Monthly Archives: April 2017

And One More Thing about Words

Watch this. It’s terrific!–abc-news-lifestyle.html


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Freezing Friday

I have no idea if this is true as I haven’t been outside this morning. But yesterday afternoon the wind was blowing and cold and the people at Lowe’s were moving flowers into a heated room in case we had another freezing night. AND it’s supposed to snow.



In your work, look for ways to trim unnecessary words. Here are three examples of ways to clean up your creative writing.

~ was-ing words can become one word. I was running = I ran

~ that can almost always go as well as well, just, very, ly words, adjectives

~ Cheri Earl taught me no need to use start or begin (unless starting a car or lawn mower etc). I started running = I ran. “Let the action happen,” Cheri says.

Words are power. But you an overdo amazing writing. Many a good novel has been ruined by the words that make it up.

Remember, less is more.

You can read where this phrase came from below (if you can get past all the ads).


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# 24

Write 25 first lines for your novel.

Jot them down quickly (you already have a first line, and you’re working on a book, so you know where you’re going–this will be an easy exercise), a minute or less per line.

That first line is a promise to your reader. It can show voice, hint at character and plot, show mood and it certainly should grab the reader.

So what are you doing with YOUR book opening?

Remember, Richard Peck (LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO, A YEAR DOWN YONDER) says, “You are no better than your first line.”

Once Richard read the first few pages of my novel that is under consideration right now. “You don’t have your best first line,” he said. He was right. I chopped off the first paragraph AND learned a valuable lesson from a great writer.

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Wednesday and Prompt #23

In free verse, and taking no more than 1000 words, rewrite your novel.

Remember forward movement, characters, and use words with power. Find out what’s most important in your novel and put it in this Spark’s Notes Version.

If you need, take a few days to do this writing.

Then ask yourself, Can I do without certain things that I’ve added? Does everything I write move the story forward? Are there unnecessary characters? Does my character burn time? What can I do without? Do I go off on unnecessary trips with my character? Is my writing too flowery? What words that carry no weight can I throw out?

Really knowing your story can help you write the best novel.

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Writing Partners

Three things I love about writing partners:

  1. Writing can be so lonely. One day recently I finished a book. I could not believe I  finished it because when I was in the middle of it, I thought it could never ever happen. It was a mess. It was all over the place and the end looked like distant place on the horizon with dragons and hot fire and weeks of unmade dinners and laundry in between. I worked and worked and worked every day. I worked even when I thought what I was writing was so dang stupid and it was, I’m pretty sure it was. I erased stuff, rewrote stuff and then erased that and then forced myself to keep going all the way to the end. I think it’s a miracle. If I can make it to THE END, it’s a miracle and I think every single writer in the whole world needs to rejoice when they get to write THE END of a novel.  So here’s this: What if that THE END came with someone else there. Someone else contributing not only writing but ideas and inspiration and encouragement and misery and everything else that goes into writing and writing and writing. THE END with someone else usually comes faster than when you’re alone.
  2. You get breaks. You write something and you send it off. Then it’s their turn and you get to go on a walk or pull weeds or go on a hike and use your brain for other things or other books or maybe even the same book but still, you can take a break. And breathe.
  3. Friends are good. Connections are good. Creating is good and creating in a collaboration is good. Very good and hard and takes work. There are times that there are misunderstandings and maybe the book is going the wrong way and you work differently and that’s hard but who cares because you are both pushing each other.

I think it’s good to write books alone. I think it’s good to write books with others. I think it’s good to try things that are difficult and make us work and that also can be easy and let us relax.

I say gather friends. Nurture relationships. Be good to each other. Send congratulations and kindnesses. Eat food and laugh.

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Hopefully, we’ll hear from Ann Dee Ellis. Her posts always make me so happy. And Ann Dee is a part of my writing prompts/goal today. We work together on novels, we read each other’s novels, visit each other’s classes, share this blog, brainstorm together. We even say ‘Hello!’ to each other in the hallway at church. I’m lucky to have such a fantastic, amazing writer/partner/friend to work with.


Find a friend who you can be accountable to. If that friend is a writer, set goals and challenges for yourself or each other, and make a day and time to discuss goals you’ve set and reached.

Write a scene together, three sentences at a time. You write the first three sentences, she writes the second, back and forth until you are done. Do it for your project and your partner’s project.  Go for 750 words working together. Try to follow the leads and clues left by your partner. Don’t be afraid to have fun, but do move the story forward. And don’t be afraid to surprise your friend with a challenge as you write.

What do you learn about your style? Your story? Your working with another writer?

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Manic Monday?


Nine Questions We May Explore Later

What is the scariest thing your character must do?

How will you prepare him to do it?

How is your main character like the antagonist?

How does that make the main character feel knowing he’s like the antagonist?

Your main character wants to change one thing about you. What is it?


What one thing has surprised you about this book?

About your main character?

About you as you’ve written this book?

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Plot, Revision, writing process