Snap shots

Sorry to have been out of touch. My family is experiencing a state of emergency, and I haven’t been by the blogs in awhile. Promise to do better. However, I went through one of my ‘many’ journals yesterday and found a great writing exercise. Snapshot! Now, it can be done with any of our senses, but the point is to take a moment — one that you’re experiencing — and list sights, sounds, smells, . . . well, you get the picture. Two years ago, my son was admitted for an emergency appendectomy. They sent us home, then he developed complication and we returned to the hospital for another 72-hour-stay. While all was quiet and […]

Still learning . . .

As mentioned before, I substitute teach. Exclusively at the elementary level — I’m no dummy. If I’m running the asylum, I want to make sure I’m the biggest inmate in the group. Size does matter when teaching. This week, I reverted to 3rd grade. Amazing how I always learn something new, something I’m positive I didn’t learn the first time. Science is one of those subjects, being a total left-brainer, that is more difficult for me. It’s all practical facts, while I live in the world of make-believe. However, after my day with 9-year-olds, I believe I’ve found the correlation. The science lesson for the day consisted of MATTER. Yep, MATTER. Okay, I’ll be the […]

Building Vocabulary . . . this week’s letter is E

As writers we often fall into the rut of using the same tired words over and over again. I understand if the story is compelling enough, readers don’t always notice our stuck-in-rut trend. Personally, I’m longing for more creativity. I considered my options for the bigger word trek. Several of my fellow writing gurus plop open the dictionary –yep, the old fashioned one with pages and everything — then pursue a particular letter. Sounds doable. Some of my friends increased the size of their language skills through higher academic degrees. A number of years ago, a dear friend obtained her MBA from SMU. When I asked what a difference the higher-priced degree made in her […]

To theme or not to theme . . .

It’s not really a question of ‘can I theme or not’. Because the bottom line for writers is they must possess an ability to craft their words around theme. I’ve posted before that themes and I don’t get along, see eye-to-eye, hey, we don’t normally exist on the same planet. I scandalously use my critique partners, my English Liter-major collegiate daughter, even my two kids still at home to grasp the concept of theme and shove it one more time — forcefully — into my brain. Image my delight, okay, it was more like downright squeals of excitement when I discovered while teaching (4th grade) today, an insider’s tip for building theme. Three simple ideas, […]

Hooking the reader . . .

Slowing the pace or resolving the conflict – any conflict, even a little one – at the end of the chapter or scene gives your reader an opportunity to put your book down and turn off the light. Bad news for any author aspiring who has designs on the New York Times Best Seller list. Make your readers hang around and hang on, forcing them to read through what would be a natural place to break. How to? Use strong hooks. As writers, we want to finish the thought and build to the end always pushing the conflict up the next notch. So resolution is the last thing that needs to happen at the end […]

Character analysis . . . how do you do that?

I finished watching The Count Of Monte Cristo with my collegiate and extraordinarily literary daughter. She mentioned how the book had been more than a bit boring, but the character development and analysis was awesome. From a writing perspective, authors have a certain . . . I hesitate to use the word, but we do have a formula that helps develop characters. Buzz words are goal, conflict, motivation, mentors, allies, enemies, accepting the quest and the list goes on. However, I wondered from a purely literary viewpoint (my daughter is an English Lit major) what did she look for? My first surprise was that it strongly depended on whether the book was a single title […]

Coloring Your Way to Better Writing

Several months ago, I delivered a short blog about COLORS and what they mean to a writer and a reader. A more fleshed article was submitted to my local RWA chapter and has since been picked up by the additional publications: Great Vancouver Chapter, WisRWA, Diamond State Romance Authors Craft Loop, Chicago-North Loop RWA, and MERWA eloop. Since so many have enjoyed the elongated article, it’s now here for your perusal. Hope you find something worth use to enhance your writing and move you toward that goal of being a better writer. The first box of Crayons was released in 1903 and sold for a nickel a box. All right, cool trivia tidbit, but is […]

Looking back . . . following the wandering muse

Just went through last year’s post . . . wanted to see what I’d been doing for a year. It’s enlightening and frightening to see how much time has actually elasped, and then to fret about why I didn’t get more accomplished. That whole GOTTA-SET-GOALS-THING is looming big on my horizon. It’s hard to believe that this past month we traveled south to Texas A & M again to retrieve my oldest from college. Mind-boggling to believe I now have one that’s completed her sophomore year at a major university, one headed to his last year in high school, and my baby getting ready to start high school. Okay, enough about getting old — I […]

My characters need a time-out . . .

When my kids were small, I employed the ‘time-out’ system. Sometimes it was one of my children (the instigator), at other times, all three ended up in time-out–just for a little mom peace and quiet. Even I occasionally served time-out (when I couldn’t think of a fesible, adult way to handle the latest, drama-queen or drama-king crisis, I pulled a Napoleon and retreated behind closed doors. Quick regroupings can be the only thing that saves a mom’s sanity). At my mommy meanest, I’ve even sentenced unsuspecting toys (normally the culprit for whatever was wrong in that moment) to a life-term in the chair. While, those days are in the past for me, I’m seriously considering […]

The Edits Are Finished . . .

Yippee! Yep, that describes it! As my stories are set in modern-day Texas, the Yippee gets it done. I’m waiting for one final read-through from a fresh set of eyes, then it’s back to the editor. I’ve utilized an ‘Edits’ notebook throughout this process. More on this in another blog. Honestly, without a technique, I’m not sure I would have been capable of keeping all the changes straight. As this is a Romantic Suspense, multiple threads must be woven through the entire book. Just like with crocheting, drop a stitch and the whole afghan unravels. A disappointed reader is the last thing I want, so I’ve pulled the threads tight to ensure a happy ending […]