do - dream about possibilities. Many of my ideas come from the simple question I ask myself, "What if . . ." and away I go. My young friend whom I wrote about a few days ago, is catching on to the idea. He eagerly told me last night, "Aunty Barbara, My Mom's going to take me to see the movie, "The Good Dinosaur". It's about what could have happened if the meteor that killed the dinosaurs didn't actually hit earth"! Sounds like a good "What if" to me.

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Writing 101

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 16, 2015 18:48

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My friend's 6 and-a-half year old son chatted with me about 1st grade.  Here's what I learned:

Adrian is in the process of writing a story at school.  He informed me that there were several parts necessary to write a good story. First you need to write down a list of characters. Adrian's were various characters from Mine craft (something I was not familiar with and something that Adrian was only too happy to go into great detail about).  Second, you need a setting.  Third you need a problem and finally you need a solution.  Adrian's story was going to go something like this:  Steve and Enderman found themselves in Halloween Town, where something awful was happening.  Zombie, Enderdragon, ghosts and other creatures were taking over.  I think there was some blood sucking involved.  The only way to stop them was to use a weakness potion.

Hey, I'm hooked!!

My method isn't too different to my young friend's.  I use an outline to plot out the story and the characters. The only difference is that he gets to illustrate his!

Writing is ageless.  Never too young or too old to start!

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A Nice Cup Of Tea

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 12, 2015 08:28

(image of cup of tea)

I am a Bigelow fan – “Constant Comment” and “Lemon Lift.”  Aaaaaah.  With a dash of milk to be sure (as Donald Pleasence says in The Great Escape:  “Tea without milk is uncivilized.”)

I love tea!  I even invented a special blend for my book, Green City In the Sun.  After all, if Earl Gray can have a blend named for himself, why can’t Lady Rose Treverton?  (I often imagined it would be nice to have Star Trek’s Captain Jean Luc Picard order the blend that I invented instead of his usual Earl Gray, but then he couldn’t very well request, “Lady Rose – hot” could he?) . . .

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The Purrrrfect Space


Sometimes . . .


Behold . . . Caffeine

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Mar 02, 2017

My Latest Book Available in German: Wohin dein Traum dich fuhrt

Jan 07, 2017

Daughter of the Sun - Audio Book

Dec 05, 2016

This Golden Land

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Copyright © 2007 by Barbara Wood. All rights reserved.