Monday, December 17, 2012

Wisdom from a Writing Conference: Elements of Suspense

Rachelle J. Christensen presented on the elements of suspense at the LDSStoryMakers conference:

What I Learned:

There always has to be suspense. The stakes must be hide. The reader must have a questions - that keeps them reading.

I often think of when I was younger. I would be reading late at night when I should be sleeping. I would say to myself - one more chapter then I will go to bed. But then the chapter would end with such a feeling of suspense I had to read one more. I want to be able to write like that.

How I Plan to Apply It:

When plotting I will make sure that I have a clear questions/goal/problem that drives the story forward. During the second draft I will make sure that each chapter has the tension necessary to keep the reader interested.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Write. Be. - Looking Back

Write. Be.

Do you ever read over the work you wrote yesterday, or a week ago and say to yourself - "This is terrible!"

Well, that happens to me a lot. Then I remember the good old days in elementary and high school when my creative writing teachers praised me work. One time I even started wondering if my writing had gotten worse of the years.

So... I dug out some of the stories that I wrote around that time and read over them. Um... yeah... those were terrible. I mean really terrible. Of course - for a ten year old just starting out in writing they were good.

Then I went back and read that stuff I wrote the day before and I was astounded by how much better it was. Publishing worthy it may not be - but I my writing skills have improved.

So whenever you are feeling discouraged - look back at some of your older work and compare it to what you are writing now. Even if your writing isn't perfect - at least you are getting better.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Rules of Writing Part 1: Code or Guidelines?

I have been thinking a lot about The Rules of Writing. There are a lot of rules, advice, guidelines, shoulds, should nots and so forth out there about writing fiction. Some I agree with. Some I think to myself "Really???...?" Still others I am on the fence about.

So - I thought to myself - Self, what are the real rules of writing. And myself replied with this:

The Rules of Writing

1. Thou Shalt Use Correct Spelling*
2. Thou Shalt Use Correct Grammar**


* - Exception: You may spell things improperly in dialog, but only if completely necessary.
* - Exceptions: You may use improper grammar in dialog, because let's face it - we don't all talk with the right grammar. Also, in the narrative this rule can be broken but only if completely necessary.


That's it. Those are the only two real rules of writing. And notice that even they have exceptions.

So what about all the other "rules" out there? Well, I think that they can be broken down into three different categories:

1. Best Practices
2. Personal Preference
3. Good Writing vs Great Writing.

I am going to do a series on my thoughts on each of these categories and which rules I feel belong in each one.

Would you add any rules to my list?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wisdom from a Writing Conference: Plotting Like a Sports Car

Kiersten White presented on plotting at the LDSStoryMakers Conference:

What I Learned:

Every scene should move the plot forward. If it doesn't - cut it. Do not do anything, or include anything, that slows down the flow of the story - aka back story. Trust your readers to be smart enough to pick up on stuff without you explaining it to them.

Even small things can help with plotting - for example dialog tags should not draw attention to themselves. Be selective with what details you include.

How I Plan to Apply It:

Basically - practice. I plan to not worry about many of these things during the first draft. But - starting with the second draft I will analyze everything and make sure that everything moves the plot forward. Or it will be cut!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Eureka! or Rambling Solves Everything

Last night I asked my husband if he would be an Alpha reader for my current WIP. He agreed. And then he admit that he actually found my current WIP interesting - as opposed to my list novel which he did not enjoy.

I was ecstatic and told him that I like this new idea better too. I then started to ramble on about how much I love writing MG and how much more fun it is to write. How much I liking this new WIP better than Shadowed Stones.

And then I said something that surprised me (I often do that.)

I said: "I am thinking of re-writing Shadowed Stones to be Middle Grade."

Aha!

Yes that popped out of my mouth before I really had time to process it in my head. And then I processed it and it was amazing!

I now have this flood of ideas on how to completely re-write Shadowed Stones and make it a million times better. I am so excited! But don't worry - my current WIP is still more interesting to me and so I will continue working on it.

Isn't it amazing how rambling removes the filter between your brain and mouth? Although usually that spells disaster for me - in this case it solved everything. Sigh. Yeah!

Has rambling ever fixed one of your problems?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Naming Woes

In my current WIP - I have a character that has gone through four or five names already. I am struggling to find a name that fits him and fits in with the rest of the characters and the story. Sigh. It is proving to be difficult.

So for now I am calling him - 'The Character Formally Known as Kade' - until I find a more suitable name. It usually is not this hard for me to pick out name for characters. Every time I think I have found the name - I start using it and then fall out of love with it. And then I am back to square one.

How do you pick names for difficult-to-label characters?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Write. Be. - Don't Get Bored

Write. Be.

When you get bored with a project - it will die a slow and painful death.

When a project dies a slow and painful death you will be discouraged because you failed.

When you become discouraged because you failed you lose confidence as a writer.

When you lose confidence as a writer very bad things happen.

Don't get bored with a project.


How do you avoid getting bored with a project? That's a good question. I don't know. What I do is as soon as I feel I am getting bored with a project - I shelve it. No project - no matter how exciting at the beginning - is worth losing confidence over. So I shelve it and move on.

Yes this means I can burn through a dozen projects in a few months. But in order for me to be successful as a writer I need to be interested in the project. This is probably a weakness I have as a writer but I am okay with that.

Embrace your weakness and either overcome them, or work with them. Turn them into part of your method.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Love Halloween... or Do I?

So the other day I was thinking - I love Halloween! I love dressing up and candy - don't get me started on the candy. Yum :)

Then later that day I was sitting watching TV and noticing how many scary movies are being shown in October. I thought to myself, I can't wait until November - I hate Halloween.

The irony kind of struck me.

That actually happens to me a lot.

Anyway, so I love/hate Halloween. See I am not into scary movies. I have very vivid nightmares. I blame my over active imagination. Let me see if I can give you an idea here - ET gave me nightmares. Yep.

I also am not into paranormal at all. Don't think vampire's or zombies are cool.

So basically I like Halloween because I get candy and I could break out my StarFleet uniform (if I had one) without being ridiculed. Everything else about Halloween - I don't like.

So what is your favorite part of Halloween

Friday, October 19, 2012

Learning to be Brief, and Loving It

As many of you know - I am jumping into the Middle Grade jungle with my current WIP. One thing I have noticed about MG is that it is more... brief. More too the point. Unlike the epic fantasy novels that I have read in abundance.

So I am of course attempting to be brief and too the point in my current WIP. And I am loving it!

Just finished writing chapter two - it came it at 1,030 words. I was like - gosh that is short. I need to add more, need to show more so that the reader can get to know the characters and blah blah blah.

Then I looked over the chapter again. And you know what - I don't need more. In a short amount of words - and in one single scene - I got a lot of character development.

Ah-Hah Moment:
You don't have to use a lot of words to say a lot.

-Side note: Also been working on showing vs. telling - sure I don't have it down perfectly but I think it is going well. At least it is a challenge.

The challenge of showing and being brief is really inspiring me to write. Go figure!

Do you get down to the point in your writing? Or do you like to lead the reader their slowly? What do you prefer to read? (I think I like both actually.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Back in the Saddle

So today I am finally getting back into the saddle. I am trying out StoryBook (the free version) with my current WIP. After I have used it for a little while I will review it here.

I am working on outlining and hope to get to putting down some words soon. I have a start for the first chapter - but it needs a little polish.

Since this is my first ever middle grade project I am also doing some research. I checked out some books from the library that would interest my target audience. Check out may currently reading shelf of GoodReads to keep track of what I am reading.

I have also had a few idea's for blog posts. Hopefully I will have a chance to get those written soon. But for now it is on to writing fiction.

What are you working on today?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wisdom From a Writing Conference: Kevin's Elevan

Kevin J. Anderson spoke on 11 tips for increasing productivity at the LDSStoryMakers Conference.

What I Learned:

There are three essential elements to being a productive writer:
1. Write
2. Keep Writing
3. Find what works for you

How I Plan to Apply It:

I have always wanted to have a writing schedule and to write everyday. But that has never really fit into my life. So what I plan to do is try to write every day, at different times, in different situations and so on - until I strike on the best environment for me to write in. Then I will build my schedule around that.

Also, Kevin talked about the first draft requiring momentum. I am going to try to avoid doing things that would slow down my momentum when I am writing the first draft.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Write. Be. - Failure

Write. Be.

Benjamin Franklin was said to say that he did not fail 1000 times. He just found 1000 ways to not make a light bulb. (Or something to that affect).

Failure is a necessary part of learning, or shaping your craft.

Let's do an exercise... Take a moment to think back about all the good things people have said about your writing. Of all the praise you have received. Of all the things you just instinctively do right.



Keep thinking.



Yep, you should still be thinking.



Give it one more minute.



Okay - how much did your writing improve from that praise? I am betting not a whole lot - because if you do it right there is no need to fix it.

Now I am not saying praise is bad. Praise is good! Getting positive feedback about our writing gives us a boost - makes us want to move forward. Energizes us and gives us the drive to keep working toward our dreams.

So it is good. But we don't learn from it.

We learn from being told what we did wrong and working to correct it. Developing our skills as a writer to fill in the gaps and make up for our weaknesses.

So, my encouraging thought is this:

Failure is necessary. So every time you fail - celebrate. Then get back to work!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Never Give Up - Never Surrender.... or I'm Back!

So finally - after a long break I am ready to bust back onto the blogging scene. But I am going to do things a little differently this time.

Gone are the days where I can schedule my life enough to blog every day and in fact having a regular blogging schedule probably won't work at all. So here is what I plan to do:

- I want to blog about three times a week
- I will keep one regular post - A monthly post for Write. Be. which will start next Friday.
- I want to finish up what I started with the wisdom from a writing conference series. Probably will do one entry a month on a regular day until I finish up.
- I want the rest of my blog posts to be more... raw. More me. So be prepared!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Surfacing for Air

Just wanted to surface for air. Life is starting to align a little better for me. I am planning on busting back on the blogging scene by the end of the year. Just need to decide a few things first.

In the mean time I have been working on a top 5 (or maybe 10) list of books. Basically these books are the ones that I have (or plan to) read over and over again. The books that have most influenced my life and just not in a writing sense. So far I have three that are definitely on the list because I have read them more than three times. They are:

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinely
Beauty by Robin McKinely
Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander

Others that I am considering for my list - but still not sure about are:
The Meeting Place by Janette Oke and T. Davis Bunn
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah
Redwall by Brain Jacques
Persuasion by Jane Austen

Anyway - that is my list. Heavy toward the fantasy end of things - which shows you where my tastes are :)

Question: Do you have a list of top books? If so what are they?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Taking a Breather

So... obviously I have been totally slacking in the blogging department later. The truth is I have a lot going on right now and I am really just doing the bare minimum to keep afloat.

Unfortunately that means not only my blog, but other social media, and even my writing are suffering. The good news is there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

For now I am going to take a breather from blogging. I am hoping it is only until October, but you never know what can happen in a few months. Until I can get my feet under me again I won't be posting.

I will however, try to poke my head in every once in a while and see how everyone else is doing on their blogs.

Thanks!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Swamped

Sigh. So my new blog schedule was supposed to help me stay on top of blogging. And look where I am now? Totally behind. I am going to try and get caught up this week and maybe get a little ahead.

Just so this post has more substance then me admitting I don't keep up with blogging like I should... How about this...

I am switching genres, well sort of. I am trying to write and MG Fantasy (I normally write adult fantasy). Do you have a favorite MG book (any genre) that you either read recently or when you were growing up?

Friday, June 29, 2012

My Random though for this Month

Are there too many writers?


I read a blog post or something somewhere once that asked if there was such thing as too many writers or too many books. I believe at the core of the question was if the market for books would ever be over saturated with books. If too many authors meant not enough wealth or readers to go around.

My response. Ahem... movies? TV?

Can you imagine if people stopped making new movies or new tv shows? It has all been done on the screen after all. Won't people get board? No. Why? Because although we love to revisit old favorites - we also like to see something new. Even if we have already seen the story before. For example remakes. If people were likely to get board - there would be no such thing as remakes.

We all see the world differently. Each writer has in them an hundred different stories - combine all the stories in all the writers that ever have, are, or will live and no two are exactly the same. They may be similar - but not the same. I would love to read every single story - every single book.

What do you think?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wisdom from a Writer's Conference: Keynote

Kevin J. Anderson gave the keynote address at the LDStoryMakers conferences was:

What I learned:


Kevin J. Anderson is awesome! Okay - I already knew that since I read his Star Wars books when I was a teenager.

He talked about two ways of making popcorn. One was long and elaborate and involved popping one kernel at a time. The other was put a bunch of oil in the pan and a bunch of popcorn. The point was you never know where your opportunities for success will come from. Do a lot. Do everything. Always answer with: "I can do that!"

How I Plan to Apply it:


I focused for ten years on one project. That was way to long. Now I have decided to try and do either multiple things at once - or only spend a little of time on every project. The important thing is to be doing something.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I Challenge You to Mix up a Story

And the last of my new experiments is going to be:



I Challenge You!

I which I will put forth a challenge designed to get the juices flowing and make you think. Often I will participate in the challenge.

Story Mix Up


1. List three books you have read.
2. List two elements that you enjoyed from each of those books.
3. Write a short piece that incorporates each of those elements.

To make it more fun try mixing up genre's. Make is serious or fun!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wisdom from a Writer's Conference: Problem

The next class I attending at the LDStoryMakers conferences was:

Problem: The Core of the Story by John Brown


What I learned:


My thoughts: There are like a hundred different ways to structure a story. John Brown's way is just one. I think we all need to find our own system that works and stick too it.

From the class: If there is no problem. There is no story. Problems generate scenes. The structure of a story follows the problem solving structure. Problem -> Reaction -> Action -> Trouble -> Problem. This cycle starts with the inciting incident and ends with the resolution.

How I Plan to Apply it:


I found John Brown's problem based story structure interesting. And I took a way a few nuggets of wisdom to integrate in my writing style. I do plan to make problem more prominent in my stories. I already know that my characters usually don't encounter enough obstacles. But I find that there are other story structures that are more natural for me to use then this one.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ask the Question: Why do you write in your genre?

And my next experiment is... Ask the Question!



On the third Friday of every month I will pose a question. I will then answer it for myself and wait to hear about your responses the same question.

Why do you write in your genre?


My Genre: Science Fiction and Fantasy (aka Speculative Fiction)

Real life is boring. I like to read about the impossible because it sparks my imagination and takes me away from the real world. Sci-fi and fantasy are what I like to read, watch, play, dream. Yes I have other interests in these areas. For example - I really like to read historical fiction and I love watching crime dramas on TV. But I don't write in these genre's because they don't capture my imagination. They just entertain me.

How about you?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wisdom from a Writer's Conference: Writing a Series

The next class I attending at the LDStoryMakers conferences was:

Writing a Series: Telling the Same Story Again, and Better, and Totally Different by Dan
Wells


What I learned:


Repeat what readers like - but in a new way. Make sure you correctly identify what the readers liked in the first one. Use a different story/character arc for each book in the series but use similar elements.

There will be one character arc for each book in the series - and then one over all arc that covers the whole series. It is not necessary to know the overall arc before beginning to write the series - but it helps a lot. Each individuals book character arc will contribute and bring you closer to the over all arc.

Dan Wells also talked about his seven plot points and that you can have either an up or down character arc.

How I Plan to Apply it:


My current WIP (and the one I shelved in favor of it) is a series. I am planning out my character arcs and my overall arc. But I won't be outlining all the books. I have a general idea of the overall story but I am going to focus on one book at a time. I read/learned elsewhere that it is important for each book in a series to be self contained and be able to stand on its own. Especially the first one.

I am excited to try my hand at writing a series.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Write. Be. June 2012

Are you ready for the very first of my experiments. May I introduce....

Write. Be.

Checkout the blog and/or the page above for more information.

Basically I am starting a group designed to inspire confidence in writers and here is my very first post for the group:

Why Confidence?


Have you ever met a confident person? How it seems that nothing can daunt them? Their confidence lends them strength in the face of adversity - but that does not mean that they are unafraid or even truly sure of them selves. It means that they know themselves and want to push themselves to the next level.

I have confidence in who I am as a writer. Even though over the past year I have learned a lot about my writing self - I still feel comfortable in my skin. Each new revelation requires and adjustment period, but because I am confident in who I am as a writer I can keep moving forward.

Revelations


Slowly after the past year I have realized something. I write because it is part of who I am. I write because it is like breathing or praying to me, essential, natural. I would love to publish a book and maybe even have someone buy a copy. But I don't want to be a famous millionaire writer. And in case there is anyone out there who thinks that I am just saying that to lower my expectations let me put it this way:

I won't be a famous millionaire writer because it is not what I want. So I will never push for it or work towards it.

So the new focus for my writing? Enjoy it. Submit or self publish as I feel like it. And let what is to be, be.

Realizing this has set me free from a lot of worry and stress. The strain to live up to - to accomplish - some goal that is not even important to me.

I write. I am. That is enough for me.

What revelations have set you free?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wisdom from a Writer's Conference: World Building

The next class I attending at the LDStoryMakers conferences was:

World Building: Wrapping Your Head Around a World, so You Can Wrap that World
Around Your Story by Howard Taylor.


What I learned:


Every story - no matter what the genre - required you to set up the world for the reader.

There are two kinds of world building: Top down (story then build world), Bottom up (build world then story). You only need as much world building as is required to make the story make sense. When world building poke holes in it by asking why - make sure it always makes sense.

Taylor's First Rule: Is it cheaper to let the donkey do it? If it is, then donkey's die out.
Otherwise - magic dies out.

How I Plan to Apply it:


I do a lot of world building around my story. It often sparks new ideas and is a lot of fun for me. But I find that once the world is built I have a hard time launching into the story. And I spend too much time world building. So for my next project (an MG Fantasy) I am going to do just a little world building - just enough to understand the world my characters live in and start writing.

I also plan to apply this concept to character building and outlining. At least as far as finishing the first draft. I don't draft very fast. The upside to that is I have to do much less revision - but I think that writing a quick first draft and then revising my actually be short then my usual method. We will see how this goes.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Blog Birthday and Some Changes

Okay - so it is not the actual birth "day" of my blog - but is the birth month. And in honor of making it a whole year of blogging (*yikes*) I would like to change things up.

First of all I am going to change things up. I am going down to posting two - two times a week. On Mondays I will post general thoughts and gabbering. Friday's will be... a surprise :) I am going to try a series of experiments, so be sure to tune in to see what I have planned.

You may be asking yourself why I am cutting back. Well I have two reasons - one is I need more time to work on my actual writing. Two is that I just like change.

Well - that is all have to say for now. Tune in on Monday for more wisdom from the writing conference I attended in May. And next Friday will be the first surprise!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Mighty Pen #48

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning

"Check again," he said in a harsh voice...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Three Words #48

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • White
  • Light
  • Pillow

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Gray, Box, and Table (from last week.)

Sera ran her fingers along the gold on black designs covering the box. "You are sure it will work," she said in a husky voice.

The man sitting across the table from her hesitated. Sera brought her left hand out from under the table - revealing her blaster. The man cleared his throat. "Sure? No. Confident, yes."

Sera narrowed her eyes and her left hand twitched. The man jerked away as far as the chair would let him. "My sources assure me it is the best.

Sera flipped up the gold latch on the box and lifted the lid. Inside was a single vile of gray liquid.

"How much?" she asked.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #49

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Source: Writing.com

"'I Like you crazy,' he said."

Response

"I like you crazy," he said, flashing that smirk he called a smile at her. "You're more fun this way."

Sera pressed her teeth down on her tongue pressed her palms into her sides. "I am not crazy."

Jed laughed. Sera fixed her gaze on the blank grey wall in front of her. She tried hard not to count the number of items within an arms reach that she could use as a weapon. Focus.

Slowly, the sound of Jed's laughed died down. Sera hazard a glance in his direction. When their eyes met he took a step backwards.

"Sorry," he said in a soft voice. One of his hands twitched towards his blaster.

Her vision flashed red then black, then red again and cleared. She stood with the broken leg of a metal chair in her hand. She had the jagged edge pressed up against Jed's neck as she held him against the wall with her free arm.

Sera shook her head, trying to banish the pulsing that pounded through hit.

"Sera," Jed pleaded.

She looked up into his eyes and for the first time she found them staring back at her - in fear. She took one step back. And then another, and another. Then she fled.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Mighty Pen #47

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning

She slammed the door in my face...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Three Words #47

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • Gray
  • Box
  • Table

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Yellow, Ledge, and Tree (from last week.)

I slowly stepped back from the edge and leaned my back against the rough bark of the tree.

"It is not that far down," Corin insisted. "Just a few leaps and we will be at the bottom."

I cracked my eyes open and looked at him, his blue eyes flashing below his yellow hair.

"Then you go. I will wait here."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #48

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Source: Writing.com

"What if fairytales began 'Twice Below a Place' instead of 'once upon a time'?"

Response

Twice below a place filled with fairy dust, a princess was born. The first was a real princess, the daughter of a king and queen and heir to their thrones and fortunes. The second was the daughter of a farmer and his wife.

The first was named Glacia, she was born on the first day of the corn harvest just as the evening fell. The queen had been travelling from her summer home near the sea to her winter home when her pains began. The party stopped under the branches of a fairy tree and the little princes was born.

Seven days later, at dusk on the last day of the corn harvest, Cornilia was born. Her mother was walking from the fields to her home and stop to rest under the tree. There Cornilia was born.

These two girls grew up much as one would expect. Glacia learned how to be graceful and rule a kingdom. Cornilia learned to sew and care for a home and family.

For her sixteenth year, Glacia went on a journey to visit every village in the land. This was a tradition in the royal family to allow a chance for each of their subjects to view the future ruler of the land. When Glacia arrived in Cornilia's village they discovered something amazing. They looked as if they could be sisters. Both had golden hair, though no other in their family had ever had the same. And their eyes sparkled in the sunlight.

The two girls decided that they must find out why it was that they were so much the same. So they set out on a quest to find the answers. Together the girls grilled both their parents and were led to the fairy tree in the fields. One night, some time later they both stood before the tree. Together the bushed its bark with their hands. In the fading light of day the fairy tree split in two revealing a door.

From the door emerged the fairy queen. "My daughters who are mine," she said, "you have returned at last. Sixteen years ago I blessed both of you at birth in hopes that you some day would return. I have no heir to take my place and seek a princess to rule in fairy land. Will either of you take this responsibility and come with me to fairy land?"

The girls looked at each other and then both spoke at once. "Yes." Then together they walked through the door and were never heard of more.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wisdom from a Writer's Conference: POV

The next class I attending at the LDStoryMakers conferences was:

Mechanics of POV by Clint Johnson


What I learned:


Point of view - including person, tense, character, and narrator - is a tool to be used in telling your story. It is more than just a preference or style. It is part of the mechanics of how the story works. Changing even one aspect of POV changes the whole story.

We as writers need to use the powerful tool of POV and pay closer attention to its selection.

How I Plan to Apply it:


I always use 3rd person, past tense (something that Clint Johnson also prefers). I probably will not change that. But I will be more aware of the strengths of these two tools when I use them. I will also more closely examine the selection of my view point character. And I will explore the use of other persons and tenses if the story warrants it. I was specifically intrigued about the complexity that selecting a narrator separate from the POV character can add to a story and plan to explore that option.

Side Note: I took this class because of all the hype lately about first person and present tense. I wondered if the vibe I was getting about having to use one of these two tools in order to be successful was true. I was relieved that I did not have to change my ways to fit into the current writing world. On further pondering I realized that we should never do something because it is (queue Esme Squallor voice) "in."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Mighty Pen #46

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning

First one light went out, and then another, and then another...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Three Words #46

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • Yellow
  • Ledge
  • Tree

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Green, Star, and Length (from last week.)

Seri carefully measured out the length of green twine. Then, sitting at her desk, she pulled out the design board. She began whispering a rhythmic chant. When she could feel the magic humming through her bones, she started winding the twine around the pins in the design board until the formed a single, eight point star.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #47

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Source: Writing.com

"You find a dry branch in the snow that turns into a magic wand in your hands."

Response

The dragon come at you. Without thinking you throw your hand out, searching for anything to use as a weapon.

Your fingers close around the dry, rough bark of a tree branch. In desperation you swing your arm around. A spray of colorful sparks explodes from the tip of the branch.

The dragon howls in anger and turns to run.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wisdom From a Writers Conference: Practice

The first class I attending at the LDStoryMakers conferences was:

How to Practice: An Exercise in Rendering Talent Irrelevant by Howard Tayler


What I learned:


Talent is only the starting point. Being talented or gifted does not mean you will be successful or even be exceptional. It is only through practice and hard work that we can turn our talent into greatness.

How I Plan to Apply it:


Write. When I left for the conference I was working on a project that I was really excited about. However, every time I sat down to work on it I would get out a sentence or two, maybe a paragraph, and then I would get stuck.

The members for my writers group that carpooled to the conference with me helped me realize something - if you aren't writing you aren't practicing and you can't get better.

So I am shelving my project and moving onto another. I feel a little nervous because this is the second project I have shelved this year. But on the other hand, I held on to my first novel way to long. I think finding something that I can actually keep working on is the key.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thoughts on a Writing Conference from a Newbie

So. Last weekend I attended the LDStoryMakers writing conference. It was my very first writing conference - ever!

In a word I Loved It! - okay three words.

Over the next few Mondays I will be sharing some of my impressions from the conference. Today I would just like to share a few thoughts about the conference in general - see through the eyes of a newbie.

1. If you like to write and you can - attend a conference.
I loved going to the writing conference. I learned so much. Met a few people (As an introvert I was overwhelmed by all the people so did not break out of my shell very much). And generally had a great time.

2. It is exhausting.
Since I live a mere 1.5 hour drive from where the conference was held I carpooled down and back both days with a group of ladies from my writers group. It was two very long days!

3. Your first time - go with friends.
If you can go with friends your first time - I would. Especially if you are an introvert. It is less intimidating.

4. Choose your sessions wisely.
I went into the conference with one goal - to learn things that would help my writing. So I looked over the offered classes and tried to pick ones on subjects I was weak in. I also went to a few fun ones just because I wanted to.

5. Take good notes.
Take lots and lots of notes. I got so much information thrown at me that there is no way I could have kept all of that in my head.

6. Be prepared to be inspired.
I got an idea for a new writing project in the middle of one of my classes. It was a good thing I had paper and a pencil near by so I could jot down my ideas. Then on the drive home I bounced them off my writers group buddies. Sigh, so wonderful.

Have you ever been to a writing conference? What did you think?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Mighty Pen #45

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning

"It all started last week..."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Three Words #45

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • Green
  • Star
  • Length

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Blue, Frame, and Loop (from last week.)

I took the brush and dipped it in the blue paint. Without really paying attention I looped the brush along the unfinished frame. The result looked more like blue splotches then blue swirls.

Nanny Marsel looked over my shoulder. She clicked her tongue and shook her head. "You really should pay attention to your painting, deary. Sloppy work reflects a sloppy mind."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #46

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Source: Writing.com

"A new store in the mall attracts some unwanted guests."

Response

The door chime sounded. I sighed. Open five minutes and already our first customer.

The tall lanky man with scraggly gray hair approached the counter. He looked around the store and then leaned closer to me.

"I hear you have," he paused and looked around again, "rock candy."

I closed my eyes so that he could not see them roll. "Yes, we have seven flavors. They include cherry, grape, lime, and strawberry. Over there." I pointed to the back of the store.

The man sauntered off down a different aisle and started working his way over to the rock candy display.

The door chime sounded again.

This time it was a large woman dipped in pink. A broad pointed hat perched a top her head.

She waddled over to me. "Do you have any...boxed chocolates?"

I nodded and pointed to the glass display case I was leaning on. She smiled without looking down. "And what about cookie mixes."

I pointed to the display behind her. She turned, and then whirled back around. "Oh and you would not happen to have rock candy?"

"Back of the store."

Before the pink pom-pom could waddle away the door chime sounded again. This time it was a young man with black hair and a tuxedo. Morning was a popular time for weird people to go shopping.

The pink pom-pom and the skinny magician dude looked each up and down and sneered.

Just then the old man came up to the counter with his arms full of rock candy. I glanced over at the display to see that he had completely cleaned us out.

"It's mine. All mine. I want it, I want it," he repeated over and over.

I started counting the packages of rock candy while the three customers erupted into an argument. Each of them pulled out a long slender stick and pointed it at one of the others.

Who did these people think they were? Characters from Harry Potter?

I sighed and reached under the counter to press the security call button. It was going to be a long day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I Love Telling People they are Winners :)

It's time for me to announce the winner of The Mighty Pen award. Yea! I love telling people they are winners! Well... actually I was supposed to announce it yesterday but did not get around to it :)

Summer Ross

I loved Summer's entry! She was able to capture an entire story in just one short blurb. And honestly - who doesn't have a sibling that wants them to disappear! Or that they want to disappear! If you don't know what I am talking about check out her entry. And don't forget to stop by her blog.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Mighty Pen #44

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning

I felt it slip through my fingers...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Three Words #44

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • Blue
  • Frame
  • Loop

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Red, Rug, and Vast(from last week.)

The ship sailed over the vast, red sea. The winds tore at the sails, the wood howled and groaned under the force of the storm...

"Josh! How many times have I told you! Don't play with you toys on my rug!"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #45

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Source: Build Creative Writing Ideas, #9

"Imagine a world in which many different alien races are acquainted with each other and all of them live on a giant space station together. What is your role on this station and how does the interaction go for you?"

Response

I stared at the pile of small white bundles that filled the center of the room. "How long as the second laundry been down?" I asked the tall slim girl standing next to me. Sali, I think her name was.

"Three days," Sali replied.

I bit my lip. The back log of work to be done was not bad considering the length of the down time.

"Alright, let's get to work. You start at that end and I'll start over here," I said.

"Should we sort by washing medium, or species?"

"Washing medium. There will be fewer piles."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Mighty Pen #43

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning

With trembling hands she opened the book...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Three Words #43

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • Red
  • Rug
  • Vast

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Black, Bowl, and Blame (from last week.)

The blame would fall to her. No matter what the truth was, the blame would fall to her.

Ashti looked down at the broken shards of the glass bowl. A priceless treasure of the masters, destroyed. Then she turned to the cowering servant murmuring in the corner.

Sighing, she lifted the remnants of the bowl and wrapped them in a black cloth. Then marched off to fulfill her duty.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #44

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Finding prompts is hard. I try to find a verity from different sources and it takes time for me to locate good ones. Today I stumbled on a prompt generator which was really fun. Here are a few of the prompts I found there:
Source: Prompt Generator

"A noise outside awakens you one night. You look out the window and see a spaceship. Write what happens next."

Response

My window rattles, waking me from a light sleep. Sighing in frustration I extract myself from the tangled blankets and trip across the floor to the window. Leaning on the seal I look out the window into the dark back yard.

A ring of swirling colored lights lights up the area right in front of my window. I watch the lights for a second, amused. "Josh," I whisper to myself, shaking my head.

I climb the stairs very slowly. Once across the hall I place my hand on the doorknob to my brothers room. Taking a deep breath I throw open the door and scream, "ALIENS!", it the best terrified voice I can.

Josh jumps and screams like a girl. After the shock wears off, his friends begin laughing hysterically.

My eyes meet Josh's. I know I will pay for this but I don't care. I turn away and return to my bed.

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Publishing Dream - Like a Pheonix

I had an interesting conversation with my Aunt over the weekend. It started with her asking me how easy it would be to learn HTML - then shifted to talking about self publishing eBooks. It was like a catalysis around which several disjointed thoughts combined into one: I think I want to be self published.

Whoa! Yes it blew me away too. After my soul searching and deciding to go the traditional route I finally find me changing my mind.

Why? Well, let me tell you about two experiences that helped me realize what my dream really is.

First - I attended a meeting of my local chapter meeting in which the question was posed to me what I want to get out of writing. I did not mention money - not at all. For two reasons - it is not all that important to me and I realize that the chances of being a millionaire off my writing is very slim. I was surprised when this attidude was scoffed at. It made me want to never be published if I have to deal with that kind of attitude.

Second - I got my first rejection letter. At first it made me all excited and ready to submit to the next publisher. But somehow that never happened, my fire kind of fizzled out.

This all made me realize that maybe I don't need to be traditionally published to realized my dream.

So I am on the brink of deciding if I should let one dream die so that another can rise from its ashes. Or to hold on to my original dream.

Have you ever had to give up on one dream in order to realize another - that might be better?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wisdom from my Writers Group

I am a member of the local chapter of the League of Utah Writers. Due to circumstances outside my control I was not able to attend the February or March meetings. So this month I finally got to go again. Yea!

We got some really great advice from our chapter president from his college level writing class. Note: I am jealous of the knowledge he is gaining - but not of having to go to school.

Here are some of my favorite points from our discussion:

- You learn more when you fail
- Use your words more effectively
- Adjectives don't make your writing good - active verbs do
- Learn to write to appeal to all five sense (a note on this below)
- If you don't know grammar - learn it!
- Have a consistent writing schedule - that involves writing multiple times a week
- Find people who hate your writing - and listen (a note on this below)
- Make time to read the good stuff - it will make your writing better
- Don't get tied up in all the rules during your first draft

A note on learning to write to appeal to all five senses: I used to think that you had to describe with all three sense. Sight, and so on. I was reading the work of a fellow writer and one of his characters sniffed the air. I was like - what the?! It seemed weird to me. Then again - I don't have the best sense of smell.

But in our discussions our chapter president suggested a different way of doing this - choose words that invoke more than one sense. For example: the word rattle - you can see it, here it, even feel it. This is something I am going to experiment with in my own writing.

A note on finding people who hate your writing - Okay - so I took a little poetic license with this one. And I don't really mean literally. But the point is that if all the people who are critiquing for you are giving you positive feedback - you are learning or growing. Also, it was mentioned that having critique-rs that don't usually read your genre can point out things that others will miss and make your story stronger.

Do you have any other writing nuggets of gold? Did any of these make you stop and think?

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Mighty Pen #42

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning

It started to rain...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Three Words #42

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • Black
  • Bowl
  • Blame

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Harsh, Branch, and Wind (from last week.)

A harsh wind tore through the valley. The tall grass bent over so far they almost touched the ground. Maya moved as quickly as the the approaching storm would allow. She held her cloak tightly around her in a vain attempt to keep out the cold.

Finally she found refuge in the trees of the forest. Here the wind's angry howl lessened a little, though the branches of the trees creaked and moaned under its influence.

Maya chanced a quick look over her shoulder and instantly regretted it. The shadows were coming for her.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #43

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Finding prompts is hard. I try to find a verity from different sources and it takes time for me to locate good ones. Today I stumbled on a prompt generator which was really fun. Here are a few of the prompts I found there:
Source: Prompt Generator

Whenever I study for a test I try to...

Response

Whenever I study for a test I try to envision the end goal. What is the purpose of the test. What I am I to learn, what are my teachers to gauge about my knowledge and skill. Then I prepare. You have to be ready to encounter all sorts of obstacles, the human mind is a mine field of traps and diversions. You could easily get lost, lose yourself if you are not careful. The tests are designed to push you to the very limit, beyond what you would find in the average scan. As Professor Denar would say - "If you are prepared for the most dangerous, the safe is that much safer."

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Mighty Pen #41

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning


One more step, just one more step...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Three Words #41

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • Harsh
  • Branch
  • Wind

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Quintet, Cursive, and Adjustment (from last week.)

Marribell made and adjustment to the image on the screen. The blue lines traced on an orange background resembled the jumbled combined forms of cursive letters. She studied the screen again and then pulled the image over to sit with a set of three other images forming a complete quintet.

"Play," Marribell told the computer.

A swell of exotic music flooded the room. Marribell closed her eyes, listening intently to each note, each cord of her composition.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #42

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Finding prompts is hard. I try to find a verity from different sources and it takes time for me to locate good ones. Today I stumbled on a prompt generator which was really fun. Here are a few of the prompts I found there:
Source: Prompt Generator

Choose your favorite season. Name the season and explain why it is your favorite.

Response

Fall is my favorite season. I love the smells, the colors, the cooler weather. I have never really like hot weather. Probably because I spent most of my life in the north where it is cold, very cold.

My favorite part of fall is the changing of the leaves on the trees. Go figure I have never really cared for evergreen trees. Something about the hill side covered with red, yellow and orange leaves - like it is on fire - makes me happy.

Fall is when nature is preparing to sleep, to rest for the winter until everything begins again. It is an end to one season and the start of another. Maybe that is why I like it so much. Because it is an ending the promises a new beginning if we are just patient and wait for the spring.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Mighty Pen #40

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning


I step through the door. The room is filled with a bright white light. I cannot see anything. A clicking sound, footsteps, approaches. The sound draws nearer and I can see a shadow moving closer. The shadow emerges from the light into my field of vision and....

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #41

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Finding prompts is hard. I try to find a verity from different sources and it takes time for me to locate good ones. Today I stumbled on a prompt generator which was really fun. Here are a few of the prompts I found there:
Source: Prompt Generator

"I found the strangest thing in my pocket."

Response

"I found the strangest thing in my pocket," she looked up at me and smiled. "I think it reminded me of something." She paused and twisted one of her fingers in a clump of her dark hair. "I don't remember what it was now."

"It's okay," I soothed when I noticed her becoming agitated. "Everyone forgets."

"I think it was important," she pressed. "If only I could remember where I put it." She glanced around the room, her eyes darting from one place to the other.

I placed my hand on her knee. "Maybe it is in your pocket."

She nodded and dipped her slender hand into the pocket of her dress. When she withdrew her hand it held a small silver chain with six letters strung on it.

"Here it is!" she declared, holding up the necklace.

"Well that explains it." I smiled. "See, the necklace says 'Sarah' - it probably reminded you of your name."


P.S. Just noticed this did not post yesterday.

Three Words #40

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • Quintet
  • Cursive
  • Adjustment

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Ellipse, Intergalactic, and Render (from two weeks ago.)

Sayni watched the small dot circle the screen in an ellipse. Round and round, slower and slower. "Info," Sayni said, in a bored tone.

A mechanical voice sounded from the console. "The Medella is a Horan ship carrying a delegation of intergalactic politicians locked in a debate over the formation of treaty. These negotiations take place in a specially designed auditorium that takes up a third of the total size of the ship."

"Show me," Sayni said. She yawned and watched as the computer rendered a subsection of the ship. Her eyes glossed over the image. Folding her arms she rested her head against them and drifted off to sleep.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Falling Behind

I just noticed that I missed two... almost three... days of posting on my blog. Sigh, just another sign of how far I am falling behind.

But no more. I am going stay on top of my blog in April.

How are things going in your corner of the writing world?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #40

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Source: Resources for Creative Writing #13 (visit the site for a great intro to these prompts.)

Leaves changing color

Response

The leaves are changing colors
The season changing
The hours roll on
The sun sets
And the world begins a new.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Can't Believe I Am Doing This!

Well actually there are two things I can't believe I am doing:

1. I am shelving Three of Ivory.

Yes, I know - shocking that I would set aside a project. I just think I need more time to wrap my head around the story and get to know the characters. I want Three of Ivory to be amazing. There are some things I need to do before I can give it the time and effort it really deserves.

2. I am starting a fantasy/romance project.

Me. Romance. I know! Now to clarify it is not going to be a steamy romance (yuck!). It is going to be a love story. Something along the lines of Jane Austin. This idea has been floating around in my head for a while. Here are some examples of the idea leaking out in my writing:

Exhibit A
Exhibit B
Exhibit C

Making this decision was hard. But I came up with a really really good reasons why to do it.

As I was writing Three of Ivory I realized that it had much the same tone as Shadowed Stones. This is not what I wanted. The idea, the world, the characters are all different. So I decided I need some distance from the project so I could reset and look at it with fresh eyes. My new project is like a half step between the tone of Shadowed Stones and the tone I want for Three of Ivory. I think it will be a good way to break away from Shadowed Stones and get ready to write Three of Ivory.

Another thing I am trying... I am not telling anyone about the plot to my story. I want to plot it a write the first draft before anyone knows an ounce about it. Part of this is to keep me interested in the project. The other part of it is that this is the first real love story I have written. And I want to see how it goes without any outside influence.

Have you ever had to shelve a project - before you really began?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Mighty Pen #39

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning

"Please, let me go," she pleaded, tears streaming down her face.

Pain shadowed the evil in his eyes. He spoke, his voice low and dark, "I can't." ...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Three Words #39

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • Ellipse
  • Intergalactic
  • Render

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Blush, Unpalatable, and Speaker(from last week.)

A blush darkened the young girls cheeks.

"Come, Aaron, you are embarrassing her," a sultry woman's voice spoke from beyond Mordin's view.

A deep laugh bellowed up from the shadows. "So I am."

Mordin's blood frozen when he recognized the speaker. Not Aaron - Arnon.

"She must find your request... unpalatable," the woman smirked.

Mordin could wait no longer. If Arnon was here he must take the chance to strike him down, once and for all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #39

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Source: Resources for Creative Writing #10 (visit the site for a great intro to these prompts.)

A cut on the hand

Response

Cari looked down at the red stripe on her palm. She traced her fingers along the partially healed wound. When did this happen? She wondered. I don't remember cutting myself.

"Torin was teaching you to use a knife to defend yourself." Urie said to her from across their small camp fire.

"Torin?" Cari asked. A pained look darkened Urie's eyes.

"He's a... good friend."

"I don't remember," Cari admitted.

"I know," Urie responded. "That is why you are here. To remember."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tagged Again!

So.... like forever ago the wonderful Laura tagged me. And I am just now getting to it. Since I am so late... I won't pass the tag along to anyone specific. But if you would like to - go ahead :)

Here's how it works:
The rules:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know

Here is a sneak peak into Shadowed Stones (since I technically don't even have one page of Three of Ivory


They were frightened; Lyni could tell that from the occasional sob or whimper that escaped their lips. Whenever one would make a noise the others would shush them, knowing that if Lyni was distracted they would all be dead, buried under a pile of cold stone.

Their situation was desperate.

Slowly she turned her back on the huddling servants, hiding the sudden tears that she could no longer hold back. She was tired, her whole body ached, and her head screamed with pain. At least all of this crowded out the gnawing complaints of her empty stomach. Lyni did not know how much longer she could hold out.

If it had only been her that Feldon had placed in the small room she would have given up quickly and accepted her fate. Her freedom from Feldon’s grasp was worth much more than her life and she could never sacrifice the lives of others, just to defy him. All this, the dark wizard knew and used against her.

Behind her one of the young servant girls was crying softly, and Lyni shared in her desperation. Her hold on the ceiling above them was weakening with each breath, and with each breath their deaths drew closer and closer. She hoped, at least, that the servants knew that she had tried her hardest to save them and given everything she had to ensure that they did not become victims of Feldon’s desire to control her.

The ceiling slipped a few more inches.

Lyni screamed with frustration and tried to push it back up, but it was no use, the endless strain had finally worn her down.


Ooo - I am so glad that this landed at such a wonderful point in the story! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Mighty Pen #38

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning

"Sometimes I wonder what have been. If only I hadn't...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Three Words #38

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • Blush
  • Unpalatable
  • Speaker

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Hang, Untranslatable, and Widower (from last week.)

I just let the words hang there, suspended in the silence between us.

"I am sorry," the translator said, "but that is untranslatable. They have no concept of such a thing."

"It is really quite simple," I replied. "They return the Widower and her crew - or we destroy their capital city."

I was not sure - but it looked as if the Andredi ambassador's eyes bulged as the translator tried to convey my meaning. At length he spoke in the deep flowing words of his native language. The translator turned to me, his face ashen.

"The ship they will return. The crew.., they have already disposed of."

I spread my hands on tghe table and stood very slowly. "In that case, Mr. Ambassador, we are at war."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #38

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Source: Resources for Creative Writing #3 (visit the site for a great intro to these prompts.)

One thing wrapped around another

Response


The vine bit into Carsa's arm as it slowly tightened its hold. She looked down at the black emptiness below her. Then her eyes turned back to the bloodthirsty face watching her from the cliff above.

Resolved, Carsa reached into her boot and pulled out the slender dagger she kept hidden there. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Then with one swift movement Carsa cut through the vine - severing her connection with the world above.

She fell into the darkness.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I am not an Insecure Writer

Lack of Confidence

In the online community of writers I have come across a lot of people who lack confidence in their writing. I understand what that is like because when I was starting out I felt the same way. And I am sure many of you know what it is like to...

-Hold on to your writing and not let anyone else see.
-Finally give up your writing but then spend the whole time worrying that the person will hate it.
-Never hear any of the positive feedback because you are fixated on the negative.
-Feel like there is not point to being a writer because you aren't perfect now.

I spent many years going through all this. Of course it probably did not help that I did not like myself much and so found it easy to put myself down. But I learned some important things in life that helped me not just in life but in my writing too.

Recently I read two posts that got me thinking about this subject in depth. If you missed these - you should take the time to read through them:

Sticks and Stones on Rookie Scrivener
Are Your Efforst Unique or Do You Blend by Jody Hedlund

There Is Hope

Many of you know about The Insecure Writers Support group that posts once a month about their insecurities. I almost joined it once until I realized one thing - I am not an insecure writer. I used to be, but I grew out of it. So all of you out there that still struggle with having faith in yourself as a writer - there is hope.

Being Confident

I am sure by now you are wondering how I did it. Well, the road was long and hard for me. But the concept was simple.

There are only three people in the world whose opinion matters to me: My God, My Husband, and Myself. Nothing else matters.

Saying it is one thing. But living it is another. Once you achieve this state of mind you will be amazed at the freedom, courage, and confidence it gives you.

Now I mentioned that the road was hard. Especially in writing. So here are a few tips that I used to develop a strong enough confidence in myself to stop basing my self image on what others thought.

  1. I spent time getting to know myself as a writer. Learning my voice and being comfortable with it - without any external influence. - This meant that I did not read much and I did not give my work to others to read. I just wrote and wrote and wrote until I understood who Krista the Writer was.
  2. I learned to focus on the positive when I received feedback. This does not mean that I ignore negative feedback. But what I do is I read through feedback and sort it into negative and positive. Then I read just the positive again. Ending with the good helps it stick in my mind.
  3. I stopped comparing myself to other writers. This was hard because it is natural. I learned to read novels with an eye to enjoy and to learn. If I caught myself comparing myself I gave myself a little time out. There will always be someone better. There will always be someone worse. In the end comparisons don't help you learn anything.
  4. I don't take it personally when someone critiques my work. Of course I still feel disappointing that my work isn't perfect. But I also love to grow and learn. If you are perfect there is no room for growth. I try to look at feedback from the point of view of - how can this help me grow?
  5. And last but not least - If all else fails - ignore them. Some people are bound to think differently then you. That is what makes life interesting. Wouldn't it be boring if everyone thought and felt exactly the same! So if you don't agree with someone else's opinion - it is okay to ignore them. Or of course - to voice your own opinion.

So to you, the writer who feels like the words you writer aren't worth anything, I say - THEY ARE! Just because you wrote them! They may never be published, or even seen by someone else. But they matter because they are your words. At the very least by writing them you learned something.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Still not back on the Wagon

So... I am still not back on track. I have some work I need to critique for one of my critique partners. And some notes he gave me. But I still haven't gotten to that.

I also re-worked the outline for the first 9 chapters of Three of Ivory. Decided that was far enough for now and that I need to start writing. But didn't.

I started think about my other project that I want to work on. My dilemma is that the story really has two parts - and I don't know where to start. On the one hand I could start in the middle which would be exciting. I could then leave the beginning for a prequel. But I am kind of anti-prequels written after the fact. I have almost decided to write the beginning and then the end.

I also need to get Shadowed Stones ready to submit to the next publisher on my list. But - I haven't even started that yet.

So pretty much I have things I should be doing. But I'm not. To be honest I got knocked out of my writing grove earlier this year - and it has been a struggle to find my way back.

One thing that has helped me is reading everyone's blogs and seeing what they are up to. It makes me want to come back - even if I have been able to actually get there yet.

How is your writing going?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Mighty Pen #37

The Mighty Pen flash fiction contest is a just for fun writing contest (inspired by my wonderful husband). I post the beginning of a story – and you post an end! I will choose a winner and several honorable mentions. The contest is open until Sunday night and the winner is announce on Monday where I feature them on my blog. Check out past winners on the tab above.



Note: This is a family friendly blog – so please keep it PG rated. Thanks!


The Beginning

Slowly the wheels began to turn...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Three Words #37

One of my favorite writing games is something I call three words. I post three words and encourage you to write a flash fiction piece containing those three words. If you would like to challenge me – post three words for me and next week I will post a piece of flash fiction using your words. Enjoy!

Three Words

  • Hang
  • Untranslatable
  • Widower

Flash Fiction

Using the three words: Eagle, Errand, and Error (from last week.)

"Maple, I have a an errand for you," Sir Riken the Head Messenger said.

Maple stood and snapped to attention. A small thrill ran up her back. An errand from the Head Messenger. "Yes, sir!" she exclaimed.

He handed her a single page folded and sealed with blue wax. Maple's eye flitted to the imprint in the wax, the image of an eagle flying over a rising sun. The royal seal. Maple managed not to sequel with excitement - just barely.

"Deliver this message." the Head Messenger told her.

"To whom?" Maple asked.

The Head Messenger handed her another, smaller, piece of sealed paper. "Everything you need to know is in here."

Maple nodded, saluted, and then ran from the assembly hall.

As she turned around the corner heading from the front doors she heard a voice from behind her. "I hope you have not chosen her in error, Riken."

"Maple will not let us down," came Riken's answer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Prompt Tuesday #37

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. It gives me a chance to exercise my writing muscles outside of my WIP, and hopefully inspire you to write. So enjoy my flash fiction piece and post your own in the comments!

Prompt

Source: Resources for Creative Writing #1 (visit the site for a great intro to these prompts.)

Broken Pottery

Response

Hanna reached her hand down and brushed her finger against the jagged piece of clay. Trails in the dust showed evidence of her touch.

She stood, the red silk fabric of her gown hissing in the silence. Her escort of soldiers watched her movements through the room silently.

After some time had passed she turned to one of them. "I am ready now."

I lose the Tag Game

So like forever ago Angela from The Starving Novelist tagged me in a Meme. And I am just now getting around to passing it on. Sigh, I never was good a playing tag :)

Here's the deal - I answer the following questions - then tag other people. Here goes...

1. What is your dream vacation?
Me and my husband completely alone with no contact from the outside world for a week. Also - no chores or cleaning or anything. Just 100% free time to do whatever I want.

2. Are you spontaneous or do you like to plan ahead?
I plan. In fact I have back up plans for my plans - and back up plans for my back up plans.

3. Tell us one thing you want to do but don’t dare to do.
I don't know. There are a lot of things that I fear doing. But most of them I don't want to do anyway. And the ones I do want to do - well I don't let my fear get in the way. I guess the only thing would be to tell some people what I really think.

4. What's your biggest phobia?
Being buried alive. Or drowning.

5. If you were stranded on a desert island – what 3 things would you want with you (not including laptop, or family).
A fishing spear, machete and flint. (And Jeff Probst. Yes I watch Survivor!)

6. Name three blessings in your life.
My husband. My writing. My faith.

7. What was your nickname in High School?
Uh.. I never had a nickname. At least one that people told me to my face :) I was a big nerd and a geek and all other kinds of labels that put me in the 'uncool' group. But no nicknames.

8. If you could meet the President of the United States, what would you say to him?
Hi.

9. If you could be any literary character for a day, who would you be?
Hmm. A character from a Jane Austin novel.

10. What is your favorite quote?
"Oh be wise; what can I say more?" Jacob 6:12

Tagged
I think I am supposed to tag seven people - but since I am a little late in the game - I am only going to tag 3.

Wendy at Scribblings of Wendy Jave
Laura at Laura B Writer
Angie at Notes From the Writing Chair

p.s. My regular prompt tuesday post will be coming later today.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Emotion in Writing, Part 4: Conflict and Connection

In Part 1 of this series I talked about the power of emotions and why they are important in writing. In Part 2 I talked about Pain and Joy. In Part 3 I went over Love and Hate.

Today we will be discussing conflict and connection. I know that these are probably not the first things that come to mind when you think of emotions. But all emotions lead to one or the other - a conflict or a connection. And some emotions, like love, can even lead to both.

Conflict

Conflict is the driving force of a story. Without conflict there is not story. Would you read 200 pages about someone who has a perfect life? No. Why - because it isn't possible. It isn't believable. And it is down right boring.

Lot's of things can cause conflict in our writing. For me the most powerful ones are conflicts born of emotion. Take a moment and think of your favorite book - the one you read over and over again. What is the conflict? Keep digging deeper until you find a conflict tied to emotions.

My favorite book is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. The main conflict begins when the hero - driven by an emotional force he does not understand - kidnaps the heroine. The following conflicts ensue because the heroine starts to fall in love with the desert people and of course - with the hero.

Emotional conflicts fall into two major categories. There is a conflict because of opposing emotions. (For example, Bella and Jake from Twilight have different emotions towards Edward - which creates a conflict between them.) Or the emotion a character has is in conflict with what they have to do. (In The Blue Sword the heroine loves the hero but must go against him and risk loosing his love to save the day.)

Connection

I wrote and entire series on Emotional Connections with Characters. What I want to discuss here is emotional connection between characters.

Let's address the obvious first - love. When two characters love each other (on whatever level) they become connected. I laughed in Harry Potter when he broke up with Ginny because he did not want to put her in danger. When will heroes learn that just because the aren't with the person they love the bad guy won't still kidnap them.

Back to Harry and Ginny. He breaks up with her to keep her safe. However he still loves her. And guess what - Voldemort knows that. Gasp. So even if Harry wasn't with Ginny - Voldemort would still come after her to get to him.

Hate can also connect to characters. Take for example Harry and Voldemort. They hate each other and that is a powerful part of what binds their fates together.

Can you think of other connects between characters that are formed because of emotions, such as fear, hope, respect?

In summary, emotions are the tools we use to create conflict and connection in our writing. They give depth and detail to a story.

What do you think? What are some emotional conflicts and connections you have come across in your reading or writing?