Tag Archives: books

What can you accomplish in 5 years?

time bloomingHow about 20?

Taking a break from writing my YA Paranormal first draft, I hopped over to see what (one of) my fav YA authors was up to. Laurie Halse Anderson focuses more on writing her books, than blog posts, which I truly admire. But, Here’s a post she shared back in September, 2012 that got me thinking.

Yes, I’ve been struggling with my own creativity doubts, droughts and bouts of frustration. Some bouts and droughts last long. Too long. And then, I start to think… “Am I REALLY a writer? Or am I posing as a writer because that’s what everyone THINKS I am?” Have I been at this writing thing too long with not much to show for it? It’s depressing. It’s defeating. Anyone else with me on this?

So, reading Laurie’s post about giving herself 5 years to make a name for herself in writing gave me an idea. What if I started right now? Like, took it seriously. 5 years from now, I can have a book published. 5 years from now, my oldest son will be a freshman in college, my younger guy will be a freshman in high school. They’d both be pretty independent and not need Mom around as much as they do now. I could go on a book tour! Ha! O.K. One.Thing.At.A.Time.

Finish first draft.

Submit my piece to my crit group TODAY. (eek!)

Meet with said crit group on Wednesday.

Critique one more story on CritiqueCircle.com

Complete first draft for Anthology 7 & post on CritiqueCircle.com

Where will you be in 5 years with your writing? With your life?

Random tidbits…

Written to the musical muse of: A Fine Frenzy – “Almost Lover”

Movie I’m psyched to see: Warm Bodies

Book I’m reading: well, just finished Anne Lamott’s Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

5 Comments

Filed under Believe, books, goals

AM I a traitor?

I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas. And I really, truly love all the capabilities. But, as empty wallets follow full holidays, alas I have no money left to purchase ebooks.

Any suggestions for some great fiction or books on creativity/inspiration/art/writing for cheap?

 

I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them. — Anne Rice

4 Comments

Filed under books

Winner!

Today’s Thankful Thursday is being interrupted to announce the winner of Kathy Handley’s Birds of Paradise…

Randomly selected from those who left a comment, the winner is…

Sandi Hershenson

Congrats, Sandi!  I sent you an email with details. Thank you to Kathy for her inspirational post and to all my readers who stopped by.  Keep us posted on your progress with those writing contests.

Quick list of love:

  • My followers!
  • My Man
  • My boys
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes
  • Deep purple Nailpolish
  • Led Zepplin (I’m adding to my LAKE RESORT NOVEL’s playlist and Zepplin figures prominently.)

Who do you LOVE ??

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Are Old Fears Dragging You Down? (Guest post & Giveaway!)

Are Old Fears Dragging You Down?

Guest Post by Mari McCarthy (Don’t forget to enter the ebook giveaway @ bottom of post!)

It’s the human condition to experience fear every now and then. No one is entirely immune to it. Part of growing up is learning how to handle your fears.

A friend observed the other day that people seem to be inexplicably drawn to challenging situations, circumstances that will force us to change and grow. It’s easy to build a cozy cocoon of our daily routines, but the time for metamorphosis comes around sooner or later. And often, you find yourself facing the very thing you hoped to avoid forever.

Win this Book!

The challenges that beckon us can bring us face to face with old fears. It’s as if the growth is directly aimed at making us resolve these ancient terrors, so we can progress in life. Our fears are barriers, keeping us from becoming what we naturally wish to be.

A highly effective tool for making your old fears disappear is journaling. Try the following process.

  1. Set aside a notebook that is dedicated to journaling about your fears. Write in it regularly.
  2. Make a list of everything you are afraid of.
  3. Identify several childhood fears that you had. Have you overcome any of these? How were you able to erase your fear?
  4. Write about the sensation of fear, how it feels in your body, what it might look like if it had a tangible form.
  5. Write in detail about the conditions present when you experience fear in your current life. Describe the external circumstances as well as the sequence of your thoughts.

Now return to the list of all your current fears and work through them in whatever order you wish.

Write about:

  1. where you are when this fear arises
  2. what happens in your body when you feel it
  3. your response to the fear
  4. the value of this fear to you (don’t forget that some fear is good; it protects us from harm)
  5. and end with an observation (or two) about your fear at this point

As with all journaling, don’t neglect the important step of reviewing previous entries after some time has passed. It is when you look back on the past that your journey is revealed.

Finally, notice that the journal writing therapy prescribed here makes no demands on you to change. It is important not to feel pressured about changing. Know that you are journaling to record, to illustrate, to discuss; but not to achieve anything.

Let the change come of its own accord as you continue to observe and write.

#

Mari McCarthy

 By Mari L. McCarthy – The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Health of It™.  Please visit Mari’s blog at CreateWriteNow. In Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life, Mari presents a gentle process for self discovery through journaling. Mari’s latest publication is titled, Your Money Matters! Use Journal Writing Therapy to Get Financially Fit Now.

Enter to win! By leaving a comment or question on today’s post, you are entered to win a copy of Mari’s ebook: Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life. I use random.org to select a winner – posted tomorrow, Wed., Aug. 31)

8 Comments

Filed under Advice, books, Give Aways

Reader Wednesday: CONFLICT

To continue our series….

What I'm reading now

From Beginnings, Middles & Ends, by Nancy Kress, I’ll share the “four elements that make a first scene compelling,” along with how my novel stacks up. The four elements are: CHARACTER, CONFLICT, SPECIFICITY  and CREDIBILITY.

This week: CONFLICT

CONFLICT:  in real life, we avoid it, in fiction we live for it and so does your story and its readers.

CONFLICT doesn’t necessarily mean an argument or a fight scene.  In Beginnings, Middles & Ends author, Nancy Kress, uses Raymond Carver’s short story “Fat” as an example of CONFLICT. The overall theme of Carver’s story is based on a touchy subject. The writer and reader both know that in our society, weight is an emotional issue.

 

 In my novel,  I show CONFLICT in the following ways:

  • ABANDONMENT: Humans thrive on the need to be needed, loved, connected. We learn early on, page one to be exact, that Lily has been abandoned by her mother.
  • ALCOHOLISM: This disease has far-reaching affects, not only on the abuser, but their circle of family and friends. Lily’s mother’s disease effects Lily’s entire outlook on life: past, present and future. It is what drives her need to flee, yet grounds her at home, where she hopes her mom will return for her.
  • GRANDPARENT RAISING GRANDCHILD: As common as this situation is, it comes with its own set of problems. The age gap, the resentment on both the grandparent’s end and the child’s end, anger at the absent parent, yet a need to protect and defend them. Lily struggles with her Nonna’s prudish ways and strict work ethic on their lake resort. She depends on Nonna for being the only stable thing in her life, yet resents when Nonna bad-mouths her mother.
  • FAMILY SECRETS: anytime secrets are kept within a family, something is about to explode. Truth revealed and the reaction to that truth can cause a riptide in the gene pool.  As the new young guest, Frank, confides in Lily about the horrific secret his family is keeping, Lily discovers a buried box, filled with secrets her own family has been keeping from her.

Ask the Question: What is the CONFLICT and how early is it introduced?

Kress says the First line, or at least the first page,should promise CONFLICT and raise questions for the reader.

So, take the first page of your draft and see if  your CONFLICT  makes its grand entrance. Share your findings with us!

Next week we’ll discuss SPECIFICITY

 ~~~~~~~~~~

Don’t want to forget to check in for new posts? No problem, let them come to you – SUBSCRIBE!

Leave a comment

Filed under Advice, books, characters, Education, Novels, Reader Wednesdays, teaching

Reader Wednesday

This week, I picked another writing book – cause I have a slight problem. With books. And writing. And buying things ; )

What I'm reading now

From Beginnings, Middles & Ends, by Nancy Kress, I’ll share the “four elements that make a first scene compelling,” along with how my novel stacks up. The four elements are: CHARACTER, CONFLICT, SPECIFICITY  and CREDIBILITY.

This week: CHARACTER

CHARACTER:  described by her voice, internal and external dialogue, thoughts, clothing, surroundings and her reaction to them.

In my opening scene I show CHARACTER in the following ways:

  • IN HER ROOM: Piles of mismatched pillows that Lily swiped from the houses of her mom’s long list of “hook-up’s”
  • IN HER SETTING: Lily’s reaction and interaction with the lake, the air, the sun and the island
  • IN HER TASTES: Coffee – no sugar
  • IN HER PHYSICAL APPEARANCE: her complex with her large nose, the scar, her tanned skin, dry chapped feet, long windblown hair, cut-off jeans
  • IN HER DREAMS: culinary school brochures & applications

Ask the Question: What does this promise?

  1. Lily obviously has a problem with theft and possibly her mom’s promiscuity – how will this play into the story?
  2. The Setting of being on a lake and how Lily walks around in that world shows us her skills, her upbringing, her culture and lifestyle. Also may play into conflict later (with weather)
  3. Her tastes and family traditions surrounding coffee and all foods and cooking play a large role in the book
  4. Having a complex about the size of her nose makes her human, relatable. The details of her appearance and clothing pull the reader into Lily’s world – making her believable
  5. Lily’s goal of getting into culinary school is central in the theme of the book. When the Protagonist has a goal, the conflicts stacked up against her are that much more tense. Makes the reader Care!!

So, take the first scene of your draft and see how your CHARACTER stacks up. Share your findings with us!

Next week we’ll discuss CONFLICT

 ~~~~~~~~~~

Don’t want to forget to check in for new posts? No problem, let them come to you – SUBSCRIBE!

2 Comments

Filed under Advice, books, characters, Education, Novels, Reader Wednesdays, teaching

Reader Wednesday

What I'm reading now

Once again, from Write Great Fiction – Plot & Structure (Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish) – James Scott Bell

Stretching the Emotional (tension)

We humans are a circus of doubts and anxieties. Play them up! Give us the whole show.

To stretch the inner tension, ask these questions to get your raw material:

1.    What is the worst thing from the inside that can happen to my character? (This encompasses a whole universe of mental stakes. HINT:  look to the character’s fears.)

2.    What is the worst information my character can receive? (Some secret from the past or fact that rocks her world can be stalking her through the scene.)

3.    Have I sufficiently set up the depth of emotion for readers before the scene? (We need to care about your LEAD characters before we care about their problems.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Feel the inspiration reaching out from the screen? Feel it faster – SUBSCRIBE to this blog and rec’v an email every time a new post appears. Poof!

Leave a comment

Filed under Believe, books, Reader Wednesdays, teaching, writers, writers block, writing inspiration