Author Archives: CLW

Are We Done Here?

The girls and I haven’t written in a long time. And there has been no comments when we have written. The only two people who regularly responded here have passed away.

But

I can’t seem to quite give up on our little blog that no one reads.

There is so much good stuff in the back pages.

From this point on I’ll write as though this is a writing journal. If someone reads, cool. If not, well, no big deal.

So here goes.

After years of nurturing a little orange tree grown from a 6-inch twig, I HAVE orange blossoms. The lemon has yielded fruit and the lime tree has 6 or 7 limes. But the orange trees (I have three of them) have been so slow-growing.

And now this!

The blossoms are beautiful, with a stripe of pink on the fragile petals. And in Florida, back in the day, you could drive past huge groves, all in blossom, and the smell was out of this world.

I had a friend who couldn’t smell at all (I think it was because of abuse). One day when she was stoned, she rode on the back of a motorcycle down a dirt road in town. She was hit by . . . what? What was happening? Wave after wave of a taste in the air. As the two made a turn she saw the groves, acres of orange trees, all in bloom. She realized then she was experiencing her first (and last) smell ever.

I love that.

Those kinds of descriptions, those kinds of incidents, help readers know where they are, physically in your novel.

What smell do you remember? What something changed the way you look orange trees or pizzas or fresh almonds?

 

 

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Cover and Contest!

My newest novel, NEVER THAT FAR, is published and released TODAY by Shadow Mountain.  a huge thank you to Jennifer De Chiara and Steve Fraser who represented me for this deal. And a big thank you to the amazing Lisa Mangum, my editor at Shadow Mountain.

A normal person could post a pic. I cannot. But, dagnabit, I will by end of today. So until then, imagine a pretty cover

 

 

HERE

 

 

Now! Here’s the contest! If you go to FB, you can add your goals under this post there.

I’m getting ready for a sing off! And I’m challenging Trent Reedy. And Claudia Mills, too! Yes! Where? At WIFYR this June!

We’re getting the ball rolling a little early with Getting Ready for WIFYR Writing Contest where you might win a book or two. My newest novel NEVER THAT FAR is one of the prizes. So is Trent Reedy’s book DIVIDED WE FALL.

Here’s how it works:

Say what your writing goal is for April AND May (I’ll reveal my goals tomorrow). And the most amazing Stephanie Moore will keep track of things for us.

You get to put your name in our virtual drawing if you sign up to play, if you complete your writing weekly goals, meet your goal, and every check-in on our Friday FB post. Invite all your friends! Got friends on Twitter? Instagram? Invite them, too!

The writing goals can be whatever you want them to be: 50 words a day, 5000 words a day or anything in between. They can be editing goals, if you like. Anything to help you get ready for our week-long writing conference this June.

The winner will be randomly drawn and notified on June 1, 2018.
Then we’ll pop the prize in the mail (US residents only), signed to you.
Woot woot!

But that’s not all.

Trent and I will have a sing off at WIFYR. Or we’ll sing a duet. Or something.
And Claudia Mills? That will be a flannel shirt wear-off contest .

Oh my gosh, this just keeps on giving.

So join us for our Getting Ready for WIFYR Writing Contest.

(You DO NOT have to attend WIFYR to play. But if you want to register, go here: http://www.wifyr.com. There are a few spaces open, but many of the classes are almost closed.)

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Filed under Agents, Editors

Good Ol’ Trent Reedy

My friend, Trent Reedy, is going to write one million words this year. A MILLION.

(I have written 3,000 words since the start of January.)

We’ve talked about that million words.

“What if they’re bad?” I said.

“Of course, they’re bad.”

“What about rewriting?”

“Oh, I’ll rewrite.”

“But . . .”

“Look,” Trent said. “I was only writing 800 words a day before. Now I’m getting words on the page. If I don’t write, I have nothing to edit. No books to work on.” (In case Trent reads this post, I have taken our conversation over several days, squished it together, and written the best parts here. All swears have been omitted!)

Trent makes a great point. If you never pen the words, you never have a book to edit, to send to an agent, to sell to an editor, to wind up on a shelf. Just this week a student came to my office and told me she’s had a great idea for a series for several years. No words were written. And when I gave her my advice several times during our thirty minutes together–Just write–I could tell I sorta bugged her.

Don’t dream.

Just write.

Just write.

Just write.

Do you write no matter what? I don’t. But . . . I’m lucky to have a friend like Trent who does just write. He encourages me daily, and has gently prodded me to write, maybe not realizing this is what he’s doing.

This year I had hoped to write four days a week, but I haven’t been able to for whatever reason. However, as I have watched my pal, I’ve taken courage. My new goal is one hour of writing–really writing–four days a week. If things normalize here, then I can increase that. If they don’t, I have four thousand new words a week. And that, as they say, is nothing to sneeze at.

But to do nothing? Well, the days still pass. The weeks do, too. And at the end, if I do no writing, I have nothing to edit.

Just as Trent says.

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Filed under Exercises, Uncategorized

Monday, Monday

Every time I start a new semester, I get behind. When you add behind to behind to behind what you get is me. Someone who can’t seem to catch up, no matter what.

Here is a writing exercise for you so you don’t get as far behind as me. You can take this experience of mine, find your own that is similar, and write an incident that can fit in your book.

My best friend’s shoes are in my closet. A pair of his jeans in a drawer. He’s been dead just over a year.

“Do you want me to take these?”I ask him. He’s in a hospital bed. He can’t speak. SO he nods. I gather the shoes, the pants. “I’ll take these until you’re better.”

And here’s this article from my dear friend Trent Reedy. what do you think?

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/how-to-write-100-000-words-per-day-every-day?utm_source=nextdraft&utm_medium=email

 

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Filed under Exercises, First Line, Life, Uncategorized

Ann Dee Candy Speaking at the Liberry!

WIFYR/SCBWI WRITER’S KICKOFF!

WHEN: Thursday, January 18, 2018 
TIME: 6-8 pm
Place: Provo Library
WHO: ALL WRITERS are invited, but numbers are limited!
WHAT: A time together to kick off the New Year with writing buddies and prizes and fun and excitement and love and . . . well, you get it!
SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER: Ann Dee Ellis, award-winning author of several middle grade and young adult novels

Please bring a potluck dish for eight and one writing quote (or prompt) printed on a 3×5 card.

Register here: https://wifyr.com/registration/index.php

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2018–Goals–HAPPY NEW YEAR

Gosh, I love a new year. Don’t you? There’s something neato about being together in the pot. Sharing goals and etc. Like suffering together during NaNo!

Now, I have some not-so-good news. I don’t have last year’s goals. That means I need to figure out how to go back one year (here) so I can find what you all wrote and so we can see what you did. When I figure that out, I’ll post your goals so you can see whatcha done good.

BUT–we must not let that deter us.

What are your goals?

What are your plans?

What are your dreams?

One thing my dear Rick Walton told me was to make goals I was in control of. I love this. It’s so smart.

“I will sell five books this year.” Ummm. I can’t make S&S or Harcourt buy a book. BUT I can write  five books.

Also, making goals attainable is a good thing.

Read this, by the amazing Claudia Mills. It’ll teach you a thing or two. I swear.

https://claudiamillsanhouraday.blogspot.com/

And read this, too! It’s Cheri Pray Earl’s blog about goals.

https://dustingforfingerprints.wordpress.com/2017/12/31/the-year-of-the-writer-thats-me/

So. I’ll give you three of my writing goals for the year–or writing related goals.

  1. Start a REAL, OFFICIAL business. It may be small, but I have been putting this off for some time.
  2. Make that danged website of mine shine.
  3. Write a draft of a new book every three months. IF I sell something and rewrites take up new writing time, I will make adjustments.
    If I break that down, it turns out to be four new books. By the end of the year.
    If I break it down even further, it’s about 1000 new words a day. With play time in between. And time to rewrite.

EVENTS For those of you who want a jumpstart for this year, we have these two events coming up:

WIFYR NEW YEAR KICKOFF!

Provo Library

Third Thursday of this month (6-8 pm–I think!)

Potluck fun!

 

FEBRUARY AGENT/EDITOR RETREAT

Editor Sarah McCabe (Simon and Schuster) and agent Jenna Pocius (Red Fox Literary) are visiting BYU campus. Both will speak on Feb 28, 2018 from 5:30-7 pm. (Room number TBA)
This event is open and free to the public.

For those who write for children and young adults (and those interested in writing for adults), March 1st, March 2nd and March 3rd, will feature Sarah and Jenna in one-on-one critiques with paying attendees.

$119 will include a day of learning with published authors as well as critique time with either the editor or agent. We’ll talk good writing, writing with humor and even glance at marketing your work. We’ll discuss query letters, the important pitch and truly knowing what your book is about–and being able to express it. Each $119 registration includes ONE day.

www.agentretreatutah.wordpress.com

 

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Kyra

Merry Christmas Days . . . Lots

Merry Christmas day #16
With the snow that’s (finally!) showed up, I think now is a good time to focus hard on sense of place.
Is it cold? Is it hot? What’s the weather like? Is the sky grey? Does the field next to your characters house smell like cow poo? Is there a rustle of wind off in the distance? Did someone blare their horn so hard that it broke? (I did this the other week, believe it or not)
I hate sense of place, but it’s needed to make a story great. So when I work on it, I really take a look around me, I try to focus on my character and imagine what I would be feeling if I was where she was. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. But at least it’s SOMETHING. And whatever I can do to get the story moving.
Merry Christmas day #17
Do you remember the first time your heart shattered into a million pieces? Do you remember the second time it did? Maybe it was because a loved one passed on. Maybe the person you loved didn’t love you back? Maybe your first born child got a tattoo? Whatever it was, do you remember that emotion? Do you remember that sinking feeling in your gut that you thought would never go away?
Use that. Put that into your story. Let your character feel it, too. (even if you don’t think she deserves it) Good emotion not only makes you feel, but it also makes your reader feel, too. (they might hate you for it, but at least you made them feel something)
Push that heartbreak out onto the page, and let those emotions run wild!
Merry Christmas day #18
Do you remember your first Christmas? Reach back into your brain and see if you can find that memory. Do you remember the excitement? The butterflies inside your belly? You must have been little, did you know what was happening at the time? Did you know why everyone was being so kind?
Maybe your character remembers her first Christmas? Maybe it was also her first memory with her sibling, or parents, or grandparents?
Write about it. Write about memories. Maybe a good flashback is what you’re missing, and you didn’t even know it!

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Filed under Character, writing process