Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Can you help a writer out?

If you have a "larger" connection you can share, let me know.

When your book comes out, I'll do the same for you!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Based on a True Story...?

How much of you is in your characters? How many of them have things in common with people you know in real life?

My first published book just  came out this month (which still doesn't seem real, by the way!) and people keep telling me they're reading it. I've been so thankful for the support! But what keeps making me laugh is the way people keep trying to find real life people in the story. I don't deny that a lot of me slipped into this main character, and yeah, now that people mention it, the hero does have one or two things in common with my hubby...

But seriously? They really are made-up people.

I think that's one of the things that scares me most about people actually reading what I've written. I'm worried they'll take everything my heroine thinks, every way she views the world, and think that I do too. And really? It's not true. We may have a lot in common, but we are different people.

(Side note: I even wrote a heroine once who didn't like coffee. Can you imagine the creative thinking that took for me??)

I do draw inspiration from friends and family members to keep characters authentic. But you can't go through my stories and draw direct parallels.

At least none that were intentional on my part. Haha.

What about you? Do you base people in your stories firmly on people you know in real life? Do you take inspiration?

And perhaps the one I'm most curious about--how much of you is in your heroines? (Tell me I'm not the only one who wonders that when I read a book?)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Strengthening your plot

A reader requested one of us tackle the following topic:

How can I make a plot stronger, more enticing, make it stand out from all the rest? It seems my WIP is a bit lackluster and I'd like to make it shine a little brighter...

If there was a solitary answer to this, we'd all be best sellers and rollin' in the dough ;)

But I'll try to help!

First, congrats on even asking this question, because that's HUGE.  :)  It shows you have noticed your story isn't what you want it to be, isn't what you know you are capable of creating, and that's a big step. Knowing something is wrong is the first step to fixing it. Discontent leads to progress, and all that. So kudos on that! :)

I think next you need to dissect what is wrong. Saying you need a stronger plot is pretty vague. What exactly about your existing plot is unsatisfactory? Start there. Is it boring in general? Is it not believable, or feels contrived? Is there simply not enough happening externally?

I believe one way of making a plot stronger is to really tie the external happenings to the internal. For example, if your heroine has a phobia of heights, or water, or enclosed spaces...then by all means, stick her in 'em. Make the plot highlight the character's unique struggle (whether that's fear of falling in love, jadedness over a broken relationship, fears/phobias of external circumstances, fear of failure, mother issues, father issues, etc.)

It's been said before in craft classes to answer the following question - what is the WORST thing that could happen to your heroine? Then do it, and up it a notch. ;)   Seems trite but seriously, there's power there.

Make sense?

As for making your plot enticing and stand out from the rest...that's going to be your unique voice and spin that you put on your story. The plot alone could be on the milder side, but your writing style make it sparkle. Or vice versa - you could have a real adrenaline-pumpin' plot, but if you're not writing with passion and from your heart and really invested in your story, it could come across dull or flat.

Bottom line, there's no simple or all encompassing answers here, but I hope I have helped a little. Feel free to ask more specific questions along these lines and I can try again!  :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

You've Got This


Some people are going to tell you aren’t enough. Not pretty enough. Not intelligent enough. Not talented enough.

Let me tell you a secret. Those people are acting like insecure cowards.

On the day you were born, you were enough. The moment you began to form in the womb, you were enough. The day you were first discovered–whoever you were–you were enough.

From the beginning of eternity, you were enough. You were planned–every detail–every moment–planned to be enough.

Nothing you do or do not do will subtract from or add to your value. Because from the beginning of time, you were enough.

You are enough.

You cannot disappoint God, because disappointment requires surprise and God is never surprised. He knows your actions and your heart from beginning to end. You are enough because HE is enough.

Rest in that today. That you–will always be valuable… always be wanted…always be enough. And when you begin to see yourself as enough, you will begin to see others the same way.

Nothing they do or refrain from doing will add to or detract from their value.

They are enough because He is enough. And because of that you can always see them as valuable… wanted… enough.

We are enough because… He will always be enough.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Research Trip in Reverse

Hey y'all! I'm back from the Florida Keys, rested and tan. =) I paid attention to everything around me when I was there (or at least I tried to!) so I could use the research for future stories. I still need to take the time to make notes and make sure I don't forget anything, but that's in my plan.

This trip was a little bit backwards as far as writing research goes. I'm not currently working on anything set in the Keys, but I love it as a setting so I decided I would just research (by having fun!) and let my imagination play around with whatever ideas came to it while I was relaxing and as a result I have not one, but two new story ideas starting to simmer in the back of my mind. Yay!!!!

Both of these stories started with a setting that inspired me, but the next thing after that for both of these was a character (the heroine) and her occupation. That's not always how inspiration strikes me, so it's interesting that that's how it worked this time.

So...what are y'all working on? Any fun "research" trips in anyone's future? How does a story start for you? Is it always the same?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A little bit of Starbucks, a little bit of learning, and a LOT more starbucks...

I just registered for the 2014 ACFW Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, September 25-28th! Who's coming with me??


Trust me. If you've been debating attending a conference, this one is THE conference to attend in regards to professional quality, networking opportunities, courses to enhance your craft,  etc. Not to mention the FUN and the fellowship and the worship! It's an amazing time every year.

Registration opened last night, so if you sign up soon, you can get a great rate. It's cheaper for members of ACFW, but non members are of course encouraged to come. You can also become an ACFW member (small annual dues is all that's required) in order to get the better rate. Also, hotels are discounted because of the ACFW group, so this super super classy hotel is only like $150 a night. Score! And you divide that by a roommate or two, and voila - Cheap!

This is what the conference looks like, in no particular order:

Heartfelt worship time guaranteed to refresh you!

Delicious gourmet food

STARBUCKS in the hotel (what what!!)

A fancy gala awards night where you get to dress up (come on, who misses Prom just a little!)

Meeting new friends

Reconnecting with old friends

Learning new elements of the writing craft through an amazing line up of courses

Face to face networking with agents/editors in the industry - all the top agencies and houses, all the ones you're so eager to get a foot in the door with! They will be there!!

15 minute appointments with said agents/editors in which you get to pitch yourself and your work in progress. THIS IS CRUCIAL to breaking into the industry. It's not a guarantee and of course people get published without going to conferences and having these appts, but it is a HUGE help. Editors confirm this every year - putting that face and personality to a submission truly makes a big difference.

Late night giggles and fellowship with new and old friends at the bar/lounge/lobby

Inspiring and insightful keynote address

Super nice hotel and rooms for those few hours you actually sleep


The chance to get away from home and family and the everyday and get fired up with likeminded people (fellow crazy writers) who actually GET you ;)

The chance to hug ME!!! Yay!