Wednesday, May 23, 2012

See * Photo * Write - Talk Over Tea

Photo From Getty Images
Today, I'm sharing what I wrote for 1st Write's "See * Photo * Write" prompt. If you'd like to do the prompt, either do it on your blog and share the link over at 1st Writes or leave it under Comments on 1st Writes. This one was fun, fun, fun!

Here's mine (and no, the photo is not Golden Girls, but it reminded me of it):

“Well Rose, what did you expect? ”

“I didn’t expect Mr. Tibbs to run away. Oh Blanche, what am I going to do?”

“Honey, you had the door open. He saw the road to freedom.”

“It was only open for a minute. Mr. Tibbs loves me. Why doesn’t he come back. It’s been nearly two days.”

Rose set the tea cup and saucer down and wrung her hands.
“Oh, I can’t even enjoy my tea without Mr. Tibbs!”

“As much as you cuddled that cat -- He was suffocating in your love!”

“That’s not true. He was breathing fine when he ran out.”

Blanche picked up her tea and under her breath said, “That’s what you think.”

“What? Did you say something?”

“No honey. I just think you should prepare for the worst ‘cause I don’t think Mr. Tibbs is ever comin’ back.”

“Oh, oh! I’m going to have to go look for him again.” 

Rose jumped up and ran to the door and added, “And, I’ll leave the door open. That way he can come back in when he finds his way home.”  

Then she was out the door yelling, “Mr. Tibbs, Mr. Tibbs, here kitty, kitty…”.

Blanche rolled her eyes and said, “Oh Brother.” 

She took another sip of tea before she got up and closed the door, making sure to deadbolt it as well.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Revising in Bites

One of the reasons I was so overwhelmed with the thought of revision was that I had a huge manuscript in front of me. It was like contemplating how to eat an entire garden (this image is for my vegetarian friends) all at once. It can't be done.

The course on revision that I'm taking took me step-by-step through finding all my book's problems. Then it taught me how to break the book down by scenes (not chapters). I can see the wisdom of that now as I revise one scene at a time. I can focus on one scene. I can re-write one scene. I can eat that one carrot comfortably.

I still have a lot of paper in my "Revision" pile, but I feel accomplishment as I put a scene on the "Finished" pile. It might take me all summer, but I'm going to eat that garden, one bite at a time!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Writing Book Shout Out

Pam over at 1st Writes did a post on a great book called Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.


I've read this book and I highly recommend it. Check out Pam's post and the comments associated with it (I've added my two cents about Tool 27 -- one of my favorites. I hope you check it out!)



Monday, May 14, 2012

Photo Writing Prompt - Serve

Photo by Gillian Hamsher

I posted the photo writing prompt, 
SEE * PHOTO * WRITE, over at 1st Writes today.
Won't you join us in writing?
Here is my response:

The photo made me think of the song Gotta Serve Somebody by Nichole Nordeman. She sang it at Women of Faith one year and told about one of her friends who is not a Christian. Here are some of the lyrics:

"You're gonna have to serve somebody. It might be the devil or it might be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody"
In eternity, we will serve one master. Here on earth, we make the choice. 

"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites,in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household,we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

Who will you serve? 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Book Sale

My finds!

Which books would you pick from a huge room of sale books?

This weekend marks the biggest annual book sale in our town. I look forward to it every year, but I usually don't find much. This year, though, I prayed before I went in. "Lord, help me find some good reads." And, he did! 

I was so excited to put book after book into my bag. Total for books: $14.00.

Did you find any good book deals lately? What book are you reading right now?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Candy Shopping

This is a follow-on to my last post, which was a writing prompt: Pick One Thing.

Just sharing my response.

Candy Shopping

We went to NYC this weekend and one place we went was the Economy Candy Store. The adults were as excited as the children. As soon as we walked in, everyone scattered, searching for their favorite candies. I was looking for Ritter Sport Chocolate Rum Raisin.

We were as packed in the isles as the candy was packed on the shelves. I asked other parents to be on the search for my chocolate, but then I was completely side-tracked by a small round tin. My mouth dropped open and then I smiled like a child. There on the bottom shelf were little tins of hard candy like the ones I had as a child in Italy.

My favorite flavor was orange and I remembered that the little orange-shaped candies were coated in powdered sugar. I picked up the familiar tin and fond memories of the Italian market came back to me. I did find some Ritter chocolates, but not Rum Raisin, but that was okay because I had found something even better -- a sweet memory.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Writing Prompt: One Thing

So, what are you doing this this weekend or upcoming week?

Writing Prompt: Pick one thing (no matter how mundane) and write on it for 15 minutes!

P.S. I'll add my writing in the comments section.

Friday, May 4, 2012

What to Cut? Info-Dump

Source: & Wordle
From what I've read and from my own first time experience, the biggest mistake a newbie novelist (my hand goes up here) makes is info-dumping, especially at the beginning of a novel. Instead of thoroughly developing characters and setting before writing, the new author works this process out in the actual first draft. 

I had whole chapters that introduced and described my characters. The chapters did not move the story along, so they had to be cut.

For fun, here is an example of info-dumping:

(Background: Teacher introduces new student, Kristen Walters to the class and asks her to tell the class something about herself.)

"Hi, my name is Kristen. I'm ten years old. I just moved here from Italy. My dad was there for the Navy and was stationed there for 2 years. We lived in La Madelena, but had to travel to Sardinia every day to go to school. We took a school bus to the dock, then a ferry boat to Sardinia, then a luxury tour bus to school. We went snorkeling on the weekends and the water there is crystal clear.

Before Italy, my dad was stationed in Florida and we lived near an alligator zoo. My best friend, Megan was the daughter of the owner, and every day after school I'd help her feed the baby gators. We'd feed them fish and crawdaddies mostly. The babies were fun to hold."

Problems with this:

1. The character seems like she is bragging, when I actually wanted her to come across as shy. This is her first day of school in a new place and because she moves so much, she has a hard time making new friends. She would probably just tell the class that she moved here from Italy and then go to her seat.

2. Information is interesting, but Kristen should be introduced gradually through the story (just as you would get to know a new friend --gradually). Also, only relevant information about Kristen should be shared. Maybe she is fearless of critters b/c of her gator experience and that could be used later in the story, but Italy might have no bearing on the story.

Are you a newbie novelist like me? Do you info-dump? What have you learned through revision?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cutting it -- No Crying Involved!

Many of you already know that I'm revising my first fantasy novel. You might also know that I couldn't figure out how to revise it on my own, so I took a course, Holly Lisle's "How to Revise Your Novel (HTRYN)". This course has been one of the hardest, eye-opening experiences of my life. 

I spent 16 weeks dissecting my novel from every angle possible, and then from angles I didn't know were possible, till I knew my book inside and out and I could write out every scene from memory. Then, I planned my changes. I did all this BEFORE I was allowed to change anything (Holly, that was hard!).

Now, on Lesson 17, I've begun what Holly calls "Major Surgery", where you cut, re-write, and add new scenes -- all, so that you get the book you want.


I've been able to cut whole chapters out without blinking an eye; No crying involved. I attribute it to deep preparation (thanks to Holly). When you know your book this well and you know why things HAVE to go, it's a no-brainer. It's actually fun figuring out how to re-work some of the needed info. back into other parts.

It is very different from first draft writing, where you just go with the flow (or at least that's how I do it). In revision, you KNOW exactly where it needs to go and you work on it till it hits the exact mark you want. You think about how you want your reader to think and feel. Plan and simple, it is manipulation --you take complete control of your book. 
Powerful stuff.

So that's where I am right now and the reason I didn't get to visit as many A to Z participants as I would have liked.
What are you working on right now?