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Monday, December 17, 2012

What MY Writing Has Taught Me

Today I thought I'd share a fun little post about what I have learned from my writing this year.  Take a peek at the list below.  Then share your own learning experiences if you'd like.  Here goes:

1. The writing method I use today will be different a year from now.  It may even be different tomorrow.

2. It's okay if my story becomes something other than what I planned.

3. I need a cheat sheet at my desk for using lay vs lie.

4. Cutting words can lower the word count but can also make room for the right words to be added.

5. Revision is not a shameful word.

6. Character emotions are better shown with a balance of physical actions and internal sensations.

7. Every character has a part to play or shouldn't have a part at all.

8. Spending eight hours editing thirty pages is okay if that's what it takes to get it right.

9. Writing few words in many hours is also okay if that's what it takes to get it right.

10. My knowledge will grow beyond this list, as it should.

Hope you enjoyed.  Please share your own learning experiences below. :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Assessing Your Manuscript Takes Courage

We know we need writers need courage, right? We pour our blood, sweat, and tears into a manuscript.  And when we think we have something great, we need courage to share it with others.  We as writers know this.  But you know what else takes courage? Recognizing that something we thought was great might not be so great after all.

None of us like to be in that place, that place that shows us where we messed up.  But you know what? It's a good place to be, and we shouldn't be afraid of it. 

I'm in that place now.  Rather than running away, I am embracing it.  I could cry and scream about the hours I've already put into this project.  I could stomp my stubborn foot and refuse to make corrections.  Or I could allow myself to become discouraged and trunk the manuscript.  But I believe in it.  And I love it.  I want to see it succeed.

So I will look at those errors as if they are quicksand, pulling my novel-to-be into non-existence.  I will build a stronger foundation for my story to stand on so it can't sink.  And I will do this however many times is necessary.  And that, my writing friends, takes courage.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

End of the World ~ December Blog Chain

Time for another blog chain from Absolute Write.  This month's theme is the end of the world.  After reading my attempt at destruction, check out my fellow AWers' posts linked below.  Enjoy!

They were right.  Mara hated to admit it, but they were right.  The end of the world was here.  It had nothing to do with the Mayans, but that didn’t matter.  The only thing that mattered was staying alive.

She laughed, the sound hollow to her cold ears.  Staying alive.  Yeah right.  She knelt down and braced herself against the brick wall, which was the only shelter from the sleeting rain.  Then she checked her weapon, the cold steel heavy in her hand.  She hated it.  The killing.  She was trained to be a teacher not a murderer.  But she’d already lost track of how many people she’d shot.  It was a necessity; she didn’t take any comfort from that, though.

The world was decimated from war.  The United States were no longer united; half the country had been blown apart.  The eastern coast was gone, the west shaken apart by earthquakes.  And the south had been invaded weeks ago but not by the Mexicans.  Mara wasn’t sure who was leading that charge.  She had taken refuge in the north, sure that was her best option.  But as she peeked her head around the corner, she was reminded of how wrong she’d been.  The Canadians had crossed the border to ravage what was left of the country.  There was nobody to stop them.  The commander-in-chief was killed when D.C. was bombed along with most members of his cabinet.  Those who were left had fled to who knew where.

Mara shook the icy drops of rain from her head.  She needed to get to the supply truck across the street.  She was out of food and had only a small amount of water in her canteen.  She peeked her head around the corner once more.  The two Canadian soldiers had their backs to her.  She darted across the pavement, then slid to a halt next to the passenger side of the vehicle.  Hearing no footsteps, she opened the door to rummage through the contents.  After shoving a few protein bars in her coat pocket, she filled her canteen.


 The voice startled her.  She dropped to the ground as shots rang out.  Her own gun fired in response.  Then she ran her sleeve across her face to block out the sight in front of her.  The accuracy with which she shot would make a marksman proud.  But there was no time to mourn; more soldiers would be coming.  Mara thought she could already hear footsteps.

She hurried across the street, then slid behind a dumpster while cursing the sleet covered ground.  She glanced at the sky.  Mother Nature was retaliating, trying to cleanse itself of the corruption that had overtaken the planet.  Mara wondered why the earth didn’t just open up to consume all that was left. 

Hearing voices now, she crawled to the corner before looking down the alley.  Three men stared back at her.  Heart pounding, Mara jumped up and then ran as fast as her feet would go, the men running after her.  She stumbled, then fell, before the shot echoed in her ears.  The burning in her chest spread throughout her body.  Her mind screamed for her to get up, but her body wouldn’t respond to the command.  So this was it.  The three men made their way to her; two stood a few feet away while the third stepped right next to her.  Mara’s eyes were growing heavy, but she fought to look at the man who held his gun pointed at her head.  “Why?” she asked before coughing.  Why had it come to this, to people killing each other for no reason? Mara didn’t want this; she didn’t want to die.  But she didn’t want to fight anymore either.  She wasn’t even sure of what she was fighting against.  The man knelt and pressed his gun to her forehead.  She closed her eyes and hoped the earth would somehow recover when the world war was over and spring forth life again.

Please check out the following posts below for some more good reading:

dolores haze
writingismypassion (you are here)
Ralph Pines
CJ Michaels
more to come...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Don't Count the Rejections

The temperature outside today is 62 degrees, which is highly unusual for a December day in my small neck of the woods in Illinois.  I'm beginning to wonder if mother nature will ever stop teasing us.  And as I sit here typing, I'm tempted to take my laptop outside because it is actually warmer out there than inside. 

Anyway, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I made my first turkey.  Thankfully, I have no horror stories to share.  I remembered to remove all the junk and the neck made for a nice treat for Chip, after it was boiled of course.

This time last year I was in full query mode.  Now I'm back in beta mode, which I don't mind.  I have received some great initial feedback and look forward to getting the rest.  While I'm waiting, I'm cleaning out my email.  I have several rejections that I have left sitting, and I have been meaning to file them away for quite some time.  I think today is the day to accomplish that goal.

One final update, I will be starting a new job in the next few weeks.  I'm looking forward to it, too, because the schedule will allow me more time to write.  I'm already dreaming of everything I can accomplish...

Hope everyone else is well.  Several of you just finished NaNo.  Congrats to you for tackling that challenge! I've never participated, but maybe I will some time.