Friday, January 30, 2009

Genesis--Are you Entering?

Hi, All:

The ACFW Genesis Writing Contest is open for submissions now. Inquiring minds want to know: Are you polishing the first fifteen pages of your manuscript? Have you entered the daunting task of creating a one-page synopsis and rewriting it to perfection? (The synopsis is optional in this contest, but what a great reason to practice, practice, practice writing them.)

If you're putting all this energy and time into preparing your submission for the contest, what are you hoping to get out of entering? Seriously, if you could present a "to do" or "please, please, please explain this to me" or "please don't waste my time or yours with this" list for the judges that look at your entry what would those lists include?

Now, I'm posing these questions from a USING THIS CONTEST AS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE tool, so posting "Give me all 5's" isn't what I'm after. Think about what would most help you grow as a writer. That's what I want to hear, or rather read about in the comment section.

I pray we all have much success with our polishing chores, and that the weekend brings you much happiness.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Smooth, Enjoyable Read

Back Cover Blurb:


When professional wedding planner Anne Hawthorne first meets the handsome Englishman George Laurence, she wonders if God has finally answered her prayers for a husband. But when the "best man" for her turns out to be a client--and someone else's to-have-and-to-hold--Anne quickly realizes that planning his wedding will be no honeymoon. Can she remain professional while falling for the groom?

A personal assistant fr a wealthy man who wishes to keep his identity--and his engagement--a secret, George Laurence has come to Louisiana to plan his employer's wedding and pose as the groom. Not only is this a challenge to the tenets of his Christian faith, but he can't stand the fact that he's deceiving Anne, the first woman who ever made his heart really sing. Will George ultimately risk his career to keep the woman he loves?

And what will happen when Anne finds out the groom's true identity? Can Anne and George find a way to a happy ending, or will this "I do" ruse destroy their chance at love?

Review: Stand-In Groom proved to be an interesting read that I couldn't put down. I loved the Hollywood aspects, as they weren't overdone at all, but certainly added a flair to the overall story. Anne's and George's unique careers (wedding planner, personal assistant) impressed me, and drove the story forward, along with their believable ideals and struggles. I found it totally refreshing to discover that the deception plot line took a wonderful twist mid way through this novel, giving plenty of time for a realistic resolve; but have no fear, there is plenty of further conflict to keep you turning the pages.

Kaye Dacus has written Stand-In Groom, a story about trust and forgiveness, in an entertaining, no flowery-prose way that I thoroughly enjoyed and was sad to see finish. I look forward to Kaye Dacus's future releases with anticipation of more great reads. One wonderful romance, indeed!

Purchasing Quick Links: ,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Snowbound in Fog

Okay, I have no idea where that title came from, other than that I woke up to a foggy day that also has the ground covered in more than a foot of snow.

So, what should I blog about today? Synopsis writing? It's a sad day when you take the time to blog about the horrendous duty of writing a synopsis. Regardless, that is on my writing agenda for today. I need to write a one-page synopsis for the current wip I'm struggling through. I've reached 4,500 words and need some clear direction. My wonderful hubby joined me on the bed last night (no, not for that, the girls were home, and with a friend visiting, too), to help me brainstorm some ideas of where this story needs to go. It's amazing how many of his suggestions came across as cliches to me. What does that mean, I wonder? He doesn't read enough romances? Needs a boost of creativity in his math-oriented brain? Probably both.

The title of my current wip is The Unlikely One, and you can read a snippet from it in an older post by clicking here . Although I've edited it since, of course. I never seem to stop the internal editor from working overdrive, even on stories I completed more than four years ago. The hazard of being an amateur writer.

Anyway, here's a link for some good tips that I use when working on a synopsis. Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method is great for much more than synopsis writing, but it certainly works for discovering the high-points of your story worth including in your synopsis. Hope it helps you, and me today!



Thursday, January 22, 2009

Soup's on...

...simmering away.

Actually, at this point it's more like water, bones, and thawing left-over Christmas turkey meat--everything needed to create the initial broth. Later today, once the house is filled with the wonderful aroma of steeped turkey, I'll set out to divide the good stuff, meat and now-flavoured water, ie. broth, from the undesirable stuff, ie. bones, skin, and fat, which while necessary to create a good rich broth, are no longer required and certainly unwanted in the finished product. Then I'll add some vegetables, seasonings, and rice, or pasta (haven't decided which one to go with yet) to simmer away until it's time to ladle this hearty soup, one of our favourite winter meals, into a bowl and serve it with fresh warm bread from the oven.

Now, what does my making turkey soup have to do with writing, you might ask? Well, the whole process of it seems uncannily similar to the process I seem to follow with writing my novels. When you first set out to get the story down, whether you start with character sketches, plotting tables, time-lines, etc., or just write by the seat-of-your-pants, you start with just stuff--good and bad. You boil that stuff down to get the desired flavour of the story you're after, and then you begin the task of weeding out what's no longer required, including the artery-clogging fat (usually at your critique partners requests as they always see it first), and then after some more time, once it's simmered for a while, you begin refining your work some more by adding in a new element or two to make the story sing and flow the best way possible.

Currently, I have one story in the broth making step, another in the fine-tuning, new elements needed step, and two others at various stages of the middle of the creation process (story's written, but major fine-tuning needs to be done with my new-found knowledge). So enough blog writing for today, back to the world of make-believe I go.

May you all have a marvelous day--one in which you recognize "the power of enough" and find contentment in that!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reading A Family for Luke

I picked up the latest Love Inspired novels on the weekend. One of my favourite authors, who also happens to be Canadian, has a new one out this month. I love reading Carolyne Aarsen's stories. Not just because they are often set in familiar land, but because Carolyne's writing doesn't jump from one head to another like I've been having to deal with a lot lately in the LI's I've picked up. Seems to be a new trend in their line. One that's taking some getting used to--reluctantly.

Anyway, A Family for Luke by Carolyne Aarsen is about:

"Wanted: Family (Must Love Dogs)

Luke Harris grew up without family. Now, it's all he wants. More so when he and his friendly dog move next door to widowed mom Janie Corbett and her three kids. For the first time, he can imagine hearing the pitter-patter of little feet in his own home. Listening to their bedtime prayers. Having a wife and children to call his own. But once-burned/twice-shy Janie won't say yes--unless Luke acknowledges his troubled past. With the help of one stubborn woman, three smart kids and a cherished Labrador retriever, there might be a family for Luke, after all."

I'm enjoying this story, hope you'll pick up a copy and try it out, too.



Monday, January 19, 2009

A Season of Frustration

That's what I've been in ever since trying to resume a writing schedule in this new year. It dawned on my today why I keep banging my head against the wall with words that won't flow, and a plot that won't move.


That's it. I keep doubting myself. But why?

Why should I doubt my writing abilities when this is my time to learn, learn, learn? I'm working through a writing book called Don't Sabotage Your Submission by Chris Roerden and with every chapter I read I find myself wallowing in self-pity. I'm letting my come-to-light inadequacies drown my writing muse--a very slow, frustrating, and painful torture it is for me. I'm pretty sure this isn't what the author had in mind when creating this book to help writers succeed. But it's sure giving me a reality check on how high I still have to climb.

I still have much to master. And I need to stop grieving over this fact, and start working on applying this newfound knowledge.

So, if you're looking for a book that pushes you to recognize your less-than-stellar story-telling abilities, and offers sound direction, then I recommend Don't Sabotage Your Submission by Chris Roerden. A word of warning, though, take those rosy-coloured glasses off before you get a third of the way through. There are nuggets, or rather clues, in this book that may just steer you in the same unwanted direction I find myself in. Performing the enormous tasks of REWRITING, REWRITING, REWRITING, all over again.

But this is all good. Because this is my time to LEARN AND APPLY!



Monday, January 5, 2009

Welcome 2009!

First, let me say it's great to be back to writing and doing writerly things, and I pray that 2009 brings us all opportunities to grow and discover a closer relationship with our marvelous Creator.

I've been offline these past couple weeks, as I can't write but in silence and with complete concentration, so instead, I enjoyed a couple of uninterrupted amazingly wonderful weeks interacting with my family. I'm glad God made me the way I am when it comes to writing, because then I can take these breaks without guilt. Knowing without a morsel of doubt that I'm doing what God intended me to do at that moment in time--being engrossed in family!

Not all writers have that privilege, unfortunately.

And so they struggle tirelessly trying to balance time with their loved ones and fulfilling their call to write. My prayer for those writers is that God would ring a single chime in their ear when they're to put writing aside and concentrate on the miracles of life all around them, then produce a louder, unavoidable double chime when He's calling you back to the writerly stuff. I say "louder, unavoidable" because time with family and loved ones can get pretty chaotic and/or boisterously fun at times, and you may not be able to hear those chimes otherwise.

So, are we all resolutioned out?

If you've set some resolutions for 2009 I'd love to hear, or perhaps, read of them. As for me, I have a single resolution that I believe is huge.

To be God-Centered more completely, rather than letting the state of being Situation-Centered claim my actions and words.

Stay tuned for more on this in my next post later this week.

Happy New Year Everyone!