Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Writer's Chronicle

"The Writer's Chronicle" was my latest find in the donation box at my local library. Published by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, it offers in-depth interviews with writers and reflections on writing. There are also (as one might expect) many advertisements for writing programs. I didn't read it cover to cover, but what I did read, I found very interesting. It is definitely geared more to fine literature and poetry than to popular reading, but it is good to be exposed to different ideas and different genres. I hope whoever the anonymous person was who donated his copy will donate others soon.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Return to "The Rose Ring"

With a couple weeks of time since I last looked at it - time enough to put some distance between me and the anger and disgust I felt when I first looked at it when it came back from the editor (anger and disgust with myself, not the editor who actually did a very thorough job) - I took a little bit of time tonight to start revising my manuscript. I'm starting with the easy changes the editor suggested - changing a phrase here and there, making grammatical changes, etc. I still don't have a clue how to fix the bigger issues of character development, strengthening the story, etc. I wish I had someone to help me, but I'm alone on this one, unless some burst of divine inspiration comes my way.

I'm still trying to convince myself that the story matters. It's hard to explain the way I feel about it. I enjoyed writing the story, but I feel ashamed of its weaknesses. Also, I'm very conscious of how I use my time. I try hard not to waste it. Is writing fiction worth my time? No one but me cares if I do it or not. Very few people even know that I write. Will the world be better in any way because of this story? Probably not. I pray to write what I should when I should, to get published if and when I should. Is my ambivalence an answer to the prayer? Am I meant to surrender? Am I not meant to travel this road? Or is it just something I need to work through - to conquer my own fears, to write even though there is no tangible reward in sight. I honestly don't know. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Are there too many books?

I read something recently (I'm not sure where) about all the people who are out there writing books now. I know when I look at Barnes and Noble or Borders, I get overwhelmed simply by all the titles that line shelves, and I realize that is only a small fraction of the books that are published each year.

Should fewer books be written? Certainly there are more books than the market can support. Yet, the act of writing still matters to the writer. Every time a book is published, even self-published, that is someone's dream coming true. Someone imagined that book (perhaps with some spark of divine inspiration), worked at it for countless hours, and brought it to life. A book exists where there wasn't one before. It is an act of creation. For that reason alone, it has value.

Books have the incredible potential to change people's lives. Some will be read by relatively few (and yes, that is hard to accept when confronted with the millions of books the writers on the NY Times Bestseller List sell), yet they may matter to that small few. Perhaps the book will matter to only one person - the writer. The one who writes the book is forever changed by it. Is it still worth it? I would answer that with an unequivocal "yes."

Every book has value. It simply isn't possible to have too many.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Great Interview with Michelle Buckman

Michelle Buckman is doing good things for Catholic Fiction. Her best-selling novel Rachel's Contritionis flying off the shelves and changing lives in the process. The National Catholic Register has a great interview with her. Read it here: What Catholic Fiction Should Be

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break from writing fiction. I'm honestly not sure if I will come back to it. I might. Never say never, as they say. But, for right now, this is what I need to do.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What I Would Like From an Editor

I know that this is asking too much, but what I would like is someone to hold my hand and tell me exactly what I need to do to fix my book. Instead, I am given suggestions. They are good, valid suggestions. I just have no clue how to actually implement them. Obviously, if I knew how to increase the level of conflict, obstacles and character development, I would have done it in the first place. I need someone to take my ideas and make them into an interesting compelling story because I am not up to the task. Ugh. Back to the drawing board.

In the meantime, I am enjoying listening to 50s music while I work. This all started because I heard a commercial with "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" by the Platters in it. That is one of my all-time favorite songs. I plugged that into YouTube and have been meandering since then.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Books I'd Like to Write

Jane Lebak wrote a wonderful blog post on what Christian and Catholic fiction should be: These are the types of books I would like to write.

Meanwhile, her book The Boys Upstairs has received high praise: "Although I normally don’t seek out inspirational titles and consider myself to be anything but religious in my beliefs, I found this story of brotherly love and second chances to be well-written and touching." Good for you, Jane!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Juggling Projects

I have a few different projects on my plate right now (on top of Christmas preparations which are a project all in themselves), and I'm trying to give them all the attention they need. A half-hour or an hour on a daily basis and they will get done. I'm still trying to make the time to write.

I've said it before, but it does give me something to look forward to at the end of the day. Even a couple hundred words makes me feel like I've accomplished something. Yes, they are baby steps, but they are adding up. I'm on page 56 and the story is progressing nicely. It is certainly rough, but it is coming to life, and there is something magic in that process.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hating Your Book?

Rachelle Gardner had a good post today on hating your own book: I know I've experienced that moment - when I can't bear the sight of something I've written or I wonder how I could have possibly written such pathetic material. I also hit that point when writing a story - where I'm convinced the story is horrible and I don't want to go on, and I have to force myself to do it anyway. I usually just tell myself that I can go back and fix it later (which I can, even if the fixes are not easy to come by).

As for my current story, I crossed the 15,000 word mark tonight. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Writing is a good way to forget

My mind and heart have been a bit heavy today. I wasn't sure if I was going to do any writing on my story tonight. I had other work to do which kept me busy for much of the night. As the clock got close to 10 pm, I did decide to spend at least a few minutes writing. It was rather helpful. I lost myself in the story. 400 words flowed easily (I'm currently at 14, 152 words). It allowed me to forget for a bit and gave me some temporary peace. That's a good thing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

So You Want to Write A Novel

This was shared by one of my FB friends - she said she was ROFL. Of course, she HAS a bestselling book. For the rest of us still trying, I'm not sure it is quite as funny. But, it does have its moments and a lot of truth to it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

More Writing

I crossed the 12,000 word mark tonight. I'm currently at 12, 157.

My friend said that editing my story would take about a month. Honestly, I'm a bit scared. She is really an incredibly intelligent woman - probably one of the most intelligent women I've ever met. I warned her that my story was of the "popular-fiction" type - nothing erudite in there. But what if she thinks it is totally stupid? What if she thinks that it is one of the worst stories she has ever read? How will I ever face her again? I know - that is just my pride talking. But still - ugh! This is nerve-racking. Why did I ever think I could write novels?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Another day . . .

Part of me really wanted to blow off writing today, but I did it anyway. Not much, I admit, but I added about 200 words.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving writing

With no work tonight, I ended up writing about 800 words tonight. I'm writing dialog for an extrovert which is a bit of a challenge for me because I am such an introvert. Just writing her talking so much tires me out! LOL

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Editing and Writing

I had taken the past two days off from writing. I was licking my wounds a bit after my rejection. I went back to it today, though, and wrote about 500 words.

I also hired an editor to take a hatchet to my other story. I debated back and forth on this one. I absolutely hate spending money on myself, especially in a case like this when it feels like I'm just sending it off into the wind. There are so many other, more important, things to spend money on. I enjoy helping other people, though, so I'm trying to think of it in that light. I hired a friend who has just started an editing business, so I am helping her get her business off of the ground. I told her to be brutal. I really do want to improve in my writing. I hope that she can help me. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

A "Good" Rejection

Not that there is really any such thing, but I did receive what in the writing world is considered a "good" rejection today. The editor who was considering my novella said that it just wasn't quite ready yet, although it was an interesting concept. She feels I should have someone critique it, rework it, and then resubmit. She even took the time to send me a marked-up first chapter. I do greatly appreciate her time and feedback, and she even got back to me within the promised three-month time frame. So, overall, I was pretty lucky!

I'm not sure where to go from here, but I don't need to decide today.

I really wasn't expecting an acceptance, so I'm not very disappointed. I've been praying to write what I should when I should and have things published when and if they should be, so this must have been what was supposed to happen. It isn't the end of the world.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The American Music Awards are not the most conducive background for writing, but I did get out a few hundred words and crossed the 10,000 word threshold which was my goal for the evening. I'm 1/8th done.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Labor and Childbirth in the 1950s

My main character is about to give birth in 1958. I didn't do any writing tonight, but I did watch this fascinating childbirth education video from the 1950s:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crossed the 9000 word mark

I am up to 9082 words on my writing adventure. One thing I've noticed moving at this more slow pace is that I'm much more prone to editing. Rather than just feverishly moving the story forward, I'm finding myself more determined to get it "right."

Spending days working on the same chapter gives me much more time to think about them and want to make changes. Tonight, for example, my 400 words of writing were all additions to previous scenes. I'm also much more likely to change how I phrased something. It's a different way of working, but that is OK - this is a different sort of story for me. I've currently completed three chapters.

Monday, November 15, 2010

One tenth done

I crossed the 8,000 word threshold this evening. I am one-tenth of the way and 31 pages toward my goal. At one level that is really depressing - that I still have so far to go. On the other hand, I have lots of writing to look forward to.

Now, my throbbing head and I are going to go to sleep.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Writer's Digest - Top 10 Productivity Pitfalls

I read the new November/December 2010 issue of Writer's Digest today. I'm always so excited to pick up the latest issue at the library. Unfortunately, the articles I wanted to link to weren't up on the website (at least not yet), but I did come across this one on Top 10 Productivity Pitfalls

Friday, November 12, 2010

Writing Update

Current Total - 6761 words. Making progress - slowly but steadily.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Amazing Writing Story

Here is a post on an amazing writing story: The Journey Begins Gwen Stewart began writing after a 20 year hiatus and wrote a novel in a week and a half!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Writing Progress

I had a good night of writing while listening to the CMA's on TV. I actually had about 1 hour to write after getting my work done. Current word total - 5,642. The words aren't coming that easily, but they are coming. There is a story there. I tend to see the story as a movie in my mind. Converting that movie into words is always the challenge, but I keep working at it. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Taking life one day at a time and God's will and our dreams

Here are some other good quotes from Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance (Artist's Way)

Life unfurls one day at a time. It is full of situations that will resolve themselves if we give them enough time and give God a chance to get his hand in. The trick is not to panic. The trick is not to overreact. Life unfolds one day at a time, and we must let it.

We do not need to feel that our dreams and God's will for us are at opposite ends of the table. We can consider the possibility that our dreams come from God and that God has a plan for their proper unfolding. When we seek daily spiritual guidance, we are guided toward the next step forward for our art. Sometimes the step is, "Wait. Not now." Sometimes the step is, "Work on something else for a while." When we are open to Divine Guidance, we will receive it. It will come to us as the hunch, the inkling, the itch. It will come to us as timely conversations with others. It will come to us in many ways - but it will come to us. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Finding Water

I had picked up Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance (Artist's Way) a couple weeks ago at the library. I've been skimming through it to see if there were any kernels of inspiration before I have to bring it back.

I did come across a couple so far:

Over the years, writing has become easier, a daily routine. But there many days when my stint at the page still takes all of the courage I can muster. "Please, God, send me ideas," I pray. Then I listen and type out what I hear. "Inspiration" is really as simple as the act of listening and being willing to trust that still small voice. Some days I am willing to trust. Others I am not. On those days, I must pray again. "Please, God, send me the willingness to just listen and write." And then I must listen and then I must write.

There is a divine plan of goodness for us and our work, but we must go along with the plan in order that it may transpire. Careers do not unfold in an orderly manner. They do not proceed A to B to C. They zig and then they zag. We must tack with them. We must be willing to be made what it is God is making us. For our own comfort, we must be willing to surrender to a power greater than ourselves.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Saturday Writing Treat

I got to write today! I'm up to 4,089 words and am working on Chapter Two.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Writing Update

I actually had 45 minutes to write tonight, thanks to being able to get some work done this afternoon.

I wrote about 600 words. Current total - 2,560. I'm on page 10.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How long will this take?

All around me (at least in the virtual world), people are cranking out words for National Novel Writing Month. Many of them will accomplish their goal of writing a novel in the month, or at the very least write way more than they would have otherwise. I have been there and done that and loved the process. With my current goal of writing 10 minutes a day, I'm definitely taking a different approach with my latest work.

Nevertheless, I am writing and that is what matters. I'm currently just under 2000 words. I figure if I average 1000 words a week, it will take me 80 weeks to reach my word count goal - a little more than a year and a half. I'm sure there will be times when my work load might be less and I might be able to write more, but we shall see. Still, I'm looking at finishing this project some time in 2012! Even though I know it will go by quickly, that seems a long way off.

In other news, I finished reading The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks today. It was one of the few books by him that I hadn't read. I heard recently that they are making it into a movie so I wanted to read it. It was a good story. It had some dark undertones, but was at heart a romance, which is what he does best. It was some pleasant escapism. I need that every once in a while.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow

National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow. I wish all of you who are taking the plunge the best of luck with it. I'm a little sad I can't do it this year, although I do have the comfort of knowing I did do my big writing push this past summer.

Still, I am writing and that matters to me. A friend asked me the other day how the "10 minute a day" novel was coming. Ten minutes works out to be a paragraph or two. I save it for the last thing I work on in my day. It gives me something to look forward to. I'm currently on page 5 with 1,128 words. Not much, I know, but it is 1,128 words I wouldn't have written otherwise. It helps satisfy my creative longing and a story is taking shape. These are all good things.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Art is RIsky

I finished reading The Sound of Paper: Inspiration and Practical Guidance for Starting the Creative Process today. It was the only book I read this week - a sure sign of how busy and stressed I've been.

I will leave you with this one last bit of advice from Julia Cameron.

Often, when I advise a writer to write a whole book rather than a proposal, I am greeted with "But, Julia! I don't want to do all that work for nothing." But we never do all that work for nothing. When we write, we become better writers. When we paint, we become better painters. Dancing improves our dancing, acting our acting. . .  When we ask for a guarantee of success, we are asking to make risk-free art, and art, by definition, is risky. . . It is the practice of our art form, and not the marketable product we produce, that warrants us the name artist.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The 10 minute novel

I think that is how my latest work is going to be written - 10 minutes at a time. I am swamped with projects - good projects, projects I need to be doing, but I want to write, so I have made a promise to myself to write 10 minutes a day at least six days a week. I wonder how long this will take me? At least I can say I'm working on a story. That in itself brings me some joy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Do You Pray Before You Write?

I continued reading The Sound of Paper: Inspiration and Practical Guidance for Starting the Creative Process today. One thing Cameron speaks about is connecting with God before writing. I know in my own writing, I often pray to the Holy Spirit to help me, especially when my ideas are running dry. The prayer always helps. I also want to write whatever it is God may want me to write. The prayer helps make sure that I do that.

Cameron puts it this way:
Creative droughts do not end through willfulness. They end through the act of surrender. They end through the prayer "Show me what you would have me do." Our creative condition is grounded and subject to our spiritual condition. We may daily strive to "work" but we will get further if we daily try to "serve." It is not that God's will and ours are at opposite ends of the table but, rather, that we can set ourselves near God or far from God, at the right hand or at a remove. God is the Great Creator. The Great Creator takes delight in us and our creations. . . . We have been "made," and we in turn are intended to "make things." How much better we do this when we seek our creator's help.

Also, I'm not sure if this statement is true or not, but Cameron writes that "Beethoven, near suicide from the lack of reception for his work, vowed to live and write music for God alone to appreciate." Even when no one else reads or appreciates my work, God does. That means a great deal.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A start . . .

Well, it isn't much, but I wrote 261 words on my new story tonight. It's a start. I have a feeling writing this one will be a long painful process. I wonder where the road will take me.

The Sound of Paper

I started reading The Sound of Paper: Inspiration and Practical Guidance for Starting the Creative Process by Julia Cameron today. I had read her book  The Artist's Way a long time ago and found her practical and spiritual take on the creative process inspiring. 

"The Sound of Paper" is also offering many inspiring tidbits. 

"It is the making of art when we feel that we have no art in us that makes an artistic career. It is the pages logged when the well feels dry, the painting painted when the palette is parched, the monologue learned 'for no damn reason' that keeps the gears turning. Ditto for the fine-arts photographer who loads a camera and takes to the streets even though the 'real' work is in the carefully lit studio, as calculated as a NASA shot.

Goethe told us 'Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action (boldness) has magic, grace and power in it."

Which reminds me that I really need to start writing again, even if it is crap. I have about 20 minutes left tonight. I think I'll see what I can do. I'm scared, but I need to get back to it. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sometimes even great writers get it wrong

I used my sick time this weekend to read Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans. I have been a fan of his for years and was very eager to read his latest Christmas offering. It did provide a great deal of enjoyment, until its "surprise" twist which just went horribly wrong. This book had a definite "ick" factor.

I'm still a big fan. Everyone can have an off day, or an off book, especially when someone has put out as much quality work as Evans.

One quote I cherished in this book was about sunflowers, which I love.

"Sunflowers look to the sun. . . They mean hope."

I never thought of them that way. Now I will!

Friday, October 22, 2010


Sick. Tired. Worn Out. Lots of other work to do.

Writing is on the back-burner at the moment. It will get done if and when it is supposed to.

Monday, October 18, 2010

In the midst of waiting

The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner today. She has this to say about the waiting process:

"When a writer gives his editor the pages of his manuscript, he is, in essence, handing over his heart on a plate. And until he gets a response, his entire sense of himself is in limbo. It's like waiting for the results of a biopsy."

Having waited for the results of cancer tests (which fortunately came back negative), I don't think this falls in the same category. My life doesn't hang in the balance, but still, every day I wonder if this will be the day I get to hear "yes" or "no" from the publisher considering my novella for publication. I'm supposed to hear by the end of November so there is still plenty of time, but I do wonder. I can rule out someone having read it and loved it. I would have heard about that. It is possible the story hasn't even been looked at yet, or that it has been totally forgotten about. It's possible it was looked at and is a "maybe" and they are weighing the options. Maybe it was read and they hated it and just haven't sent out the rejection letter. The point is I don't know. And so I wait and expect the worse and hope for the best. And know that my life will go on either way.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Writing as a child

I'm currently reading The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers. There is a new edition out, updated for the modern publishing world. I'm reading the 2000 edition which was available at the library.

These two quotes (among others) hit me:

"When I meet a new writer, at some point I usually ask if he or she wrote as a child. I have found that the impulse to write, to record one's private feelings, often appears at a very early age; with few exceptions, most authors started writing in childhood."

"People are motivated to write for a variety of reasons, but it's the child writer who has figured out, early on, that writing is about saving your soul."

I was a child writer. I wrote my first play about the dolls who lived in my dollhouse when I was eight or nine (if not younger). I wrote bad poetry, much of it about nature. I started writing my autobiography when I was nine! As laughable as it is to me now, I actually thought I had lived enough by the age of nine to record my life story. I don't think I got very far. I started my first novel (I intended it to be a children's story on par with "Alice in Wonderland") when I was in 6th grade. I never finished it.

While no longer a child, my writing continued as a teenager. I was on my high school's literary magazine. I wrote more bad poetry, now mostly about love and broken hearts. I got my first rejection letter when I actually dared to submit one of those poems to a magazine. (I still have the letter) I wrote essays. I attempted another novel I didn't finish. I wrote research papers (I actually enjoyed them). I started my journal which I have kept since I was fifteen.

Yes, writing is part of who I am. I can't imagine not writing in some form, although for many years my only writing was in my journal. Does it save my soul? No. God does that. But, it does help me make sense of things and keep me sane. It is my release, my expression, my reaching out to the world.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Writing for Art's Sake

I finished reading A Writer's Guide to Fiction (Writer's Compass) today. My purpose in reading some books about writing is to learn more about the craft of writing. I've been writing most of my life, but I've never taken a class dedicated to it. Part of me would love to get an MFA in Creative Writing. I even looked at some on-line programs. Most had some residency requirements, however, and I'm not getting away for 2 - 3 weeks at a time anytime soon. Nor do I have the money to pay for it. So, I'm doing the next best thing - utilizing my library and my ability to read to learn. I took many notes from this book and while it is all a bit overwhelming (like anything else, I'm realizing how much I don't know), I do feel it will help me with my next project.

I did come across this statement in the book:

"Writing is its own reward. Creating fiction feeds the soul, stirs the imagination, and delights the inner child. Writing fiction is more than craft; it's art. Art does not have to be sold or even shared in order to be of value."

Intellectually, I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. I am both artist and writer. Both art and writing do have inherent value. However, on an emotional level, I have always felt sad when I have no one to share my art or writing with. The one exception to that being my own private journals. I don't care so much about being paid for my work (although that certainly would help a great deal), but I do want to share it. I want it to be appreciated, to have someone enjoy it, or have it make somebody think. I want to contribute to the world at large. Otherwise, I feel selfish and that the time and energy invested in these projects is worthless.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Amazing Productivity!

One of the blogs that I follow regularly is the "Guide to Literary Agents" blog offered by Writer's Digest.

You have to check out today's post: How I Got My Agent - Lynn Rush

Lynn finished her first novel in May of 2008. Since then she has written 14 more! That is 14 novels in 2 1/2 years! Anyway you slice it, that is amazing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Create some magic with your words

This is the opening of A Writer's Guide to Fiction (Writer's Compass). What a way to think about what writers do!

The moment you lay down your first words of fiction, you become a magician like David Copperfield. Through the alchemy of craft and story, you create an illusion where the reader suspends disbelief, just as Copperfield makes his audiences believe he's made a Boeing 747 airplane disappear.

Modern neuroscientists have discovered what ancient shamans have known all along: Stories have power. Power to heal, to destroy, and to change history. In fact, fiction may have a longer-lasting effect than magic. Thought releases brain chemicals and neural electricity. Stories can "get under the skin" and integrate into the interior landscape of the self - and perhaps of the soul.

We writers receive no greater compliment than to have our readers lament the ending of a story. Imagine how you would feel knowing that your characters - their lives, dilemmas, and triumphs - live on in the memory of your readers side by side with memories of actual people and situations.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Doing Lots of Prep Work

I've never done this much prep work before actually starting writing before. I've spent hours with my notebook (outside - enjoying the beautiful weather we have been having) trying to truly develop my characters and understand them even before I start writing about them. I've found as I develop these characters, they are telling me their stories and suggesting plot lines as I go. That is the exciting part of this. The frustrating part is that I really, really, really want to start writing and I'm still not quite there yet.

One resource that has been helping me is A Writer's Guide to Fiction (Writer's Compass) by Elizabeth Lyon. She offers good suggestions for developing characters including psychological profiles and personality types etc. This story will have several more characters than my previous two, so I'm working extra hard to make them each unique individuals and to understand why they are the way they are. I'm sure there will be some tweaking once I finally start hammering out the story, but I feel good knowing that the general framework will be there.

Hopefully, I'll be able to start the actual writing soon.

Getting ready for NaNoWriMo? Read a novel about it to get you in the mood!

It is that time of year again. National Novel Writing Month is right around the corner. Are you getting ready to write 50,000 words (or as many as you can humanly accomplish in the course of one month?) Why not gear up for it by reading Through the Open Window, a novel about NaNoWriMo?

Lucy Lyons is a woman trying to escape her past. Content to work as a librarian and live alone with her dog, all she wants is a simple life with no complications. When she decides to take the plunge and begins to write a novel during National Novel Writing Month, she gets much more than she bargained for. Her writing will not only force her to face her own secrets, but will also put her in the path of a handsome artist who shares her love of the written word. "Through the Open Window" is an engaging novel about the secrets we keep and the hope for second chances.

"First-time novelist Anne Faye creates a delightful world with real and endearing characters." - Ellen Gable Hrkach

"If you're looking for a great read that will uplift, edify and inspire you, look no further than Through the Open Window by Anne Faye." - Lisa Hendey

Available in both paperback and Kindle editions.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Boston Book Fest

Unfortunately, I can't go to this, but it sure does sound like a great time for anyone who loves books.

Check out the Boston Book Fest happening on October 16th

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Congratulations to Michelle Buckman

Congratulations to Michelle Buckman, fellow Catholic Writer's Guild Member, who was #1 on Amazon's Women's Fiction list today with her novel Rachel's Contrition

Rachel Winter had nothing, won it all, and then lost everything

After the death of her daughter, grief-spawned delusions cause Rachel to lose her husband, her home, and custody of her son.

Help arrives from two unlikely sources: a young teen, Lilly, battling her own demons, and a tattered holy card depicting Saint Therese of Lisieux.

As Rachel grows closer to Lilly and comes to know Saint Therese, unbidden memories from her edgy past reveal fearful mysteries of seduction, madness, and murder . . . and a truth that will haunt her forever.

Published by Sophia Institute Press

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Working on a new story

I've been fleshing out my ideas for my new story. This is a more ambitious project than any I have tried before. I really want to hit 80,000 words and have it be good enough to hopefully obtain an agent. This story will have more characters and more plots. I'm trying to figure out exactly what those plots will be. I have a general idea for the main plot. I'm working in my idea notebook trying to create character sketches for each of the characters. I also want to do a general outline. The whole thing is scaring me a bit. I'm someone who tends to work better letting the story and the characters unfold as I write. I tend to get to know them as they reveal themselves. They do unexpected things that push the story along. I truly don't know what these characters are supposed to be doing yet and I feel a bit trapped as a result. I want to start writing about them, but I don't feel like I can. I need some more inspiration to figure out just what is going on with them.

I know all this doesn't make much sense. Welcome to the scary place that is this writer's mind. :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

What will you do with your 1440 minutes?

I came across an ad today that said "You have 1440 minutes a day. Make sure that you spend 15 of them on yourself." That is a good point. It sure sounds like we have a great deal of time on our hands. Of course, some of that does get used up doing things like sleeping, working, etc. So, let's break it down. Presuming you have an "average" life, we'll deduct the following amounts from that total:

Sleep - 480 minutes (This is 8 hours. I'm sure many of you don't get that much.)
Work and commute - 600 minutes (10 hours)
Personal Care - 60 minutes (1 hour)
Eating - 90 minutes (1 1/2 hours)

Even with those deductions, one is left with 210 minutes. That is 3 1/2 hours. If you want to be a writer, spend at least 10 minutes of that writing (More is better, but that will help build the habit of making writing part of daily life). No one can say that they don't have 10 free minutes in their day. We make time for what matters in our lives. No more excuses. You can do it!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Where do you like to write?

I'm still making my way through Writing Brave and Free: Encouraging Words for People Who Want to Start Writing. One of the topics is choosing a place to write.

You can choose a writing place and writing tools that encourage spontaneity and that engage your body as well as your mind.

Your writing room needs to be a place where you want to be, and it needs to give you privacy. It needs to be a place where you are physically comfortable, and a place where you can let your spontaneity bloom without interrupting or being interrupted by other people.

If you devoted one day's writing exercise to describing where you write now, what would you say? What if you used a second day's exercise to write about what would improve it, the features you would like your ideal writing room to have?

Where do I write? Thanks to the marvel of the laptop (I can't imagine going back to a desktop ever), my writing space varies, but generally I am either in my kitchen or my living room. While it is nice not to be interrupted, as a mom, that isn't always a reality. I can transition pretty quickly between writing and a non-writing activity. I don't need quiet, either. Sometimes, the house is quiet and I do relish it. Other times, I listen to whatever music I might be in the mood for.

Right now, I'm in the living room, the football game is in the background and I have my headphones on listening to "If I Had You" by Adam Lambert over and over. I think more important for me than exterior quiet is interior quiet. I have written in a grocery store cafe, in a pitch-black hotel room working by only the light of my laptop, in a museum, and in a park. Despite the environment, I am able to access that place inside myself where the words and thoughts live. It is the same reason I am able to pray in the middle of a public place. I have the ability to tune out the world. Perhaps it is one of the gifts of being an introvert. I'm not sure. Whatever it is, I am thankful for it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What makes someone a writer

I know this is a recurring theme on my blog, but these quotes (and the reminder and encouragement they offer) are just too good to pass up.

What makes someone a writer isn’t good ideas, and it isn’t publication—it’s the stuff in between. It’s the act of writing: the daily, unglamorous, terrifying, magical process of creating a world out of words. If you do this, then you already are a writer. You may not feel brave enough to admit it to anyone until you’ve sold your first book, but you’ll know. -  Jacqueline West

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

There can never be too many writers

I am currently reading Writing Brave and Free: Encouraging Words for People Who Want to Start Writing by Ted Kooser & Steve Cox. I've been coming across all sorts of great quotes. Here is one on their purpose for writing the book:

We want to help you write because we believe there can never be too many writers. Why not a world in which everybody is writing? Surely writing, and the contemplative life that goes with it, is a much better way to spend your time than a hundred time-filling activities we could name. Besides, nothing is so exhilarating as to work at something you enjoy, and that's an experience that writing can give you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What is success?

On Rachelle Gardner's blog today, she poses the question, What is Success? in the writing world. She invited people to offer their answers to that question and many have. People were honest as well, admitting that money and respect from others does matter even when you are doing what you love.

This is a question I've pondered a lot in my life. What would it take to make me feel like a success? It is something that I have always struggled with.

What would it take for you?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Maybe writing soon . . .

I have an idea percolating . . . Maybe I'll be working on my next story soon.

Meanwhile, here is an article on an agent blog on why agents can't do anything more than a form rejection letter (if even that): Why oh why did I get rejected I should probably stop reading these things. All they do is get me discouraged.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hints for a Successful Series

Jennifer Chiaverini, who writes the Elm Creek Quilt series, is one of my favorite writers. Therefore, I was very excited to see an article by her in the latest issue of Writer's Digest. An expanded version of her article, "Hints for a Successful Series" is available online:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Letters to Juliet" is one of my new all-time favorite movies

The reality of my life is that I have to wait a while for movies I want to see. I see them advertised at the theater, read the reviews, decide which ones I am interested in and then wait for the DVD. Sometimes, the movie does not live up to my extended expectations. Other times, my patience is richly rewarded. Last night was one of those times.

I was so excited to get to see Letters to Juliet  last night. It tells the story of a wannabe writer, Sophia, who goes off to Verona on a vacation with her fiance. He's busy scoping out suppliers for his new restaurant, so she takes advantage of the time to do some sight-seeing on her own. In doing so, she comes across a group of women called the "secretaries of Juliet" who write back to the women who leave their letters asking for love advice at Juliet's wall. She joins them, and finds a letter written 50 years earlier (it had been stuck behind a brick). On a whim, she responds to the woman who had left her one true love behind when she was a girl. The letter finds the owner, the owner's grandson finds Sophia and the adventure to find Lorenzo (the man left behind) begins. I am a sucker for a good love story and this one certainly met the bill. It is a sweet story, rated PG, with nothing objectionable in it. It has a sense of mystery, a good sense of humor, and shows that love can come in many different ways and at different stages of life. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mourning the loss of 20,000 words

I was doing some work last week formatting my manuscript. As I read the expanded version, I decided that I really didn't like it very much. The parts I added were alright, but they just didn't add to the story, they changed the mood of the whole manuscript, and I really don't want that. I liked the story as it was. I'm facing the realization that I wrote 20,000 words for nothing (other than the experience of writing them).

So, where does that leave me? I haven't heard back yet from the publisher looking at my story, so that is still a hope. If that falls through, I'm not sure what to do. Unless a story is 80,000 words, an agent won't go near it. I'm praying about the whole situation. I guess my best hope is to start another story, but honestly, I am a bit tired at the moment. It is both emotionally exhilarating and emotionally exhausting to write a fiction piece of length. I need a bit of a breather. Plus, a new idea would be helpful. Therefore, I am keeping my ears and eyes open for a source of inspiration - hopefully, something that I could actually write 80,000 words about (a feat I have never accomplished).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Now that is a book signing!

I follow Nicholas Sparks on Twitter. Today he did a book signing for his new book "Safe Haven" that lasted all day. He signed 5,600 books! I can't even imagine that. 

Good resource for Catholic Fiction

Looking for the latest information on Catholic Fiction? Check out Catholic

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sell Shares in Your Book?

I read this article about writer Tao Lin in my local newspaper today: True stories invented: author Tao Lin at work. I know nothing about Tao Lin or his work, but he did come up with a rather innovative way of raising money to support the writing of the book - he sold shares in it in exchange for the percentage of the profits. Rather than patron(s), he had investors. It is an intriguing idea. 

Would you sell shares in your book in order to raise funds?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Keeping an Idea Notebook

After posting about all the places novel ideas come from a couple days ago, I decided to start an "Idea Notebook." I grabbed one of the one-subject notebooks I had picked up at Staples for 1 cent each when school was starting. (That was just way too good a deal to pass up!), scrawled my name and "Idea Notebook" on the cover and put down the two ideas that had been bouncing around in my head the past couple weeks. I was listening to some 1990s country music tonight while I worked, and was inspired with a couple more ideas. Who knows if anything will ever come of any of these, but if I write them down, at least I won't lose them.

Do you keep an idea notebook? Have you found it helpful?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who Decides when a Book is a Book?

The following is from an interview with Jesse Ball in the January 2010 issue of Poets and Writers. I think that it helps keep things in perspective.

"When you write you don't want to surrender to a publishing company the moment when a book is judged to be a book or not a book. You decide if it is a book or not a book. That's your prerogative as the writer. If you imagine yourself as a postapocalyptic world where - somehow you managed to survive - you're in this log cabin and there's a little printing press there, you're writing these books. You produce a book. Then it's a book. You just made a book. . .

In terms of giving the manuscript out as a little book to people, for poets of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries sometimes their audience was just the few friends they managed to pass the book out to. You're no less a writer. As soon as someone makes a book and gives it to someone else, that's the whole thing. There isn't anything to be added to it."

Monday, September 6, 2010

The End of Take Two

Tonight I finished adding the additional story line. I had hoped that it would bring me to the 80,000 words I am aiming for (or close to it). Instead, I got to 67,578 (an increase of 21,000 over the original story of 46,468). So, I guess I need to come up with a third minor story line to buy me another 10,000 words. I figure tomorrow I'll start editing Take Two of the story and get that to a point where I am happy with it. Then, I will start work on Take Three, just as soon as I come up with another story line, that is. 

Where do Ideas for Novels Come From?

I was reading the January 2010 issue of Poets and Writers today and came across an excerpt from the book Is Life Like This?: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months by John Dufresne.

Dufresne really hit the nail on the head with this paragraph on where ideas for novels come from:

"Where do you begin writing a novel? At the desk of course. And how do you begin? The idea for a novel might come from the events of your life. Examine your past. Write about what hurts, what broke your heart. Write about what you don't understand. Write about what you can't forget. Write about your regrets and your outrage. A novel might come from the events of someone else's life. A novel might be inspired by what you've read, in fiction or in a newspaper. It might begin as an anecdote overheard or a snatch of dialogue from the folks at the next table in the restaurant. Novelists are inspired by whatever attracts their attention, by what pops up in their notebooks. A novel might begin with a strong emotion, a character or a situation, a place, an overheard line, a provocative image. In short, a novel can begin anywhere, with anything, so long as it fascinates you, worries you, or makes you wonder."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Slow night

Only 702 words tonight. The TV was distracting me. Total to date - 67, 212 words

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rewriting and Fixing

This is one of those days when my net word count gain doesn't actually reflect how much writing I did tonight. I had to delete a couple of scenes and rewrite them due to the added story line.

Today's count - 538 words   Total to date - 66,510

Looking forward to "Safe Haven"

I just requested Safe Haven, the new book by Nicholas Sparks, from the library. I am currently the 32nd person in line. Hmm . . . wonder how long that will take. I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An Emotional Night

I was doing fine. I settled down with my computer as I always do after I tuck my children into bed. I was feeling reasonably happy. All things considered, it had been a good day. And then I saw something on Twitter that made me collapse into a big heap of tears. I know that person had no intention of making someone cry with her post - she was just sharing a bit of good news, but there I was - crying like I haven't cried in ages - big, heaving sobs.

And then, in the midst of crying, I attempted to get something out of the freezer. It fell. I picked it up and whacked my head on the freezer door as it was closing which only served to make me cry harder (not to mention gave me a huge bump on the back of my head). I continued to cry as I made cookies to bring to my homeschool group's First Friday get-together tomorrow. We are celebrating Mary's birthday (September 8th) a little early. I must have cried for a good half-hour. I guess I had a bunch of emotions that just needed to be released. I eventually managed to pull myself back together, and managed to work a bit on my story.

Today's count - 832   Total to date - 65,972

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two days totals

My internet connection wasn't working last night so I didn't get to post yesterday's totals. Tonight, my head feels about to explode, so I gave myself twenty minutes to write, and now I am going to collapse in my bed. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

Yesterday - 1,162 words
Today - 613 words
Total to date - 65,140

Monday, August 30, 2010

Waiting and Writing

I heard back from the publisher confirming receipt of my manuscript and letting me know I could expect to hear from them within 90 days. I'm hopeful but am a realist. I've only crossed the first hurtle. I'll just keep praying and leave everything in God's hands.

In the meantime, that gives me 3 months to finish up and edit the longer version of my story. In the event that they reject my manuscript, I will then be in a good position to approach an agent with a more acceptable length novel and hopefully get some representation.

Today's count - 700 words  Total to date - 63,365

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Good news!

The publisher I had sent the query to a couple weeks ago asked to see the full manuscript. I formatted and emailed it today. We shall see what happens. In the meantime, I'm going to continue working on the longer version.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Changing the Story

My male lead got himself into some serious trouble tonight, which means that I will have to make some significant changes to the remainder of the story. The whole dynamic has now been changed.

Today's total - 2,630    Total to date - 62, 665

Thursday, August 26, 2010

60,000 words - 3/4 ths of the way there.

My goal for tonight was to hit 60,000 words and I made it! Woo-hoo. I just wrote 1831 words in an hour and a half. Of course, my brain is now about to explode and I am ready to collapse. LOL

Today's total - 1,831    Total to date - 60,035

Quotations on Writing

Here is a good list of quotations on writing. I'm sure you'll find some inspiration in here somewhere:

Quotations on Writing

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Slow Progress Tonight

Today's total - 841   Total to date - 58,204

"Through the Open Window" now available for Kindle

After reading yesterday that Kindle sales are actually exceeding traditional book sales on Amazon, I set out to figure out how to get "Through the Open Window" available for Kindle. It was actually extremely easy. Go to and answer a few simple questions and upload your file. The only thing I had trouble with was uploading the cover. The preview image that they offer was extremely distorted and I had no idea if it would appear correctly (It does). My book was live in 24 hours. It is available for only $2.99 (the lowest price available - of which I get to keep 70%) The only thing I couldn't figure out was how to have the Kindle version show up on as "another format" on the traditional book page.

This is for the Kindle edition:

This is for the traditional book:

Is longer always better?

I am currently trying to lengthen a work of fiction from its original 46,000 word novella status to the industry standard 80,000 word for a novel. The story as it originally stood was the story I wanted to write. It conveyed what I wanted it to convey. I just read something this morning that said, "Write as if no one will read it." While I don't know if I can ever really write quite that way (even in my personal journal I always work under the presumption that someone may read it someday - even if it is 100 years from now), I get the point. You should write the story you want to write.

It isn't as if I am not enjoying the writing of this additional portion of the story. I added a storyline and it is progressing nicely, but it is changing the story. Is this the story I wanted to tell? Is it necessary?

I enjoy shorter length novels - I just read The Walk by Richard Paul Evans. Most of his books are shorter in length and I have loved all of them. The same with Mitch Album's books. Obviously, there is a market for this type of shorter fiction in book form, but everything I have read about getting an agent and publishing said that there really isn't.

What to do now? I honestly don't know. I'm trying to be commercially marketable. Is that selling out? I don't really see it that way. I see it as wanting to make a living doing what I love. I still want to write a good story, but I want someone to actually read it. It is so disheartening to work so hard on something and then have no one to share it with. I know I can self-publish again and it may come to that, but I want to try the traditional route, if only so that when I look back on my life I don't say "If I had only . . . "

Is longer always better when it comes to fiction? I don't think so. But I don't know where to find someone who will agree with me and publish my book.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I'm exhausted tonight. The words weren't coming easily, but they did come. I had hoped I'd get more done today, but I'll take it.

Today's total - 1,739   Total to date - 57,363

Monday, August 23, 2010

Today's totals

Today's count - 2,280   Total to date - 55, 624

All a matter of perspective

I was all excited today. After all, I started a twitter account and am learning how to navigate that. And, I've been writing at a good clip. In the past 5 days, I've written over 8000 words. No complaints there. The Holy Spirit has been being kind to me in the inspiration department, even if my male character is being seriously tempted right now. In any case, I was thrilled that I only(!) have 26,000 more to get to my goal. A hefty number, I know, but doable.  However, my younger son happened to overhear me talking about my novel. He asked how many words I was trying to get to. I told him - 80,000. "And where are you now?" he asked. 54,000 I told him. "Mom," he said, "you are only 14,000 words past the middle." Darn. That deflated my balloon really quickly. He's right, of course, but I liked my way of thinking about it much better.

I am now on Twitter!

You can follow me here:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

A new perspective

With this new storyline, I'm trying something new in my writing career - I'm writing from a male perspective. Admittedly, I have never been a man, so this does present something of a challenge. I can only go by what I have observed in the men I have known and the huge presumption that they have at least some of the same feelings and thoughts that we women do.

Today's total - 2,278    Total to date - 50, 355

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to Writing - The push for 80,000 words

 I received an auto-respond message from the publisher I sent my query to saying that they would respond in a month. In the meantime, I am going to work on expanding it. The goal is to hit 80,000 words - the accepted industry standard for a novel. Building on what I had, that gives me about 34,000 words to write. I am also sure that I will need to change some of what I have already written to accommodate the new storyline. I don't know how long this will take me. Life is about to get busy again (well, busier). But, I will write what I can when I can and see how it goes. I definitely want to be done by Christmas. I think that should be doable.

Today's count - 1,609   Total to date - 48, 077

Is Your Writing a Secret?

This post really struck home for me:

Is Your Writing a Secret?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Catholic Fiction Giveaway

Enter the Dog Days of Summer Catholic Fiction Giveaway to win a copy of my book: Through the Open Window or one of several other great titles. But Hurry! The contest ends at the end of this month.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I hit "send"

I just sent out my first query for my latest novel. Regardless of the outcome, it was good that it forced me to write a synopsis, a blurb, and a tagline. Condensing over 46,000 words into 700 words wasn't easy. My first try came in at 799, but I was able to cut and get it to exactly 700.

So, we shall see what happens. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Working on a proposal

I spent part of today trying to work out an additional storyline to add to my story to bring up the word count to an acceptable length. I did come up with one and I still may go down that road, but in the meantime, I have the opportunity to submit the story to a small publisher who is willing to take manuscripts with fewer words. So, for the moment, I am working on that proposal. I need to write a 700 word synopsis, 150 word blurb and a 10 - 15 word tagline. I'm starting with the synopsis and will condense from there.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

After reviewing some agent's sites and doing some more research, it appears my story needs another 20,000 to 30,000 words to be considered. I'm thinking that would require another story line thrown in. I'm not sure what to do at this point.

Surviving the Editorial Letter

This is a great post on the process of revision and how painful it really is.

Surviving the Editorial Letter

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Narrowing the List of Potential Agents

I finished going through the 2011 Guide To Literary Agents today and have narrowed down the 550 agents listed to 69 potential agents. 23 of those I have starred as ones I want to target first as I feel they are the best fit. I now need to investigate their websites and find out all I can about them before I write those all important query letters.

Say a prayer for me, please. I can use it. This is all so very scary to me.

Funds for Writers

I haven't personally used this service but the site has been voted one of the top sites for Writers by Writer's Digest several years in a row so I will say that is a sign of its credibility.

Funds for Writers

Monday, August 9, 2010

Starting the Process

My copy of 2011 Guide To Literary Agents had been sitting, waiting to be opened, all weekend. Today, I knew I had to face my fear and actually open the book. Have I mentioned that new things/ ventures scare me?

I was actually feeling physically ill as I opened the book. But I said two Hail Marys for guidance and then did it. I read all the pertinent articles, and I started looking through the listings and writing down which ones are possibilities. I then will need to research them further. In some ways, this is a lot like looking for a job. You need to send out a query letter telling them in one page why they should represent you and the best letters are tailored to the individual agent. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Library Hotel

Obviously, I can't afford it, but if I could, this would be one hotel I would definitely like to stay in:

Library Hotel

Poets and Writers

At a library trip last week, I discovered an issue of Poets & Writers in the donation bucket. I eagerly picked it up. At a different library the following day, I saw they had other issues available for circulation, so this weekend I read the May/June and July/August issues for 2010. I was very impressed by this magazine. It is mainly black and white, not flashy in any way, and packed with information.

For those of you who, like me, are looking for an agent, their website features a free agent database:

Speaking of agents, I received my agent books from Amazon on Friday so I hope to get to work studying those this week and getting my proposal ready.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Beauty of Fiction

I read Redemption, a book of Christian fiction by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley. A close friend of mine had given me 4 books in the series last summer and I'm finally getting around to them. What I have found though is that I tend to read the right book for my life at the right time. This book definitely fit for this week. Last summer it would have been pure torture.

In any event, what I like about fiction is that in the space of however many pages, problems get resolved. Especially in Christian or Catholic Fiction, God works in wondrous ways. Sure, it may take a while, but in a novel, years can go by in a few pages. It isn't like real life where the pain drags on, seemingly forever, and solutions seem nowhere to be found. We all need the escapism of fiction sometimes. That's why I like to read it and write it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I had the pleasure of browsing in my local Barnes & Noble last night. As I perused the shelves, I couldn't help but dream a little of having my book on their shelves. I suppose every author dreams of that. All those other authors have made it. I know the odds are against me and I am nothing if not firmly rooted in reality, but still, every now and then, it is fun to entertain the dream a bit.  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

11 Plot Pitfalls

Here is a good article on Writer's Digest:

Rescue Your Story from Plot Pitfalls

Trying to get an agent

I just ordered two books that will hopefully help me get an agent for my latest novel: 2011 Guide To Literary Agents and 2011 Novel And Short Story Writer's Market

I'm inherently cheap, at least when it comes to spending on myself and it pained me to spend the money (even though I can count it as a business expense), but these books weren't available at the library and I'm horrible at doing lenghly searches online. I like something I can mark the pages of and take notes on.

Then there is a whole other issue. Honestly, I'm terrified. I'm scared of both all the rejection that will no doubt come my way and of the possibiity that I could actually succeed. But, I feel like the time is right in my life to try for this. Win or lose, I will try my best and leave the rest in God's hands. 

So, I will share the story here of my submissions and rejections, and maybe, just maybe, an acceptance along the way. Enjoy the ride!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Library Blast from the Past

My travels this past weekend took me to a library that actually still had a working card catalog! Admittedly, it stopped being updated in 2004, but there it was, still in use. Also, books before 2004 still need to be signed for on the card in the back of the book. It was like going back in time. I also really liked the fireplace sign.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Enjoying the editing process

I've been reading through my manuscript, fixing my mistakes and making a few changes. At this risk of sounding like an idiot, I'm going to write this anyway - I'm actually enjoying reading my own story. I have a horrible memory - not so bad that I don't remember how the story ends or that it doesn't seem generally familiar to me, but there are parts I don't really remember writing and I'm enjoying seeing how the story unfolds. This is my first time reading the story through, start to finish.

Summer Reading Contest on Catholic Mom

I'm excited to be taking part in the Summer Catholic Fiction giveaway on Catholic Mom. Enter to win here: The Dog Days of Summer Catholic Fiction Giveaway

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Brand New Notebooks

I took a walk to Staples today to pick up the printed copy of my first draft. Unfortunately, I thought I had ordered it on 3-hole punched paper and I ended up getting it on regular paper. It's not the first time I've screwed up a web order. Oh well, it is easily fixed. I own a 3-hole punch - I just need to do it myself, which I will do as soon as I finish this post.

Anyway, the point of this post is that the aisles were full of back to school supplies. While my children definitely do not share my enthusiasm for this, brand new notebooks still get me excited (yes, I am a total geek). They are so crisp and so full of potential, just waiting to be filled with all sorts of important things. I like that sense of potential.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I would like to say that I'm jumping up and down at the fact that this story is done, but I'm not. I mean, I should be, right? I met my goal - I finished my first draft in under two months. I like the story. I actually like it better than my first novel. All of which should give me reason to celebrate, but mostly I'm just tired and a little sad that it is done. After all, the writing is really the fun part. I've looked forward to working on it each day that I could and watching the story develop and the word counts go up. Now, that is over.

Some overall observations: This second novel was easier to write. Practice does make perfect. Well, I don't know about perfect, but it does make it easier. I remember writing the last novel that there were times I truly hated the story. It seemed to take so long and it was such a struggle to figure out what should happen next, what the characters were doing, where they were going. I kept going by sheer force of will sometimes. This time around, the story just came out. I definitely felt more in the zone. I'm thankful to God for giving me the time and the inspiration to do this.

I'm not sure why it mattered for me to write this story, but it did. I honestly don't know if anyone will ever read it. I once read, though, that when we give ourselves permission to pursue our creative pursuits, that in turn allows others to give themselves permission to pursue their own, and the world is better for that. So, while my story may not matter, perhaps someone else will be inspired by the fact that I wrote it and be convinced they can do the same.

So, what's next? Editing. I get to go back and fix all my mistakes. Honestly, I haven't read the story through start to finish. I sent it off to Staples to be printed. I'll probably pick it up Friday.

Today's total: 889 Final total: 46,352 (not quite 50,000 but close enough!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

So close . . .

While on the work front, I am wishing for a brain implant that would allow me to magically understand all there is to know about Joomla (a content management system similar in function to Wordpress but wildly different in configuration and usage), on the writing front I am so close to being done I can taste it. I am currently working on the last chapter. Unfortunately, it is bedtime and I need to call it a night. I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring. I'm not seeing writing in my future, but one can never tell. I might be able to squeeze a little in.

Today's total - 905 Total to date - 45,463

Writing Productivity Pitfalls

Here is a good article from Writer's Digest on 10 Writing Productivity Pitfalls and how to avoid them: Top 10 Productivity Pitfalls for Writers to Avoid

Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting there . . .

Tonight I was back at work on my other project, but I did have some time earlier today to write while my children were outside playing.

Today's total - 1,110 Total to date - 44,700

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Making Progress

My work is on hold while I await some technical support which I am hoping will come tomorrow. But, on the plus side, it did give me some time to write this weekend.

Saturday's total : 280
Today's total: 3, 035

Total to date: 43,590

I'm close to the end. I think it will probably end up around 45,000 words. Maybe a bit more. A little short, but I can live with it. Maybe I will get the chance to finish this week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

And I was getting so close . . .

I had a very good night of writing, and then I checked my email and discovered a huge work project waiting for me. I knew it was coming. It was supposed to come a couple weeks ago, but they had been ignoring me this long. I was hoping beyond hope that it might wait long enough for me to finish this story. I was trying so hard to get it done - taking advantage of every possible minute. I was getting so close, and now I need to walk away from it for a bit. I'm not sure how long. I'm so discouraged right now.

Today's total - 2,565 Total to date - 40, 235

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

If I only needed less sleep . .

I would make a huge push and finish this story. This is the hard part for me, when I am nearing the end. I just want to get it done. It is somewhat emotionally exhausting and exhilarating at the same time to push out a story like this. Can I finish by the end of the month? I'd like to :)

Today's total - 1,391 Total to date - 37,670

On self-editing

This is a good article on learning how to edit one's own writing:

The Importance of Self-Editing

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Novel Without a Title

It is getting to the point where I am going to have to come up with a title for this work of fiction. As it stands now, the file (which I email to myself every night) is called "Novel 2 1st draft." Yup - doesn't get more exciting than that. I'm hoping a title will come to me soon. I have an obvious title I could go with - "The Rose Ring," but I was hoping for something a bit more compelling. We shall see.

I'm pretty sure how the rest of the story is going to unfold and I am at the point at which I wish I could just download the story from my mind to the computer, but who knows? There may be a couple surprises along the way.

Today's total - 1,207 Total to date - 36, 279

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A rare Saturday writing session

I almost never get to write on a Saturday, but I was able to squeeze in a short writing session today. It is amazing. I know I shouldn't say this too loudly, but this story is almost writing itself.

Today's count - 769 Total to date - 34,492

Friday, July 16, 2010

Record Day for Me

I'm pretty sure that life will not hand me another day like today to write, but I took good advantage of it. This is the most I have ever written in one day.

Today's total - 4,502 Total to date - 33,723

Thursday, July 15, 2010

3000 word day

So, I held out hopes of hitting 30,000 words today. That didn't happen, but I did write 3000 words which I think is pretty close to my all-time best writing total for one day. Oh, and my friend on FB actually wrote 8,300 words on her story yesterday! She finished the novel today - it weighed in at over 83,000 words. I can safely say that I will never get there. She blogs about how she did her marathon writing session here:

Today's total - 3,025 Total to date - 29,221

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Keeping at it.

One of my writing FB friends posted that she wrote 4000 words today. Truly, I am in awe. I'm hoping to get a good session of writing in tomorrow. We shall see what the day brings. God has been being kind to me, letting me have some time to actually do this. I take that as a good sign. Also, I really like how the story is turning out. Still not sure if it will take me 50,000 words to tell or not.

Today's total - 1,104 Total to date - 26,196

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Half-way done!

I was a woman on a mission tonight. I wanted to reach the half-way point. And I did!

Today's count - 1,853   Total to date - 25,092

On an unrelated note, I've been known to get songs stuck in my head and play them repeatedly on YouTube while I work. It's been a while, but "Half of my Heart" by John Meyer and Taylor Swift has now won that honor. There is no special reason why I like the song. Something about it is just catchy. I think I listened to it about 30 times tonight.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Productive Evening of Writing

I made up for yesterday's lackluster performance. I finished what I thought was Chapter 12. Then, I realized I actually needed another chapter between Chapter 11 and what I had just written. So, Chapter 12 became Chapter 13 and I started work on a new Chapter 12. I am so thankful for computers. I can't even imagine doing this on the typewriters I used to use when I was in school! While I am appreciating modern technology, I am also very thankful for the thesaurus feature in Word. I own a hardbound thesaurus/dictionary set that I won as an academic prize when I was in high school, but it is just so convenient to type in the word and have all those wonderful synonyms come up!

Today's count - 1,445   Total to date - 23,239

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Slow night

The words weren't coming very easily tonight, but I did manage to hammer out a few.

Today's total - 674   Total to date - 21, 794

Friday, July 9, 2010

483 more words

Which brings today's total to 1567 and the total to date to 21,120. Woo-hoo!

Over 20,000 words!

I'm not sure if I will have more time to write tonight, but I had some time this afternoon and took advantage of it.

Today's total - 1,084   Total to date - 20,637

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Plot Problems

I've said before that I really don't have a story mapped out before I write it. I may have a general idea of where I want the story to go, but that's about it. The rest fills itself in as I write. As a result, I end up with some plot problems - inconsistencies I realize I have to go back and fix in order for the story to make sense. While I generally try to avoid editing when I am working on the first draft, I do go back and fix some of these. Tonight, I spent some time making the story make sense. I also wrote another scene. It is coming along.

Really, my concern at this point is that it won't take the 50,000 words to tell the story; that it will come up short. But, I figure I will just keep writing and see what happens.

Today's count - 1038  Total to date - 19,553

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 7th

Another scorcher.

Today's total - 1,159    Total to date - 18,515

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

It was over 100 degrees in my part of the world today. That doesn't happen very often around here. The heat doesn't bother me very much, but even I was forced to seek the refuge of air conditioning in order to work tonight. Not that I couldn't have lived, but I feared my computer would overheat. As a result, both it and I worked in comfort. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a tad bit cooler.

It is interesting the places inspiration can come from. The entire scene I wrote tonight grew out of an experience I had while mini-golfing over the holiday weekend. You just never know . . .

Today's total - 1,155  Total to date - 17,356

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5th

It's the end of a relaxing long weekend. I took a break from work (at least mostly) and took some much needed rest. That included writing this evening. I had my 80s music going as I wrote. I laughed at some of the comments teenagers had put on the songs. They were ruminating that they wished that they had grown up in the 80s. I remember growing up in the 80s wishing I had grown up in the 50s! LOL Ah well, it is good music. It brings back good memories, and keeps the creative juices flowing. What more could one hope for?

Today's total - 1,289   Total to date - 16,201

Friday, July 2, 2010

I got to write after all.

After thinking I wouldn't get to return to my story, I had about 20 minutes to write this evening.

Today's count - 348  Total to date - 14, 912

A Couple Interesting Writing Articles

I'm always happy to get to read the latest issue of Writer's Digest. Today I read the May/June 2010 issue. There was a great article in there, "He Said, She Said" which gave some interesting information on the differences between how men and women write and what men and women like to read. There was also an informative article on writing romances. Unfortunately, neither of those articles are online so you will need to seek out the actual magazine if you read them (I get mine at the library.) They did have a couple other interesting articles on their website, however:

How to Enhance Your Character's POV

9 Questions to Ask Your Main Character

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

End of the Month

It is hard to believe the end of June is here already. It has been a busy month for me. Unfortunately, that meant that my dreams of getting my 2nd novel even half-written went down the tubes. As they say, the best laid plans . . .  ah, well. The final total for the month was 14,564 - a little more than a quarter of my goal of 50,000 words. Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever have the chance to return to the story. But, it felt good to write while I had the chance.

As for my editing project, I am almost done my second read-through. I hope the client will be happy with what I have done.