I have posted a sneak peek of the short story I just submitted. Pop on over to the Amylynn button on the top menu. If you hover there a drop down menu appears. The second item down is Sneak Peak – The Sea Rose.
Read. Enjoy. Come back here and post a comment. I’m dying to know what you think.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t know how much writing will get done tonight. The Bandit has plucked my last nerve. By tomorrow I fully expect you can begin referring to me as “The Defendant”. There is no point in telling you the exact infraction that has caused the escalation of my heart rate, but the fact of the matter is, the child has no skill in self preservation. He was caught doing something he has been expressly forbidden to do, and was in major trouble for doing it just last week. This time when I caught him, he laughed at me. LAUGHED AT ME. And now, I sit writing this while sitting on towels because all the furniture is wet. He has been put to bed while the sun is still shining. Of course, he has gotten out of bed any number of times and each time I catch him, I’ve taken away more toys. By the end of the night, the boy will not own one single thing. My bed is covered with Matchbox cars, dinosaurs and horses.
Needless to say, I’m not in any mood to write about love and romance. This is the trouble with trying to write with kids. Or with anyone else with in a 100 yard radius.
I think I hear him up now. I just hope that you will all visit me on Sundays and bring me cigarettes to barter.
It’s done. The buttons have been pushed and the emails are sent. It’s always hard to put your baby in that attachment and send it off without anyone to watch over it, but it must be done. Ava sent hers too, although I’m sure she’ll tell you I bullied her into it. Isabella’s isn’t far behind, I know.
So, send good thoughts out to the universe. My confirmation email said to give them 3-4 months. What! I know! That’s a long time to obsess, isn’t it? I’ll keep busy, I have another short story about 1/2 way done and revisions on Seeing Love Clearly to finish (as soon as Ava finishes nit picking it) and the sequel 1/4 of the way done. So obviously, I have a lot to do.
It’s hard to let your babies go out on their own.
My short story is done and could be submitted, but I’m not going to send it in just yet. I’m going to continue to monkey around with it so that I can avoid rejection. I’m afraid . . . it will be the first writing I have ever had read by professionals other than technical manuals and email. I’m really not sure I can do it! How do/did the rest of you get passed your fears??
I’m not exactly sure how my sisters go about doing this, but I feel a much better connection with my characters if I write a biography on them. I do a pretty extensive job of it, too. I will find picture of people I think they look like, or just pictures of eyes, hair, or in one unsettling example, a cleft chin. It may look a little stalkerish, and someone might worry if they stumbled upon my computer notebooks and didn’t understand. But, nevertheless, it helps me. I have pictures of anything relevant in their lives: their ship, the family crest, the motorcycle they ride, whatever. Additionally, during the writing of the book, character traits come up, physical descriptions, and other things you’ll want to note in these “biographies”. Trust me, seventy pages later you don’t want to have to try to remember if the eyes were blue with green flecks or green with blue flecks.
What have the rest of you writers done out there?
I certainly learned a lesson with my short story. I knew my characters, my supernatural element, my tone – so I eagerly got started. I was more then half way through when it was very obvious what I didn’t have was a plot. Like a lot of writers, I tend to write by the seat of my pants. I can write thousands of words a day (if no one is bothering me, Ed) with no problem. Thousands of words that I sometimes don’t need! I swear, I’m going to stop doing that. The short story was supposed to be approximately 15,000 words. No exaggeration, I threw away that many. It took me four days to come up with a plausible plot AND I’m still not sure it works. Here’s the lesson: work out your plot before you start writing, it really helps.
Amylynn is always griping about rewrites. I sent out Night Shift to a few trusted people last evening and so I’m expecting an avalanche of revisions and edits! I’ll keep everyone in the loop while I revise because I am determined to submit the story by tomorrow.
All three of the Sisters have encountered bumps in the road this week. I want to emphasize how important it is to have a sounding board with which to work through these things. As you’re writing, the smallest little hiccup can put a grinding halt to the proceedings. It’s so easy to obsess over some part of the plot and get stuck there. Then you find yourself working and reworking the scene and you get nowhere fast. You effectively strangle the poor muse and while she sits there crying, helpless to assist you, you just keep making things worse and you can’t move on. You know something doesn’t work, but you can’t figure out what, or how to fix it. The horrifying truth that niggles in the back of your mind is that you may have to scrap something and start that part over. Don’t panic! The three of us have found that sometimes just talking it over outloud with someone that can ask leading questions, or look at it with a new perspective can save you literally hours of agony. I know it sounds easy and simple and you may even be reading this and saying “well, duh”, but the fact of the matter is, writing is a lonely gig. It’s very easy to cocoon yourself with your computer and resist the urge to share your work with someone until it’s perfect. The breaking news is: It’s never “perfect”. Give up that pipe dream now. But you can make it the best you can with the help of trusted compatriots. Find yourself a critique group that you really trust. Show them the problem areas especially. A good critique group wants you to succeed.
Good luck out there. Keep writing and reading and learning your craft. It’s all going to payoff in the end.
Our purpose on this website is two-fold…to be a resource to every other struggling writer, and to share our literary ups and downs as we work to get published. In my continuing quest to become a better writer, I sometimes find that some people do know what they are talking about. One such person is Howard Allen. He is a local friend to our Romance Writer’s of America chapter, and has spoken to us a couple times on creating dialogue that shows the reader what is happening, instead of narrative that tells the reader what is happening.
Reader, I must admit that I was hesitant…at first. The gift that this man has is astounding. He is able to take random pages of description from any famous author’s novel and turn it into a riveting dialogue that not only keep’s you engaged, but allows you to feel as if you’re standing in the room watching every bodily expression unfold. This, my friends, is harder than it seems. SO… in the spirit of putting it all out there, here is my own small attempt. These are excerpts from my novel, as I tried to make the character’s interior dialogue more impactful and show the reader that her perception was different from that of her family’s:
Avery walked slowly behind her family contemplating the impact of her entrance into society. With the tragedy now two years old, she hoped for some semblance of normalcy. She did, however, doubt the existence of any man that would actually marry her. She had, after all, killed her sister. And even if her family wouldn’t admit it, she knew that they couldn’t look at her without seeing her twin.
Re-written as dialogue:
“Do you really think I will make a match this season mama? I can’t think of anyone that would offer for a girl who killed her sister.” These words slipped off her tongue as if she had resigned herself to living happily ever after with the guilt, yet she hadn’t. Why did she say things like this? Before she could take it back, her mother’s smile faded.
“Sweetheart, how many times do I need to tell you it was an accident? Really, Avery, you need to move past that.” As if trying to move past it herself, she stopped Avery and looked into her eyes. “It was just a horrible, terrible accident,” and with tears gathering and a hard swallow she said, ”Please enjoy the life you were spared. It was not your fault.” Almost as an affirmation, she leaned forward and hugged Avery tightly.
“I am so sorry Mama, I hadn’t thought of it that way.” Avery really hadn’t. It was sometimes so enlightening to talk about her guilt. She was still surprised that her family didn’t blame her, but felt that maybe her mother was right. Maybe it is time to move on.
Well, what do you think? Try it yourself with something that you have written and let me know how it goes! And please visit Howard Allen’s site, it is in our resource links as Scriptdoctor.com. Thanks Howard!
I don’t know why I feel compelled to tell you this story, dear Reader. Perhaps in the essence of fairness. After all, you will recall my response to my husband’s pool story (see Oh How I Giggled).
So Sassy and The Bandit and I took My Honey to the mall today to get his father’s day present and do some errands. We decided to grab some lunch in the food court and afterwards we hit the bathrooms there to destickify The Bandit. The kids and I went into one of the family bathrooms, and My Honey sank down into one of the big leather club chairs there to wait. If you haven’t been in a family bathroom before, there is a changing area for babies, a regular size toilet and, the big draw, a small toilet and sink for kids. While we were in there, I insisted that everyone go potty. Lot of good it did me since the minute we were the farthest from a bathroom we could get, Sassy had to go again.
So Sassy is using the wee toilet and I am using the big one. That’s when The Bandit decided to open the door. No matter how often or how loudly I screamed “NO!”. So this is what the entire Food Court saw: The Bandit giggling with glee and me screaming and crab walking across the floor all while trying desperately to stop the flow.
And what was My Honey doing? He was laughing hysterically.
Probably serves me right.
You know how every once in a while you stumble across something that makes your life complete? For example, the perfect bottle of red wine or the cutest little polka dot dress. Sometimes “the perfect” item is bigger or more important in the long run than others, but really it’s one of those in-the-moment occurrences that makes you want to do the Snoopy dance of joy. Well today, dear Reader, I can hardly contain myself. I’ve already told you of my predilection for research (and a possible side career on game shows), and the Sisters and I have already shared some of those great links with you on the side bar over to the right.
Go ahead, cruise around a little over there, I’ll wait.
Today I discovered GoogleBookSearch. I say discovered like those mariners of old that “discovered” new lands even though there were scads of people already living there . I’m sure the natives were just thrilled to be found, what with all the languishing around with no diseases, or fire arms or slave owners and all.
But anyway, this link is GENIUS. There are so many fields to narrow down your search. Think of something outlandish and hit the button. I’ll bet it’s there. I found 2,500 entries for Mud Pies, 689 for Untangling Hair, and 120 references for Crawdad Recipes. Many of the listings have pages to preview and if you find just the right thing, of course there is a handy dandy link to Amazon right there. I was able to get much of what I was looking for right from the preview-able pages.
So there you are. Hope I’ve helped. If, however, you’re sitting in your chair reading this and laughing because you’ve known of GoogleBookSearch for ages, then shame on you for not sharing. Or, thank you for not contributing to my deliquency. I’m not sure which.