Tag Archives: school

Three Things To Do with My New Book Today

So I don’t really have a new book. Not yet.

Before I start anything else I have a ton of finals to grade, and then two more books (that I am writing with friends) to finish.

(I am excited about BOTH these friends books! One I have written with my daughter, Laura. We’re in copyediting mode on that one. The other I am working on with my very good friend Melanie Skelton. Plus, I have a novel more than halfway completed, a middle grade, that I wrote Nano before last. I think I am ready to finish that.)

And there’s the moving.

Something I Have Discovered

I simply cannot do everything on my own. I need help.

But today, in between all that, here is what I must do as far as the Next Book:

1. As I work, I will let the ideas (I have three or four which feel more important) percolate in my head.

Which means the most to me?

Which moves me the most?

Do I want to laugh and write ghosty things?

Do I want to spend some really sad time investigating the other novel?

Do I want to get into the head of someone who’s really sick?

I know which sounds easiest, but which is best for me, now, as a writer?

2. I need to talk this over with a friend.

Lay everything out of the table.

What is best for me? For my career? For my well-being (I’ve been pretty depressed this winter. The new TV shows Hannibal and Bates Motel haven’t brought my mood up.)?

3. I must take notes. When the ideas start for the books, I can’t expect to remember them. I hardly know my own name right now.

But these notes aren’t just snippets of ideas. Yes, those will be there.  I need some notes  detailing what I think could happen in all three books.

For example, I know the beginning and end, only, of the two darker novels. A few additional scenes with one of them.

The funny book, I sort of know the whole plot–and have a faded idea of the ending.

So notes are essential.

I know I won’t have  time to really write today so I have to use my jotting-down-times (as the ideas strike me) effectively.

What would YOU like to see from me, The Best Five Readers in the World?


Dark and Scary?

Contemporary Sad (that might be a sequel to another hard novel I wrote)?

Now I need to get going on the day’s very long list.

Taking a deep breath.

And I am off.


Filed under CLW, Depression, Plot, writing process

Three Things Thursday that’s Really Four

1. So last night I had two dreams that I thought would  make great novels. I never woke completely to write the ideas down but I have a new goal for myself. I am going to have these things on my bedside table from this point on:


dream journal,

scripture study material,



Each night before sleeping, I will open my dream journal to the appropriate place so I have at least two pages to write on.

Then, I’m going to remind myself that I have this pad of paper to help myself be more successful as a writer.

Maybe I will write a before-bed note to myself about my novel.

Maybe I will put a question down on paper that I want to dream through.

My dear friend, Rick Walton, has come up with complete book ideas–that he’s later sold–while lying in bed at night.

Why not really try to use that part of my brain while I sleep?

I’ll let you know how it goes!

2. The people next door (sort of) have a dog. It’s not a new dog. But the dog is still a puppy. A beautiful chocolate lab. Every morning about seven they put the dog in the cage. She (I don’t know if it’s a boy or girl) barks for more than an hour. She can see into her owner’s home, maybe can see them eating breakfast and getting ready to go to work at BYU. Anyway, she just stays, rain or shine or snow or massive heat (we haven’t had that yet since she came to live with them, but this is what they did with their last poor dog) out in a ten x six foot cage. All day. Every day. Every week. She’s let out a few minutes each day. Sometimes. I can hear her barking now (it’s 9 am).

Carolina, who has been looking up the life spans of dogs since Violet was killed, said, “Mom, that dog has eleven more years in that cage.”

It makes me sick. But did you know as long as there is shelter and food and water for an animal you don’t have to do anything more than that for it?

Ugh. Now I am awfully sad.

PS I noticed last night that the dog on Modern Family has a huge grin on her face. Pampered! I bet that dog makes more money per episode than I do per year!

3. My good friend, Dave Farland’s 16-year-old son, Ben, was in a terrible, terrible accident. PLEASE go to the Facebook page A Book Bomb for Ben to help out this family. (I wish I knew how to do a real link.) Ben’s injuries are so severe that medical bills are expected to exceed a million dollars. My heart goes out to Dave and his family.

I’ve gotten to know Dave at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (www.wifyr.com). He’s a great guy. Once, on stage, I read a winning piece to a contest we ran at WIFYR. Huzzah was in the reading. I’d only seen the word (once? Maybe once?), never heard it, and I read it wrong in front of everyone. The audience laughed at me (something I am used to– as many of you know). Dave came up on the stage as the room cleared and taught me the proper way of saying the  word, explained how it came about, and was just so kind to me.

He’s helped many, many writers over the years. He is generous and good-hearted. Please consider helping this family. Every little bit helps.

I know prayers would be appreciated, too.

4. This is my last Thursday with my students.

I’ve really lucked out this semester. I have fantastic writers. Fantastic students. Amazing people who I have loved getting to know. If they keep working hard, I will have lots of books dedicated to me, these writers are that good! They let me be dumb in class, corrected my mispronounced words (only after I asked!), and worked their butts off.

So, my last part of this post today is to my wonderful writing students. Keep going. Keep writing. Don’t stop. Stretch. Reach for the hard parts. Keep thinking. Don’t settle. If you really want to write, do it. You’ve become my friends and I always feel lucky to make good friends of the people I teach. Every time I receive an email that someone I taught finished a novel or got an agent or sold a book, it’s almost as good–maybe even better–than when I sell something myself. I truly want you to succeed. Thank you for making this semester amazing.


Filed under CLW, Life, Publication, three thing thursday, writing process