Tag Archives: Stephen Fraser

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 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.


Yes. Good.


Filed under Agents, CLW, Family, Life

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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My Monday List

  1. Go to the doctor for blood work. See if the nurse can collapse another vein.
  2. Find mates to the gabillion socks that are lonely and waiting on my sofa. Hmmm. That sounds a little like me. Lonely and waiting on my sofa.
  3. Watch this again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nblf7Yw4jys   Hey, BTW, just want you to notice what my favorite singer/songwriter says about phones.
  4. Make copies of pages for the Stephen Fraser Workshop    http://www.wifyr.com/two-days-with-stephen-fraser/  There are still spots left if you want to just sit in and listen and observe.
  5. Pick a book to work on with Ann Dee from our three fantastic ideas. At least think about what we should do over the next week or two. Take a few notes. Dream up a character. Maybe?
  6. Gather tax stuff. I’m even going to make an appointment to see my tax guy THIS MONTH. THIS WEEK. TODAY, I will call and make an appointment with my great tax guy.
  7. Gather ex-husband stuff for lawyer (you don’t want to know). Or maybe, if you are anything like me, you DO want to know.
  8. Do twitter-ish stuff. One of my New Year’s goals is to learn how to use Twitter. I’m gonna do it! Have made one twit this morning. Will make another soon. Are two twits a day enough to make a twitter?
  9. Go to dinner with my youngest daughter.
  10. Buy fruits and vegetables and maybe make bread.
  11. Write toward my goal of 6,000 new words this week.
  12. Check in with my dear heart Debbie Nance. You can purchase her book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1523265965/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_oRLPwb1P7ZK2Z  My book arrives on Friday.

What are you gonna do?

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