Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I have nothing to say here . . .

by C. Michelle Jefferies

My creative well is dry. I am useless and flat. Too many demands on too little time and brain power. House too messy to be creative.

Never fear though. I am going to clean my house, watch movies and read books as well as bake and craft. I will be back in a week, refreshed and ready to be a writer again.

The path to wisdom is not allways straight.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Developing Your Writing Skill #2

by James Duckett

Two weeks I blogged on how writing is more a skill than a talent. Since it is a skill, it can be developed and improved. Last week I discussed that writing is the most valuable away to develop. The second advice on writing skill development is to READ. And to read a lot! And I'm not talking about reading on how to write (I will save that for next week), but reading good books.

This is an opportunity to learn from the greats. Not so much that you can steal from them, but learning the language of writing can be accelerated by reading what good writing should look, sound, and feel like. Also, if you want to write within a certain genre, it is best to familiarize yourself with that genre. Let me give you a tip: doing a few Google searches and reading an Wikipedia article on the genre of your choice isn't going to get you there. No, you have to READ your genre to understand what works and what doesn't work. Also, if you don't love the genre enough to read it yourself, your lack of love for the genre will show in your writings.

I try to analyze what I've read and imagine how they developed their story. I often think, "I wonder what inspired this part here." After reading a book I take some time to ponder the storyline to see if something inspires me one way or the other.

A recent example:  it never occurred to me until this week how stellar James Dashner is at opening a story. So I analyzed it a bit and decided to blog about it on my personal blog. Do the same thing. What blew you away about certain books? What made you fall in love with such favorites as Dune, The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, or Price and Prejudice? Can you incorporate some of the things you love into your story?

Also, I'd even advise reading outside of your genre. It could inspire you to add something new to your story or possibly even reinvent the genre that you love so well. Even if it doesn't, you can still learn by reading really great writers.

I've heard time and time again that if you don't read you have no business even trying to write. I've asked a few writers if they do any reading when they are not writing. Without fail, every single one of them takes time out of their busy writing schedule to put in some reading. When I've read books on writing, nearly all of them agree that you must read in order to become a better writer.

So remember, great writers read!!

Until next week when we discuss Developing Your Writing Skill #3: Reading books on writing!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Camp NaNo

by Donna K. Weaver

Click here for details.
It's starts on Wednesday. 
I'm doing another YA fantasy.
Are you in?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sadistic Pleasure

By Keith N Fisher

To those who read my blog each week: I’m sorry. I got caught up in stuff and didn’t post last week. It’s the first time I’ve missed, but I feel like a flake.

I took a turning point chapter to critique group this week. It was one of those, put your character in peril so they can overcome, type of things, but it wasn’t strong enough. After getting feedback about the writing, I asked my group what they thought. Should I make it stronger? Does the character need more peril?

The next several minutes were spent bouncing plot twist ideas off each other and I came away with a renewed sense of purpose. I was reminded of the old axiom, coined by others, in act one, put your characters in a tree. Act two, throw rocks at your character. Act three, get your character out of the tree.

I once heard Josi Killpack add more to it. She suggested that we throw rocks and set fire to the tree. We shouldn't be in a hurry to get our characters out of peril because it doesn’t give them a chance to grow, and it isn’t believable.

I’m also reminded of how this relates to real life. Every one of us has problems. I prefer to call them trials because overcoming them helps us grow. Eventually, passing through enough trials will help us be the people God intended us to be.

After critique, I began to think of myself as a sadist who enjoys putting my beloved characters into terrible circumstances. Then I remembered the axiom above. If I want to write a great book, I must turn on the heat of tribulations. I’m not sadistic, I’m a loving creator.

May you have the courage to be cruel to your characters. Help your protagonists grow, but go easy on the antagonists.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Friday, July 27, 2012


by G.Parker

In case you weren't around the last time the Olympics came around, I am a certified Olympics fan.  I was lucky enough to participate in the 2002 Olympics for the opening and closing ceremonies.  (I hesitate to post a photo, since there is now the chance I might get sued for it...but I think this was one that I've had since then and got from the Deseret News...so hopefully all credit goes to them!)

I bring up the Olympics for two reasons:  First, the opening ceremonies for the 2012 games in London are tonight, and second, the media.  There is always a media blitz for the Olympics, the participants, the politics, the culture, etc.  By the end of the whole thing everyone is usually ready to grab any reporter they see and throttle them.  There is so much that is thrust into our faces, that it becomes really easy to go on overload.

What really gets to me is how they have to comment on everything.  We can't just enjoy the sport, we have to know how long it takes to do a move, how many years it took to perfect and how many other people came short or did it better.  It really irritates me during the closing ceremonies when they interrupt the ceremony, or production part with interviews of the Olympians that won medals.  Hello?  We've already heard everything about them from the time they were small and first jumped into the swimming pool!

Understandably, these people are just doing their jobs.  There are many who want to know all there is possibly to know about every little thing.  So, there is money to be made in providing that.  I heard a radio program the other day that discussed journalists.  The main point was how journalists are supposed to be neutral on every subject they cover.  They aren't supposed to have political leanings.  They are supposed to present the facts and let the public make it's choice.  Well, how much do you think that happens?  Writing is all about how you twist the words, isn't it?  We either make the subject good or bad by how it's presented.  I remember a quote from CS Lewis's book,  The Screwtape letters, where he points out how Satan twists evil to make it seem amazing and good.

(this was a free photo)

I bring this up because there have been many times over the years that I've been outraged over how the Olympics were handled or reviewed.  How the judges were very political, how participants were left off the podium because of something outside of the sport.  It's a sad world we live in, and while I'll probably be angry with the judging in the gymnastics again, I'll still watch it and cheer for the young people who have given their all to be there and compete.  And, should I write about the Olympics next week, I'll try to portray a non-bias view of the proceedings so that you, dear reader, can draw your own conclusions.

After all...I am a writer.  ;)  Enjoy the games!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


By C. LaRene Hall

Last week I participated in a book signing with eight other authors. It wasn't at a book store, or any of the usual places. It was at a hospital. I spent four hours trying to sell my book. No one sold lots of books. I would guess that was because it was an unusual place to have books for sale. I did sell, but some of the authors did not sell one book. Even though for most it was successful, I do have to remember it gave my book some exposure. So my question today is why do we author's spend hours trying to sell our books?

I don't like book signings, but how else are you as an author going to get your story out there to the people?

My next book, a mid-grade story, will be coming out soon, so what I'm wondering is how to market my book. Last time I had a book signing at my home in the yard with lots of games and food. It was successful and I sold more books than I ever imagined I would. Last time my book signing was in the summer. This time it will be in the late fall or early winter. Where am I going to have my kick off for my new book?

Have you ever had something turn out great and then the next time you tried it you were a failure? That is what I'm afraid of.

What do the rest of you think about book signings? Do you have any suggestions for me?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Worth the pain?

by C. Michelle Jefferies

I feel extremely blessed as a writer. I can't look back on these last few years and not see the Divine hand that has guided me on this road to where I'm at.

A friend of mine used to use the phrase "Writing is not for the weak." as her signature. It made me smile whenever I saw it. Because it's true. Before you decide to sit down and lay your heart on a table for everyone to see you should decide if it's worth the pain. Because at some point as a writer trying to be an author these things are going to happen to you.

You have to develop a thick skin: Critiques and reviews can be harsh. They can even be overwhelming. I remember my first critique where someone told me they didin't want another story of a super hero. I was devestated. But that one comment sent me on a road of discovery about myself that hardened my skin to where I am now and look at critiques simply as making my book better.

Your wrists and shoulders are going to hurt: Enough said.

Your eyesight is going to go bad: Get good vision insurance or save money for those reading glasses.

You become a public figure of sorts: everything you say on the internet or in public can be used against you at some point. How you behave toward your peers, your public and as a professional will be remembered.

You are most likely going to spend more money becoming an author than what you will earn. Again, enough said.

You will lose friends: People who you thought would be there through thick and thin will either tire of your writing obsession, or be jealous of your eventual success, or think you've used them and given them no credit and leave you.

Your house, family, marriage and personal health will most likely suffer from a lack of time and sometimes attention.

So ask youself is it worth it, or do you have the stamina and/or drive to succeed? If you answer yes and know that these little setbacks can be turned into learning experiences and stepping stones then welcome to the insanity. :)

~The path to wisdom in not allways straight

Monday, July 23, 2012

Developing Your Writing Skill #1

by James C. Duckett

Last week I blogged on how writing is more a skill than a talent. Since it is a skill, it can be developed and improved. So the first advice on writing is, to me, the obvious one. YOU MUST WRITE! You must write often. I would even suggest that you must write daily! The more you write, the better your writing skill will become.

Every writer I've talked to has never just decided to sit down and start writing and have the outcome publishable. It comes with practice. Last week I had mentioned that there are writers I read and I think, "How did he/she get so good? I don't know if I could ever write this well." The truth: nobody makes me think this more than Brandon Sanderson, my favorite author. He amazes me! His writing seems to come so smoothly and so naturally. It blows my mind every time I read anything he has written.

And he had to write twelve practice novels before he got published. TWELVE!!! That is a lot of practice!

I listen to his podcast, Writing Excuses (you do too, right?).  In one of the episodes from season 6 or 7 he had said something akin to: "No matter how bad you write now, it is no worst than my writing when I began." The writing excuses podcast is very motivating to me, but I think that statement alone was more motivating than anything else has has said.

He isn't the only one I've heard say this. I've heard it said DIRECTLY from certain people that you have to write often if you want to excel at writing. These include Orson Scott Card, Kevin J. Anderson, Brandon Sanderson, and others. I've read the same thing from some of the same authors above as well as another favorite author, Stephen King. It takes diligent practice and discipline to develop your writing skill.

I've heard several people say that you have to write ONE MILLION WORDS before you start writing publishable material. I don't know if that includes work Emails, blog posts, or writing outside your genre, but I believe they mean writing for writings sake and actually working to become a better writer. Of course, that million word rule isn't exact. I'm sure there is a lot of publishable works out there by people who have written less. If my math is correct, I think Brandon Sanderson at least doubled that before Elantris (his first published novel) was published. So I think the idea is that you need to write A LOT in order to write well enough to be published.

While I suggest you write a lot, I might even suggest you write daily. That's right... DAILY! If you can work your schedule so you can write daily, it will help you get past that roughly 1,000,000 words that you need to achieve.

Until next week when we discuss Developing Your Writing Skill #2: Reading!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Are you ever in the mood for a critique? Sometimes I am, especially in the early stages of a story. I'm part of an awesome online critique group, and I (generally) love their input--even when it's about how parts of the story don't work.

But I had a sharp reminder last night that there comes a point where you've received one too many critiques. I got one of those last night, though not from my usual critique group. It's a project I've been working on for forever. It's already been critiqued by a million (all right, that's an exaggeration but it seems like it) people--including two professional editors--and I'm finishing up the revision in preparation to resubmitting it to a publisher. I was looking for some overall impressions on how it worked.


I already know philosophically that many people aren't going to like our stories, so I don't know why this critiquer's comments came as a surprise. I've got a dear friend for whom this book is just not her style. Okay. That's fine. I guess I thought because I was so far down the path of this particular tale that it was okay.

I'm ready for this story to be done, so I can move on. I'm a firm believer in the idea that we have to write and write and write in order to get good.

But when are we good enough?

Friday, July 20, 2012


by G.Parker

Just in time for the middle of summer blahhhs...a review!

When my family watched this movie the other night, I knew it had to be posted.  There is so much material that can be discussed on writing scripts and stories and characters!. If you haven't seen Unitards yet, you really should rent it when you're in the mood for some lighthearted laughs.  And may I say that it is NOTHING like Napoleon Dinamite?  Would that influence you?

Anyway - I've thought about renting it for a while, but my daughter brought it home the other day and said we needed to watch it as a family.  Okay, works for me.  We watched it and it was hilarious!  What really made it for me was how easily the three main characters worked together.  That alone made the movie fun to watch.

I first heard about Unitards when it was going through the film festival circuit, and KSL ran a story about it.  Apparently it's based on events from the main characters real life actor, Sam Featherstone and his senior year in high school.  What I think is great, is the support he had from his parents -- especially his father, Scott Featherstone, who directed, and wrote the movie.  He had their support, and they encouraged him in his endeavor.  How many parents do that with something so odd-ball?  Not many.  I think that's amazing.

I also think the dad is pretty good at script writing.  This is a simple movie, with a simple plot and little by way of sets.  But it's one of those movies that you'll want to watch when you're feeling blue, want to dance, or need something you don't have to do a lot of thinking with.  There are several books like that that I read over and over again, simply for the relaxation and enjoyment.  

I hope his dad comes up with something else when Sam get's back off his mission.  It would be fun to see a Unitards 2, the Collage Years, or something.  I mean, look how many High School Musicals they did!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

By C. LaRene Hall

I appologize. I have been gone more this summer than I have been home.

Last week I was at the opening of My Fair Lady in Logan, Utah, on Friday evening. I also saw Tosca, Kiss Me Kate, and Faust while there.  As you probably know because of the quality of the shows they do - it was amazing. I can honestly say, My Fair Lady is one of the best plays I've seen for a while.

While there I pondered about writing such a production. Never in my wildest dreams could I even picture myself doing such a thing. The writer was great.

Now this makes me wonder - Do I not dream big enough. Did that writer start out knowing he could write such a play or did it just happen? Nothing like this just happens. It had to have taken years to write. Being a playwriter has to take special skills beyond that of writing a novel. I think I'll just stick to tring to write the way I know how and leave the play writing to someone with more kowledge and skill than I have.

Anyway, if you get a chance to see this great play you probably want to take that rare opportunity because it was well done and worth the time and dollars.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A great place for ideas.

by C. Michelle Jefferies
We're in the middle of stomach flu and sore throats here and I am playing mommy 24/7.

So in a quiet moment I will give you this food for thought. There's a place I go to get ideas for character setting theme and plot ideas It's called Pinterest.  While it is addicting, it is an amazing place. If you go remember to come up for air once and a while. :)

Here are my boards if you're interested.  http://pinterest.com/cmjefferies/

~The path to wisdom is not allways straight

Monday, July 16, 2012

Writing is a Skill

by James Duckett

As I read the works of some of my favorite writers I must admit that I often get discouraged. They seem to write so fluidly and naturally that I start to question any talent I might have as a writer. After all, how could I ever learn to write as well as them? Why wasn't I born to write books at the same degree of greatness of my favorite authors?

I need to remind myself that writing is more a skill than a talent. Sure, I do think talent has a roll to play in it, as with any skill, but undeveloped talent will not bare the fruits of the illusive great American novel.
The greats of any profession make things look easy. Look at Michael Jordan. When I saw him play it just seemed like he was out there performing naturally. After all, how can you possibly practice half the shots he made? This seemed like a talent that just came to him naturally.

Or Tiger Woods. He was introduced to golf at a young age, even swinging on national television before he knew what the inside of a preschool looked like. His swing is so polished and smooth that it has to be a natural, right?

While Michael Jordan does have some natural talent (and height) he was not accepted on his high school varsity basketball team. Michael Jordan practiced daily until he became the greatest basketball player of all time. I still get the warm fuzzies watching him work his magic on the court.

As for Tiger Woods,  he spends hours every day working on his swing. In fact, he has rebuilt his swing from the ground up in order to get better. Twice!

Writing is the same way. If you wish to excel at writing it is a skill that must be developed. For the next few weeks I intend to do a series on increasing your writing skill. But I'd love to hear from our loyal readers: what have you done that has helped you to increase your writing skill?

Next week: Skill Tip #1 (the obvious one), Write Every Day

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Utah Valley Writers Workshop

by Donna K. Weaver

For those of us residing in Utah, we are very fortunate to have so many writing workshops, conferences, speakers so close around us. Some are so inexpensive, like Life, the Universe and Everything (LTUE), others are a bit more expensive, while others like LDS Storymakers are somewhere in between. I know from talking with other writers in other parts of the country that this is not the case everywhere.

The iWriteNetwork, in conjunction with the Alpine School District, is hosting a two-day writing conference later this month. Because of the participation of the school district, this is a killer deal at $50 for the two days--and that includes lunch both days.

 iWriteNetwork's approach is very much hands on. In each session, you'll be taught a writing technique and then given time to practice it right there on your own work.

Info and registration here. (Scroll down the list to find "Language Arts - Utah Valley Writers' Workshop")


Friday: Keynote and Breakouts

8:00 Pick up workshop materials
  • Eric Patten: Character-driven Plotting, room 315 & 316
11:30 Lunch
  • Jamie Theler: Twitter
  • Cindy Hogan: Indie Publishing Part 1
  • Karen Hoover: Poetry,
  • Ali Cross: Beginning Blogging
1:20 Break
  • Jennie Hansen: Scene Structure
  • Karen Hoover: Outlining
  • Ali Cross, Branding with Your Blog
  • Jordan McCollum: HTML
2:50 Break
  • Brainstorming Panel
4:15 Day 1 Concludes

Saturday Sessions
  • Lisa Mangum: Characters
10:30 Break
  • Caleb Warnock: Narrative Voice
12:15 Lunch
  • Lisa Mangum: Your First Chapter
2:00 Break
  • Carolyn Campbell: Writing for Magazines, room 315
  • Cindy Hogan; Indie Publishing Part 2, room 316
  • Jamie Theler: Twitter
3:15 Workshop Concludes

Workshop held at Alpine District Professional Development Center
575 N 100 E; American Fork, UT

Events like LTUE have mostly panels, while LDS Storymaker has more classes. What is your favorite learning environment?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stuff Happens

By Keith N Fisher

Are you a half-full or a half-empty person? When you see a container with the contents measuring exactly one-half of the total capacity, is it half-full, or is half-empty? We’ve all heard this metaphor and we try to look at life with a positive twist.

After all, look at the biblical prophet Job and all he went through. He remained positive through horrific times. Half-full people are great examples to us all. While being interviewed for television about their house burning down, they say, We were blessed that nobody was hurt.

It’s true. It is a blessing and they really believe it, but I think many of them are crying out in silence, but it really sucks to lose my house. Also, with all the stuff that happens in our life, it’s amazing we don’t all, go screaming into the night.

Years ago, I managed a bar and I listened to dozens of hard luck stories every day. Now I work nights at a convenience store and I’m still listening to sad tales. Sometimes they help me feel grateful that I don’t have the same experiences. Other times, I’m reminded of my own trials and the weight of the world descends on my shoulders.

As writers we tend to think of our work as half-empty. Then inspiration comes from somewhere and we marvel at what we’ve written. The secret is to never stop believing in the silver lining. When, (like a house fire), the red pen strikes our manuscript, we can look at the good parts and be grateful they weren’t destroyed, too.

You must believe in yourself. Take compliments when you can get them. Listen to criticism and improve. Dear writer, you have chosen a difficult career path. Learn to be your own cheerleader. Remember stuff happens, look at what’s left instead of what’s missing.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Just Try It...

by G.Parker

If you haven't noticed lately, all of us seem to be stressed out about one thing or another.  Our personal lives are interrupting our professional/writing lives, and it's getting to us all - well, at least me.  ;)

I've been having a hard time sleeping lately.  Mostly because of the heat, but other factors are involved as well.  What I find is that this is an interesting time to do a Mad Write.  Simply because you never know what's going to come out of a sleep deprived brain.  Ask any new parent -- they'll vouch for that.  (I have a niece who had a baby about five months ago, and she's come to visit while functioning on sleep deprivation and it's hilarious to listen to her.)

Anyway, so if your muse is having a hard time focusing because they're melting in the heat, or your story has kind of run down, or your brain is functioning on sleep deprivation mode, then you ought to try a mad write and see what comes of it.  You can even use a sentence from your current work in progress to see if it comes out with something useful.  I just love mad writes for the pure imagination that comes out of it.

And since this week has been a general no sleep week and I'm not functioning on all cylinders, then I guess it's time for me to go try it and get the ending to my current WIP.

Was that a squirrel that just ran by?  With a pink tutu?  Whoa!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

More About What You Feel

I apologize for missing last week. A) Holiday through me off. B) Had a really difficult--well---about ten days worth of difficultness. (That's a real word in the "Big Book of T.J.'s Real Words".)


So, I like talking about how to incorporate what I know about a topic and putting it into a story. Today, I'm gonna talk about experiences that could be exploited (your own experiences exploited by you, not abusing friends here.)

Let's say I want to write about a character who has sever hydrophobia. But really, I don't suffer from this fear.

However, I have a pretty high acrophobia.

 I can easily transfer the feelings and emotions I get when I'm at an uncomfortable height and place it on a character who has problems being in water.

To me, writing a book can be a lot like method acting. The base concept of method acting is to use personal experience to create a similar emotion. If you need to cry tears of sadness, find something sad from your past and recall that to pull off your emotion. But for book writing, you have to use words to define the emotion, not actions. To me, this is much more difficult.

A writer needs a proper blend of showing and telling. (Yes, there are appropriate places to tell and any author stating otherwise can argue with me later.) And with this blend, a writer needs his/her reader to feel the emotions. Let me point out a couple of writers who do this well.

J.K. Rowling: Yeah, as much as I was anti-Harry Potter for the first 5 books and 2 movies, nothing was cooler than seeing Hermione punch Draco. Not my point...squirrel...anyway...one thing Rowling did well was get me to feel what Harry was feeling. Now, as an audience, we're supposed to feel sorry for Hermione or proud for Ron or enmity toward Voldemort. But we're supposed to feel sorrow with Harry, joy with Harry, hatred with Harry. I've never been an orphan raised by his self-righteous aunt and uncle and overstuffed cousin. I've never lived under the stairs. But Rowling does a beautiful job of getting many people to feel the pains and sufferings and joys with Harry.

Stephenie Meyer: Have I read Twlight? Nope. Will I? I'm gonna go with "probably not", but in a few years when the hype is dead (or undead, whatever), then I may be interested in reading book 1 for her style and worldbuilding. Anyway, I know that Stephenie Meyer is one of the most hated authors in the U.S. Guess what. She's also one of the most beloved. Why? Because what teenaged girl (and "1985"-syndromed mom) who feels like she is plain and boring doesn't want 2 hot guys going after her? I'm gonna guess that less than 1%. She knew her audience. It's not me.

John Grisham: Wait, did I just mention a plot driven author? Yeah, I did. Grisham wrote classic page turners. The first book of his I read was The Brethren. I've read The Summons, The Firm, The Broker, and my personal favorite, The Street Lawyer. (There may be another one.) I'm going to look at The Summons here. Do you remember in school when they talk about the different styles of conflict? Let me refresh your memory. There's Man vs Man (most common). Man vs Nature (or Artificial Intelligence). Man vs Society. And The Summons' main conflict of Man vs Self. Now, people who know the ending (which I'll try not to spoil) may disagree. But when you really think about it, the main character's worst enemy in the book is himself. If he did the right thing to begin with, he wouldn't be on the run. He did what he thought was best for himself and screwed himself over because of it. And I felt the man's pain at ruining his own life and second guessing his choices. Grisham is plot-driven, but there are plenty of decent characters.

The point of this is I haven't any idea how the authors felt the emotions they portrayed. It doesn't matter since I did feel what was intended.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Writer's Remorse

by C. Michelle Jefferies

Note: when hubby works 14 hour days, 7 days a week you forget when it's Tuesday.

I'm in the middle of a serious draft of the third story in my series. Usually for me it means a lot of sitting my butt in my chair and writing until my wrists and shoulders hurt. I've written just over 50,000 words in 30 days, as of last night. With the exception of my story generating area, the rest of my brain is pretty much dead.

One thing that happens when in drafting mode is that I hit a chapter or scene that is either difficult to write, slow in coming, or just ugly as I write it. It often times slows me down as a writer, and most likely frustrates me. "This is horrible!" I find myself saying over and over as I write it. EVEN when it's needed information in a needed scene for the plot. (remember I'm a structure gal, not a lot of pansting room in the story)

Sound like something you do too?  Yeah, I think most of us have writers remorse at least once a draft.

The one thing I do when this happens is wait. Wait for the scene to figure itself out, keep writing until it makes sense, shut the computer down and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. I often times will call or email a friend and tell them I'm frustrated, or talk the scene out with them or just let someone else know that I'm in the middle of some scene that is frustrating. BUT I don't delete the scene.

Often times when I come back to that scene it's actually okay. Sometimes it's even great. Sometimes when I keep plugging through the scene some new scene or dialogue comes into play that makes all of the other stuff make sense.

So the next time you're tempted to delete a whole chapter scene or book put it aside, maybe it's just that immediate frustration. And when were looking at it with "immediate frustration goggles" it looks bad. When in fact, when we're able to take those "goggles" off after some down time what we wrote is actually kind of neat. :)

I know Josi Kilpack never deletes a scene. She may cut it and store it in a file to use later but never deletes it.

Have you experienced Writer's Remorse? What do you do to get over or around it?

~The path to wisdom is not always straight

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Who Do You Write Like?

by Donna K. Weaver

I'm a voracious reader and have been since I was a little girl. I love multiple genres and I can see now as I consider the titles of the books I devoured that that love began way back. Since we tend to do what we know, those authors must have impacted me my writing style.

Ever wondered who you write like? There's a fun website you can check out here. All you have to do is copy a paste a piece of your writing, and it well tell you who your style is like.

Go ahead. Do it. It'll only take a minute.

You done? Who do you write like?

When I first input my writing at this site a year or two ago, I did a section each from two different books. One was in first person and the other in third. I got two different results. For the first person, it was the same as the female later on in this post. Here's who the third person was:
Jo Rowling (source)

This time, I tried three different sections from the same book (first person narrative). Got three different writers:

Ray Bradbury (source)

Stephanie Meyer (source)
Stephen King (source)



Okay, on the bright side that's quite the wide assortment, wouldn't you say? And I confess to not having read a lot of Bradbury's stuff, so I can't say how much he could have influenced me.

But even if it really just shows a flaw in the software, it does beg an important question: does it really matter anyway who you write like as you work to find your personal style and voice?

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Please Comment

By Keith N Fisher

I’ve been on this site for six years now. Posting about writing, and the struggles associated with it, has been therapeutic. Having people read and comment is icing on the cake. Many of the people who commented in the beginning were published authors. Others have since become published authors, and most of them have blogs of their own.

As we all know, struggling to get noticed as a writer is difficult and there is so much competition. Many of my contemporaries are very good at it, but I wonder about relevance. Recently, I noticed several blogs dealing with subjects I wrote about years ago. I even noticed a credit given to someone else for a concept originally coined by another.

Six years ago, at the LDStorymakers conference, I glanced at those in attendance and marveled that so many people felt an urge to write. I wrote how we seemed to be poised on a precipice waiting for God to use us in the battle for souls. This year, the numbers had more that doubled many times. So, I wonder about relevance.

Have you ever wondered this same thing about your writing? I don’t mean to be glum, but it’s that kind of day. Keep your head up and your fingers poised on the keyboard. Search your heart for inspiration. Its what I do. Sometimes, I write from the parking lot of the temple, hoping to reach my readers. It helps with my perspective. Don’t worry, I will continue to offer advice on this blog because I’ve grown accustomed to posting here. However, your comments are more than welcome.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Friday, July 06, 2012


by G.Parker

Some people get hives just seeing that word in print.  Some get a thrill and feel anticipation.  What does that word do for you?

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I am a procrastinator.  I admit it.  "Hello, my name is Gaynell, I'm a procrastinator."  "Hello, Gaynell, welcome."  I find that I do my best work under pressure, at least with artwork.  As far as writing, it works too, but I'm able to spread things out a little more.  I've gotten much better at it as a writer, especially during the month of November and the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  I know that if I get most of my words in during the first two weeks, the last two go much smoother and I enjoy my Thanksgiving much better.

There are many deadlines in writing.  If you write for a newspaper or magazine, there are daily, weekly and sometimes monthly ones.  If you are writing novels and dealing with a publisher, then you have various deadlines for drafts copies, outlines, etc.

What amazes me are those who can put out a book a year.  That takes dedication and determination.  They must have deadlines all year long to get things out on time.

Take this blog for example.  When we first started doing this, we all were submitting our suggested blog subjects and rough drafts the beginning of the week we were to post.  Then, everyone would try and review it and make suggestions.  This was all hopefully done in plenty of time for the author to fine tune it and publish it on the due date.  Over the years as we've had to deal with life and making a living, as well as changing up the bloggers, we've gotten rather lax at the whole proofing part of it.  We usually just get the blog posted and if anyone notices an issue, they let us know so we can change it.  Sigh.

The deadlines really shifted and became fluid.  Now we can determine what date the blog will post, and if it needs to be reposted, that can be done too.  Remember how I mentioned I was a procrastinator?  I used to try and get my blogs written by Wednesday.  I blog every Friday, that gives me plenty of time, right?  Now I generally am writing them Friday morning or even afternoon!  While I do try and think of subjects during the week, and sometime actually come up with something several days before, the majority of my writing is done the day of.

So, for me, deadlines are the only way I get anything written on a consistent basis!  Even though I try to write every day, it's the deadline that drives me.

How do you feel about deadlines??  Oh, and those of you who are waiting for your prizes??  they're still coming -- I'm just trying to figure out how to get them to you without having them be chocolate soup.  ;)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

One nitty gritty of POV (point of view) changes

by C. Michelle Jefferies

I love writing third person exclusive. Its my favorite mode of POV. I love taking a book and writing it from one persons perspective. It's challenging and I enjoy that.

However, often times the situation of the story determines whether the POV is from numerous characters, only two characters or one.

While Emergence is written in third exclusive, the next book Latent is in both the MC's POV and the love interests POV. The third book (yet unnamed) has even more of the other characters POV, and the fourth is mostly from the POV of the minor character. At least that is the way I have it planned.

I am discovering as I write the middle two books that POV changes is more than a flip of "he said" and "she said". There's the challenge of forcing your mind to actually switch between characters and write it consistently. While for some people this might be easy, for me it's not. I am really comfortable in exclusive, multiple POV not so much.

So one thing I have discovered as I have worked on the two middle books.

Your actions, observances, and thoughts should start with the lead character in that chapter/scene.

IE, If your POV character is male the other female, an observance would be:

"He noticed the set of her shoulders. This wasn't going to be an easy conversation."
instead of  
"She squared her shoulders, he realized this wasn't going to be an easy conversation."

With the first example there's no confusion who is watching who and who is thinking, The second, not as easy and more wordy because of defining who is thinking. 

Granted, in the interest of not having boring sentences that all start with "he" you have to change it up. But keeping this idea in mind has made it so much easier for me to keep the switch consistent.

 ~The Path To Wisdom Is Not Always Straight.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

English is a Funny Language

by Donna K. Weaver

Isn't the English language just the quirkiest thing? I got the following in an email a few years ago, but I don't know where this originated.

There is a two letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two letter work, and that is up.

It’s easy to understand up, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake up?

At a meeting, why does a topic come up? Why do we speak up and why are the officers up for election and why is it up to the secretary to write up a report?

We call up our friends and we use it to brighten up a room, polish up the silver, we warm up the leftovers and clean up the kitchen. We lock up the house and some guys fix up the old car.

At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line up for tickets, work up and appetite and think up excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed up is special.

And this up is confusing: A drain must be opened up because it is stopped up.

We open up a store in the morning but we close it up at night. We seem to be pretty mixed  up about up!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of up, look the word up in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes up almost a quarter of the page and can add up to about thirty definitions.

If you are up to it, you might try building  up a list of the many ways  up is used. It will take up a lot of your time, but if you don’t give up, you could wind up with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding up. When the sun comes out we say it clearing up. When it rains, it wets up the earth.

When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry up.

One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it up, for now my time is up, so….

Time to shut up . . . !