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anything and everything about my journey to becoming a published author

Inspiration

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I haven’t been writing lately.

It isn’t that I haven’t been thinking about it – I’m waiting to hear “any day now” on a manuscript, so it’s on my mind, believe me. But there are other things going on; the everyday drama that arises when you have a bunch of passionate volunteers, a big change on the horizon that is going to be good, but is still a change and therefore scary, and any number of other things that distract me and use up my creative energy.

And then, on Saturday night, there were northern lights. I know, the picture doesn’t look that spectacular, but they were. Spectacular. Best I’ve ever seen them, dancing across the sky for an hour, mostly green but with flashes of yellow and filling the whole northern sky and part of the east. Amazing.

I thought about how I would describe the lights in a story, and how the lights could play a pivotal role.

My manuscript in progress was sitting at 53,000 words and though I opened it up nearly every day, I hadn’t made a change in longer than I care to admit. On Sunday, the morning after the northern lights, I sat down and read/revised the entire thing, fixing the plot points that had been holding me back.

Monday, I wrote 3500 words.
Tuesday, 2000 words.
And today, Wednesday, I wrote another 4000 words to finish the story.

The aurora borealis came right when I needed it, and I’m am so grateful. So is Evie, who I’m sure was wondering if I was ever going to finish her story.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in writing

 

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Can You Hit A Perfect Pitch? Blogfest

Title: What Evie Saw

Genre: MG Historical

Word Count: 55,000

Pitch: A famous bootlegger, a rescued horse, and a schoolteacher who isn’t as mild mannered as everyone thinks. Evie Harrison is the only one who can sort it out — if she could just convince the grown-ups to believe her.

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop.

The wind was blowing, and I`d gotten chilled from the walk home from
school, so I’d taken my book into the parlor and curled up in the patch of
sunlight on the hardwood floor, up against the back of the big leather
chair that had been Father’s. The sun was so warm that by the time the
door opened, I was nearly asleep.

“Please, come in and have a seat.” Della was using her grown up voice, and
it made me start awake.

“Thank you.” The voice was deep and male and familiar, but my sleepy brain
couldn’t place it. Father’s chair moved behind me.

The door opened again. “I brought you young people some tea.” Mrs. Rich
announced in her formal, housekeeper voice. I heard the tray placed on the
table, and Mrs. Rich’s footsteps as she left.

Tea cups rattled as Della poured tea. She must be nervous; usually she was
more careful. “Cream or sugar, Mr. Jamison?”

 

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in writing

 

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You Might Be A Writer If …

  • You’ve ever taken your netbook to the movies, so you could type during the previews.
  • You hit your thumb with a hammer, and immediately start thinking of how to describe the experience for a character in your book.
  • You make up a backstory for the couple arguing in the car next to you at the red light.
  • You try to sneak up on your horses through the bushes, just to see how hard it would be for your character.
  • You wake up in the middle of the night with the perfect line of dialogue running through your head, and reach for the notebook that lives on your headboard for just such an occasion.
  • You are filled with equal parts excitement and dread every time you check your email or pick up the mail.
  • You spend a lot of time staring at the wall or ceiling and call it ‘writing’.
  • You get nothing but notebooks and Chapters gift cards for Christmas and you couldn’t be happier.
  • You cut off a chunk of your own hair with a steak knife, just to see if it would work for the scene you’re working on.

Anyone else? Please tell me I’m not the only one who is this weird …. 😉

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in writing

 

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Can We Guess Your Character’s Age?

UPDATE  – I placed second! I’m SO excited for my edit by Gabriela Lessa, such a great learning opportunity!

Brenda Drake is running a very fun blog contest, and while I didn’t find out about it in time to participate in the critiquing/blog roll portion, I did enter the first 250 words of WHAT EVIE SAW and found out today that I’m a semi-finalist! The idea was to see if the judges (and other blog readers) could guess your main character’s age based only on the first 250 words, and I’m SO happy to find out they could! The idea of writing a first person voice for a character Evie’s age kept me up at night more than few times before (and after) I started this story.

Since I didn’t get my butt in gear in time for the blog tour part of the contest, I decided to post it now. Feel free to guess on Evie’s age if you’d like!

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop.

The wind was blowing, and I`d gotten chilled from the walk home from
school, so I’d taken my book into the parlor and curled up in the patch of
sunlight on the hardwood floor, up against the back of the big leather
chair that had been Father’s. The sun was so warm that by the time the
door opened, I was nearly asleep.

“Please, come in and have a seat.” Della was using her grown up voice, and
it made me start awake.

“Thank you.” The voice was deep and male and familiar, but my sleepy brain
couldn’t place it. Father’s chair moved behind me.

The door opened again. “I brought you young people some tea.” Mrs. Rich
announced in her formal, housekeeper voice. I heard the tray placed on the
table, and Mrs. Rich’s footsteps as she left.

Tea cups rattled as Della poured tea. She must be nervous; usually she was
more careful. “Cream or sugar, Mr. Jamison?”

I froze. My mind raced as I tried to think of an incident that would bring
Mr. Jamison to our house after school. Nothing had happened out of the
ordinary today – yesterday I’d taken Martha Rose’s new hat, just to teach
her a lesson, but Mr. Jamison had spied me and made me give it back
straight away.

“Just a little cream, please, Miss Harrison.” He didn’t sound upset about
anything. He’d talked to Aunt Tess last time he’d come, after I’d slugged
James O’Neil for his smart mouth. My legs ached from being bent for too
long, but I didn’t dare move them and have my skirts rustle.

The winners will be announced in the next few days … I’ve already gotten a lot of value out of the contest, but I’d sure love to win one of those professional edits, too! 😉

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in writing

 

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Everything You Need To Know Before You Write Your First Novel.

Lately I’ve seen a plethora of blog posts on this subject. “10 Things You Should Know Before Writing Your First Novel”,  “5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Writing My First Novel”, “16 1/2 Things You Better Learn Before Writing Your First Novel”.

The articles range from helpful and informative to downright snarky, and I disagree with them all.

I am so grateful that I knew nothing at all when I wrote my first novel. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in writing

 

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Preparing for NaNoWriMo

Ah, November … there’s a chill in the air, and aspiring novelists everywhere spend the month hunched over their keyboards, visions of best-seller lists dancing in their heads.

NaNoWriMo – that’s National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated – is an online challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Last year was my first time participating in NaNoWriMo, and I wear my ‘winner’ t-shirt with pride.

This year for Nano, I’m planning a story that’s a little different from anything I’ve written before. It’s first person, for one thing, which has me worrying about getting the voice right, and avoiding ‘telling’ when I should be ‘showing’. It’s also more of a character driven story, rather than the plot driven stories I’m more comfortable with.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in writing

 

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A Different Kind of Distraction

There are lots of things that distract me from my work in progress. Television, internet, the great book I’m reading and my new kitty who insists that IT’S TIME TO PET LUCY NOW all make the list.  Yesterday, I spent two hours looking at Star Trek items on Etsy searching for a mug that says, “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.”  The night before I started researching underwear in the 1880’s (which was totally legitimate writing work) and then ended up at Western Emporium getting way too excited about this dress that I don’t need, would never wear, and can’t afford. But look how pretty!

As shiny and fun as those distractions are, there’s another kind I’ve discovered that needs to be carefully managed if I’m ever going to finish a story. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in writing

 

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