Monthly Archives: April 2011

Well, Guess What . . .

. . . Today is the writing challenge.
And since we have a little Milo Carol in our midst, I think we should do the following.

Remember a tender moment in your life.
Write about it.
Tell every detail.
Remember the sense of place, your emotional tie to the memory and anything else that will fill out and make the event seem real to a reader.
Perhaps this is a baby coming in to you life like in Ann Dee’s and Cam’s.
But it can be whatever amazing, tender thing that’s happened to you.

Now I want you to change this experiences, details included, to match your story.
But wait, maybe your exact experience isn’t going to fit your main character.
Maybe your 12-yr-old character isn’t having her third baby (and if she is, I doubt that the tender experience will be the same as when a way old girl [like Ann Dee] has HER third baby).

So, that means YOU have to make appropriate changes to your tender experience so it will fit into your novel.
You’re going to be borrowing from one incident and applying it to another.

Why? I mentioned yesterday that I read this book that wasn’t so hot. Writing, fine. But the story really failed for me.
I think the reason why was the events didn’t ring true.
I didn’t believe the main character. Didn’t believe his emotions.
The idea of the book was fantastic. But the delivery really never reached what it could have for me. It was surface writing. A surface story.
The author, I think, didn’t know how to make the story real life.
And if you want your reader to connect, no matter what, you have to make the story real for the reader.

So, that’s what I want you to do today.
Feel free to share.


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Three Things Wednesday

1. We may have a new baby soon.
Yes, I have sort of adopted (from a distance) Ann Dee’s son. I’m sure Cam won’t mind if I love him (the baby).
So, when this great event happens . . . well, we’ll let you know.

2. Kyra is very disappointed that Ann Dee didn’t wait until her birthday–May 1, 2011.
I thought she should have him Sept 28, 2011. Ann Dee refused to be pregnant four more months.
No one ever listens to me.

3. Ann Dee has no idea I am doing any of this but I just wanted to say how smart Ann Dee is.
Sometimes we do school visits together and when educated people talk, Ann Dee understands what they’re saying.
(I sit there with a frozen look on face, nodding, like I know what was just said.
Please, please, please don’t ask me my opinion.)
Not Ann Dee. She participates and looks people in the eye and makes smart (not smart-aleck–not sure how to spell that. Ann Dee would know.) comments back.
She knows all kinds of smart words.

Ann Dee is an amazing mother. Her boys love her and she is absolutely devoted to them.
I’ve seen evidence of this over and over.
Ann Dee makes me wish my girls were little again because maybe I could do a better job like she does.
Some things don’t matter.
Did she learn this from her amazing mother?

It goes without saying that Ann Dee is a stunning writer.
We all know that.
Last night I read a book that I got at a conference. It’s a mid-grade, sort of a dystopian book and that novel was AWFUL. AWFUL.
I mean the words were okay.
But the sound and feel of the book were all . . . wrong.

It’s kind of funny (and not ha ha funny). I’ve always been a word girl. Anyone who’s read this blog or taken a class from me knows that.
Give me strong language, give me strong voice, give me a great story.
Well, Ann Dee does all that.
She twists you apart with her language.
She makes you think.
You wonder, “How did she do all that in those few words?”
That’s my third thing about Ann Dee.

But I could go on and on.
Talk about her devotion to Cam and her mom and dad and her brothers and sisters.
I could talk about how she loves a good book.
How funny she is.
How she makes Cheri Pearl Earl laugh her guts out just by making a face.
How when I listen to her talk, I’m amazed at what’s important.
How she endures to all kinds of ends.
How she runs races and wants to exercise and gives amazing talks and and and.

Can you tell I adore Ann Dee Ellis?
I do.
I really do.

And I canNOT wait to see that tiny little baby Carol. He’s going to be wonderful.


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My four year old thinks my baby is going to come out my mouth.

I told him that no, baby boy would not come out my mouth. Then I carefully explained in a semi-appropriate way how the baby would emerge from my body.

He looked at me. I looked at him.

Then he said, but probably from your mouth?

I think that would be a lovely picture book. If you decide to write it, I get 50% of all profits.

I don’t have anything else really to say other than nothing much is going on in my brain, FYI, and I mix up my words and I keep writing and rewriting and then not writing and then writing and then nothing. Nothing mostly. I’m not much good at anything these days.

Oh well.



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Things that Don’t Matter

To start: Kyra posted last week and for some reason it didn’t go up. She just wanted you to know.
And now for my blog that I hope posts . . .

This is the last week of April.
Two things should happen.
I should finish this rewrite.
I should get us moved.

The deal is, I don’t really want to move
I don’t really love this book I’m working on.

Still–well, we all know what has to happen on both counts, right?
Half what I have to do is ‘easy’ in a really hard way. I mean, I call the piano movers, make sure the old house is clean and the people in my new house don’t leave it wrecked (I have this way weird feeling about that . . .), change the electricity and gas and cable. I have to pack the boxes and dishes and clean the old fridge and mop floors and try and find my beautiful ring that I love and have lost because of moving things and hope the rain stops. It’s all this physical labor and we all know what a silly neck I have so I have to be careful. And when I am done and have settled my girls and my mom and the dog all around me, hopefully we won’t have to move again, right? That’s the hope. A place of my own. A way to seal off the last few crummy years and do something that will make me strong and give my girls a real feeling of security.

I want all that.

The other half, this rewriting, well, I’m kind of stumped.
Every morning for an hour or so I’ve gotten up and worked on the book and added scenes and taken things out that seemed weak and wondered how I was going to make the dsytopian feel real. If only rewriting was as easy as packing a box or calling Comcast.

Are the new words working?
Am I developing the scene and drama and people in the way I should?
Should I keep four characters (we all know that may be one too many for me to handle)?
Is the action moving?
Why is the bad guy the bad guy? I think I know, but is it enough?
Why did the people’s feet swell right before they died in the movie last night?
Is there time to exercise or is packing boxes and doing rain dances enough to burn fat?
How I do I clean my mattress top?
Okay, wait, this is kind of what happens as I’m writing. My brain feels like there are too many things in it and I have to try and solve them all.

This is what I want: A good book. A really good book that is different from anything I have written before.
And a place to set up my office, even if it means squishing it into my bedroom.

So deep breath. For several hours today I am going to concentrate on this DD. I can pack and think, you know? I can work on the worries of the book.
April Marathoning, right?
That’s what we’re all doing.
Not just me.
All of us are doing the hard things (or thongs, depending) and for a moment each day we can share stuff on this blog and with people who understand and know we’re not a lone.

I have some really awful icky gross gossipy stuff for next week. Not sure I’m going to share because you will all feel less about me.
it’s about books signings
and how if I EVER get this DD done . . .

I’m just saying.


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