Author Archives: CLW

The Preacher Ain’t Been Listening

I always say you make time for what you love. You just do.

Love to eat sweets?

You eat peanut butter bars.

Love to exercise?

You run.

Love macrame?

You make wall hangings.

Ann Dee and I have talked about this so much. And guess what? I’ve found myself saying, lately, that I don’t have time to write. I don’t have time to do my job. To do what I love.

Last night I realized I need to do what I preach. If I want to write novels, dang it, I gotta write them. No matter what.

So starting today I am giving myself at least two hours each day to accomplish what I want–I’m writing again.

It feels good. In fact, I feel empowered. And Ann Dee and I sent off our book this afternoon. Tonight, I’m writing with Cheri. I’m in a critique group so that means I’ll have words to write for a deadline. Nice!

I’ll let you know next Friday how I’ve done.

 

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Three Thing Thursday

From LoriAnne

I’ve just learned something I need to do, or stop doing, when I’m trying to flesh out my character and find her voice. I need to stop reading British mysteries. It’s doesn’t work well when trying to write a contemporary 17-year-old American girl. The MC in the novel I just finished is alternately a 15-year old girl in Cornwall in 1931, and then an 85-year old woman in London in 2003. The storyline jumps forward and backward in time a lot. Anyway, while I’ve been on vacation, I’ve been writing and reading, and what I’ve been reading is bleeding into my character’s voice, as well as my own.  I used the word “ghastly” to describe the huge ugly cacti that we saw all around this island, as we were on a bus taking us to a beach excursion. I wasn’t trying to sound British, it just came out! My husband looked at me funny, “Ghastly? Since when do you use that word?” I don’t. Normally. And the MC in my novel would never use it.  I realized I’ve been having a harder than normal time writing in a close 3rd person that sounds anything like an American teenage girl. Good thing I also brought a YA book to read. And maybe I need to hang around the cruise ship’s hot tub more. Although, with all those half-naked teenagers packed in there, it’s definitely hormone soup.

Does anyone else have a hard time developing an authentic voice when you are immersed in reading a different genre?

From Me

Every spring I think, This year I’m growing a garden. And I try. Last year? TONS of cherry tomatoes that I picked off the vine for breakfast, a few green beans and peppers and a big mess of potatoes.

Growing a garden is like writing a book–a lot of hard work. But it’s worth it.  Writing just the right word is kinda like eating those warm tomatoes. You can’t believe YOU did that. Well, with help of course.

Right now I am in a hard place in my YA murder mystery. It’s like putting together a puzzle with weird edges. But when I read some of the words I think, Maybe I can do this.

The truth is, most people who want to write books never finish. It IS hard. If we rejoice in the small things, the tasty bits, there will be more joy in the work.

 

And One More Thing

I just made up a word. Slag bottom.

Or so I thought.

http://www.google.com.gt/patents/US2004152

What word did you think YOU made up?

 

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Three Thing Thursday

From Cheryl:

 

From Me:

Following the excerpts above, write either place or description that breathes life into your story.

Feel free to share.

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Filed under Ann Dee, Exercises, Setting, three thing thursday, Voice

Monday Evening!

I’m back.It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve written. Started teaching on Mondays and that means I always forget to write.

Boo!

Today? I have a few moments. And I share this! The critiques with the agent at full, however, Fly on the Wall has spaces on each day.

erin-harris-folio-photo-3

Agent Writing Workshop

with

Erin Harris, Literary Agent at Folio Jr.

A writing event for serious

(but still fun) writers

Erin Harris will kick off this two-day event for writers with a keynote speech at BYU:

“Everything You Want to Know about Working With an Agent”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

JFSB B190, Brigham Young University Campus

Free and open to the public

(First come, first serve. Sitting in aisles and doorways will NOT be permitted.)

 

2nd Annual Literary Agent Workshop

A Day with Erin Harris Workshop Schedule

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday February 23, 24, and 25, 2017

8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

 

Special Instructions 

  1. Private Consultations and Small-Group Critiques: You’ll find the Thursday through Saturday consultation-with-Erin schedules at the end of the day schedule and some tips on handling critique in a group setting.
  2. First Pages Critique: If you want to be considered for the first pages critique at the end of your workshop day (3:15 to 5:00 p.m.), email the first 250 to 300 words of a book of your choosing to cheriearl@gmail.com before Wednesday, February 22, 2017. We will choose the first pages to read at the time of the critique via a drawing. CAUTION: Be prepared to hear honest critique, which means you may not hear what you want to hear, and you may even get your feelings hurt. First pages critiques can be brutal, so consider carefully before you submit your 250 words.

 

Thursday through Saturday, February 23-25, 2017 

Detailed Day Schedule

 

8:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: Check in time

 

9:00 to 9:50 

Introductions and presentation by Erin Harris

 

10:00 to 12:00

  • Private critiques with Erin begin
  • 10:00 to 12:00: Cheri and Carol’s Dog and Pony Show: Conflict, Characters, and Voice PLUS Why Good Things Happen to Bad Books: a Brutal Discussion That Will Most Likely Hurt Feelings

 

Noon to 1:30 p.m.: Potluck Lunch—mingle and make new friends. Sign up for critique groups. Get to know Erin and Cheri and Carol.

 

A-G- Please bring a main dish.

H-R- Please bring a side dish.

S-Z- Please bring a dessert.

1:15 to 3:15

  • Private critiques with Erin continue
  • 1:30 to 3:15: Put Your Writing Where Your Mouth Is: Writing Activities with Carol and Cheri

 

Potty Break at 3:15; you know who you are.

3:30 to 5:00

First Pages Critique: Not recommended for the faint hearted. *Submit first 250-300 words of your novel via email before Wednesday February 22; see special instructions.

 

5:00 to 5:30 

Final thoughts and Q&A with Erin

Want to join us?

For enrollment and payment information: contact Stephanie Moore at stephaniemoorewrites (at) gmail (dot) com (additional instructions when you enroll)

 

Which Writing Workshop experience would you like to have?

  1. Workshop with Private Critique. Full workshop plus a 15-minute critique session with Erin Harris (15 spaces only).  $110 ($99 for BYU Students and SCBWI members.)
  2. Fly-on-the-wall. Full workshop without a critique session. $35
  3. Small–Group Critique Session. , Cheri, or Carol will conduct each critique session, 4 writers each. (12 spaces only). $25 in addition to the workshop fees ($110, $99, or $25)

Bios

Erin Harris: Literary agent with Folio Jr, NYC (see more at foliojr.com)

Presenters:

Carol Lynch Williams (author of more than 30 mid-grade and YA books, BYU creative writing instructor)

Cheri Pray Earl (author of the Just in Time Series, BYU creative writing instructor)

 

 

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Magic Monday

 

For the first time in years I’m thinking about being in a critique group again.

I used to be in one.

For years I was with Rick Walton.

I met Cheri there. And Ken Baker and Randall Wright. The list goes on and on.

 

I always have so many excuses to doing this–I’m too busy, too tired, too behind.

But.

But this time, maybe, I’ll do something for me and my writing.

 

It’s scary.

It’s time-consuming.

It’s a lot of work.

But I need it.

 

What have you done for you and your writing?

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Three Thing Thursday

LoriAnne:

Quality or Quantity?

                In every writing class I’ve taken, the question of quality or quantity comes up. Each of us has to grapple with it.  I tend to go over and over the same first couple chapters, thinking I can’t move forward in the story until the first few on chapters are perfectly polished. Do I do this because I don’t  believe I know where the story is “supposed” to go? That I can’t move on there’s a perfect beginning? Do I not trust myself?

I get in my own way and don’t make enough progress toward finishing the dang draft, and in truth, spinning my wheels on those same pages doesn’t help me become a better writer.

 I came across a writing tip that was linked to a study about a high school pottery teacher’s teaching technique. How could he help his students produce better pottery?

He required half the class to produce one perfect pot. The other half was required to produce fifty pounds of pottery by the end of semester. The pots didn’t have to be perfect, there just needed to be fifty pounds of work.

What this teacher found is that those who had to do just one perfect pot got hung up. They threw the same pot over and over. Those who had to produce the quantity, learned what worked and what didn’t. By the end of the semester, they could throw a perfect pot.

So, the more chapters you write, the better your writing will become.  I’m too close to it right now, but I know that I’ve just got to show up every day and write something new. Soon, I hope, I’ll be able to ‘throw’ a better chapter.

Carol:
Ann Dee has decided to try things that scare her. She is brave. I bet she did a great handstand.
I love this challenge when it comes to writing.
This past year I started a murder mystery. I’ve never done this kind of book before, so that has been scary.
But there’s more about this project that scares me. This is a YA. How much of this raw story should I put on the page? How do I make the murdered character likable (for a while there, she deserved to be killed because she was acting so nasty)? What happens if my editor doesn’t like this book?
What are you working on that scares you?

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Three Thing Thursday

LoriAnne:

For the first time in a year, I’m not in a writing class. And it’s weird.  My writing group is sort of on hiatus since last semester ended. So there isn’t anyone I feel accountable to. I don’t report a wordcount to anyone, or turn in a revised chapter. I’m forced to examine if I’m going to write every day, on my own, without the points tied to grade, like a carrot dangling in front of me. Do I do what I say I love to do?

I’m happy to say yes, I am writing, and enjoying it. I’m having fun watching my characters unfold and surprise me. It’s not as often as I should be writing.  It’s several times a week, but not daily.  I’ve decided to set some personal goals in this season of goal setting — one short-term daily goal, one mid-range goal, and one long-term goal.

1.       Writing is like exercise – it’s better to do even a little bit every day, than to do nothing and atrophy, or try to do a huge marathon session in one day and have a stiff brain and wear yourself out. Just 100 words keeps your creativity muscles toned and ready whenever an idea presents itself. I always feel better about the day ahead of me if I’ve written in the early morning. I’m not looking at writing as a chore anymore, but something I do because there are moments of fun for me. Those moments are coming more often than they used to, so I keep plugging away. My only problem is do I write or do I exercise? Writing is winning hands down – literally. My hands are down on the keyboard instead of on a yoga mat.

2.       My mid-range goal is getting my writing group back together. We miss each other, and I enjoy their stories, and their insights on my story. A once-a-month meeting should not be that hard. Hope they are reading this. I’ll be sending an email today, girls 🙂

3.       Set a long-term goal, like attending a conference, and sign up where possible to meet with an editor or agent. I’ve signed up early and pushed myself out of my comfort zone to do more than sit and enjoy the speakers. This way I can make progress towards my goal of getting published. When you sign up for a workshop or writing conference, plan to have something critiqued, then let your daily writing work towards writing your piece a little every day.

What strategies are you using to set your writing goals this year? See you at the conferences!

Carol:

Last night, Ann Dee Ellis, Kyra Leigh and Kristyn Crow traveled to my class to speak about writing. Each girl has a book coming out this year and they all read from their work. AMAZING!

Carol Again:

Don’t forget Friday’s party!

Go here to register: http://www.wifyr.com/events/

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