Friday, January 19, 2007

Falling in Love Again

“Savor each breath and each blessing. Remember the time you laughed so hard, jumped so high, held so tight. Remember the hour when you watched the scarlet sky fold to night. Remember the holy moment when you touched the tiny fingers of birth. Miracles are not to be asked for. They are to be witnessed, discovered, and praised, for they are happening, all the time.”
~Mike Levine

Last week I wrote about a novel I was pulling out to revise, another 24-hour novel that I thought had potential for Samhain.

And I was bored by it. The characters had no oomph, no flavor, and the plot fell flat. Ugh.

Guess what? I like it again. I re-outlined a major section and changed up the ending and a driving force of conflict. Then yesterday I spent a few hours writing like mad, and it was one of those times when the characters worked and the dialogue worked and I liked where it was heading.

It’s amazing how sometimes you can tweak things and fall in love with your writing and your story ideas all over again.

From Marianne's blog:
A meme from Booking Through Thursday:
Grab the book closest to you.
Open to page 123, look down to the 5th sentence.
Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog.
Include the title and the author's name.


From Paradise, USA:
Ash was asking him something. Eddie fought back the fog of anger and tried to focus. “Sorry. What?”

Not too bad, I guess.

From One Night in Boston:
Maggie stood in the middle of the dance floor and fought for stillness she couldn’t find. This isn’t happening to me. It can’t be.

Decent (notice the repeated use of "fought." Hmm)

And from One Night in Memphis, the WIP I'm currently revising:
Resentment seeped into her brain. She hadn’t wanted this. She had avoided any connection with everyone here tonight.

A good exercise. Try it.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Day The Words Went Away

“…we are part of one another--laughing, loving, losing each other in the endless universe of fire and ice and darkness and finding each other again, a union of souls and stardust. The wonder is not that we die, but that we ever were.”
~Mike Levine

Our community suffered a great loss over the weekend: the editor of our local paper died at the age of 54.

Too young!

He was a great champion of the community. He was the kind of guy you felt as though you knew personally. And he was a brilliant writer. Readers would clamor for his columns to be re-run, especially the one about giving thanks at the holidays & the one about watching children grow up as you say goodbye on the first day of school. It ran every September, the latter one.

He left, a few years ago, to take a bigger position at a NYC paper. Within 5 years, he had returned. He missed the small town feel, he said. And the community embraced him for it.

And the saddest thing for me, really, is that I'll never read another column by this witty wordmaster. Makes you realize how much the written word can get inside and affect people you never even meet in person.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Finding New Words

“Of course I hang on tight, she said. You can’t believe the kind of stuff that happens when you let go.”

Anyone watch American Idol last night? I watched the first 3 seasons devotedly, but the last 2 I sort of lost interest. It’s been interesting to watch talents like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood make it big, though, and you wonder how many other really talented singers there are who never get discovered.

Or how many really talented writers there are who never get published…

I was working on a new (well, a serious revision of an old) 24-hour novel yesterday and BAM! This idea for a completely new story leaped into my mind like it was about to take up residence for the long haul.

I brainstormed like crazy for about an hour and churned out an outline that I really like. The I reluctantly added it to the file of “Story Ideas” while I returned to the one I was actually working on to begin with.

Do you ever do that? Find yourself torn between ideas?

Side note: I’m reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards right now, quite an interesting story about a doctor who delivers his own twins (this is 1964) and when the daughter turns out to have Down’s Syndrome, sends her away with the nurse and tells his wife she died at birth. The nurse, rather than give the baby to an institution, leaves town and adopts her. And that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

I like the author’s writing, and I think the story and the characters have a lot of potential. The one thing that’s bugging me right now? Every other chapter, she refers to a baby’s (or even a small child’s) hands as “stars” or “starfish.” Well, yeah, it’s a good image, but it’s getting overdone.

Ever notice writers who do that? Use the same mannerisms or comparisons or phrases in the same book or from book to book? I haven’t decided if it’s an author’s mark, making it sort-of OK, or the inability (or lack of desire) to think up a new turn of phrase. Ah, well.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


"'Anyone can slay a dragon,' he told me, 'but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That's what takes a real hero.'"

~Brian Andreas

Only time for a quick blog today, as I’m off to school after a 3-day weekend. The weather says the storm that hit the Midwest is heading this way, but it’s not here yet…


Why do I have such a hard time creating it in my writing? I noticed, over the weekend, that 3 of the novels I’m currently working on end up with the hero and heroine having their Black Moment in (or just about to enter) a hospital. As soon as I realized that, I changed the plot of one of them entirely. But why is that? Why do I equate conflict with pain and injury and possible death? I suppose that is one way of creating a desperate, tense climax. But it’s not very creative, I’m afraid.

I have another writing friend who falls back on a natural disaster--storm, tornado, flood--to create her Black Moment. The third novel she wrote with this M.O, she finally took a second look and realized she should use something else.

Do you find yourself relying on the same techniques to up the conflict in your writing? And if not, how do you avoid it?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Making a Difference

“This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy…Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.”

~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you didn’t see Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” (and I didn’t, but wanted to), you can go to this website and get a free DVD: SHARE THE TRUTH

I do believe we have an obligation to be careful consumers while we’re here on this earth, both of natural resources and material items and intangible ideals, and as much as possible strive to make it a place where our children will be cherished and safe in decades to come…

You've Experienced 88% of Life

You have an amazing amount of life experience. In fact, you've seen and done more than most people.
So congratulate yourself on what you've done so far. The future is only going to be more of the same! I guess in 2007 I should work on experiencding the other 12%, whatever that is...

Got my contracts from Samhain Publishing this weekend, signed and popped them in the mail. Exciting!

Am currently working on a writing-craft article about using animals to show character development, and the editor at WOW-Women on Writing is interested on publishing it in their March issue. She’s been terrific at email correspondence, sending these very long and detailed letters about her thoughts & suggestions. My impression is that WOW is a brand new ezine trying hard to make it, and, from the looks of some of the author-agent-editor interviews they’ve had, and the level of activity with their contests and links and columns, they’re doing pretty well so far.

Today? I'm enjoying a day off from work and revising some old stuff to get it newly ready for submission in the coming months.

Oh! And I ran a 5K yesterday (that’s 3.1 miles…the .1 is very important) in 26:34, which is pretty good for an old lady like me, better than I had hoped for.

What about you? Doing anything interesting today?