Friday, April 29, 2011

What Step Are You On?

I'm hovering between step two and three myself.

By Monday, May 2nd, I hope to begin my journey of bouncing from step three to step four until I earn a firm standing on the prestigious top step.

Goal setting is not new to me, but by laying all of it out here, having all you dear writing buddies witness this, and thus giving you the ability to call me on it is terrifying. I'm thinking I'm more vested in this goal planning now than I've ever been before or I wouldn't be so scared.

Okay, so while inhaling a load of earth thaw and horse waste outside the stable this week as my girls rode, I created a pros and cons list to make a wise and informed decision on which story I should really be tackling first. Turns out it isn't the one I've been working on since returning from my sabbatical. Hence the change in the meter on the side bar.

So, I'm truly starting from scratch for my May goals.

May's Writing Goals:

1. Assess merits of GMC of my first draft of The Unlikely One. (I'm a SOTP writer, need I say more?)

To do this, I need to:

  • Read first draft--it's been well over a year since I looked at this novel

  • Create road map of story as it stands

  • Note weaknesses and highlight desired fixes in road map
2. Rewrite The Unlikely One reflecting new story road map

May's Writing Related Goals

  • Post on Blog minimum of 2x/week

  • Keep up with critique submissions

  • Research agents and editors attending the 2011 ACFW conference to figure out who I would like to try and meet with there

  • Register for ACFW Writer's conference, book hotel room and flight

May's Reading List:

  • Emily March's Heartache Falls

  • Catherine West's Yesterday's Tomorrow

  • Laura Frantz's Courting Morrow Little

May's Personal Goals (I have lots, but I'm only sharing a few here)

  • Exercise 5 days a week (walking or working out--minimum 30 minutes/day)

  • Intake minimum 4 cups of water per day

  • Stay away from processed foods

So that's my goals for May. Now, how can I help you stay accountable to your goals? I'll be lifting us all in prayer with a special emphasize on God sending us Angels to help us "stick to it".

As the May flowers bloom may our writing sprout in leaps and bounds as well!

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A New Month Approaches

And with it comes goal setting.

For May, I want to put a little more effort and planning into my list of to-do's. I've become incredibly fearful that I will never meet the requirements of becoming a published author. And I'm not just referring to being able to write a compelling, flowing novel with characters that really do seem to breath and talk and muddle through life with a sense a purpose or lack thereof only to discover a valuable one.

I'm concerned I don't have it in me to create worthwhile faithful romances in a timely fashion as editors would require of a budding author who tends to write novels in the 60k range. Am I alone? Or do others find this concept of writing publishable novels on a quarterly or semi-annual basis daunting?

Regardless of whether I'm alone on this or not, I'm trying to place myself in the writer's seat of a published author for LI's (Love Inspired). And I'm goal setting with that in mind to see if I've got what it takes to be one of their authors.

Have you ever tested the literary waters of tasks and deadlines that a published author might face? If you're game to try this out with me (at least we don't have to incorporate marketing in our tasks yet), please join me by creating an aggressive May Goals list and lets see how we measure up. I'll post my goals on Friday. I hope you'll join me in creating your own goals for then, too.

And for those published authors reading this, with all your wisdom, is there anything you feel the need to warn me about? I'm all ears!

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, April 25, 2011

Man Help Needed Please!

And, no, I don't mean I need help in getting a man. Got one of those and I'm quite blessed with him, too, thank you!

What I need is help in writing in the male POV. I had a very exhausted male doctor lean against the cement wall outside the next case room door he was to enter, and was told that that was a very effeminate move for a hero to do.

I write romance. I'm thinking writing a hero with effeminate gestures isn't in any one's best interests, least of all this ladies-man type hero I have.

So I asked my dear sweet hubby, who is very manly, what he would do if he was exhausted and had to wake himself up fast. I'm still in disbelief with his answer.

"I'd tickle the roof of my mouth with my tongue."

That was his answer.

He'd tickle the roof of his mouth with his tongue? Okay, I'm thinking this judge might just really slam it to me if I had my hero doing that, when leaning against a cold cement wall isn't considered masculine in the least.

Any one have a truly manly suggestion for me? He's in a hospital in this scene. Rushing from one delivery room to another. Knowing he's about to enter a room where an unviable baby is about to be born. He's frustrated with the situation, feels compassion and sadness for the mom-to-be, and he's exhausted, being it's near the end of his 24-hour shift.

What would you have your hero do before entering the room?

Surrendering to Him,


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I love the life and freedom I feel inside on Easter Sunday morning. What a change from the grief and sorrow I experience on Good Friday.

May this Easter Sunday be the start of life renewed for you and me, and may we walk in the path that the Lord has graciously painted for us! Be still. Listen for His direction in the songs of nature. Hear His guiding. Honour His will!


Surrendering to Him,


Friday, April 22, 2011

Blessed Good Friday

May the gravity of this day not weigh you down, but rather offer opportunity to release the weight of your sins, knowing the price for forgiveness has been long ago paid.

May the gift of our Heavenly Father and the sacrifice of the Holy Son, Jesus, be accepted and glorified through you as you do His will.

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, April 18, 2011

Kindle Any One?

My husband purchased a Kindle a month or so back. He can't say enough good things about it, and I must say after being a die hard could-never-see-me-reading-from-one-of-those-things I'm changing my mind.

The highlighting feature, which basically takes the pieces you highlight and copies them into a separate document for easy access, is one of the main reasons for my change of heart. Just imagine what you could do with a document filled with "new" words for you to use in your own writing, or samples of wonderful transitions to study for replicating the style in your own work. The list can go on of wonderful uses for this feature. Thankfully Mother's Day is coming up and I'm leaving hints for hubby and the girls! :)

I'm not saying I'm giving up on purchasing traditional books. Can't see myself ever fully doing that, but if a novel I'm aching to get is available in Kindle version, I'd probably choose it first.

If I'm being honest, though, if I discovered I loved the read on Kindle, I'd likely buy it in traditional form, too. So, maybe this e-publishing isn't all that bad after all?

Oh, and the free sample chapters is an awesome feature too, and the fact that you can get your book sent instantaneously to you is another. Now I really can't wait for Mother's Day!

What about you? Have you got a Kindle? If so, how are you liking it? If not, what's holding you back?

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, April 15, 2011

Simple Friday

It's Friday!

So, are you writing in your pj's today or in your day clothes?

What's your usual writing attire?

As for me, most days I'm clothed as I do an early morning walk, but today I'm starting out in my pj's in hopes of getting a good run on words before household chores start clammering for attention.

What do you find, are you more successful in a day's writing when you've gotten dressed for the day, or when you delve right into your novel?

Till next time, may you write on...

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

When Questioning Doesn't Stop

If you're like me, you're obsessed with questioning yourself. Two of the most repetitive questions I ask myself are: Is writing truly what God calls me to do? and, How much time and effort does God want me to put into it at this time in my life?

I was thinking about this the other day, wondering how to find answers to these questions when God clearly didn't have the desire to whisper His answers in my ear. I know this because these questions have been with me for years, and here I am still asking them of Him because I've yet to receive His divine responses.

But then a strange thing happened. This following phrase flowed through my mind with no hesitation and no internal editing either.

It's in the doing that the knowing comes.

When tapping into my internal editor and writing tight, my rewrite of this becomes:

It's in doing that knowing comes.

Anyone heard of this before? It's got to be from somewhere and my subconscious just retrieved it from its depth of hiding because it's way too brilliant to be original to me.

We cannot know if writing is for us if we do not write.

We cannot figure out how much time and effort God calls us to write without first allotting time and effort to it.

As we write, are we being fulfilled? Do we feel a sense of peace in the challenge?

Is balance in our lives? ie. Are we being pulled from writing to fulfill another honourable desire of our heart? If so, then it's time to listen to that inner pull. Don't quit, but rather cut back until balance is achieved, until that sense of peace returns.

It's in doing that knowing comes.

With prayer we can confidently stop worrying about whether or not writing is for us by simply doing it. If it's not for us there will be no fulfillment in the doing.

With prayer we can confidently discern how much time God wants us to devote to writing. If we're driven to do more and peace is present then we need to build on our time until we feel that pull. We'll feel the pull when family needs aren't met, or when our spiritual life is weakening, when peace fades. Adjust your writing accordingly. Rediscover fulfillment, balance, and peace.

Our time allotment for writing according to God's desire may well very from day to day, especially for those with young families, or crisis in their lives. But remember, just because He's saying no one day, it doesn't mean He's going to say no the next.

Pray, write, honestly discern on a daily basis using the peace meter, and you'll be writing to God's will every day of your life.

So, what's God calling of you today?

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, April 11, 2011

Mixed Emotions

Have you ever attempted to show a character with mixed emotions in your work?

I'm envisioning how to do it now.

"This is amazing, honey. I actually know a few of the semi-finalists and I'm so excited for them."

"Have you read any of their writing?"

An energetic nod escapes me. "They deserve this. They've persevered, polished and polished, and this proves it." But I have too, other than this recent time off, I've pushed myself. I've improved. Apparently not enough, though.

"Are they any better than you?" Hubby just had to ask this.

I can't get down on myself. Not when I'm just getting back into my writing. "Obviously the pieces they submitted resonated with the judges, so yes, those pieces were written better than mine was for this contest."

Worry worked through hubby's ivory flecked eyebrows.

"I'm going to celebrate, not get discouraged. Promise. And I'm going to keep working at my craft while helping others polish theirs."

I've come a long way these past eight years. I'm now good enough to help even the semi-finalists polish for the next round. Breathing in deeply, my lungs fill with a fresh, bold new energy. I'm on my way to achieving my dream!

Could you feel the excitement, disappointment, and then exhilaration in that piece?

That was me yesterday afternoon.

I returned home from a weekend away at a Christian Women's Retreat (Awesome time. Tiring, but a great experience. This, too, explains why my post is late getting up today). I signed on to the family computer to discover that a few great writing buddies that I know made it as Semi-Finalists in the 2011 ACFW Genesis Contest. I was and am still thrilled for their success, but me not making the top 20% of the entries was disappointing, I'm not going to lie.

But it's not the end of the world, nor is it the end of my writing. In fact, it's yet another beginning. When I receive my judged entry back I hope to be blessed with some direction from the judges and from that I'll grow as a writer once more. I'm on my way to achieving my dream, just like every one of the semi-finalists are. Every writer's journey is unique, and designed just right for them!

Embrace your journey, celebrate your friends' journeys, and write on...

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, April 8, 2011

When Words Won't Mesh...

What do you do?

I experienced a day like this on Tuesday. Not Fun!

If you're like me, eventually you give up on trying to get your words to resemble some sense of worthiness, and pull out that elusive procrastination tool. Normally I'd say that's a bad thing, but in this instance it saved me.

I did some blog hopping (I'm so enjoying visiting everyone again). Did some dishes (ticked off that chore on my list). Rolled up clean polos for our Donner boy. Wiped the counter down (two more chores ticked off). Did some more blog hopping and this time discovered a gift post. Ever come across one of those?

A blog post that cured your woes? Wiped the slate clean? Got you back in your groove?

Well, this one did it for me this week. I read it, resonated with it, then opened up my document once more and voila, the words tumbled onto the keypad in all their glory, thus improving a scene. An opening scene no less. Life is good. My thanks goes out to the many bloggers out there. You may not realize your post gave a writer a needed kick start or the tool to fix something, but more often than not it does!

The moral of this story is that sometimes a diversion is the very best thing when a writer hits a word block. It doesn't mean you're giving up, it's an opportunity to put procrastination to work for you.

Q4U: What other methods do you use other than procrastination to regain your writer's touch?

Till next time, may your weekend be a treasure, and may you write on...

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Anyone for a Useless Dialogue Beat?

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when an itty-bitty beat that does no more than tell the reader who is speaking is the right way to go.

He said. John said. She said. Vivian said.

But, then there are those other times when the opportunity to use a beat to REVEAL something wonderful really should be considered. Say you have a long string of dialogue happening. If you stick with the boring he said, she said beats, the reader may be at risk of nodding off, at the very least, they may not see anything, but rather only hear faceless dialogue.

An example of using the useless beat method:

“I’m so sick of getting asked to do it all.” Trish said.

“Give it a rest, Trish.” Mom said.

“You never get on Miss Princess’ case to do chores.”

“She did it last time.”

“ She never does.”

“I did so, Trish, you’re such a liar.” Miss Princess said.

“Stop it! I’m so sick of you kids believing you have no responsibilities in this house. Your dad has even had enough of it so I’m not being unrealistic. That’s it. Cancel the sleepover. ”

“Okay, okay, I’ll do it.”

“Too late.”

“You can’t be serious. I said I’d do it.”

“You’ve got one hour to let me cool down. Use it wisely, and I’ll give you my answer then.”

(Names have been altered to protect the accused.)

Now let’s use the exact same dialogue but with some REVEALING beats and see the outcome.

Trish stomped into her mother’s room. “I’m so sick of getting asked to do it all.”

Her mother looked up from her laptop, feet propped on the worn black ottoman. Just great. She’s back to writing.

With arched eyebrows, her mother responded. “Give it a rest, Trish.”

“You never get on Miss Princess’ case to do chores.”

“She did it last time.”

“ She never does.”

Stomping down the hallway warned Trish that Miss Princess was going to get nasty.

“I did so, Trish. You’re such a liar.” If her sister didn’t have the dog in her arms, she might have stuck her foot out to trip the little princess in her quake.

“Stop it! I’m so sick of you kids believing you have no responsibilities in this house. Your dad has even had enough of it so I’m not being unrealistic. That’s it. Cancel the sleepover. ”

“Okay, okay, I’ll do it.” Trish watched Miss Princess slip out the door. Probably smiling.

“Too late.” Her mother’s nostrils flared. This was bad.

“You can’t be serious. I said I’d do it.”

“You’ve got one hour to let me cool down. Use it wisely, and I’ll give you my answer then.”

Do you see a positive difference? Does it ground you in the scene any better than the first version? Does it reveal the characters more so than what we can gather from the first try? Lots more can be done with this dialogue piece, but for the purposes of this post, I hope it shows how you can improve dialogue by putting even a little effort into creating unique beats.

Question for you: When are revealing beats distracting?

Until next time, may your beats enhance your dialogue, and write on…

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, April 4, 2011

2011 Genesis Entrants, What Are You Doing Now?

Are you making use of your CP’s (critique partners) now, or at least dusting that entry off yourself and working further on it?

You know, if you’re a first round finalist, you will have ONLY two days to polish that baby before a few prominent literary specialists (aka editors and agents) lay their eyes on it. Now, if you’re the type to know that what you submitted is your absolute best, good for you. I think that way too. I mean, who pays to enter what they consider to be a mediocre piece at best? It’s always the best you can do, at the time of doing it, right?

And that’s the key. Time has moved on. Learning has continued. Further reading’s been done. Each day brings new experiences and thus new perspectives. YOU’VE GROWN! So it stands to reason that you have something more to offer that prized piece you submitted over a month ago. Right?

Don’t delay, dust off that entry (or those entries for those who sent in multiples) and see what new light you and/or your CP’s can bring to it/them. If you are blessed to be a finalist, you’ll be well on your way to re-submitting a new polished piece. You’ll still have those two days to review the first-round judges suggestions and opinions and apply what you feel needs to be done; but in all likely hood, you’ll probably discover that you’ve done a few, if not all, of them in the interim. Which would be most beneficial should those two allotted days of spoofing-up-time coincide with an exceptionally busy schedule of yours.

I’m just saying…there’s no time like the present to do some revisiting!

Until next time may your editing hat surprise you, and write on…

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, April 1, 2011

And She's Off and Running...

Wow! Who would of thunk it?

Not even a full week has passed and I've already linked up with an old CP (who I sadly left hanging when the sabbatical need hit me) and two new perspective CP's. A new chapter in my writing has begun!

I'm sending a huge thank you to all who lifted this in your prayers. God is listening...and He's providing. And I'm one very happy writer right now!

On another wonderful note: I've started re-reading the New Testament this week, one chapter a night. I've discovered I have new eyes, or perhaps it's a new mind, for it. In Matthew, chapter one, a genealogical account of Jesus is written. Call me a woman libber if you want (which I'm pretty sure I'm not) but since Jesus is the result of an immaculate conception with the only biological human parent being Mary, his mother, why does Matthew give the account of Joseph's lineage back to Abraham when I'm pretty sure there is/was none of Joseph's blood running through our Savior?


Is it a mark of the times? Only males mattered in such ways back then.

Or is it perhaps the first written adoption story and God wants us to see that worldly influence (ie. family upbringing) is equally, if not more so, important in the raising of any of His children (after all, we are all His children, though Jesus is His only Savior child).

Thought I'd leave you with that food for thought on my first Friday back at regularly blogging. Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Until next time, may your family shine in your heart, and may you write on...

Surrendering to Him,