Author Archives: CLW

Three Thing Thursday!

#1: From Cheryl Van Eck
I just finished a novel this week that ended with the main character not needing to make any significant sacrifices. It was a perfect fairy tale ending. And quite honestly, it ruined the entire storyline for me. 
In life, we are forced to make sacrifices every day, both big and small. We can relate to the concept. If we’re going to relate to the character, we need to be able to share that core trait with them. 
Even in actual fairy tales, the good ones anyway, the happily ever after is earned. They lose family, friends, lovers…and don’t even get me started on Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl. That book gets me crying every time. 
The point is, the ending can be happy if there were real sacrifices along the way. Sometimes you’re going to have to kill Sirius in order to kiss Ginny. Tragedy reveals strength more than joy ever can. Let your characters be strong. 
#2 From Brenda Bensch
To this day, even while no longer actively teaching, my year begins late August and goes through May. Summer, which is over now, “doesn’t count”. So today, gearing up for the new “year” of writing, I’m thinking “time” and “schedule.” I’m used to working from bell to bell during a school day. Why not structure my writing day the same way, but using timers or something similar (something that sounds like a school bell would be good for me).
I recently read some good advice: set aside a particular time of day (or night) that you can manage EVERY day — without its adding to stress in your life. Set up a realistic schedule, being sure you can write when you are relatively refreshed. (Your subconscious mind is most accessible at such a time.) Regular Writing Time is crucial. So is utilizing it rigorously. Try to pick a time which is available all days of the week – including weekends. Even if it’s only half an hour, think what you could do by the end of a year: 182.5 hours of writing. I can usually write 750 words in 22-32 minutes, so I’ll call it a half hour. That yields 136,875 words/year at a steady half-hour per day. My rate per page (around 263 words per double-spaced page) yields a good 520 pages. For YA, that’s two books. I can do that ! ! !
How about you?
#3 From Carol
We are on for Olive Garden September 11 at 7 pm. This is the OG we went to last time, in Provo.
And then, have you seen this? I thought it was hilarious!


Filed under CLW, Exercises, Plot, three thing thursday, writing process

Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

Stressed out.
Moving up north has been great, but finding a part time job has been difficult.
Especially since I have a big trip coming up.
But I gotta keep trying.

Same with my writing. I’m not feeling very inspired right now.
I have pages and pages of brainstorming ideas, but when it comes to writing a story, it’s all sounding pretty crappy.
But I gotta keep trying.

How do you get inspired?
Maybe i should start meditating. Maybe clearing my head will help.
Maybe being stressed isn’t making my writing crappy.

Either way, it’s tough. But I gotta keep trying.
What’s that fish say in Finding Nemo?
Gotta keep swimming. Gotta keep trying.

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The First Day of the Month

That means goals for me.

Last night, I spent a good amount of time writing EVERYTHING in the world I wanted to accomplish in my life as my September goals. I love doing this.


Here are a couple of writing goals from me:

1. Finish Ghost book

2. Finish addiction book

3. Work with Ann Dee and finish a dirty draft of the novel we’re doing together.


this month we’ll be meeting at Olive Garden. For those who have attended, this is a fun time to get together.

Depending on number of people attending, we’ll read between 150-250 words from a WIP.

As well, we’ll share our writing accomplishments.

Date to come.

PLUS, Ann Dee and I may have a fun writing contest we may do. Yes, those are mays in September!

I say we, but Ann Dee will be in charge.

AND AND This is my birthday month. Yesterday, I spent five minutes arguing with my daughter about how old I will be.

She’s shocked!

So, what are your goals for September?

How will you accomplish them?



Filed under CLW

What’s Your Point of View?

by Lisa Sledge

I finished reading The Tale of Despereaux two days ago. I’d never read it before. Shocking, really, since it’s a Newbery winner, a movie, and written by Kate DiCamillo.

I love Because of Winn Dixie.

In Despereaux, Kate used a strong omniscient voice. I’ve experimented with this for my own WIP. It’s really hard. So I wondered, as I read, what makes an author choose one point of view over another?

There’s a huge trend in YA and children’s books for stories in the first person because it brings the reader closest to the protagonist. Third person is a standard POV in novels.  It puts another degree of distance between the reader and the characters, yet still keeps them close. But what about omniscient?

I watch Brandon Sanderson‘s writing classes on youtube. He said that using an omniscient POV puts the greatest degree of distance between the reader and your characters, that it’s been out of favor for at least 20 years, and basically stamped the words “DO NOT ATTEMPT ” across it. Everything else I’ve heard or read seems to be in agreement.

Why did Kate DiCamillo use the omniscient POV for her story? And don’t tell me it’s because she’s awesome and therefore she can do whatever the heck she wants. That’s true, but she’s also a gifted and inspiring artist. She wouldn’t have done it without a valid reason.

This is my theory. I think the POV can help define your novel’s voice and become part of the entertainment. And I also believe that sometimes you need distance in your story. The Tale of Despereaux is a book for young children, yet terrible things happen. There are death sentences, rats who strip little mouse bones clean, tortured prisoners, child slavery, abuse, a dead queen, and a kidnapping. The distance of the omniscient voice allowed her to present difficult material to a  sensitive audience.

And you know what? I liked it.

I also think it takes serious talent to make omniscient POV work. Which is why Kate’s book won a Newbery and mine is being rewritten.

What is your favorite POV as a writer? Is it different from what you enjoy reading?

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Filed under Point of View, Revision, Voice, writing process

Three Things Thursday

One Thing:

I haven’t taken the time to thank all the people who post here and help me in doing so. Cheryl, Brenda, Debbie and Lisa, I  couldn’t keep coming up with idea after idea. So thank you so much for sending me pieces each week.

Love, Carol

Two Things:

There was a 6.0 earthquake in Napa, California on Sunday morning. I’m about 20 miles from the epicenter. 
I woke up to the bed shaking like we were in a frying pan. 3:20 am. I jumped out of bed, but the ground wasn’t stable either. 
“Earthquake,” I told my husband, whose first thought was that the rattling windows was an intruder. “Earthquake, earthquake!”
Then, “The baby!”
The few feet to her room seemed to stretch into eternity. The quake was over by the time I got there. She’d slept through it. Her rocking chair rocked as if someone sat in it, watching us. 
My next thoughts turned to the potential damage for those at the epicenter. I thought it originated in San Francisco, 60 miles away. If that was true, it meant at least a 9.0 magnitude. The city was demolished. Underwater. Millions were dead. 
The news took about 20 minutes to catch up, but Facebook was alive within seconds. I cried when friends from San Francisco posted that there was no significant damage, relieved. 
Slowly, facts trickled in. Napa is a small tourist town known for its wineries. Damaged buildings, fires, and mostly minor injuries. But thankfully, nothing like the devastation I’d imagined. 
So, if I were a main character, my first instinct was to warn those family members who could take care of themselves and shield the ones that couldn’t. The next was to envision the worst possible scenario for the rest of the world. 
What would your MC have done?
Cheryl Van Eck
Three Things:
Another “quick” question, at the end of a summer’s madness, to help us refocus (borrowed from The Graceful Lie by Michael Petracca, one of my favorite writing books):  List some of your literary heroes.
To delve farther, answer these related questions as well: Would I like to write in a style that emulates any of these people? Are there certain types of writing that I don’t particularly like and would prefer to avoid emulating?


Brenda Bensch

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Filed under CLW, three thing thursday, writing process

Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

Have been behind on posting for the blog.
That is because I’ve had a crazy few weeks.

First off, I got an agent! I can’t believe it. People are actually reading my book. People who might want to actually publish it!

I moved up to Salt Lake county. {I’m at the Library right now. It was difficult to find, but I managed}

I don’t have internet at my house. That is one of the reasons why I haven’t been able to post.

Writing ideas are trying to make their way out of my brain. I’m not sure if they are good ones, but at least I’m trying to write. I’m worried everything is bad and that I’m going to disappoint Steve. I’m already worried about something that hasn’t happened yet. Sounds about right.

I’m leaving for my trip to Florida in just a few weeks.

I am struggling to find a part time job. Being poor is hard. But I have just been telling all my new friends that I’m a “starving artist.” It’s not as fun as it sounds.

My lack of sleeping has come back. And I’ve been having nightmares. Not sure what this is from, but it isn’t great.

But overall I am very happy with how my life is going. And nothing feels better than telling people that I have an agent, and that I am actually a real writer.



Filed under Agents, Kyra

Ten Things I Like about Writing x Two

What You Might Think

1. New cover reveals. Just saw the newest cover to my book coming out from Zondervan called Never Said. It’s beautiful.

2.Being asked to blurb a book. I’m reading something terrific right now for S&S.

3. Talking ideas with Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee.

4. Writing. I also hate this part of being a writer.

5. When the book is coming along and I am happy.

6. Getting a nice review.

7. Teaching others about writing. There is something about watching other people succeed that is very familial.

8. Talking to my agent/editor.

9. Holding that new book.

10. Thinking about the next idea when I have no idea what I might write. At this moment, as I near the completion of two books I am working on by myself, I feel like I might never write another novel. This is kinda scary. Will I settle on something new? Will I be able to write it? What am I going to do?


What You Might Not Think

1. Reading Dear Abby. Even though sometimes she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

2. Driving past homes at night where you can see inside and people are being a family. (That happens around here in UT.) Or things are just in there. I have never seen a dirty house at night. This is one reason I keep my blinds shut in the evenings.

3. Listening in on other people’s conversations. All kinds. The old lady swearing up a storm at the man in Village Inn. The newly married couple in the freezer section of Smith’s. The kids playing outside across the street (those beautiful girls were the first to sing a song from Frozen to me).

4.Watching students on campus at BYU. Once I saw a guy grab a girl up in a tight hug and she checked her phone over his shoulder.

5. Hearing stories from my mom. They come few and far between, but every once in a while  . . .

6. Talking to my writer friends about their writing troubles. Don’t get me wrong. I am happy for their successes. But I like working out worries together.

7. Looking through homes for sale for the place with the perfect office.

8. Watching my daughters make choices when times are truly tough. I don’t always like the results. In fact, there are times when the results are hart breaking. But.

9. Once my beloved grandmother said, “And who would read somebody else’s letters? Who? Or look through another person’s drawers.” I couldn’t answer her.

10. Thinking about the next idea when I have no idea what I might write. Will it be found somewhere mentioned above?


Filed under CLW, Exercises, Life, Publication, writing process