Monday, June 25, 2012


One of the greatest things about having a writers group is having someone to help you brainstorm. My ideas flow so much better when I can talk them out. On Saturday iChat I got to do three things I love...Girl's Night Out at a Real Soccer Game while brainstorming! The game was a bust...grrrrrr...but even though my boys didn't come through my characters made a huge break through! I have wrote over 4,000 words last week. Much of that was thanks to my awesome brainstorming session over chocolate covered strawberries from Zuppas after the Real game! Since I finished my math class last week, and am done with my history paper for this week my goal is to write 1,000 words a day until school starts. That may change if I get a new job I am looking at, but now that I know where E,J, and R need to be going I don't think it will be much of a problem.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kiss and Tell

This week has been crazy for writing. In addition to regular life, Minchkin has been sick. Her fever has sat around 103 for a few days and then down to the 101.5 range for several more. She is nauseous constantly and has lost 9 pounds which is fine when you are me, but when you already weigh next to nothing, not such a good thing. And although she is turning into a teenager before my very eyes, she needed her mommy, and I wasn't about to give that chance up. So we spent a lot of time watching shows together, talking, and just trying to get her to feel better.

I also had a job interview this week and a history test, a party for my church girls at my house (I teach the 10 and 11 year olds), and D was out of town for 3 days. The point is, writing got put on the back burner--the far far back burner. I hate it when that happens. I understand that sometimes it has to. My family comes first, which means right now school has to come first as well so I can finish this degree and have more time to spend with them, but it is still hard to neglect my characters for a whole week, even if I am thinking of them, and boy was I thinking of them. Mostly because I couldn't figure out where they needed to go.

I tried one thing, and then another, and then another. I rewrote the end of chapter eleven three times, and chapter twelve just wouldn't start. (Another reason I probably allowed myself to put writing on the side lines.) And in the midst of all this not writing, I remembered a piece of my own advice. My friend in writers group has been struggling to submit things as her life is just as crazy and possibly more so than mine. So two weeks ago I told her not to worry about anything, just write the scene where they kiss. And guess what? She turned in an assignment that week!

I took those pearls of wisdom and decided to see what would happen if I threw a kiss into the end of the chapter. It was a first kiss and technically a fake kiss, a kiss to cover up a lie, so I knew that when it ended I would have to deal with the whole awkwardness of the we-just-kissed situation. I didn't want to deal with that. I'd had enough awkward up until that point, another scene was just going to go over the top. But I had to write and so I did and guess what? In the middle of their kiss, out of the blue something happened that not only allowed me to hold off on the awkward talk moment (yes, I know it still needs to come, but not for awhile) and also changed the whole direction the book was going.

One small sentence in the middle of their kiss changed everything. There I am typing happily along and it just came out. I had to look at it three times, and I kept saying, "Why would I have written that?" And then it dawned on me, because it was perfect and it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for E and J and even R. All it took was a kiss, not even a good swoon worthy kiss. But it was worth it.

My book is a YA novel, so there was bound to be a kiss in it. Your's might not have any kissing in it, but still, if you are struggling, wondering what comes next, why not try out something totally unexpected and see where it leads you? It might be horrible and you end up deleting the whole scene, but then again, maybe you won't.

Oh and since it is Father's Day, I better go upstairs and give a kiss to my favorite main character! Because our first kiss was another kiss that changed my whole world, and look how good that one turned out! Happy Father's Day and Write On!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Writers Groups

I love writers groups. I love them so much that I have two, three if you count Codex--the online writing community that I have the privilege to be a part of. If you want to write, more importantly if your goal of writing is to make it the best you possibly can, there is nothing much better than finding yourself a good writing group.

Each of my groups offers me a unique look at my writing. The first group started out as several of the writers that I attended Orson Scott Card's literary bootcamp. It has changed a bit over the years with a few great additions, but the quality of critiques I get have never changed. There are members of this group who have published their writing, there are members who are line editing pros, there are members who strive to make all my science fiction plausible. It is a great group and I wish our busy schedules allowed us to meet more than once a month.

Since I need more of a push to meet deadlines, I took a chance a little over a year ago when I was invited to joy a stay at home mom writers group. We meet once a week and while the kids run around crazy we talk writing. At first I wasn't so sure about this group (sorry girls). I only knew one member and not well. I wasn't sure how serious they were in their writing. I didn't know how to handle critique feedback because I didn't know the personalities of the other members. But I stuck with it, and over the past year these talented wonderful women have not only become my writing lifeline, they have become my dear friends.

In our short time as a group three of us have completed novels and our resident picture book author has put together three or four great story books. We have talked, laughed, cried, and learned. We have had lunches with published authors including, Dave Wolverton, Dan Wells and E.J. Patton. We have pushed each other, ripped apart whole chapters, and have all become better writers. This group keeps me writing. We meet once a week, and now that all the kids are out of school and getting together weekly with that many young ones is harder, we have been doing an online video chat instead, which has been awesome, with a once a month no kids allowed night planned.

So, if you love to write, and you want to get better, by all means write, go to workshops, read a ton, do what you are doing, and then find yourself a writers group. Hopefully you will find one as amazing as mine are!

Write On!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Writing New Stuff

I took an advanced fiction writing course this past spring at the University. A whole class where I didn't have to do anything but write? It sounded perfect, and for the most part it was. I wrote and edited a 35,000 word novella. A fairy tale I had been thinking about for a long time. It is rough and really needs to be made into a novel to get the complete story out, but it got good reviews from my writer's groups and from my peers in class. Someone even said, "This is the type of writing you were meant to do." Pretty high complement huh? But it wasn't what I wanted to be writing at the time. I struggled everyday writing on that when all I wanted to do was go back to my YA novel that I was 30,000 words into before the class started. I wrote my fairy tale because it was a cool story that I'd thought about. I have the setting down pretty good. When we were in Germany a couple of years ago we found this amazing castle called Hohentwiel. I know the ending because I have imagined it in my head for the past three years. I have a novella written that basically needs to be flushed out. But still the minute class ended and I got my A, I went back to my YA book (Room). It was a little rock at first, as time away had given me some insight on things I wanted to change, so the past month has been spent editing the first 38,000 words. It has been fun. I love my characters! It is no wonder why I couldn't wait to get back to them. But now I am at the end of the road I had set for them and today I need to step off into the unknown and give them knew problems, and insight, and romances. It is a little scary. So scary that I almsot want to go back to my safe well adjusted fairy tale. The problem with that is I know once I go back to the fairy tale those characters will find the same (well not the same, but similar) problems that I will not be sure how to solve, that will keep me up at night debating what comes next. So I am going to finish Room. I am going to step off the path into the darkness and see what will become of my characters lives. Hopefully by the end of summer (or should I say before Fall semester starts) I will have a completed first draft of Room. I'm excited. Writing new stuff can be scary, but I'll have my characters with me every step of the way! Unless of course I decided to kill them off :)