Monday, July 30, 2012
But in the middle of all this, my husband's sister passed away. We interrupted our plans to be with the family. Her children gave a sweet, touching memorial to memory her at the funeral. A spiritual feast was had by all.
Having done this, we had to get from the funeral in Bountiful, Utah on Saturday, to Philadelphia on Sunday for the homecoming. So, we hopped the red-eye and arrived in time. As we winged our way across the country, I kept thinking of the pioneers. (They would have questioned our activity big-time!)
What a blessing for us to live in this time with the modern conveniences we enjoy! Sometimes I think I am not grateful enough for what I have. I look at the sacrifice of those who have gone before me, and I am humbled and grateful.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
This is the biggest reason manuscripts get rejected. You’re telling a wonderful, powerful, gripping, complex story... but you’re the only person who actually knows that. Everyone else sees a long, rambling, uneven tale of various events happening to various characters. Why? What makes these things happen? And, most important to your reader, why are you telling us this?
Every novel needs a focus. What’s your point? What is it that you want the reader to know? That focus is your Climax, the one part your story simply could not do without. “I died of romanticism.” “I almost got et by a whale.” “I pretty nearly wrecked my life being a selfish grinch.”
At the same time, every novel needs a really good reason for the reader to care. That’s your Hook. The reader may have picked your book up for its snazzy cover, but you desperately need them not to put it down.
And every novel needs a series of intriguing, hair-raising, addictive events carrying the reader from the Hook to the Climax. You could just tell us the Climax. “The butler did it.” But long fiction is all about the wonderful, rollicking adventure building upon why that matters.
The hardest thing for aspiring writers to believe is that all this is holographic: what’s essential for the novel is also essential for the chapter, episode, even scene. Every single one of them needs a Climax, Hook, and some type of events leading from one to the other.
Read that again. Every single one.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
This quote came to me this morning in an email. I don't know who Doug Westmoreland is, but his quote is spot on today, for I am dealing with the pain of a broken agreement, and the shock of twisted blame.
I know that everyone has setbacks, but sometimes it would be nice to get a break. I'm not a "why me" sort of person, but...is it okay if I whine for a minute. Enough is enough. Isn't it?
Yeah, I had another setback. I lost ground, I lost a friend, and in the end I was blamed for things I couldn't control. I've seen this before, but I still don't get it. Why would someone who didn't keep their committments blame me, when their interest fades?
Does blaming me make it easier to walk away? Does whining make it easier for me to pick up the pieces and move on? The word "integrity" comes to mind. Does whining compromise my integrity?
My disappointment is deep, but I will move on. According to Doug, disappointment is only 10%. Moving on is 90%.
Moving on stinks, but it's really my only option. Whining helps a little, but not that much. How do you deal with disappointment? I welcome suggestions.
Picking up pieces.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
When I go to a writer’s conference my senses are heightened. My skill enhanced. New ideas are everywhere.
Once in a while, I hear something that changes everything for me. An epiphany. A paradigm shift. That happened for me at WIFYR when I heard these words. “Every line is a first line. Every line is the first line of the rest of your book.”
As a picture book writer I am used to weighing words, but this thought brings it to another level. Is this sentence a good first line for the rest of my book?
Every sentence in a picture book is prime property. Every sentence costs me something. Every sentence must pay rent. No matter how much I love the words, if they don’t move the story forward in a meaningful way they have to go. Eviction.
I have nothing against welfare. Maybe in a novel, some sentences can live for free. Not all, of course, but some. In the world of picture books however, there is no free lunch.
Every line is the first line of the rest of your book.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Saturday, July 7, 2012
My friend is a part of a team working to raise funds on behalf of special needs kids in Nicaragua. The Los Pipitos School in San Juan del Sur helps educate and enrich the lives of children who, due to their limited abilities, would be otherwise unable to take advantage of a regular classroom education. In early August, volunteers are going to Nicaragua to bring school supplies and funds to help keep the school running.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
I just wanted to thank you today for everything you've given me.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
I was planning on waxing writerly this morning, but my flag waving heart won’t let me pass up the 4th of July without a small salute.
I love America. I love being American. There’s no place like it on earth. I don’t know what I did to deserve to live here, but I will be eternally grateful for the privilege.
We have our share of problems, but they are all first class. We have our share of turmoil. We have our share of conflict. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone thinks they’re right.
My Dad often said “When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.” He said it mostly to be funny, but there’s a grain of truth in his quip. I think everyone should think like me. You think everyone should think like you. It’s hard to be humble, when you know you’re right.
It isn’t easy to find harmony among diversity, yet diversity is one of our strengths.
In church we recently sang America the Beautiful. Don’t you love that song? God mend thine every flaw. I had never really noticed those powerful words before. I loved the feel of them in my mouth and I loved the sound of them in the air. They gave me hope.
We do have flaws. Lots of flaws. As long as people are in charge there will be flaws. Someday God will take charge and there will be no flaws. For now, though, I love this thought, and maybe it should be a prayer.
America, America, God mend thine every flaw.
Hope is a beatiful thing.
Monday, July 2, 2012
I hope this helps you as much as it did me. Happy writing! Christy