Monthly Archives: April 2015

Three Things Thursday


One of the biggest problems I have with novels is boredom. The characters all start to sound the same, the scenes all feel repetitive, and it seems like I will never be able to stop typing.
Sometimes it can help to change a setting. If a scene happens in a school, can it be changed to an arcade? If it’s at a park, can it be changed to a hospital?
Just the act of changing a setting can inject new life to a murky middle. It energizes me and gets me excited about writing again. If it were a movie, an entirely new set would need to be built, and as a writer, we need to do the same thing. And for me, that sense of creating something new is what I love best.
What helps you with your boredom?
 I was looking at some gorgeous pictures of The Great Outdoors: snow, autumn leaves, sun breaking through clouds, sun trying to break over the mist disguising — who knows what?  Gigantic and ancient trees, showing the scars of their age. Mountains poking their noses through a morning mist.  Flowers of vibrant colors and various sorts. The occasional rabbit. Waterfalls, up close or at a distance. A distant moon hanging over a darkening landscape.  The design of the wind on hill after hill of desert sand. Rushing water. Still water.
What of nature can you include in your book, in a scene?  How can it change the mood, the feeling, of this scene or even that character?  What memorable marvels of nature could you include for atmosphere, or relaxation, or tension?
Rick is now undergoing the radiation treatments. I’m not sure if he’s on a consistent schedule (every day at noon).  We will let you know what happens late this afternoon or evening.

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Summer’s coming

I’m sitting on my back deck and there are birds and people on skateboards and I’m not wearing a sweater. It feels like I can finally breathe.

My mom used to do this, every evening she could she’d sit in her house dress on the back porch with her Diet Pepsi, maybe some chocolate and a novel. She worked her tail off (her words) and the sweet reward was getting to have a little bit of quiet.

Is my writing a career? Am I making time for it? People have told me that no matter how old my kids, there will never be enough time. It will always be a struggle to find an hour to write. Is that true?

It feels like it has to get easier.

Sometimes I want to shave my head. I wonder if this is a sign of depression or just an indicator that I am really bad at doing my hair.

Today in an effort to exercise, I did a plank. As I was trying to hold it for sixty seconds, I looked and I could see right down my shirt to my sagging stomach, almost hitting the floor. Does your stomach almost hit the floor when you’re doing a plank? I thought to myself, this body, this body has been through so much and it still has so far to go. I thought, do I love this body? Do I love who I am? Do I love who I’m becoming? Why do I sometimes want to shave my head?

I also thought, does writing make me happy?  I’m pretty sure it does. I’m pretty sure that makes me a better person? A better Mom? A better wife? A better neighbor?

Today, after I did some planking, I ate a lot of cream cheese frosting cake from Costco. Just to fill up the holes inside. It sort of worked. And then I felt sick so it didn’t work.

Maybe what I need is to sit and drink Diet Pepsi (although I don’t like Diet Pepsi), eat chocolate and read a novel. It worked for my mom. And then I’ll get up in the morning and work my tail off. And hopefully write.


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Time to Write: Questions to See if You Want It

1. Is writing your job? Or is it a hobby?

2. Do you want it to your job? Do you treat writing like it’s your job?

3. How important is it that you publish?

4. Say three reason why it’s important to publish?

5. Do you set writing goals?

6. Do you keep them?

7. Do you sacrifice for writing?

8. What do you sacrifice?

9. What inspires you to write?

10. How do you get through the icky middles of your pieces?

11. What is the main thing you need to change to be a more committed writer?

12. Will you change that main thing so you can write?

13. Do you listen and take constructive criticism?

14. Do you read?

15. Do you love to have written?



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Three Things Thursday

I recently read an obit for a YOUNG man I didn’t even know that seemed to encapsulate his entire short life.  It said this adventurer and mischief maker was asked at age 3 why he was climbing up onto the washing machine.  “So I can get on top of the fridge.”  When asked why he wanted to get on top of the fridge he answered, “So I can jump through the doorway on to the couch.”  Under similar circumstances, what would you, the author, be asked, and how would you encapsulate your life and attitude toward it in 2 or 3 short sentences?  What would you ask your MC, and what would his/her answers reveal?

I read somewhere that an apprenticeship in writing takes ten years. Ten years from your first serious written word. Ten years to really absorb the intricacies of writing novels. 

I “published” my first book at eight years old. It was bound in scrap cardboard covered with wrapping paper and stapled computer paper inside. The story, you ask? An illustrated collection of horror stories, the most memorable being a killer doll.
My 28th birthday was on last Monday, so if that was my first serious attempt then I’m already ten years behind. However, I generally consider my start in writing to be when I entered Carol’s classroom, which is only seven years ago. Three to go.
I better start writing….
Just when I think it can’t get any worse for those I love, it does. Yes, more news that’s bad news. It seems that all I hear.

As writers, we can use good news and bad news to help us as we write. Those words can ease the pain around us. Touch the hearts of those who rejoice or mourn. Change a life.

This is our job.

We get to do it as novelists or picture book writers.

So dig deep, tell the truth, reach out.

You may be the only one there.

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