Author Archives: CLW

Three Things Thursday


It used to be assumed that teens had no interest in politics, and that politics had no place in YA novels.

However, I think J.K. Rowling successfully disproved that. Harry Potter is full of political themes, everything from civil rights to executive actions during wartime. Same with Hunger Games. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Hunger Games has more politics than romance.

And yet teens don’t bat an eye. They don’t skip over the political parts, they revel in them. They debate them. And perhaps most importantly, they begin to shape their own world views based on them.

Both protagonists and antagonists can be strengthened by having their own political views. Don’t get me wrong, this is not the time to get on your soap box and wax poetic about why a certain party is better than another. This is something that goes on behind the scenes. Something that you as the author know, but is never mentioned.

So ask yourself: Which of your characters support abortion? Gun control? Freedom of religion? Free speech? Universal healthcare? And most importantly, why do they feel this way?

Write it all down, but don’t reveal it. Then watch how your characters take on new life.



Did you make it?
No, I don’t mean did you “win” NaNo — I mean did you meet your goal for November? Now, what was it again? Did you lose the two pounds? Walk every single day? Cook a “real” meal for your family at least once a week?
Well, OK: did you meet or exceed whatever your goal was — and, yes, tell us what it was and how long it took to get there. (If it was 50K at NaNo, fine. If it was something else entirely, but you accomplished your
goal, even better.)
My ultimate goal was to get 50K for NaNo.  I made it by 10pm or so last night – was far enough behind I had to do a massive day of writing.
My extra goal was to get my weight down a bit.  Hey, Thanksgiving, and all! OK, I gained back the 3 lbs. I’d lost in early November.  I’ll do better this month.  Except for Christmas.  But if I don’t celebrate it EVERY day . . .
I hate to bring this up, what with the coming holidays and all, but now what’s your goal for December?
New goal: Keep working on the NaNo novel, even though I “won” it’s not a finished work.
New goal: Get to the gym AT LEAST 5 times per week.  Starting Dec. 1.
Start thinking of your goals. Send them to me here. I’ll save them and post at the end of the year to see if you did what you hoped you’d do.


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Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a few weeks. Working retail during the holidays means your life is kind of annoying.

But that’s okay. I’m here now.

How did everyone do on Nano?

I did terribly. But at least I’ve got my newest idea all plotted out. Doesn’t mean it’s great, but it does mean I can eventually write it. ha

But good news. It’s almost a new year! Which means we can have new goals! Easier goals if we want to.

Have you started thinking about yours?

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Advent Calendar for TUW

2. ten words that describe your MC

3. ten minutes writing a scene where your MC must make a decision that will change the course of the story. don’t pick your pencil off the paper. write straight through the time.

4. three minutes where you have the MC introduce herself to a significant other

5. use these words in a scene: fly-by-night, fraternize, humdinger. Only write for four minutes

6. write a limerick about the plot of your story

7. pick ten songs to go with the movie made about your book

8. now that we have a movie theme, who would play the characters in that show?

9. if a secondary character became the main character, how would your book change?

10. make any character in your book a list maker. now have them make three important lists dealing with the three subplots

11. characters move the plot forward. have a parent to your MC shift the story because of that parent’s actions.

12.your character has a favorite poem. what is it? why does he love this poem?

13.write a poem that your character memorizes

14.pack a picnic lunch for your character and the love interest. what is on the menu?

15.your character has one super power. what is it? what happens when she loses that power for good?

16. what is the biggest mistake your character makes in the novel?

17.using all five senses, write a scene that takes place somewhere the MC is uncomfortable. you have 8 minutes.

18. write your character’s obituary

19. write your character’s first kiss

20.write a chapter in a different style–perhaps short, choppy lines, all in haiku, just one sentence . . . you decide

21. What is the best thing that could happen to your MC? why?

22. what is the worst thing that could happen to your MC? why?

23. the antagonist gets to have his favorite meal. what is it?

24. your MC meets someone important. who is it? why is this person important?

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Happy December!

I spent a week plus of November–when I was supposed to be NaNo-ing–ill. To the doctor twice, mishandling of meds, trying to fix that, then the headache came. Today is the first day I’ve felt okay.

How did you do with NaNoWriMo?

Please let me know so I can be happy for you. I’m already cheering for many of you in my heart.


My Advent Calendar is All about Writing and Remembering and Preparing.

What will your 24 days till Christmas be?


1. Each night we’ll watch One Holiday Special.

Last night was ELF. I love ELF.

We’ll also watch: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Miracle on 34th Street

Mr Krueger’s Christmas

The Snowman

It’s a Wonderful Life


Nightmare Before Christmas (I’ve never seen it)

Edward ScissorMan (With a REAL Edward!)

Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer

A Charlie Brown Christmas

watch The First Presidency Message

And probably a bunch of TERRIBLE holiday shows, too. They’re out there. Believe me.


2. We’ll read the Christmas books–one per night– I’ve collected over the years, ending with the Story in Luke.


3. The girls are wanting to do something a little different this year as far as gifts. We have everything. Even a home we shouldn’t have to move from! What is better than that and being together and reading and eating and watching TV and writing?

We’ve thought of giving money to the following places, instead of presents to ourselves:

St Jude’s Hospital

Wounded Warriors


And a couple other places I can’t remember the name of.


I’ll keep thinking of things we can do as we count down the last days of December and 2014.

Maybe I’ll come up with 24 things you could write in less than five minutes for each day of the month.


Sure! I’ll do that!

Here’s today’s:

Your character opens a window on the Advent calendar. There’s something she never expected. Take three minutes. How is your character changed by what she finds?


Oh, and here’s this:

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Family

Three Things Friday!

by Lisa

The Inquirer’s Prayer

Oh Agent, who sits behind your desk,
I’ve researched well your name.
I sent five pages.
They’re on your screen,
Glowing in your inbox.
Give me a chance to send a full.
And forgive me all my adverbs,
As I forgive your overbearing schedule.
Then sign me as your client,
Sell movie rights and more.
I really need some money,

‘Cause I’m desperate and I’m poor.


(Disclaimer: I’m not ready to query. I will be soon… probably. And I’m terrified.)


by Brenda

Are we there yet? . . . Are we there yet? . . . Are we there yet?   . . . . .  Not quite, but soon.
Are you doing NaNo? What was your goal for yourself in November? It might have been 50K at NaNo. Maybe it was more . . . or less. Maybe it was a personal goal: lose a couple of pounds; walk daily; cook for your family every single (day/week/month) at least once; stop biting your nails.
Whatever goal you decided on, does it look like you’ll get there (you still have four days)?
My goals were to write every day in November:
So far, so good. It helps that I’m using 750words dot com to do the writing (It’s free for the first month, and only $5 a month if you want to stay on it. They send you a daily reminder to do your 750 words, you earn “badges” for various accomplishments and at the end of each session, you can look at totals, an analysis of mood, tense, word analysis, etc.)
Write at least 750 words every day (less than half way NaNo’s 50K) :
I’ve run from 777 to 2,429 a day and NEVER below the 750, but I’ve got quite a ways still to get to the 50K.
Ultimate goal was to write 50K words:
With a little extra, coming close to my high (above) or a little more each day will get me there.
An extra goal: work on getting my weight down a bit, even with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming on:
I am down about 3 lbs from the first of the month, so it’s a start.
See you when we’re “there” after Nov. 30, midnight — good luck, and keep going!


by Cheryl

Happy Thanksgiving!
Years ago, someone challenged me to write down twenty things I was thankful for every day for three months.
Believe it or not, I did it.
I learned quite a bit.
First of all, twenty things is a LOT. Five is easy. Ten is a brain teaser. Fifteen takes awhile. But twenty? You have to pay attention all day, every day, to come up with twenty.
The next thing I learned was that I really like food. Almost every day at least one entry was food.
I also learned that I can be thankful for completely opposite things. I can be thankful for sunshine one day and for rain on another. I can be thankful to go out with friends and thankful that plans got cancelled so I can rest.
Lastly, I learned that I am infinitely grateful for the people in my life. Their love, encouragement, and kindness is what powers me. I could not make it without my incredible friends and family.
I’m not sure I’d ever attempt it again, but it was an experiment I’ll always treasure. So what do you guys say? After Nanowrimo, is anyone up for a new challenge?


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Monday Monday before Thanksgiving Means . . .

NaNoWriMo and getting ready to be Thankful. Right?

So how are you doing on the writing?

Keeping up on those words? I’m still sure I can catch up!

And on being thankful?

I took this quiz the other day that had to do with whether one is a positive or negative person. Yup, I’m a neggie.

Who’da thunk it (not including my kids or friends)?

I was almost 100 % negative.

So I thought I’d say one thing I am grateful for this morning. I don’t even have to think to come up with it.

Children’s Writers. There are some of the nicest people I know in the world of writing for children. The five of you who follow the blog. The people I get to teach writing to. Many of the other published writers. The almost published writers. Most everyone I know wants to see others succeed. Wants to be a better writer. Wants to read other people’s work. Read their own work out loud.

Sure, there’s the odd duck that you hate. But I’m pretty good at just cutting out of there and never going back when I meet someone like that.

Now don’t confuse the two. I might be a Negative Nancy, but I want you to publish and publish again and again. I want you to achieve this dream and I’ll help you as much as I can. Then, hopefully, you’ll remember me when I am old and take care of me.  (And old age is upon me right this second! Hint hint.)

Thank you all you Writers who are kind. To me, being kind is one of the most important traits out there.

Now decide what you’re thankful for today. And maybe each day this week. Maybe even for the rest of the month. Or year. And into next year.

Thinking those kinds of things is supposed to make a doomsdayer less doomsdayee.

Maybe I should see?



Filed under CLW, Depression, Family

Thoughts on Self-Publishing

by Lisa Sledge

Some authors do self-publishing right. You know who you are.

You consult with professional editors.

Meet with writing groups.

Utilize feedback from beta-readers.

Attend writing clinics,

Rewrite your manuscript again,

And again.

Making sure it is perfect.

It’s expensive.

It’s hard.

It’s worth it.

And some authors hurt my heart.

They are the ones with lovely words and wonderful ideas

But not enough patience for perfection.

It makes me sad.

Such beautiful aspirations deserve love and care,

Not a quick read-through,

an amateur cover,

a rushed online publication.

They’re excited.

They want to send their story into the world.

But be kind to dreams.

The first time you type “The End” on a full length manuscript, put it aside.


Then tell your excitement to sit and simmer.


Read it again.

Write it again.

Show it to trusted friends and mentors.

Then repeat.

Make your manuscript shine.

The same applies for traditional authors

Who query agents and publishers

Before a novel is ready.

The secret to writing,

So far as I can tell,

Is as much patience

As persistence.

It is hard.

But we can do it.

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