Tag Archives: writing

Friday–What’re We Gonna Write Today?


You spend 24 hours with your main character.

What do you do?

What do you talk about?

What do you notice as quirks?

How does she make you cry?

What stories about her past does she tell you?

You go shopping. What does she buy?

What does she eat?

Can she cook?

Name three nice things she does for you.

What does she want you to do for her?

What does she read?

How does she surprise you?

Worry you?

How does she sleep? On her back? Curled up? Does she toss and turn? Snore? Talk in her sleep?

Does she want breakfast?

At the end of the day together, does she thank you for telling her story or curse you?




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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Family, Life, Plot, Uncategorized, Voice, writing process

Frozen Friday

Just a moment to say what I would have said on Monday if I hadn’t had a daughter in the hospital.

This new year?

I have so many hopes for what’s to come.

Last year was so hard.

We started the year off losing our sweet and amazing Debbie and ended the year losing hilarious and wonderful Rick. Before and after those terrible days, more people we loved left this earth life and moved on. It’s been a long, hard time.

Today, though, I’ve been thinking how I’ve already fallen behind with my goals.

But each day is new, right?

Each day I can stretch and reach and hope.

That’s how I hope to treat each moment in this joyous new year.

Ann Dee, Kyra and I hope you have a perfect 2017. Sure, there’s going to be hard times. But there’s going to be a new moment, a new chance, and always we’ll have the opportunity to write for the love of words and kids and ourselves.

Happy weekend!

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Kyra

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


I’m mostly a nightmare gal. Have far too many bad dreams. Several a night.

Wake up screaming at a man in the doorway, or by the window, a lot.

Elevator-with-no-sides dreams. An elevator that’s tilting.

Zombie dreams. My aunt’s head in a watermelon. My girls missing.

The dreams where I’m walking from room to room in house. Searching. Hurrying. Worrying.

Knowing something bad is behind a door.

Being lost.

Oh, and the cloven hoof dream that Kyra wants me to share on FB.

But last night. Last night was good.

I haven’t written now in a month. Not at all (except an editor rewrite).

And last night I dreamed of the books that are waiting for me.

Wanting to be written.

There was that feeling I have when I sit down to write and things are going well. A feeling of being content.

When there’s hope.

A new world coming to life.

Like the way I feel because there are a few moments when I am in control, ’cause I know what’s happening a few pages ahead.

This morning, I woke up smiling.

Woke up with an email almost fully formed to my agent.

Woke to a whole list of books that were calling for me.

With thoughts of really writing.

This morning, I’m ready.

To find a few new characters.

Clean up a few scenes.

Investigate a few possibilities.

This morning is full of promises.

Way better, I tell ya, than that man in the doorway.


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Filed under CLW

After a Week of

really rude people, surprises that were hurtful, and dumb stuff, it’s nice to fall in my novel and  enjoy it.

I love to write. Mostly. I don’t love writing middles. But I love ends.

I especially love to have written.


And to see my book in print.

A box of ARCs of NEVER SAID arrived on Friday.


There’s something lovely about slipping into my own made up worlds.

And into other people’s, too.


A dearest friend told me she had only one book left in her because she’s teaching.

Only one left.

No! I said. Stop teaching.

Just write.


My note today is this–YOU have something to say. There are PEOPLE who need to hear what you have to say. Stop waiting around. Stop giving excuses.


Write that mid grade.

That picture book.

Your YA.


Write instead of TV. Get up an hour earlier. Stop running three miles sooner.
Give us your book. Because someone, like me, needs it.


Someone needs YOUR book.


Filed under CLW, Life

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

Still Alice

On Friday, this movie comes out.

I have watched the trailer three times. I have also cried three times.

My husband asked, are you going to see that?

Of course I’m going to see it, I said.

And he said, Why? Why would you do that to yourself?

My mom died after a long long long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Before that, she’d talk about her mother’s early onset Alzheimer’s.

Her mother was very proper and very private.

Mom would tell how grandma would show up in the front room with curlers in her hair and a housedress on when church ladies stopped by to visit.

She would have been mortified if she’d known, Mom would tell us. Absolutely mortified.

I hope that never happens to me, Mom would say.

She did everything she knew to try to prevent it:

1. She exercised every day.

2. She tried to eat healthy foods.

3. She played Rummykub as much as she could.

4. She bought us men’s speedstick because it didn’t have aluminum in it (some say aluminum contributes to memory loss).

5. She tried to do hard mental things, things she normally would have and could have ignored.

6. She played the piano.

7. She traveled.

8. She tried to learn a new language.

9. She worked in the temple.

10. She kept up on the lives of her nine children and 35 + grandchildren.

She got Alzheimer’s.

And when she realized it, she called each of us and told us that she wanted to jump off a cliff.

I bawled after that call. Bawled and bawled. I remember it like it was yesterday. The oscars were on TV. My first baby was little. My heart was broken.

So why would I go to a movie about it? Why would I want to watch something so painful?

Many of us watch movies and read books to escape. We want to get away from the hard things and get time to relax, live in another world. Eat popcorn and watch people fall in love. Or fight space battles. Or wear iron suits.

Some of us watch movies and read books because we want to know that we aren’t alone. That other people know what it feels like to suffer. To see our loved ones suffer. We want to know that we are all different but in many ways, we are all the same. We all go through hard things, we all have our hearts broken, we all have to figure out how to keep going.

Some of us watch movies and read books so that we can experience things we’ll never have to go through, so that we can understand a small part of the lives of those who do. So that we can empathize and reach out and say, I’ve never had cancer or depression or divorce or this kind of loss, but I can imagine it and I want you to know that I’m here for you.

As writers, we have lots of different motivations for the stories we decide to tell. I think it’s wonderful to write about light and funny things. To write about dreams coming true and happy happy things. I also think it’s important to write about the other side of life. About heartache and pain. About alienation and suffering. About hope and light in the midst of all this.

I came on this quote the other day and I loved it.

“The Greeks sensed that the best art does not take us away from reality into the dreamy realms of fantasy–though some may do that. On the contrary, the best art penetrates the hard shell of habit to reimmerse us in the depths of experience, ‘refining the sense of beauty to agony,’ ‘making the stone more stony,’ creating ‘anew the universe, after it has been annihilated in our minds by the recurrence of impressions blunted by reiteration.'” –from The Crucible of Doubt by Fiona and Terryl Givens.

I think it’s our responsibility to try to create the best art, art that connects us all to each other over and over again so that we will never forget, and so that we will be able to reach out and love over and over again.

What do you think?

Why do you read? Why do you write? Would you go see something that brought up hard things from your life? Or avoid it forever?


Filed under Uncategorized