Sunday, October 28, 2012

Seize the Moment

 by Donna K. Weaver

A coworker (of sorts) is going through a very tough time right now. Her husband suffered a double stroke a couple of weeks ago. As if that wasn't hard enough, he slipped into a coma, and his doctors had no idea where the clots had come from.

Things got even more challenging when they discovered a mass in his liver, and the doctor said the big "C" word. Further test determined that he has cancer in his liver that has metastasized throughout his body. Seems the strokes may have actually been a blessing. There's so little hope with his body riddled with cancer and so much brain damage from the strokes they must now decide whether or not to take him off life support.

I really feel for this coworker. I was a widow at 26, and I remember days when I would take my two children to the park after work rather than go home to the empty house. How long and miserable Saturdays and Sundays were because those were the days his absence was most keenly felt since he'd have been there with us. When suddenly you're the only one to comfort and console your children who don't understand why daddy isn't there anymore.

It's also a wake-up call to see someone younger than you die. That could be me. Who knows what's going on in my body? I might live to be ninety like my fraternal grandmother or drop dead tomorrow.

The life we have is precious. I believe our priorities for how we use the hours of our lives  are critical. We should decide what's really important to us and invest our time in those.

What does this have to do with writing?

Where do our dreams of writing/publishing fit in our eternal scheme? Only we can decide if watching that TV show (or whatever our distraction of choice might be) is important enough to pay for it with hours of our lives. Do we give up doing something higher on our priority list? Are we putting off to a later time--a time we may not have--the people and things that are most important to us?

On this somber Sunday, I challenge us each to review our priorities and compare them with how we're actually spending our time, make sure we're being with the people and doing the things that mean the most to us.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I'm Off to see the Wizard

By Keith N  Fisher

I couldn't think of anything that would be relevant today, so I'll be back next week. Until then, make sure you check your facts. If you reference a website, check the author's credentials. just because somebody writes something doesn't make them an expert. Use the sources written by those who were there.

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

Follow the yellow brick road, a huh.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Money for a Good Play

by G.Parker

My son is taking an intro to drama class that requires he attend two plays per term.  While that doesn't seem like a big deal, it's a stretch when money is tight and there's a wedding going on.  We didn't even have time to look into it until after the wedding, and then I discovered that the term ends next week.  No pressure!

So this past Monday I took him to a little neighborhood theater that we'd been to once before that was doing something called "The Drowsy Chaperone."  I thought it was interesting because I remember the high school doing it last year and we didn't go see it.  I figure if it was something the high school could do, then perhaps it wouldn't be too crazy.

We really enjoyed it!  It comes kind of from a different perspective, as it's being told by a person who is sitting in his little apartment listening to a record.  It's kind of a spoof off musicals, and it's very entertaining. It was really interesting to me as a writer because I've flirted with the idea of writing a screenplay.

Play writing is so different from a book.  With a book you need to put everything in the pages; emotion, scene, atmosphere.  In a play, you have to write what people are doing, where they're going, what they need to do, and then each person and their lines.  The whole set up is different.  I'm not sure that switching to plays would be my thing, but I know there are several out there that do well at it.

One of our favorite movies is one called "Noises Off."  This is a movie about a group of actors and the director doing a play from opening night in some small town to ending up on Broadway and the relationships and trials in between.  It's strange to watch sometimes because it has Christopher Reed and John Ritter, both of whom are greatly missed.

But anyway - if you have a desire to write a play, that is something you can do during National Novel Writing Month, though they actually hold a different one toward the spring for screen/play writing, which might be more to your liking.  I'm just suggesting that if you are thinking of giving it a trial run, November might be a good time.

It's always a good time for a play.

Five days and counting...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Grammatically Speaking

by Donna K. Weaver

Apostrophes show a contraction or possession.

Example (Wikipedia):
Kingsley Amis, on being challenged to produce a sentence whose meaning depended on a possessive apostrophe, came up with:
Those things over there are my husband's. (Those things over there belong to my husband.)
Those things over there are my husbands'. (Those things over there belong to several husbands of mine.)
Those things over there are my husbands. (I'm married to those men over there.)
Wow. This lady's been busy. Forget Polygamy. Go for Polyandry. O_o

She learned her ABCs.
the 1990s not the 1990's
the '90s or the mid-'70s not the '90's or the mid-'70’s
She learned her times tables for 6s and 7s.

Exception: Use apostrophes with capital letters and numbers
when the meaning would be unclear otherwise.
Please dot your i's.
You don't mean “is.”

Do your tricky fingers ever slip an apostrophe where you KNOW it doesn't belong?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Writing Politically

By Keith N Fisher

No. It’s not what you think. I haven’t bailed out of the non-partisan boat. I’m talking about the things we write without thinking about our readers.

Let me explain. I was writing in a restaurant early in the morning the other day. The music coming from the kitchen was from my era. I didn’t like the Black Sabbath, although I did back in 1972 when I bought the album. I enjoyed hearing Pink Floyd’s, Dark Side of the Moon again, though.

From somewhere behind me, A customer made a comment. She liked the Pink Floyd and went on to compare it, unfavorably to the Beatles. She criticized I Want to Hold Your Hand by singing part of it with a nasal tone.

I was shocked. Obviously to me, that person didn’t have a clue. In my mind, I argued that Paul Mccartney and John Lennon were some of the most talented writers ever. Elements of their music can be found in almost every Rock n Roll song ever written, the rest, were probably from the Rolling Stones. I went on to analyze I Want to Hold Your Hand by pointing out the necessary link it provided in the evolution of the medium.

The music turned to a Jimi Hendrix song, I also enjoyed hearing again, but the customer left and I didn’t get her opinion of him. Hendrix was extremely talented, but I suppose there are many who don’t like his music either. Bringing me to the point.

As a writer of fiction, I labor over my work, choosing words carefully to express my thoughts in the most succinct way possible. I hope readers will like what I’ve written. Most often, however, I don’t stop and think about who might disagree or be offended by what I’ve written.

Writing in the LDS market is limiting. My work will be held to something I call, the Deseret Book Standard. Simply put: If DB wouldn’t put it on their shelves then it won’t be successful in the market. Also, there are hundreds of words and touchy situations I can’t write. I'm constantly being corrected by my wise critique group.

Of course the market is changing, but writing nationally is easier. Nevertheless, I run the risk of offending someone. What happens if I write in both markets? Will my LDS fans shun me because I use a word? Must I write under a pseudonym? What about what I say on social media? Perhaps, politics shouldn’t be discussed, although some LDS writers think it’s their sacred duty to do so. Well, you get the point.

I’m talking about platforms and image. Promotion begins when you start writing and never quits. Be careful. Your snide remark might destroy years of public relations. Stand up for principles not people. Don’t be negative, and if you’re writing in the LDS market, don’t use swear words on Facebook.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Friday, October 19, 2012

You Don't See Anything....

by G.Parker

Like the penguins in Madagascar, I'm waving my hand over the computer and wishing it made it happen.  You see, I was supposed to be out of town today.  Sitting in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  Enjoying the brisk fall air, gorgeous scenery, and yummy pizza.  Oh yeah...they have a killer pizza joint there.  Anyway - that's where I was supposed to be right now.  But then life got in the way.

Tires on vehicles, for one.  We needed new tires on both cars that would hold everyone.  OUCH.  Didn't happen.  And, then our oldest daughter threw out her back and she would have been left home alone.  Double OUCH.  That also wasn't happening.  So we ended up having to stay home.

That meant that I could either sit around and mope (which let me tell you, it felt like everyone was sitting in a morgue yesterday afternoon) or figure out funness to do here.  I like that word.  Is it really a word?  I'm not sure.  Spell check doesn't like it.  We ended up doing a combination of things.  We did get tires on one of the cars, it was a necessity, and we discovered the joys of used tires of KSL.  Amazing how people will take perfectly good tires off their cars to put on something fancier.  Works for me when I get two with good tread for the price of a cheapo one.

Anyway, we had lunch with my hubby in Salt Lake yesterday, and then got some applesauce made and the laundry room cleaned and then folded clothes while watching a movie and then had fondue for dinner and watched Star Trek.  (The original series)

That brought on a conversation about how my oldest daughter (who is following in her mother's footsteps in wanting to be a writer) really likes the original Star Trek series because you never knew how they were going to end the show.  They always came up with something original, and it was usually something pretty good.  She liked to watch them because they made her think.

I think that was probably the biggest compliment the series could get.  Not only were there some fun actors on there, who totally made the characters, but there was a good story line as well.  Yeah, I know there were a lot of politics involved with the show, and that it ended just as it was really going to take off and ended up in rerun heaven for the next 20 or so years, only to spawn a whole new generation of trekkies...but it was a good show.  And it was based on solid writing.

So, while I "suffer" here at home instead of relaxing in Steamboat, I'll remember that my chance to get my writing to the solid stage is still coming...only 13 days and counting...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Core Four (In My Viewpoint)

Again, I apologize for not posting in a while. Maybe that's expected. I have a million excuses, but in the end, no one really cares.

Today, I want to write about four basic elements to a story. For me, there are key elements that every book needs that some books out there are stronger at giving than others. I just want to point some out for you.

Conflict: Ever read "And they lived happily ever after. The end."? You know why there's no sequel? Cause there's no more conflict. I remember school giving different examples of conflict: Man vs Man; Man vs Self; Man vs Society/Gov't (which to me is a broader Man vs Man); Man vs Nature; Man vs Machine; and Man vs God. I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones I can recall

Man vs Man is probably the most common. A good example of Man vs Machine is I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. Never read it. Saw the movie though, so the conflict didn't change. The Hunger Games is a great Man vs Man, but really, the trilogy seems to be more Man vs Society/Gov't. But the first book I remember reading that wasn't Man vs Man was John Grisham's The Summons.

My wife and I have discussed this a few times. She's explained to how it's Man vs Man. And even though I can see why, I really see the main character's biggest enemy is himself. If he did the right thing to begin with, he wouldn't have been running for his life. Best example of Man vs Self that I've read.

Character: If you have a conflict, great. But you need the right characters. As it comes to reading a book that has strong character development and really gets into a character's head, I can think of none better then I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells. Maybe I haven't read enough books, but Dan's ability to let us deeply inside John Cleaver's mind, whether it scares us or not, is what makes him an award winning author.

There are other great stories where we get into the character's mind and are able to really understand that character. Hunger Games and Harry Potter are good examples of a 1st person and 3rd person-close respectively that I see great character development.

Theme: Most my teachers: "What is the theme to this book?" Me: "(Some pseudo-moral)." Teacher: "That's a moral, not a theme." This is how my life has been and still is. But as I've read the Newport Ladies Book Club series (yes, I have done so and couldn't care less what you think), I've been understanding theme better.

After I read Olivia, which was probably a day or two after my wife finished it, we were discussing why she was dissatisfied. I actually really liked the story. I loved how Olivia realized the other characters weren't as perfect and wonderful as she'd projected onto them. And that was one of the main themes I've seen in the stories. There just isn't a way to know what's going on with a person's life when we're on the outside, that's more Olivia's theme. The books also have a theme of self-reliance. (Haven't read Athena yet, but this is true for the others.) Olivia, Daisy, and Paige have to learn how to be strong and independent with the cards that they've been dealt, so to speak. If not, their lives can be miserable and each is faced with that misery. (Moving on so I can keep my man card.)

Plot: Okay, plot was essential in the olden days. But today, it feels like the "what happens" falls lower on a priority list when I hear authors speak of different important aspects of a story. I love plot-based books. Personally, one of my all-time favorite books is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

Yes, we do get inside the mind of a few of the characters, even so close to experience one of the character's deaths from their point of view. But the plot itself is what drives the story forward. The only thing the reader is supposed to care about in a book like this is "who did it?"

This is actually one of my favorite books ever. I have no idea why, but it's something that just has stuck with me after reading it years ago. The story goes from character and character. The reader has clues, but is always thrown off. But even the story itself tells the reader who did it, if the reader pays enough attention.

Anyway, when I start thinking about a story, I remind myself that even though I have plot points and characters, I need conflict and an overlying theme to make it a complete story. (Yeah, the theme sometimes comes in afterward.)

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The writing space

by C. Michelle Jefferies

Do you have the writing space of your dreams? Is it a corner of another room, a comfy couch, or an office to yourself?

I know one writer who loves to write by hand in a notebook in her papasan chair which she calls her "writing chair". Another writer has a couch and uses the back of said couch for their storage. Another writer has a long narrow office with shelves along one wall a couch on the other and a desk at the end of the long room. I even know a writer that had a whole huge room in the basement with walls covered in pictures of her characters.

Regardless of what it is, It needs to be someting you are happy with. When I attended Storymakers Author Kevin James talked about ergonomics, and that if you are writing you need to be comfortble and in a position that is good for your body. Is your back strained after a few hours? Your eyes hurting? Your hands and wrists in pain? Chances are you need to re-asses your writing space and do something to make it better. If you do, your body and WIP will thank you.

What is your writing space like? Are you happy with it?

The road to wisdom is not always straight.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Changing Seasons

by Donna K. Weaver

I love this time of year. It's probably a leftover from when I was a kid. My birthday's in September (and, of course, that's when school started--and I liked school), then there's Halloween in October, Thanksgiving in November, and Christmas in December. What's not to love about the fall?

View from my old office.
Of course, it's the season that takes us into winter, with its colder weather, shorter days, and threats of seasonal depression. I don't suffer from that personally, but I know some people who do. For them, heading into winter brings a lot of fear.

How do your characters react to the weather? What happened in their growing up years that thrills or terrifies them? Does the sharp sound of thunder remind them of running to the hidey hole for safety. Do huge drops of rain accompanied by heavy winds take them back to a time when they lived through a hurricane? Or does a soft summer rain bring out the child in them and make them want to go outside and sing and dance and get soaking wet?

While we're never supposed to start a book with the weather, in some stories, it can almost be another character. How is a tense showdown in your tale influenced by the high pressure of a coming storm? Scenes like that make me think of the poor guy with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, each whispering things in his ears.

What techniques do you like to use in your writing to show how weather impacts your characters. How do you utilize this handy tool?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Be Careful What you Write---It Might be your Script

By Keith N Fisher

Several years ago, I wrote a story that came to me in church. I had it drafted in my mind, beginning to end, before the meeting was over. The manuscript was never published, but most of the words live in my memory. It was my first finished book, and I intend to rewrite it someday.

Parts of that story came back and slapped me in the face, the other night. Not in a good, editorial way, but as I lived the plot. Many of us write from our experiences, but how many of us experience what we write?

What do you suppose would happen if your characters really came alive? There have been many books and movies dealing with the premise, but one I like the most was Delirious with John Candy. The writer of a soap opera gets hit on the head and wakes up in his own show. In order to escape, he must write himself out.

My experience with being pulled into my book wasn’t funny, like the film, but it did make me wonder if I have to continue living the circumstances I wrote into the story. It took years for things to work out, and the characters passed through many trials.

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

Friday, October 12, 2012

Writing for Words

by G.Parker

Well, the days are passing faster than the weather.  I can't believe it's the middle of October all ready!  That means the count down is coming close and we are all getting anxious.

Today is the 12th, so that means there are 19 days till NaNoWriMo.  Are you ready?  I'm not.  Well, I guess I am mostly, but it's somehow creeping up on me faster than I had anticipated.

I wanted to do more research on my story and make sure I knew where I was going with it.  I wrote last week how preparing to write is like preparing to paint?  Well, perhaps -- but it's also something that I'm really good at procrastinating.  I work much better under pressure, for some reason, and it doesn't work well when you're trying to fight your own innate nature.  We're still trying to get my desk set back up, but hubby is a little busy studying for a major test, so that's kind of on the back burner.

We are also participating in a Cub Scout Pow Wow in November, which is going to take some time away from the writing, and we still have some prep we need to do for that.  (Memo to self:  remember not to agree to help hubby on something he agrees to do during the month of November...)  But fortunately, writing can happen anywhere and anyplace.  If I'm sitting at a school and not doing anything, I can write.  If I'm waiting for a child at a doctor appointment I can write on paper.  While I prefer to type as it keeps up with my thought processes, a pen and paper works just fine.  The more I get down out of my brain, the quicker I get to my goal.

While winning isn't everything, especially during the NaNo month, it brings a certain amount of satisfaction.  Perhaps the rest of the year you struggle with getting words down on paper?  Maybe working out a schedule of writing every day is the challenge.  Whatever the case, if you meet your goal during November, you know that it's possible to do and that you can do it more consistently.

Not only are you writing to win, you're writing for words.  Words that add up and help you further your writing goals.  Every word counts, every day adds up and it all brings you closer to finding out what your desires as a writer is.

So whatever your purpose in participating in NaNo, do your best, be prepared, and you will be a winner, even if you don't get the fun little stamp at the end.  After all, they say winning isn't everything, right?

I'm not so sure... lol

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Sipping . . .

by C. Michelle Jefferies

I just had some surgery last week and am home healing and resting. I'm actually doing great. Except one thing. Staying hydrated.
You see large amounts of fluids really make me sick and I HATE throwing up. The Nutritionist explained to stay hydrated at times like this I needed to sip sip sip all day long.
I realized the analogy to writing this morning as I searched for the energy and an idea for my blog topic today. Often times when we are threatening to get to the point where our ability, and will to write is drying up like being dehydrated, we want to take large chucks of time and just pound it out and that is the last thing we need to do. It is at that time to calm a rebellious muse or fried brain we need to write in little little little steps in order for our selves to get back into the swing of things.  Then as we feed the muse calm the brain re-energize then we can tackle harder and bigger things.

How do you handle burnout and muse strikes?

The path to wisdom is not always straight

Sunday, October 07, 2012

BBC's Top Loved 100 Books

by Donna K. Weaver

Some years back (2003), the BBC began a search for the top 100 beloved books.  I wonder with some of the blockbusters of the last 9 years would change any of these.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (started it but quit when I found the adults so unlikeable)
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (loved the movie, so it's on my list)
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (loved the movie, so it's on my list)
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens (it's on my list)
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (it's on my list)
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens (it's on my list)
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen (
started but haven't finished)
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens (I have the ebook)
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher (LOVE this book!)
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King

54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer

60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens (it's on my list)
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

Some of these books are classics, and there's good reasons for why they continue to be people's favorites. Others, however, are on the list because they were temporary fads. It might be a good question to ask how many of these would still be on the list in fifty years.

How many how of these book have you read? Do you think there are any glaring absences?

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Pieces of My Life

By Keith N Fisher

I went hunting with my brothers last weekend and enjoyed getting out. The mountain air and romance of a campfire, made up for the trouble of getting ready to go. It was good to be with family, and I got a little editing done.

I have a word of advice for you: Don’t eat a pear while editing in your truck in the dark. The juicy mess gets all over your laptop, and writing suffers.

While driving with my brother down familiar roads, on the way to different areas, I became aware of my rambling. My mouth was spilling out recollections of past experiences, both mine and those of my father.

Being blessed to have spent time, as an adult, with Dad became evident, but so did my feelings of being at home. I felt sorry for those who moved around a lot as kids. There might be many nostalgic places from their past, but I have memories piled on top of others, and all in the same places.

Almost anywhere I go, in Utah, I can recall a fond memory of the place. Some places dredge up more memories than others, but most of my life was lived in those areas.

Perhaps you can understand my distress over the closing of roads and limiting regulations. This blog is not the place for political soapboxes, but I’ve been feeling violated. It seems that certain groups are systematically destroying my whole life. When the powers that be, close off an area or legislate where I can shoot, they are pushing me one step closer to the grave.

I’m getting old and out of shape. I can’t walk into the areas where the forest service closed the 100-year old roads. I can’t afford to go to a private shooting range, and I shouldn’t have to.

My brother made a comment, last weekend that sticks with me. We watched a herd of cows crossing a meadow and I, with tongue-in-cheek, asked, "Why don’t you shoot one of them?"

He said, "I ought to. They’re grazing on my land."

That hits the nail on the head. It is, after all, our land.

As I said, this blog isn’t for political soapboxes, so you might be wondering how my story applies to writing. Spending time in familiar places from my past opened the floodgates of memory. Along with those recollections came reflection, and that is the inspiration for writing. Try visiting your past, the next time you get writers block.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week, unless they close another road.


Friday, October 05, 2012


by G.Parker

I hope you have enjoyed the foray into the past with the month of September.  It was a nice break for me, and kind of fun to see what I wrote about several years ago.  Weird, but fun.

Now we are in the month of preparation.  If you read my last post, you'll notice I mentioned National Novel Writing Month.  This is a big deal in my world.  My husband dreads it, and my children have mixed feelings.  A couple of them have joined me, but the rest suffer -- I wish they'd do it in

The month of November takes a lot of preparation if I'm to approach it with a calm and level head.  If I'm not prepared, then I'm stressed the whole time and totally worn out by the 30th.

Have you participated in a writing challenge?  Have you done NaNoWriMo before?  What preparations have you done for it?

I need to have the basic story idea, and all the background research I can gather.  If I'm the slightest bit confused or lost, then the story gets messed up and while I  may finish it, it's not done.  I have to rewrite it.  I hate when that happens.

I also need to budget my time each day.  I need to write as soon as I get home before my children get home from school so I have no interruptions.  Then I write till my hubby gets home, hopefully without too many more questions or needs.  Then it's dinner time, and then I try and get at least another hour in before bed.  If I follow that schedule, I'm usually ahead on my word count by Sunday which enables me to skip that day and relax.  I also am able to enjoy Thanksgiving without too much guilt if I'm ahead on the words.

I live by the word in November.  Not so much the chapter or the time spent, but each word counts.

This years project was thought up a couple of months ago, actually.  Then, when my hubby agreed to get Direct TV so we could watch the Olympics as much as I wanted, I had to agree to some very specific writing goals.  Sigh.  It's terrible having a supportive spouse, isn't it?  I don't know how I got so lucky, but he's the best.

So the month of October is going to be spent researching, organizing and getting my writing space ready.  Since we emptied out the sunroom (which holds my desk) for the wedding, it's going to take some doing to get it all back.  Did I mention how great the floor looks?
Just for comparison, this is before:

And this is After:

When I think about it, preparing for writing is a lot like preparing to paint a room.  There is the cleaning of the space so you can have elbow room, like you clean off the walls and the trim.  Then there is the taping so that you don't have to watch every stroke of the brush and have to repaint.  With writing, you don't always use something like tape - but I would imagine it would be similar to an outline.  A plot.  Something that helps you kind of stay on the right path.  Then there's the paint itself -- rollers, brushes, little sponge brushes and drop cloths.  The computer or notebook would be the rollers.  Pens and pencils, keyboards or some kind of word processing system would be the brushes.  Candy and music would be the little sponge brushes and drop cloths.  Motivation is a beautiful thing.  ;)

Anyway - enough of my rambling.  Now you see why I need preparation, or else I would be VERY distracted the whole time I'm trying to write.  My children came by their ADHD very honestly.

I'd be curious how you prepare to write.  Drop us a line and let us know.  ;)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Editing Tools

by C. Michelle Jefferies

I've been doing final edits on my Emergence manuscript, and secondary edits on the sequel Latent, as well as having the third book rough finished and sitting on the back burner. The one thing I have had to address this week is names. I've had to change names because I have had scenes where three characters names all start with the letter M or two main characters have names where the first two letters of their names start with El.

I've created a character name Master List for character names. (I know I have a lot of master lists, maybe I'll do a blog post on them sometime.) On this list I write the characters name, the book(s) they are in and who they are. I also have a short list of the few names I have had to change so I can remember who they were.

How do you keep track of your characters?

The path to wisdom is not always straight