Tag Archives: love

Lynne Snyder

Last week, my dear friend Lynne Snyder died.

When my daughter approached me, her face had this look like–how do I tell Mom? I knew another person had died. But Lynne? She was just diagnosed with leukemia.  How could this be?

Don’t think you know Lynne? She’s the person who commented so often here on the blog. Always words of encouragement. Man, am I going to miss seeing what she thinks of what Ann Dee or Kyra or I have written.

I love Lynne and I will miss her. She was funny, extremely kind, and man, had she hoed the road. I remember she told me she walked around for a week–in agony–having no idea she had a broken leg (had she broken her femur?). Her writing was incredible. I met her years ago when someone trashed her work–along with the work of many other writers–and she was determined to never write a gain. Then I read her stories. I was blown away. So much talent. She painted (watercolor) and made caramels that would make you cry, they were so good. But what she did best was love people. All people. No matter who they were or what they did. She opened her arms to the world. Lucky for me, I made it into those arms.

I asked a dear friend, DeAnn Campbell to say a few things about Lynne. Here is her tribute.

Years ago, when I lived in Utah, Carol Lynch Williams introduced me to Lynne Snyder. “You should be in a writing group together,” she told us. And so we were. Our small group of three and sometimes four met weekly. We wrote, we critiqued, but we also loved and laughed and cried and shared each other’s lives. I once heard an author say that all writing in its heart is about loss. Now we’ve lost our beloved Lynne Snyder.

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Heartbreak at 36–When Life Doesn’t Go the Way You Hoped

(Are these titles bringing in more readers?)

(Can you believe we are at #36?)

Emotion grounds our reader in such a way that the reader should be changed at the end of the book. It is our duty, as writers, to allow the reader to feel. We do that by putting emotion on the page.

Once, many years ago, I asked a few amazing writers, how they put emotion on the page so that their books rang true-so they felt like real life. Jerry Spinelli said this:

“You need to experience that emotion yourself. You don’t have to be experiencing it as you’re actually writing, but you need to be able to tap the keg where the memory of it resides and, so far as you are able, relive it.”

Martine Leavitt gave me this advice: “Create a powerful story, and you will create powerful emotion. Novice writers sometimes try to spoonfeed their readers the emotion they want them to feel, but language has the great knack of diminishing emotion. Put an emotion into words and you will undoubtedly drain it of power. All you must do is write a great story, a story full of love, honor, pity, pride, compassion and sacrifice (Faulkner’s six), and your reader will feel every emotion you want her to feel.”

David Gifaldi answered the question this way:

“For me, emotion comes only when I have become close enough to the character
to feel what he/she feels at every turn in the story.”
#36
List important events in your story.
What do you feel as you write these parts?
How do you want your reader to feel?
How does your character feel?
Are you getting the emotion across?
How?
How can you de better?
Do you have Faulkner’s six in your story?
Do you know how your character feels at every turn?
Are you tapping into your memory keg?

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

15 Minute Monday

These past few days have been really good for me.

My agent, Steve Fraser, was here. He gave a terrific talk on Wednesday night to a crowd who sat on the floor and up the stairways and all around the room (INCLUDING sitting in chairs!). He spoke of joy. It was lovely and inspirational.

I’ve been thinking of my writing life. What I want to do with it. How I need to change things or not change them. What is important to me.

And there has been this other stuff.

And the other stuff has gotten into my very heart and stabbed at it with ice picks and as the stabbing has gotten worse, I’ve begun to build this wall around me and how I feel.

Can a writer do that?

Well, yes, they can. I have.

Should they?

I’ve got all these new, weightier things to think about. Personal things.

Most times I don’t want to think about them. Feel them. Hurt from them.

But

but the deal is, all this stuff, will, in the end, influence my writing.

So I have to be available emotionally. Not just for the good of my life and the people in my life, but otherwise, what good am I as a writer?

We write Truth. That means we have to be willing to feel all things icky and hard and gross and awful and happy and joyous and amazing because our readers need that Truth.

As I have peered sideways at things going on lately, even when I see I don’t like me very much as I gaze on these weightier things, I can see that this has been a good few days.

Sad. Hard.

Emotional.

Yes. Good.

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Filed under Agents, CLW, Family, Life

Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

Guys, I suck at the blog.
I just suck.
Work life is crazy. Writing life is crazy. Moving life is crazy. And of course the love life….
None existent. So at least there’s that.

It’s almost Valentine’s Day again.
Singles awareness.
Just another day to remind me how alone I truly am. {ha ha ha!}

I met a boy I can’t seem to quit. We used to see each other a lot. I sort of liked him for awhile.
And then it didn’t work out.
Then I ran into him again and something weird happened and now my guts feel all confused and irritated {like IBS, only much, much worse} and I can’t figure out why.
Only I CAN. He’s PLAYING me.  Playing games with my brain and making me think about him and miss him and blah blah blah garbage garbage. But I FALL for it. I fall for every text and call and nice comment. I eat that shit up. WHY? I hate it.
I’m not good at games, or thinking about men.
So now I think I need to write a romance.

But when writing a romance, does one talk about the games? The confusion? The heartache?

The dating world is so different now. Everyone’s using apps and have all these artificial relationships.
Is that what needs to happen in a romance novel?
Is that what romance IS?

I just don’t get it. Dating, or writing, romance.
All I know is this…. My character WILL find an amazing person.
One who makes her crazy and a little confused. But he’ll mostly just love her.

And then Mom and I will hunt down that person’s doppelganger, and make them love us.

I’ll be back next week. Because MY AGENT IS COMING TO UTAH AND I WILL KEEP A DETAILED LOG ON HOW AMAZING IT IS.

Okay. Over and out.

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What Matters Most

Have you noticed time streaming, screaming past? Like water through your fingers? Like sand through the hourglass?

Yes, these are the days of our lives.

And once again, I have been reminded how sacred and fragile life is.

A late Sunday night when a child announces a friend is dead.

An email with someone telling me the cancer is back.

A call from a dear friend saying the chemo isn’t working.

Mass shootings.

Mass murders.

Kidnappings.

You know (oh, you know) I could go on.

But this morning, for just a moment, I want to share what my writing life has done for me.

When I mailed that first novel off so many years ago, I had no idea how my world would open up. At the time I had three babies and was so very shy I couldn’t talk to people. (Really.) I’d worked on the novel called Me and Kelly for several years until I’d realized how it needed to end. When it was very nearly ready to be published, I was on bed rest with my 4th pregnancy and I got a phone call from a guy named Rick Walton. He’d heard about me from a writer named Louise Plummer. Did I want to talk about books and writing?

Yes! I did.

Every day, Rick called me. We spoke for a couple of hours. By the time I went to the critique group run  at his home, Rick was my friend. And at that group I got to know several other people who changed my life. Made my life amazing. I wrote books with some of them. Ran the first really successful writing conference in the Provo, UT area with two of them. Became fast friends with nearly all of them.

The other day, after the telephone call from my dear friend, I realized just how far-reaching my writing life has been. I’ve met teachers in other states who’ve become my friends. Other writers from all over the country who have changed who I am. I’ve gone to school in a place hot as hell, watched my writing career completely stop for seven years, lost loved ones, a marriage, hope. I’ve made more and more and more friends, had my heart broken more times than I can count, agonized over family situations, known editors who I’ve known–without a doubt–wanted me to succeed. Who helped me make my books better and better. I’ve gotten letters from adults about my books. From children. Spoken to translators who have lost children. Learned to love people I thought I would never have anything in common with. I’ve run conferences, been to conferences, accepted awards, been passed over for awards, and all along what has mattered most are the people behind it all.

The people.

You.

I am not who I was when I started that lonely process of writing a middle grade novel. I am better because of the people I know and love.

The best part of my life is my religion and my family. But a very close second is my writing world because it has afforded me so much–the friends I would have never met. Those people who have made my life richer. The people who have been my example. Shared experiences. Shared their love. Who have cared for me, no matter what.

How grateful I am for the people I know.

You all have made me better. I am touched to know you. So grateful I do.

 

 

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Filed under CLW, Editors, Family, Life

Three Thing Thursday

Cheryl

Last week I reread To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time since high school. I even read my high school copy, which is covered in color coded highlighter marks and notes filling the margins of every single page.

In case you’re wondering if there were any incredible insights to the novel in those notes, there weren’t. But it was fascinating to look back and watch myself learn how to analyze. By the end of the novel I was better than at the beginning.
Like anything else, learning to analyze literature takes practice. For me, it really helped to mark up the books like crazy. Breaking up the page into separate colors helped me to deconstruct what I was reading.
Once you’re able to analyze literature and understand what separates the good and the bad, then you’ll be able to analyze your own writing. That’s when you learn how to elevate your writing from a “fun story” to serious literature. 
Brenda
I’ve heard more than once that another way to really “hurt” your protagonist is to kill (of at least seriously damage) the person he or she most cares about.  Cruel, I know . . . but that’s what we need to do in order to jeopardize our MC in the most meaningful way.  We’re here to make his or her life DIFFICULT !
But which character to choose as the sacrificial lamb?  An ally or best friend?  An unsuspected antagonist?  A close relative?  Someone your hero would die to save . . . but can’t, in this case?
This can be used to push your MC to the max.  How will that make him act?  Will he step up and  do the right thing?  Give up?  Dissolve into tears?  Go hide away from both friend and foe?
And, whichever he chooses, what comes next?
Think of three very different characters in your current WIP who could be your chosen victim.  Write a short scene for EACH ONE, showing his defeat (whether death, disappearance, or whatever), and your MC’s reaction.   Does he hear about it later?  See the fated event?  Not find out for many hours, days or weeks?  And WHAT does he choose to do next?
Kyra
I have fallen back into my bad old ways.
I finished my newest novel, and now I’m suddenly not motivated. I have written one paragraph for Nano and that’s it.

My addiction to Ally McBeal has gotten the best of me.

I need help! I need motivation! Areergghhg.

What are your guys distractions?
How do you avoid them?

Carol
Brenda–I love you.

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Filed under CLW, Life, Plot

Three Things Thursday

Cheryl
I remember when I was 11 or 12, I became “inspired” to write the greatest Christmas story EVER. I had a special pen and a special notebook and I would get down under the Christmas tree to write with only twinkly lights to see by.
I’m pretty sure it involved an orphanage, snow, and a little girl that believed in Santa no matter what anyone told her. A terminal disease may have been involved.  I’m also pretty sure I never finished it.
I can definitely say that it wasn’t the greatest Christmas story EVER. The lights didn’t cast magic over my words and make them better.
But the experience of writing…that was magical. In this world of instant gratification and results-based judgment, we sometimes forget about how important experiences are. Sometimes you’ll work for months or years on a story and it will come to nothing. That’s not a failure. You only fail if you learn nothing from it.
So take the risk. Try that story you’re afraid to waste time on. It might be stupid. It might be unoriginal.
Or it might be the greatest story EVER.
Brenda
Some of us already have goals for next year.  Some of us are thinking about it.  Some of us haven’t made goals, unless they’re about NOT having goals and “setting ourselves up for defeat.”
In this week before Christmas, I’d like to suggest we all give ourselves a break.  For instance, one of my goals is to write AT LEAST 750 words a day.  Maybe I should think about NOT obsessing over the “every day” thing, just for this week.
I’d like to make writing a priority over most other things.  But here’s a list of things writing should NOT trump:
Family
Dear friends
The real spirit of Christmas
Taking care of myself: eating, sleeping, remembering to take necessary meds
Have a Merry Christmas season with all your REAL priorities in mind!
Carol
Tomorrow is our last post for a week.
And so I wanted to tell you several things–
Thank you for being my friends.
Thank you for loving good books and writing good books.
Thank you for following Ann Dee and me and Kyra along for the last few years.
The very best blessings to you and yours.
And may this season bring you the most joy possible.
Love, love, love.

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