Author Archives: CLW

From Our Dear Brenda Bensch

Brenda sent this to me before Thanksgiving and as I did nothing online last week, I wanted to post here, now.
LOVE you, Brenda.
Happy Thanksgiving ! ! !  Or are you mostly feeling rushed, harried and out of time ?
My way to cure this has been, for years and years, the practice of celebrating Thanksgiving Eve with family.
On the Wednesday before the holiday no one is clamoring for access to my grandchildren . . . you know: parents, in-laws, those sorts of people.  They have their fill of their “children” — who are now all adults anyway — on the holiday itself.  This leaves me free to enjoy a quiet holiday with just my husband.  And I don’t even have to cook: we’ll have LOTS of left-overs ! ! !
Anticipating my day of “rest” ON the holiday, suddenly make me think of a non-fiction book I read almost 20 years ago, just after it came out.  It touched me profoundly at the time, and to ward off getting lost in the muddle of the Eve we celebrate and the Holiday during which we relax, I hauled the book out to give it a bit of a re-read: “Timeshifting” by Stephan Rechtschaffen, M.D.
Deepak Chopra said of this book that Stephan “elegantly demonstrated that by learning to make conscious decisions in present-centered awareness, we can create joy in our lives and become masters of our own destiny.”  And Christiane Northrup, M.D., of “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” fame, said Rechtschaffen “has done a masterful job of articulating the effect of time perception on our health and sense of well-being.  I am convinced that our ability to change our relationship to time, as much as any factor, is an essential key to creating health on all levels.  This book is an excellent guide to both the theory and practice of timeshifting.”
Though I found no copies available through the Salt Lake County library system, it IS still available through Amazon and I REALLY recommend his ideas for slowing your life down so you can enjoy events rather than
just passing through them.
Next week, I’ll share a bit more of his wisdom . . . but take a look, if you can FIND THE TIME!

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Three Thing Thursday


Last week I reread To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time since high school. I even read my high school copy, which is covered in color coded highlighter marks and notes filling the margins of every single page.

In case you’re wondering if there were any incredible insights to the novel in those notes, there weren’t. But it was fascinating to look back and watch myself learn how to analyze. By the end of the novel I was better than at the beginning.
Like anything else, learning to analyze literature takes practice. For me, it really helped to mark up the books like crazy. Breaking up the page into separate colors helped me to deconstruct what I was reading.
Once you’re able to analyze literature and understand what separates the good and the bad, then you’ll be able to analyze your own writing. That’s when you learn how to elevate your writing from a “fun story” to serious literature. 
I’ve heard more than once that another way to really “hurt” your protagonist is to kill (of at least seriously damage) the person he or she most cares about.  Cruel, I know . . . but that’s what we need to do in order to jeopardize our MC in the most meaningful way.  We’re here to make his or her life DIFFICULT !
But which character to choose as the sacrificial lamb?  An ally or best friend?  An unsuspected antagonist?  A close relative?  Someone your hero would die to save . . . but can’t, in this case?
This can be used to push your MC to the max.  How will that make him act?  Will he step up and  do the right thing?  Give up?  Dissolve into tears?  Go hide away from both friend and foe?
And, whichever he chooses, what comes next?
Think of three very different characters in your current WIP who could be your chosen victim.  Write a short scene for EACH ONE, showing his defeat (whether death, disappearance, or whatever), and your MC’s reaction.   Does he hear about it later?  See the fated event?  Not find out for many hours, days or weeks?  And WHAT does he choose to do next?
I have fallen back into my bad old ways.
I finished my newest novel, and now I’m suddenly not motivated. I have written one paragraph for Nano and that’s it.

My addiction to Ally McBeal has gotten the best of me.

I need help! I need motivation! Areergghhg.

What are your guys distractions?
How do you avoid them?

Brenda–I love you.

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Filed under CLW, Life, Plot

Three Thing Thursday

When I write I think most of my characters end up in a Utopian world (well, except for the curves I try to put in their way.)  They never have a day like I’ve had today: I THINK it’s just a cold.  “Just”?  It started three or four days ago, by being a little spot in my throat: when my nerves had “gotten to me.” I used to suddenly sprout  one to five cankers in my mouth or along my gum, even down my throat. Hadn’t happened for YEARS. That’s what this felt like days ago.  And it HURT ! ! !  But I didn’t worry.  It’s not like cankers are catching.  (Are they?)  By yesterday afternoon the entire throat was inflamed, burning like crazy.  Woke up today with my throat less bothersome.  There: THAT’S taken care of.  WRONG.  By noon I was sure the flu shot I got in September had finally kicked in, and I had what was only going to be a “mild” case.  Now, the sneezing, coughing (through an already roughed-up throat) and runny nose feels more like a REALLY NASTY cold.  And my energy is totally sapped.
Why don’t my MC’s suffer like this?
Or what if they DID ? ? ?
It could happen.  And if I want it to feel real, it should be at the absolutely WORST time imaginable.  How does that change my MC’s mood?  Actions?  Activities?  Decisions?
Does s/he just GIVE UP?  Fight through it?  Stop everything to go to the doctor, witch doctor, community Elder?  And are their “cures” worth the vellum they’re written on?  And how much does a good Voo Doo cure cost?  And how and WHEN must it be paid?
So, what’s wrong with YOUR MC?  And how is s/he going to deal with it?
If nothing else, this may make him/her seem more “real” !
For NaNo–How are you doing?
Getting those words?
Moving that plot?
I was okay the first week. Almost made it the whole way writing 2000 words a day. Since Saturday, I haven’t written a  thing. Including for this blog. Today, I’m starting anew. I can’t let the last week throw me. If I can do more than 2000 words each day, I will. However, if I can’t, I can’t.
My goal for this 50,000 words was to finish a picture book, get a draft of a mid grade and rewrite a novel. (The novel Ann Dee and I are working on. Still.)
Picture book is done. Lots of new pages in the mid grade. And I even know some of what I want to happen there in the icky middle that’s staring me in the face.
Nose to the grindstone (OUCH!) on this Ann Dee book.
What about you?
Don’t fall behind like I did. However, if you have, pick up as though you haven’t. At the end of the month you may not have a full novel, but you will be almost there.
Or, you may add 1000 words a day and catch up.
Last Thing: I’m reading tomorrow at the library at BYU. Basement auditorium. Noon.
If you have time, drop in. Cookies when it’s over.


Filed under Character, CLW, three thing thursday

NaNo (con)

Almost a week in, Everyone. How are you doing?

I’m writing 2000 words a day. Not counting emails or facebook musings, though I want to. ;)

What I have found works for me–do the bulk of the writing FIRST thing in my day.

Don’t think over each word, just write.


Time myself–30 minutes on writing. 30 minutes doing household chores and family stuff.


Hint–Behind? Join in now, add 50 additional words per day (or whatever the math is).

Hint–Working on something else–like a rewrite or a whatever? Make NaNoWriMo work for you by adjusting goals from 1666 words a day to whatever will push you a little.

Hint–Stop reading this and go write!


PS–What’s  working for you?


Filed under CLW

Three Thing Thursday


Nothing marks your life like a blog where you write once or twice a week. It’s time (again) for TTT. Last week flew. How does this keep happening?

NaNoWriMo–I have been writing my 2000 words a day. This is good for me. Three days so far and I’ve met the goal.

But what if you’re behind already?

This is what I think–NaNo is to help YOU. So if it doesn’t because of life, shape it so it will.

Maybe you say, ‘Hey. During the month of November I will write just 200 words a day. Just 100. Just 50.’ And then you meet your goal. You may not get the T-shirt, but you did it! You did the thing that maybe shook you lose. To me, that’s success.

BTW, it’s snowing. Almost not there flakes, but it’s falling.



Where do you go when you need to write something, but have NO ideas?  Doesn’t matter if it’s a blog, a chapter, a whole book, a poem, you MUST have some place to turn.  Let’s try sharing some idea-spawning “places” to go.
My computer:  I have a file for emails called “To Read”.  I put in this file blogs I didn’t have time to read, articles various someones have sent me recently, pieces that caught my attention, but I didn’t finish at the time, or that I KNEW I’d want to read again later.
I have piles and piles of Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and even Publishers Weekly.  There’s almost always something there which catches my attention.
I belong to a critique group which meets weekly:  I LISTEN.  Some of their ideas kick off alternative ideas in my head.  If my “new” idea has promise, I jot it down, or commit its keeping to my computer in a file labeled “BB [that’s me] ideas.  They may be ideas for a poem, a short story, a children’s book or a whole novel.  Every now-and-again, I open the file and re-read its contents.  Often, that alone sparks some new ideas.
So, where do YOU go for another idea?  PLEASE share ! ! !



It’s November! Time for Nanowrimo!!

Unfortunately, I won’t be participating. I have three novels in need of rewriting…so no time for new novels. But I love cheering on everyone that’s participating!
One of my Facebook friends is keeping herself motivated by posting one sentence she’s written that day to her Facebook status. Another bought a box of her favorite chocolates and allows herself to have one every time she hits her goal word count.
What are you doing to keep yourself motivated?

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Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

I’m a little late in posting. So I’ll be quick.

It’s Nano time again. How the heck did it come so fast?

I should be starting a new novel, but instead I’m behind and still STILL haven’t finished this novel I’ve been working on for almost a year. I only have a few pages left, and I should just power through them. Some reason it’s killing me.

But I DID get a lovely letter from my Editor this morning. It made me want to finish this book so she can read it. But here I am again distracting myself.

Who has new work for Nano? Who is trying to finish something?

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Three Thing Thursday


I read a study this week that attempted to determine whether or not men felt that intelligence was an attractive trait in a woman. 

First they were asked if they would be attracted to a woman who scored better than them on a test. An overwhelming majority answered yes.
Then they were given a test. Afterward, they met briefly with two women. They were told that one of the women had scored better on the test and one had scored worse. The men then rated each woman on her attractiveness.
As you might have guessed, a huge majority found the woman they perceived as more intelligent as less attractive.
Depressing? Perhaps. But I love experiments like this. I love these peeks into human nature. It adds a sense of reality to our writing. If you have a brilliant, beautiful female protagonist, it’s possibly that many men in her past became irritated with her intelligence rather than enamored by it, even if they claimed they felt differently. And that, of course, leaves room for one of those few men that can truly appreciate a girl with both beauty and brains.
I have a big, 4-drawer standing file cabinet in our spare bedroom-cum-Library-cum-Herb’s office closet.  The bottom drawer, currently out and giving us trouble trying to get it back in, is the only empty one.  The rest are full of papers.  I also have four more 2-drawer file cabinets which are used as the under-pinning, or “legs” if you will, of a huge wooden slab which acts as an extra desk.  I think only one of those drawers is empty, or nearly so: we use it for a handful of office supplies like Post-Its, thumb tacks, glue, 3×5 cards, 4×6 cards, etc.
Additionally I have more than a dozen loose-leaf folders, and a variety of paper-sized boxes — ALL of them full of papers: articles I’ve clipped and saved, stories I’ve started and never finished, same for articles and essays, even notes to friends which, somehow, never got delivered.  Plus all the NEW paper “stuff” that has accumulated since Herb and I got married 3.5 years ago.
Time to determine what I need and WILL USE, and what can be shredded, recycled, and stored in such a way that we know WHERE something is, PRECISELY when we need it.
What do YOU do with all that paper stuff YOU collect?
Planning what could happen in your NaNo book? Just a few days away and then we begin. Join WIFYR on FB. We have a NaNo group.
Gosh, I hope I am able to actually do this!

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Filed under three thing thursday, Writing Marathon, writing process