Category Archives: Life

Freezing Friday

I have no idea if this is true as I haven’t been outside this morning. But yesterday afternoon the wind was blowing and cold and the people at Lowe’s were moving flowers into a heated room in case we had another freezing night. AND it’s supposed to snow.

Sheesh.

#25

In your work, look for ways to trim unnecessary words. Here are three examples of ways to clean up your creative writing.

~ was-ing words can become one word. I was running = I ran

~ that can almost always go as well as well, just, very, ly words, adjectives

~ Cheri Earl taught me no need to use start or begin (unless starting a car or lawn mower etc). I started running = I ran. “Let the action happen,” Cheri says.

Words are power. But you an overdo amazing writing. Many a good novel has been ruined by the words that make it up.

Remember, less is more.

You can read where this phrase came from below (if you can get past all the ads).

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/226400.html

 

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Filed under CLW, Exercises, Life, Plot, Voice, writing process

Prompt

# 24

Write 25 first lines for your novel.

Jot them down quickly (you already have a first line, and you’re working on a book, so you know where you’re going–this will be an easy exercise), a minute or less per line.

That first line is a promise to your reader. It can show voice, hint at character and plot, show mood and it certainly should grab the reader.

So what are you doing with YOUR book opening?

Remember, Richard Peck (LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO, A YEAR DOWN YONDER) says, “You are no better than your first line.”

Once Richard read the first few pages of my novel that is under consideration right now. “You don’t have your best first line,” he said. He was right. I chopped off the first paragraph AND learned a valuable lesson from a great writer.

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Filed under First Line, Life, Publication, Revision, Uncategorized, Voice

Tuesday

Hopefully, we’ll hear from Ann Dee Ellis. Her posts always make me so happy. And Ann Dee is a part of my writing prompts/goal today. We work together on novels, we read each other’s novels, visit each other’s classes, share this blog, brainstorm together. We even say ‘Hello!’ to each other in the hallway at church. I’m lucky to have such a fantastic, amazing writer/partner/friend to work with.

#22

Find a friend who you can be accountable to. If that friend is a writer, set goals and challenges for yourself or each other, and make a day and time to discuss goals you’ve set and reached.

Write a scene together, three sentences at a time. You write the first three sentences, she writes the second, back and forth until you are done. Do it for your project and your partner’s project.  Go for 750 words working together. Try to follow the leads and clues left by your partner. Don’t be afraid to have fun, but do move the story forward. And don’t be afraid to surprise your friend with a challenge as you write.

What do you learn about your style? Your story? Your working with another writer?

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Filed under Ann Dee, Life, Plot, writing process

Friday–What’re We Gonna Write Today?

#20

You spend 24 hours with your main character.

What do you do?

What do you talk about?

What do you notice as quirks?

How does she make you cry?

What stories about her past does she tell you?

You go shopping. What does she buy?

What does she eat?

Can she cook?

Name three nice things she does for you.

What does she want you to do for her?

What does she read?

How does she surprise you?

Worry you?

How does she sleep? On her back? Curled up? Does she toss and turn? Snore? Talk in her sleep?

Does she want breakfast?

At the end of the day together, does she thank you for telling her story or curse you?

 

 

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Family, Life, Plot, Uncategorized, Voice, writing process

Monday, Monday

Things I Have Learned in the Last Month

  1. I have found if you are always cold, your heating bill isn’t as much as when you are warm.
  2. If you make goals and then watch TV all the time, you never reach your goal. Even if you are watching all the Friends episodes. Or all the Sherlock episodes starring Engelbart Humperdinky. Or all the House episodes even when you hate House.
  3. Lots of dogs make lots of dog hair. This does not make you warmer, and yes, you will awaken with a hair in your mouth and or war. I bet even very clean Cheri earl has dog hair somewhere at her house. Maybe not in dinner, but somewhere.
  4. Grief freezes you.
  5. If you write the emotion you’re feeling when you come up with a new book idea then set the book idea aside, later when you come back to it you’ll remember why you love this new idea.
  6. The older you get the more tired you are. Unless you’re eating right and exercising. At least that’s what I’ve heard.
  7. Adult children, and writing partners, are even more naughty than little children.
  8. The more you brain storm, the more you can brain storm. This goes for ideas for new books, plots you’re having trouble with, and where to store your canned corn.
  9. Babies are amazing.
  10. Writing for just five minutes each day keeps a story alive, keeps you interested, means you’re that much closer to publishing success.

 

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Filed under CLW, Exercises, Life, Publication, Writers Block

HAP-pee New Year!

Yes, I’m late!

As always.

We had an illness in the family that left one of us in the hospital for 6 days and another one of us caring for the sick daughter’s baby for 6 days.

But this is still a New Year! A Yippee, Let’s Go! year. A We Can Do Anything

Each year I write out a million goals. Last year, though, I held back. I made only 70. (I’ve mentioned I’m not one of those gals who feels badly when she fails to reach a destination. I love the way I feel when I set a goal and imagine accomplishing it.) How’s I do? Not so well. It was a tough 366 days.

This year, well, I’m still writing out the things I want to do–but I can safely say I have more hopes and dreams than a human should have. There are house goals, garden goals, personal goals, etc etc.

I found these from 2009:

  1. Read 200 books
  2. Write three novels
  3. Rewrite lost in Peace for St. Martin’s Press
  4. Blog????

And then here were Rick Walton’s goals. Hahahaha! I love him. And miss him.

  1. Read 200 picture books
  2. Pick up three novels
  3. Rewrite *A Million Little Pieces* for St. Martin’s Press
  4. Comment anonymously on Carol’s blog????

It’s been a hard year. A lot of people I love have died. People I’ve loved have lost loved ones.

Here are 3 of my millions of aspirations–just in the writing category!

  1. Finish rewrite with Ann Dee, rewrite for an editor, and draft of mystery before January’s end, and send in for review to Steve.
  2. Write a true NaNoWriMo–meaning, accomplish the 50,000 words. Now, if I am rewriting a novel then, I will set the goal as I did this last year and just do the best I can. (I sent in the partial murder mystery and I’m hoping my editor likes it. I’ll let you know if she bites!)
  3. Write a picture book with my daughter Laura.

 

We know we have at least 3 readers out there. If you’d like, put your goals here. Share as many as you’d like. Unless you’re crazy like I am. Then that means there’s not enough room.

Ann Dee and Kyra? Submit your goals, too. I’ll save them this time.

😉

 

 

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Filed under CLW, Life, Uncategorized

Three Thing Thursday on Friday. Again.

CHERYL SAYS: I remember the story of a speaker at a conference I attended. She related the tale of a man who had married an incredibly beautiful woman. A few months into the marriage, he came to his mother, feeling like he was at his wit’s end.
“She doesn’t work, she doesn’t cook, she doesn’t clean, she doesn’t do anything, Mom. What should I do?”
His mother responded, “You married her for her looks. Go home and look at her.”
Do you have sentences and paragraphs like this beautiful wife? If they aren’t pulling their weight, you have to cut them loose. Every sentence needs to move the story forward. Never, ever, alter your story to make your prose fit. The story is king. Everything supports the story, or it has to go.
For me, it’s easier to save these little darlings in another folder, telling myself that someday I’ll find a home for them. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. But I know that my story is stronger for having dumped them.
I think part of the reason that it’s so hard to cut these sections stems from fear. What if I never write anything this beautiful again? What if this is the best sentence in the entire novel? What if I’ve already peaked?
Get rid of these thoughts. Every time you write, you become better. You are stronger, you are wiser, and your words will reflect that. Not only will you write something as good as the lost prose, you’ll write something better.
CAROL SAYS: So that idea of planning for NaNo? For sure, I am a pantser. (WordPress wants me to be a panther. My girls want me to be a cougar. But I am a lowly writer who never plans.) It’s hard to plan out what I’m going to write. I just don’t want to. The thought of deciding what goes in chapter one and being smart like Caitlin Shirts?
So here’s what I am doing. A Carol Plan. Easy and not restrictive.
I’m jotting down every idea of what COULD happen in my books.
Everything.
Night before last I couldn’t sleep.
Wrote thought after thought of what could happen to my Wrasseling Gals. The more I thought about it, the more possibilities came to me.
The truth is, I know I won’t make it in NaNo without forethought.
We’ll see if this helps.
AND:
Martine Leavitt‘s YA novel CALVIN has won the Governor General’s Literary Award of Canada in the category of literature for young people.

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Filed under Exercises, Family, Life, Uncategorized