Tag Archives: summer

15 Minute Monday

And the time starts now!

Summer’s nearly over. Can you believe it? I love the summer. Love that it feels more carefree. That I don’t have to worry about driving through snow and ice. That I’m not freezing when I pump gas. To me, summer feels like the very shortest season.

I know. It’s not gone yet. But–it’s on its way out, dang it!

Summer means so much to me, I write about it a lot.


Once, a million years ago, when I was in Rick Walton’s writer’s group, I brought the beginning of my fourth national novel to see what the other writers thought about voice and the direction I was headed.

This book was a little different.

It wasn’t set in Florida!

But it was about two sisters (the older was the main character).

And it was set in the summer. In fact, it began on the last day of school.

“Wow,” someone said (yes I remember who). “No big surprise here. You’re writing about two sisters. In the summer.”

“Uh,” I said. “But it’s in Utah.”

She turned away, her point made.

I always write about the same thing.

It felt like I had done something wrong.


That night I went home. Bothered. Worried. Did this matter, this same thing I always wrote?

So I changed a thing or two. The biggest thing? I had the younger sister tell the story.

Ha ha!

The truth is, I write about what I am most comfortable with.

I am a sister.

I am a daughter.

I still have daughters.

I still love summer.

Those things are all part of my little, black heart.


Where are the places you find yourself over and over?

Is this bad?

Or is it good?

Do you want to change?

Should you?

Why do you choose these themes or events or people, even, again and again?

What do you think?

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Filed under CLW, Exercises, Family, Life, writing process

Today is the Beginning of Summer

For me, I mean. School’s out. I just have to submit grades.

And, as with any beginning, I have my goals.

The biggest goal of all is to enjoy.


I’ve never allowed myself to just live.


And I haven’t had the best of times the last few months. I’ve let this influence me. The sadness. The heartbreak.

Before me now is five months–with WIFYR (www.wifyr.com) stuffed in the middle–of enjoying being with Carolina. Taking a trip with a few of my girls. Polishing and organizing. Visiting Rick. Catching up with people I haven’t seen in a while. And writing.

How I love writing. And hate it, too.

And how I love rewriting.

How I love sexy new projects.

I’ve got all that before me.

Plus, guess what? I even jogged today. Not very far. And real slow. R-E-A-L slow. So slowly that Carolina walked beside me and said “Mom. ” And I was like, “Run. A. Head. Pl. Ease.”

I have second hand smoker’s lungs (thanks southern family o’ mine) and so I can’t breathe easily. Is this why I’ve had the cough now for years? (This better not be serious–but the allergy pills didn’t help. The asthma stuff didn’t help. The cough medicine didn’t help.)


What’s before you?

Is it dark?

Can you find light in that darkness?

Is it joy?

Does it include children? Lovers? Books? Friends? Food? Serving? Being served?


Perhaps is should include all of that.

And a good dog.



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Filed under CLW, Depression

Three Things Thursday

Hmmm. Today I’m feeling sorta happy. (That’s a change!) I got up earlier than normal and the weather was cool with a promise of maybe a little rain. Not winter rain. Summer rain!

I’ve been writing.

And reading.

And spending time with my girls.

My ex is getting remarried in a few days.

I was approached to do a fun writing job.

And I’m tutoring two terrific kids in writing.

I’m not teaching in the fall.

Plus I have serious writing goals planned for myself.

Which brings me to the novel I am working on. I think I’m about 40 pages from being done. This has been such a fun book to write.

So there.

We have a new month before us. What are YOUR plans?


Cheryl Van Eck

I gave up half a night’s sleep to read Laurie Halse Anderson’s new book, The Impossible Knife of Memory.
And it was totally worth it. The thing is, every time I pick up a new Laurie Halse Anderson book I think, “This is it. Nothing can ever top this book.” Then she goes and writes another one and proves me wrong.
She somehow manages to weave together voice, plot, and description effortlessly. Most writers have either great writing or great plots, but she manages both without even batting an eye.
Above all is her talent for voice. I don’t relate to her characters because they sound, think, or act like me. The opposite, actually. Too many characters fall into the trap of trying to be like horoscopes, vague enough to sound like they could belong to just about anyone. This works, to an extent. We all love to find a character that thinks like we do.
But her characters are different. They are true to themselves and no one else. They are alive. And while you read, you are them. You transform from your comfortable surroundings into someone broken, and you find the strength to save yourself.
Bottom line: Read it! Now!
Brenda Bensch
Pantser or Plotter ? ? ?
I’ve always considered myself a Pantser.  In fact, I’ve been fairly devoted to it.  But right now, with a book of 211 pages that isn’t quite finished, I’m reconsidering.  Having been lost in the Muddled Middles, as I am wont to be, I’m taking a look at the 211 pages and analyzing what on them.  And, more importantly, what’s not.  It’s actually pretty fascinating: I’ve found too much inaction, thinking, considering, dreaming, and not enough gripping moments.  I’ve found too much in one or another character’s head, and not enough interaction with other characters.  I’ve found some characters who came in too late, others who were too “present” at the wrong moments.
So, Pantsers, just because we don’t write an outline, draw a map, use 5,000 Post-Its to show all our carefully chosen stepping stones, doesn’t mean we can’t go back and analyze what we do have at (or toward) the end.  We know some of the elements needed for a rip-snortin’ story.  Take a careful, a thorough look at what we have.  Mine for gold.  Find the buried treasure, and be sure it’s there, even though it may need a little polishing up!


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Filed under three thing thursday

Monday. Monday!

Today summer starts for me! Yes! I know! It’s spring.

There are tulips in my yard.

And bluebells.

And tons of cottonwood cotton.

But summer starts for me because tomorrow is my last day of school until fall (maybe even longer).


So I will write even harder in my Writing Like a Writer campaign.


I heard news on Friday that both my editors want happy novels from me.







I’m not happy.

My novels are rarely happy.

Every once in a while a happy book sneaks through (Signed, Skye Harper–released next month) but anyone who has read my books knows.

😦 😦 😦


At first I balked.

I was scared. Still am.

Then I wondered–if I’m writing like a writer, can’t I write my dark, depressed, horrible life novels AND happier things, too?


Well, that’s a good question. I don’t know.

But I know I can try.

So that’s what I’m going to do.


What does Writing Like a Writer mean to you?

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Filed under CLW, Depression, Editors, writing process