Author Archives: CLW

Three Thing Thursday

How can I already be behind?
Why aren’t I rich and why don’t I have someone to run my errands and clean my house and pull my weeds?
Why isn’t there someone to cook my meals?
To force me to write?
As I was collecting snails (and pulling weeds, much to my neighbors’ happiness), I saw Ann Dee.
I showed her cute kids the snails in the WWE cup.
The, after talking with Ann Dee and begging the Ellis children to take the snails,
I came inside and I remembered an article I read yesterday.
(I read this article instead of writing, BTW.)
It was about writing 5000 words a day.
I decided, “Ummm. Nothing new here. Nothing.”
In a nutshell, the author said Do It.
Just do it.
Not one bit of new info.
Want to write 10,000 words a day?
Write them.
Go for that.
The most you can physically do in a 24-hour period?
Rock on.
The fact is, you choose to write or not to.
I drove people around.
I went grocery shopping.
I read a book.
I watched House.
I cooked meals.
Now I’m behind.
This is life.
It gets in the way.
But it gives us something to write about.
Seeing Penny Ellis look at those snails in the WWE cup? Her cheeks pink from the sun? That look in her eyes like, “Why are you, an adult, showing me this? Why are you making me look?”
That was part of my life today.
It was precious and beautiful and worth 500 words.


It’s been a month since WIFYR, and I’ve been revising problems with my MC. During the critiques on my WIP, specifically the first chapter. I had to stand way back and see my MC how the readers were perceiving her. I hate to admit it, but she wasn’t that likeable.  Even though the reader could feel sympathy for her situation, she came off as peevish and whiney.

Obviously that wasn’t the personality I was trying to write for her. The notes I took in Peggy Eddleman’s class at WIFYR have helped me help her to be a MC the reader wants to root for. Here are some hints Peggy gave us:

1.       Make them good at something

2.       Give them friends

3.       Make them rational, but still make stupid decisions sometimes

4.       Give them a conflict that is very personal to them

5.       Make them proactive, not just reactive

6.       Put them in jeopardy, or their goals at risk

7.       Give them hardships and unfairness. Force them to make sacrifices

8.       Have them love others and be loved by others.

9.       Make them active but vulnerable. Make them the underdog

10.    Characters are cool because of their strengths, but interesting because of their weakness. Make sure there is balance between strength and weakness.

We like characters because we are like them, or because we want to be like them. That’s essential since we spend so much time with them, and are asking our readers to do the same.


Worldbuilding is not just for fantasy novels, but also for contemporary ones. Here’s the thing: the world is slightly different to each person. 

One person might have family roots that go back to the town founders, while another might move from place to place so often they don’t even bother to completely unpack. These two people will see the demolition of a local landmark in very different ways.
Another example is that of economic status. A wealthy person might walk through a store and notice nothing but disorganized displays and sticky spots on the floor. A poor person will likely be more focused on sale prices and whether or not the price tags on the food show the price per unit for easier comparisons.
It’s important to view the world through the eyes of your character. If you’re describing a real place, don’t focus on how it looks to you. You don’t matter. Focus on what your character would see. What are their priorities? Where do their emotional attachments lie?


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Monday, Monday–Are You Writing? Three Hints.

I mentioned last week Ann Dee and I came up with the 25 words that our story is about. Here’s the thing. Having an idea, knowing what your story is about, makes it easier to write.

Hint–Know what your story is about. Knowing this Major Dramatic Question (which is answered with a yes or no) gives you the direction to take your story. When you know this then character can move the plot.


Each morning, I’ve tried to give myself time to complete a project I MUST finish.

Like having the MDQ, I’ve set a specific word count for myself.

Having a word count gives you a concrete goal.

Hours sitting at your computer is NOT the same as putting words on the page.

Hint–What is your concrete goal? Have you reached it each day since you started? Can you see progress?

A few places to land after you have written to see what other people have done with their word counts:

FYI–There was a third article for you to read  from someone who jumped up their daily writing word count from reasonable to far too much. I read the first lines of this author’s first pubbed book and it was pretty crummy. So.

(I am not endorsing anyone of these. Just giving you something to read to keep you from writing. Ha! Read AFTER you write!)


Don’t rewrite now.

Not yet.

In our new book, Ann Dee and I can already see what will need to be done, but we want that Dirty Draft down.

If we edit and rewrite and fix and change, we won’t be putting down the new words.

Hint: Allow yourself that shitty first draft that Anne Lamott talks about.

Here’s something to read.

Anne Lamott on Writing and Why Perfectionism Kills Creativity

So keep going.

Are you having fun?

It’s nice to reach goals, huh?

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Freaky Friday with Lisa

My palms still sweat as a side effect.

It happened seven years ago.
Scars on the back of my right hand and one on the knee.
I keep the sweatshirt I wore even though it has a hole.
I didn’t get to see my grandmother one last time before she died.
One night in the hospital, no stitches, and a pile of tests. No broken neck or knee. .
One fire truck, one ambulance. A stack of cop cars and civilians trying to help.
The car spun and rolled.
My friend was the driver, she looked down at her cell phone, headed straight for the guardrail.
I didn’t think I was going to die, I knew I was going to die. And in a way, I felt ready.
A few weeks ago my friend and I went to a park, a beautiful spot off the Potomac in Alexandria, Virginia. We sat on a bench, and he pulled out a book of writing prompts. The one I just did above is to tell about an accident or injury, but backwards. I noticed things I never had before. Think of your MC and something traumatic they’ve gone through or will go through. Now tell it backwards. What details do you notice then?

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Three Thing Thursday

From Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

After a revision deadline of seven days, starting yet another new job {this should it be for while} and revising the end of my novel twice, I have a moment to breathe. And get back to the blog. 

Thought I’d give ya’ll three little tips this Thursday on revising. Since we’re talking about it 👊🏽 

  1. Sometimes cuts need to be made. If even its something you may not want to change. If your editor, or even sometimes your writers group, suggests something…. A lot of the times they may be able to see what you can’t. Maybe a part isn’t working, or might work better with the change. 
  2. Read out loud. If you’re revising, reading to yourself out loud can help you know if what you’ve just added connects well with your voice or character. If you’ve not read your novel in over a year, and then start edits, there’s a chance your voice may have changed a little. Or you still have a different character hanging out in your brain. It’s good to make sure it’s all cohesive. And reading to yourself out loud helps. 
  3. Give yourself time. Sometimes meeting a deadline can make your work feel rushed. You’re writing a novel, not running a race. It takes time and you should allow yourself that. Think about what you’re putting in the page, even if it is just a rewrite. Someone’s going to read that someday. It’s better to have a perfected novel than to make a deadline.         That’s all I have for now. Hope it helps you all with your rewrites !!


From Cheryl!

Did you guys hear that Brandon Sanderson is recording and posting his lectures on YouTube? Check it out!

My favorite part of this lecture is when he talks about how others react to hearing you’re a writer. For many, the automatic response is, “So, when are you getting published?”
But when you think about it, this response doesn’t actually make sense. There are plenty of people who get together with  buddies and play basketball once a week, but no one asks them when they’ll be starting for the NBA. They play because it’s fun, relaxing, and a good hobby. Why can’t we have the same attitude about writing? Who cares if we’re a New York Times Bestseller, or if we make enough for this to be our only source of income?
Write because you love it. Write because it’s good for you. Write because it exercises your mind and invigorates your soul. All the professional stuff will fall into place or it won’t, but what matters is that you’re creating something for you.
From LoriAnne!

Imagine how you’d feel if a reader said your book “helped me get out of the beat-myself-up cycle.” All the staring-at-the-empty-screen, revisions, and rejections would be worth it to know that something you wrote, a story that you created, was like medicine for a reader’s soul.

That’s the kind of help and hope bibliotherapy claims to be.  An article in the June 2, 2016 Deseret News explains how it works.

I’d never heard of the term bibliotherapy. It’s a  common service offered in the United Kingdom, free of charge, through a charity and a librarian society. They have prescribed books for half a million people. It’s now gaining notice in the United States. They claim that by “prescribing” specific books for specific symptoms, they’ve been able to assist adults and teenagers as they work their way through anxiety, depression, bullying, eating disorders, and exam pressure. They report that 90% of the people who participate in bibliotherapy say it helped their emotional state, and 85 percent stated that the “books helped their symptoms feel manageable.”

The article cite studies that show that reading fiction coincides with “a heightened sense of empathy in adults and children.”

How lucky are we to be participants in something that is more than entertainment or education! We create something that shows that things can work out even when things seem broken. Reading a book can change a reader. Imagine what writing it does for the writer.

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How are You Doing?

Ann Dee and I completed part of our goal this evening.

I went to her house.

I saw her cute kids and cute husband.

I looked at her library books.

We talked.

She asked questions.

We laughed.

We said, “Good idea,” to each other.

We got too complex.

But now

we sorta know where our newest novel is going.

We have the 25 words (or less) elevator pitch. We have our MDQ.

We know each of our main characters’ wants.

Maybe this means we’ll be able to get our dirty draft done by the end of the month.

What did you do today?

How is your writing coming?

Are you happy with this first real day of of our July Writing Quest?

Let us know!


Filed under Ann Dee, Plot, Writing Marathon, writing process

Happy Fourth of July!

Did you have a restful June?

I had so many plans, writing plans, cleaning and organizing plans, family plans–and nothing got finished or taken care of.

So Ann Dee and I are going to start a July contest.

We haven’t discussed it all the way but we will and she’ll announce tomorrow.

It might be to tell us what our book is about.

It might be to pull weeds in my yard.

It might be to babysit for us.

Who knows?

Until tomorrow, have a beautiful, safe Independence Day.

Gosh, I love this country!


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Three Thing Thursday


No more posts from (or Kyra or Lisa or Cheryl or LoriAnne) for the rest of June! Ann Dee? What about you?

Getting ready for Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers!


EVERYONE: Please read Emily Wing Smith’s book ALL BETTER NOW.



One of the biggest issues with trying to implement “show don’t tell” into our writing is defining relationships between characters. But sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be. After all, we do this in real life all the time.
Go people watching sometime. See that couple, where the man is just a couple of years older than the woman? What’s their relationship? Are they brother and sister? Acquaintances? Husband and wife? On a first date?
Without even thinking about it, we put together tiny clues that let us know what’s going on between other people. The way they touch, they way they laugh, the things they say. It’s second nature to us. Granted, we’re not always right, but we are good at coming to conclusions.
Trust your readers to have the ability to come to a conclusion. When the man slides his arm around the waist of a woman and she smiles up at him, we’re going to assume they’re in a relationship. If he punches her shoulder playfully and she threatens to “tell Mom,” we’re not afraid to assume they’re brother and sister. And if they both seem awkward and unsure of what to say but can’t stop slipping each other flirty glances, it might be a budding relationship.
Learn to apply the behaviors you see in real life to your writing, then trust your reader to follow along.



Writing against a deadline is nerve-wracking, and being late on a deadline can have dire consequences. Why do some of us put ourselves in that situation again and again?

Like me today.

Some people say it’s exhilarating and they write better under pressure.

I know I do not.


One thing I struggle with is not protecting my writing time enough because I don’t want to appear selfish. It’s too easy to let small demands from family, work, church,  creep in and before you know it, that hour you set aside is swallowed up in bathing the baby, talking with that neighbor across the street who is having a hard time etc. All worthy and selfless things, but you didn’t keep your promise to yourself that day. Did you let these things become excuses for why you didn’t write?

How do you find a balance on how to be available to help others who depend on you, but also be a reliable and consistent writer? I am finding  I write more and better if I  leave my house where  family can’t find me. I can focus for a couple hours on writing.

What are your tips for how to do this? Writing late at night or early in the morning? Writing in 15-minute moments? What is your balance?

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