Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Home Remedies & Other Stuff

Ear ache, anyone?

I learned a new little home remedy I thought I'd share. If you catch the ache early, tilt your head to the side and drop a few drops of hydrogen peroxide inside your ear to enter the ear drum. Hold your head to the side for up to five minutes while the peroxide gurgles and sizzles inside your ear, then do the other ear. Only do once a day while signs remain.

Seriously, it's working. My throat and ear started aching yesterday and a barn friend let me in on this secret. The soreness is much less today. I'm taking Zinc lozenges for my throat, too.

Anyway, I had a great photo to put on this post but for some reason Blogger won't let me upload it. So plain old words greet you here instead.

I'm a busy beaver these days, so my postings are few and far between it seems. Sorry. And, I'm even sorrier that I haven't been able to get around to many blogs at all lately. I'm turning comments off on these new posts until I get back into full force here. Talk to you over at your blog as I get there.

Also, regarding writing Incidents instead of scenes. Just wanted to touch on this as some questions where left in the comments of the last post. Smith doesn't really give a different definition for Incident than scene writing, he just prefers to think of scenes as incidents. When you think of it, an incident has one telling thing or action to it that generally has fall outs or causes a change, and so I think that's why he likes to think of scenes as incidents. If we make sure each scene is around an incident that shifts things one way or another than we won't write flat scenes. Hope that makes sense.

Till next time, may the spring/summer flowers greet you with a smile, and may good health be with you!

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, May 20, 2011

Incidents Revisited

In the last post we discussed the concept of writing incidents rather than scenes. To expand a little on this, here is how James V. Smith, Jr. suggests structuring your incidents in his book, You Can Write A Novel.

Smith suggests that you have:

  1. An opening incident that hooks the reader and it should come as close to the beginning of the story as possible. So, if we consider our story as a series of incidents labelled say, A to Z. Let's make incident 'A' the opening, and so it will be of great importance to hook the reader.

  2. Further, your story needs a point-of-no-return incident. This incident can lie anywhere, even at A in your continuum of incidents. For the purposes of the chart to come, I'll call it 'F'.

  3. And the last incident of great importance, the greatest of importance actually, is the climax with will include the resolution and/or close of the novel. So it's the 'Z' in the continuum.

For those who like a visual to see how the incidents compare in importance, take a look at this blue print structure.


So, what do you think? If you sat down and worked out your 'A', 'F', and 'Z' incidents, those being the most importance incidents in your story, can you see it being helpful to structure your novel as a whole? It's reminding me a bit of the snowflake method as I work through reading this book.

I'm off to another horse show this weekend. Busy, Busy, Busy!!

I pray everyone has a wonderful, safe, and healthy weekend with lots of joy to keep you smiling!

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, May 16, 2011

Are you writing Scenes or Incidents?

Hubby and I went on a Chapters date on Saturday and as a result I find myself studying You Can Write A Novel by James V. Smith, JR. So far I'm finding what Smith has to say quite interesting.

He suggests that we write Incidents rather than scenes. That's a new concept to me, but I like his suggestion. Don't Incidents sound snappier than scenes? When I consider novels that I've really had a hard time putting down, I must admit, they read more like connected incidents making up the story. Each incident delivers a punch that draws me in further and further to the story world and characters. Scenes just sounds so drawn out now to me.

What do you think? What do you see as the difference between writing Scenes or Incidents? If any?

Personal Note:
Donner did amazing on the weekend for my girls. He went around the course like an old pro and it was pouring rain the whole day, too. Not exactly a good way to introduce him to showing, but he didn't seem to mind at all. Hurray!

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spare Time Any One?

It occurred to me as I watched my girls settle into yet another show season that I'm not all that familiar with what my blog buddies do in their spare time from Writing? Do you all work outside the home? Are you raising wee ones that I know requires an amazing amount of time? Do you sew regularly?

What's the first thing that comes to mind that you enjoy doing when you're not putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to write? I added the "enjoy" qualifier because I'm not looking for laundry or toilet scrubbing duties here. I want to know what else feeds your soul other than writing.

I'll go first.

Right now, the first thing that pops into my mind is that I'm a horse mom. What does that mean? It means I spend countless hours at a stable watching my three girls ride all year long, every week. During show season, which in our area begins this week and doesn't end until October, I spend countless hours on the road following our horse tucked safely in a trailer to get to the show destination. Then I spend the days roaming the show grounds, toting Gatorade or waters for my girls, and just plain helping wherever needed to minimize the stress battling to overcome the riders in this competitive sport.

And, yes, I love it! I'm a huge animal lover, and feel so blessed that God has allowed us to own a big beautiful horse with as kind a heart as any I've met in these past ten years of being a horse mom.

The pics are of our Donner (show name: Donnerell) during our schooling day yesterday at Palgrave. Alisha, my oldest daughter, is the one riding him. Donner just turned six on April 25th and this will be his first year of showing. When we took him up to the show rings yesterday we had no idea how he'd be. If he'd spook? Refuse to listen to commands? Or be scared out of his mind? Our coach had warned us for months that he may not be ready to show until much later in the season if at all this year. It all depends on the horse's temperament and how they respond to the show rings.

Well, Donner amazed us all, including the coach. Alisha said he was the easiest he's ever been to canter (keeping him in control) and he didn't spook at a single jump in the ring either, even with them all spiffed up to look pretty and show worthy. So, this Sunday we'll be witnessing Donner in his first show. How he'll compare to all the other horses and riders I have no idea, and honestly to me it's quite irrelevent. I just wanted him to make it this far for my girls to get to show again because I know they love it.

I'm just so proud of my girls for all their hard work with Donner. And I'm proud of our Donner for being so good for my girls. Together, they've built a trust in each other that I know will go a long way in making this show season a positive, fun experience for all.

So now that I've done my bragging, I want to hear you brag on. Other than writing, what do you do that fills your spirit with joy? I hope you'll share!

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, May 9, 2011

And This Is How I Know...

that I am a writer at heart.

I HATE critiquing my own work.

I HATE editing my work endlessly, seeing only baby steps of improvement with each pass through.

And, yet, I tug, prod, and coerce myself to keep working through it. It may seem like I'm going at a snail's pace, regardless I keep going. Frustrated. Lost. Tired. Judgemental. Ever grasping for that failing spark of Hope that will lead me to Bliss Road.

I'm being reminded of myself daily now of years gone by. When I was a systems analyst each time I coded a new program I felt the same way as I am now. STRUGGLING to muddle through the test runs. The initial writing was always a breeze, it was getting it to run clean that was the challenge.

Each run of my code would bomb out a few lines lower. Each read of my manuscript has me nodding off a scene later. Fine tuning isn't fun. It's painstaking. It's giving down and dirty service to a masterpiece waiting to emerge.

Oh, how I hope and pray that my manuscript turns out like each and every coded program that I struggled to write all those years ago. Clean. Efficient. And Deliverable.

What about you? Are first drafts your biggest challenge, or is it polishing rounds that dip into your reserves?

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, May 6, 2011

Heartache Falls by Emily March Review

The third installment of Emily March's Eternity Springs series is Heartache Falls. And my oh my, is it a telling read. Especially for all us 40-something wives who have been married in the 20-year range and are on the verge, or in the midst, of experiencing empty nesting. Two words come to mind when I think of this scenario, which I happen to be in the early throws of right now, Emotional Upheaval, with capital letters intended. Some might use middle age crisis. Whichever you go with, Emily March's Heartache Falls (which is a romance) is a book that helps put so much of our ongoing upheaval into wonderful perspective with a huge dose of HOPE thrown in.

My thanks is lifted to Emily March for writing this novel, this series. I've enjoyed every book in The Eternity Springs series so far and look forward to all the ones to come. But Heartache Falls, I have a feeling, will not be surpassed in its ability to resonate with me. My marriage is strong (lifting a prayer that God continues to bless us with this), so I don't share that main issue with Ali Timberlake (the heroine in this novel) but so much of what goes on beneath the surface of Ali, I can relate to, and I have a feeling many women can. Whether you are in, nearing, or not even close to this stage of life, I highly recommend you read Heartache Falls for the dose of reality it offers in such an entertaining, exemplary, and soul-searching way.

Back Cover Blurb: Married for more than twenty years, and with her children out of the nest, Ali Timberlake has come to Eternity Springs alone. She's looking for answers to heartbreaking questions and searching for something that's missing deep within herself. Taking a lease on the Bristlecone Cafe in pursuit of a lifelong dream, Ali feels revitalized as she becomes part of this charming mountain town. But a big piece of her is still back in Denver with her husband, Mac, a successful judge--and a man who isn't going to let the woman he loves leave without a fight.

When Mac shows up in Eternity Springs--sexy, seductive, and determined to win his wife back--he experiences the wonder of the place that has given Ali such feelings of happiness and belonging. He wants that for her, but even more, he wants that with her. Ali has found a special place for her heart. But is there enough room left in that heart for him?

Surrendering to Him


Monday, May 2, 2011

Self-Critiquing Vs. Editing Your Own Work

In the past I've always taken the approach of editing my own work. You know, altering my documents with each read through and when I think I've got it as clean as I can possibly manage on my own, it's then that I send it off to fabulous critique partners who find so much more wrong with it. :) They wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't, right!

But since it's been a long while since I looked at my first draft of The Unlikely One (actually, I've never read this one through it's entirety as I wrote it in full during NANOWRIMO a couple years ago and then set it aside), so I decided I might be distanced enough from it now to actually critique it as is before starting in on the extensive edits it's sure to need. I feared if I delved right into editing it I'd, 1)feel overwhelmed, and 2)do needless editing on pieces that will have to be massively altered or even deleted once I get the full picture of the novel again. A critique seemed like the way to go at this stage, but I realized I'd never critiqued my own work before.

I'm finding this critiquing strategy quite invigorating, actually. By putting comments and tracker on and sticking to using them to note areas of trouble, I can review my work through much more impartial eyes than I ever could when in editing mode. I know that when I'm done this self-critique, and subsequent required editing, I'll still get lots of suggestions and comments from my critique partners during their go at it. But I have a feeling I'll be much more capable to discern which suggestions to follow and which won't work for me or my story as a result of this first self-critique.

Have you ever critiqued your own novel(s)? If so, did you find it beneficial in the long run, or just a wasted step?

Surrendering to Him,