Friday, December 20, 2013

New Story Smell

There's nothing like "new story smell" you know? It has a freshness, a promise of something exciting. Something different.

Sometimes I can ignore it and focus on what I'm currently working on.

Other times, like today, it is what I have to be working on.

Today, for me, involved blank pages of a legal pad, lots of flipping from one page to another, a blue pen that writes just right on the paper (OCD? Whaaaat?), and coffee. That is how I celebrate new story smell. And how I brainstorm for a new book proposal. In case it helps anyone, or in case you're just curious, here's a little peek into how I do a new story. It's different for everyone, so after you read this, please share how you do it. I can always use a little inspiration too!

1. Initial idea. At this point I usually know something about the hero and heroine. Sometimes it's their names, sometimes their occupations. I think both happen equally often for me. (Haha, and if I don't know names then in the initial summary I write things like "NAME needs a fresh start in a new town. But she didn't expect danger from her past to follow her there." And then later I go back and fill in the name. Hopefully before I send it to anyone. ;)

2. Once I know something (anything!) I can't usually resist trying to start Chapter 1. This rarely ends up being my final chapter one, as I have this irritating habit of not starting right int he middle of the action. That's okay. I'm sure what I learn in those hundreds of words I end up deleting is worth it.

3. Back to brainstorming. At this point it varies. Today, I decided to brainstorm with pen and paper because that was how my brain was working. I made little notes alllll over several pieces of paper. Other times, I'll start my summary.

4. Summary. I don't know of a nice way to describe my first summary to you. My utter-piece-of-junk summary? That's the best I can do. =) It. Is. HORRIBLE. Awful. Bad beyond description. I sit down at my computer and just type. If I don't know something I usually use capital letters and make a note like PUT HER JOB HERE LATER. Or something like that.

5. Again, it varies. Sometimes I go back and make the summary "pretty" if I'm feeling so inclined. I might attempt a little more of chapter 1. Usually I break up my utter-piece-of-junk summary into the amount of chapters I want the book to have.

6. Then I really start writing. I use my very rough summary to give me a basic outline. I used to be a pure seat-of-the-pants-et. But then I converted. I like having a basic summary to give me something to work with. But I also like that it's not detailed. That way I still have the freedom to write in scenes that I didn't know were coming, or let my characters have conversations that surprise me (and freak out my husband since he says if I make them up nothing they do should surprise me...)

How does a new story work for you? Do you need to talk it out with friends first? Let it simmer in your head for a period of time (days? weeks? months?) Please share! You might have the brilliant idea someone else needs to get a new story started. =)

And also, Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I don't normally do this....

I try not to do this too much, but seriously, I'd be honored if you'd blog hop for me today and read this post on my personal blog. It was a tough one to get out.

"For the Broken This Christmas". It might touch you or someone you know who is struggling this holiday season.

Merry Christmas :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

The One Where Nothing Happens

Ever feel like all you do is write, write, write and then edit, edit, edit and then meet and greet, meet and greet, meet and greet and make websites and brochures and business cards and try to develop a platform and a Facebook fan page and submit manuscripts to eight different publishers you met at a conference and THEN...


Not a peep. Not even something as simple as a smiley face or frowny face from a potential publisher.

And then the days of waiting for an email or a phone call or a letter turn into weeks and months and months. Sometimes, you may never hear anything. Sometimes, you may hear something you don't want to - but I found that even in that, at least I KNOW and that is even better than nothing.

The wait is long. It took almost exactly a year after submitting Miss Match before I heard anything from the publisher and found out later that it had gotten left in a slush pile of an editor who had since left that company. Publishers are people just like us. And just like it sometimes takes me a week of making my family eat saltines and questionable cheese before I actually make it to the grocery store, sometimes publishers get sidetracked too.

So, if you're stuck there in the waiting period, here's a few ideas to help distract you from checking your email every 92 seconds.

1) Write something else!!

By far the biggest piece of advice I could ever give you is to not write a proposal or a novel or both and then just WAIT for that to get published. Keep writing! Keep learning. Keep stretching yourself in your field. Maybe the one you're waiting on will never be published but MAYBE the one you're writing in the meantime will be.

2) Read and read and read.

Read your favorite authors. Read new authors. Read bestsellers and read brand new books from brand new authors. See what speaks to you and ask yourself why it did. See what you hate and figure out why it rubs you the wrong way. You learn to write not by being in a classroom but by reading and reading often.

3) Go do something.

Find a friend and go Christmas shopping together. People watch at Starbucks. Listen to your friends and the way they talk to you and to each other. What inflections do they use? Watch the lady on her cell phone at the grocery store. Why is she upset? How is she portraying it - words? actions? both? Learn the nuances of people and then go home and try to bring them out in your writing. I think everyone has something weird that they do - some one special, very odd, very weird thing that they and only they do. How can your characters portray this??

4) Eat.

When all else fails and the day is long and your inbox is empty, the last piece of advice I can give to you is to just eat. Eat chocolate, eat potato chips, eat ice cream. Whatever your vice is, go for it. After all, your email will still be waiting for you when you're all done. ;)

How do you cope with the long waits from publishers?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Knowing your reader...

I'm posting now, even though it's Saturday, because I forgot this week :)  OOPS. 

A reader recently asked: 

I read a blog post about knowing what your target audience is and making sure your writing "fits" that audience. Right now my audience is definitely teenage girls, but my MC is almost 15 and I'd like for her to grow up over time. If the character grows up (like in the Christy Miller series) does the genre change from YA to that new college/twenty-something genre that's getting to be so popular (like Erynn's books) or is it bad for the target audience to shift to older girls?

To be honest, I feel that's a discussion and a decision for your publisher to make when that time comes, and not something that needs to be dwelled on or worried about right now. :)

Your chief concern right now should be creating that never-ending story world and lovable character set that will stand the test of time, like Christy Miller, and will have a dedicated readership, willing to follow them wherever they go. Robin Jones Gunn is truly a master at that heart connection with the reader.

When you have that fan base, it doesn't matter what the genre changes to or if it does. The readers will follow. And truly, that's not something you need to be concerned with right now, even in a proposal. Get the first book written. Pitch it, get it out there and write the second while you wait. Then while you wait, write the third, exactly the way you want it, without any regard to all the future big looming "what-if's". And see what happens to the first book as you continue. If it sells, perfect. You have a second book ready in the wings. And then a third. And then hopefully your momentum continues and you have a fourth, and your series is growing, your readership is growing, and as they fall in love with your characters, they'll do whatever they need to do to continue reading them. 

Remember, readers read all over the grid. Teens read adult romances. Adults read YA. A large percentage of the feedback I received from my YA novel, ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK, was sent to me by middle aged women, one who claimed that novel was her favorite of the entire year. Who'd have thought??? :)

So while you DO need to know your target audience, allow them to grow as your characters do, and if you acquire younger or older readers along the way, then HEY - even better :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Be a Rule Breaker!

Or don't, it's up to you.

And also, I'm only advocating possibly breaking the "rules" in writing. I do think things like speed limits should be followed--so there's my disclaimer. =)

I'm writing a scene right now (literally. I clicked over from Scrivener because I wanted to share some thoughts...) that is in my main character's sister's POV. I've toyed with ideas about whose POV to include in this story and I think I decided to leave the sister's out of it. But today, for some reason, she was just kind of intriguing me. So I decided to write this scene for her and see what happened, see how she'd handle the sibling tension we have going on here.

And you know what? 400 words just appeared on that scene with little to no effort. It. Was. So. Cool!

Now, I may go back and read those tomorrow and decide they're terrible. But for today, I'm really happy for what this scene is turning out to be. Maybe I'll love it and leave it there. Maybe I'll eventually delete it and no one will ever know Kate's side of the story except me. Who knows? But I think sometimes we have to be un-afraid, be bold enough to break the rules.

Love Inspired likes a specific kind of story, and that's totally fine. I LOVE writing for them and coming up with stories that fit what they're looking for. But as a rule they generally only have the hero and heroine's POV. So that's how I've been writing EVERYTHING lately. But you know what? I don't have to. I can include anyone's point of view I want! (Mwahahahaha!)

Seriously, though, it was freeing to me to remember that while I want this story to be published, today there is no contract on it. Today it's just me, these characters, and some fun ideas I have for developing their story. I don't have to worry about what percentage of the book is taken up by which character's POV. I don't have to agonize which publishing house this style would "fit" with if I stay with the multiple POVs. Today, I just get to write.

And drink my hot chocolate and pretend like it isn't 79 degrees outside. You read that right. 79. Ick.

So my issue for the day was remembering that there's no set rule on Points-of-View and whose to include when. And if someone has invented a rule, it's okay to break it.

What rules to you struggle to give yourself permission to break? Which do you keep no matter what? How do you know when they're important?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope everyone at Scribble Chicks has a great holiday season.
We are THANKFUL for YOU GUYS!!! :) 
Because without our readers, this blog would be a ghost town. ::insert creepy theme music here::
We'll see you back here next week :)
Gobble gobble!

Monday, November 25, 2013

More on tenses and editing

SO sorry for my long absence guys!! I was completely planning on answering the question our lovely Cjoy left for me (which Betsy fabulously answered! Thanks so much friend!!) and I split my knuckle open that night instead which put me in a splint for a week and left me totally incapable of writing more than a few picked out words.

Because I'm all about what would add the most fun and extra stress to getting ready for an early Christmas with the in-laws. ;)


Thank you to Betsy for doing a great post about tenses!! She said this as well, but I think the biggest thing to remember when writing is consistency. I've heard the thought about the first sentence of a paragraph as well and I think that has to do more with the word "had". Example:

I had never seen something so disgusting since the time both me and my brother had the stomach flu at the same time. And that was something. My poor mother cleaned for weeks afterward. It had lived in family lore since then.

There were just no other examples in my mind for what was sitting in front of me.

Okay, so in this example, I'm in first person, past tense. So during her remembrance of a further in the past event (oh my), we use the word "had". BUT, we only have to use it once in the first sentence for the reader to understand this paragraph is her memory from awhile ago and to close out the memory, we use it again in the last sentence instead of putting "had" before each verb.

Does that even make sense? ;) Ha! English is failing me right now.

Alicia also asked what editing software we used. Alicia, my editing software is named Mom. ;) Honestly!

So, my basic "program" for editing goes kind of like this. I aim to write about 2000 words a day (sometimes this is totally doable and I fly right past my word goal. Sometimes, I remember that I have a 3-year-old or that my morning sickness is awful or I have a zillion things to do that day or my house hasn't been cleaned in months or I have 8 blogs to write and I end up getting 200 words in my WIP or nothing at all). The next day when I sit down to write, I read back through what I wrote the day before, just to get in the character's head and get the "voice" back. I also use that time to correct the mistakes I see in the previous day's work. Then I write another 2000 words. When I get to the end of the novel or novella, I email it straight to my mom. I don't reread it, I don't try to edit it first, I send it straight to her totally raw and while she's reading it, I do everything except look at that book.

Mom finds a bunch of mistakes, I correct all of them, then it's MY turn to read through the book and since I've let it sit for a few days to a few weeks, the book is so much more "fresh" to my brain and it's way, way easier to find the storyline issues and grammar mistakes. I read through it once, correct it again and then send it off to the publisher.

So, I'm not really a "rough draft" kind of a girl, I guess. I like things to be written once, corrected once or twice and then out of my hands. I HATE revision and so if I can write it correctly to begin with, I'll always choose that route!! ;) I really, really, REALLY recommend finding someone who will be totally honest with your work and do the same for you! It so helps to have extra eyes on it.

Does that answer the question, Alicia? :) And question for all of you: What is your editing style??

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

What You SHOULD Be Doing

Sometimes, what you should be doing is writing. Let's be honest. I'm probably not the only one who spends time on facebook when I should be typing away on my work-in-progress. Sometimes we're wasting time, being insecure, or not writing for another bad reason.

If that's you, you already know what to do. =) Go write! Whatever your "bad" excuse is, let it go, make some coffee (or tea) and go get some word count!

But some of you keep beating yourselves up for no reason (not thinking of anyone in particular, just saying I've done it, so I'm guessing chances are good that someone here has). You keep telling yourself you should be writing. But this is a busy season for you. And some of that time, if God has called you to be a writer, then you should be writing.

But I think knowing when to write, having the discernment to know when to close the computer, is something we need to learn more about. I've been learning that this week. This week, there were things I needed to do more than I needed to write.

This Week I Needed:

To spend time with God, talk to Him like He's involved in my life and not just skim His Word so I can check it off my list.

To remember that my husband is not last on the list of people/things that need my attention. After God, He should be first.

To clean my kitchen and learn how to love cooking for my family.

To talk in baby-talk to my one year old.

To read to my three year old.

To do yoga.

To smile at funny little things throughout the day and remember that I'm very blessed.

I didn't get much writing done. This has been nagging me all week, really, really bothering me. But you know what I realized today, what I want you to realize today?

It. Is. Okay.

Writing is important. This is a writing blog. We wouldn't write if we didn't think writing was important.

But there are things that are more important.

How was your week? Did you get a lot of writing done, or was this an "other things" kind of week for you?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Reflections and Tenses and Back-story, OH MY!!

A handy dandy Scribble Chick reader asked last week:

If a paragraph reflects the past, do all of the sentences that follow need to be constructed in past tense? Someone told me that only the first sentence needed to be past tense, leaving the rest in present--which I find confusing and frustrating as a reader. I could possibly see it either way if it's a very short section of a paragraph, maybe two, though it's a stretch for me. Even tougher is if the reflection takes about a page...partway into it I can't figure out if this is still a reflection or back in the present and I just missed something. What is the "right" way to handle a reflection of the past? 

I thought I'd try to tackle this. 

::cracks knuckles::

I usually write third person past. But for my YA novel, ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK, it was first person past. Yet there were many times in the writing that I found myself switching to first person present, because of the content or her internal thoughts, etc. and it was exhausting to figure it all out. Thank the Lord for crit partners ;)

So the tense stuff can get tricky regardless of first or third person and regardless of past or present tense. That to say, you're not alone in this battle. 

The main rule to follow? BE CONSISTENT. 

I would say, what that person told you about making the first sentence past and the following present, is, in a nutshell - mind numbing and terrifying. LOL. That makes me want to cry as a reader and as an author. Too much. FLEE the thought! :)

Here's the thing about back-story or past reflecting - it needs to be done in brief segments ANYWAY. So switching tenses in a short paragraph like that seems even more confusing. If it's set up to somehow be a chapter's worth of some kind of major plot line reflection, or prologue, or a diary entry, or a discovered letter, etc. that's a different consideration, but those are rare instances. (And for pre-published authors, not the way to go out of the gate typically. Attempt to get fancy after you've proven yourself to your publisher! Then you can break rules and go outside the box a lot easier)  :)

Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you mean by reflection of the past, but I'm imagining it to be a memory or a retelling of a back-story event from the character's life. If that's the case, and the story is 3rd person, the retelling still needs to be third person and same tense. 

For example: (and this will suck, because it's getting late and this is all off the top of my head)


Heather popped the lid on her white chocolate mocha and breathed in the heady aroma. Last time she'd had one of those, David had handed it to her with a smile, that same lopsided grin he wore every time he had bad news and wasn't ready to admit it yet. He'd shoved the drink in her hand like a peace offering, then tucked his hands into his leather coat pockets and shuffled backward a step before delivering the news that changed her life forever. "Annie's pregnant. And it's my baby." The mocha had hit the ground, splashing on her favorite suede boots and running in creamy white rivulets down the sidewalk. What a waste. Of coffee. Of footwear. Of six months of relationship. 

But this mocha...this one smelled like redemption. God made everything new, right? Even 280 calories for four bucks a pop. She grinned--straight and even--and took a long sip. 


Same with first person. 

* * * * *

I popped the lid on my white chocolate mocha and breathed in the heady aroma. Last time I'd had one of those, David had handed it to me with a smile, that same lopsided grin he wore every time he had bad news and wasn't ready to admit it yet. He'd shoved the drink in my hands like a peace offering, then tucked his hands into his leather coat pockets and shuffled backward a step before delivering the news that changed my life forever. "Annie's pregnant. And it's my baby." My mocha had hit the ground, splashing on my favorite suede boots and running in creamy white rivulets down the sidewalk. What a waste. Of coffee. Of footwear. Of six months of relationship.

But this mocha...this one smell like redemption. God made everything new, right? Even 280 calories for four bucks a pop. I grinned--straight and even--and took a long sip. 

* * * * * *

Hopefully that helps show what I mean. If that's not what YOU mean, please let me know. But this took you in first and third, and took you from "current" in the story to a memory and then back to current. 

Scribblechicks, what say you? Anything to add? 

And boo. 

I am totally craving a mocha now. 


Friday, November 15, 2013

Acting, Writing, And Lattes...

So you've heard of method acting, right? It's where actors try to get into the heads of their characters, almost BECOME them. It's a brilliant way to bring a character to life, I think, though it does come with it's hazards (I feel like someone should tell actors that trying to become a VILLAIN for the sake of your craft is a bad idea...And for the record, I will never watch that Batman movie that killed Heath Ledger. But I digress...).

As writers, we're told to get into our characters' heads. We have to make them seem real, 3D, and to do that, they almost have to become real to us.

In a completely sane, none-of-us-needs-a-shrink kind of way, of course. =)

Have you tried doing this for your character? Especially your main character? Do you ever walk around the grocery store and wonder which aisle your character would hit first? So no, you probably don't have a grocery store scene in your book. But that's not the point. The point is to learn EXTRA about your character, so that even though your reader only sees 75% of who they are, that 75% seems incredibly real. It's kind of like drawing, and using perspective (work with me here, okay?). You only draw the front of an apple, but it's rounded, shaded in all the right places, so that even though you can only see the front, part of you is SURE that the rest of the apple is there.

For the two of you that made sense to, you're welcome. For the rest of you, forget I said it and move on okay? Okay.

I'm bringing this up because last week I had a latte. To be precise, I had a grande latte with two raw sugars and whip. Which is not really my kind of Starbucks drink. I mean, I like it a lot, but usually I tend to go towards opposite ends of the spectrum. I either order a triple tall Americano, black (yum!) or something completely excessive like a Peppermint Mocha. But Norah, the main character in the contemporary romance I'm revising, only drinks lattes. Ever. Only. Lattes. Because Norah is stuck in a rut, she likes predictable, safe things, and a latte fits her personality perfectly.

So when I was struggling to get in her head last week, having a hard time getting her story to come out on the page, I had a latte. And sure, enough, a few sips in and it was easier to think like Norah. I wrote more words last week on her story than I have in a month or so, I'd guess. Because for me, it was all about getting in her head, method acting for a writer, if you will.

If you're not a coffee drinker, or your character isn't, here are some other random things that might help:

1. What does your character wear? If you're writing about a fashionista, maybe change out of the yoga pants (hey, I'm not judging, I love them too!) and be extra cute.
2. Is your character a health nut? Write while you're crunching on carrots or something. Unless you hate healthy food. In which case, change your character. ;) Haha.
3. Does your character have a favorite drink? A favorite food? Drink it. Eat it.
4. If your character loves the outdoors, write outside.
5. If your character is scared of the dark and you're writing suspense, write it in the dark. Living through it "with" your character will help you see the shadows they see, help you understand why they're afraid.
6. Do something your character likes to do. Go play sports, if they do. If she's a librarian, go sniff the insides of those books at the library.

What other ideas do you have for a random list like this?

Do you ever intentionally try to get into your character's head by being like them for a few minutes?

Disclaimer: I'm not crazy. I know my characters are not real...Honest... ;) At least, I mostly know this...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Hey guys!

I think we need some new questions and concerns to address. The blog has been kinda quiet for almost a week, so maybe we're all running out of topics? That or everyone else is just as swamped and stressed as I am ;)

So what say you? Anything we can cover to help you guys out? Otherwise we will brainstorm here soon and come up with some new material for you guys.

What would ya'll like to see?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Typecasting in Real Life

In real life, people tend to be almost "type cast." Know what I mean? Like the ER nurse I saw the other day, who looked like he probably lifeguarded as a teen--he was tall, nice looking (although my husband is much better looking--just throwing that out there in case he reads this. Haha.), and very much gave the impression that the situation was under control. My husband and I actually laughed on the way out of the ER (everyone seems to be fine, by the way) because he looked SO MUCH like an ER nurse who should have been in some medical drama.

But seriously, this happens in life all the time. People LOOK like the kind of people they are, or like the job they have, very often.

When was the last time you walked into a library and the librarian was a 6'4'' man with broad shoulders and a young-Harrison-Ford-as-Han-Solo smile?

We make generalizations about people for a reason. Life experience has taught us that it's often right. Now, let's translate this to stories. What this means for me in my writing is that I know I have to make characters look a certain way for a reason. I'm not saying my character has to look stereotypical, by any means. Let's look at our librarian character, okay? You don't have to make the librarian a woman with mousy brown hair (said by a woman with hair about that color so I'm not hatin' okay, y'all? Haha.), who's petite with thick glasses, and always wears cardigans buttoned all the way up. If you want to, that will resonate with people. They'll think "Yes! Librarian!" And that's okay. I'm not arguing for stock characters, per se, not if they're important to your story, but sometimes people look like we'd expect and they should in our fiction too.

But what about the opposite? I think it's MORE than okay too! Say you want your librarian to be a 6'4'' man with broad shoulders and a young-Harrison-Ford-as-Han-Solo smile. That's totally fine, but let's face it, you've going to have to address that. Some character is going to make a comment about how he does not look like a typical librarian. There's going to have to be a reason he became a librarian instead of a football player, or police officer, or soldier. See what I mean?

Basically it breaks down this way. How your characters look matters. They almost (over-simplifying this a little) need to look just like their personality/job dictates, or totally opposite. Or even if you don't find that to be true, they need to have their looks for a reason. Don't give everyone blue eyes just because you like them. Don't make your hero look just like your favorite actor because you like how he looks even if it doesn't fit the character, okay? =)

How do you pick how characters look? Do you think you think through their physical descriptions consciously, or do they just "end up" looking like they're supposed to? Do you find pictures? Draw pictures?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book tunes

Do you write to music?

Sadly, I can't multi-task sensory-wise like that very well. If I'm listening to music I can't concentrate on my novel, or else I DO start concentrating, and therefore have completely tuned the music out so its pointless. ha.

Does it work for you, though?

I know several authors who create soundtracks for their novels as  they write them or after the book is completed, popular songs that flow in theme or mood throughout the story. That's SO cool to me but I've yet to try it, mostly because of time. But even though I can't listen to music WHILE writing, I still am very much inspired BY music at any given moment. A song on the radio, or in a movie, or etc. can really make me feel something fresh toward my story or provide an idea or scene or argument or piece of dialogue that helps get me out of a writing rut.

Love how various forms of art seem to work together in that way. :)

So what say you on the music front??

Friday, November 1, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake!

Or, in my case, let them drink coffee. =)

I started writing a scene this week that wasn't going as smoothly as I wanted it to. My hero and heroine have just met for the first time, and I wanted it to be magical. Think fireworks, think the description Sam gives on Sleepless in Seattle when he says meeting his wife was "like...magic." That was what I was going for. But instead these two people in my head were being a little awkward.

I did finally manage to get them inside the coffee shop for their conversation, which was where they were supposed to be, so that was a good thing. (Yeah, I know, I made them up. But you're writers, so you get it, right?) But I feel like the conversation still isn't going quite the way I want it. Or maybe their actual words are okay, but I think I have a lot of "he said/she said" going on. And probably too many lines where there's nothing at all, just lines and lines worth of replies so that you'd read it and get confused about who's saying what.

But I finally managed to get some better word count when I started letting the characters just talk. I quit trying to "write" and plan and construct my perfect little scene and just let them have coffee. I let them talk. I might go back and delete some of their conversation, or polish it. I might go back and add some descriptions of the coffee shop, or their surroundings in some way (OOOH! Yeah! That sounds fun. I might go do that now...) But the scene does exist on "paper" or, uh, computer screen now, and that's better than nothing.

So I guess I just wanted to share what I've been working on and remind you that something is almost always better than nothing. Just let your characters go sometimes, let them work out whatever they need to say, or do whatever they feel like they need to do. You can come back and polish later. But you might learn things that will help you later, and at least you'll be making progress. =)

How's everyone doing these days?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Because I just saw the movie "Austenland"....

What'd you get? :)

I got:

You are Marianne Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are impulsive, romantic, impatient, and perhaps a bit too brutally honest. You enjoy romantic poetry and novels, and play the pianoforte beautifully. To boot, your singing voice is captivating. You feel deeply, and love passionately.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Who is up for some writing prompts?? I love writing prompts - sometimes I find ways to work them into my WIP, sometimes I just write and enjoy a little break from my WIP, sometimes it just gives me an idea for the future that I file away. :)

#1 - Write about a girl who has never cooked a meal in her life suddenly in charge of her family's Thanksgiving dinner. Why is she sudden in charge of it? What will she make? Or will she just call in takeout?

#2 - Write about a mix up on an airplane or at an airport. Maybe it's two people's luggage gets switched, maybe there's a mix up with a taxi service or with a rental car company. Depending on the genre you like to write, how could this be either a mystery, romance or comedy?

#3 - As quickly as you can and without thinking too much about it, finish the following sentence:

"As long as I live, I will never forget the day I..."

:) Have fun!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

What Thomas the Train Taught Me About Writing...

Okay, maybe by now you're thinking I've just watched one too many pre-k movies. But today I went to a "Day out with Thomas" event with my boys. From the moment we got into the shuttle to take us to the "real" Thomas train who was hooked up to the front of a real train, it was like we were being taken to Disneyland. There was magic! There was suspension of disbelief! The shuttle was filled with kids, mostly boys, under the age of five. You could practically feel the anticipation. As we drove down the road, our driver pointed to the left. "There's Thomas! Can you see him?"

Everyone looked.

Then there were gasps. My three year old looked. Looked up at his dad. Looked again. Finally looked at me so I could see the expression I'd known I'd see there. Disbelief and delight, all mixed.

The character he loved so much was real.

We took pictures with Thomas once we got to where he was. We took a ride in one of the passenger cars (which, if you're a Thomas fan, were not actually Annie and Clarabel, but we called them that anyway...). We played all kinds of games, shopped in the gift shop, and met Sir Topham Hatt (who is the superintendent of the railway, in case you don't have kids. Or you have girls. Haha.).

The only thing that could have made it better is if it were on the Island of Sodor itself, a made-up place that I would totally go to for vacation if it was real. Seriously. Watch the intro to a Thomas movie. It has mountains, beaches, and trees where the birds sing! Anyway...

My point here is to watch the details in your stories. It was SO fun to see Thomas today, because he's the main character in the movies. And he almost seems real! Especially if you're three. But if it was just Thomas, kids wouldn't love the show so much. The other characters are believable and multi-dimensional too. And the setting, like I said, is phenomenal. Yeah, they had to make up their own island to make it so epic, but still.

So make sure in your stories that it's not just your main character who shines, but ALL of your characters, all of the places in your story. Make them REAL to us. Make them real to you first.

I told my husband the other day that my character's favorite flower is bird of paradise. That's not what she'd say if asked. She'd say daisies or roses. Something safe and expected. But deep in her heart, she's a bird of paradise type of girl.

My husband raised his eyebrows, said if I was thinking of stuff like that, maybe Norah was becoming too real. To which I said "Isn't that the point? If she's not real to me, how can she be real to them?"

So which do you need more work on--secondary characters? Or setting?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Have you ever researched filmmaking for storywriting?

I have several friends going into that industry and its fascinating. I've also heard its awesome information to incorporate, even when you plan to stick to novel writing. If you get bored or ever feel like you're hearing the same ol' craft talks over and over, you might consider branching out in that regard and taking a class or attending a conference for screenwriters. I know the ACFW conferences lately have been offering at least one class in that direction and everyone always raves over it :)

Just an idea for your Wednesday!

I personally love watching movies - especially romantic comedies or chick flicks - and picturing it as a novel instead. Seeing if it would work or not, what I would change, delete or add to put it into book form, etc. Its a fun exercise and a great excuse to watch a movie and veg ;)

What do you think?

Monday, October 21, 2013

The best is yet to come

I love writing series. I love getting to know the characters for more than just one book.

But I also always struggle with how to end the first and second book of the series. The options for an open-ended ending are endless!

(Good grief. Lots of E-N-D in that sentence!)

Let's look at a few of them, shall we?

1. The Cliffhanger

Probably the most loved by writers and most hated by readers. As a writer, it can be fun because there aren't really any rules. You can end right in the middle of an action scene - the gun is cocked, the hero is ducking, there is NO WAY OUT - and you can just frivolously type the words "The End". The reader, on the other hand, will then hate you forever because they've invested a few days into this novel and now they don't know what happens next for the foreseeable future.

This method is frequently used in sitcoms on TV to hold the viewers' interest through the off season.

2. The Question

This is one where you look at the book series like a bunch of threads. The threads that make up the first book are tied up, but the big threads - character development, long range storylines - are still open. What will happen to the characters next? This typical leaves a more satisfied reader because they have answers to their original questions in the book (what is going to happen with this problem in her life? What will the answer be to that mystery he is working on?) but it still leaves enough curiosity that they want to get the next book and keep reading (will they end up with the person I hope they end up with?).

This particular method is a favorite of mystery writers everywhere.

3. The Unattached

I have read a lot of stories like this where it technically is a series but in name or author only. There's really nothing connecting the books other than the time period, the series name or maybe the family tree (book one is about the grandmother, book two is about the mother, book three is about the daughter, for example). This "series" is really just three separate stories and there are little - if any - connecting storylines through the books. The reader usually ends up treating these as individual stories.

I've seen this also where the books are about a sibling group and each book focuses on one of the siblings. The supporting characters are the same in all the books, so you have a sense of a continuing thread through the books, but you could still theoretically read them out of order and have a pretty good sense of what is going on.

So, series writers out there... what is your favorite method when it comes to writing series? And what is your favorite one to read??

Friday, October 18, 2013

How Do I Plot My Stories?

Let me count the ways.

1. I use Scrivener, and line up the notecards neatly.

2. I handwrite things on index cards and shuffle them around as needed.

3. I put ideas in list form on blank computer paper.

4. I type out ideas in Microsoft word.

5. I talk to myself out loud when I'm driving.

6. I pester my husband and tell him my plot while he's watching TV.

7. I use sticky notes. Real or on the computer.

So one of my writer friends mentioned that she feels like she should know "how" she plots stories on the book she's working on now, which is her seventh. And it got me thinking. I don't think I ever plot two stories the same way. I don't even plot one the same way all the way through.

ADD? What? Hey, look, there's something shiny!

Haha. Yeah. Okay, I'm back. Anyway, I can't decide if this plotting-technique-jumping is good or bad. On one hand, I'm never bored with how I plot. On the other, it'd be so fun to have a system, you know? I'm all about systems. Maybe to an unhealthy degree. =)

I'm still thinking.

How about y'all? Do you plot every story the same? What works for you? Are you one of those people who will write as many books as Gilbert Morris (anyone read the House of Winslow series back in the day?) and plot them all the same way? Or do you think you'll always like variety in your plotting techniques?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A little bit of randomness, a little dash of 'sup?

Hey Scribblers!

Sorry this post is so late in the day. This week has been beyond hectic and I thought it was Monday all week, to the point of sending the wrong lunch to my daughter's school. (chicken nugget fiasco, in other words - don't ask)

I just wanted to stop in and say HEY and I'M HERE and STILL UNDER DEADLINE and JUST KEEP SWIMMING and other means of encouragement directed toward myself and you alike ;)

Let's do a check in post today. How is everyone doing on their goals? What's next on your list? Do you need inspiration? Motivation? Prayer? A kick in the rear? We're here for you guys and good for all of the above :)

We're also always taking questions or topic suggestions from you guys! So hit us up if you need help figuring out something crafty or want to better understand a certain element of the industry. If we don't know, we can probably find out :)

And because it's late and I'm on too much caffeine, here's a fun question for the night.

Of the following choices, if you HAD to pick one - which would you rather?

(A) Never write again
(B) Never read again
(C) Never sing again
(D) Never see again
(E) Never eat chocolate again
(F) Never go shopping again

And why? GO :)

(If I had to pick, I'd pick E. I know that's a shock. But the others are too vital! Singing draws me closer to Jesus these days, and fights of the lies from the enemy. Seeing, well - yeah. I like driving my new car so there's that. Writing and reading????? Can't give that up!! And shopping, well, can I just say SHOES? Holla!!)  :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Personality Fun

So I may be just a tiny bit obsessed with personality tests. I blame it on my personality. I like to know everything about people and how they work so I can pay attention to their emotions. Or something. =) But seriously, I love them, and I think everyone else should too.

Have you used personality tests for your characters before? I sat down to take the Myers Briggs (my favorite!) test for one of my characters the other day and my husband was so disturbed. Haha. He's normal, so the idea that I was taking a test for a made-up person, worse yet, someone I made up and should know, was too much for him to handle. ;)

So going around facebook there's been a list of animals that match all 16 types of the Myers Briggs test. This is a quick, pretty well done way to see which type someone is, SO I wanted to make sure y'all had all seen it so you can use it for your characters and see why they are the way they are. You can check it out here.

Also, this is a good place to take the test if you want the "official" (ahem, as official as you can get for free...) answers, and then go back to check the animal list.

If you already know your heroine's personality well, what about your hero? Your antagonist? Knowing more about them, being able to ask WHY even more (and sometimes get answers!) can only help. Have fun! And let us know--what type is your current main character? Are they the same as you? Similar? Wildly different?

Also, brief character/author similarity trivia: I once wrote a character who HATED coffee. She only drank tea. Crazy, right?

So take the test, look at the descriptions! What do you think?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cough, cough, hack, hack

Ah friends. I am sick.

And yet, the joy of my job is that I work from home. And while I ADORE working from home 99.7% of the time, that 0.3% that I'm sick, I hate it.

Because sadly, there are no sick days for a writer. Or a mom, but that's a WHOLE other blog that would likely involve a pretty significant chunk dedicated to an ode about sleeping in on Saturdays. ;) (P.S. It's worth the sleep deprivation.)

I've got a book releasing tomorrow (YAY!), a bunch of interviews this week and a lot of things scheduled that just keep piling up with or without my doctor's note. So, I'm sucking it up (while shoving a cough drop in my mouth so I can suck it up without flagging a coughing fit), getting myself up and dressed and trying not to complain while I give my little disclaimers to the poor interviewers on the phone who are probably convinced they are going to contract my cough and subsequent laryngitis through the phone.

I am letting myself have a brief break from the novella I'm working on though. I'm not Wonder Woman or anything.

So. That's what I've got going on. And I want to hear from YOU now. What are you up to? What are you needing or wanting to know about the writing process - whether it's how to write a first chapter or how to write back a potential agent?

Have a lovely night! Here's to hoping for a congestion-free day for us all tomorrow. :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Soak it In

It's the subject of about a billion songs for a reason. As people we are so driven for what's next, for what's coming, for what dreams we can pursue and when we'll (finally!) see them fulfilled.

And that's great. Mostly.

I talked with Becky Wade at the ACFW conference last week, in Starbucks, and the conversation we had really stuck with me and has been kind of resonating in my mind along with my own thoughts. She was saying that she almost misses the days when she'd gotten her first contract but the book wasn't out (which is where I am now), because there was less pressure.

I laughed when she said it. Because I know she's right. Through some miracle, I think God has finally convinced me to appreciate where I am in my writing career.

I was that person who kind of wanted to whack published authors with my nametag, or something equally harmless, when they said at conferences to "enjoy being unpublished!" and "enjoy the time to write for fun!"

Blah. Blah. Blah. Whacks with a nametag for all of them. ;)

It's hard when someone else is where you want to be to hear them say this and resist the urge to resort to at least rolling your eyes. They insisted, at conference after conference (I went to 4 ACFW conferences before I got a contract) that you're never truly done dreaming. As soon as one dream if fulfilled, you want another, so soak in where you are, because every stage has it's unique blessings.

And you know what? They're actually right.

I think I finally started to realize this before I heard back from Love Inspired about my contract. I'd been rejected (haha, AGAIN) by an agent and thought about giving up. But I really, really, really wanted to see my name on a book. It had been one of my first dreams. I couldn't even remember when it started; it was that much a part of me. Then I remembered wisdom I'd gotten from a movie. I think it's "Cool Runnnings." One of the guys tells the others (from experience) that if you're not enough WITH a gold medal, you'll never be enough without it.

The first time I heard that quote I thought it was stupid. Haha. Seriously!

But the longer I thought about it, the more I realized it was true. If we can't be happy, be fulfilled to a degree (even if you have unfulfilled dreams and longings that linger), where we are, we will never reach the place where we're happy.

So. All of that to say, wherever you are, try to enjoy it. If you're topping the bestseller list somewhere, just enjoy that. Don't try to strive for more weeks up there, or dive headfirst into your next project. Enjoy your moment!

If you're getting contracts, but they're not the "big" ones you REALLY dream of. Enjoy it.

If you're waiting to hear back from an agent and you're really, really hoping this will be the thing that finally catapults you headfirst into a writing career, try to find enjoyment in the waiting. You're talking to agents! REAL agents who actually care to even look at your work. How fun is that??? =)

If you're waiting for your chance to go to a conference, for the motivation to finish, for the courage to start, SOAK in this season! It's an exciting time, the beginning of a dream, when the first sparkly bits of hope and excitement start to dance inside of you and you start to wonder if you could really, truly do this. I know you want your dreams fulfilled now, but if there was no struggle, no waiting, your dreams wouldn't be as cool as they are.

So where are you today? Can you find something to appreciate about your season in life or writing, crazy as it may drive you sometimes? Slow down. =) Soak it in. =) That's where I am today. Just trying to slow it down and enjoy it. I've only got one contract for now. For a book that isn't even out. But I don't want to rush by trying to think about my next 89786895 projects and making a detailed career plan to work on every waking moment of the day. I want to enjoy this. I want to be thankful. =)

Thanks for letting me share.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A star is born...

This is a special post featuring one of our Scribble Chick readers, LAURIE TOMLINSON! :)

It was so fun to meet Laurie, loyal Scribble Chick follower and romance writer, at the 2013 ACFW Conference this past week in Indianapolis. 

And guess what? She entered the Contemporary category of the GENESIS CONTEST and....WON! :)

If that doesn't encourage you to enter contests and put your manuscripts out there, guys, I don't know what will! 

Check out these pics I snagged while yelling like crazy for her:)

This one was the projector screen listing the finalists...

Now Laurie accepting her award and giving a thank you speech!

How adorable is she? :)
And her speech was flawless. So smooth. I would have been a mumbling mess. 

Here's Laurie's story blurb from the manuscript that won:

Being jobless and single can seem like the end of the world. But sometimes it’s just the beginning.

Spencer Brooks has always dreamed of how her storybook ending will unfold. Rewarding career. Picket fence. Husband who makes Prince Charming seem like a waste of perfectly good paper and ink.
But when life after college doesn’t turn out as planned, Spencer returns to the small Oklahoma town she promised she’d never call home again to draft a better blueprint for her future. Because so far, her best attempts have landed her back under her parents’ roof with an inbox empty of job leads. And her only relationship is with the mop and broom of the local coffee shop.

As Spencer attempts to stay out of her flawless cousin’s shadow and dodge her newly engaged ex-boyfriend, she must learn to surrender control and discover God’s plan for her life. Even if it looks nothing like her own. 
Can Spencer learn to trust that only God can lead her to the life—and love—she’s always dreamed about?

And here's some facts about Laurie!

Bio: Laurie Tomlinson is a wife and mom from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who enjoys reading and writing stories that uncover God’s grace in the “wait-and-see” seasons. She is a member of My Book Therapy and the American Christian Fiction Writers, and received the 2013 Genesis Award for the Contemporary category.

A self-professed bookworm, Laurie earned a degree in literature but bypassed the traditional teaching route to build a career as a book publicist. For six years, she has enjoyed helping authors identify their niche in the marketplace and draw from their strengths to ensure their messages are conveyed. She now looks forward to sharing the stories of love, grace, and redemption God has placed on her heart.

In addition to writing, Laurie enjoys cooking, singing with her church’s worship band, and going on adventures with her husband, daughter, and yellow Lab. She always has a good novel in her bag, tucked between the diapers. 

Here's me with Laurie! We're so proud of our Chicklet! :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

It is Monday.

And oh my. Is it ever a Monday!!

I'm so tired today and having so much trouble focusing, not to mention the fact that I'm completely blue over missing the ACFW conference.

(And green with envy.)

(I'm teal.)

("The color of gangrene.")

(100 bonus point to whoever can name that movie. I'm pretty sure I've now used up my parentheses quotient for the next six months.)

Anyway. Enough complaining. And wishing I was the one drinking Starbucks with my fave author friends and meeting some of our awesome readers. ;) There is always next year! ;)

Needless to say, not a lot of writing is occurring in my house today. I've been working instead on catching up on emails, writing blogs and doing some of the non-writery stuff of being a writer.

I never in my life thought there would be so much non-writing that goes into being a writer!

What are you up to today?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Conference Catch-up, Congrats, and Craft Notes! (Yay for C's!)

The conference was SO fantastic!! :)  

I hate that we missed so many of you that I know would have wanted to be there. But it was super fun finding loyal ScribbleChick readers LAURIE TOMLINSON and CJOY and getting pics and a bit of time to chat inbetween all the chaos. Try to come next year guys - 2014 will be in St. Louis, Missouri.

Special shout out to Laurie for winning her category in the Genesis! Woohoo!! I had to throw that out there, but here in a few days we're going to do a big feature of her and her award. We're so proud of her! (and guys, this could be YOU next year! Don't give up. Laurie is proof.)

I'm going to share quickly today a few notes from Brandilyn Collin's (suspense author) class I attended on Writing Tight and Sentence Structure. She took first-pages submissions from volunteers before the conference, and well, basically ripped them apart. lol Not a full edit for content or grammar or punctuation or any of those things, but strictly on the basis of going after extra words and rhythm in the writing.

This is something that takes a lot of work to master. But it's so effective and will give your writing a quality that rises high above the others on the editor/agent's desk you are pursuing, so listen up and practice these tips, okay guys?

I wish I could share the examples she gave of her actual edits, but the bottom line to remember, is sentence rhyhtm. We all understand pacing by now, hopefully. Rhythm is the feel of your sentence with the goal being to make the reader FEEL what your character FEELS.

For example, from Brandilyn's class, she used a story from a historical manuscript, where a mom and boy were going on a picnic. The woman is taking in the day as they walk, thinking of all the fun they're going to have, hearing and seeing the details of the woods and beauty around her. Those sentences are longer and flowing and descriptive. Then the mom hears a noise ahead in the woods. After Brandilyn got through with the structure rearrangement, you could FEEL the change the character felt (peace to panic) immediately simply through the sentence structure/order.

The author hadn't changed the structure, and the sentences were still like they were before. A little telling, and rambling (not in a wrong kind of way but not in a way that fit the sudden sense of story mood)

For a change like that, from peace to panic, from serenity to suspense, you have to think short, choppy, fragments like you would in your own head if you were suddenly faced with something scary. You're walking along, la la la, and then hear a noise or a gunshot in a deserted wood, when you're alone with your child, and you're going to stop. Your heart is going to pound and adrenaline will flow and you won't be thinking as clearly and detailed as you were before.

Instead of: (this is me paraphrasing my own version)

Then a noise sounded in the woods in ahead. What was it? They hadn't seen anyone come by, and this was the only trail that led to the picnic area. What could possibly be making that noise? Another noise followed by a groan made Sarah's heart pound in her chest. She moved in front of her son. "Stay back, Toby." Then she felt in her pocket for her gun that she always carried ever since Old Man Peters had that issue with the coyote in his yard.

Try this:

Suddenly, a noise ahead.

Her heart thudded and she grabbed for her son's arm. "Stay back." Where was her gun?

There. Front pocket.

She gripped it in both hands, moving in front of David. The silence roared in her ears, until broken by a gunshot and a groan. She clenched the gun tighter.


Okay, see how the short sentences, the choppiness, the broken up pacing, and the use of strong words like "thudded, grabbed, gripped, clenched" lend a totally different feel than the first example?

(Brandilyn did this sooooo much better but I hope you guys get the gist)

You feel the shift in atmosphere in the second example, don't you? The panic, the "oh no". The first example is too flowing and long and thoughtful. This really goes back to POV (ponit of view) as well because you have to remember to not overexplain to your reader, but rather stay true to what the POV character is actually going through/feeling/experiencing in that scene. You can explain later.  :)

Brandilyn also reminded us as writers to always keep the order of events straight in regards to action/reaction. Never phrase your sentence where the reaction happens in front of the action.

Conference classses are available for purchase at if you'd like, as well. :)

Friday, September 13, 2013


So this is a conference related post, so if you're here, come find me and say hi! (if you haven't already), but if you're NOT here, don't be sad, okay? We're secretly taking notes of everything we're learning and we're going to pass that along to you. ;)

My mind is swirling around today with so many thoughts, something I've come to expect during the few days a conference lasts. There's just so much to absorb, to take in, that sometimes it's almost TOO much.

So I think for today I want to say that I wish I had some insightful bit of writing wisdom to share, but today my brain is pretty much on overload. Here's a short list of the best I have for now.

1. Writing is hard. Even when all your writing dreams come true, it's still hard. Worth it, but hard.

2. Writing isn't as lonely as everyone makes it sound. There are people out there like you and it's fun to get to be with them, whether in person at a conference or online like we do here. =)

3. Writing is a talent that some people have and some people don't.

4. Writing is a skill that can also be learned. (How's that for a nice contradiction to #3?)

5. Writing, in and of itself, IS a calling. God doesn't necessarily call everyone to be a best selling author. But He DOES call us to be obedient and do what we're supposed to (so if writing is it, just doing it is good!)

Anything in particular you want to learn from my experience at this conference? Things I should pay special attention to so I can pass on?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Leaaaavin' on a jet plane...

I'm heading out in the morning to the ACFW Conference in Indianapolis. I hope to see some of you there!! (waving at Cjoy and my roomie Sarah Varland!) I can't wait! The conference is always a highlight of my year for multiple reasons and this year is no exception, also for multiple reasons. Bring on the friendship, the coffee, the networking, the worship, the learning, the fancy dress and new shoes. OH yeah! :)

Don't worry. If you can't come this year, don't beat yourself up, just start saving for next year. Or start tucking dollars away for a difference conference, like Mt. Hermon (Erynn Mangum has been to that one!) There's a bunch of quality conferences to choose from, in different price ranges, I'm just SO partial to the ACFW one because I've been a member for so long and have watched so many amazing God-things happen at that one. It's truly something for your author-bucket-list!

I hope to have lots of good notes on the craft of writing to share with you when I get back. I'll make sure Sarah does the same ;)  Hopefully we'll get something productive done between staying up all night drinking white chocolate mochas.

What goals can you set for yourself to accomplish and share when we get back?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Investing in Your Writing

Sometimes you're stuck. Uninspired. Out. Of. Ideas. Bored. Discouraged. If and when any of those things apply, sometimes you have to shake it up a little. Here are some fun ways to do that!

10 of My Favorite ways to Invest in Your Writing Life for $5 or Less...

1. Go to Starbucks and buy yourself some kind of inspirational coffee drink. Sometimes I get my favorite, sometimes if I'm writing a story where the heroine loves coffee, I'll get her favorite.

2. Wander around Barnes and Noble. Look at the books. Smell the books. Think about yours or don't; either way you'll leave inspired.

3. Buy a new notebook (I like the black and white composition ones!) and some pens (I like the purple papermate pens, but everyone has their own favorite. We writers are picky about our pens, right? ;) ). Sometimes just having a new medium to think on, brainstorm on, helps.

4. Buy a book. Read it. Think about what you loved or what you didn't. This will apply to your writing and help you with it even if you don't intentionally think about it. Personally, I can't analyze "fun" books too much or it becomes work for me. I can analyze the stew out of literature, but I like to let fun books just be for fun, BUT I know I'm absorbing things those writers did well. At least I like to think so. =)

5. Go out for a (cheap) dinner with a friend. Remember, living life is one of the keys to writing about it.

6. Buy some new lip gloss. I don't know why, but it helps with everything. Save this tip for any number of problems in life. ;)

7. Go outside and write. Or go inside and write. Go somewhere you don't usually go and write. (This one is free!)

8. Wander around a clothing store. Pick out clothes your heroine would wear and try them on. Think about why she wears those clothes and you'll learn a lot about who she is.

9. Buy some sticky notes. Seriously, who can stare at a stack of brightly colored sticky notes and not be a little inspired?

10. Save your $5. Save it for a writing conference, for a comfier desk chair, for conference CD recordings, for a book on writing craft that you've been wanting. If you do this enough, you'll have some serious cash to invest in your writing, even if you're not seriously overflowing with cash. $5 at a time doesn't seem like TOO much (at least most weeks).

Any others you'd add?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

When Doubts Overwhelm

Dreams... they go hand-in-hand with doubts. That maybe you weren't made to do this... maybe this isn't your battle... maybe this belongs to someone else; someone more talented, someone more worthy, someone more... salable.

Someone who doesn't look... smell... act... feel like you.

Know something? Doubts come out in full force when you're almost to the finish line. You've got it coming, friend.

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. {1 Cor. 1:27}

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. {Acts 4:13}

Join Bekah with your own fistful of chocolate chip cookies for her FREE online study of The Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting & God's Purity Plan. (Also, by joining, you register to possibly win a $100 gift card and 12 free books for you and your favorite friends.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

I hate Satan, and I hate ants. The end.

Betsy here.

I know this isn't my day to post. I'm just taking over here because I'm a little nuts at the moment. Was sitting down to schedule a post for Wednesday, and well, I think I'm supposed to post it now instead. Sorry, Erynn and BJ, for cutting in line!

If you are my friend on FB, you've seen my recent struggle these past few weeks with ants.

In my closet.

Then in my daughter's closet. ON HER CLOTHES.

Then in my living room.

And I just sat down to type this blog and they started biting my toes under the computer. I kid you not.

I am still debating if I'm going to laugh, cry, or go ahead and give in and just go insane.

Do you ever feel like it's just too much? TOO MUCH? I'm there. Right now, right here, this moment. At any given time I'm overwhelmed technically, on my wit's end emotionally, overloaded mentally, and bone-aching weary physically. I hate satan, and I hate ants, and right now, they're all one and the same. At least one is clearly being orchestrated by the other.

I almost didn't write this post. Because I just wanted to go to bed and hide under the covers and ignore reality once more. It's not just the ants. The ants are just the straw on my poor camel's back, which is in serious need of a spinal adjustment.

But that would be admitting defeat. And I'm sick of defeat and sick of the enemy winning. So I'm going to write this post and I'm going to make it as in satan's face as I possibly can. I'm standing up and fighting back even if I'm wobbly, even if my armor is chipped, even if I'm bloody and tired and battle weary. And even if my toes now sting from ant bites.

And no, none of this has anything to do with writing or the craft of fiction other than the simple fact that if you are going to write christian fiction and dedicate your writing to God's glory, you better get ready for some ants.

So here we go.

Fighting back with the only thing I have and the only thing that matters.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  (AMEN!)

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (We are more than conquerors!) 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (Perfect love casts out fear)

And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where[b] the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  (you reading that one, satan? you getting this?!)

I'm going to make this even better. If any of you out there have no idea what I'm talking about here, and don't have a personal relationship with Jesus, and don't understand spiritual warfare, or don't know where you will go when you die, please message me. 

I am happy to talk to you about how much Jesus loves you, how He died for you on the cross, and how because of His priceless sacrifice, we can accept Him and live eternally with God in heaven. We can have abundant life now on earth. We can have access to the Holy Spirit. We are never alone or forsaken because Jesus chose us. He chose YOU. He loves you, He died for you, and He has a plan for your life and for your future regardless of what you've done in the past. You are valuable to Him. You MATTER. And you can have victory. 

I can have victory. 

See? I still have to preach to the choir now and then. 

I'd love to talk to you more about Jesus if you'd ever like.

Okay, now back to writing.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Confession Time!

Writers are a little weird. Let's call it like it is, okay? =) Actually, if we're doing that, we'd call writers a LOT weird. But anyway...

I'm getting ready to head to a writing conference and one of the most fun things about that conference is the fact that everyone there is weird in a similar way. We can have conversations about made up people at the things that they do almost without our control. We can say things like "I just can't get my character to have this conversation with so-and-so" without people staring at us blankly, saying "You know you made them up...right?"

Ah, group weirdness. I'm looking forward to it.

Talking about characters like they're real is only one of the weird things we do as writers. Go ahead. Admit it. You've done some weird things too.

My Weird Writer Quirk Confessions:

1. Sometimes I have to act things out before I can write them. Like, I'll say something and then tilt my head like I'm perplexed. Or I'll rub my hand over my face, you know, like you do when you're frustrated, to figure out how to best describe that.

2. I once ordered a magazine subscription (InStyle) ONLY because I was going to write a character who was super into fashion, and my idea of fashion is jeans and a t-shirt. Maybe jeans and a sweater, if it's winter. I needed to read this to get in her head. It totally worked! I also became moderately more style saavy. Side benefit. Haha.

3. I see my characters in different places. A girl with red hair walked into my English class a few years ago who looked JUST LIKE (I mean JUST like--to the point that if that book ever gets contracted I'm going to ask her permission to just give the art department her photo for the cover...) my main character. This was totally mind blowing, and became even cooler (and creepier!) when she started dating another student of mine who I realized looked disturbingly like the guy she would have dated in my story...

So go ahead, y'all, let's have some fun with this. What are some of your weird writer quirks? Can you only write in a certain place, with a certain pen? Do you talk to yourself? How do you get in your character's head? Have you ever ordered the same coffee drink over and over at Starbucks so you'd know why your character liked it so much (what? That's just me? Hm...)?

Confession time! Looking forward to reading yours!