Monday, September 30, 2013

Pacing Your Novel

I just read part of Orson Scott Card's Saints. He is a master at pacing. He took the time when writing each scene to drop the reader into the middle of it. When the family moved into a very poor apartment, he made sure you could almost smell the urine on the ground floor of their dwelling.

He took time to make the dialogue believable. It built and the tension in the story built.

You could see the surroundings for each scene.

He is a master at letting you know what the character is thinking and feeling. The suspense built as each character played their role in the story. He wrote the story from multiple points of view, but you were in only one head at a time, and the thoughts were just perfect.

I chose not to finish the book for my own reasons, but the beginning of the book was superbly done.

The pacing was just as it ought it be. There was building action, but it was not done at the expense of the story. You knew each character intimately. He didn't rush through the plot, causing you to feel cheated at all.

This is a good lesson for me because sometimes I tend to make my manuscript sparse. I can leap from action to action, cheating my reader out of the best part of my story. So, for me, I will work on pacing this week. I will enjoy each scene I write, and then I know the readers will also.

Happy writing, Christy

My books, Love, Hugs, and Hope When Scary Things Happen, and Becoming Free, A Woman's Guide to Internal Strength are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One in a Million

It started as a birthday gift for my daughter.  I wrote the story and then gathered pictures of her at different ages to illustrate the story.  I loved doing it.  I wanted her to feel my love and to know that she was special.  I hoped it would build her self-esteem.

Later I decided that I wanted to submit it for publishing.  I imagined it illustrated with photos of many girls of different ages and nationalities.  I wanted girls everywhere to know how special they are.  I wanted them to understand their worth. 

I tweaked the story and submitted it to a local publisher.  They loved it.  They asked for more changes.  They wanted me to cut 200 words and to make it very age specific.  They wanted me to aim it at 10-12 year old girls. 

Cutting 200 words was a challenge.  I wondered if it would have the same flavor.  I wondered if there would be a story left when I was through trimming.

It was amazing.  The story emerged stronger, cleaner, and clearer.  I didn't miss the pieces which fell away.  I knew I had a winner.

My publisher was happy with the work, but a year went by with no offer.  Finally she told me that as they had shopped the idea with book buyers they couldn't find any interest.  Apparently book buyers don't see the market for books which teach self esteem to girls.

Sad, isn't it.  Around me I see evidence that many girls and women are lacking self-worth.  They sell themselves short and put themselves down.  They make poor decisions based on their lack of understanding.  How I would love to see this book in their hands.

I decided to make the book available to my granddaughters.  I will put the book in their hands at the appropriate time.  I can publish it as an E-book, and they can have it on their devices.

I just finished the first one.  It is called One in a Million: Starring Reagan.  Reagan's birthday is on Friday.  I will send it to her as a PDF sized for an I-Pad.    It turned out great.  Later, I may publish it for Kindle, and she can have it in that format.

Wouldn't it be fun if I could do this for all the girls in the world?

After all, each is One in a Million.

Linda Garner

Sunday, September 22, 2013

League of Utah Writers Conference

Just got back from League of Utah Writer's Conference. Gerald Lund conducted a workshop on writing. It was fun to listen to him talk about writing. He loves this quote:
Only half of genius is intelligence. The other half is harness. Will Rogers
In other words, we need to get to work. He is a great example of productive writing. He has written lots of books! The Work and the Glory series and the Kingdom and the Crown series are both wonderful.

(I'm just going to give you my notes.) His lecture included the three E's of writing: Excellence, Edification, and Entertainment

There are two parts of ourselves that we as writers work with: The Mind and The Heart
The mind is rational, thinks in a linear fashion, looks at things sequentially, can discipline us to get our work done, is good at analyzing things, and can be filled with understanding.
In contrast, the heart is intuitive, finds the universal truths of life, understands the simultaneous process of things, can be very spontaneous, is able to synthesize, and find meaning of life.
What wonderful gifts we have because of our minds and our hearts.

As I write from now on, I will think of the qualities that my mind brings to my writing and the traits my heart brings also. When we use both, we have a balanced equation. 

Go to your local writing conferences. They are wonderful!

Monday, September 16, 2013

An Unreliablel Narrator

I've been thinking a lot about an unreliable narrator. I think that would be so hard to write. I'm reading a book called The Perilous Road by William Steele. It's a Newberry Honor, and it's a good book.
The setting is the Civil War. The protagonist is a young boy named Chris. He's friends with a mountain man that has leanings toward the South. Chris's parents and brother are against slavery. Even though Chris is the narrator, the reader can see from the beginning that his thinking is flawed in the following ways:
1.         His parents are against Chris spending so much time with the mountain man because he just roams the woods--never tending to his place.
2.            Chris is full of hate--fueled by the mountain man's ideas.
3.         Chris gets into trouble several times. The first time the mountain man leaves him to suffer the consequences on his own. The second time the mountain man lets Chris do the dirty work.
4.         The parents make comments about good men on both sides of the conflict.
5.         Chris's brother also has a much more mature positive attitude.
I don't know if I could write an unreliable narrator myself, but I'm thinking about it. Hoping to get up enough courage to try it someday.  I haven't finished Steele's book yet, but I think the character arc will be more powerful because of the misconceptions Chris has in the beginning.
Happy writing.
PS. Blog tour for my new books, Love, Hugs, and Hope and Becoming Free starts next week. I'm excited. If you have a writer's group or any group that would like a self help subject, I'd love to come speak. Comment here or go to my  web site

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Weight a Minute

I was a regular exerciser long before I knew I was diabetic.  I liked the way it made me feel.  Probably the  endorphins. 

Walking was my favorite form of exercise.  It was free and I didn’t need any special equipment.  I loved walking early in the morning just before the sun came up.  It was good therapy. 
I did my best thinking on some of those walks.  I made plans for the day, unraveled my budget, and even worked out the knots on my latest writing project.

Good times.

My feet began to complain about the walking.  I didn’t know what it was at first.   It interfered with my morning walk and bothered me throughout the day.   Plantar Fasciitis.  Oh the pain.

Once the Plantar Fasciitis was under control, I found myself less interested in walking.  No one knew the benefits better than I did, but I was walking less and less.  My energy was down, and my blood sugar was up. 

I needed help.

Someone recommended green drinks.  You buy them at the health food store.  It's a green powder that you mix with water.  It tastes a bit like freshly mown hay with a touch of algae.   Did I mention lumpy?  Hardly mouthwatering, but I could tell a difference.  My energy was coming back.
I still needed to exercise, but I just didn’t feel like walking anymore.  I heard that working with weights was especially good for diabetics.  So Friend-husband and I signed up at the gym around the corner. 

We are lifting weights.  We have a routine, and we are consistent.  We go five days a week; sometimes six.  Most days, we do it together.  If we can’t go together, we go on our own.  We don’t miss.
We use the machines.  I’m a little wimpy.  I use only 10 or 20 pound weights for my arms.  I can use 30 or 40 for my legs and abs.  Friend-husband works with bigger numbers.  The great thing is no one cares.  They don’t even notice me. 

Will I lose weight?  Probably not.  The payoff is that I’m getting stronger and gaining control of my health.  I love doing things that are good for my body, because I’m rather attached to it.  I’d like to keep this body for a long time.

It’s actually kind of fun and I like the way it makes me feel.  It’s probably the endorphins.
Weight a minute.  I think I already said that.

Linda Garner


Monday, September 9, 2013

Becoming Free Blog Tour

Becoming Free, A Woman's Guide to Internal Strength
Just as a butterfly emerges from a tight constricting chrysalis to beautify the world, you can break out of old confining habits.
Free yourself from outdated childhood beliefs. These youthful misconceptions can keep you from receiving affirmative energy in your life today.

Positive energy can be yours through:

·         Goal setting
·         Understanding childhood misconceptions
·         Journaling
·         Positive self-talk

Find peace and attract healthy relationships with this step-by-step process. Enhance the quality of your life with this clearly outlined life-renewing procedure.

Buy Now:

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Becoming Free, A Woman's Guide to Internal Strength

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

We're Not that Brave

We had the naughtiest dog.  His name was Buster.  He was always in trouble.

It all started one day when I heard my children screaming bloody murder.  As a mom, I had learned to tell the difference between an ordinary cry and a serious cry.  A serious cry means “you’d better come quick, and there might be blood.”
This was one of the most serious cries I had ever heard, so I ran outside to see who was bleeding, and I was praying that a car was not involved.

Imagine my surprise when I saw three hysterical children screaming at smallish dog who looked about as scary as a marshmallow.  I quieted their frantic cries and took them inside.

At that moment, it seemed that perhaps we needed a dog for our children.  They needed to get used to animals.  I couldn’t have them screaming every time a dog wandered through the neighborhood.
What were we thinking? 

The problem was, we were complete failures at dog training.  House training was a major issue.  Our little puppy was not the slight bit interested in going to the bathroom outside, at least not in our yard.  However he was happy to go almost anywhere in our house, and was also willing to use any of our neighbors yards.

Buster was the terror of the neighborhood.  He wasn’t very big, but he had a bark that you could patent.  He barked at everyone who came to visit.  If he were outside, he challenged every passerby.  He wasn’t a biter, but oh, he could bark.

We tried to keep him inside, but he was an escape artist.  He could wiggle out that door in a flash.  Once he was free he would wander the neighborhood making a nuisance of himself.  He always came home, but we never knew what mischief he had been up to. 

Once he came home with a limp, and we learned that an unhappy neighbor had shot at him with a BB gun.  Once a neighbor turned him in for unlawful cohabitation with their purebred. A police man brought us the news.  Sometimes we had to pick him up at the pound.  He seemed determined to live a life of crime.
After he got away it was hard to get him back.  Believe me, we tried.  Once he refused to come home and  chased me clear to the freeway. I knew that his luck had run out.  I never expected to see him again, but when I got home, he was sitting on the doorstep waiting for me.

He got hit by a bike and survived.  He got hit by a car and survived.  He jumped out of a two story window to chase a cat and broke his jaw in 3 places.  We had to have it wired shut until it healed.  He recovered.
After 8 years, he began to slow down.  He looked tired and walked with difficulty.  He died quietly on our daughters lap.  After all the adventure he just wore out. 

Our kids missed him a lot.  The neighbors didn’t miss him much.  To be honest, it was a bit of a relief  for my husband and I to have him gone. 
The kids wanted another dog.  We thought about it, but we’re not that brave. 

Linda Garner


Monday, September 2, 2013

Love, Hugs and Hope Blog Tour

Love, Hugs and Hope
Written after the tragic Newtown, Connecticut, shooting, this book is an invaluable tool to help  children work through feelings after a tragedy. Our kids deal, not only with national tragedies, but every day ones like death of a grandparent, loss of a puppy, or divorce. This book guides readers through emotions of fear, sadness and anger, then offers constructive ideas for managing these feelings. The message of the book is that love chases away hate and light banishes darkness. Lori Nawyn's engaging illustrations help the reader know that hope is only a hug away.

Midwest Books reviews the book as follows: "Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen" is a special understanding kind of book that aims to help children find safe ways to express their feelings when bad things happen. A beautiful two part message is embedded at the core of this lovely book, with perfectly balanced text and illustration. It proclaims: "Love chases away hate (on a valentine held by a penguin) and light chases away the dark (with a lit candle held by a duck in the darkness with stars)." Further pages tell children to cuddle up close with the adults who love them and hug them to help chase away the fear and sadness. "Love, Hugs, and Hope" is available in jacketed hardcover, Kindle, Nook, iPad, and ePub

The book is available at:

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