Monthly Archives: April 2016

Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

When it comes to writing, you have the freedom to do whatever you want.

Build worlds with little green men with big floppy hats. Create characters that are so flawed you wonder how they get out of bed in the morning. Love stories that make you question if your own relationship could be that romantic.

But how much is too much? When does it turn from Great! Amazing! to Overload! Really? Why?

I’ve been rewatching the TV series Game of Thrones with my boyfriend. He’s never seen the show before, so it’s  nice to see his face when a favorite character dies. His favorite WAS Rob Stark, up until the Red Wedding.
But I’m also watching and I’m thinking ‘Really?’ a lot. Even though I adore the show and the characters, sometimes I wonder if it’s too much.

George RR Martin is a bestselling author, so maybe it isn’t too much.

But do I need all of this in my story to make it a bestseller?

Do I need to overload my reader?

And I think the answer is sometimes and sometimes not.

I just finished writing my third {Full} novel a few months ago and there is so much happening, yet so little happening. I’m torn. Where do I add the good pieces? Where do I make the novel sing?

Writing is amazing. There is so much freedom and so much possibility.

But writing is hard and confusing and I find myself wondering what I’m doing.

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Three Things Thursday


I can’t decide if this is Three Thing Thursday or Three Things Thursday.

What do you think?




My latest idea in character development is using the 36 “love questions” to understand my characters better. You may have heard about this experiment in articles such as this one:

Basically, the experiment was to take two strangers and have them ask each other increasingly personal questions, then at the end, have them stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes. The developer believes that by doing this, he can make anyone fall in love.
Now, of course, there isn’t a particularly high marriage rate as a result, but most who participated reported feeling a deep personal connection to the other person. I would guess that this is because we often have superficial relationships and therefore judge each other on easily measurable criteria…looks, charm, wit, etc. But when we learn about the trials and struggles of another person, we realize how similar they are to us.
So, back to our characters. I answered these questions for both of my main characters. And what I discovered was that not only did I grow to love and respect them, but I realized what it was that they loved about each other.




Once in a while, if I’m “down” on myself about writing, I need advice, encouragement and perhaps a good laugh, from other writers. Just in case you need some encouragement, here are wise words from a few writers:
Adele Malott: “Writing is a job as much as an art. It can be a fun job, but if you have chosen writing as a profession, you must work at it by trying to learn something new each day, by attending seminars, by reading good writing, by using what you learn.”
Anne McCaffrey: “I wish someone had told me to stop trying to make myself the heroine of a highly unrealistic and, I’m sure, ridiculous gothic fantasy.”
Barbara Kingsolver: “There is no perfect time to write. There’s only now.”
Thomas F. Monteleone: “Finish every project (even if it’s a dog — perfecting the habit of discipline to complete projects is most important.”
Celeste De Blasis: “Be prepared for the postpartum depression that comes after finishing a book. I’d thought all I wanted to do was complete the story, but when I did, I felt so sad and lost that I thought I was going crazy. Now I understand that it’s just part of the process and is probably as much physical as mental — the letdown after a long period of living on tightly wound nerves and adrenaline.”


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Fifteen-Minute Monday

This morning I thought of coming up with ideas in places that may be a little unusual.

Peace like a River, that title, comes from Isaiah (I think–yup! Isaiah 66:12).

What could you take from scriptures?

The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson was inspired when I saw a woman punch her kid in public.

What can you pull from what you witness?

I was watching Chopped when I heard someone talk about his grandparents and their story.

I contacted Ann Dee. We’re gathering information for this book now.

What can you pull from watching Realty TV?

Listening to the news, I heard about a murder–a grisly murder–that I realized would go perfectly with the line “I let the wolf in.” This is a line has been in my head for months. Now I have a novel to write because of both the line and the news story.

What murders 😦 can you draw from?

Someone wrote a book that I thought was . . . well . . . wrong.

Now I’m writing a series with a friend to see if we can sell an idea inspired by wrongness.

What do you know that is wrong? How does ‘fixing’ it by writing a novel inspire you?

My youngest is playing softball for Timpview High here in UT.

She loves it.

And I love watching her love the game.

There is a kernel of an idea about a girls’ softball team.

Not sure what will happen, but I will be ready with it begins to sprout.

Remember Virginia Euwer Wolff and her terrific novel Bat 6?

What sports idea can you come up with?

Look around. These ideas are waiting for you to pick them up, dust them off and run!



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Filed under CLW, writing process

Three Thing Thursday



Nine Things You Could Add to Your Scenes Today

  1. a family joke
  2. the names of your three favorite cousins
  3. your deepest, darkest secret
  4. your favorite song
  5. something you make up from nothing–like your own Proverbs
  6.  make up your own horoscope for you character that she always checks the day after (Ann Dee did this is the book we wrote. She is so danged funny.)
  7. Your own riddles that play toward the plot in some way
  8. I always add a tiny something from my core beliefs. When others, who believe the way I do, read the book, they can wonder about me.
  9. let your character do something you’ve always wanted to do




How To Take a Compliment
We are all “delicate flowers” (as my mother used to say) when it comes to critiques. Some of us get over it. Others give up writing. Some get better. Some get vindictive, lose their perspective and argue rather than critique.
What kind of “delicate flower” are you? Can you take a sincere compliment, without down-grading it to the point that your friend/fellow writer gives up trying to make you understand how good she thinks you are? Do your family members make you cringe if you read something to them?
And how do your characters accept or reject compliments? How do they know which are sincere, which are for nefarious purposes?
I often find when a person has some sense of self-worth, he or she can take a compliment with a simple “Thank you” without belaboring it. Someone who is less sure of himself/herself may react in a negative way, be derisive of the person who made the comment, plunge into depression, or what have you.
Think about this as you give “critiques.” Or get them. Or write a character into your story who needs building up, but gets torn down. How does he or she react?
Think about these things as you give critiques, as you write your characters.  How can you make “compliments” within your story which will wound or heal your characters?
When it comes to writing, I’ve found  the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t even know what I don’t know. There are so many things to think about, so many concepts to combine. We are literally creating worlds. We have to have an understanding of art and science, of human nature and psychology, of politics and government. To create our worlds, we have to know everything about everything. Then we have to communicate that knowledge in the simplest of terms. It has to be done in a way that the reader doesn’t even realize they’re learning it. We need to combine knowledge with storytelling, and weave them flawlessly together.
Sometimes it just seems impossible. The story I have in my head is never the one that makes it onto the paper. In my mind, the characters are living, breathing entities but on paper they become flat. That witty dialogue becomes stale words on a page, the brilliant descriptions are overwrought and unimpressive. Nothing is as it should be.
But I keep at it. Why? Mostly because I don’t have a choice. If I could do anything other than write, I would. If I could get these characters to just SHUT UP in any other method than writing them down, I would. But I can’t. So I continue on, held hostage by the voices in my head.
To be a writer is to be just a little bit crazy. I’m okay with that.

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