Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who else believes they're a WIP?

WIP = Work In Progress

Seriously, would you define yourself as a WIP?

At age forty-three, I believe I am, and I think God likes me this way. He may be getting impatient with the slowness of my progress, however, but still, I believe He's rooting for me to become all He desires me to be. And I have a feeling I'll die somewhere in the process of trying to achieve His goals for me. I just hope He'll take me for my effort in trying to succeed, at least.

Life is full of learning experiences. Knowledge is next to Godliness, as they say, and with each new ounce of knowledge that sinks in, I am forever changed. So I say being a WIP is a good thing. What about you?

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, March 30, 2009

Finishing the task

Do you?

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 8:10-11: "I want to suggest that you finish what you started to do.... Let your enthusiastic idea at the start be equalled by your realistic action now."

Did Paul walk his talk?

I'm no theologian, but by all that Paul suffered in the lashings, stonings, persecutions, imprisonments, all in the name of Christianity, I'd say he did. Paul dealt with physical and emotional hardship throughout his ministry, but he continued to act! Continued to spread the news, the love of Christianity.

Would Paul say to us Christian writers who are striving to spread the good news through our written words: "I want to suggest that you finish what you started to do....Let your enthusiastic idea at the start be equalled by your realistic action now."?

I think he would.

If you believe that God is your ultimate provider, that He spins these fantastical, emotional, entertaining stories that reveal His everlasting love, through the unique and complex imagination God gave only you, then yes, dear writer friend, you too need to recapture that enthusiastic feeling you began with, and finish the task of writing His story. For there is no one else who could write it quite like you. Seriously!

Don't be a quitter. See it to completion and let God do with it as He sees fit. And yes, I'm writing this for me, but if it helps you, too, to God be the glory! For it is through His dear apostle Paul that He sent us this message. What message may He be trying to send through you?

Surrendering to Him,


Saturday, March 28, 2009

When Slumber Refuses to Abide...

I find myself surrendering to keyboard in the stillness of the night.
Alone, with nothing but the trickling fish pump and scent of hyacinths at my side.
My girls ignited a spark of a story with their shared observations last night.
It's not like any story I've contemplated before.
And yet, the spark caught flame in these wee hours of the morning, stealing slumber from blurry eyes.
I sought prayer for sleep to return, but alas, I was denied.
Complicated tugged for attention.
A novel for teens--a novel my girls might enjoy and benefit from reading.
Maybe not.
"But, Lord," I said, "I want to finish the story You started in me weeks ago. Can't you grow this idea later, once the other is done?"
"Jot down the ideas I give you now, let them smolder, catch fire, as you finish the other. I promise, ye of little faith, I will not forsake the other one, for there is value in both."
And once again, I'm reminded why I'm a woman.
What's one more thing to multitask?

Tithing time complete,
Summoning diary log posted to blog,
Next, obediently capturing the spark of Complicated,
Followed by more work on WIP, should slumber still evade me,
That is until the babes awake, and weekend family time rejoices.

Surrendering to Him,


P.S. Feeling very poetic in these still, wee hours. Fearing what this will read like, but praising God for the guiding!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Which works better for you?

Setting a goal, or creating a little reward system to go along with that goal?

I know people who can set a goal and the satisfaction they get from achieving their goal is reward enough to keep them going. But then there are people like me.

Writing a thousand words a day is definitely satisfying in and of itself, but to make me eager to prioritize that goal, make it tops on my long list of to-do's, is to attach a little reward to it. I love it when I have a book on the go that screams for my attention. Like I do now.

Sometimes it's a craft book that helps me hone my skills, and other times it's a novel that I'm either reading for pleasure (love it when I get so engrossed in one that I don't get caught up in critiquing it. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen often to writers. I'm no exception.), or to review as a volunteered influencer.

As I multi-task throughout the day, interspersing my writing duty, laundry, dishes, scrubbing, dusting, vacuuming, supervised potty breaks for the canine friends, various errands that must be accomplished, blog visits, blog post writing, paying bills, supper preparation, eating, I work toward one simple reward and the sooner I finally accomplish my daily goals, the longer I have to cozy up to my chosen book. See, I make my rewards inexpensive--very important in this economy.

Some days, more often than not, I don't reach that reward until my head hits the nighttime pillow, and through burning eyes I strain to get a chapter in, but on lucky days, I actually get a little more time to enjoy my reward. Either way, though, knowing that that story is waiting for me, helps me strive to scratch each item off my list of to-do's as quickly as possible.

Do you use a reward system? If so, what's a typical reward for you?

Surrendering to Him,


Thursday, March 26, 2009

When things don't go as planned...

what do you do?

When your characters get caught in a downward tailspin, defeated, failed, how do you help them discover peace? Correct the errors of their ways?

Does a secondary character provide the answer? In many cases this could work, just remember the plausibility factor, though. By weaving hints of how this secondary character might be able to help throughout the story long in advance of when the actual need arises, this method could work successfully without the risk of cheating the reader from a plausible solution.

Or, do you have your character suffer and inch their way out of the mess they've created on their own? If they messed up early in the story, you'll have plenty of time to show their growth using this plan. I like this, but even better...

Do you leave some threads untied? Do you allow your character to hold onto a little regret? Allowing for your readers to dream new ways of his/her redemption thus making the story live on in your readers' imagination. To me, some of the strongest stories I've read wraps up key elements, but leaves at least one unresolved emotional tie. Something you can envision the main characters working together to eventually resolve, come to terms with. This is my favorite way to tackle the unplanned.

Like real life, some things just can't be figured out, or come to terms with, within the confines of a specific time frame--say like your books specific time frame. Allowing for this bit of reality to seep into your story may just keep your story world entertaining the reader far longer than their eyes meet the pages.

So, how do you handle your character's unexpected responses that cause them grief? What other ways are there to resolve these lovely twists we find ourselves writing?

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ever had your characters play telephone?

Oh, what a mess things could become if you did. Talk about upping the angst, building conflict.

According to my real life experience, as of 4:00 pm yesterday, the "he said, she said" saga, also known as "playing telephone" around here, can really twist an innocent statement into a hair-raising, defensive back-stabbing retaliation of sorts by the time the twisted message reaches the end of the line.

Until now, I never thought of incorporating this type of scenario in a novel, but I could see it being good for the needed conflict quota and surprisingly, I even think it could provide a dose of humor to an appropriate story if handled with care. What do you think?

Would an unsuspecting, uninitiated game of telephone work well within your story? Do you have a host of characters and a plot with which this could work to reveal character and move the story forward? Are your characters sufficiently vested in something, and have a natural ability to twist things in translation? If you do, this true-to-life unfortunate phenomenon might work for your story.

Think of the prospects for resolution. What an opportunity to reveal growth in your characters, and unconditional love, trust, and understanding too.

Just a thought. Okay, I'll get back to my writing now. Feel free to experiment with a game of telephone in your story, though, if you think it might help lift that sagging middle, glum start, or weak resolution.

Surrendering to Him,


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Review of: Love Finds You in Humble, Texas

Love Finds You in Humble, Texas by Anita Higman

Back Cover Blurb: Trudie Abernathy is a little inelegent, and she's never had much luck in love. To make matters worse, her thirtieth birthday is fast approaching and her sister, Lane, has decided to "treat" her to a makeover and a blind date. Trudie is about to protest, but then she meets the kind and devastatingly handsome Mason Wimberley. In spite of Trudie's humble manner, Mason finds her attractive, funny, and smart. But there's one obstacle in the way of the budding romance: Lane suddenly decides that she's in love with Mason! Trudie has never been one to compete with her glamorous sister, even when it means giving up the things she wants. Will she be able to stay true to her humble self and find her heart's desire in the process?

Review time: Early on in this read I made the following note in the back cover: "it has a fairy tale feel that captures life's unpredictableness." It is that, and much more.

If you like stories where all, and I mean everything, turns out peachy and gets resolved, then you may really enjoy this story. For me, though, when I finished reading it, I wondered if "making everything rosey" was a prerequisite for the Love Finds You series written by various authors. I haven't read any others in this series, but now I'm wanting too, just to see if I'm correct in that assumption.

It is my experience that for all to turn out perfect in any novel, sacrifices in plotting and craft often takes place, making the read a little less enjoyable for some. Despite the fact that I felt the story was weakened by the fairy-tale feel, I enjoyed many of the twists and the way the characters related to one another. It certainly makes me curious enough to get hold of another of this multi-published author's books to see if this is her usual style. If it is, I'd be very surprised.

There is definitely entertainment and even "writerly" benefit to reading this fairy tale romance. So, if a love triangle involving two sisters and a very lovable man appeals to you, try Anita Higman's Love Finds You in Humble, Texas, and let me know if it suspends disbelief for you, or if you'd prefer a few threads left a little unravelled or not so nicely tied-up to keep it more real.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Refreshed and Restored

March break complete, now school, work, schedules resume, regardless of whether we are ready.

The faithful canine slumber, sprawled over navy quilt, keeping watch as I enter into bible reading, devotionals, time of prayer, and eventually writing. If nothing else, my dogs return to routine without pause, hesitation, or regret. I could learn much from them.

Be content in whatever life offers.

Take each day, one at a time, each unto its own, with eagerness and acceptance. Be content.

May my contentment not enter my fictional world as I craft away, however, for that would make for a boring read, indeed.

Think conflict now, Eileen. For every page should have an element of unrest, something to be sought, resolved, discovered. A tugging for the pages to be flipped, devoured, enjoyed.

May we all be blessed with crafty imaginations today--God's masterful creativity that not only teaches, reveals His presence, but also entertains and delights the senses He so richly bestowed upon us.

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, March 20, 2009

Tithing our time

I read an author interview recently in which the author was asked how she manages all her responsibilities and still fits in writing time.

I imagine all women writers, with our huge guilt complexities, could gain much from this author's response. I know I do.

This particular author said far more eloquently, but you'll get the just of it here, that she believes if one tithes their time to the Lord, He will provide for their every need. That includes writing time for those of us summoned to craft in a writerly fashion.

Tithing time to the Lord.

The multitude of ways in which to do just this is mind boggling. Beyond the daily bible reading, devotional enrichment, and my newest daily challenge of The Love Dare in which I'm now on day 37, there is prayer time, Sunday School teaching, and just generally trying to incorporate my growing faith in my everyday life. And, yes, I do have writing time, so God in His graciousness does provide!

What about you? Do you find you gain more writing time when you tithe your time to the Lord? I even find His words inspire the faith journey my characters experience. What a great way to incorporate your daily time with Him into your work, isn't it.

On an aside: Like I said, I am on day 37 of The Love Dare challenge. Though I am attempting to make this challenge for the whole family, I discovered that on occasion the dare is specific enough that only your spouse can reap the reward of that day's challenge. My husband especially likes day 32 and encourages me to revisit that one often. Bless his masculine heart!

If you haven't got hold of a copy of The Love Dare book, I encourage you to hunt for one. It's worth the effort!

Surrendering to Him,


Thursday, March 19, 2009


How would you write an early morning scene?

I mean really write it so that the reader feels the character seeing through hazy eyes, half alert, stumbling over the dog's toy, unsteady hands scooping the grounds from the coffee tin. You know, how you really are when you first wake up, that is if you're not a morning person.

I've been wondering more about how a writer can get an experience or feeling across in a given scene without telling. I know you should use short, choppy sentences to show intensity, and foreboding. And longer sentences seem to slow the read.

But other than through sentence length, how can we reveal mood, state of mind, or experience what the characters are living at that moment in the story world? Is one way through the well-chosen details we provide, perhaps?

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An Amazing Creation

Blessings abound when you gather together for a day trip that presents the above. Imagine our awe at discovering a beautiful rainbow adorning the falls.

The miracle of Niagara Falls never fails to mesmerize me. I mean...the water never stops gushing...how can that be?

Just as God's love for us never stops, He made this massive water fall that never fails to flow and delight. Could it be just one symbol He's created to remind us of His steadfastness and so much more?

Thank you, Lord, for providing such beauty, for the daily, hourly, by-the-second miracle of the luxurious mist-producing, energy-creator of Niagara Falls.

Surrendering to Him,


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Sun is out, the Paint is ready.

We've been so blessed with awesome weather this March break. Above 10 degrees Celsius since Saturday, and no rain so far. I lift praise for all this wonderful weather and family time this week. He is so good! I hope you're experiencing resurrection type weather, too. Spring--new life--is truly in the air here.

Our eldest is having a painting party tomorrow and Thursday to bring new life to her room. In preparation, her bedroom contents is cluttering our family room. The middle beauty isn't impressed. She can't look left or right without being horrified by mess, clutter, and ugliness, as she puts it. So mom wonders why her own room can get in the state it so often does. I guess her mess, clutter, ugliness is somehow more pleasant for her to look at than her sisters. Do any of you have children like this? Children with selective acceptances?

But I digress, let's get onto writing.

Since this is the season of vacationing around here. It dawned on me that I haven't read any stories that have a vacation plopped in the middle of the story. Wouldn't that little diversion add some realism to a story? And think of the conflict it could provide.

We plan our vacations months in advance, so it would certainly be reasonable to find our characters "stuck" with a vacation to go on when in the midst of a new, sparkling relationship (thinking romances here as I so often do). What if the vacation was a family reunion type? A mix of bliss and upheaval. Oh what fun a writer could have with that.

I'm starting to think that this scenario could come in handy for a sagging middle. What do you think? What realistic twists have you incorporated in your stories to boost an otherwise sagging middle?

Surrendering to Him,


P.S. The family is going for a little jaunt today and I'm hoping to bring back some wondrous pics for tomorrows post. Check back tomorrow if the wonders of the world interest you.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Little Review

The family is home for March break this week so I won't be online a whole lot. I've got to get up early for working before the munchkins and hubby rise and the day of togetherness begins. I'm looking forward to this week of extreme bonding.

I wanted to share a review of a cheat sheet I created years ago, as I've learned that I'm in great need of it once more. I never should have let it slip out of sight this past while it would appear. I received a professional edit back that reminded me of my need to revisit this wonderful listing created from the writer's craft book Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.

It's always good to be reminded of the basics of fiction writing. I hope you find it useful too.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers Cheat Sheet

Show & Tell:
Narrative summary – avoid long passages where nothing happens in real time. Can it be converted into a scene? Especially summary’s involving major plot twists.
Make sure you take a breath now and then with needed Narrative summary.
R.U.E. If you’ve mentioned emotions outside of dialogue, can they be shown instead of explained or told?

Characterization & Exposition:
In scenes or chapters that introduce character(s), do you spend time describing them when the traits will be transparent in later dialogue and action?
Cut life stories and back story to necessities at the time only. Place what you need, when you need it.
Does certain dialogue exist only to put exposition across? Don’t!

Point of View:
For intimacy use first person.
For distance use third person or omniscient.
Separate change in viewpoint by line spaces.
Check that your language is appropriate for your viewpoint character.
Are your descriptions conducive to how your viewpoint character would explain them and what they would notice, too?

Details of your descriptions should be in proportion to your viewpoint’s characteristics.
Are the characters and locations you develop integral to the story as a whole?
Do your tangents (little subplots or descriptions) advance the plot or characterization appropriately?
Are your favourite topics and hobbies depicted in appropriate proportion to the story? Overkill is easy to do here!

Dialogue Mechanics:
Check dialogue for explanations. Remove and then rewrite the dialogue if it’s worse without them.
-ly adverbs – Get rid of them!!
Speaker attributions – Almost always, if needed at all, should be: he/she/name said. Remember: always name before verb. To be used sparingly, if at all, some are: with an edge, cool, mutter, icy, ticked.
Should some speaker attributions be replaced with a beat?
Avoid starting a paragraph with a speaker attribution.
Have you referenced a character in more than one way in a given scene or chapter without good cause? Fix it, if so.
… ellipse for gaps, hang-on’s, & - dash for interruptions, blunt stops
Paragraph dialogue for needed white space and easy readability.
Don’t underestimate the use of silences. Ie. A look, a stare, a shudder, averted eyes, dropping …, knocking …

See how it sounds:
Read aloud – if tempted to change your wording as you speak you should probably modify the written word in alignment.
Could your dialogue read smoother with more contractions, more sentence fragments, and more run-on sentences?
Is your stiff dialogue disguised exposition?
Have you included the realistic factor here and there? Ie.: Interruptions, misunderstandings or lies?
Is your chosen dialect really necessary or can you rewrite in clearer fashion to get the same effect accomplishing an easier read for your audience?

Interior Monologue:
How much do you have? Italicized and other?
Is any of it dialogue description in disguise? R.U.E.
Are you using internal monologue to show what should be told?
Are thinker attributions used when it could be recasted in third person, set in italics, placed off in its own paragraph, or simply dropping the attribution?
Do your mechanics match your narrative distance?

Easy Beats:
How many do you have and how often do you interrupt your dialogue?
Are your beats adding to the story or characterization or are they just there to break up the dialogue?
Watch for repetitive, similar, boring beats.
Do the beats fit the rhythm of the dialogue?

Breaking up is Easy to Do:
Is there enough white space in your manuscript?
Are there too many long paragraphs that run over half a page?
If a scene is dragging, paragraph more frequently.
Is there a balance between long and short paragraphs?
Do your characters make little speeches together? Would they in real life?
Varied lengths of scenes and chapters are the goal.

Once is Usually Enough:
Are you repeating characterization, words, descriptions, emotions in varying ways? Pick your best depiction and scrap the rest in most cases. 1 + 1 = 1/2
Do you have more than one scene, chapter or character accomplishing the same thing?
Do you have a plot device or stylistic effect you over-use?
Are your villains believable? Do they have at least one redeeming character trait?

How many –ing and as phrases do you write? The only ones that count should be ones that provide a bit of action in a subordinate clause.
Too many short sentences? Try stringing some together.
Avoid –ly adverbs, exclamation points (!) and lots of italics.
Avoid figures of speech.

Voice is all encompassing – a mix of characterization, plot, and writing. It’s how you portray your story.
Let it develop over time! To begin to see it, though, you might want to highlight those words (phrases) that resonate on the page to you. The more you see them, acknowledge them, the more you may find and create that voice of yours.

With every scene ask yourself:
1. Does the scene contain dramatic (heat, conflict) or comedic value?
2. What does it accomplish? Enough to be worthwhile? Or should you introduce that information or activity into another fuller scene?
3. Does it move the story to another place?
4. Does it expose another side of one or more of the characters?

If the scene does none of the above, or too little, ask yourself: Do you really need it? If so, rethink it and rework it until it’s worthwhile.

Key things to Do:
Highlight all –ly, -ing, and as in your document. Make the necessary changes.
Check speaker attributions. Remember, almost always, said is the best way to go.
Don’t repeat words, phrases, descriptions, style, actions, scenes, etc. without direct intent.

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, March 13, 2009

A New Kind of Confidence...

one I might actually acquire...I pray.


Doesn't that have a wonderful ring to it?

Thinking of writer's conferences here. It's those writers with an abundance of confidence and wonderful social skills who shine the brightest and are the squeakiest, too. (Remember: "The squeaky wheel gets the grease.", or, at writer's conferences, it would seem that it's the confident writers who get the requests for fulls.)

I will admit that I am one of the less confident writers who could learn much from the confident gems out there. Hence, why the concept of God-confidence resonates with me.

I'm one of those people that if I'm doing something for someone else, I'm more likely to succeed regardless of my personal limitations involved. If I can focus my energy in accomplishing "the challenging deed" for another, then somehow I can usually make it happen.

But writing is a solitary task for the most part. And so, for me, the question becomes how do I look at pitching my completed manuscripts as a task to do for someone else? 'Cause otherwise history dictates that I won't pitch at all.

Colossians 1:29 holds the answer for me.

"This is my work, and I can do it only because Christ's mighty energy is at work within me."

If "Christ's mighty energy" delivered via little old me is to ever get noticed, then I need look no further for a reason to harness God-confidence and faithfully pitch His work for Him.

If you struggle like me with self-confidence, I hope you too will take Colossians 1:29 to heart and discover God-confidence.

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Does your mood ever affect your writer's voice?

I'm feeling the effect right now. And I'm not liking it.

In the midst of working on an article, our seventeen-year-old feline Columbo, aka Big Boy, passed away. This last year has been difficult for him with thyroid issues, extreme weight loss, and finally infected teeth which was the final bout that he succumbed to.

Isn't he the handsomest cat! Looking back through pictures of him in his healthy years is a blessing. They remind me of the spunky brown tabby who decided fresh water from the cooler was more preferable to his stale water dish contents. Columbo would stretch and hook his paw over the water cooler spout and drink from it as it poured and overflowed the reservoir. We frequently needed to mop the floor after these outrageous escapades.

He also loved to show our dogs up with his barb-like claws. Most of the time he played with them fair and square, batting at them with his nails retracted, but when he had enough and they wouldn't let him walk away, the killer barbs came out and were good for a yelp or two from his prey.

Though I miss our morning feeding ritual and his begging for a taste of the girls' luncheon meat, I honestly don't wish the feeble Big Boy back. If I could have our youthful, even vibrant adult Columbo here, I would in a heartbeat. But he deserves to be at peace, free from discouragement of a failing body, free from pain.

And so now I go through the process of mourning, and in doing so I find my writer's voice is most sullen. I tried endlessly to write an upbeat international article for next months CFOM, but failed miserably. Perhaps I should have added a post script: "Written while mourning" but I have a feeling those who know me that read it, will figure that out all on their own.

Our writer's voice really is a compilation of our moods, training, experiences, and unique qualities, and when one mood supersedes all the others it is most difficult to hide in our daily words. I guess that's where editing comes in handy. Unfortunately for that article, though, the deadline kept me from doing so in a lighter, happier mood.

Do you ever find your extreme mood swings seeping into your work? How do you handle it?

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, March 9, 2009

Ever heard of BERT?

Lee Roddy created this acrostic for writers:

Do my words really Benefit my readers?

Do they Enrich them?

Are they Relevant

And Timely?

"He went around doing good" Paul writes of Jesus in Acts 10:38

As writers, an instrument through which God can do great things, do we follow Jesus' example: "[going] around doing good"?

Do we take care that the articles, novels, and non-fiction works we painstakingly craft for Him are Beneficial, Enriching, Relevant, and Timely for our prospective readers?

To me, BERT is a powerful acrostic test to administer to all my works. Am I staying focused enough?

Gracious thanks to Marlene Bagnull, author of Write His Answer A Bible Study for Christian Writers for today's blog topic and pertinent material.

Surrendering to Him,


Saturday, March 7, 2009

One-Thousand Gifts

Ann Voskamp, a beautiful blog owner and writer, mother, farmer's wife, and humble servant to God's abundant grace, continues to add to her All's Grace list regularly. I've decided to join Ann in this very rewarding, eye-opening endeavor.

All too often I take for granted, even ignore, the bounty of gifts God has graciously provided me. There's an old adage that goes something like this: "What is one man's garbage is another man's treasure." Though I believe many of my treasures (gifts from God) would be valuable to all, there are numerous, I'm sure, that I alone hold close to my heart. So here I start on my One-Thousand Gifts, All's Grace list.

God, my Creator

Jesus, my Saviour

Hubby, my best friend

Daughter, my challenger

Daughter, my affirmer

Daughter, my pleaser

Family, those who helped shape me and mold me

Pets, loyal and endearing, who live on in my heart long past their earthly years

Scripture, more than a life's worth of true learning

Devotionals, a source of needed focus

For today, I will stop here and lift praise for all that is graciously given to me through Him.

If you feel so inclined, please join Ann Voskamp, like I have, in starting your own All's Grace list. See Ann's Gratitude Community for others acknowledging God's abundant grace in their lives.

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, March 6, 2009

Something to listen to...

Music that touches the soul.

One of my sisters passed me this link. She happened by this video as she searched for songs to download on her MP3 player. Thanks, Jillian, for thinking of me.

Get ready for a tug on the heart strings before you click on the following link.

Jimmy Wayne - I Love You This Much

So much to be grateful for.

Empathy abounds.

Always remember to love first and refrain from judging, for the history that shapes a human is all powerful, and rarely revealed in passing.

Synopsis Update:

I'm done! Doing the happy dance here. Not only am I done with my one-page synopsis, I gained a great deal of direction for this story in doing the exercises Pam McCutcheon presents in her book Writing the Fiction Synosis. Now I know where my story is heading and I'm eager to get to writing it!

But first, I need to draft my article for the Christian Fiction Online Magazine.

Blessings to All!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

After School Snack

Starting last fall, I made the decision to ease out of writing mode each day by preparing an after school snack for my girls upon their arrival home each afternoon. This guarantees that they have my full attention from the moment the bus rolls away from the curb, and they start their time with me a little happier, too.

So far, the snacks have ranged from prepared fruits, to hot apple crisp, mini pizzas, cookies, squares, to even old-fashioned homemade breads hot out of the oven to be smothered with butter or jelly. Whatever their tummy's desire. It's fun for me to create these "surprises" for them, and the girls have come to really look forward to the "treat of the day" that awaits them.

If you're story lingers with you into family time, and you're looking for a way to manage this needed transition, then perhaps After School Snack preparation time will work for you, too. It's fun to do, allows for further story pondering and weening, and your children will most likely thank you for it, too.

Two-Bite Brownies happened to be one of this week's Watson creations. If you're interested, the recipe follows the pics.

Homemade Two-Bite Brownies

Mix: 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg

Add: 3 Tbsp. Cocoa, 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp vanilla

Grease mini muffin tins. Fill about 1/2 way. Bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes. Makes about 24 yummy morsels. Makes enough for tomorrows lunch pail snacks as well.

Synopsis Update:
I've worked through most of the exercises and have begun on the actual write up. Wow, I learned a lot about my story from those work sheets. Can't wait to see the finished synopsis now.

Blessings to all, and may your transition from writing to family time bring you much peace.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A day of synopsis writing

Today I continue with the challenge of writing a one-page synopsis. By working my way through Pam McCutcheon's Writing the Fiction Synopsis exercises, I hope to have a completed not-too-shabby synopsis by the end of today. I'll let you know how it went in tomorrow's post.

If you've written any synopsis before, what words of wisdom do you have to share? I could use all the help I can get.

May God have His hand in my daily work, as I traverse this monstrous hill.

Blessings prayed for you all,


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Restrained protectiveness

Watching my black Labrador lunge outside to protect our property from an approaching feline, "restrained protectiveness" popped into my mind.

Tippy was being anything but restrained while pounding on the patio door, begging for release. I watched the grey and white cat saunter across the winter barren field behind our property. As she reached the bottom of our hill, she must have heard Tippy's attempted release because she began bounding toward the neighbour's hill. I released the protective hound, who leaped full-speed ahead to investigate her land. Sniffing the property line, her spine slowly softened. Satisfied, she returned to the door for reentry.

Isn't that what most heroines want from their hero? Only, more subtly.

Do you weave an element of protectiveness into your hero's character?

How can you use your hero's protective nature (or lack there of) to create conflict without losing integrity?

As you write or edit today, if romance is your genre, see if you can incorporate some manner of protectiveness within your crafted scenes. Does it add a layer? Does it achieve empathy from the reader?



Monday, March 2, 2009

Guiding the dream...

We recently inherited a large estate which includes a marvelous country mansion, and along with it a very capable, professional butler, coattails and all.

The family is still adjusting to such a drastic change, so we haven't moved in yet. Just visited on occasion while coattails, Mr. Lucid, tends to the daily upkeep of the mansion and grounds. The girls are so excited, as we are making plans to build a paddock and brand new barn. Soon we'll be able to get them the horses they've been dreaming of loving as their very own for nearly eight years now.

Sharing our good fortune, hubby and I invited some family and friends over for a viewing and a time of movie entertainment in the expansive media room. A room full of plush leather, tapestry, cherry wood, grand stone fireplace, and beautiful fixtures. Posh, yet just as our dear passed Aunt, it's comfortably cozy and most inviting.

Mr. Lucid, the aforementioned butler, in true fashion offers refreshments to the guests, and us, the Watson family, his new masters. He made his way around the room, being sure that all were satisfied. He's a pleasant man. A blessing for sure.

Then someone, and I have no idea who, as many were gathered around me at the time, spilled a beverage.

"Oh, don't worry," I say, "the help will take care of that." I guide my adoring family and friends away from the mess, thinking Mr. Lucid is taking far too long to deal with the spill.

If he's this incapable, I think over my shoulder, then perhaps hubby and I should find new help.

I look to one of my sisters who appears to be watching me. "Good help is so difficult to find." I sneer.

And this, my friends, is where the guiding began.

Chastising myself, I lifted prayers for forgiveness to my Heavenly Father. How could I act so spoiled, so ungrateful, so nasty and impatient, in this, just a dream?

During the remainder of my nearly five hours of continuous dreaming I felt myself overseeing my actions and reactions within this unknown world that my subconscious was creating. It was a dream of situations and activities that weren't driven by my conscious mind, so I can't really call it a lucid dream, but yet, my actions and mindset within the dream were being controlled by me--even guided. Guiding myself to be more holy, more mindful of how Jesus would have acted and responded, and I found myself purposely trying to emulate His ways within the fictional world that my subconscious unveiled from that moment on.

Have you ever done that? Partially controlling your dreams, knowing you are, but yet powerless to snap yourself out of the dream state.

It's almost like it's a heaven-sent exercise.

"See what you'd become if you had all the earthly pleasures possible to you." The Angel asks. "Would the comfort, beauty, excessiveness be worth the cost of your soul?"

"NEVER!" I answer most truthfully, without pause.

Where I am. Who I am. What I am to be. And, what I am to do. I give to thee, Dear Lord.