Tag Archives: Shannon Hale

We’re Back! Three Thing Thursday!


Last night I dreamed Ryan Reynolds installed the new granite countertop in my kitchen.

He knew how much I loved him so he surprised me by being an installer!

He was funny!

And super-cute!

It was a great dream. Far better than the one the night before where I dreamed my daughter was swept out to sea by a giant wave and there was nothing I do to save her and I knew she was going to die because the sea was so rough. Yes, the Ryan Reynolds dream was great.

Plus–guess what?! I wasn’t even looking for him, and I found RR on Twitter! (His wife was in photos with him, but I didn’t look at her.) It was so weird, just happening upon him on Twitter. Like I was walking along in a new neighborhood and found out where my crush lived.

The Twitter thing was all about Deadpool, and I couldn’t decide to follow him. Do I? Don’t I? Do I? Don’t I?

I know how I am.

I might take a Xanax for a migraine and wake up the next day to see that I’d tweeted 8 billion messages to him like:

I know I am old but u r cute. I write books. Do you read?


Could you be keynote at WIFYR? Pay– $300. (Only 30 minutes. I heart you.)


Do you mind flabby/chubby/balding/funny/older women? Teeth okay.

At this point I am NOT following Ryan Reynolds on Twitter. But yes, I still pause the moment he is naked with Sandra Bullock in THE PROPOSAL.

And FYI–what you have just witnessed here is exactly how I write.




If you’re anything like me, then one of your favorite fantasies is becoming an award-winning author right out of the gate. Can’t you just picture it? All the highest awards, every accolade available, all of the critics universally agreeing that your debut is the greatest ever written.

But I remember hearing Shannon Hale speak once. My favorite novel of hers was her first, The Goose Girl. Someone else in the audience felt the same, and asked her why that one didn’t win a Newbery like her later novel, Princess Academy.
She replied that she was actually glad that it didn’t win. She felt that if it had, she would have felt so much pressure to have the same success that she might never have written another novel. The moderate success and the loyal fanbase was exactly what she needed to motivate her to continue writing.
Shannon Hale went on to say that Kate DiCamillo had a great deal of difficulty writing her next novel after The Tale of Despereaux won. J.K. Rowling felt she had to write under a pen name after Harry Potter. Harper Lee didn’t write another novel for decades. Stephen King stated that he always feels a bit hurt when someone says that his best novel was The Stand….does that mean that nothing he’s done since then has been good? Is his best long gone?
So perhaps instant fame and fortune isn’t the best method. Maybe writing careers, like story arcs, need time to build to a climax. Isn’t it wonderful to think that your best is yet to come?
Oh, the lasting effects of a thoughtless comment.  As I was re-reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones (yes, I’m still on that path through the woods), she told about a childhood experience.  Playing her cousin’s piano in Brooklyn she was singing along with it “In the gloaming, oh my darling . . .”  Her cousin, nine years older, screamed out “Aunt Sylvia, Natalie is tone-deaf. She can’t sing.”  From then on she never sang, listened to music only on rare occasions, but learned the words to all the Broadway songs from the radio.  She never tried to imitate the melody.
My own long-lasting childhood bruise was when I was playing with a younger boy cousin.  We were only 3 and 4.  My aunt Virginia had a beautiful, knit afghan which we were using as a “dress-up” item.  I wrapped it around my tummy, and twirled and twirled.  Weldon wanted a turn, but I was bigger, older and wouldn’t give him a chance.  When he began to cry, Aunt Virginia stormed in, rather upset with me.  “Brenda, why are you always so selfish?”  She whisked him away into her bedroom, bedecked him in a long flowing skirt of many colors and a cowboy hat with a shiny brown bead that slid up a cord to secure the hat to his head.  Needless to say, I wanted a turn with those items: the afghan puddled around my feet, and had lost it’s glamour.  And I believed for many, many years that I was “always” selfish.
What lost opportunities did Natalie miss out on for enjoying music?  What guilt did I carry with me well into my adult, even mothering, years?  Be careful what you say (or what you make/let your characters say): “Children will listen,” and bear the scars.
What are your characters’ childhood scars?  Still festering?  Ingrained?  Somehow, still debilitating?  How may those scars be healed or overcome?
Carol Again:
Just found a site with Ryan Reynolds pics.
Just saying.

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Three Things Thursday

by Cheryl Van Eck


I attended a seminar by Shannon Hale a few years ago, and someone asked, “How do you balance writing full-time with having two young children?”

(As you can see, this was a long time ago, as she now has four children.)

Her response was this: “I made a list of all my priorities in order. First was God. Second was my family. And third was writing. That means writing trumps sleep, food, laundry, housecleaning, and anything else that might need to be done.”

I’ve been trying this lately. After I put my baby to bed at night, I try to get a little writing done. I haven’t made great progress on my novel, but it does help my own feelings of well-being. If writing is your calling, your passion, so to speak, then there are few things that will soothe your soul like writing. 

Do I miss out on sleep? Yes. But what I gain is more valuable than sleep.

So, tell us: What are your priorities? How high up is writing on your list?


by Brenda Bensch

I just read a short article in the new Writer’s Digest (May/June 2014) where a first time novelist, who had already published poetry and personal essays, asked her young niece to read her MG novel and see if she had any suggestions. This young lady gave her some VERY specific critiques and ideas, then suggested using some of her friends as readers, to get even more feedback from readers who didn’t already know her. The author, Kathleen M. Jacobs, said she suddenly realized the importance of going “straight to the source,” her target audience.
Who makes up your most “appropriate readership” ? No nephews or nieces the right age? What about a “project” for a local school class? An interested group of readers gathered at a library? How can you engage unbiased readers who don’t already know you and might worry about hurting your feelings? Go to The Source!


by Carol

School is out soon and I plan an experiment.

A writing experiment, of course.

I will include you all. I have three books I want to finish in short order.

I’m also starting a writing business.

I will include you on that, too.

But here are a few questions for you. I think it’s a good time to look at that Romance Novel you started in February. It’s rested for a month-ish. Pull it out. Look it over.

1. What works in the novel?

2. What are the strengths?

3. What are the weaknesses?

4. In just a page, jot down all the ideas you get as you read through the book.


By the way, I found a yummy place for us to eat next time. And I mean YUMMY! Maybe we will discuss our romances (novels or otherwise!).

PS Started THIRSTY again. Yup. It’s great.


Filed under CLW, Exercises, Revision, three thing thursday, writing process