Monthly Archives: June 2014

Table Salt and Brother Brigham – by Debbie Nance

I’ve mentioned before that I’m doing some editing work for a gal who is creating a Latter-day Saint based home-schooling curriculum. I’m relearning a lot about grammar and punctuation, which is always helpful, as well as reading through the literature sections. The books and selections chosen are void of swearing and crass words and are often classics that include a high vocabulary. It is interesting work.

Quotes are routinely placed at the beginning of sections. A quote from Brigham Young intrigued me so I looked online for the full text. “Now, brethren and sisters, … employ the rest of your lives in good thoughts, kind words, and good works. ‘Shall I sit down and read the [scriptures] all the time?’ says one. Yes, if you please, and when you have done, you may be nothing but a sectarian after all. It is your duty to study to know everything upon the face of the earth, in addition to reading [scriptures]. We should not only study good, and its effects upon our race, but also evil, and its consequences.”


Brigham made it clear in the next several passages of his talk that there was a difference from learning about evil and doing evil, which he himself would not do. He felt children never allowed to learn about evil would, when free of their parents, fall into or even embrace evil practices. That reminded me of something a Salt Lake City librarian once told me that they had to keep replacing books at the library on some tough moral and social topics—not because the kids reading them were doing the “bad” things discussed, but in her opinion because the kids were too embarrassed to ask about the topics or to even check out the books so they just took them. To her, there was an obvious need for those books.  


In my WIFYR class, one of the writers was unsure about including some difficult things in her novel about a girl who had attempted and failed suicide. My classmate said she chickened out when it came to writing the hard stuff and would simply end the scene. Our class encouraged her to write the whole story. I don’t believe that means she has to add a ton of foul language or gross details, but her book has a place and needs to be written for those teens faced with the same difficult situations as her MC. I think Brother Brigham would have agreed.


WIFYR was a great conference and I was surrounded by lots of friends and many talented people. At times I felt inspired and excited, and at other times I felt overwhelmed and exhausted. Can you relate?

Stephen King once said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” 

Guess it’s time for us to go back to work. 

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Three Things Thursday

Cheryl Van Eck
Congratulations, all you WIFYR-ites! I wish I could have been there this year. WIFYR is one of the very best things you can do for your writing. I hope you had tons of fun.
Now, before you get off your WIFYR high, it’s time to call up those people you met and set up a critique group. A good critique group is worth it’s weight in gold. They encourage and restrain you all at the same time. A good group can make the difference between being published and never finishing a novel.
So don’t waste this opportunity.  Don’t wait until you’ve forgotten everyone’s name and you’ve all gone back to your everyday lives. Get in touch. Make a plan. Follow through. This is the time!
Brenda Bensch
How ya’ feelin’ after WIFYR? Excited? Exhausted? Scared? Sorry you didn’t make it? If you’re afraid — afraid of writing — what is it specifically that scares you? Here’s a plan:
FIRST: Acknowledge and name specific self-doubts:
Write down one big fear
Break it down into the smaller fears that are part of it
SECOND: Think about what you want on the other side of the fear:

Imagine the reward you’ll get when you face and overcome that fear
THIRD: Now take the fears you expressed in the first part:
Rewrite that part as steps to be taken to reach your goal
Willing to share?  Post it in the comments, and we’ll ALL learn from it!

Last Thing

Shawn Stout (who was at the conference and writes terrific mid grade fiction including the Penelope Crumb series) talked about writing when your life is crammed with other things. And when she went through her life, wow! there was a lot of other stuff she has to do. She asked what is our dream day as far as writing. “Write that down,” she said. So do that. Write your dream writing day down.
Then she had us write down how our day really looks as far as writing. You do that, too.
Then we were supposed to compare the two and look for ways to correct things so we can write the way we want.
What do you think?
How far you are from what you want to do or be?
How can you gain an extra 20 minutes to write?
What can you give up (hours of TV time each night)?
Do you want more family time and less computer time?
You are in charge!

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Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

WIFYR 2014

Kyra here!

Could we have anything else to say about WIFYR ?

I do!

I think that this was one of our best years yet! For the first time, I got to actually sit in on a class. Ann Cannon was kind enough to let me be a fly on the wall and listen to the lectures, and some critiques from her class. I heard some amazing pieces read!

Were any of you in her class?

I also sat in through a lot of the afternoon sessions, and one mini workshop that amazing Ann Dee Ellis taught.

I don’t know what it is, but those two make my brain feel inspired.

Of course it was also awesome hanging out with the editor and the agents. Everyone I met this year was super rad and had a lot of great things to say.

Throughout the next few months, I’m going to do some interviews for the blog about wifyr, with some facility members, attendees, and some other jazzy jazz.

Hey, I met some followers from the blog, which I always find exciting.

I totally feel re-inspired and excited to write. I hope everyone who attended does too.


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WIFYR is always a happy place. I was only there one day and a little bit but all the good and tired and productive feelings of conferences past rushed back as soon as I got out of my car.

There is such goodness in writers. Such charity and thoughtfulness and community.

But then back to real life:

Yesterday in the morning, surrounded by many small people, I thought, “I am lonely.”

Then I thought, “That’s weird. I have so much to do. I have these kids who have questions and demands and funny insights and whole worlds to explore. How could I ever feel lonely?”

But I do sometimes. And I did yesterday. And maybe I feel that every day to some extent. At some point.

I think, or rather I hope, this is normal. That whether we’re at work with co-workers and friends, or home with kids and clothes, or at school with peers and classmates, there are times when we feel like we’re alone. That no one knows how this, this feeling inside, feels. That everyone else is happy or full or connected and we’re not.

That’s why I love books.

That’s why I need books.

And it’s also why I think we need books and each other.

In my mini-class, someone mentioned how she loved a book, felt deeply connected to it and then, come to find out, someone she didn’t see eye to eye with, someone “completely different” than her, felt the same connection. It brought them closer. It allowed them to talk in a way they hadn’t been able to talk ever before.

Sometimes i think, why don’t we all just say the hard things? Why don’t we be honest with each other all the time? But then I think. No. It’s too difficult to do that all the time. And maybe there is a time and a place and a relationship that needs to be there before we feel like we can do that. HOWEVER, if we write, write every day, and not even about the hard things necessarily, but about what comes into our head and our heart without too much thinking, maybe through our characters or our settings or our plots, we unconsciously work some of these hard things out on the page.

And then maybe someone reads it.

And then maybe someone else reads it.

And maybe they talk about it.


Here’s to books.

And writing.

And conferences.

And delicious caramels that I got at the conference that my boys and especially my husband gobbled.

And of course, here’s to hard things and happy things and making the most of both.




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