Are We Done Here?

The girls and I haven’t written in a long time. And there has been no comments when we have written. The only two people who regularly responded here have passed away.

But

I can’t seem to quite give up on our little blog that no one reads.

There is so much good stuff in the back pages.

From this point on I’ll write as though this is a writing journal. If someone reads, cool. If not, well, no big deal.

So here goes.

After years of nurturing a little orange tree grown from a 6-inch twig, I HAVE orange blossoms. The lemon has yielded fruit and the lime tree has 6 or 7 limes. But the orange trees (I have three of them) have been so slow-growing.

And now this!

The blossoms are beautiful, with a stripe of pink on the fragile petals. And in Florida, back in the day, you could drive past huge groves, all in blossom, and the smell was out of this world.

I had a friend who couldn’t smell at all (I think it was because of abuse). One day when she was stoned, she rode on the back of a motorcycle down a dirt road in town. She was hit by . . . what? What was happening? Wave after wave of a taste in the air. As the two made a turn she saw the groves, acres of orange trees, all in bloom. She realized then she was experiencing her first (and last) smell ever.

I love that.

Those kinds of descriptions, those kinds of incidents, help readers know where they are, physically in your novel.

What smell do you remember? What something changed the way you look orange trees or pizzas or fresh almonds?

 

 

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Cover and Contest!

My newest novel, NEVER THAT FAR, is published and released TODAY by Shadow Mountain.  a huge thank you to Jennifer De Chiara and Steve Fraser who represented me for this deal. And a big thank you to the amazing Lisa Mangum, my editor at Shadow Mountain.

A normal person could post a pic. I cannot. But, dagnabit, I will by end of today. So until then, imagine a pretty cover

 

 

HERE

 

 

Now! Here’s the contest! If you go to FB, you can add your goals under this post there.

I’m getting ready for a sing off! And I’m challenging Trent Reedy. And Claudia Mills, too! Yes! Where? At WIFYR this June!

We’re getting the ball rolling a little early with Getting Ready for WIFYR Writing Contest where you might win a book or two. My newest novel NEVER THAT FAR is one of the prizes. So is Trent Reedy’s book DIVIDED WE FALL.

Here’s how it works:

Say what your writing goal is for April AND May (I’ll reveal my goals tomorrow). And the most amazing Stephanie Moore will keep track of things for us.

You get to put your name in our virtual drawing if you sign up to play, if you complete your writing weekly goals, meet your goal, and every check-in on our Friday FB post. Invite all your friends! Got friends on Twitter? Instagram? Invite them, too!

The writing goals can be whatever you want them to be: 50 words a day, 5000 words a day or anything in between. They can be editing goals, if you like. Anything to help you get ready for our week-long writing conference this June.

The winner will be randomly drawn and notified on June 1, 2018.
Then we’ll pop the prize in the mail (US residents only), signed to you.
Woot woot!

But that’s not all.

Trent and I will have a sing off at WIFYR. Or we’ll sing a duet. Or something.
And Claudia Mills? That will be a flannel shirt wear-off contest .

Oh my gosh, this just keeps on giving.

So join us for our Getting Ready for WIFYR Writing Contest.

(You DO NOT have to attend WIFYR to play. But if you want to register, go here: http://www.wifyr.com. There are a few spaces open, but many of the classes are almost closed.)

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Good Ol’ Trent Reedy

My friend, Trent Reedy, is going to write one million words this year. A MILLION.

(I have written 3,000 words since the start of January.)

We’ve talked about that million words.

“What if they’re bad?” I said.

“Of course, they’re bad.”

“What about rewriting?”

“Oh, I’ll rewrite.”

“But . . .”

“Look,” Trent said. “I was only writing 800 words a day before. Now I’m getting words on the page. If I don’t write, I have nothing to edit. No books to work on.” (In case Trent reads this post, I have taken our conversation over several days, squished it together, and written the best parts here. All swears have been omitted!)

Trent makes a great point. If you never pen the words, you never have a book to edit, to send to an agent, to sell to an editor, to wind up on a shelf. Just this week a student came to my office and told me she’s had a great idea for a series for several years. No words were written. And when I gave her my advice several times during our thirty minutes together–Just write–I could tell I sorta bugged her.

Don’t dream.

Just write.

Just write.

Just write.

Do you write no matter what? I don’t. But . . . I’m lucky to have a friend like Trent who does just write. He encourages me daily, and has gently prodded me to write, maybe not realizing this is what he’s doing.

This year I had hoped to write four days a week, but I haven’t been able to for whatever reason. However, as I have watched my pal, I’ve taken courage. My new goal is one hour of writing–really writing–four days a week. If things normalize here, then I can increase that. If they don’t, I have four thousand new words a week. And that, as they say, is nothing to sneeze at.

But to do nothing? Well, the days still pass. The weeks do, too. And at the end, if I do no writing, I have nothing to edit.

Just as Trent says.

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Your People

While doing the dishes or laundry or cooking, I like to listen to audiobooks, interviews or podcasts. It makes me feel like I’m working on my writing and craft while doing things I don’t love so much but have to do because of life.

Yesterday I listened to this story on This American Life about a woman who looked into the history of a family story about her grandfather getting abducted as a boy. It was a tale that was told often and had become a core memory of the family. One day her dad handed over a scrapbook of news articles and photos and journal entries about the ordeal.

She became curious about some of the details and started to research. What had begun as something she had a few questions about turned into an almost full-time job with strange and interesting turns. She made new friends in the process, had hard discussions with her family, and uncovered evidence about a mystery that had been long put in a drawer.

I was fascinated! I thought about all the stories of my family. The things we know from oral traditions, the things we have documented and things we could find out if we dug a little deeper. Have you ever researched an ancestor? Asked questions about things that puzzled you about your history? Looked at narratives, first-person accounts of their journeys, every day life, etc.?

Our histories are full of people, full of stories, full of heart ache, full of triumphs, full of mistakes. What if you took time to interview some of your family? Got into the details? Learned new things? I think this is the most fascinating stuff and could lead to compelling novels or memoirs or even just family discussions

I challenge anyone reading this to do it. This week. Talk to one person in your family about a story you’ve had questions about. Or maybe just ask them more about an experience you don’t understand or have wondered about. See what happens. Free-write about their response, how it matched up with your understanding, and what new questions you have.

Let me know if you do it. Also tell me any podcasts or audiobooks you love. Happy Monday and Happy February and Happy Stories.

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On how to have fun

Write an email to someone. Maybe a writing friend. Maybe a sister. Maybe a online buddy.

Make it urgent. Make it important. Make it fiction.

You have to put in enough clues that they know it’s fake (that’s why writing friends might be the most open to this) but let yourself go.

At the end of the email write,

I’m need you to write back. Please. It’s all I have right now. Please.

Or

If you don’t write back, I will be heart broken. Harry will be heartbroken. Pricilla, who is buried alive, will be heart broken.

Or

I know this email is long sorrynotsorry!! JK. wRite Back!

Tell me how it goes.

 

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Monday, Monday

Every time I start a new semester, I get behind. When you add behind to behind to behind what you get is me. Someone who can’t seem to catch up, no matter what.

Here is a writing exercise for you so you don’t get as far behind as me. You can take this experience of mine, find your own that is similar, and write an incident that can fit in your book.

My best friend’s shoes are in my closet. A pair of his jeans in a drawer. He’s been dead just over a year.

“Do you want me to take these?”I ask him. He’s in a hospital bed. He can’t speak. SO he nods. I gather the shoes, the pants. “I’ll take these until you’re better.”

And here’s this article from my dear friend Trent Reedy. what do you think?

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/how-to-write-100-000-words-per-day-every-day?utm_source=nextdraft&utm_medium=email

 

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Ann Dee Candy Speaking at the Liberry!

WIFYR/SCBWI WRITER’S KICKOFF!

WHEN: Thursday, January 18, 2018 
TIME: 6-8 pm
Place: Provo Library
WHO: ALL WRITERS are invited, but numbers are limited!
WHAT: A time together to kick off the New Year with writing buddies and prizes and fun and excitement and love and . . . well, you get it!
SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER: Ann Dee Ellis, award-winning author of several middle grade and young adult novels

Please bring a potluck dish for eight and one writing quote (or prompt) printed on a 3×5 card.

Register here: https://wifyr.com/registration/index.php

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