Jeannie Campbell tagged me a while back, so here is my attempt at answering the first half of the questions.
1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
The last thing I wrote was a quick edit of that Mistletoe piece posted on Monday from my current wip. The first thing I wrote (not including school projects for English class) are still tucked away deep in my hope chest, written in Pitman shorthand that I can no longer decipher.
2. Write poetry?
Almost never. Poetry is the most concise writing I've ever read, and I have issues with that. LOL
3. Angsty poetry?
4. Favorite genre of writing?
Contemporary Inspirational Romance
5. Most annoying character you've ever created?
I'd have to go with Katrina's mother, Martha, in my very first novel. She is one obnoxious character at times, even though she means well.
6. Best Plot you've ever created?
That would be the plot in my second novel, My Gift. I can't really explain it without giving the ending away, other than that it's a twist on a frame story.
7. Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?
Oh, my, I think it might be that I actually did send one of my characters off to Cambodia when it seemed as though the whole mission trip would fall through. That extended that book for more pages then expected.
8. How often do you get writer's block?
I don't know if it's writer's block as much as a needed writer's rest. Sometimes my fingers just need a break while my brain keeps going.
9. Write fan fiction?
Okay, I'm going to look stupid here, but what exactly is fan fiction? Fantasy Fiction? If so, no, my brain doesn't seem to work that way, it can only handle earth as it appears to be.
10. Do you type or write by hand?
I type, but have been known to scratch out scene thoughts on any spare piece of paper that happens to be in reach when a thought comes to mind.
11. Do you save everything you write?
Most definitely. I create a new copy each day.
12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?
Of course. My ideas often come as mustard seeds. I write the bit that surprises me and then my brain and creative spirit waters it sporadically as I'm working on something else, and eventually it's time for that seed to sprout and start growing in leaps and bounds.
13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written?
Sadly, my very first novel is still nearest and dearest to my heart, but it was so badly written that it's taking me forever to revise and get it written well. But I can't seem to leave that one alone, whereas the ones after it, I have been able to set aside for years without stewing over them.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas with The Babe's Spirit swirling around you in awesome wonder. May His presence bring you much peace and joy, friends!
Surrendering to Him,
2 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!
A snippet from my most recent writing of The Innkeeper's Christmas for 2009's Nanowrimo project.
Matthew finished tucking the sheet under like she’d taught him, then stepped next to her. Her heartbeat stormed to life as he grabbed her hands into his and pulled her close to him. A foot taller than her, she folded into him like a teddy bear to a child. She remembered this feeling. The security it provided that night of the break in. How he’d been there for her. Allowed her to fall to pieces in his arms. Well, as many pieces as she’d ever allow herself to crumble into in front of anyone.
But what was he doing...now?
Matthew shifted his feet in some strange manner. He wrapped one hand around her to rest gently on the small of her back. With his other hand he held hers out to the side, raised. Oh, my. She gasped and pulled away. Matthew was trying to waltz with her?
The hilarity of it filled her with child-like giggles. The seriousness of his expression chastised her laughter. She blinked, willing herself to get under control.
“Cut me some slack. I embarrassed myself with a teacher to try and learn these steps, Beckah.”
She grabbed his arms and started dancing like she did when alone. Wiggling her booty, with no planned steps at all, she bounced, dipped, swirled in his arm and even bumped her hip to his. Only her hip met his upper thigh, which felt firmer than she'd expected. “See, this is how I dance for fun.” To his ashen face, she gave him a peck on his cheek. “Why on earth would you ever imagine I waltzed while cleaning?”
“Everything is either animals with you, cooking, or Victorian era.” He held his hands out. “I just assumed you ballroom danced while changing sheets.”
“And you took lessons just for me?”
“If that’s how you have fun, I wanted to give it a try. I know how busy you are, and figured getting you to go out would be more burden than anything.”
She stepped back, stunned by his thoughtfulness. No one had ever understood her needs before. Matthew may not approve of how she lived, but at least he tried to work within parameters to make life easier on her. “That’s the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me. Thank you. And thank you for staying and helping me get the rooms cleaned up.” If one could fall in love in an instant, this one would be about perfect.
“You’re welcome.” He took her hand in his. A current travelled down her fingers, up her arm. “How about a modern day slow dance for a minute, then we can get back to bed-making duties?”
She stepped into his embrace and breathed in the orange and musk scent unique to him. It felt good to savor the smell, rather than deny its appeal once again. He slowly moved her around the room. If chore time was slipping away, she didn’t feel it doing so. Wouldn't allow it to spoil the moment. “Are you aware of how good you smell?”
Bending his head, he looked down into her eyes. His golden irises had dark flecks she’d never noticed before. “No, do I?”
Nodding, she couldn’t pull her eyes away from his…until she realized his focus shifted to her mouth. Oh, no, this can’t be. They couldn’t be about to...
She should step out of his hold. Stop this from happening.
Rewind? Couldn’t she just rewind time and never have stepped into his embrace in the first place?
His lips caressed hers, gentle, as if asking permission. They travelled to the softness of her cheek, then slowly back to her mouth. She tasted peppermint. The one he stole from her candy dish on the side board just before following her upstairs to help with the Inn’s chores. The gentleness of his touch had her insides diving and flipping. How could something so wrong, feel so heavenly? Returning his kiss, she pulled him closer, feeling his warmth transfer to her whole being. Could two opposites such as them really make a relationship work?
“Whoa.” He stepped out of their embrace with tenderness that made her long for him more, but the strain on his face caused a vice-like grip to take hold of her heart. Matthew regretted kissing her.
Merry Mistletoe Everyone! I look forward to reading all the wonderful snippets out there soon!
Surrendering to Him,
4 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!
Since writing with the intent to learn how to write, I must say I've had some fun times due solely to wanting scenes to be authentic. Have you ever had your characters take you where you haven't gone before? Or at least not recently enough to conjure up a scene that really comes to life?
When that happens to me, my family tends to benefit with a little excursion. And it usually means fun. Sadly, I have no trouble tapping into experiences that are more of a serious nature. It seems to be only the fun ones that stump me. Mmmmm...wonder what that says about me? Me thinks I need to write to include some fun in my life. Perhaps that's why God called me to this challenge. Interesting!
Anyway, I was tagged by Jeannie Campbell to do a very long questionnaire. I promise, I will do this next week, right after our Mistletoe Madness Monday, but I think I'm going to split it into two separate posts. So get ready, you'll learn a little more about boring me just in time for Christmas. How's that for a cyber Christmas gift from little old me?
So what fun times have you enjoyed due to your writing?
P.S. I just scanned my blogroll listing and I'm in awe at how many great posts are out there for me to read. The little topics and snippets have me wanting to rush over. Just wish there was way, way, way more time in a day to do so! It'll take me all weekend, stealing some comp. time, to take them all in.
Surrendering to Him,
7 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!
As I struggle to get writing time in, I am at least getting some educational reading in in snippets. I came across this interesting paragraph in Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon.
"Imagery adds so much to a writer's style that with all practicality and crassness, I advise you to make sure to add analogies, similes, or metaphors to any pages requested by an agent or editor. Without question, make sure your revision includes imagery on page one." (pg. 48)
So, are you sparce with imagery, or do you wield it liberally? Are you making agents and editors smile, or flip pages struggling to find imagery that doesn't exist?
On a fun note:
Curtesy of Sherrinda, it's official, the Official Kissing Day Blogfest will be held on Monday, December 21st as a Writer's Tribute to Mistletoe!
I absolutely love this idea.
Hope you all will join in on the fun and post a snippet of your work where a kiss, or an almost-kiss is experienced. If you haven't written any such scenes, have you read one lately that you could share on your blog? The mistletoe will be floating around cyberland on Monday. Be ready!
Surrendering to Him,
9 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!
Can you believe that there are only eleven days before Christmas Day arrives? And, for me, only five days left before the kiddos are home for their two-week Christmas break? Astonishing!! Really, that's how it feels to me. The days are whizzing by at top speed.
We celebrated my eldest daughter's sixteenth birthday this past weekend with a surprise sleepover for her. It seemed to go over very well. Planning for that while dealing with a whole revamp of our laundry room stole all my writing time last week and I'm missing it. Feeling guilty, but yet, I know the sacrifice had to be made. Do you ever feel that way? Wishing you were two people so you could fit all you want and need to do in? This time of year makes me with for that often.
These next two weeks are looking to be just as busy as last, but somehow I'm going to see that word count start rising again to finish my Nano story. How about you guys, will you be taking a well-deserved break from writing during the Christmas break, or will you pressing onward, getting those words in?
Surrendering to Him,
11 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!
Thanks all for your ever-present encouragement regarding my contemplating to write a YA novel for my girls!! It may never see the light of day outside our home, likely won't, but I do believe I'd regret not doing this for them, so I'm going to give it a try early next year.
So, since the majority of you say "go for it", guess what I'm going to ask next.
Any suggested readings? What my girls are after is not a sci-fi, fantasy type novel, but rather a contemporary normal-to-life one. Of course it needs to have horses in it somewhere and high school. I have a basic idea, with my girls help, of how to start plotting, but I really should read a few books in this genre before I come up with the 2 to 4 page synopsis that gets me going. So any suggested readings for a contemporary, no sci-fi, no fantasy, YA novels that I should pick up and devour and study?
Some of you were so kind to send me your suggestions via email after my Monday's post. Thanks so much. I'm wondering if I'll see any repeated titles to help me get started by asking here too.
In other news:
Writing has halted for me this week with Sixteenth Birthday Planning, Christmas planning, Clothes dryer on the fritz which resulted in a huge reworking of the laundry room, so if you've noticed that my novel word counter hasn't changed, that's why. I'm brewing the ending in my mind as I clean, organize, bake and plan away. Now let's hope that snowball effect we talked about last week doesn't sweep me in and roll all over me, right!!!
Also, my girls are totally bummed. They really thought they'd have a snow day today with the snow and freezing rain we're getting, but alas, the school board feels they can bear it. Huge Bummer!
Surrendering to Him,
16 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!
My girls have asked me several times to write a YA story. They even offer suggested story lines--very bare bones story lines, mind you, that I have no idea how to build a whole novel from, but their eagerness exhilarates me for sure.
So would you attempt to write a story outside your chosen genre if your teen asked you to? Would you ponder doing so for more than a moment's passing?
So far I keep putting the task off, but the seed of a YA story has been drawing in nutrients for a while and I'm now debating if I should let it have some sunlight in January as my next new project. Seriously, would you devote a couple months minimum to tackle a story for your children? Or would you leave it to the pros who actually know how to write in that genre and keep honing the craft with story writing you know best?
Surrendering to Him,
18 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!
Every year seems to go by faster for me. I can remember as a kid the summers alone seemed to last forever with endless nights of neighbourhood hide and seek, bike rides, and family events filling my hours. But now, summers whiz by without warning. In fact, the whole year seems to run in fast forward mode, but yet I'm told the twenty-four hours in a day now, is the same length as the twenty-four hours in any given day back then.
So what's changed?
I believe it's that as we get older our responsibilities multiply.
And as writers, one more important thing gets added to our daily to-do list. The wonderful act of crafting stories--bringing characters, dilemmas, and settings hidden deep within our psyche to life on the page becomes another responsibility. It's not a grueling responsibility by any means, though it takes hard, dedicated work, and time management to accomplish this task.
What amazes me most with writing is how much can be accomplished if I consistently keep working at it, AND how little can be achieved if I put it off until tomorrow. Know why? Because, if we aren't careful, those until-tomorrows very easily multiply if we don't crack our own whip and get back on track immediately. Ever notice that about taking a break with your writing? Or is it just me that lets those breaks snowball on occasion?
When I think of my writing 50k words in one month and that I've been writing for near seven years now, but only have five stories to show for it, something doesn't add up. I know, I know, there is all that editing time required, too, and study hours as well. But still, I need to be more consistent with my time management and logging that needed daily writing time, and not letting just a little break turn so easily into a week or two-week break from writing that first draft or editing for the umpteenth time.
So, what about you, how do you force yourself back on track, fitting writing into your daily list of to-do's when the breaks seems to roll into one another?
Surrendering to Him,
21 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!
How does a mother prepare her young children for her own death while still grasping for a miracle? By the mere work of preparing for death, do we forfeit the miracle God might have provided if we had only just believed fully, intentionally, without a speck of doubt, that it was His will for us to be cured?
These are questions I've grappled with in the past, and once again find myself asking in the midst of news discovered during this past Sunday's service. I have asked myself many times why my husband's mother never informed her sons about her grave condition. From what I know, she knew well in advance of her death that her days were severely limited, and yet her death came as a complete shock to my husband, and likely his brother, too. I've never asked my husband's brother about this. He's far too fragile a man to ask, so I suspect he had no idea either.
For either of them, would the pain of losing their mother have been any easier if she'd have talked to them about what was to come? If she'd let them know that each visit they made to the hospital may have truly been the last time they'd get to talk with her, hold her, tell her they loved her, would their mourning process have been healthier, easier on them had she been open with them about her condition? Did she not have so much love to pour out on them to last them their lifetimes, but held back in seeking a divine miracle? That's the only explanation I have. She must have refused to accept the possibility of her imminent death, in belief that she'd be granted a miracle. Otherwise, surely she would have at least written her sons a letter filled with love and hope for their future. If she thought they were too young to speak of death to them at ages ten and twelve, then wouldn't a letter have been the least she could do for closure? After all, they'd already suffered the death of their father five years earlier. They'd experienced great loss once already in their short lives. I can only imagine how she must have clung to the belief of a miracle of healing. That God wouldn't leave her boys orphaned on this earth, that she'd endured enough heartache with the death of her husband, and that her sons had endured enough heartache already that God wouldn't take her just yet--submersing them into further heartache. Not yet, for the sake of her boys, I'm sure she clung to the belief that God would intervene with a miracle of healing her cancerous body.
But He didn't. She passed away without ever saying final heartfelt words to her boys either in person, or in a letter.
Surely God does not deny us His desire, even a healing miracle, because we strive to prepare our loved ones for what might be. I've seen the heartache that lingers decades after a death that loved ones could have been forewarned about, and am convinced that if I knew my condition was grave, I'd not deny it to my family. Oh, I'd be praying, seeking that miracle, but even if I knew that I would forfeit a possible miracle by preparing my children, I'd still prepare. Because that's all a miracle is before it's delivered.
Only a possibility.
We have no way of knowing what is God's will. But I do know that my children are worth more than my life, and leaving them with final words, final acts of love, for them to cherish all their life, is a miracle in itself that God provides just by giving us notice that our days on this earth are severely numbered. Is it not a gift we need to accept, no matter how difficult?
What would you do if you were told your days were numbered, but fought for God's miracle of healing? It's not an easy question. And what is right for one, would not work for another, depending on the individual's faith walk. It's not something we like to think about. But it does make me ponder creating/updating those letters to be hidden deep within the file cabinet. Does it you?
Okay, now that I've cried a tub full, onto the winner of Erica Vetsch's The Bartered Bride.
Congratulations, G.R.I.T.S!!! I've sent you an email, please email me your snail mail address. Thanks to all who entered!
Surrendering to Him, Eileen
23 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!