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First Draft Idea That Blows My Mind…or…Does it? 0

First Draft Idea That Blows My Mind…or…Does it?

Karen Wiesner wrote First Draft in 30 Days and has these suggestions for the dedicated, determined writer. So, here we are in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For non-writers, that means kissing your writing friends good-by for 30 days! If you follow Karen Wiesner’s plan, you may need to pick them up off the floor and apply chocolate! (She must have amazing stamina!) After you brainstorm your idea, you begin your month-long draft with these tasks: Day 1– Character sketches, Day 2– Research/Setting, Day 3– Plot Sketches, Days 4/5– Summary Outline, Day 6– Scene notes, Days 7-13– Research, Days 14-15–...

A Pat on My Back 0

A Pat on My Back

A recent critique of my pages ranged from hilarious laughter to dead serious flaws. The laughter was easier to take, the flaws hit me to my core, knocking my breath free during their swift pats of bringing me back to the real world. But, because the critiquers sincerely believe in me and my worth as a writer, I can handle both and will learn from their suggestions. (That deep down hope that one day I’ll get a chapter near perfect and that my critique group will shake their heads in admiration isn’t dead yet, but it does experience monthly setbacks.)  ...

Out to Launch, not Lunch 0

Out to Launch, not Lunch

The appearance of a blog hiatus is really a shift in gears for a few months. It’s been an intensive course in media kit development! I’ve written and rewritten, edited and reorganized the various pages of the kit in an effort to create a thoughtful, informational landing spot for people curious about who I am and what I write. The media kit supports my debut novel, 84 Ribbons, my newest book launch. Since I’ve moved from non-fiction to women’s fiction, my media shifted as well. Now I’ve embarked on a different sort of writing: not non-fiction and not fiction writing....

All That Shakin’ Going On 0

All That Shakin’ Going On

“Like the plates beneath the earth’s crust at the time of a quake, the underpinnings of her life were shifting. All she could do was to take shelter under the most stable structure she knew and wait it out.” Barbara Delinsky, Together Alone p.146 Have you ever thought what your stable writing structure might be when you feel the shaking? It might be sitting and staring at the computer or re-reading what you’ve written or walking away from writing for a few days or weeks. Every shift brings new understandings and new direction when you allow yourself to work through...

Writers Who See Clearly 0

Writers Who See Clearly

When the book you are reading is littered with sticky notes marking great images, you know you have a writer who sees clearly. Check out Peter Hessler, author of River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. Through his ‘eyes’, I revisit Fuling, China, a city situated where the Wu River meets the Yangtze. “Fuling is not an easy city. Old people rest on the staircases, panting. To carry anything up the hills is backbreaking work and so the city is full of porters. They haul their loads on bamboo poles balanced across their shoulders, the same way freight was carried...

Details, Details, Details 1

Details, Details, Details

What separates mediocre from good or great writing? Details. In the book,  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the style is dated, but the details held me in the story. Betty Smith took the time to incorporate significant details related to the 1910-1915’s: money tied in the corner of handkerchiefs, carrying tin to be sold for precious pennies and reading the family Bible as a way to learn to read. In a more recent read of a current author, I felt let down. She told us what she saw instead of drawing us in with sensory details. True, her drama moved...

Inspiration from Others 0

Inspiration from Others

“(My diary) became a friend, the paper that it was made of was ready and willing to accept anything and everything I had to say; it could handle my fear, my questions, my sadness. I discovered the beauty of writing – when one can pour oneself onto a great white emptiness and fill it with emotions and thoughts and leave them forever.”  written by Zlata Filipovic and shared in Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell) Passion for writing oozes from Zlata’s words. There are days I agree; when I can’t get words out fast enough. More often, however, my words...

Spring Changes Everything 0

Spring Changes Everything

There is something in the air. It’s spring. Sure we still have rain and storms, but the world feels different in spring. Maybe it’s the flowers pushing up or the leaf buds showing color. It might be the grass looking green and shaggy or the sky a deeper blue. Whatever it is, it inspires me to get outside, to feel a change in the crispness, to investigate the neighborhood, to inhale the changes around me. Regardless of the drizzle,  I know spring will affect a change in my writing. Change is good. Give yourself a pat-on-the-back as you use those...

Before AND After 1

Before AND After

This writing exercise helped me deepen my story. Five minutes or a day before a traumatic event, characters have no inkling of what is to come. Their lives follow their day-to-day routies then, Wham! A major traumatic event arrives. So… Write that calm. Soothe the reader so that when the trauma arrives, the reader is doubly shaken. After the traumatic event has been exposed, write the after. Go back to the calm and use elements from that time as contrast to reactions/actions that followed the trauma. Example: Marta was kneading bread (mundane activity)before hearing the news of a good friend’s...

Quotes to Ponder 0

Quotes to Ponder

Kristin Hannah’s book, Angel Falls, provides us with a lot to think about: p.111 He’d never thought much about silence, but now he knew its every shape and contour. It was a cheap glass jar that trapped old voices and kept them fresh. p.149 The measure of a man comes down to moments spread out like dots of paint on the canvas of life. p.331 The falling apart of a man’s life should make noise. p.375 Love wasn’t a great burning brush fire that swept across your soul and charred you…it was everyday moments laid out like bricks, one atop...