Tag Archives: Debbie Nance

Frozen Friday

Just a moment to say what I would have said on Monday if I hadn’t had a daughter in the hospital.

This new year?

I have so many hopes for what’s to come.

Last year was so hard.

We started the year off losing our sweet and amazing Debbie and ended the year losing hilarious and wonderful Rick. Before and after those terrible days, more people we loved left this earth life and moved on. It’s been a long, hard time.

Today, though, I’ve been thinking how I’ve already fallen behind with my goals.

But each day is new, right?

Each day I can stretch and reach and hope.

That’s how I hope to treat each moment in this joyous new year.

Ann Dee, Kyra and I hope you have a perfect 2017. Sure, there’s going to be hard times. But there’s going to be a new moment, a new chance, and always we’ll have the opportunity to write for the love of words and kids and ourselves.

Happy weekend!

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Friends and Writing Workshops

I woke up early this morning worrying about my dear friend Debbie Nance. I think about her a lot lately. She is an amazing woman and I hate she is so sick.

This is the last day of a writing workshop with Steve Fraser. It’s been going so well.

Steve is smart, funny and loves terrific writing.


My dear  friends, Brenda and Cheryl, have been sending me things to post. However, I’ve not done a great job what with school and, well, I haven’t posted in days.

So, here are a few things they’ve had to say:

Do you want to be a writer? Or do you want to be a reader? I’m one of those who wants to be both. Unfortunately, if something has to “go” in my daily schedule, it is too often the reading! I need to buck up my resolve in this regard, so listen to these knowledgeable people:
“The main suggestion from me is READ. It is impossible for a writer to be able to write honestly and eloquently without having at one time or another acquainted himself with such writers as Sir Thomas Browne.” ~ William Styron
“Read as may of the great books as you can before the age of 22.” ~ James Michener (wish I’d seen THAT sooner ! ! !)
“Read, read, read. Read everything —trash, classics, gook and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.” ~ William Faulkner
“If you would be a reader, read; if a writer, write.” Epictetus
Rachel Carson is credited with having said (or, more probably, written) “The discipline of the writer is to learn to be still and listen to what his subject has to tell him.” I’m hoping Boudica, my main character, or at least Veleda, my narrator, will be telling me a good deal in the next several weeks and months, as I work on an historical novel which has been on the back burner for a number of years.
I did hours and hours of research “back in the day” over a stretch of possibly two or three years. I even wrote an (absolutely TERRIBLE) screen play on this story. It was so bad, I’m afraid that’s what has made me let it lie dormant ever since. (I will NEVER write another screen play!)

But now, in 2016, it’s whispering to me again. Urgently enough to persuade me to put other, smaller projects on hold for a change, and deal with the whispers.
Oh, I still have to fix the occasional meal, spend time with my husband, take care of my daughter, try to reach my grandson who may be in Afghanistan or Iraq by now, water my houseplants, do the laundry. 
Meanwhile, there are the whispers. Whispers from Boudica’s severed head, and from her daughter, Veleda, who carries her mother’s story wherever she goes. And now, it seems, they have entrusted it to me. It’s only been almost two-thousand years. I’m listening.
I’m listening.
And what – or who – is whispering, urgently, to you? 
I’m reading a book that’s been on my “to be read” list for a long time. It’s a modern classic by a bestselling author. But so far, it’s somewhat lackluster.

I understand why people like it. It has great worldbuilding and pretty cool magic. But I’m not connecting to the characters. I know which ones I’m supposed to like and which ones I’m supposed to boo. But right now, they could all die in a fiery crash and I’d shrug my shoulders and move on.
What is it that connects us to characters? Similar life circumstances, maybe. Similar reactions or outlooks on life, perhaps. But for me, I need a degree of vulnerability. I need to feel that they are scared sometimes, like me. I need to know there is insecurity. I need to know they’re human.
What is it that makes you connect with a character?

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Table Salt and Brother Brigham – by Debbie Nance

I’ve mentioned before that I’m doing some editing work for a gal who is creating a Latter-day Saint based home-schooling curriculum. I’m relearning a lot about grammar and punctuation, which is always helpful, as well as reading through the literature sections. The books and selections chosen are void of swearing and crass words and are often classics that include a high vocabulary. It is interesting work.

Quotes are routinely placed at the beginning of sections. A quote from Brigham Young intrigued me so I looked online for the full text. “Now, brethren and sisters, … employ the rest of your lives in good thoughts, kind words, and good works. ‘Shall I sit down and read the [scriptures] all the time?’ says one. Yes, if you please, and when you have done, you may be nothing but a sectarian after all. It is your duty to study to know everything upon the face of the earth, in addition to reading [scriptures]. We should not only study good, and its effects upon our race, but also evil, and its consequences.”


Brigham made it clear in the next several passages of his talk that there was a difference from learning about evil and doing evil, which he himself would not do. He felt children never allowed to learn about evil would, when free of their parents, fall into or even embrace evil practices. That reminded me of something a Salt Lake City librarian once told me that they had to keep replacing books at the library on some tough moral and social topics—not because the kids reading them were doing the “bad” things discussed, but in her opinion because the kids were too embarrassed to ask about the topics or to even check out the books so they just took them. To her, there was an obvious need for those books.  


In my WIFYR class, one of the writers was unsure about including some difficult things in her novel about a girl who had attempted and failed suicide. My classmate said she chickened out when it came to writing the hard stuff and would simply end the scene. Our class encouraged her to write the whole story. I don’t believe that means she has to add a ton of foul language or gross details, but her book has a place and needs to be written for those teens faced with the same difficult situations as her MC. I think Brother Brigham would have agreed.


WIFYR was a great conference and I was surrounded by lots of friends and many talented people. At times I felt inspired and excited, and at other times I felt overwhelmed and exhausted. Can you relate?

Stephen King once said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” 

Guess it’s time for us to go back to work. 

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The Friday Before WIFYR

 by Debbie Nance

This afternoon the WIFYR Committee is meeting at Waterford to set up for the conference, which begins on Monday. We’ll arrange tables and chairs for registration. We’ll arrange tables and chairs in the morning and mini workshop classrooms. We’ll put up signs by the rooms that show the schedule for each day. We’ll put together the handouts and name tags.

We’ll discover whatever we’ve forgotten. (I hope it isn’t anything big.)

What project is your MC involved with or in charge of? Write a scene where she discovers something BIG was overlooked or falls apart at the last minute. What is her reaction? Does she break down and cry? Does she grit her teeth and power through and act like nothing happened? Does she call her best friend and enlist help? Does she confront and blame the person who made the mistake? Write the scene in a way that reveals your MC‘s character.

Okay, that’s it. Next time I write, WIFYR 2014 will be ended.

Have a great weekend and hope to see you bright and early Monday morning.

Happy Father’s Day this coming Sunday!

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