Saturday, February 10, 2007

Welcome to the World

Over 130 million babies are born each year. This year, Jeremiah Jacob is among them. Poor little tyke was wrestled into the world yesterday evening. Not a moment too soon for my sister. Though I think Jeremiah might have preferred his previous home. That's grandkid number sixteen for my parents. Each with his or her own personality and temperament. Funny how different and how alike people who are related can be. Cousins often exhibit each other's gestures and facial expressions more so than siblings do. When they're babies they seem most connect to the family - little blank slates whose features and expressions can be attributed to a sister, a mother, a grandparent. Of course, they are not blank slates. They are individuals, vitally connected and yet completely separate from family. As they grow, their individuality becomes apparent, their uniqueness more defined.

The same is true of our characters. When we begin to write a story, the hero or heroine may seem almost cookie-cutterish, perhaps modeled off of someone we know, or another character we've created. Over time, as the story unfolds and this character's life unfolds with it, s/he becomes an individual, unique and well-defined.

At least that's what's supposed to happen.

It's important that in trying to create real characters we don't create caricatures. Over-blown, over-drawn, cartoonish figures who react and over react to the point that they are (at best) unbelievable or (at worst) unlikable.

I know I've blogged about characterization before, but there is no story without the solid backbone of good characters. Plot and writing skills aside, characterization is what drives your story and makes your readers want to keep right on reading.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Procrastination and Other Things That Keep Me From Writing

I love writing. I really do. Creating stories and characters, crafting paragraphs and sentences. Those are things I find a lot of pleasure in.

The funny thing is, when push comes to shove and I need to sit down and write, I can always think of twenty other things that need doing RIGHT NOW.

For example - windows. Ask my husband about the last time I actually cleaned the outside of our windows and he'll probably laugh. For good reason. I don't know if I've ever cleaned the outside of the windows. Today, when the temperature is cold enough to freeze the Windex on the glass, I pulled in those wonderful windows and shined them up (which was hard to do with the window cleaner actually frozen). I also did (in no particular order) - a load of laundry (stuffed animals no less....gotta get rid of those dust mites), the wall near my steps (gotta get rid of those fingerprints), fifteen minutes of color comparison (during which time I contemplated paint for our rec room), seven minutes staring in the fridge thinking about cleaning it out (which I did not do).

Yes, friends, I am the queen of procrastination.

The problem is, when you get to the place I'm in and have editors waiting for those words you sweat and ponder over, it doesn't pay to procrastinate. And I mean that literally. The sooner you finish and move onto something else, the more lucrative your writing career will be.

So, if you're in the habit of procrastinating, now is as good a time as any to break it. Set your goals. Stick to them.

And don't clean your windows when it's 20 degrees outside.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Writer's Woe - A Poem

My writing stinks,
My writing's horrid,
It lacks passion,
It isn't torrid.
It's like this poem,
Blah and yucky,
Muddy, Moldy,
and quiet Mucky.

Do worse if you can,
I dare you,
I do,
And I'll send a copy of
Little Girl Lost to you.

How's that for bad poetry.

Top it and I really will send you a copy of LITTLE GIRL LOST.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Why I Really, Truly, Really Stink at Writing

Or.....Even authors can be in pits of despair of their work.

It may seem that you're the only one looking at those labored over word-filled pages and wondering- "Did I really write this crap?"

Rest assured, friends, you are NOT alone.

I'm right there with you, reading back over the proposal I sent in a month ago and wondering....Why did I write that? What was I thinking? Could it be any worse?

I suppose it could be worse. However it could also be a whole lot better. Take for example sentence one page two - She'd left the light on.

How basic, how inane could it get? You'd think a woman who's got seven books under her belt would have a little more upmh in her writing. But no....She'd left the light on. Why don't I just narrate the entire story?...She'd left the light on. She saw a shadow out of the corner of her eye. She screamed. She jumped. She punched him in the eye with the carrot she'd been munching. He fell, the carrot protruding from his pupil perilously.

Yep, that would go over really well with my editors and my readers.

Here's the thing, though, I can throw in the towel because I am obviously not cut out to be an author. Or I can keep fighting for the right words, keep working toward that always elusive perfection, keep trusting that my imperfections can still be used for Him. Not just in writing, in life.

Out of the pit and back to the work.

His blessings on you today!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Do You Really Want to Know?

According to my husband, I need to get back in here and do some blogging. Seeing as how it has been months since I've blogged, I guess he's right.

What do I have to say?

Absolutely nothing.

Except this. If you have a deadline for sometime in January, do not plan a babyshower for November, commit to working a gymnastic meet in December, sign your kids up for piano recitals in Nov, Dec, Jan, get volunteered (and stupidly agree) to run the children's choir for the Christmas Cantata, teach Sunday School, decide you really have to keep homeschooling through most of the vacation, and tell your agent that yes, you can write a continuity that has a proposal due in December.

If you do all those things, do NOT get sick. Because if you do, you're going to get really behind. Once you get behind you're going to get sick again trying to catch up. Which will make you more behind.

Good news is, eventually you will catch up and get well.

However, your poor house will be the worse for it.

Along with this blog, I'm blogging on Eharlequin this week. We're discussing my new release, LITTLE GIRL LOST. Come visit me there and you'll learn lots about The Secret of Stoneley continuity. Read my or Lenora's book (which is first in the series)and find clues to the story's mystery and you'll win a signed copy of my book.

Tomorrow: Why I Really, Truly, Really Stink at Writing.