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Posts from the ‘The Gossip’ Category


“Honest writing cannot be separated from the person who wrote it.”
Carl Jung

We writers create the best characters when we know ourselves—the depth of ourselves—and tap into that depth when we write, using all our senses.

Writers often have trouble creating believable, unusual characters.

o Instead, we make them cookie-cutter, stereotypical people–and bore our readers.

o Even though we might conduct extensive research, we resist the elements that end in helping us
develop multi-faceted exciting characters.

o Research by itself won’t fix the problem. Why?

o Because the most important element for creating characters with emotional and psychological
depth—wishes, feelings, passion, depth and vision—resides within me, the writer.

o For me to write meaningfully, I must connect my inner world with the outer world of my

It takes more than just structure to make our writing and our characters come to life.

o Before our characters can stand out from all others we must tap into our inner self, while we
create that character.

o We must be present inside our characters, and in our writing, or our story will not be
successful, for it will lack depth.

o Our readers must hear our voice as the narrator—not some detached fact teller.

o We must create different characters that express all the various voices we have within

o WE, the writer, make the difference between a lackluster character portrayed over and over, and
a character with a fresh, unique voice.


o We must make ourselves vulnerable.

o If we are not willing to do this, we cheat our character out of a real-life personality.

o We must take risks.

o We must explore our inner selves.

o We must delve into the parts of ourselves that are the most vulnerable—our own life
experiences, particularly those painful or delightful parts of our childhood.

o When we approach that most vulnerable part of ourselves we must not stop—we must not blink.

o Instead, we write right through that part of our history, thereby giving life to our

o The search into self can’t be accomplished by our ego.

o We need to confront feelings and desires long hidden from our conscious thoughts.

o When we try to create a character without doing so—our characters become cookie cutter.

o For instance, many people feel a lack of spontaneity in their lives, so we look around at
others, jealous perhaps, or even feel ashamed at our own repressions.

o So, then, when we write, we try to capture that trait in our characters, but rather than being
able to release our characters to spontaneity, we end up creating characters that only imitate
what we are trying to create—much like we do.

When we learn to be honest with ourselves—warts and moles and all, we:

Unlock our own sensory recall and transform our experiences, feelings, high, lows, pain, and joys, into unique, powerful, believable, original characters who are capable of touching the hearts of our readers.

Easy to say—not always easy to do.


_MG_8948RetroSylvia Dickey Smith is a novelist whose fiction has won the hearts of readers everywhere, especially in the south. Often told in third person, her novels portray strong, memorable characters struggling with the same issues and timely situations that readers face in their own lives. In downtime from novels, she dabbles in re-imagined fairy tales, such as this one.

Smith is a native Texan, where she formerly conducted private practice as a psychotherapist. She has published stories and essays in anthologies, and her Sidra Smart mystery series received terrific reviews. Her most recent release, A WAR OF HER OWN, is a historical novel set in southeast Texas during WWII, yet it isn’t a war story. Instead, it is of the home front—a period of profound sociological change, particularly for women. Her most recent novel is ORIGINAL CYN, a tale of love, lust, transgression, betrayal, and the transformational power of forgiveness.

To contact:


whineycroneIn a far off land, east of the sun and west of the moon, a whiney old crone named Drizella sits outside the golden gates of the Queen’s Palace, wailing over fate’s misfortune. Beautiful in her youth (according to her mother, at least) she’d dreamed of slipping her foot into the glass slipper, marrying the prince and living happily ever after, raising perfect children, with a castle full of nannies to make sure, and of course wearing the finest of clothes.

But, alas, the slipper had been too short, and her foot too long. Her one consolation was that neither had the shoe fit her sister—that is her real sister.

The winey crone snivels, wipes her nose on the sleeve of her ragged garment and bemoans the cruelty of years. Whence came all the wrinkles and this thin mousy gray hair? Not to mention her ever-enlarging nose and ears, and the few scraggly hairs on her chin. Even the ‘widow-maker’ treats her unfairly, refusing to return her tiny waist regardless of how tight she pulls the laces. Her back aches. Her sister never calls and her sons come around no longer—the ungrateful lot.

One beautiful sunny day, while in the midst of her whining, an even older crone appears with a glow on her face and a spring in her step—her voice pleasant, melodic, even. “Why do you whine, my dear sister? Do you not know this is the best years of your life? Too bad you did not well prepare yourself, else your step would spring and your voice would sing.”

“Give me a break,” the whiney old crone exclaims. “What’s so great about getting old, ugly and feeble? My back hurts, no one calls or comes to visit, and should I venture out, men pass me by as if unseen.” Whine. Whine. whine.

“It is because you spend your day in front of the mirror that you whine, my dear. For mirrors only beautiuful cronereflect the outward you, not giving chance for inward reflection. You give insult to the name of crone. For a true crone does not whine. Instead, she fills her days with wisdom learned over the years, with purpose, humor, courage, compassion for others, and vitality.”

“Vitality?” the whiney crone spat. “I fight to get out of bed every morning. How in the queen’s name am I to find vitality?”

“It takes years of work, my dear, and you are way behind. You’ve wasted your years regretting each one. You fail to feel empathy or compassion, or to use your energy and power wisely. As a consequence of such, you have not earned the joy a wise crone discovers with the passing years.”

“Okay, smarty pants. You know so much. Tell me what you did that is so different than me. For you, too, longed to wear the glass slipper and failed. You, too, have aged, yet I see young men here at your feet, eager to learn what you know. Why is that—tell me, old crone.”

“Dry your eyes, wipe your nose, and lend me your ear.”

The whiney crone did just that.

“First off,” the beautiful older crone said, “is to stop that infernal whining. You must let go of the idea that if the stupid glass slipper fit your big foot, your life would have been perfect. The shoe didn’t fit your big foot! What is is. Get over it.”

“Okay, Ms. Smarty Pants. Just tell me how in this world am I supposed to do that?”

broken slipper“Stop thinking about what didn’t work. To dwell on anything we have no power to change is a useless exercise, and we end up getting more and more depressed, and we spend our days whining about what might have been.

“The more you whine, the more stuck you are in the past—a past you can’t fix. The end result is you stay stuck right there at the moment the prince tried to put that silly glass shoe on your foot. That’s truly over and done with, but because you keep whining about losing out, you’re still caught at that moment in time. Which ends up helping you find even more to whine about.

“That was then—this is now. Whining makes you dry up into an old hag. Look in that mirror. Do you see one juicy thing about you?”

The whiney crone looked. She didn’t like what she saw. “You mean to tell me, if I stop whining, these wrinkles might go away?”

“It won’t make the wrinkles go away, but they’ll soften. You’ll have more energy—a passion for life. Get involved—care about something. Get interested in something—take your mind off of yourself and put it on others. Find something funny to laugh about—every day, without fail. If you can’t find it, create it—go find a young lover or something.” She laughed.

“Yeah, right. Like that’s going to happen.”

“You never know—but this one thing I can guarantee—it’ll put a spring in your step.”

“So, that’s all I need do?”

“Goodness no. There’s a lot more to life than that. Grow something. Crones are good at pruning, weeding.”

“You mean like a garden? I can’t do that, for my back is too stiff and my joints, they ache like a son-of-a-gun. Every time I kneel, my—”

“There you go, whining again. Growing something doesn’t mean it has to be plants, my silly sister. It can be, but other things need to grow, too. Nurture something—whether it be a garden or people. Find something—or someone—vulnerable—like a child that’s lonely, or a young mother who can learn from your wisdom. For, despite your whining, you have learned a few things over the years—and that is the wisdom of the ages—otherwise known as Women’s Intuition. Trust what you know deep down in your bones. Let that wisdom bubble to the top. Share it with those open to receive it—those who look for the wisdom of the ages. Learn to practice patience—then teach it to the impatient.”

“Is that all?” Drizella wondered how in the world could she remember all these lessons, let alone do them. “I should’ve been taking notes.”

The wise, juicy old crone smiled, for she knew the secret of the HOW. “By finding your voice, my dear. For silence equals consent. Crones like you and me? We speak our minds. We tell ’em how the cow ate the cabbage—that the emperor’s running around outside nekked. That’s how. Find your voice, use the wisdom of the ages, grow something, let go of the past, stop your dang whining and laugh—and learn the beauty of a big foot.”















Lipsticks and Strong Women

What is the connection between lipsticks and strong women? Think there is none? Well, actually there is–and other women as well.

Today, Writing Strong Women departs from the serious, to the more fun part of being a strong woman, and that is…

You guessed it—lipstick

(Remember, Baubo, the Belly Goddess often drops by for a visit wherever women gather. So—have fun with this today—and you just might want to take it seriously, too! Likely she didn’t wear lipstick, but she was most definitely a strong woman.)

Several years ago, my sister passed me a sheet of paper that compared women’s personalities with the shapes of their tube of lipstick. Since I lost the paper years ago, I decided to surf the web today and see if I could find research on that topic. This is what I found—borrowed from the website at Healthy Happy Love Relationships.

“According to one test, the shape of a woman’s lipstick tip can tell a lot about her personality! Use this chart and see if you fit one of the types described. If nothing else, it is good for some fun.

1. Stays close to original tip slant• Abides by the rules • Great follower • Does not like too much attention • A little self-conscious • Somewhat reserved • Likes a schedule • May occasionally color hair to attract attention.




2. Rounded, smooth tip• Easy going • Peacemaker • Even-tempered • Steady Likable • Generous





3. Sharp-angled tip Opinionated • High-spirited • Dislikes schedules • Selective of friends • Outgoing • Likes attention • Argumentative



4. Sharp-angled, curved tip• Creative • Enthusiastic • Energetic • Talkative • Loves attention • Falls in love easily • Helpful • Needs schedule, but dislikes one.



5. Tip rounded to a point• Lovable • Family-oriented • A “doer” • Can give orders easily • Domestic • Exaggerates sometimes • Stubborn over little things • Needs people around



6. Flat top• To the point • High morals • Needs approval • Careful about appearances • Very dependable • Conservative • Quick mind • Loves challenges




7. Flat top concave• Makes a great detective • Makes friends easily • Inquisitive • Adventurous • A ‘prober’• Complex • Exciting




8. Sharp angles both sides• Spiritual • Curious • Seeks attention • Mysterious • Big ego • Faithful • Looks for easy way • Loves life





Okay, here a photo of my favorite tube of lipstick. What type personality would you guess I have based on the shapes of my tubes–which, if you notice, all take the same shape. What do you think? What shape is yours, and do you think this chart targets your personality?

Lipsticks and Strong Women–we get along just fine!

****NOTE TO MEN: There is something in this post for you as well. Check out the shape of the lipsticks of the women in your life and it will give you a glimpse of who they are, what they like, and perhaps what they don’t like–and you’ll be way ahead of the other men!

Change The Voices in Your Head. Make Them Like You Instead

Our guest, Karyne Corum encourages women (sisters) to stand by each other and to use their voices to speak out for each other.

“Young women today face some tough challenges.  They are still being bombarded with the age-old stereotypes. Barbie dolls still push abnormal body types, Bratz’s sell girls on excessive adornment with make-up, hair and clothes, and baby dolls that have body functions barely let them be girls before they have to try and be mothers.  The toys we give to little boys emphasize freedom of movement and action, and rarely the more introspective elements of their character.

Girls today also have the looming Facebook, this generation’s version of Big Brother, and all the other electronic media that compels them to crave popularity more than ever.  More and more pressure to look good because it’s going out there for the whole world to see and judge.

So what can these girls do to stand strong and develop self-respect?  They are surrounded by a hyper critical world of peers and media that overshadow their every move with judgment.

Don’t give it, till you get it.  And it is whatever you think it can be.

Love. Respect. Attention.

Don’t sell yourself out to get a man.  Care more about who you will be tomorrow than who you can be in the moment.  Find, treasure and keep some good friends, a thousand on Facebook does not come close to one true and loyal real friend.

Don’t back down, ever. If it feels wrong, or looks wrong, it is wrong.  Your gut instinct is the best friend you will ever have.  Confront a put down or sexist remark, not with vulgarity or what you think a guy might say, but with the force of your own intelligence and power.  The first time will suck, you will feel awkward or even silly, especially if no other girl supports you.  This time.  But the next time it will feel a little better, and come more easily, and I promise you, eventually another girl will back you up.  I remember in a bar one night, my friend who came with me, had a guy who wanted to drive her home. A guy I didn’t know and  I didn’t trust.  I said, no. She came with me, she goes home with me.  He was furious and ranted at me for like ten minutes, said some nasty things, but even as I was shaking inside, and my friend said nothing to support me, I stood my ground.  Later, she thanked me, said she was sorry she didn’t speak up.  The next time we faced a situation in a bar, she had my back, all the way.

I’m heartsick over the stories I read, even after tragedies like Natalie Holloway and others, about girls who trust the guy because he looks good.  Girls and women get abused and even murdered every day because they don’t know how to love and protect themselves more than wanting the translucent high of a man’s temporary attention.

If you see a girl standing up for herself, give her some support. Sisters stand by sisters. No matter what, no matter how hard, and here’s the really tough part, no matter how unpopular it may make you.

I mentioned above about craving popularity and I used the word crave with a purpose.  Popularity is a drug, and the more you get, the more you want.  But like any other addiction, it will leave you empty, hollow and strung out.  Treat it like the nasty habit it is and quit.  Hard?  Sure is.  But will it save your life?  Absolutely.

It takes nothing to slip into the crowd and become as weak and spineless as they are.  It takes strength to stand aside and be your own force.  But the more you use your strength, the stronger you become.  I was wrong when I said I didn’t know if you were born with strength or not.  I think it’s a part of our DNA, only we decide if it’s a working strand or not.

And like Pink says, “Change the voices in your head, Make them like you instead.”

I used to think I was born in the wrong time, but when I look at my son, already being raised to love and respect strong women, I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”

I say, AMEN, me, too!

Please share links to this post with every young woman or girl you know, encourage them to change the voices in their heads that say they are not pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough.





Official Launch Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We’re getting right down to the nitty-gritty of being a strong woman. Who is she? What is she? How does she get there? What set her on that path? Who/what helped? When?

Hint of what’s coming…….

Strong Women emerge at different stages and ages, often because we don’t know any other way to get there. We will talk about the crossroads a woman gets to where she says, “I’m not gonna take this @##$%% anymore.”

Questions we will chat about are how does one become a strong woman (assuming you are female!)

And,  related to that, we will look at the stages a young (and sometimes not so young) woman must often go through that are counter-productive, and then look at ways to teach her how to stand strong in her own power and stay true to herself.

Our categories are:

The Princess


The Princess is the girl/woman who thinks the world revolves around her and her needs. Who thinks the world beats a path to her door bearing a tiara and kingdom.


The Bully


The Bully is the girl/woman who covers her own lack of self-confidence by belittling/intimidating someone else.




Mean Girl




Mean Girl is the girl/woman who runs amuck over others to get her own way, to build herself up by  belittling/ putting down others.



The Gossip (others wise known as “a biddy”cares not whether the tale she shares is true or not, or the damage it does to the victim. She delights in creating chaos in an organization

The Bioch

The Bioch Oh don’t we all know what this is……..and know one. Perhaps we ourselves have climbed on that ladder at one time or the other. Those who are, often brag about it. (Hence the license plate.) A bioch is a woman with attitude, who put themselves and their opinions above all else. A woman who has all the answers, and is willing to run roughshod over others.

The Steel Magnolia


Steel Magnolias are strong women who like themselves and others. Who stand in their own power without abusing others, or allowing others to abuse them. They know who they are, what they stand for, what they don’t stand for, and what they absolutely won’t stand for.




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