Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Inspirational Words for Writers in Doubt

Recently, I read an email from someone on a loop who decided to “give up” writing. She felt she would never reach the heights of the others on the loop, that her writing was terrible, and she’d never get published. So, she was just giving up.

I heard her pain through the words she wrote. I’ve been there, too. I believe many of you might be empathetic as well. Some days the words come hard. I can spend an hour trying to get one sentence right. Other times, the words flow. These are the side effects of being a writer. No one ever said writing was easy…except for those who have never tried it.

Writers don’t choose to write because they know how. Writer’s write because they have something to say. There is a learning curve. Once you’ve written your masterpiece, you need to take classes and attend workshops where you can learn what POV is, how to show instead of tell, how to get into deep POV, transitions, conflict, goals, motivation, tension, and so much more.

The most important element of writing is reading. You must read books in the genre/sub-genre you are writing. How else can you learn what publishers are buying? Reading can show you how an author uses all the tools of the trade to create a page-turner.

Writers are constantly learning. We’re like teachers. We are always going to school. We learn from writing. We learn from our peers. We learn from NY Times best-selling authors. We learn from our rejections.

But writers don’t give up. Writers may reach that low point, curl up and lick their wounds, but they come back with a vengeance. I know all of you have heard the story of Noah building an ark. It didn’t happen overnight. And, it didn’t happen with everyone cheering him on either. He had a call to build. And he persevered, despite his friends and neighbors laughing at him for being a fool. We can learn a lesson from Noah. It takes a thick skin to persevere in spite of the odds.

My message to you is: When you feel as if you will never succeed, go ahead and allow yourself to be miserable. But don’t give voice to the misery. Bear it in solitude. Then dig deep inside and look at your dreams and goals. Don’t give up. Pull yourself back up out of the hole you’ve dug and get back to the joy of writing. The rest will follow.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Exercise, Patience, and Writing

I've been wanting a recumbent bike for some time. After reading reviews, I really want one. I need an exercise machine that is low impact and this seems perfect. Plus it will probably help hubby as well. Problem is, I'm not a very patient person and I need to wait until September to make the purchase. Other problem, they are HEAVY and require assembly. *sigh* I need to find one that is already put together and then convince my very strong son and son-in-law to carry it in.

I think riding the bike would be fun to do while watching television or reading a book. It's really hard to read a book while walking on the treadmill. I'd rather walk outside, but the weather is not conducive to doing that.

Hmmm. Looks like fall is going to be my time to exercise. Outdoor walking and recumbent bike. So, for now, I guess I'd better stop buying cookies, chocolate and ice cream. But, oh, they are so satisfying when I'm stuck on finding the "perfect" word for my manuscript.

It's amazing how long it takes to edit. That's the time when I find passages that need ramped up with body language or deep POV. After rewriting, then I go back and read from the previous paragraph or so to make sure it "sounds" good. I can pass an hour editing just a few pages! Amazing. And, all the while that crazy little muse is whispering to me to hurry up and finish. I've been looking for a muzzle that will fit.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Right Brain, Left Brain...Eeeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo...

Today, I'm going to tackle convering one of my "returned rights" books, HIT AND RUN, to be read on Kindle. Why? Because I can!

I excelled in math during my school years because logic problems stirred my brain. I loved the challenge of working my way through the formulas to get to the answer. I still love working logic puzzles or delving into something unknown. I love mysteries, mystical things, and creating things with my hands. There's something fulfilling in hooking up a new device to my computer and having it work, taking a rock and turning it into an animal with a paintbrush and ceramic paints, or creating a new world with words.

I've taken several of those "analyze your brain" tests, and I fall squarely in the middle. I'm not left or right brain dominant. I suppose that's why I lean toward many creative outlets.

So, today, I'm off on a new venture. I'll have the challenge of converting the book for Kindle and creating my own book cover. More to come...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why Do I Write?

As I stare at the beautiful wooden name plate that declares I am a ~writer~, I ponder what that means.

Writers write. Plain and simple.

I love composing words and stringing them together to evoke emotions in the person who might one day gaze upon my creations. The joy of writing is in the physical action of placing one word after another, one paragraph after another, one page after another. The joy is in discovering new characters and entering into their lives. The joy is living in another world, shutting out the mundane, embarking on new adventures in my mind.

Writing give me a high. I'm energized, happy, and filled with a sense of accomplishment.

I breathe, therefore I live.

I live, therefore I write.

I write, therefore I am.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Character Goals, Motivations, and Conflicts

I've been playing around with a story in my head and I just can't get it to seem reasonable, or exciting. My brainstorming sessions with only myself seem to run in the same direction. My heroines seem to have similar backgrounds, baggage, and reasons for being in peril. So, is the wrong?

It can be, if the immediate goal is not worthy of drawing in the reader and making them care about the heroine or hero.

Goals, motivation and conflict are essential to writing a story that will sell. First comes goals, both external and internal. I'm very good at pinpointing internal goals. It's the external goals that seem to be less enticing. When that happens, the story is doomed. That larger than life external goal will move your character through the story and the subplots will come from that movement.

However, all six things need to be in place. Both external and internal goals, motivations and conflict. Anayzing my book Joshua's Hope the GMC looks like this:

Hope's External Goal: To gain custody of her stepson
Hope's Motivation: He's in danger
Hope's Conflict: Finding an attorney to represent her

Hope's Internal Goal: She wants to redeem herself
Hope's Motivation: She shouldn't have put her own needs ahead of her stepson by divorcing her husband.
Hope's Conflict: Guilt

Hope realizes Joshua is in danger, but since she's not his biological mother, no attorney will represent her. Danger makes the goal immediate. If she doesn't do something, her stepson will suffer the consequences. She feels guilty for saving herself without thinking of what might happen to the little boy she loves. Her own mother turned into a bitter soul after Hope's father abandoned them. Hope doesn't want to be like her mother, but fears she might. So, she works at two jobs and saves every penny to pay for an attorney, but none of them wants to take on a losing battle. If she wants to reach her internal goal and save her stepson, she'll have to do something drastic. Thus, the plotlines develop and the story moves forward with lots of conflict.

Once the GMC is determined, the rest of the story will flow. However, getting GMC right isn't an easy task. Allow plenty of time to work on this.

That's where I'm at, dear readers. I really need to find a brainstorming partner.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Squirted to Death...Tale of The Ugly Spider vs The Writer

The ugly black spider with a huge white spot on it's bulbous body crawled across the carpet into my line of sight. My gaze riveted on the evil enemy. How dare you invade my territory? The words spoken in my mind didn't make it to my lips. I didn't want to clue him in to his fate. My hand touched the cool door knob leading to the laundry and work room. Slowly, I opened it. I glanced at the spider to find him waiting. Come on, give me what you've got, his body language seemed to say. I retrieved the container of bug killer and squared off with him.

He took an aggressive stance. I took mine, with nozzle in one hand, container in the other. "You're going to die," I said aloud. "You realize your fate, don't you?"

No response followed. A slight movement of his legs showed me him ready to fight...or flee. Without giving him time to decide, I squirted him.

He ran.

I chased and gave him one more healthy dose of bug killer.

He slowed. Changed direction. Stopped.

I stared.

He moved.

I squirted him again. No sense taking chances. I wanted to give him a quick death.

He rolled over and remained still.

I continued to stare.

He moved and righted himself. Then he stood on his head.

I couldn't believe what my eyes saw. The ugly spider stood on his head. Really. His bulbous body stood at attention and the white spot seemed to be an eye glaring at me. I shivered.

He righted himself. And tried to run, his movements like a drunk, weaving along an imaginary white line.

Finally, he stopped. I figured he must be dead, but I couldn't bring myself to step on him. I put the bug spray back on the table and tore off two sheets of paper towels. I tossed the paper towels over his body and raised my foot, hesitated, then stomped.

Liquid filled the paper towel. Oh, gross!

I walked past the brutal scene of the crime several times before I got up the nerve to get more paper towels and dispose of the body. Tuesday, the deparated will become part of the county landfill.

Last night I dreamed of his relatives coming for revenge. Needless to say, I'm sleeping with one eye open tonight.

Thanks for stopping by!

Caution: Brain Dump Ahead

Still struggling with the standard keyboard. My fingers are just too close together and my arms are pressed against my sides. Totally unnatural for me. Yesterday, we browsed through WalMart and I took a turn around the computer accessory section. No split keyboards! Wah!!! I'm going to check at my local office supply store next week. In the meantime, I'm fighting the keyboard. So, sorry for the lack of posts lately.

Have you tried that Raid Bug Barrier? I used it outside to try and control the ants. It seems to have helped, but I'm beginning to see more creeping closer to the house. Sigh. We've had enough rain to wash it all away. How can it possibly last six months? I'm going to go outside and spray the Ortho Home Defense Max and see if that helps. I also killed an ugly spider in my basement. It was black with legs like those jumping spiders. It had a bulbous body with a big white spot and two smaller white spots. Ugh. And it was pretty big. About quarter size. UGLY!!! I have been trying to overcome my fear of spiders, but that one freaked me out.

As for writing, I am doing edits on my manuscript as I find that easier than typing long passages on this keyboard, or on my laptop keyboard. But, I'm making progress anyway.

Today, tackle bugs, do a little weeding and dead head the roses, and then...editing!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dead Keyboard Grumbling

Another rainy day. Rainy with brief appearances of sun. Makes for a very humid atmosphere. I wanted to mow the lawn today. It's getting so long that I'll have a rough time when I can actually get the task completed.

Speaking of tasks, I finally finished all contest entries. Hurray. It's so hard to judge other people's work when based on specific parameters. I tried to be as open and positive as possible. Some of my contest entries came back with such negative comments that I wanted to throw a chair through my monitor. But, I put it all in perspective and persevered. I hope that others do the same thing, but I do believe that judges should focus on giving constructive criticism and pointing out things that are done well.

Today, I'm battling a nasty headache. Top that with my favorite wireless split-key keyboard rolling over and kicking up its feet like a possum on the side of the road. Ugh. Yesterday, while I pounded at the keys I looked up and saw...NOTHING on the screen!!!  What???  I checked all the connections, replaced the batteries, rebooted numerous times, but it remained uncommunicative. I plugged in the standard keyboard which came with the computer and it worked fine. Now, I'm limited to typing slowly in an unnatural hand position. I guess that means a trip to the office supply store later.

Nothing exciting to talk about today, so I'll stop rambling. I'll focus my energy on editing today. Believe me, you wouldn't have been able to read this post, if I hadn't made numerous changes as I typed.

Hope you have a great day and thanks for listening to my grumbles today.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Beefing Up With Body Language and Critique Partners

Word for the Day: Focus

What I'm Reading: Cup of Joe by Teri Wilson (okay, I've been really slow at reading lately. Lots of other things taking my energy.)

Picture of the Day:

The television in my office is to entertain me while I'm walking on my treadmill, which is directly opposite the screen and next to the wall. My cat, Templeton, likes to sit in the basket and watch whatever is happening on the screen. Isn't he cute?

I've been working with critique partners for an online class I'm taking on Body Language with teacher, Margie Lawson. I had no idea what to expect when we formed our group, but I've been delighted with how my partners have helped me to amp up my writing. Who knows? Maybe we'll continue on together. I wanted to share something from my current manuscript to show how together we took some rather "blah" writing and amped it up a notch utilizing the tools we have learned from the class.

"What's going to happen to the baby?" she asked.

He glanced up and saw a look of concern pulling her brows close together.

"She'll be well taken care of. Her new parents will make sure of that.

"What makes you so sure they'll be good to her? What if they're perverts or
something? Did you check them out?"

What was this? The kid was making him angry. Why all the questions? He
hadn't thought she even cared if the baby got fed. Now she was worried about
the baby's future? Before he could stop himself, his hand cracked against
her cheek, leaving a vivid imprint of his fingers.

"Why'd you do that?" She glared at him and stepped closer, hands fisted at
her sides.

"Shut up. You talk too much." He rifled in the bag for the premixed formula.
Pain shot through his head, crumpling his legs, and he fell to the floor.

The girl stood over him, holding something in her hands. He opened his mouth
to speak, then the room spun into a black funnel.

"What's going to happen to the baby?" Something in her tone drew his
attention. He looked at her.

Her gaze riveted on his and she moved around the table, treading lightly like a cat walking sideways and sizing up its foe.

He attempted a smile to disguise his building rage. "She'll be well taken care of. Her new parents will make sure of that."

She placed her palms flat on the rickety wooden table.

He mimicked her position, and noticed a slight tremble in her skinny arms.

"What makes you so sure they'll be good to her? What if they're perverts or something? Did you check them out?" Her voice rose to rival the tone his mother used when he'd lied to her.

His teeth clenched. He stood upright, muscles tightening in response to his building anger. How dare she question him?

His hand cracked against her cheek with a satisfying jolt.

Her body jerked, her eyes widened and her hand rose to cover the reddened
handprint. "Why'd you do that?" she yelled. Tears glistened in her eyes, but she stepped closer, hands curling into fists.

"Shut up. You talk too much." Spittle flew with his words. Dismissing her, he riffled through his duffel bag and pulled out a can of baby formula.

Pain shot through his head, crumpling his legs, and he fell to the floor.

The girl stood over him, holding the cast iron skillet in her hands. He
opened his mouth to speak, then the room spun into a black funnel.

So, what do you think? Much better? I think so. I've never had so much fun working with critique partners before.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Critiquing Isn't for Me

Word for the Day: Ugh

I'm not posting a picture today. Sorry. Couldn't find one that inspired me. Today I want to write about critiquing. I volunteered to judge entries for a contest in our local chapter. I want to help and encourage. However, I'm bound to a stupid numbered scoresheet. Sure, I can make comments, but putting numbers on a writer's work really is hard. I don't want to discourage anyone, but I have to act like an editor in order to help them.

I'm so wishy-washy when it comes to critiquing anyone else's work. Don't know why, but I've learned one lesson. I will never judge another contest. No way. Hate the numbers. Have I said that before? Well, I do.

My friend and I get together for lunch and we talk about writing. We brainstorm and talk about things that have us stuck. We toss around suggestions and that works for me. So, even though it's a rainy day, I'm off to shower and get ready to have lunch with my friend. I'll deal with the numbers later. Ugh.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Best Friends, Laptops, and Furry Babies

Quote for the Day: The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the best conversation you've had. ~Author Unknown

What I'm Reading: Cup of Joe by Teri Wilson

Picture of the Day:

We brought our fur babies home when they were eight weeks old. This is Charlotte. I received an email from our vet on Sunday. Our fur babies are now seven year old! Hard to believe. They grow much faster than our human babies.

Yesterday, I finally got a handle on the "overwhelmed" state of my life. I feel like I accomplished quite a lot, including mowing the lawn and weeding. Today seems manageable. The only thing I wish to do is write, so I allow myself the morning to tend to a few writing tasks, which helps me face the mundane everyday tasks.

What a gorgeous day in Ohio yesterday! I sat on the deck for two hours with my laptop and wrote. It's my favorite place to be, especially when my laptop accompanies me. Making progress toward writing "the end."

Currently, I'm taking an online writing course on "Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist" taught by Margie Lawson. What a fantastic class, and very timely. I'm using all the lectures to power up my current manuscript. Margie's classes are always dynamite, and I mean that in the best way. She inspires me to "do it better." So, now I'm off to the mundane, so I can get back to the joy of writing.

Tomorrow I have lunch with my very best friend. And the quote above says it all about our relationship.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Mask of the Mundane

Word for the Day: Overwhelmed!!!

What I'm Reading: Cup of Joe, by Teri Wilson

Picture of the Day:

Years ago, I belonged to an online women's group and we created signature tags for emails. One of my friends created the one above for me. It describes my mood today. I'm not sure who I want to be. I must do yard work, I must do laundry, I want to write, I want to sift through my lectures on an online class I'm taking.

Throughout my days, I seem to wear a lot of hats...or masks. I believed when I quit my day job, I could spend my hours doing things I wanted to do, fun things. How quickly the glamor was displaced by the mundane. I want to answer the question, "When's the next book coming out?" But, alas, I can't. Part of it is under my control...or is it?

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

It's Electrifying!!!

Word for the Day: Tired

What I'm Reading: Cup of Joe by Teri Wilson

Picture of the Day:

I love my book cover. It's "electrifying!"  Why am I posting it? Because if you haven't read Joshua's Hope, I'm inviting you to purchase it from my publisher, White Rose Publishing, or if you prefer, from Amazon.

Check out the latest review which posted on Associated Content yesterday:

Thanks for stopping by!

Thank Goodness for Laptops

Word for the Day: Stormy

What I'm Reading: Cup of Joe, by Teri Wilson

Picture for the Day:

My hubby reading my first published novel.

Yesterday, we began working on putting a ring of red castle stones around the trees in our front yard. We found them on sale and purchased 88 of them. Talk about heavy dead weight! Those suckers weigh nearly 19 pounds each. Since hubby can't lift them (or rather shouldn't be lifting them), I took them out of the truck and put on a hand dolly to cart them four at a time to the area where he laid them. We finished one complete row and began stacking the second level before giving up for the day. Then about an hour later the storms began.

This morning it's still dark and stormy. Windy, thunder. Hmmm. So, my muscles get a reprieve today!

I'm planning on taking my laptop upstairs and writing most of the day. Wish I had one of those batteries that last longer than an hour. *sigh* Stormy days are great for creating darker scenes. Maybe I'll write the last chapter today.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Stepping Back Into The Past

Word for the Day: Burdened

What I'm Reading: Cup of Joe by Teri Wilson

Picture of the Day:

Today I'm feeling burdened. I have this tendency to take on way too many projects and then stress about not keeping up. I agreed to start doing the Sunday bulletin for our church beginning this week, and I also signed up for two online classes. Add judging for a writing contest. Eeek!!! Why do I do this to myself?

I snapped the picture above a few years ago when my hubby and I visited a writing friend who had an old cabin built on her property in the woods. Her husband built the cabin using wood from his grandfather's barn. Inside, she has many antiques which replicate the kind of cabin my great grandmother might have lived in. My hubby and I actually spent the night in the cabin. No running water. No electricity. What an experience! We slept in the Jenny Lind bed pictured above. I decided to include a few more pictures below.

I wish I wrote historicals, because this experience sure brought history to life for me.

Thanks for visiting!