Pins And Needles Day is always celebrated on November 27, but it's not about that antsy or tingly feeling you get, or about pent up anxiety.
This day is about real pins and needles. The original Pins and Needles Day started in 1937 commemorated the opening of the a pro-Labor musical on Broadway which had 1108 performances.
Surprised? The Broadway Play was produced by the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union, and told the story of a group of workers holding down a job during the American Labor movement. It first ran between 1937 and 1940, then was revived in 1978. Another run occurred in 2010.
The cast of the original production was made up of sewing machine workers, cutters and basters who simply wanted to do something a little creative in their free time – the play would end up to be so successful that the cast members, who up until then were only able to rehearse at weekends – were able to quit their day jobs and take part in a full 8-weekly show performance schedule.
Pins and Needles was written by Harold Rome, a true Renaissance man who played piano in local dance bands while writing music, studying architecture, and pursuing a law degree at the prestigious Yale University. He brought all of those skills together when he produced Pins and Needles, and created a legend that would live on through the ages while pursuing a form of social justice little heard of its time.
How to Celebrate Pins and Needles Day
Learn about the American Labor Movement. Listen to the soundtrack of the musical "Pins and Needles" Here's a YouTube Link, "It's not Cricket to Picket" performed by Barbra Streisand
He, or very possibly she, was known as The Rose Thief. It was a nickname that stuck despite the best efforts of the thief-catchers to stem public approval for a thief who only stole roses. No-one had yet admitted to knowing who, or indeed what, the thief was. He could indeed be a woman, or a troll, or even a malevolent spirit. What was of great significance and importance was that only the Emperor's – may he live for ever and ever - rose garden was being violated.
The thief was stealing exclusively from the Emperor – may he live for ever and ever – and no-one but the Emperor – may he, oh you get the idea – had access to the rose gardens. Not even any of his thousand and one wives. It made solving the theft extremely difficult.
It also made the Emperor look rather foolish and was the reason why Chief Thief-Catcher, Ned Spinks, was strung up by his ankles, in the third best reception room of the Emperor's Palace.
Ned was waiting to see what would happen next, and to amuse himself in the meantime, was tracing rude shapes in his imagination with the dark stains on the floor beneath him.
'Do you know why you are here?'
The high-pitched, nasal voice came from the direction of Ned's right knee. It was the High Right, the Honourable Lord Chamberlain. Ned tried to swing around a little so he could at least speak to the ankles of the High Right but he had no turning circle. The blood pooling in his head was beginning to make it hard to think coherently. He decided against his usual witty repartee.
'It's my turn?' Well, maybe just a little. To lighten the mood.
The High Right ignored Ned's response. 'The Emperor – may he live for ever and ever – wants this so called Thief of Roses caught. Now.'
'I'll see what I can do, Sir.'
The High Right did not respond and remained behind Ned, making him uneasy.
Due to the voluminous nature of his shirt, a large portion of Ned's back was on display and he didn't think it was necessarily his best side. Feeling rather vulnerable, he was now thoroughly convinced that love handles were not meant to sag upside down. Gravity was not doing him any favours.
He lurched unexpectedly as he was cut down and crashed to the floor in an inelegant heap of slightly overweight thief-catcher. Shaking the stars from his head, Ned winced as the blood rushed back down his body and made his ears ring. At least he still had his ears. The last time the Emperor took a dislike to the Chief Thief-Catcher, the High Left Inquisitor carved most of his body parts off. Ned counted his fingers and toes surreptitiously.
'You have one day, Thief-Catcher.' The High Right glared at Ned who had reached a count of at least eight digits. 'Don't let me regret not ordering the removal of your eyeballs.'
Here's a re-blog of an older article that helped me with my own writing style. As you know, in the series Children of Stone, there are many characters and I, as the author, often switch points of view throughout the books. Done poorly, this tactic can confuse a writer. Done well, it enriches the story.
Using Multiple Points of View: When and How Is It Most Effective?
Posted on November 14, 2016 by Jordan Rosenfeld
Some stories require greater scope, more voices, or a different context than can be delivered through the eyes of one protagonist. When you find this to be the case, consider using multiple viewpoints. However, you must think about several factors before launching into this greater undertaking.
In a book with co-protagonists, each character should get approximately equal story weight.
In other words, no one character is more important than the other, though one character’s story may seem to drive the action more than the others. Usually these multiples are written in an intimate POV, and each co-protagonist gets his or her own POV chapter or scene, in which we are privy only to that character’s thoughts and feelings. When your co-protagonists appear in a scene together, you still must choose which character’s POV to show it from.
This has the potential to get confusing, so remember to imagine that each character possesses a movie camera. The POV comes from the person whose camera (mind) we’re looking through.
Using co-protagonists is different from omniscience, in which the POV can move between the heads of multiple characters in the same scene. Often in omniscient, the story has one protagonist, but the narrator still dips in and out of other characters’ thoughts, adding flavor, clues, and color. But ultimately we are still following only the transformational arc of one character.
Using multiple viewpoints can benefit your story in several ways. Keep in mind that when showing the vantage points of co-protagonists in one of the intimate POVs, you must start a new scene or chapter each time you switch.
5 reasons to use multiple viewpoints in your novel
Your story must be told from multiple perspectives.
No matter how compelling one person’s journey, some stories are more deeply realized when several people tell the same story, adding different facets to the larger picture. Novels that have done this include All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and The Hours by Michael Cunningham. This is especially true when each member in your cast of characters provides a unique piece to a larger puzzle: They might not understand each other’s lives, or they might clash against one another as a result of plot events.
Each character offers a unique plot thread or strand to the story. Multiple POVs only work when each POV character has a truly different story element to offer. They contribute new information, opinions, history, and clues that walk us deeper into the story’s heart.
Each character is compelling and has his own narrative arc. Sometimes writers confuse secondary or supporting characters for co-protagonists. A true co-protagonist must have his own narrative arc. He must be driven by his own unique goals and undergo a journey of transformation related to the larger plot. That’s a lot harder to do than just maintaining one character’s arc.
Your story spans a wide swath of time and history. Historical novels or stories that cover large time periods often feel limited when told in only one character’s POV. Since one character may also possess only a portion of the knowledge you need to convey, multiple characters can offer a feeling of depth and richness. But again, don’t bring in a new co-protagonist unless you are sure she is integral to the plot and carries her own arc.
Your book requires a quick and compelling pace. Multiple-character POVs have the power to make readers turn pages at a fast clip. As you end one character’s compelling scene at an unresolved point, you also create a yearning in readers to know what happens next. Repeat this technique with two or three characters and you create positive page-turning tension.
5 common problems with multiple viewpoints
Before you get too excited about creating a cast of co-characters, it’s wise to consider some of the potential pitfalls inherent to multiple POVs.
Readers don’t need the POV of the antagonist unless you’re redeeming that antagonist via his own narrative arc.
I’ve read a lot of client manuscripts that try to “explain” the antagonist’s actions by offering several chapters from the antagonist’s POV. Unless you plan to redeem your antagonist so that he truly becomes a good, or better, person by story’s end, this is not necessary.
Don’t rehash the same scenes from different characters’ POVs.
Don’t fall into the bad habit of writing the same scene from several characters’ viewpoints. Unless each rendition offers new and potent plot information, you run the risk of boring readers and slowing the pace of the narrative.
Don’t use new characters to offer narrative info dumps or explanatory plot information your protagonist doesn’t provide.
A viewpoint character has to exist for his own story purpose, not just to offer up key plot explanations to carry your protagonist to the next stage of the journey.
Don’t add characters to create new subplots.
Some writers feel that the best way to create a compelling plot is to include lots of subplots linked to more characters. More often than not, this leads to complications. The best plots arise from one character’s problem, past wound, or current challenge. Subplots must also rise organically, like spokes radiating from a central hub rather than a tangled web of overlapping and confusing stories.
The character arc of each co-protagonist should be distinct.
New characters are exciting and fun to write, and it’s easy to dream up a team. But it’s a lot harder to develop a unique story arc for each character. If you can’t quickly think of how each character not only will play an integral part in your plot but also will experience a story-worthy transformation, you’re better off sticking with one protagonist.
Distinguishing multiple protagonists
To figure out how many co-protagonists to include in your story, analyze novels in your genre with multiple viewpoints. You’ll find that three is the average number of co-protagonists, but it’s by no means the rule; many novels have only two POVs. And while focusing on the struggles of more than three POV characters can cause readers to feel torn or confused, that’s not to say it can’t be done: Marlon James’s Man Booker award–winning novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, has no fewer than thirteen protagonists spanning seven hundred pages. He pulls this off by putting the viewpoint character’s name at the top of each chapter so readers have no doubt whose POV they’re in, and he imbues each character with a distinct voice. However, I prefer books in which readers can tell who the POV character is by his distinct voice and personality alone.
To determine how often to switch to a different viewpoint character, many writers use a formula wherein each co-protagonist gets a POV chapter or scene in a set rotating order: Protagonist A, Protagonist B, Protagonist C, all the way through the novel.
Others might structure their scenes so one character appears more often than the others: A, B, A, C, A, B, A, C, or even A, A, B, C, A, A, B, C.
This is where scene trackers and plot outlines come in handy. When you’re juggling multiple protagonists, you will need more structural guidance to keep track of the arc and plot outcome for each one.
Jordan Rosenfeld is author of the novels Women in Red, Night Oracle, (romantic suspense), Forged in Grace (psychological suspense), and the writing guides: Writing the Intimate Character: Create Compelling Characters Through Mastery of POV; Writing Deep Scenes: Plot Your Story through Action, Emotion and Theme, A Writer's Guide to Persistence, Make A Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time (both from Writer's Digest Books) and Write Free! Attracting the Creative Life, with Rebecca Lawton. Jordan's freelance writing has appeared in: The Atlantic, The New York Times, Ozy, Publisher's Weekly, Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle, Scientific American, the Washington Post, The Washington Post, The Writer, Writer's Digest magazine, and more. Her book commentaries have appeared on The California Report, a news-magazine produced by NPR-affiliate KQED radio.
One of the early folks who appeared on this blog was Charlayne Elizabeth Denney. Today and next week we'll catch up to her and her latest work. First, her interview:
1. Who are you as a person? (brief bio paragraph)
I’m Charlayne Elizabeth Denney. I’m a mother of 4, grandmother of 8, wife to Bruce, mom to two Shetland Sheepdogs, player of World of Warcraft, and author of the Fangs & Halos Series.
2. How long have you been a writer?
I’ve been writing since 4th grade, so about 1966/67. I started off writing stories based on the TV and books I loved, like Dark Shadows and Star Trek. I wrote typical “Mary Sue” stuff with me as the character. Later on, I started writing in journalism in high school and later technical writing. I started writing fiction, again, in 2010.
3. Are you Traditionally or Indie published? If not yet, what are you considering? I have a lot of non-fiction traditionally published, articles, books on Compaq computers that were done for Compaq’s Train the Trainer program. My fiction is indie published through my imprint, Heavenly Fangs Books.
4. What writers inspired you? Favorite Authors?
I love J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series the most. I also love Christine Feehan, Charlaine Harris, Anne Rice, and others.
5. What is your book/series about (elevator speech or quick tweet post)
Lilly, Sullivan, Baron, the war between the vampires and angels.
6. What is the setting and genre?
The Fangs & Halos series is Paranormal Urban. The books are set in New Orleans and Houston mainly, places I’ve been. They take place mostly in 2005/2006 but one section in Book 1: Lilly’s Angel, where I introduce Lilly and her background, which is set in New Orleans’s Storyville area in 1900.
7. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Oh jeeze, I have to pick just one? I LOVE Baron Bast von Samedi, the vampire cat. Baron is sarcastic, he’s Lilly’s friend, companion, and frequently her conscience. He’s fun to write because he can say things others may be thinking. But as a “book boyfriend”, I’m still in love with Sullivan Kilcoan, the angel-turned-vampire.
8. What character is most like you?
I hope none of them entirely. Little bits of me are in all of them. I try really hard to keep them not like me.
9. If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?
Telepathy. I would love to be able to talk without a phone to anyone I wanted to, anywhere at any time. I almost said “telekinesis” so I wouldn’t have to get up to get something but after yesterday’s mess with me getting mad at a customer service situation in a store, there would have been things thrown around all over and exploding so it’s best that I say telepathy instead. (giggle)
10. Would you say your book has a message or underlying theme? What is it?
I don’t thing there’s just one. Maybe it’s “Nothing, and no one, is ever just what they seem at first.”
11. How are you marketing your book?
I have a facebook page, I do science fiction/fantasy conventions and other signing things, and I talk to everyone about it. And I have this cool thing, a baby werewolf doll named Ella Rose that I take everywhere. People will stop me all the time and asking me about her, they will cross a huge room to come ask me about her. We talk werewolves for a moment and then I say “Do you like vampires?” and we’re off to the stories and the books. I have sold many books with that.
12. Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Oh. Humm. Vlad Dracul. The guy was interesting even without the entire “vampire” mythos that Bram Stoker and Hollywood have created around him.
13. A wonderful thing has happened! Hollywood wants to make a movie of your book! You get to pick the actors & actresses. You want for your lead characters.
Oh, I have that one totally written out:
Marcus Lancaster—model David Gandy
Lilly Marchantel--Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Sullivan Kilcoan—Ryan Reynolds (with an Irish Accent!!)
Archangel Mikhail—John Barrowman
Jesse Chamberlain—Matt Barr
Isobel Kincaid—Elizabeth Banks
14. What music do you hear (what songs) remind you of your story?
Angel of the Morning
15. What Favorite foods
Mine? Fruit. Steak. Dr. Pepper.
16. What makes you laugh/cry?
I cry at everything, seems like. I’m a Pisces with Cancer rising so it’s all water, all the time. J ButI laugh at funny videos online. Get me giggling over something funny that animals do or silly stuff.
17. What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Well, THAT was interesting…. Because I say that a lot.
18. Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I am addicted to World of Warcraft the game. I play a Gnome Arcane Mage named Rubyrose on the Argent Dawn server. I’m the “official Granny” of the guild I raid with. I’m also a genealogist.
19. What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m into weird stuff. Anything like Dead Files, Ghost anything, Mysteries at the Museum, historical documentaries, and I’m a big fan of Homicide Hunter: Joe Kenda (he’s funny for a cop). My “quick” channels are ID, History, AHC, and Travel.
20. If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have loved to have been an archivist librarian. I love books and libraries and helping people find stuff.
21. What are you working on right now?
Book 5 of the Fangs & Halos series. This one’s tentative title is “Retribution”.
22. What future plans do you have in writing?
I’m going to finish out the Fangs & Halos series, I have a few more novels and then a couple of anthologies of the stories that didn’t make it into the novels. Maybe take off on a weird fiction thing with a science fiction element to it that is sitting in a notebook waiting for me to finish F&H.
23. What links or website do you have? List them below.