Tag Archives: Stephen King

Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

How do you find confidence in your writing ?
I feel like every word on the page lately sounds like a mess and a half.
I need to find my confidence and strap it on like a helmet and just write.

Is that what’s holding me back ? Or is it everything else?

Writing is hard. Working makes writing harder. Family issues makes writing the hardest.

Confidence will help repair that. I sort of know.

Is Mom a confident writer? Probably. How else would she sell so many books? But then you also need insecurities to keep the writing genuine, right?
Who has the answers? {besides Steven King?}
This makes no sense. It’s 2:10 in the morning and I’ve been up since five.

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Three Things Thursday

The weather out here in California has been so beautiful lately…Not too hot, not too cold, and of course, no rain–ever. 

When I was younger, my mom would always push me to go outside at times like this. For me, of course, that meant finding a comfy spot outside to read a book.
Now I’ve discovered that having an occasional day to write outside can also help. Take a break from the computer. Grab an actual pen and pad of paper and just write. It can break up the monotony, and it always helps me focus on sense of place. Inside, all my senses are dulled, but outside, everything comes alive again.
Write to Done, an online blog about — well, blogging, often — put one up on Monday about improving your writing skills by traveling. As I am now “on vacation” in Alabama I thought I’d mention the idea here. Travel gets you out of your rut, gives you a chance to get some distance from your everyday experience with a new perspective. Almost anything can work: a change of address, a vacation, a day trip  And what if you only took the day trip to a place you’ve never been n your own home town? Still can’t “afford” it? How about spending some time in the library reading about some place you’ve always wanted to go, looking at pictures?
The first time I came to Alabama three years ago, I experienced breakfast at a Waffle House. A PECAN Waffle!  Scrumptious! Needless to say, we’ve already been twice during this trip. Still scrumptious! But I’m also noticing the people. The “family” working there. On the crowded Sunday Mother’s Day breakfast crew, the job of two men was to keep on cookin’; another one gathered all the sales slips and called out the orders –as they came in— to  the cooks who were ready to handle the next order. One fellow kept drying the knives, forks and spoons hot out of the washer. This well-oiled machine seated the waiting crowd efficiently, quickly, and took orders as soon as the customers had time to decide — and while they sipped on their first cup-a-joe! Another guy handled the cash as each party prepared to leave. ALL the workers were friendly, to each other, and to customers. Numerous asked if we “had everything” we needed as they buzzed past. This was a small, narrow diner with AT LEAST 11 workers working in harmony AND with a jaunty, jovial air about them. It was THE place to be on that wonderful day.
And it gave me a new appreciation for working together, living together, getting along, and making the trip FUN as it progressed. How can that NOT affect the way I feel, act, write, think and appreciate today and EVERY day for some time to come?
Where/when are you “going” next — and how will it inform your writing?
You’re worried as you work with your writing partner:
1. She’s leading you in a way you didn’t expect. Should you follow?
2. He’s making your character seem a little silly or angry even. You don’t want that.
3. You can’t force the story to go the way you want because whenever your partner steers the car, you start going east instead of west.
4. Your partner doesn’t ‘get’ your character.
5. You don’t ‘get’ your partner’s character.
6. Now you don’t ‘get’ your own character.
7. Your partner isn’t picking up the clues you’re leaving behind.
8.  His clues are weird.
I remembering reading King’s On Writing and when he discovered the importance of blood in his novel Carrie. He’d left so many bloody hand prints (his own) that when he went to rewrite he emphasized the natural place his storytelling had taken him.
This is going to be the biggest clue I can give you as you write with your friend. Trust her and yourself and this odd process.
One of the funnest parts of writing with Ann Dee was when I allowed myself to just experiment. If she mentioned screaming at my character’s house, I got to decide if it was a man or woman screaming. Or a kid. It could have been a kid. (It was a bird.) Ann Dee was great at leaving cliff hangers for me to leap from.
About three or four short chapters in, Ann Dee said, “What are we doing? I say she hates dogs, you have her with dogs. I say there’s screaming, you don’t mention in. You said they’re making out and I said there was only a hug.”
This trip is one about you both steering. No one can force the story. If either writer does, you may end up with one unhappy person. Or you may end up with two people struggling for control.
Then you’ll have two stories that won’t work together and you won’t succeed.
Look for the odd clues left behind by your partner. How can you change it up from what she might have meant? Can you make that clue your own? Twist tears out of it? Laughter?
Understand that much of the worries you have will be taken care of in revision. And when the book is done, Like Stephen King, you’ll see what you set up that you didn’t realize you had. In our books it was fathers. I knew my character’s was sick and Ann Dee’s was absent. But then there was one that was dead and a couple others I didn’t even see until I read through the novel.
Ann Dee probably knew.
She’s smart that way.
So–to answer the statements above–trust yourself. Trust your partner. Trust the process.
Talk to each other.
Have fun.

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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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Writing Like a Writer

School starts tomorrow.

And I should be glad, right?

I mean, I love to teach. I love my students. I learn myself every semester.




My biggest goal this year is to write like a writer.

Not teach.

Not interpret for the Deaf.

Not wonder if child support is coming in on time.


Just. Write.


In fact, I’ve been thinking about this for a few years. Since my divorce. When I got the very distinct impression that I must be able to take care of the girls and me on my own.


Have I done anything different since those first thoughts and feelings?

Perhaps panicked.

Written more consistently.

Tried to come up with better ideas.


But not much more.


This year I plan to do differently.


I plan to take this job I have seriously.

Really seriously.

Really very extremely seriously.

You get the picture.


And I am going to log it here—watch myself here—either grow and do what I want—or fail and stay the same.


And the same is good.

But it’s not good enough.


I have many worries.


First—I have a dear, dear friend who writes because she must. And she hates to write now. I don’t want that to happen.

This is something I must explore because I can feel myself getting to that place—that place where I hate the process. And I have always loved it. Easy enough fix—I think: Write what I love to write.


Second—I am going to look at people who are writers—full-time writers. Not teachers, too. Not speakers, too. Writers. I want to see how they do it. (Yes, I know. Some have people who support them. Or supported them in the beginning. But I am past that.) Looking, exploring, searching, finding means learning.


Third—I rarely complete anything I start. Not including my novels (some because I have been paid already—SCARY!!!!!) or labor (because I had no choice). Another easy fix: Write. Write daily. Write as though this is my job. Don’t let computers or laundry or TV (or etc)  get in the way of my job.


Fourth—I get sick sort of easily. In fact, I would have started this long ago (like days ago—like January 1, 2014) but I have spent this whole school break either puking, twisted up with muscle spasms or with a migraine. Hmmm. I have some ideas here, but I’m not ready to share them.


Fifth—I am so unorganized.

We own too much crap.

Not enough time.

(this constant headache.)

But: I have hired my children to help me get rid of the extra. All of the extra. Even the good stuff that we don’t use but that I want.


Sixth—What if I fail?

What if I can’t do it?

What if I screw this up and you all see me do it?

Simple: I guess you’ll see me try. And that’s all I can do.

For the fun of it—something more to read.







And then, just for a laugh:




Filed under CLW, Publication, writing process