Friday, May 29, 2009

A Wonderful Discovery

I'm excited to share what I learned from Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D. book entitled The Moral Premise Harnessing Virtue & Vice for Box Office Success.

Yes, it is written for screen writers, but I'd say about 95% or more of it is very relevant for novel writers. Over on Seekerville, a guest visitor, agent Natasha Kern, recommended this book to writers, and boy am I glad I took her advice. Seriously consider adding this one to your wish list if you don't already have a copy on hand.

To try and sum it up in a short post won't give it justice, I know. You really need to absorb the concept through reading Williams' book, but I will offer this as a teaser.

The written formula for a moral premise is this:

[Vice] leads to [undesirable consequences], but
[Virtue] lead to [desirable consequences].


[Vise] leads to [defeat]; but [virtue] leads to [success].

The Moral Premise is "a universal truth that can make life better." pg. 161

Right away you can see how having a defined moral premise can aid in the needed conflict in any story. Vice, vice, vice. If you don't have one, find one.

Along with the Moral Premise, Williams goes to great lengths in this book to show how the physical goals of the story must be created so that they are a metaphor for the moral premise of the story, which is really defined by the inner struggle that the characters traverse through the story. Any given story is to be only about one thing--the defined Moral Premise. It's our job as a writer to make everything tie together so that it reveals that key Moral Premise.

I suspect I'll come back to share more on this book, but for now, I'll leave you with this for your weekend pondering. Can your current wip be defined by a moral premise? [Vise] leads to [defeat]; but [virtue] leads to [success]. I'd love to see your moral premises in the comments!

Praying for all to have a blessed weekend with many joyous experiences!

Surrendering to Him,


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Life is Getting Back to Normal

I hate to say that in fear that another blow will hit, but leaping out in faith here, I'm believing that along with my very painful breast infection, the troubles of late are healing and passing over.

I've been really wanting to share what I've learned through reading The Moral Premise written by Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D. Some amazing stuff is in this book, and I will reveal what struck me the most in a day or two.

My countdown begins for an upcoming Writer's Conference. In less than three weeks I will be in heavy learning and socializing-with-like-minds mode. I'm quite excited and yet equally unprepared. Is that God's plan? I sometimes wonder.

What about you? Do you have something big coming up soon? Please do share, and I'll add it to my prayer list.

Surrendering to Him,


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Comedian's Amazing Words

I received the following in an email from a friend and just had to share.

I hope you can take a moment to pause today and read this letter written by the comedian, George Carlin, of the 70's and 80's. If it speaks to you, I challenge you to find a way to make a difference.

A Message by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways ,but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgement, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Written by George Carlin

Beautiful words to ponder and give cause for reassessment.

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, May 22, 2009

Writers: Are you a Product of Your Imagination?

Photo courtesy of:

It seems that the more I develop conflict for my characters, the more trouble I receive in my own life. What's with that?

Currently, I not only have to worry about how to get my characters out of persnickety jams, but myself in real life, too. Is there an end to this dumpster of a lifestyle, I ask? It's got to be temporary.

Please...tell me my boring old life will come back to please me into mellow wonder once more. After all, it was the boredom of life that fuelled my creative writing state I'm certain, and I'll gladly live vicariously through my characters when I need stress once more! Real life stress is not desirable at all to me.

So, tell me, do you ever find yourself jealous of your own characters? Whether it be because they have an author to get them out of their jams, or an author who creates them to be just perfect in looks, or an author to feed and clothe them and even throw in a little extra for a movie night out now and then?

Oh, wait.

I have an author who does all that, too. His name is God. I better start listening more closely for how He's going to turn my life back in the "healthy" direction, because the part of me that's not listening sure is directionally challenged. Errrrrr...

Surrendering to Him,


P.S. Thanks for letting me rant on this glorious Friday! Okay, now I'll toddle back into my hole, and not come out until I've good and listened and found the "healthy" way once more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Goals are Good, and Plans Make them Happen.

Goal setting isn't one of my favorite things as I often fail at achieving them. At least, I don't succeed in the time frame I initially set out usually.

But, that needs to change.

I have just under one month before attending the Canadian writer's conference, and I'm setting a goal to have my current wip's first draft complete by the time I start my engine to drive to Guelph. With that goal in mind, I suppose I need a plan.

Plan #1: Go go-carting. Seriously, I need to for research for this wip if I want the go-carting scene to be realistic and jump off the page.

Plan #2: Get my bible reading, devotions, and writing in each day before I enjoy blog visiting. So, I may not comment as often, but know that I am enjoying all the encouragement, life sharing, and practical advice everyone is offering. And if I do get to comment I'll likely be the last one of the day. I hope to do more scheduling of my own posts to avoid posting so late, too.

Plan #3: Teach my girls to pick-up and learn how to run the washing machine. It's about time they start earning their cell phone plans!

Plan #4: Keep my writing duties during school hours or sleep so family still comes first when they are home and about.

I'm sure this list will grow, and maybe faster with your help. So, how do you achieve your goals on time?

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, May 18, 2009


I'm so excited. I just registered for my first ACFW Writer's Conference, and I booked a room in the ACFW block as well, today. (FYI: The attendant on the phone noted that their rooms are going very fast for this block, so you may want to book soon if you're planning on attending.)

I'm even going for the earlybird session with Donald Maass. Now I just need to book my flight, and pray, pray, pray for God's guidance in all of this.

So, tell me, who all is going? Whom of my cyber friends am I to get excited about meeting in person in September? Is there a way we can all have breakfast together, perhaps, or join together in some other way?

Oh, and, my nieces wedding was beautiful!!! They are both so gorgeous and look so happy together. It was amazing on Friday. The stag and doe went well, other than for my lack-of-sleep breakdown and car accident at 2:00 a.m. while backing into a stop sign. I tell you, stop signs have no place being stuck in the end of a residential driveway, especially when you can't see the post in the dark. Arrrrrgh, that made me mad! Now to get my front end fixed.

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, May 15, 2009

A Day to Match my Mood

It's a bright sunny day, and despite waking up to a waterfall from our overflowing pool, the excitement from yesterday continues to spill over into this magnificent wedding day for my niece, Marlene. (Yes, I turned the hose off immediately after wading through the sopping grass. Someone forgot to check the pool water level before dosing into slumber last night. Wonder why?)

I really hope the weather stays this beautiful all day for Marlene and any outdoor pictures that get snapped. We'll be on the road hopefully by 10:00 a.m. today. Prayers for travelling mercies and lots of good family time to follow would be appreciated.

The revisions are done on my Genesis finalist entry. Hubby acted as editor in chief, and believe it or not, he came up with the same typo's and minor issues that I did after carefully weighing which changes to make in such a short time available to really scrutinize my options.

I discovered once again that storytelling is subjective. Like I'm not fully aware of that by this stage already. But, still, it surprised me how some people want the expected, what I would consider bordering on cliche even. Some of the suggestions offered by one judge really did make me take pause, and for a quick second I thought, "Yes, I can do that." Then I realized why I could do that so easily. Because it's been done so many times before in so many books and movies that I've enjoyed. Would it make my piece better, though, by simulating numerous storyteller styles already out there? No. I don't think so. So those suggestions I let slide. The interest of time helped, too.

Did I make the right choice? Not for that judge, I'm sure. But I did for me and my story style. And that's what I'm most proud of. It's taken me near seven years to discern what NOT to alter upon a more experienced writer's suggestion. Yes, Lord, I'm finally gaining confidence in the words and scenes You've blessed my creative mind with. I do believe what I changed and didn't is pleasing to Him. And that's my goal.

And with that, I pray you all have a wonderful weekend ahead, and thank you all for sharing so freely and enthusiastically in my joy yesterday afternoon. I'll be smiling broadly for Marlene and Vishal today, because of not one, but two wonderful things on my mind.

Surrendering to Him,


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Are You the Snoopy Dance Type or Tears of Joy Kind of Person?

Please forgive me for this very long post, but I must make it last. You'll see why.

I just discovered that I'm the Tears of Joy type.

The first phone call that came to me today was a cancellation for my 2:00 manicure appointment. I had planned to go to my nieces wedding with a beautiful french manicure. But not to be, I guess. I can handle that, I thought with a nudge of disappointment. I still have my flowing brown dress to wear at least.

Then my hubby phoned me just to say hi. He's such a thoughtful man.

Then I took a quick jaunt to the Church to put notices in several mailboxes for the Christian Ed. & Nurture team since I'll be in St. Catharines due to the wedding all weekend. After leaving our wonderful admin. assistant with a double double from Tim Hortons, I headed into town to pick up a Sympathy card for my pastor and her family, as her mother-in-law passed away suddenly last weekend and the visitation that hubby and I will be attending is this evening. I've been lifting prayers all week for this family.

In amongst all that, I was torturing myself the whole time, questioning how God calls me to write when I find it so painstakingly difficult to do these days. Nothing, and I mean nothing I put into my stories ever seems good enough lately. I found myself doubting the strength to keep doing what I know I'm called to do despite all the hardship it puts on me. My strength to persevere, to keep on going on has been at an infectious low lately. Again, I sigh, and tell myself not to think this way, just keep keeping on, Eileen, for Him.

Then I return home to a flashing two on my answering machine. The first is my lovely youngest sister all excited about the flower arrangements she's making for the wedding tomorrow. Jillian does beautiful work, so I know she has reason to be proud. Pooh on her computer, though, it's acting up so she can't send me pictures like we'd both like her to do.

I let the machine go to the next message, thinking I'll call Jillian right after listening to this one. A man's voice greets me. I'm quickly discovering that this man's voice is the next best voice to my own dear hubby's, God's aside, of course. Can you guess my news?

He announces himself as Jim Rubart (hope that's how you spell it), a Genesis Coordinator, and proceeds to tell me I'm a finalist. Then he gives pause with permission for a Snoopy Dance. What do I do instead?

I cried! TEARS OF JOY!

I think I'm finally feeling like I'm truly progressing in this very difficult writing journey. Praise be to God for shining this little light to guide me to keep on keeping on with this journey. Thank you, Lord, for giving me a boost just when I needed it.

And, yes, after trying to get hold of my dear hubby, I did call my sister back, and even waited to share my news until she was done sharing hers.

And I want to send out a special thank you to Kaye Dacus for her fabulous editing of this piece. I know God used her expertise to help me achieve this honor of finalling. Bless you, Kaye! And, of course, a Huge thank you needs to be sent to the dear Pearl Girls, my critique group, for helping me get it to the point of being ready for an editor like Kaye to work with. Thank You!

May God guide me in yet another round of revisions before I send it back off for the final round judges. My only goal in all of this is to please Him. May I not fail!

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Few Good Points

I'm blogging over at Writer's Rest Today. Would love to see you over there, and learn of your editing woes.

Wishing you all a wonderful day ahead!

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Frosty Around Here

Quite literally.

I woke up to crystallized grass and roofs, and hugged my fleecy housecoat to me as I shot to the thermostat to figure out why the inside of our house felt like it belonged outside. A balmy 18 degrees greeted me. It's been colder when the furnace has conked, but never in spring.

Hubby says it's something to do with the pilot light and a service call is in order. Yes, I'll get right on that in the midst of baking, cleaning, and trying to edit, as well. Don't you just love the unexpected?

Anyway, once again I'll be a little sparse in the cyber world this week as I continue releasing sweat smells into our house through the fun job of baking treats for my niece's wedding weekend ahead. (Whew, you can take a breath from that sentence now.)

Hey, has anyone else read How To Write A Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey? I'm working through this one now, and I must say, it's motivating me and offers great examples of how to boost your prose. If you're not reading this one, do you have another good writer's manual you'd recommend?

Surrendering to Him,


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Just have to share this.

T. Anne shared this on her blog, and I just had to keep a link here for future needs. You'll see what I mean if you haven't visited T's blog yet.

Editor's Letter

P.S. I substitute Edit for Critique and tears bubbled out.

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Duty Calls

Hey, Everyone:

Over the next couple weeks I'll be a little sparce around here. I'll dabble in the cyber visiting realm, but my posts won't be as frequent, as I'll be busy in the kitchen creating treats for my niece's goodie trays. And I'll be praying 24/7 for strength to not taste test, as I still have a couple more pounds to drop before the wedding on May 15th to get back to goal again.

And, yes, have no fear, when the treats are in the oven, my editing will be going full steam ahead. Hopefully I'll have this round of ANB edits complete by the time Mar and Vishal say "I do". Now that would be an accomplishment considering all the scribbling I'm doing on those pages.

I'm looking forward to reading all your posts, and keeping connected that way.

Surrendering to Him,


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ever been told your Characters are flat?

I've always wondered what makes a character three-dimensional, multi-dimensional...alive! I mean, if they're alive in my head, how could they not be on the page?

I'm thinking it all comes back to the dreaded backstory. We're told to cut, cut, cut, all that old stuff out, but what we really should be told is to select, select, select, all that's alive in that backstory and make sure it's present in an entertaining way.

If we look at a three-dimensional character from the perspective of their three dimensions: Physiologically, Sociologically, and Psychologically, then we know backstory plays a huge role in creating a believable, vibrant character. What has happened in their past can affect their appearance (scars, broken nose, and even how they choose to dress). Their social background and present state will also affect how they talk, their mannerisms, intelligence, etc., and those two combined with all that has happened to them in life thus far drives how they think, what they believe in and why they don't value something in particular.

I also believe that to have a well rounded character, they have to have a past, present and future they're striving for (think goals here). If we can weed through all that we know of our characters backstory and draw out the most pertinent elements of their three dimensions and slip them into our story in an entertaining way (think dialogue, beats, short narratives) at exactly the right time, then who lives in our heads will also spring to life on the page for others to empathise with, hate, believe, and even love.

How do you create a multi-dimensional character on your page? Does backstory play a role?

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, May 4, 2009

You're Invited... learn more about me over at Romance Writers on the Journey. A huge thank you to Keli Gwyn for featuring me today. She came up with some really thought-provoking questions. I hope you'll take a few minutes to check it out, and let me know how you would end the journey sentence.

Keli is giving away a beautiful bookmark, and I'm offering a copy of Daily Devotions for Writers to one lucky winner. Good luck to everyone!

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, May 1, 2009

Review of The Taking of Carly Bradford by Ramona Richards

The Taking of Carly Bradford by Ramona Richards
LIS, May 2009

Back Cover Blurb: A CLUE IN THE WOODS

A blue sundress and white sandals. That's what seven-year-old Carly Bradford was wearing...right before she disappeared. Three months later, Dee Kelley spots the sandals in the woods and knows she's uncovered evidence. Dee lost her husband and child--she won't let another mother suffer as she did. She will help police chief Tyler Madison find Carly, whether he wants her assistance or not. But Tyler isn't the only one determined to keep Dee off he case. And evidence isn't all that she'll find waiting for her in the woods.

My Review: I haven't been a huge fan of many Love Inspired Suspense novels just because the majority that I've read (which are few because of these findings) are really heavy on the suspense, and stingy on the romance. But Ramona Richards didn't disappoint me with The Taking of Carly Bradford. She weaved a suspenseful story with a strong romantic thread throughout. I felt for both Dee and Tyler and routed for them to find their HEA, at the same time as I struggled to figure out who abducted Carly and how the little girl would be found.

If you're like me, and really thirst for a strong romantic thread in these suspense category novels, then this is the book to pick up. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!