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Showing posts from April, 2015

Common Sense Instructions from the Bible: Part 1

A friend of mine was blogging about wealth (among other things) and how it is meant to be shared.  You think about the lonely miserable old miser.  You think about the joy they would have if they had someone to share with.  Wealth is not meant to be squandered but neither is it meant to be horded.
     My friend went on to say that God did not give us wealth as a trick test to see how much we would give away.  And, as I read that, I thought of how many times it has been portrayed that way.  "God gave you good things just to see what kind of person you are.  You will be graded on the percentage of your goods that you distribute to the needy."  Is that how it is?  No.
      But are we supposed to share our wealth?  Yes.
      God gave us good things for us to enjoy them.  And we already established in the first paragraph that you will enjoy your wealth so much more when you share it.  That's how it works.
      How many times do we twist good instructions and make the…

Too Much Drama, Not Enough Action

"Too much drama, not enough action."
I've talked about this before, but I am coming back to it because I have seen this drama/action ratio again.  This time, it was in the first 2 episodes of OUAT.  I didn't especially like it, so I spent an evening mulling over WHY I didn't like that I can avoid the same mistakes in my own writing.
Before I start, I should reiterate that I only saw 2 episodes.  I know several people who absolutely love this show, and I am sure that there are great things about it that I overlooked.  So, don't be angry with my judgments -- I know they aren't perfect.
Going into the show, I knew that it was a tremendous favorite among several groups on the blogging world.  And therefore, I had a kind of disney princess/robin hood/king arthur expectation...which was inaccurate.  Also, OUAT is not the sort of show that I typically watch so it all seemed new and strange to me.

Here is what I saw:

Pros: mystery.  Honestly, the only rea…


Hi.  This one, which I am calling JW, is coming so fast.  I told you I usually give these things a couple days, but I think I am going to let it reign until the weekend.  I am up to 12,239 words now, and I'm very close to the halfway point.  It would be crazy to stop now.  Besides, I'm nearly biting my nails to see what happens next.


So I wrote a tiny snippet of nothing and then fell in love with it.  I got to thinking that maybe I should play with it for a couple days.  I do this with plot bunnies that won't go away.  If I let them free for a couple days, I often capture enough information to store them away and come back to them at a later date. 
     Wednesday, I let this snippet free.  And I wrote 6,474 words in the story.
     I don't know if I have ever written that much in one day.
     I plan to let it run free tomorrow and then we'll see what we get.  At this pace, I'll have a first draft on my hands before I'm done.


"Benjamin Cooling."
     Jemma shook the offered hand.  "Is that your name?  Or an air conditioning company?"

That WAS the ER

This is a "bit of nothing" that I typed on 4/10/15 because...

I needed a break from every story that I am working on, I was inspired to try "showing instead of telling" by a Go Teen Writer's contest that I am too old to enter, andI wanted to write about somebody who is exhausted from a long day of work only to find that she's got a long, exciting night ahead of her.

I might could give you a good reason for that last one.

     Jemma shut the clinic door on the last patient of the day and sank into a chair.  Everything ached -- her arms ached, her feet ached, even her head ached.
    Carolyn poked her head into the office.  "Hey, nurse Jemma -- are we done?"
    Jemma rubbed her forehead.  "Yep, Mrs. Greenclair was the last name on the schedule.  I've never seen so many patients in one day.  I don't know how you do this every week."
    Carolyn disappeared down the hall, and a moment later Jemma heard the water running in the …

Acts and Layers

I've been working on ToP in my spare moments, trying to figure out how to say all that I want to say.  The thing about ToP is that it is layered.  There is not just one arc.  And that is true of many stories -- especially big, fat ones.  But what I haven't learned from "how-to" articles is how to plot all of those layers.

     One of the things that I am doing is a character relationship chart, which I invented (and shared here).        Some relationships stay steady through a whole book, but many of them follow an arc.

Strangers to friends.  Love at first sight to a lasting solid relationship.  Friends to enemies.  Enemies to arc-enemies.  Enemies to friends.      And those relationships may be viewed differently by the different parties involved.  Maybe Joyce was trying to make friends all along, but Brenda couldn't see that until the end.  Maybe the hero thinks that the villain is his adoring fan when all along the villain has been flattering h…

April's Chatterbox: On Foot

I wrote this piece especially for the Chatterbox event, but it might eventually find its way into ToP.  Enjoy!

Petura lifted her chin and her skirts simultaneously and sat down on the fallen log.  Bits of rotting bark brushed loose and scattered across her satins.  Petura brushed them away but they crumbled into the finest damp powder and smeared mahogany stains across her pink gown.

Heron watched her and then turned, striding away through the forest.  Dry twigs snapped under his feet.

"Where are you going?" Petura felt a twinge of alarm.  Surely, he wasn't leaving her alone in the forest!

"Come on.  I'm taking you home."  His steady stride didn't slacken.

"You can't be serious.  The palace is 2 days travel by carriage."

"Then I am taking you to the nearest lordly dwelling and dropping you off there."

"On foot?"

Heron was getting farther away but he still did not stop.  "That is my usual method of travel, m'lad…

You Never Know What You Might See

One of the fascinating things about living around people is that you never know what you might see.  For example, the other day I was sitting in my car by a gas station, watching the traffic passing by.  Suddenly I noticed a car slowing as it neared the station.  Just as it reached us, an old, heavyset woman with long straggly white hair stuck her head out of the window and yelled "Woooo-Hoooooo!!!!!!" at the top of her lungs.  Then she settled back in her seat and drove on.

Like I said, you never know what you might see.  So keep your eyes open.  Truth is often stranger than fiction.  :D

It's Not a Movie

I read a post recently that struck me rather hard.  It pointed out the common error of writers now-a-days, trying to write their story as if they were a movie director.


I totally was trying to do this error on purpose, too.  Whoops.

When we watch a movie, we see the glances and sighs and pointed glares.  So much emotion is conveyed in these "glances."
In my attempt to "show" and not "tell," I started using acting-script as a language.

But it doesn't always work in a book form.

Writing is its own art form.  Don't try to copy movie form.

It was an interesting admonition.

If you want to read more, check out this post by K.M. Weiland: Show What Your Character is Feeling and Thinking (and Do It Like a Writer, Not a Director)

Ain't We Got Fun! Cover Reveal

Not so very long ago, two girls wowed the blogging world with their joint presentation of a story set in the Great Depression.  One of the fascinating things about this story (in addition to the story's own wonderfulness) was the way the two girls did it together -- I loved the letters.  And now, I am very pleased to announce, their story is to be published.  Hurrah!!! Furthermore, I am very pleased to announce that the cover reveal is today and that I have the privilege of sharing it with you.
Ladies and gentlemen, the cover of Ain't We Got Fun!

1935: It was never much of an issue for Bess: living contentedly on her family's farm, despite the Depression which loomed around them. But when her older sister Georgiana takes off to New York City to make a fortune and help Papa out, feelings of adventure and wanderlust strike Bess at home. Through their lively letter correspondence, the sisters recount to one another their adventures, surprises, and heartaches, leaving little room…

Music: TobyMac "Beyond Me" - LYRICS

This is a song about how God calls you to things SO BIG that you can't possibly take credit for them.

Time Traveler Coming Soon

Have you ever written a letter to yourself, and sealed it to be opened at a later date?  I have.  I used to call them time-traveler letters.
     A friend inspired me last year to do the same on my blog.  So I wrote a post and scheduled it to be published a year later.  A year seemed like such a long time!  But here I see it on my posts list, and it will be published on May 1st, 2015 -- at the beginning of next month.
     I can hardly wait to see what it says!

Jenny the Penslayer

There are many reasons she is called the Penslayer. But the title suits her...or at least, it suits her writing.  And it is only through her writing that I know her.  Through her blog and her two published books. What is it that she slays?  There are many things, no doubt, slain by her pen.  But tonight I came to realize that she slays my chains. Chains of fear. There is a part of me that shrinks back from being seen.  How can I share my deepest philosophies?  Who would understand them?  How can I speak the poetry that beats in my soul?  What if people laugh at it?  Or a Mrs. Barry is offended by my Anne-speak? I don't know exactly how Jenny slays these fears.  All I know is that there is a depth in her writing that speaks to me, calls out to my most inner thoughts.  And when I pick up my pen again, the fears are gone -- at least for a little while. I do not agree with everything she writes.  And maybe she doesn't agree with everything I write.  But I do know that she somehow…

Beautiful People: Brant and Mason

Hi!  I'm linking up with Sky and Cait's Beautiful People: Sibling Edition this month.  You can check out Sky's hosting post here:
This time I will be talking about Brant and Mason, from my story "Broken Clouds."  They are brothers.  Brant's about 14 or 15 years old.  Mason is about 7 years old.  Here it goes!
1. What is the first memory they have of each other? Brant's first memory is coming home from spending the day at a friend's house and being introduced to his small, red, screaming brother.  Mason doesn't have a first memory -- Brant's just always been there. 2. Describe their relationship in 3 words. Brant is the protector, boss, and occasionally the creator-of-fun-things-to-do.  Mason is the I'm-cute, don't-be-mad-at-me, let's-do-something part of the relationship. 3. What kind of things do they like to do together? Get ice cream, go to the…

Life is Pretty Exciting These Days

Life is pretty exciting around here these days.  I left TCK to sit for a few weeks, and now I am plunging back into edits.  I found that a couple of my themes were nebulous, and nebulous is never good.  Subtle is good.  Nebulous?  Not so much.  With my material, I could take the theme one of two ways.  So I am trying to decide where to go with it.
     I sent TCK to one of my beloved beta-readers on April 1st (along with a plea, begging her not to pull any April Fool's stunts on my story -- I can take criticism like a champ but jokes are too much when my baby/story is involved).  And I sent it to a couple other readers later in the week.  Can't wait to get all their feedback and work on my story again.
     Pouring over the list of "what I should have done" (aka, an editing checklist) always sparks my imagination for stories yet to come.  Which led me back to Broken Clouds and ToP.  I am dusting them off and figuratively building the scaffolding for them.  This…

Introducing the Caves: More Rooms to Explore

Greetings, all!  I have returned for my final installment of cave pictures...for now.  Today I bring you more places to explore.

Right this way, folks...

Knock, knock.  Does somebody live here?

Almost home...

A special place, perhaps?

There are things to see everywhere you go.

(Ignore the railings and electric lights, please)

Maybe this would be a good place to sit and think?

Thank you for joining me, everyone!  And I hope you now have an idea of the world that is so special to Amos.  See you around!
 If you missed the other posts on cave pictures, you can check them out here:
Scenes from Deep Underground
Cool Rock Formations
The Water Scenes
Glow Worms
and today's post: More Rooms to Explore