Tuesday, June 30, 2009

And the Winner Is...

What an exciting day this is for the writers of Paper and Parchment. We have so much to celebrate. At the top of our list today is our love for you, our faithful readers. We salute you and celebrate your support. Thanks for hanging out with us and responding to our ramblings. Whether you have visited our blog once or 100 times, we thank you and we invite you to stick around for more.

And the winner is (drumroll please)…Melanie J. of the Write Stuff blog. Congratulations to Melanie. Do the happy dance, Melanie, a Barnes and Noble gift card is headed your way. At precisely 12:01 this morning Melanie was selected out of 19 entrants (one of the 20 comments was our own) and notified by email. Thanks to all who participated. Though we can only give away one gift card, we think you are all winners.

Please come back tomorrow for my regular post which will be a follow up on the t-shirt blog from last week. If you didn’t read it, there’s still time. It’s called Stand Up For Kids. Feel free to scroll down and take a peek. I would love your response to a couple of important questions. Tell all your friends.

Linda Garner

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NO TIME, NO TIME...I need more time!!!

So usually, I write my post and review it on My Precious (my laptop), but I have had no time whatsoever to do anything like that.

I've been spending my week thinking of research papers and learning about memos. (Did you know they've totally changed how memos are written? Why would they do that? And who are "they?")

So I am trying to work out my schedule between laundry (always the dreaded laundry, I bet you nudists are all laughing it up right about now), feeding family, writing fantastically thought out pages of study, and sleep. Yes, I still do need sleep (even though I've been up till one every morning trying to figure out what Chomsky and Fillmore are doing with their speech patterns - don't ask, I've had nightmares about it... and the weird thing is, they are both sitting in a hot red car in my dream. Are language experts suppose to drive hot red cars? It freaked me out a little).

So my creative writing has suffered a bit, but never fear! The weekend cometh. I can see it right around the corner and then I will have tons of time...oh wait, I've got that meeting to go to.

Well, maybe next week. Fingers crossed.

Have a great week everyone. Wish me luck on the whole Chomsky/Fillmore thingy. There will be a memo about it next week.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stand Up For Kids

Linda, age 8. Jaime, age 5. Michael, age 7. Holli, age 10. Brandon, age 4. Crystal, age 12. Kim, age 15. Tom, age 6. McKensey, age 5. Anne, age 17. Ruth, age 9. Marla, age 6. Drew, age 13. Hilary, age 11. Brent, age 7. Hannah, age 16. Sandra, age 8. Cheri, age 12. Christopher, age 9. Paul, age 10. Gabby, age 9. Brad, age 14. Cari, age 6. James, age 3. Pearl, age 5. Kristi, age 8.

This isn’t a list of real people. I made it up, but, what if the names and ages were real? What if each name represented a real person who had been sexually abused, along with their age at the time the abuse began?

What if we filled the back of a t-shirt with first names and ages like these? What if the front of the shirt said Stand Up For Kids and directed you to a helpful website with information on preventing sexual abuse?

Maybe the website could give you ideas for teaching kids about abuse and maybe it could tell you what to do if the unthinkable happens to someone you love. Maybe the website could be called http://www.somesecretshurt.com/, and maybe it could tell you about an important book that will be released September 16. What if the book was a great tool for families, for parents, for teachers, and for kids of all ages.?What if the book was called Some Secrets Hurt?

What if the front of the t-shirt had a picture from Some Secrets Hurt? What if the picture represented a whole community with people of all ages and all ethnic group? What if the picture reminded us that keeping kids safe is everyone’s job? What if the t-shirt reminded us to stand up for kids?

Some Secrets Hurt is a real book, and http://www.somesecretshurt.com/ is under construction, but the t-shirt is still a dream. If the t-shirt were real, would you wear it? Would you buy it? Would you give it as a gift? I’d love to hear from you.

If you were ever abused, would you want your name included on the shirt? You can send your name to lindagarner@somesecretshurt.com. First name only. Include your age when you were abused.

Isn’t it time that we all stand up for kids?

Linda Garner

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Exciting Adventures of WIFYR or Writers, Editors, Agents and Armpit Butter

Where do I start about last weeks adventures?

Last week was the BYU WIFYR and it was amazing!!!! I meet a bunch of wonderful new friends, scared off a couple of published authors (never hug someone when they aren’t expecting it…but it does make for a fun story), and I decided this is what I really want to do.

Monday through Friday, my critiquing buds and I headed to BYU early each morning (after a delightful breakfast of Mcy-D’s). From 8:30 until 12:30, we sat in separate groups learning from the best authors around.

I got to work with Janette Rallison, author of My Fair Godmother, Just One Wish, and many others (my daughter is in the middle of Just One Wish and has informed me how wickedly awesome it is…every morning, noon, and night. Yes, my friends, it is that good). She is so funny (Both Janette and my daughter). =)

We had a great group of gals (I mean… we were chic lit. Not many guys wanted to venture into our class room, especially since we were laughing so dang hard every ten minutes). They (our group) were a hoot. And the talent in that class was incredible! It was an honor to read their work and have them critique mine. I’m sure one day I will see them published and be able to say, “Yes, I was in a five-day critique group with so and so. We are like this.” * fingers crossed* And they will say, “I don’t think we are as good of friends as you think we are.” (Erin, that one’s for you!) Ah, good times, good times.

From 1:30 – 2 we got to mingle with any agent, editor, or author that was scheduled for the mingle sessions.

Then came the break-out classes ranging from plotting to finding time to write. I learned something from each class I attended. I loved the class taught by Louise Plummer about anxiety. Because…well… I have it. I learned a lot in that class. Oh and that fantastic class by Sharlee Glenn about being a writer anyway. Loved it!

I think the best part about the conference is that people enjoyed what I had written. Plus, I accomplished the goals I made for myself a year ago. Whoo hoo!

Was the traveling, money, and lack of sleep worth it all? All I can say is, if you haven't had a chance to come to this conference, start saving your pennies. It is well worth it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Had a Dandi Time

It was a Dandi Conference!

I spent last week at BYU Writers Conference and had a dandi time. It was a dandi time because my teacher was Dandi Mackall, an amazing author who has published over 400 books. I have forgotten the exact count but I think it is around 470. Eighteen of those books were published last year.

It was an incredible opportunity to spend a week with Dandi. She was warm and witty and delightful. What a treat it was to sit around the table with her and sample her ideas and her wisdom. I brought home new friends and a new bag of tricks. I don’t suppose Dandi will remember me, but I will never forget her. I will remember many things about her, but I will especially remember her as a woman of substance.

Here are a few things that I learned from the conference.

1. Know your character. Use this exercise: ___________ is the kind of person who_______________________.

2. Get inside the character’s head. This is our biggest advantage over TV or movies. We get to be inside the character’s head. Make the most of it.

3. Give your character a problem, then make it bigger. Don’t let the solution come too easily. A classic story pattern is to have the problem grow in 3 stages.

4. The climax is the low point.

5. Make sure your character gets to solve his/her own problem. Don't let anyone else do it.

The hands on part of the workshop was eye popping, though it was humbling to hear about the flaws in my own carefully crafted work. Getting past that is important, if you want a great finished product. It’s easy to get discouraged when you find out that your work isn’t as good as you thought it was, but it’s better to be pick up your pencil and try again. It’s actually empowering to know what isn’t working and to have an idea about how to fix it.

I want to say thanks to the awesome writers in my picture book class. They have great ideas and skills and their feedback is so helpful. Writers are a great slice of the human pie. They are creative and caring and they understand synergy. I appreciate the chance to learn from them.

And to Dandi I say: You are incredible. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself with me. I hope we meet again.

Linda Garner

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This is a test of the Paper and Parchment system.....or "I am a Disco Dog"

This is a test. This is a test of the Paper and Parchment system. (I know I tricked ya with the disco dog thing, huh? That's just something my son said that made me laugh - and I'm a little giddy with lack of sleep)

This is only a test.
If this had been an actual emergency we would have been freaking out and coiled up on the floor crying. But since this is only a test, we are doing just fine. We will return next week.

We are at the BYU WIFYR or something like that. You can check out the link.
I'd love, love, LOVE to report this week, but I have been up till midnight each night doing homework. I have six critiques to cover tonight and a second chapter to get ready for my AWESOME WIFYR critique group (With Janette Rallison - Whoo Hoo, she's awesome). YOU GUYS ROCK! Plus they all are as tired as I am. =)

So the three of us here from Paper and Parchment will return next week with tons of exciting memories to share.

We now return you to your regular scheduled program. Sort of. I hope there is chocolate.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Words Words Words

I'm playing hookie today. My friends and I have gone off to a writer's conference at BYU. We're having a wonderful time, and learning all about our favorite thing....words.

Words, Words, Words.
Words are dancing in my head.
They’re whirling and twirling in my head.
Enchanting words like mystical, and fanciful, and whimsical,
They’re tippy-toeing in my mind, for I’ve a tale to tell.
I’d like to tell of fairy wings and dragon tails and handsome kings.
I’d like to speak of magic things
And catch you in my spell.

Words, Words, Words.
Words are creeping through my head.
They’re squirming and worming inside my head.
Hysterical words like quivering, blood-curdling, spine-tingling,
They’re shivering inside my mind, for I’ve a tale to tell.
I’d like to tell of eerie sights, and spooky nights, and flickering lights.
I’d like to speak of dreadful frights
And catch you in my spell.

Words, Words, Words.
Words are swimming in my head,
Like little fishies in my head.
Pirate-ish words like walk the plank, and thar she blows, and ships what sank.
They’re walking the gang-plank in my mind, for I’ve a tale to tell.
I’d like to tell of pirate ships, of treasure maps, and mermaid lips,
And hooks instead of fingertips,
To catch you in my spell.

Words, words, Words,
Words are marching in my head.
They’re on a stage inside my head.
Dramatic words like mesmerize, and hypnotize, and tantalize.
They’re acting out inside my mind, for I’ve a tale to tell.
I’d like to tell of mystery, of tragedy, of comedy.
I’d like to speak theatrically,
And catch you in my spell.

Linda Garner

Thursday, June 4, 2009

So Let it be Written - So Let it be Done

Don’t you love those words? Thank you, Hollywood’s version of the Ten Commandments, extremely awesome. Which brings me to my thoughts this day.

Summer is coming. Don’t be frightened, it will be just fine.

This means days full of child entertainment, white scary legs that have frightened even my mail guy away, and school…for me.

Yes, last week I got my English grade (an A in my creative writing class) and relaxed for a good day before realizing the doom that was ready to implode. I have to take three classes this summer in eight weeks (because of the short summer terms, they scrunch sixteen weeks of work into eight, which is kind of awesome to get all that work done).

I am ready to take it on…maybe.

So for eight weeks, my mind will be turn into a calculator, English philosophizer and analyzing child doldrums.

Yes my friends, I will be a walking fountain of information, that is unless you ask me about the early formation of ingenious rocks or why (2 x Y) – (S x A) = i which I know nothing about. (Actually, I do know a little bit about the rock thing because of that cool rock class I took many, many, many years ago. Plus my son has this great rock collection with a little book of rock names and how they are formed. Yes my friends, I may be as smart as a fifth grader. Fingers crossed. I’ll let you know when my fifth grader quizzes me.)

But this also means my writing time may be filled. I may have to wait to release my mischievous scoundrels on each other until I finish up with the infamous task of intelligible knowledge of learning (I know, that made no sense whatsoever – it’s late).

I have debated not finishing my degree, because I thought I only had six more classes left. I was wrong….so, so wrong. I have eleven (plus I am on a deadline to get it done or they boot me from the program). But I have come so far, I will not give up.

Even if my feet stink from walking from class to class and my head bounces up and down from lack of sleep as I listen to the mundane lectures of mold vs. fungi (aren’t they the same?).

I shall prevail! My laundry might not, but I will. Do you have any awesome plans this summer?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Share the Magic

"The Magic Closet" is a true story I read many years ago which changed my life in a wonderful way. Karen A. Perry, who wrote the story, told about the financial challenges of her family. When Karen was 14 her father died, leaving her mother with eight children (age 5 months to 15) to care for. How did they manage?

Karen’s mother had a secret weapon, a magic closet full of fabric which kept the family clothed. When anyone needed clothing they selected fabric from the magic closet and then with mom’s help they sewed the clothing.

The magic of the closet was that it never ran out, even though Karen’s mom was often generous with the fabric, giving much of it away to others in need. Karen worried about her mom’s generosity and felt that they couldn’t afford to give fabric away. Karen’s mom felt that they couldn’t afford not to.

Eventually Karen learned that sharing the fabric was what created its magic. As a grown woman with her own fabric to share, she discovered that the more she gave the more the more she had available to her. It seemed that whenever she gave fabric away, her fabric was magically replenished by others.

Now I’m not crazy about sewing, and I don’t have a magic closet full of fabric, but I have other gifts to share. If the magic is real then I can share anything I have, and never run out. I can share food. I can share money. I can share talents. I can share time. Whatever we give returns back to us, multiplied.

I have experienced in my own life the magic of giving. I’ve never regretted giving a gift. I’ve never missed the things I have shared with others. I have never failed to have my own needs met. The magic is so powerful, that I wonder why I haven’t given more. I think I’ll start today. Today is a great day for giving.

Need some magic in your life today? What will you give?

Linda Garner


If you’d like to read The Magic Closet, you can find it at www.lds.org in the New Era, March 1988, p. 20. (Or you can email me and I will send you a copy.) LindaGarner@somesecretshurt.com