Category Archives: Chris

And Another Thing!

Still thinking about the writing next month?

Quick questions–are you writing a book NOW, too?

How do you do both?

Set aside time every day for your main WIP. BUT give yourself 15 minutes daily to prepare for next month.

Here’s a little something to work on:

There are a couple of ways to drive a story forward. One is with an intriguing plot. Another is with emotion–a feeling that flows through a novel.

So, I have to back up here. Once my sister stayed a summer with our wonderful grandmother and read romance after romance. My sister wrote me a letter. It went something like this: This afternoon I wandered through the darkened halls of Nanny’s home. The wood reflected my auburn-colored hair, like a fire in a fireplace. When I stepped into freedom, I saw the chiseled jaw of the mailman as he placed letters–love letters–in the mailbox. I ran across the field, grass whipping at my ankles, my gown slipping down my shoulders, revealing a bit of my ample breasts.

Okay–it wasn’t exactly that letter (she was like, 13), but sorta like that. There was a feeling in those Harlequins that Sam conveyed in her letter, making me laugh my guts out.

All our writing should have emotion.

In your 15 minutes today, play around with emotions you hope might be in your novel.

Do this for a few days this month. A quick emotion rush. Do heartbreak, sadness, fear, joy, loathing, love, excitement.

That first glimpse of the villain. That parting kiss from the murderer. That joke from a loved one.

Mix it up.

Have fun!


PS Our next get together will be the first week of December to talk about NaNo!


Filed under Character, Chris, Life, Plot, writing process

Three Things Thursday

1. We will miss the faded Chris Crowe.
Time really does feel fleeting.
There is only so much and we must give that time to what is important to us.

2. There are changes coming for the blog.
It’s hard to keep a blog going five days a week when you have to write novels and teach other people (whom you love) to write and be a mom and run a house and conferences and all that, just as Chris said.
I am lucky I get to work with Ann Dee on this blog.
She’s great.
And funny.
And I admire her.
A lot.
I love all her boys (and they love her) and I feel super-happy and blessed to know Ann Dee Ellis.
we will be looking at down-sizing a bit after our Project Writeway winner has been proclaimed and admired fully.

3. Today we want you to imagine of the most amazing two-day conference.
What would it be like?
What would you want to learn?
IF PUBLISHING ISN’T THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, and it shouldn’t be, how would you design YOUR conference?
Please share.

Now, I am off to work!
And pack.
Anyone close have boxes?
Let me know!


Filed under Chris, three thing thursday

Fading Away . . .

Most writers I know believe that, for some inexplicable reason, it’s easy for other writers to get their writing done. I certainly believe this.

For example, I know that it’s easy for Carol to knock out a book in a few days, tinker with it for a day or two after that, and then ship it off to her agent. She’s publishing on a pace slightly more than a book a year, so that means she’s got about 50 weeks of free time in any given year.

Andy is cut from the cloth. She’s so disciplined and efficient that she can write a complete chapter between labor pains. She now has three boys and a house to take care of—no problem. Books appear in her head, fully-formed, and she just needs to find a few minutes each night to sit at a keyboard and download it all. Kind of like taking dictation.

Anyway, like Carol, Andy is awash in energy, creativity, and free time.

In contrast, I am a tortoise, and not the plodding, successful type featured in the time-worn fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” I am a prehistoric tortoise, one slowed not only by the weighty and cumbersome shell but also by the ravages of age. In the time it takes me to write a page, Carol and Andy will have popped out four or five polished chapters, baked an apple pie for their neighbors, watched three episodes of “Jersey Shores” and bossed around their yard boys for not keeping their lawns and sideburns tidy enough. In the time it takes me to finish a book, glaciers will have moved a mile closer to the sea. And it’s likely that my oldest granddaughter will be a graduate student by the time I can conceive and finish a new book.

I’m telling both of you this because I am officially retiring from throwing up words—and from writing blogs. To steal and morph a line from “His Coy Mistress,” “Had I words enough and time” I would be able to write a blog, teach my classes, grade my papers, and work on my own writing. But I’m not Speedy Gonzales or the Roadrunner when it comes to putting words together, so it’s time to conserve what feeble writing energy I have for writing a book project, not a blog.

So I’m going to fade away, to melt into the floor like Oz’s Wicked Witch, to ride off into the sunset, to crawl into a rocking chair with a 2-liter bottle of Geritol, to use what few lucid moments my brain can spare on writing books—and maybe playing with the grandkids.

Carol, Andy, and Kyra may soon be advertising for a replacement Junior Assistant Co-blogger for Throwing Up Words, and I’m sure they’ll have many fine, talented applicants.

Be warned, though, the pay sucks.


Filed under Chris

Finding Yourself in Fiction

I just received an advance copy of Carol Lunch Williams forthcoming (May 1, 2012) novel titled Waiting.    It’s intense, of course, and packed with emotion and interesting characters doing interesting things.

One character, however, stood out above all the others:  Mr. Crowe.

Now this is not the first time an author has based a character on me (see last week’s post about Edward, Xander, and the gang).  The first such instance was in Louise Plummer’s delightful first novel, The Romantic Obsessions and Humiliations of Annie Sehlmeier (1987).  In that novel a charming, sensitive teacher is named Mr. Crowe.  The conncection is obvious.

Here’s a section from Carol Lunch Williams’ newest novel:

I tap on the glass again, and Mr. Crowe strides over and swings the door open.  “Yes, London?”

How did he know my name?

I’m mute.

Now, it’s a good thing this is only an advance copy because, as both of you have noticed, Carol needs to rewrite this scene—or more likely, to re-insert the material that certainly was there in an earlier draft.

Here’s how it should read.

My hand trembles when I tap on the glass, hoping for a glimpse of Mr. Crowe, the Adonis of my Florida high school.  Though my heart is pounding with anticipation, I know that it’s unlikely that he’ll notice me.  His students hang on his every word, scribbling notes furiously and pausing only to snatch glimpes of the man they idolize.

By some sort of miracle, though, he does notice, and he glides over, looking every bit like Mr. Darcy, and with a flourish, swings open the door.  My hands have turned cold and clammy.  I’ve never been this close to anyone as kind, generous, and stunning as Mr. Crowe, and I have to place my hand on the doorjamb to steady myself when he says, in that melodious baritone, “Yes, London?”

I am mute, completely overpowered by the magnificent man standing before me.

I’m confident Carol will make these changes.

So here’s a reading-writing challenge for you.  Find your name in a novel or short story, select a scene that has your namesake in it, and rewrite that scene in a way that portrays you in the properly positive light.

It’s good practice for characterization, and it’s fun to find yourself in someone else’s fiction.


Filed under Chris, Uncategorized