Author Archives: CLW

Three Thing Thursday

Carol:

Our dear Brenda won’t be able to write for TUW for much longer.

Brenda–I will miss you.

Is there someone out there who would dare to write something weekly for our little blog?

You wouldn’t be taking Brenda’s place, as no one can. You will just be adding your insight.

Please let me know if anyone wants this super high-paying job.

 

Cheryl:

Lately, I’ve been trying to take time to focus on the five senses.

What do I hear? A car outside, the footsteps of a stray cat, the rattle of window blinds as the fan hits them.
What do I feel? The watch against my wrist, the ring pressing into my finger, the hair tie slipping out of my all-day ponytail.
What do I taste? The aftertaste of a brownie I shouldn’t have eaten, but the texture was perfect–moist and silky, with the tiniest crunch at the edge.
What do I smell? Nothing lately…I’ve had either allergies or a cold for the last month or so.
What do I see? Soft, yellow, incandescent light, casting soft shadows across the floor, but my eye is drawn to the bright screen of my ever-present, never sleeping phone.
If I were writing a scene, not all of these senses would be important. But one of them would be. Determining the most important detail in a scene can ground your reader in the entire storyline. It’s just a matter of finding what that perfect detail is, and then finding the best way to describe it.
Brenda:
Sometimes, think I don’t know enough to be specific. For instance, I’ve lived in my condo for close to ten years. Just a few years ago, the Powers That Be (think local H.O.A.) decided my stretch of nothing but lawn in the front was sad. They had our “hired hands” plant a young tree. I loved having a new tree in my yard! A year, maybe two later, we had a horrific storm and it ripped one of the arms of my small, struggling tree. I still have one piece of it: a dead limb, bent out at a rakish angle, and denuded of leaves. It’s dead. I don’t have any tools strong enough to clip it — so sad looking. Like nobody cares enough to give this old gent a haircut! And here’s the worst part. I have no idea what kind of tree it is. If I knew, I would use that name, and you, the reader, would know what it looks like, how sad it is; so it just sits there (on “my” side of the tree—it’s what I look at from my sunroom cum office window). And some of you would know, with precision, what that would look like, if I only had its name. When it turns to autumn leaves. When the first buds of leaves begin to pop out in the spring. So, we all need to learn more, to enrich and nourish our writing: fruit? But what kind? Fresh pineapple (that makes my mouth water); cantaloupe (makes me squirm —I’m allergic to the fresh melon, but cantaloupe sorbet ? — great, if I can find it. Flowers? You talkin’ roses? geraniums? dandelions? orchids? Look around you, no matter where you are? How many things can you name . . . with accuracy? Those are the details which will make our writing stand out, be engaging, be memorable.

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15-Minute Monday

Yesterday my daughters tried to  poison me.

I refused to have a Mother’s Day. But Elise and Carolina made dinner.  I was up all night.

I’m in this weird place.

I don’t like it.

Here’s what I know about depression.

My reminder.

A refresher course.

Depression doesn’t care if you make goals.

It doesn’t care  if you are behind and are struggling to catch up.

It doesn’t care  who you  hurt or how you hurt.

Depression doesn’t give a damn about the people in your life or in your heart or in your head.

You feel sorry because you got the stupid phone and don’t want to use it.

You feel sorry for everything that’s going on that you don’t know how to fix.

You feel sorry about the choices other people are making. Or that your baby is growing up. Or that all the work you do seems to go unnoticed.

It’s an ugly pity party but you can’t help it.

You know you sound like a whiny bird but you don’t care and when you try to feel anything other than no hope, there’s just a big empty place where your heart should be.

I think one of the worst parts of when I feel like this, is that it feels like even God does not care.

Don’t worry.  I sound dramatic.

I’ll be fine.  Certainly I’ve been here before.

It’s not pleasant.  But don’t writers live in this awful hole?

Getting out is just taking a lot longer than it feels like it usually does.

Maybe my girls were just trying to put me out of my misery.

Ha.

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Three Thing Thursday

Cheryl:

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Krya Leigh, Queen Bee

Why is remembering to post on the blog somehow harder than writing a novel in itself?

Anyway!

I’ve been trying to write a draft of this new story I’ve {Sort of} come up with. I decided looking up quotes from famous amazing authors to help inspire me.

I’ll share a few.

{I’m sure we’ve used some of these over the years, but still. It’s nice to read something inspiring. Especially when you’re not feeling inspired by your own ideas}

“Cut out all those explanation marks. An explanation mark is like laughing at your own joke.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“Laugh at your own jokes.”- Neil Gaiman.

“If you are using dialogue- Say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.” -John Steinbeck

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”- Stephen King.

{I think this is him giving me permission to murder everyone in my book}

“The historian records, but the novelist creates.”- E. M. Forster

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”- George Orwell

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” -Robert Frost

“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”- Neil Gaiman

“You can make anything by writing.”- C.S Lewis

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”- Jack London

And with that, I better go hunt some inspiration down for myself!

Happy writing!!

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15-Minute Monday

I’m teaching at LDS Storymakers. This Friday. I can’t remember the time.

 

I’m kind of excited. And scared. They’re going to be a lot of crazy-good people at this conference.

 

In celebration for what will be happening this week, I’ll give you three writing exercises.

 

One.

Today in your writing, introduce a character who’s completely unreliable.

 

Two.

Today in your writing, step out of your comfort zone. Maybe this means that you will write poetry, one word per page, or a violent scene. Whatever. Just do it.

 

Three.

Look carefully through your work and see if every page has two or three bits of sense of place. Remember that place grounds the reader.

 

There you go.

Maybe I will see you on Friday

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Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

When it comes to writing, you have the freedom to do whatever you want.

Build worlds with little green men with big floppy hats. Create characters that are so flawed you wonder how they get out of bed in the morning. Love stories that make you question if your own relationship could be that romantic.

But how much is too much? When does it turn from Great! Amazing! to Overload! Really? Why?

I’ve been rewatching the TV series Game of Thrones with my boyfriend. He’s never seen the show before, so it’s  nice to see his face when a favorite character dies. His favorite WAS Rob Stark, up until the Red Wedding.
But I’m also watching and I’m thinking ‘Really?’ a lot. Even though I adore the show and the characters, sometimes I wonder if it’s too much.

George RR Martin is a bestselling author, so maybe it isn’t too much.

But do I need all of this in my story to make it a bestseller?

Do I need to overload my reader?

And I think the answer is sometimes and sometimes not.

I just finished writing my third {Full} novel a few months ago and there is so much happening, yet so little happening. I’m torn. Where do I add the good pieces? Where do I make the novel sing?

Writing is amazing. There is so much freedom and so much possibility.

But writing is hard and confusing and I find myself wondering what I’m doing.

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Three Things Thursday

Carol

I can’t decide if this is Three Thing Thursday or Three Things Thursday.

What do you think?

 

 

Cheryl

My latest idea in character development is using the 36 “love questions” to understand my characters better. You may have heard about this experiment in articles such as this one: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/fashion/modern-love-to-fall-in-love-with-anyone-do-this.html?referer=

Basically, the experiment was to take two strangers and have them ask each other increasingly personal questions, then at the end, have them stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes. The developer believes that by doing this, he can make anyone fall in love.
Now, of course, there isn’t a particularly high marriage rate as a result, but most who participated reported feeling a deep personal connection to the other person. I would guess that this is because we often have superficial relationships and therefore judge each other on easily measurable criteria…looks, charm, wit, etc. But when we learn about the trials and struggles of another person, we realize how similar they are to us.
So, back to our characters. I answered these questions for both of my main characters. And what I discovered was that not only did I grow to love and respect them, but I realized what it was that they loved about each other.

 

 

Brenda

Once in a while, if I’m “down” on myself about writing, I need advice, encouragement and perhaps a good laugh, from other writers. Just in case you need some encouragement, here are wise words from a few writers:
Adele Malott: “Writing is a job as much as an art. It can be a fun job, but if you have chosen writing as a profession, you must work at it by trying to learn something new each day, by attending seminars, by reading good writing, by using what you learn.”
Anne McCaffrey: “I wish someone had told me to stop trying to make myself the heroine of a highly unrealistic and, I’m sure, ridiculous gothic fantasy.”
Barbara Kingsolver: “There is no perfect time to write. There’s only now.”
Thomas F. Monteleone: “Finish every project (even if it’s a dog — perfecting the habit of discipline to complete projects is most important.”
Celeste De Blasis: “Be prepared for the postpartum depression that comes after finishing a book. I’d thought all I wanted to do was complete the story, but when I did, I felt so sad and lost that I thought I was going crazy. Now I understand that it’s just part of the process and is probably as much physical as mental — the letdown after a long period of living on tightly wound nerves and adrenaline.”

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