Monday, November 21, 2011

10 Laws of Productivity

These laws are as true for writing as they are everything else. Enjoy.

Here are 10 laws of productivity we’ve consistently observed among serial idea executors:

1. Break the seal of hesitation. A bias toward action is the most common trait we’ve found across the hundreds of creative professionals and entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed. While preparing properly as you start a new project is certainly valuable, it’s also easy to lose yourself in planning (and dreaming) indefinitely. We must challenge ourselves to take action sooner rather than later. The minute that you start acting (e.g. building a physical prototype, sharing a nascent concept with your community), you start getting valuable feedback that will help refine your original idea – and move forward with a more informed perspective.

2. Start small. When our ideas are still in our head, we tend to think big, blue sky concepts. The downside is that such thinking makes the barrier to entry – and action – quite high. To avoid “blue sky paralysis,” pare your idea down to a small, immediately executable concept. Can you trial the idea of a multi-day festival with a smaller performance series? Take an idea for a skyscraper and model it in miniature? Work out the flow of an iPhone app by sketching on paper? Once you’ve road-tested your idea on a small scale, you’ll have loads more insight on how to take it to the next level.

3. Protoype, prototype, prototype. Trial and error is an essential part of any creative’s life. As Ze Frank says, usually when we execute an idea for the first time, it kinda sucks. The important thing is to synthesize the knowledge gained during the process to refine the idea, and create a new-and-improved version. Serial idea-makers like Jack Dorsey, Ben Kaufman, and Studio 7.5 all attest: Prototyping and iteration is key to transforming a so-so idea into a game-changing product. Rather than being discouraged by your “failures,” Continue article here

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Just wanted to say, Thanks

You know what I love? It's you guys. I've been going through a rough spot in, it seems, everything. My life is changing in so many small ways. There seem to be more things to conquer, more things to achieve, and less time to do it all.

This is how naive I am--was. Up until around five years ago. I believed the older you got the easier life got. I'm not talking health wise, at least I know better than that, I mean in general. Things would become easier, I'd mellow out and let things be, well, easy. I used to believe nothing would change in the world and it would skip along like always. I never expected to have to face things like, unemployment, the stock market crippling along so I may not be able to completely retire(Thank you Mr. Obama). Grocery prices and gas prices skyrocketing (ditto above) and strange and unusual things, like the occupy everything gang that won't go away, keep happening. Yep, thought it would all be roses and cream.

Loud buzzer. It didn't happen. I let things get to me and all the sudden I'm crippled with worry and guess what suffers--my writing, my health, my well-being. I hate to keep harping on this. Ya'll must be getting tired of my whining by now, but you put up with it, because in spite of the above paragraph, you guys make things easier. I just wanted to thank you for that. For your support and encouragement. I know it's not just words. Just saying this lifts a huge burden off my chest. Funny how just saying "Thanks" can make a person feel better.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Still loving you guys

We've been updating our home. What a process. It's been a lot of fun and the funnest part is doing it with my husband. It's kind of like re-bonding. I told him before we even started not to get impatient and snappish. He didn't; he was wonderful. What's that got to do with writing? Will, it gives me a great procrastination excuse, though weak.

I'm in a slump. Can anyone give me a reason to continue with my work in progress, or more importantly, promote my novel that has been on the market for about a year. I reread some of my WIP the other day. You know they tell you to walk away from your book after the first draft. I've never been able to do that before, but I kind of did it this time because of my "Slump." I found some rough spots that need to be revised or rewritten, but for the most part, I really liked it. Now I ask you; why is that? Is it because it's really good or is it because I'm in love with my writing? Wouldn't it be better if I disliked it a little bit?

Here's my resolution. I feel like I've let you all down lately with my sporadic posting, so I pledge to blog at least once a week. There, I feel much better.

So, I'm going to be dropping in on you from time to time so you know I still love you and haven't forgotten about you. Until then take care and God bless.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ever just don't feel like it?

I love that I have a blog, and I love that I have so many peeps. I am pleasured to be semi-starting a new phase in my life--semi retirement. Once I get over the guilt of working part-time It's going to be a blast. But sometimes I just don't feel like doing anything. I've been lazy and loving it. Finally got motivated, though. I'm not sure exactly when, but our next huge step will be to sell our house. That's after we get our travel trailer and my husband retires from his job. Dosen't matter, the motivation is all that matters. I'm excited about pulling up the carpets and restoring the hardwood floor beneath. I can't wait to see what they look like. I know it's going to be a dirty mess and we'll have a lot of work moving the furniture, rolling up the carpet and pad, and restoring, but it's going to be a rush, and it should get me out of my dull-drums.

On a similar, yet different note, decluttering the house is exciting. We've taken bags and bags of stuff to Goodwill, and there is so much more to do. We've lived here for fifteen years. Still, I have to make myself do it. Starting out slow, but getting a lot done.

As for my writing, it's come to a complete stop. Something I intend to remedy. Life never stops changing, it just stalls for awhile.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blog Problems

Hi everyone, did you miss me. I'd like to blame my absence on Google because they blocked my blog, but I don't know when that happened. I've been avoiding it is the real truth. Why, because I've been avoiding everything, my writing included. I think I was suffering a little depression.

Good news, I am going into partial retirement, finally. Heck, I'll still be at home as much as I'm at work, but I'm looking forward to getting our house ready to sell. We've been in it for fifteen years and it needs some major overhaul. We got some hail damage, so at least the roofs of all our buildings will be replaced. I wish I could talk them into replacing the siding, too.

Will, that's all the time I have for today. Thanks to everyone who stayed in touch while I was gone. It means a lot.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Are these really glaringly incorrect?

Here's a few tips that most people know, but sometimes forget. Enjoy:

Here are seven simple grammatical errors that I see consistently in emails, cover letters and resumes.

Tip: Make yourself a little card cheat sheet and keep it in your wallet for easy reference.

You're / Your

The apostrophe means it's a contraction of two words; "you're" is the short version of "you are" (the "a" is dropped), so if your sentence makes sense if you say "you are," then you're good to use you're. "Your" means it belongs to you, it's yours.

You're = if you mean "you are" then use the apostrophe
Your = belonging to you
You're going to love your new job!

It's / Its

This one is confusing, because generally, in addition to being used in contractions, an apostrophe indicates ownership, as in "Dad's new car." But, "it's" is actually the short version of "it is" or "it has." "Its" with no apostrophe means belonging to it.

It's = it is
Its = belonging to it
It's important to remember to bring your telephone and its extra battery.

They're / Their / There

"They're" is a contraction of "they are." "Their" means belonging to them. "There" refers to a place (notice that the word "here" is part of it, which is also a place – so if it says here and there, it's a place). There = a place

They're = they are
Their = belonging to them
They're going to miss their teachers when they leave there.

Loose / Lose

These spellings really don't make much sense, so you just have to remember them. "Loose" is the opposite of tight, and rhymes with goose. "Lose" is the opposite of win, and rhymes with booze. (To show how unpredictable English is, compare another pair of words, "choose" and "chose," which are spelled the same except the initial sound, but pronounced differently. No wonder so many people get it wrong!)

Loose = it's not tight, it's loosey goosey
Lose= "don't lose the hose for the rose" is a way to remember the same spelling but a different pronunciation
I never thought I could lose so much weight; now my pants are all loose!

Lead / Led

Another common but glaring error. "Lead" means you're doing it in the present, and rhymes with deed. "Led" is the past tense of lead, and rhymes with sled. So you can "lead" your current organization, but you "led" the people in your previous job.

Lead = present tense, rhymes with deed
Led = past tense, rhymes with sled
My goal is to lead this team to success, just as I led my past teams into winning award after award.

A lot / Alot / Allot

First the bad news: there is no such word as "alot." "A lot" refers to quantity, and "allot" means to distribute or parcel out.

There is a lot of confusion about this one, so I'm going to allot ten minutes to review these rules of grammar.

Between you and I

This one is widely misused, even by TV news anchors who should know better.

In English, we use a different pronoun depending on whether it's the subject or the object of the sentence: I/me, she/her, he/him, they/them. This becomes second nature for us and we rarely make mistakes with the glaring exception of when we have to choose between "you and I" or "you and me."

Grammar Girl does a far better job of explaining this than I, but suffice to say that "between you and I" is never correct, and although it is becoming more common, it's kind of like saying "him did a great job." It is glaringly incorrect.

The easy rule of thumb is to replace the "you and I" or "you and me" with either "we" or "us" and you'll quickly see which form is right. If "us" works, then use "you and me" and if "we" works, then use "you and I."

Between you and me (us), here are the secrets to how you and I (we) can learn to write better.

Master these common errors and you'll remove some of the mistakes and red flags that make you look like you have no idea how to speak.

Source Reference

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Writers are human, too

This article is from a blogger, writer, Ali Luke at Aliventures Here I hope you enjoy it. It's proof that writers are human, too.

A few years ago, I’d look at published writers and think that they were somehow different from me. After all, their books were gripping and fluent – unlike my stumbling attempts at first drafts. Their blogs had hundreds or thousands of readers.

They were real writers. And, deep down, I was afraid that I could never really become one of them.

But as I’ve taken more and more steps into the writing world, I’ve realised that my perception just doesn’t match up to the reality. Writers – at all levels – have just the same struggles as you and me.

I’m going to go through eight secrets. Eight things which all writers know – but which you might never hear them admit.

Secret #1: Writing is Hard

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. (Gene Fowler)

There’s a myth – not just in the writing world – that if you’re good at something, it’ll be easy. And established writers, me included, do have writing sessions where the words flow smoothly.

The truth is, though, that writing is hard. Some types of writing are tougher than others – I’ve written before about Why Fiction is So Hard to Write. But almost any type of writing will cause some sort of resistance – getting started is never easy. And very few writers, however experienced, can turn out a great draft first time.

Use It: Getting started is nearly always tough. There’s nothing wrong with you if you find it hard to sit down and write. But like exercise, once you get going, it gets easier.

Secret #2: We All Struggle With Procrastination

There’s only one person who needs a glass of water oftener than a small child tucked in for the night, and that’s a writer sitting down to write. (Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook)

I’ve seen a few writers talk about this, often in a jokey way: we procrastinate. This isn’t just the case for beginners. Writing Magazine columnist Jane Wenham-Jones, for instance, writes quite openly about her struggles to just get on with writing. (And she’s had several novels and non-fiction books published – plus many short stories and articles.)

Procrastination can come in a couple of different forms:

You do the dishes, weed the garden, tidy your desk, sharpen your pencils … anything but sit down and put words on a page.
You write, regularly – perhaps blog posts or journal entries – but you never get round to starting that novel or memoir or other big, meaningful project.
This form is, I think, fairly harmless; it’s easy to spot yourself doing it, and there are easy tricks for “just getting on with it”. The second type is more insidious – it’s easy to kid yourself that you’re just not ready to tackle something longer or more complex, even when you’ve been putting off that project for years.

Use It: Take a good hard look at your own writing. Are you procrastinating on something? What would it take for you to get moving on it?

Secret #3: We Put Ourselves Into Our Work

Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will. (Goethe)

Anything and everything you write says something about you as a person, whether you want it to or not. Even your choice of what to write about – the decision that something is worth putting down in words – is significant.

It doesn’t end there. Writers (particularly good ones) deliberately draw on their own lives. If you know enough about a novelist, you can almost always spot some autobiographical element in their work. If you knew someone closely enough, you’d see that they pour in their childhood memories (the good and the bad), life experiences, hurts and dreams.

Use It: Dig incidences out of your past – they can be tiny things, so long as they have emotional power. Put them into your writing. There’s a truth in these which can bring your work to life.

Secret #4: First Drafts are Always Crap

The only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts. The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. (Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird – you can read an extract from this section here)

Short, straightforward pieces may come out just-about-right the first time round. Most authors, though, will have first drafts which look vastly different from the finished product. I remember reading J.K. Rowling’s description of how she cut a whole character, plus a bunch of associated scenes, from one of the Harry Potter books.

As a reader, you only get to see the finished product. You don’t have access to the fumbling, faltering first draft, which every author has to go through in order to get to the polished finished piece. But those drafts exist – buried or even burnt, their clumsy sentences and over-indulgent passages concealed from the world.

Use It: Don’t ever worry if a first draft doesn’t seem very good – especially if you’re writing fiction. If you can, take a look at a published author’s first draft and compare it with the finished work. Here’s an example, bravely posted by Diane Chamberlain: Finished! (And a First and Fifth Draft Comparison)

Secret #5: Each Piece Exists in a State of Flux – and it’s Never “Finished”

Art is never finished, only abandoned. (Leonardo da Vinci)

When you read a book or article or blog post, it feels fixed. You can’t really imagine it being any other way.

That’s not any writer’s experience of their work, though. Chances are, the piece began as a patchwork of ideas. Whole chunks – chapters, scenes, paragraphs – will have been moved around, cut, added, expanded. There’ll have been plenty of times when the writer had a coin-toss decision between taking one direction and another.

Because of this, the work never feels finished to its own author: there’s always the potential for some more tweaking. At some point, though, every writer has to let their work go.

Use It: Aim for completion, rather than perfection. You’re never going to feel like a piece of writing is quite as finished as it could be. Send it out into the world – it will only truly be complete once it has readers.

Secret #6: We Do it Because We’re Obsessed

An incurable itch for scribbling takes possession of many, and grows inveterate in their insane breasts. (Juvenal, Satires, around 100 AD)

Normal people aren’t writers. Most people (much to my horror) dislike writing. They might only read one or two books every year. They certainly don’t see any reason to put their thoughts down in writing, whether that’s as a blog, a journal or a story.

If you’re writing, you’ve got a certain obsession. Some writers talk about their need to write – and even believe that they couldn’t live without it. I certainly find it very hard to imagine a life where I didn’t write at all.

Use It: Accept that you’re a bit weird – and revel in it! Make time for your writing – sure, the rest of the world might not understand, but they’re not writers.

Secret #7: Money does matter

Nobody but a blockhead ever wrote except for money. (Samuel Johnson)

While many writers carry on because they’re a bit obsessed, there are very few who don’t have some ideas about making money from it. After all, if you can make a living from your writing, you get to spend your work day with words – not just your evenings and weekends.

Writers don’t necessarily love or even agree with everything they write. I’ve written on topics like Australian college football, not because I had any particular interest in it, but because I was being paid.

There’s no shame in making money from creative work – whatever the beret-wearing, garrett-dwelling types would have you believe.

Use It: If you want to make money as a writer, start paying attention to the market. Some sorts of writing (e.g. web copy, specialised non-fiction) are a lot more lucrative than other types (e.g. poetry). Don’t be afraid to try something new: you might enjoy it more than you think, and it might be the first step to turning your writing into an actual career.

Secret #8: We All Struggle With Self-Doubt

This is what I’ve been thinking lately: I’m getting worse. My writing just isn’t as good as it used to be. With every new story I write I believe I’ve lost something—the spark, the raw energy, the ability to see the scene, to tell the truth, to imagine. I look at my stories and feel like they could be so much better. (Jessie Morrison, MFA Confidential blog for Writer’s Digest)

You’ll come across the occasional supremely confident writer. In my experience, those people tend not to be very successful. Good writers are often riddled with self-doubt – and as they get better and better, they’re also more and more able to spot the flaws in their own work.

Self-doubt can be very destructive, and can cripple your ability to write. It’s something to stand firm against – but it’s important to remember that you’re not the only writer who goes through it. There’s nothing wrong with you if you have a little voice in your head saying “Who’d want to read THAT?”

Use It: Next time you doubt yourself, keep going anyway. Put doubts about your work aside when you’re drafting – save them for when you need to edit.

If you liked this post, I’d be thrilled if you’d share it with any friends who might find it useful. You can tweet it by clicking the green button below, or you can share it on Facebook or by email by copying this link:
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blogger is giving me headachs

I've read other peoples woes about Blogger, but those things don't happen to me, right? Wrong. I'm having a wicked hard time and having to jump through hoops just to log in. Grrrr.

I'd like to talk about punctuation. It's a pain in the bazooka. Next subject:

That Girl is getting a makeover. I did a little research and found out I didn't really know my subject too well, so I've had to incorporate the truth into the story. Imagine. First Blogger, now, my story. I'm almost back to the original story line, though. It's comforting to know, I won't have to rewrite the whole dang book. Regardless, I think I'm liking this version better. Now I have to decide if I incorporate the original boo boo by my heroin. I think I will, just because it is so her and I've worked her up into this mouthy girl who claims whoever had her tongue before her must have had Tourette's syndrome. Knowing my writing style as I do, I'll be making many such changes throughout.

Let me hear from you all. What's been happening in your lives and work. Tell me, I want to know.

Until next time, tootles.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lessons Learned

Now the work begins. I've finished the first draft. I just made it to my word count goal. But I think it will continue to climb, no worries.

The differnce between That Girl and Bum's Rush are a lesson well learned. Bum's Rush took me three to four years to complete, then another six months for editing and publishing. I went from 90K word count to just over 70K word count. It was my first novel and will always be special to me. That Girl The first Draft took six months to complete. I don't know how long rewrites and edits will take, but I guarantee it won't be three years.

What did I do differently? Well, for That Girl, I started with a plan and made an outline. Though I haven't looked at that outline for a few months, it got me started and started quickly. The outline took weeks to complete, but it really sped up the process. The next difference is I just wrote. I admit to weakening and rewriting some of the first chapters, but for the most part I sat down and wrote without editing. There are other difference, but these are the time savers.

A lot of work lies ahead, but it should go fairly fast. I haven't made a deadline, deadlines for me are hazardous. You put a limit on something and that's all you're thinking about instead of thinking about writing. It adds a lot of pressure and promotes procrastination. I'm guessing it should be done by Christmas, maybe before. Ya'll will be the first to know about it, though.

Take care and stay dry.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Tribute on Father's Day

My father has been gone since 1984.

My father was a gruff, man who said little about himself, but had opinions about everything. He enjoyed a lively conversation about all the things we're told not to discuss in life.

After WWII, where my father served his country as a PT boat driver in the Navy, he worked in a sawmill for 30 plus years. When the sawmill burnt to the ground, twice, he found work doing anything to support his family, sometimes he had to work two jobs while the mill was being rebuilt.

My father wasn't a generous man, and a buck was a hard thing to part with. My mom had to do some penny pinching, but at least we had pennies to pinch. Even so, whenever friends or family needed a helping hand, Dad held out his.

Dad loved to fish and camp with family and friends. Sometimes we'd tent camp, sometimes we'd sleep in the back of pickup trucks or on the ground under the stars. I have fond memories of wonderful adventures in the woods and my parents whooping it up.

My mom contracted Tuberculosis in the days when they sent you away. Dad had to work two jobs for the nine months to pay for her hospital stay. When she was released, she came home to a brand new dishwasher. It was a big deal back then.

Later, when it was just me left at home, Dad bought a little pickup camper. When he could afford it he upgraded to a fifth-wheel and a boat. One boat turned into a bigger boat, then an even bigger boat. He named them Sue Ann I, II, III, mine and my sister's middle names. What fun we had water skying and fishing as a family.

Dad loved his grandchildren like he never had time to love his own children. It was a surprising transformation. In all the years my dad worked, he bought savings bonds. When he died, there was a nice little nest egg to fall back on if needed.

In their empty nest days, Mom and Dad took square dance lessons. They would camp and travel with their square dance club and have a great time doing it. Sadly, that's what they were doing when he suddenly died.

Dad was all about family. He was the glue that held us together. He had so many friends and relatives, when he died, there was standing room only at his funeral.

This is my tribute to my father, on Father's Day. It may be late in coming, but I just want you to know, Dad, I love you.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Moving right along

So far, I have managed to avoid writer's block while writing this book. I'm kind of stymied at this point, though, because there's so much left to do. The book is basically done. The rewrites are going to be massive, but I'm now confident, I'll hit my word count goal, if not go over it. I'm thinking I should post some excerpts, but do people really read them?

It's interesting where I live. The Missouri River is causing havoc along it's shores, or should I say, it's former shores. It's been unbelievable. We've had lots of warning, the water is rising slowly, so anyone in it's path can actually move out of their houses, lock, stock, and barrel. It's been interesting. We're okay. We live miles and miles from the river, thank God.

I'll try and be more vigilant with my posting. I'm in one of those slumps where you don't have the energy to lift a hand.

That' it. Until next time, so long.
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Crying my way through a scene

Yesterday, I wrote a scene that made me cry. Wow, why would I do that to myself. But then I reread it and cried again. It still needs work, so I'll be crying my way through it a few more times. Writing the ending to a books is tiresome and just plain hard. That's why I put it off. That and the story changes in the process of writing it, which affects the ending. I'm about 82% done, probably more because I have fifteen thousand more words till I reach my goal and I don't think I need that many words, but by the time I rewrite, add scenes, make changes, add a few needed descriptions, who knows, I might fill all that space up and more.

I autographed my book for the first time ever. You'd think I'd never held a pen before the way it looked. So I'm going to order a whole new book so my signature will be pretty. But here's what I did. I googled signing you name. There are rules, and suggestions for signing your name. I spent an hour perfecting my new signature. I'm afraid if I ever do a book signing I'm going to have to practice, do hand calisthenics or something before each session. Did you know there's a five second rule? Yes, write your name in under five seconds. One, I've got a fairly longish name if I use Elizabeth, and two, really, I don't care,do you? Try timing yourself when you sign your name. Suffice it to say, I'll be breaking that rule. I did come up with a fairly nice looking signature though.

K, nuff said.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Free Book

I had such success last time, I decided to do it again. I'm giving away my book, Bum's Rush at get Bum's Rush here for a limited time. Enter code WY74C. If you are inclined, please write a review. Thank you for that. I hope everyone enjoys my book, it would be nice to know one way or the other
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Emotion repitition

The idea for the post comes from Josh Hoyt at The Blog that Helps You Diagnose Your Character, That's a mouth full, but his blog is very educational.

Emotional repetition. I love writing from a man's POV, but I realize my feminine emotions can somewhat prejudice my perceptions. What was happening, a lot, was one or the other or, even, all of my male characters were crying a lot. It bothered me every time I reread for editing. Well, I learned somewhere in the process of learning to write, that if something nags at you while rereading or rewriting a scene, to revisit it. That's a lot of 're' this and that's. I was in denial because I thought those scenes were brilliantly written. That may or may not be true, due to my, uh, personal bias on the matter, but I was compelled to revise, to man up if you will. I let them feel emotion, let tears come to their eyes, even let them cry occasionally. Face it, men get emotional too. I'm glad I finally maned up, because I felt better about those scenes after I either took them out or rewrote them. The moral, and I know I've said this before, is to heed those naggers, they nag for a reason.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thank You

Thanks go to Melissa Kline from Reflections of Writing for the Versatile Blogger award. I will pass this along in another post.

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The winner is

Actually, I have two winners to my Write the First Line contest. All the entries were thought provoking and helpful. The two I would be most inclined to use as an opening line come from Summer Ross at The Inner Fairy and Sue H at I Refuse to go Quietly.

Congratulations. To claim your prize, please click on my email logo and leave your addresses. Thanks to all who entered. Though there weren't many, I figured this is my first time to run a contest, so it went well thanks to you.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Opening Line Contest

I'm horrible with opening lines. No matter how clever I think I am, it's never clever enough. So I got to thinking, there's a lot of talent sitting in my peeps queue. Peeps mean resources, and resourcefulness is what I need. So here's what I was thinking I'd do. I'm going to give away a copy of Bum's Rush to the person who writes the best opening line for my book, That Girl. Not only that, if I use it, that person will get a mention in the acknowledgment section. Wow, huh? So read the following and come up with a better opening than it already has. Any takers?

I suppose I should put a time limit on this, lets say you have till next Tuesday, May 17th. This is my first contest so I don't want to complicate it.

That Girl, Chapter One

Time is no friend to the impatient, nor should it be wasted by idleness, for if one man wastes a second, so, too must we all. Thus sayeth Matthew Lukas Drako whose time, at present, was being wasted. I glanced at my watch and estimated, if I leave now I can be home in eight minutes. Still and all, it wasn’t a total waste of time, for in my left breast pocket, lying close to my heart, was what I’d come for, an envelope that could possibly save my life.

Just as I was about to make my move, I caught the movement of the restaurant door opening. Brilliant light shimmered in from the outside as someone entered the dimmed room. Even though the sky outside was overcast, I squinted from the glare.

Oh dear God in heaven. My heart did a screech and halt and somersaulted to my throat. She took my breath away. Her unblemished beauty in adulthood surpassed the loveliness of her youth. The last time I saw her was graduation, five years ago. Then her face had been round and fresh, her feet dancing in endless possibilities. Now she possessed a worldliness of innocence lost. She paused inside the door, racing my heart in a mind-dizzying rewind, back to second grade.

It was her first day in a new school. She was standing at the front of class dressed in a yellow dress with little white daisies. The teacher asked where she wanted to sit. She pointed at me and said, “I want to sit by the boy with the buggy eyes.” That day, I swore I was going to marry her someday.

Halle Winters will always be “that girl” for me. Memories from a time few people could remember filled my mind like an old, black and white TV flick obscured by snow. Even in old age when my mind was vacant with dementia and the shrill whine of my hearing aids sent dogs howling for cover, I would never forget.

Her eyes swept over the place in search of somebody and her scan didn’t slowed when she looked in my direction. Not that she could recognize me, I was no longer the boy with the buggy eyes.

Dressed as she was, in a white dress, she seemed to radiate light. She lifted a dainty hand and waved. Her graceful gait was the carriage of a person who had been a dancer all her life, Dancers don’t walk, they glide.

Pull yourself together, Drako. That’s a road you don’t want to go down, not again, not when you’re getting married in a couple of months. But renewed pangs were beckoning me back into a life as wondrous and magic as it had been painful and broken. I sighed, Garth Brooks had it right when he sang, “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” Yeah, first of all, there was never a dance, second, she was just a broken dream.

“Well, gentlemen,” I said. “I feel as if everything is going as planned. If there is no more discussion . . .”

I shook hands around the table, then grabbed the bill.
Don’t look at her, don’t look at her, I chanted with every step. Just a little ways to go and I’d be safely out the door. The powerful pull was magnetic, but I had to resist. I just couldn’t hazard a look at the girl who freshman year had laughed at me when I asked her out on a date. I paid the bill and headed out.

God help me, I don’t remember giving permission to my head as it turned and glanced over may shoulder. Jennifer, Halle’s BFF: Best Friend Forever, from high school waved, beckoning me over.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Everyone has a list, even if it's just a grocery list written on a torn piece of table paper. As a writer, I've recently discovered the wonders of an outline. It's very helpful, but I still list. After I finish a chapter, if I know what's next,or if I have one of my brilliant ideas, I'll list them there at the bottom, before I start the next chapter, then I'll highlight them so I won't forget and leave them in the finished product.. They shouldn't call them lists at all, they should call them memory boots.

One of the things I've discovered recently, is the Kindle bookmark or note function. I just finished proofing Bum's Rush, one last time--yes, yes, I know, I thought I was done with it also, but errors had been reported and, as you know, the only way to flush them out is to read the book--again. So I downloaded a copy from Smashwords and when I found a little error, I bookmarked it and put a note in the bookmark so I'd know where to go to find the error and what needed fixing. As I was doing this, I got to thinking, if this works out well, maybe with my next book, that's where I'll start. I'll submit the raw WIP and flush out all the error I find on the first time through, or maybe the second. You can't edit the MS here, so it might be less distracting. Just a thought. Have to wait and see if it works.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hi, I'm Home

Just spent a wonderful week in Washington visiting my daughter and grandchildren. It was sad leaving, but it's wonderful to be home. Though it rained every single day, we had a blast, playing games and shopping. Did I mention, eating. So, because we're heading out for a Bahama cruise in Decompber, I'm on a serious diet. It will take me that long to lose the fifteen pounds I've been trying to lose for about five years. I'm doing a radical Slim Fast diet for the first couple of weeks.

Anyway, I want to thank all of you who are reading Bum's Rush. I can't wait to hear what you think.

Welcome to my new peeps. I want to thank Deirdra from a Storybook World for the Best Books blog award. If you haven't visited her blog, it's absolutely beautiful Click here Also, it's nice to hear from the A to Z Challenge participants. I'm looking forward to blogging to the alphabet in the upcoming challenge, see sidebar for details.

It's like Christmas coming back and finding so many goodies on my blog.

I've put up a new first chapter excerpt to "That Girl" on my "That Girl" page, plus a new, self-designed background. Feel free to visit and comment. I'm still working on it. Being on vacation kind of put a crimp in my progress, but it's really coming along and as fast as new ideas pop into my head, I try to incorporate them into my outline.

Well, I think that covers it for now. I'll be checking in on you as time allows. Until then, keep writing for those who do, and God bless to you all.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Best Seller

Bum's Rush is among the best sellers on Smashwords. I am offering my free coupon PW42C to my blogging friends. Enjoy.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Does Outlineing Really Work?

I don't know if you could call what I'm doing a really outline, but let me tell you, it is working. I'd like to share with you what I'm doing and how it's working.

First of all, as I've mentioned before, I wrote Bum's Rush by the seat of my pants. It took me more than four years to finish, but it's done and it's good. Then I got this idea from another writer, about a high school prom queen and how she betrayed her best friend from second grade. It all takes place five years after they graduate. Having loved her all his life, Matthew Drako finally gives up on Halle Winters and moves on. That's it. That's all I had. That was last fall when the idea hit me. I had to take some time off from writing it to launch Bum's Rush, which if you look in the box above is now available on Amazon and Kindle.

In between then and now, I've been making notes. I wrote the first chapter which has changed three times already, then googled how to outlining a novel. I read everything I could find and finally came up with my own design. Since I was essentially clueless, I hit a dead end pretty quickly, but I believed in this idea and started writing and outlining simultaneously. Still making notes as I wrote, I wanted to hurry and get to the end. I did that, but it's only got 18 grand. Then suddenly it all started clicking and it's beginning to get some depth. The outline is actually taking over. It's a living document with tendrils that are becoming far reaching. So yeah, outlining really does work and if it's not written in stone, it's a fabulous tool for writing a novel. I doubt this book will take four years. I'm hoping by late summer, I'll be ready to publish, if not, at least by this time next year.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

That Girl Update

I'm moving right along with my new novel, That Girl. My goal is to get it completed by the end of this summer. What do you think? Is it possible. It took me more than five years with the last one, but I had problems with that one. A severe case of writer's block for months at a time. I've learned with that first novel. I was a seat of the pants writer with that one and I kept having to rewrite. So, with That GirlI'm doing an outline. My first outline ran through the general scenes as I had them written. Then I concentrated on my characters and did a Character outline, now I'm on a scene by scene outline and as it turns out, I'm outlining each scene, then writing it. We'll see. I'll post a few paragraphs of the first chapter below.

First, I want to remind everyone that Bum's Rush is still free at Smashwords, or if you really want to contribute to my fortune, you can buy it at Amazon, now in book form as well as on Kindle. Thank you everyone who have already taken advantage. I love you for it.

Okay, as promised here's a bit from That Girl. Feel free to comment either way. You like it, you hate it.

Dinner was souring in my stomach. Negotiations ended, bargains made, papers signed. My business would be solvent once more, and I could pay off my future father-in-law, bless his retched soul. Now the conversation was redundant and I was nothing more than a smiling bobble head. A good woman and a tall glass of Moscato were waiting for me at home.

I caught a reflection from the door and looked at it longingly. If only I were on the other side heading away. Here I come, darlin’ start pouring the wine.

My heart leapt to my throat just as I was about to take a sip from my water glass. A brief visual of spewing my guests with water and spittle prolonged the inevitable awestruck, adolescent goddess worship. Time slowed.

They say, or so they should, the love of your dreams will be just that, in your dreams. She’ll never be the love of your life, or so they should say. My dream had just arrived.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's a Rush

It is, it's an amazing feeling when someone buys your book for the first time. It's kind of like selling your soul, but without the one-way trip to Hell. You authors out there know what I mean. You put something on paper that comes from your heart and brain, and someone wants to read it. It takes years, sometimes, to organize and write a book. You labor and agonize over it. Doubts, writers block, procrastination, you name it, we go through it. Then it's done and it's out there for public consumption. What a rush.

So, the book will be on Amazon soon, but it's on Kindle and you can get it free, for a limited time, on Smashwords for free with this code, PW42C. I'd appreciate a review either on, or on Smashwords.

God Bless and take care

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