Friday, March 30, 2012

A to Z -- Ready, Set, Go!

Well friends, I'm gearing up for The A to Z Challenge! Engines are revved. Posts are scheduled. The race starts Sunday!

Last year, I pre-planned about 90% of my posts, so that I would not be stressed. That worked well and I was able to visit every blog that participated in A to Z at least once.

This year, my posts took more time to create because I am doing a series called "A to Z Writing Tips and Sticks". The "Sticks" are comics. They are short, but time-consuming to make.

My goal for A to Z is to find some great writing blogs and to connect with other Christian writers.

I look forward to seeing you around the A to Z.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Tool -- Writing Prompt

Writing Exercise: Write for 15 minutes on this prompt  --  A Tool

Mine is over at 1st Writes.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What if you got this review?

Book Review

This book has potential, but it has some first-time author mistakes.

Not actual Book Jacket
Too much back-story at the beginning of the book. The author shows her inexperience by introducing each character via info-barf instead of gradually letting the reader get to know the characters. And then, there is the purple room info-barf. Why do we care? Is purple important? No! It never comes up again. And it totally stopped the suspense that had been building.

Once the storyline gets going, it is fun and well-paced, but it is missing the time element of travel. It moves from one big scene to the next, never letting the reader feel like they are really roughing it or experiencing Traboltia (and getting attached to it, which is necessary, but never happens).

And the time element…Does the author think we are stupid and don’t realize her timeline discrepancies? I get that the parallel universes run on different time (2 weeks vs. 2 years), but her events in Traboltia don’t add up! Are we talking hundreds of years or 50 years? While I liked the plot and the characters, this almost ruined it for me.

Arrangement and placement of some chapters seem out of order like they were slapped together. I had forgotten some of the characters by the time they came around again. And, what about Ben? If he is supposed to be the future king, he needs developed more because right now, I could care less about him.

There is also the Christianity stuff. Jenesse goes to church, Mr. Hodge prays, Whitney thanks Jesus – the author should have either gone all the way with Christianity or she should have stuffed it. As is, it is luke-warm and will turn non-Christians off and leave Christians wondering if Danya gets “saved”.

And maybe worse of all was the cliff-hanger ending! Did the author do that so that I’d be forced to buy her next book? When I’m done reading, I want to be done! I will choose whether or not to buy the next book.

Maybe the author will “get a clue” by Book 2, but I won’t be buying it.

Guess who wrote this?  It was me! I wrote this about my own book (the one I am revising). The point is to anticipate what readers will be disappointed in and then later fix the problems, so that you NEVER EVER get a book review like this one. ;0) 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lifting with Friends

Last weekend, my family was called over to a friend's house to assist them with their child's science experiment. "We need more people to lift!" was the cry for help.

So, we went over to an unusual scene (though, not much surprises me from my friend, Anne...she's a big idea person and there is no stopping her to make an idea happen -- I love that about her). So, we pull in to their driveway on our bicycles and see Anne's daughter and another little girl sitting on the ground filling gallon-size Ziploc bags with sand and then weighing them on a large house scale that they had dragged outside.

In the garage, on the floor, was a partially assembled scarecrow-like man body, but instead of being filled with straw, he was filled with weights of every kind.

Anne and her husband were setting up their kitchen table in the yard when we arrived and then they lifted the "body" in pieces with an old sheet and placed him on a white hospital-grade sheet on top of the table.  The table was to represent a hospital bed. 

The experiment: How many pounds does it take before a hospital-grade sheet rips?

Anne works at the hospital and knows that sheets rip as nurses try to lift patients from gurney to bed. So, she encouraged her daughter to do an experiment to find out how many pounds would cause a sheet to rip. Then, they could tell nurses the weight-limit per sheet.

There were four adults and four children around the "body", which started off weighing 180 pounds. We counted to three and lifted. No problem. We added more weight, then lifted. Added more weight, then lifted. Added more weight, then lifted. You get the idea. Every time, Anne would say, "It's gonna rip for sure this time!" We finally ran out weights to add and maxed out our lifting ability. At over 500 pounds, the sheet still did not break!

This was one of those fun memories that I want to hold one to. We laughed until we cried. We were doing something that looked totally ridiculus with good friends. Ah, what could be better?

So, do you have one of those memorable "friend" moments you'd like to share?

Fun Fact: Hospital sheets only last about 200 washings due to the harsh cleaning agents and extreme wash temperatures.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I'm in Ctrl?

I am on week 12 of my "How to Revise Your Novel" course by Holly Lisle and I will soon begin making cuts and changes to my manuscript. My revelation this week is that I am in full control my story. You might say, "Well yeah, duh!", but I never really thought about me being in control of the story. As I wrote it, it just flowed. It seemed to write itself most of the time. I never had to stop and say, "Ok, what do I want to have happen now?"

Now that I am revising, I see spots that can be changed or reworked. I see opportunities to change characters and add extra conflict that would make the story better. The story wrote itself, but now I get to pull in the reigns and tell it where it needs to go. That's pretty cool.



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Grab Bag Prompt

I lead the writing prompt for our writing group last night. I passed around a little paper bag labeled "Grab Bag". Each person look out one slip of paper. If they liked it, they kept it. If not, they picked a new one. Then, they wrote on it for 15 minutes.

I offer the Grab Bag to you. Here are the choices:
  • The Paper Bag
  • in the bag
  • handbag
  • bagworms
  • boy's gym bag
  • one bag limit
  • lunch bag
  • a grab bag
  • bag of tricks
  • Bag Lady
  • Cat's out of the bag
  • air bag
  • tea bag

Pick one and write for 15 minutes. 

Here's mine:

Bag of Tricks
by Dawn M. Hamsher

The magician's assistant, a skinny boy of 14, began putting away the show, as was his duty. He carefully gathered the doves and stowed away the rabbit. He picked up all the cards, which were strewn across the stage. He re-stuffed the wand with the colorful scarves and he swept up the confetti and carefully funneled it back into the confetti wand. he re-assembled the sawing-in-half box and packed all the mirrors. The show was almost put away when he noticed a small purple bag, partially hidden under the magician's table by his heavy overcoat. The bag was labelled "Bag of Tricks".

The boy had never seen this. He thought he knew all the magician's tricks. He could do most of them in his sleep, but this...this was new. He felt weight as he lifted the bag. It was small, but bulky, perhaps something of metal was inside. It didn't jingle or clank when he tossed it gently in his hand. What could it be? He glanced across the stage and listened. The old magician was probably still visiting with admirers in the lobby. He could surely take a peek.

He slid open the velvet drawstring and peered in. He couldn't believe his eyes. It was empty! he reached in and felt around. Nothing! The weight was still there. How could it be empty?

Then he heard a "Harumph...". The boy looked up guiltily and slowly removed his red hand. 

The old man said, "You didn't think you knew all my secrets, did you?" He gently took the bag from the boy. "I still have a few in the bag". He chuckled, then added, "And maybe, my boy, I'll show you this one, someday."