July 30, 2009

Got Some Good HIP Action?


So what did you really think I was going to write about? LOL ... A dancer, I am not. I like to dance to make my kids laugh, but that's about it. I keep telling my husband someday we are going to take dance lessons, but nah...we never will. We'd laugh too much.
I'm still reading James Scott Bell's book, Revision & Self-Editing and he talks about HIPs. Here is how he breaks it down:
HOOK: This is making your writing hard to put down. It is not just used at the beginning of your book, but all throughout it. You want to give your reader a reason to keep turning the page, so every scene needs to draw the reader into it. This can be done through the opening line, through dialogue, and setting. You want to start your scene at, or close to, the action of the scene. You also want to establish the viewpoint right up front.
INTENSITY: "The greater the trouble, the greater the intensity." You don't want any dull parts, whatsoever. You need to keep tension in every scene. It doesn't have to be high end tension, but enough to keep the reader in anticipation.
PROMPT: To me this is like a hook, but only at the end of your scene and/or chapter. This is where you prompt the reader to keep on reading. Here's a few of Bell's ideas: a mysterious line of dialogue, an image of foreboding,a secret suddenly revealed, and a question left hanging in the air.
So have you been putting your HIPs in action? A little rusty from disuse? Or do you have some great moves?

July 29, 2009

Layering Conversations

I've got a question. I know, I know, another one, you say! I promise I will post on something more interesting next time.

I read something on Seekerville today and wondered what in the world it meant. The post was about the RWA conference, which was very interesting, but I had a question about something novelist Brenda Novak suggested.

Layer conversations with subtext to add richness.

Okay, so what does that mean? What does that look like? Anybody know? Can anyone give me examples?



July 27, 2009

My Firstborn

I have shared all my kids with you except my oldest, so I thought I'd tell you a bit about my firstborn on his 23rd birthday. I was 20 years old when I had him, so this poor child had to endure all my mistakes as I learned to be a parent. He was such a fun child, with lots of energy and very verbal at an early age.

He has always been a consciencious child, wanting to do the right thing and wanting to please. I can remember having a particularly bad day, and he herded his brothers and sister out of the room, saying "Mom needs a break, guys!"
He is intelligent and is a talented writer. He enjoys writing music and has written several screenplays. He is a thinker and has definite opinions about what is important to him. He stands up for what he thinks is right and doesn't let others opinions sway him.

He married his girlfriend of 4 years this past Christmas and they are extremely happy. He has met someone that completes him and loves him dearly. She is the daughter-in-law I have prayed for and I love that she loves him so well. She works full time with the Alzheimer's Association in Fort Worth while my son completes his degree at UTA this year.

I am so proud of this child of mine, who is becoming a man of respect and integrity. He loves the Lord and I pray he will lead his family-to-come (in the distant future...hopefully not a LONG time away!) in following Jesus passionately. God has gifted him and his new bride in so many ways and I look forward to seeing how God uses them for His kingdom.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SON!!!!!


July 24, 2009

Can I Copy You????


I'm two-thirds through my first edit of my book and am at a loss. There are soooo many things to look for! I originally thought I would go through it with a fine tooth comb, but nope. That is not what is really transpiring.

I feel like I am on a rabbit trail, first focusing on one thing (such as sentence flow and structure), then see a glaring POV problem and start focusing on that. It is one thing after the other and I KNOW I am missing so much stuff.

So, you veteran writers out there. How do you edit? Do you edit in layers, going through your draft several times, focusing on different areas? Or are you able to get down and dirty with it and bang it all out at once. Maybe there is a better way to say that.... are you able to focus on ALL facets of editing and revision without being distracted by...everything.

Is this just a matter of experience? A matter of finding what works for me?

Well, I want to know what works for you! Maybe I can be a copy-cat.


July 23, 2009

And The Yeahs Have It



I've been pondering the word YEAH. (ye-ah). It has been interesting to me that many people write this word in many different ways. You have the way I write it,


yeah


And then you have other varieties:


yea
yah
ya


So is it a matter of geographical location? Do people in the south do it differently than people in the north?

Is there a rule for this? A chapter on it in The Manual of Style?

Does it bother you at all to have so many different ways of writing words? Does it even matter? Does anyone even care? lolol

Just needed some randomness today.

July 21, 2009

Superior Scribblers Award


Yesterday I was awarded the Superior Scribblers Award by blogger friend, Heather Sunseri. She only recently jumped into the blogging world and has written some wonderful posts on writing and the writing life. Very thought provoking and encouraging! Please check out her blog, Balance With Purpose. Thank you so much for the award, Heather!

The blog award rules are as follows (which according to rule #5 I am required to post here):

  1. Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
  2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

  3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

  4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

  5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

The 5 people I'm passing this award to:


  1. Erica Vetsch, On The Write Path


  2. Terri Tiffany, Terri's Treasures


  3. Keli Gwyn, On The Path To Publication


  4. Eileen Astels, A Christian Romance Writer's Journey


  5. Marybeth Smith, Desperately Searching For My Inner Mary Poppins


I really wish I could award everyone! I love reading everyone's blogs, even though I cannot always comment on each and every one! All the friends I've made are priceless and I value each and every one!


July 20, 2009

Winds Ablowing


The sermon yesterday focused on Matthew 6 when Jesus fed the crowds and then sent the disciples across the lake while he went to the mountatin to pray. The disciples obeyed Jesus and then was up against the wind, slowing their journey across the lake until the 4th watch of the night...about 3 a.m. That had to have been some wind!

The preacher (okay, it's hard to call my husband the preacher) related this passage to Moses. What, you say? Yes, God fed the Israelites: Jesus fed the multitudes. God told the Israelites to walk through the path he opened in the sea: Jesus told the disciples to cross the lake and meet him there.

Here is where the difference occurred. Later God told Moses he would not go with them for He was angry with them, but Moses told God unless His presence went with them, please do not send them. The disciples on the other hand went across the lake on their own. What would have happened if they insisted on staying with Jesus to pray? Or insisted Jesus go up with them? I wonder...

Those disciples got in the boat and crossed the lake. At Jesus' command. But...the wind was against them. So much so that it took hours, and they were unsuccessful. It was 3 a.m. and they still had not reached the other side of the lake. The were distressed at seeing Jesus on the water. They were afraid.

Isn't that just like us? We feel the call of God and go out in our own strength to do God's work. We do not go in His presence. We do not go IN Jesus.

How many times have you stepped out after hearing God call, but came up against the wind? Are you going in His presence or are you doing things your way FOR him and not IN Him?

This is not to say that going with and in the presence of Jesus makes our way easy and free from struggle. On the contrary, we are not guaranteed a life of ease. We will always have wind come our way because of the world we live in.

But if we find ourselves getting caught up in the struggle and often feel defeated or afraid, we might look to see if we are relying on God or relying on our own strength.
I just love it when I feel like God has spoken to my heart!


July 17, 2009

Talking Heads


I'm reading James Scott Bell's Revision & Self-Editing and laughed out loud when he talked about "talking heads". This is when two people meet and just stand and talk.

BORING!

You need to give the scene some action, whether it is with the characters themselves or their surroundings.


It can happen with just one head too, as seen with my character in the first chapter. I had my heroine escaping from a convent and while she is running away, her thoughts take her back to the events that led to her escape. A long parade of thoughts with no action. Someone pointed this out to me and suggested I add in details of her surroundings and her actual run to break up her inner thoughts.

Don't you love it when a light bulb goes off and you "get it"? It is such a good feeling! Needless to say, I fixed that scene right up and it works alot better!

Do you ever have talking heads or are you past this phase in your writing?


July 14, 2009

Dismissal


I have good news and bad news and it all depends on if you like jury duty or not. I got dismissed. In fact, the whole entire panel got dismissed. After the lawyers struck the ones they didn't want, there were not enough left for a trial. It was deemed a mistrial.

And it all took until 3:30 p.m. to get that finalized.

What a day. I have to say it was an interesting process and I learned alot. There were massive amounts of people in the jury pool. Hundreds. I was on the fourth panel and we had to walk three blocks to another building for the jury selection process. Did I mention I live in Texas where the highs are over 100 degrees this week? Lucky for me, it was only in the 90's at 10 a.m. when I had to walk over there!

I was number 7 on the panel. Not such a good number when you are not wanting to be picked. I was sandwiched between two men in really close seats. Uncomfortable, you say? I would agree, especially after working up a sweat on the walk over.

Now, why is it so awkward to touch arms with people you don't know? I had one guy on one side who apologized everytimes his arm brushed mine and then the other guy practically pinned my other arm down! Sigh.... I tried squeezing my arms in, but my muscles cramped up. Then I tried crossing my arms, but felt like I probably looked mad, so I finally gave in and let my one arm be pinned.

It is an interesting place, with interesting people. All shapes and sizes. All types of clothing and hair color. Different personalities, those that are awkward and those that are confident. I enjoyed looking at the reading material people brought. I only saw one romance novel, but I saw a Bible, a prayer book, and a Joyce Meyer book.

I'm sad to say I didn't read my book. It was too crowded and things moved fairly fast. I had to pay attention a good portion of the day. So much so that I ended up getting a headache! I'm so not used to using my brain like that!

So, I did my civic duty. I offered myself up for a week of trial. (That is how long this trial would have lasted!) Hopefully, I won't get called up again for quite some time.

Now, I have the week to do what I've been itching to do! REVISE & EDIT!


July 13, 2009

The Jury Is Out


I shall be out of pocket today because I have Jury Duty. It's my first ever that I couldn't get out of. You see, used to I could claim having small children as an excuse, but not anymore. And I'm not thrilled about it, I assure you. I told someone they could borrow my cranky pants yesterday, but I would need them back today. I'm hoping I'm not in too much of a cranky mood though.

I don't mind doing my civic duty, but I really dislike being with a huge crowd of people and not know what to expect. I'm nervous and I don't want to be picked. At all. I know I should be proud to serve, but I think most of my problem is just fear of the unknown.
I really don't think I would make a good juror. I am one of those people who can see both sides. I hear someone give their point of view and think, "Yeah, that's right." And then I can hear someone else's story and think, "Oh yeah, that's right too!" I can have opinions about certain things, but alot of times I just don't know what to think! Isn't that terrible?

I was told to take a book with me, so I am taking James Scott Bell's book, Revision and Self-Editing. I am taking my highlight too.


July 10, 2009

THE END AT LAST


IT'S PARTY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, indeed! I did it! And now I feel I can finally call myself a writer.

Oh. My. Goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know all you writers out there know...I mean really KNOW...the feeling of writing those two little words at the bottom of your very last page. All the work and goodness, all the time involved. It's staggering!

It is 1:30 a.m. on Friday and I just had to write this post before I slipped into bed, because I am so incredibly psyched that I really did it. I wrote a book! See, a part of me really questioned if I really had it in me to finish what I started. I have been known to try something new, then give it up after awhile. On to new and better things, don't you know.

But this...oh, this is something I have really wanted to do since high school. It's been a dream tucked away where no one could ever possibly know about it. I had not even told my husband until a couple of years ago and then it took me a year to get the courage to actually do it.

This little 71,531 word manuscript has taken me a whole year to write. True, I took off last August through December due to work constraints and a son's wedding, but still...a year? I've got to get some time management skills!

So now I step into the next phase of my journey. The dreaded edit. Actually, I am looking forward to it. Maybe that's because I have never really done it before, but I am optomistic. At least the story is down in my PC, waiting to be hacked on and made better.

Today I'm going to party in celebration of this accomplishment. I'm not sure how yet, but I will definitely let you know!

Any ideas for me?




July 08, 2009

Writers On Writing


I've been thinking alot about my blog. I keep reading other's blogs and am so impressed with the knowledge and insight they show. I hear about how important it is to create a brand. To create a following. To promote yourself "before" you get publish. You write about writing to get more people to follow you and glean from your wisdom.

So how does a beginner writer write about writing with confidence? I can review and share what I read in writing books, but most writers know everything already. I am not sharing anything new.

I can share personal stuff on the blog, but then people don't really want to know about my kids all the time and my kids probably wouldn't appreciate it anyway.

So all you people who read blogs, why do you read them? What brings you back? What are you looking for in reading blogs? Is it really necessary to write about writing?

Curious minds want to know.


July 07, 2009

Obstacles


I've run into a major obstacle in getting my book finished, but I think I may be able to pull it off if I do some late nights...possibly.

I woke up at 7a.m this morning and my husband informs me a realtor is coming at 9 a.m. Yikes. Would anyone have a problem with that short notice? Well, I would. I did, in fact. So I am running around picking up clutter (at least the out of proportional clutter). I had cleaned somewhat over the weekend, so there wasn't sticky black spots on my kitchen floor, or popcorn in the carpet. This was just the downstairs though.

I've had extra kids at my house the past few days, so I haven't gone upstairs to see how all the teens were faring in the upper chambers. As I took the realtor upstairs, I cringed at the chip bags on the floor, crumbs in the carpet, and bodies spread over the gameroom. There were dirty dishes everywhere and clothes and shoes strewn about.

The sad thing is that I am not a good housekeeper and so the kids rooms are...a mess. My daughter is pretty good, but well, the house is less than to be expected from a woman who should know better. It is embarrassing, but it is my fault. I'm not a slave driver and probably should be.

Sooooooo, all that to say is, the house is going up on the market this weekend. And I have alot to do. When I say alot, I mean A L O T !!!! I was told things needed to be boxed up and stored away, pictures taken down (nothing personal, you know), and basically a straight, clean house.

And here I am thinking I have all week to get this book finished. Riiiggghhht. I am still going to try, but it won't be easy for me, as I am not a fast writer.

Now, if I DO get this book finished, it will be a bigger celebration than I originally thought and will deserve something pretty fantastic as a reward. I know, I know, a clean, uncluttered house should be reward enough, but nope, I was thinking like a bowl of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. :)


July 06, 2009

M & M Monday


"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" Ephesians 3:20

I'm making today an M&M Monday, to shout out praise to God for doing immeasureably more in my life. HE is so good, so worthy, so faithful, and I do not acknowledge that like I should.

I praise God for a healthy family, who loves to be together and laugh with one another.

I praise God for many church homes that have given me such wonderful brothers and sisters in the family of Christ Jesus.

And today I praise him for giving me a creative spark in my soul, so that I may witness beauty even in the mundane. Whether it be color on a canvas or black ink on a page, there are worlds to be lost in and be found in. I revel in the beauty of YOU. Thank you for showering me with M&M's all through my life.

Anyone have any M&M's today?


July 03, 2009

Dead End Endings?


I've heard people talk about how hard writing the middle of your book is. I've heard how difficult it is to get a good beginning to your story. But I haven't really heard people have trouble with their endings.

Am I the only one? Surely not! Please tell me it is not so!

I am close to ending the next to last scene and then I will have completed my first novel. Yes, it is thrilling to think about, but that's just it. I keep thinking about finishing and NOT doing it! I was almost to the end of this current scene and realized I had wrote my hero into a place that would make the ending difficult. It would drag it out and I think it has gone on long enough. So today I spent some time fixing the problem and hoping......HOPING.....it works.

I am stating my goal out loud so I will be accountable to someone...anyone. I plan on finishing this book by next Friday. One week. Yes, indeed. I really hope to finish it before then, but I tend to dream too big sometimes. So, a week it is.

I am determined to be successful! I am determined to fulfill a dream and say I did it!


July 01, 2009

Win A Box Of Books!

Camy Tang writes Christian chick lit in her Sushi Series and she has a new romantic suspense being released called Deadly Intent. Today she is kicking off a HUGE contest, giving away 14 boxes of Christian books!

All you have to do is sign up for her newsletter here to get your name in the pot and then you will be given a link to a super-secret contest entry form. :) You do have to have a Yahoo ID to get to the link.

Here are the rules at Camy's site: http://www.camytang.com/contest.html.
You can get a look at all the books she will be giving away!

If you love books, this is a GREAT contest!

Oh yes, if you mention that I referred you, I get an extra ticket in the pot! :) No pressure though. Seriously...none whatsoever!!!! lol I AM serious.


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