Author Archives: CLW


I’m mostly a nightmare gal. Have far too many bad dreams. Several a night.

Wake up screaming at a man in the doorway, or by the window, a lot.

Elevator-with-no-sides dreams. An elevator that’s tilting.

Zombie dreams. My aunt’s head in a watermelon. My girls missing.

The dreams where I’m walking from room to room in house. Searching. Hurrying. Worrying.

Knowing something bad is behind a door.

Being lost.

Oh, and the cloven hoof dream that Kyra wants me to share on FB.

But last night. Last night was good.

I haven’t written now in a month. Not at all (except an editor rewrite).

And last night I dreamed of the books that are waiting for me.

Wanting to be written.

There was that feeling I have when I sit down to write and things are going well. A feeling of being content.

When there’s hope.

A new world coming to life.

Like the way I feel because there are a few moments when I am in control, ’cause I know what’s happening a few pages ahead.

This morning, I woke up smiling.

Woke up with an email almost fully formed to my agent.

Woke to a whole list of books that were calling for me.

With thoughts of really writing.

This morning, I’m ready.

To find a few new characters.

Clean up a few scenes.

Investigate a few possibilities.

This morning is full of promises.

Way better, I tell ya, than that man in the doorway.


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Three Thing Thursday


January 15, 2016. Provo Library.
7-8:45 pm
Cost–potluck dish and, if you’d like, a book donation.
Christian McKay Heidicker is our speaker.
Go to to register because seats are numbered.

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Happy New Year?

Your goals last year, exactly as I saved them.


Kim Woodruff:
Happy New Year! I made 50 goals yesterday. I’m going to narrow them down today. Last year my goal was to be more consistent with my writing. This year I want to be more “hardcore” like Shannon Hale said in a recent post. I plan to write and read more, waste less of my writing time on brainstorming/trying to figure out how to get it right before I start, and learn to let myself write really bad drafts before I start trying to perfect things. And I want to keep querying agents and attend conferences (yea for WIFYR!).

Carol Williams:

more interviews with authors, editors and agents
finish revising with Ann Dee and send the book off–done in April

My goal this year is to learn self-discipline and do something productive every day! I’d prefer to make significant progress on all my major projects every day, but I’ll settle for doing something productive every day. :) Although, writing every day must happen. That’s the other condition. Some writing, and something else productive.

1. Write something (significant) every day.
2.  Read something (significant) every day.
3.  Do some (significant) exercise (AT LEAST) 6 days a week
4.  Clean or put away something (major) every day.
(I should really clean out some of the boxes from when I moved here.
Almost 5 years ago.
And from when Herb moved here.
Almost 3 years ago.).
5.  Do something (noticeably) (kind/good) (to/for) someone every day.

And my check list will be even simpler:
1.  Write
2.  Read
3.  Exercise
4.  Clean
5.  Kind

Ann Dee:
1. Feel like a writer again.
2. Feel like a person again.
3. Eat more fish.
4. Get a space heater of my very own.
5. Finish the short story that is due.
6. Write one novel.
7. Not get a full facial wax.
8. Write a short story.
9. Learn how to poach eggs. Maybe try Eggs Benedict.
10. Read a book.



Only 5 of us played.

How did you do?

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May Your Days Be Merry

Just a week until Christmas.

We’re wrapping presents like crazy! What about you?

I hope these few days are filled with joy and love.

Write if you get a minute. And love the ones you’re with. That’s most important.


Love from Ann Dee, Kyra, Brenda, Cheryl and Carol

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Three Thing Thursday

What’s wrong with 14-year-olds?
Actually, nothing . . . really. And I’ve taught just enough of them to know — they’ll grow up, some day, and be REAL people (a word of encouragement for parents!).
But in writing ? ? ?
I’ve been told — reminded, actually, a number of times — NOT to write about a 14-year-old. And don’t write FOR 14-year-olds either. Apparently, at least in more than one publishing house, you’re likely to get turned down.
So, here’s my take on it: 14-year-olds are struggling. I’d have been the one struggling to stay “a kid.” I’m REALLY not sure I’d even, thoroughly, given up on Santa Clause by age 14. Then there were the other 14-year-olds I knew: (some of the girls already wore bras . . . and NEEDED them! Some had already started their . . . well, you know . . . )
Not me.
I was just hoping Santa wouldn’t forget my house, finally, this year. I still BELIEVED. Or wanted to so badly I could taste it. (Christmas was NEVER the same, after I finally crossed that threshold.)
But, back to writing, instead of reminiscing about my Childhood Lost.
Here’s what I’ve finally concluded: 14-year-olds already know what 14-year-olds do. What they say. What they think.
MOST of them (excluding me when I was that age, I suppose) want to know what comes NEXT. What do 15-year-olds get to do? To wear? Where can they go? WITHOUT Mom or Dad?
The lesson here is don’t write your MC as a 14-year-old protagonist. Make him12 or 13. Or write her as 15 or 16.
I’m told a 14-year-old protagonist is flat-out-dead on the first reader’s desk s/he lands on.
Merry Christmas ! ! ! And don’t forget that 14-year-old who lives at your house: (Does she still need Santa? Let me know, and I’m there ! ! !)
Today I got some harsh critique on some my photographs. 

And when I say harsh, I mean I was crying for most of the rest of the day.
Now, I’m no stranger to critique. I’ve developed a pretty thick skin over the years. So I started thinking about why this one affected me so strongly.
I think the biggest problem was that there were no rules on this particular forum about how to give critiques. In most professional settings (a.k.a. Carol’s classroom) everyone is required to note both the good and the bad about a particular work. On this forum, no one said anything positive until I was already miserable and broken. Also, most of the mean comments were downright rude and intended to belittle and make fun of me.
The point is, there are good things about every work. Even if all you can honestly say is, “Well, it looks like you had fun making it!” It’s still worth saying that.
Critique should never be used as a way to scare someone away or make them give up. It should be used to encourage growth and learning. You should walk away from a critique feeling like there is plenty of work to do, but you can do it!! If you don’t feel that way, find a new critique group that better fits your needs.
We’re taking next week off, so I encourage you to do three writerly things this week:
1. Imagine the holidays for your character. What are they like?
2. Sketch–even if you don’t draw–your character. Leave plenty of white space. Hang that picture someplace you will see every day. As you pass this picture add adjectives, incident ideas, plot points that come to you. You don’t have to use them all. Allow yourself to be informed by this drawing.
3. Read one book for pleasure

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Three Thing Thursday



We’re having a WIFYR kickoff  January 15, 2016, Friday. 6-9 pm. !!!!!!!!!!!!!

At this point I’m not exactly sure where we will be, but . . . this event is for all writers, published and almost-published and thinking about writing.

This will be ticketed, meaning you’ll need a number to get in the door, as there’s a limited space.

We’ll share a fantastic potluck celebration and, if you’d like, you may bring a new or gently-used book that will be donated to a library in need of books.

We’ll have a guest speaker (TBA), a few writing prompts (bring writing material), a chance to share a best line or two and a quick pitch session (just with each other!).

This kickoff is supported by SCBWI UT/ID chapter. We’re excited to work with Travis and Sherry in making UT the producer of the finest children’s lit ever.



For those who are interested, Steve Fraser, an agent at Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency will be here in UT on February 24 and 25 for a day + workshop.

PM me on Facebook or email me and I can give you details.

Limited number for this event, too.



I admit, I haven’t been writing. 

But I have been reading. Not just fun reading, but critical reading. Deciphering what works, what doesn’t, what should have been.
And I’ve been thinking. It sounds like a cop-out, I know, but my process has always been to work things out in my mind first and then just transcribe it onto the page. By the time I physically write anything down it’s already on the third draft.
My big problem in my novel is the science. No matter what I do, I can’t make the science work in my favor. I need to make friends with some scientists. In another novel, it’s too short and too cliche. It needs a dose of reality, and I have no idea how to inject it.
But I haven’t given up. Someday something completely unrelated will happen in real life, and everything will click into place.
I can’t wait.
Carol wrote on the 7th about what the writing world had opened up for her: basically, a whole new world.  This after just having survived (like several of us, no doubt) NaNoWriMo, November, Thanksgiving.  And now we’re knee-deep in getting ready for Christmas.  Or, at least, getting ready to get ready.  I’m with Carol: time seems to speed up these days.
I refer back to the book I recommended last week and the week before: “TimeShifting”.  Try to hang on to the here, to the now.  Let the person who ignored you at the ward party go.  She probably was having problems of her own.
Let the family member (you know the one: the one who MUST have everyone’s attention) and stoops to coming “fashionably late” or fails to show up at all for a family gathering.  The guy who dominates all the conversation so that “significant others” belonging to this or that family member stumble through the evening trying to greet people they don’t even know, while the conversation has been hijacked by some needy friend or family member, and can’t stop railing about his/her misfortunes.
Concentrate instead on the attention paid to arranging the serving table.  Listen . . . REALLY Listen to the music playing softly in the background without calling attention to itself, even though it was carefully thought through and chosen by someone there.  Find that someone and give a thank you for the thoughtfulness of that gift of calming sound.  Talk to one of the small children whose parents are busy talking to other grownups.  REALLY BE THERE for any function you attend.  Look forward to it.  PLAN what you will do within the milling crowd of family, friends, and the occasional stranger.  Welcome that stranger by listening to him or her before moving on to others.
And thus create your OWN Merry Christmas Celebration, within the context of places you “MUST” be this holiday season:

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Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

Hey people!

Thought I would pop in and share some writing tips.

Well, I don’t really have any. I haven’t written all month. Finishing that last novel kinda kicked my ass to a point where I just didn’t feel like writing until rewrites. Which I need to start.

We all need to get back together and read! Remember the Olive Garden days?

Let’s plan that. YAAAASSS. It’ll inspire me to get back into gear and then I can see how everyone else is doing.

Mom. Plan it!

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