Category Archives: WRITING

Newbie, Apprentice, or Master Writer?

I’m not a newbie writer anymore.  I don’t even cringe as I say the words that used to scare me:  “I’m a writer.”  Nope, that’s ME! But despite the people who tell me I’m a genius and are waiting breathlessly for my next book (yes, there are a few of them out there), I’m nowhere near a master.  I’m solidly in my apprenticeship, working and learning along the way. Kristen Lamb blogged about this yesterday and gave permission to share.  Here’s our Jedi Master on the three stages of a writing career: The mark of a pro is they make whatever we want to do look easy. From running a business to playing guitar to wicked cool Kung Fu moves, masters rarely seem to even break a sweat. Same with authors. With the pros? The story flows, pulls us in, and appears seamless and effortless. Many of us decided to … Continue reading

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I Need Some Whitespace in My Life

Too much to do, too little time, too many deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise.  When things are so jammed up, it doesn’t take much to send you over the edge.  My mother thinks I don’t know this, but I do – it’s just that it’s hard to keep it from happening.  I’ll blog more about this later for Take Joy, but for now, here’s a piece I loved from Randy Ingermanson’s newsletter –  “stolen” with permission. Whitespace in Your Life Picture this scenario: You go to the refrigerator to get a jug of milk. Should be simple, right? What could go wrong? The refrigerator is packed. The milk is right there in front on the top shelf, wedged in between a pint of cottage cheese and some bottles of apple juice. You’re holding a glass in one hand and you reach up with the other to grab the milk. It’s wedged … Continue reading

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Flunking NaNoWriMo, Finding a Writing Rhythm

I admit it:  I flunked NaNo this year. I had great plans of using the month to crank out a down-and-dirty rough draft of Shimmer #2.  What I discovered was that a good story (not just a large word count), necessary historical research and a 30-day deadline do not make a good combination! At about the 10,000 word mark, I discovered a resource that filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge about life in the canal construction camps of the 1830s.  Great info, but it also meant stopping to read, re-imagine and re-plot before I could move forward again.  And when local book signings and a marketing push on Mother-Daughter Book Reviews took over my brain, and NaNoWriMo went completely kaput. Sigh. On the other hand, when I was working on those 10,000 words, I discovered a great rhythm for my writing time! As many of you know, … Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo and Shimmer of Time 2

It’s that time of year again, when writers all over the world hunker down together and begin a new novel, with the goal of at least 50,000 words (that’s about 200 double-spaced pages) by the end of November – National Novel Writing Month.  Would you believe there were 310,000 NaNoWriMo writers last year?? I’ve “won” NaNo twice before, once finishing the majority of an adult novel, and once with a YA experiment with mixed results.  I haven’t participated since I got back from Ireland, but now I’m all set to go with the sequel to Through the Shimmer of Time (click to read an excerpt of Book 1). Jim and Hannah will be back, of course, along with a new village resident named Mr. Oppenheimer, a young Irishman named Donal, and their immigrant canal-building buddies.  Plus a nasty dude who has no name yet, and plenty of adventure and danger.  … Continue reading

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Halloween Story Starters

  Do you love spooky stories?  Ones that make you shiver, jump at an unexpected sound, feel like someone is watching from the shadows? Here are some opening lines to start you writing your own.  But first, a couple of tips:  Fear builds when something unknown happens or might happen.  Don’t simply include gruesome monsters or menacing wraiths – instead, let your character hear/feel things that shouldn’t be possible.  Don’t forget the surroundings, including the unexplainable from above, such as things that move with no wind or that don’t move when they should.  Your character’s observations and reactions will heighten the tension. Okay, ready to write? You can use these openers as written, change the gender or other details, or let them be triggers for your own ideas.  Whether you write a paragraph or a complete short story, have fun giving someone else the shivers! She stared at the candle, … Continue reading

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