Monthly Archives: February 2014

OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL by K.M. Weiland

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In her book, Outlining Your Novel, K.M. Weiland shares a practical way to plan and outline your novel as part of the writing process. Inevitably, I have to mention the well-known and debated “Plotting vs. Pantsing” topic. It’s discussed all over the writing world, but I’d like to ask you now – Are you a plotter or pantser? (My autocorrect turned that into panther. May as well ask that too – any panthers out there?) 

I can’t say what I am. Most likely, I am a weird mix of both. I liked Weiland’s book, but I couldn’t apply it like I may have wanted to. I am not the kind of writer that sits down with notebook and pen or even laptop and 1) comes up with story ideas and 2) writes them down as they come along. My creative hours are either lying in bed at night or while walking – mostly those distances from the train and bus, etc. I have to mull over the idea and keep the thought in my head long before I can write them down. For being a writer, I keep very few notes. You won’t find stacks of notebooks on my desk.

Anyway, enough about me. The book discusses what a writer best needs to know about his or her story before getting into the first draft. Weiland gives helpful insight on the basics for scenes and scene structure; characters and their goals, conflict, and desires; setting; point of view; and more.

There are parts I found more useful than others. I have bookmarks in places where Weiland bullet points questions or a cool checklist. I recommend this book, but even more, I recommend Weiland’s website Helping Writers Become Authors. It’s awesome. Check it out, you’ll see.

Have a nice weekend!

The Lighthouse Award

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It’s award time! And now I don’t have an excuse to pass a nomination. Two weeks ago, I could say I didn’t have time to bother; but in two weeks, I can say it again because I’m moving and starting a job. 😀

I was nominated for The Lighthouse Award by Mr. Musgrave himself. Don’t tell him, but he’s one of my favorite people in the blogosphere (Wow, that is actually a word? No red underlining or autocorrect?). You should check out his blog.

I said to check it out. What are waiting for? Chris Musgrave – Writer in Training

Click it already.

Okay. Now that that’s settled, we can get on with the award.

the-lighthouse-award1

Rules

  • Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
  • Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
  • Inform your nominees of their award nominations.
  • Share three ways that you like to help others.
  • Nominate as many bloggers as you like.

Nominees

Here are my nominees and the links to their blogs that I enjoy. We’ve already practiced the link clicking, so this should go quickly. Ready, set, check ’em out!

3 Ways I Like to Help Others

I am so selfish I can hardly think of something to write.

  1. People often needs things put in perspective. I like to imagine I have a calming affect on people, and have actually been told I am a calm person in crazy situations. (Believe it or not. I seem a bit off today, but I had a macchiato this morning and I can’t handle caffeine at all.) When people are stressed or freaking out, I like to help calm them down.
  2. I have slightly limited physical abilities, and I often use that as an excuse to be lazy. However, I should be more willing to help people with little favors here and there. I’m working on that. (I have rheumatoid arthritis and apart from being underweight and not being the most flexible girl on the block, I have little to no strength and muscle. Heck, I can’t even start my car without a help gadget.)
  3. The highest form of help is sharing the Gospel. Too many people suppress (I spent almost a minute trying to figure out how to spell that) the fact that they are eternal beings with souls that need salvation. I love telling people about God’s love and His plan for the saving of souls. I haven’t told you yet? Write me!

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

CAST – Flash Fiction

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I’ve never been a huge fan of short stories. Not sure why. But hello? If I’m a writer, I think I should give it another try. My friend Chris gave me a prompt – “When my grandmother taught me to crochet, I don’t think she realised she was endangering my life.”

Here is what I came up with. Tell me what you think!

Cast

Granny didn’t see me hand him my number. If she had, she would have thought I was giving a customer change. I managed the cash register at our flea market stand since Granny’s eyesight was worsening. She didn’t like fumbling with the coins. I glanced over my shoulder and saw her rearranging the lamp shades.

“Have a nice day.” Jay settled his sunglasses back in place. “And I’ll be seeing you.” My heart fluttered at his smile while he flipped the collar of his gray tweed coat up. I let our fingers touch when I passed him the plastic bag with his purchase, and he left.

“Have you seen the old radio?” said Granny.

I knelt and rummaged it from under the table for her. When I checked the direction Jay had left, he was nowhere to be seen. A moment later, Granny and I both jumped at the sound of screeching wheels and a blaring horn. Some people in the distance yelled. A dog barked.

“I sold the drapes,” I said after the commotion had settled. “Got a good price too.”

“I never believed you would sell them,” said Granny. “You took months for it.”

“I’m going to make another one,” I said, “when I have time again.”

“I have time, but these old hands can’t handle the needle the way they used to. Now I’m good for nothing.” She smiled at me, squinting in the sun. “You take care of that customer. I need to run to the bathrooms again.”

She left and I asked the man browsing our table if I could help him.

“I’m looking for a… large piece of crocheted matter – a oversized doily or carpet. I’ve heard you may have some.”

“We have smaller doilies and a few tablecloths.” I showed him samples.

“What about curtains? Bigger than this.”

“I’m afraid I just sold my only drapes a few minutes ago.”

The man looked to the street and frowned. He mumbled something like thanks and walked off – slower at first, then he broke into a run. I watched him meet another man at the curb. After talking briefly, the first man ran across the street, getting out his phone, while the other started my direction.

I wished Granny would come back.

“I’m interested in ordering a crocheted drape,” said the dark-skinned man when he stood in front of me. “Like the one you sold earlier. Exactly like the one you sold earlier.”

His eyes and words were so harsh I stuttered at first. “I – I don’t take orders. This is just a-”

The man took his wallet from his pocket. “I am willing to pay anything. How soon can it be finished?”

“Sir, I -“ I watched him finger several bills. Along with a card, he handed them to me. Without thinking, I reached for it.

“Call me in the morning and tell me your decision.” He paused and didn’t let go of the money right away. When our eyes met, I shivered. His voice was grave. “I can only suggest you agree.” Finally he let go and stepped back. “Have a nice day, Stacie.”

Huddled in bed that night, I used the light of my phone to stare at the business card. Darium Wilkes. And then his number. That was it. The hundred dollar bills lay on my nightstand. I finally groaned and set my phone and the card away. Pulling the blanket over my head, I shut my eyes to try to sleep.

I lurched up when my phone started buzzing. It was an unidentified caller so I hesitated before answering.

“Stacie?” The voice was out of breath. “Stacie, it’s Jay. Where are you?”

I couldn’t answer.

“Stacie? Look, you can’t give anyone your nets, all right?” It sounded like he was running.

“My nets? What is going on?”

“Look, I’m coming to get you. Just stay where you are, okay? It’s going to be all right.”

“No. Tell me what’s happening.”

“They’re nets. You can’t cast a spell without them. Don’t let anyone-“

“Hello? Jay?”

The doorbell rang. I kicked my sheets away and crept to the front door. I could see the shadows of at least two figures. Clutching my phone, I stood at the shut door.

“Who’s there?” I called. There was no time to even scream when someone came from behind me, clapping a hand over my mouth and dragging me back down the hall. My elbows hit the kitchen floor when I was flung down.

“Stay here and out of sight,” said the figure standing over me. I crawled under the counter and held my arm across my mouth. The silhouette in the kitchen doorway peered down the hall to the front door. He was breathing hard. In his right hand, he gripped the folds of heavy lace – the drape I had sold him that afternoon.

The door crashed.

#WriterRecharge Update III

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  • Second Draft Hidden People. My critique partner and I have been changing a few things around and fixing issues. It has been very helpful; and I have been writing, but more for characters’ backstories and all that. The second draft is on hold for a while.
  • Physical Fitness. Huh? Well, one afternoon, I worked on my abs while watching Olympic sports. Then I just sprawled on the floor and ate more chips.

Don’t forget to share your update on Sara Biren’s page!

WIRED FOR STORY by Lisa Cron

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I bought this book last year, and I had apparently painted my fingernails red the same day. You girls and owners of cheap nail polish will know what I mean when you examine the photo.

I’ve been trying to think of a cool way to review this book. Fail.

While I was not impressed by the “brain science” part of the book, I learned a lot from the writing tips and theory behind storytelling. This was my first book on writing. Everything in your story needs to have its purpose. Don’t mention anything that doesn’t need to be there. A story is about its characters and how they react to their surroundings and situation. That is what makes a story interesting. That is what hooks readers.

After reading this book, I was – and still am – hesitant to try another book on writing. I loved this book so much and still refer to it all the time. It is a very helpful (not to mention interesting) read, and I recommend it to any writer looking for the basics behind telling an amazing story that will attract an audience.

What is your favorite book on writing? Tell me in the comments.

Also, check out Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

Coming soon: Help! For Writers by Roy Peter Clark

On Character And What You Deserve

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“You deserve to be happy.”

“Think of yourself first.”

“Do what is best for you.”

I hear words like these all the time. Our society seems obsessed with self-love, with chasing personal dreams – often at the cost of others. People are challenged to do whatever it takes to get whatever they want. We’ve turned into a humanity that focuses more on self than others.

Still, we know what is good. We approve of stories with themes like selflessness, love, and sacrifice. I wonder why we then encourage the promotion of selfishness, which is ultimately hate, in our society and daily lives.

Ask yourself this – would you like to be depicted as the protagonist of a story? How would you be described? As self-centered, egotistic, and uncaring? Would you be doing everything to pursue your own dreams while ignoring the needs of others? Be honest.

I am not a deserving person. I am selfish, lazy, complicated, impatient, and mean. I lie and cheat, have hateful thoughts, and speak unkindly. I think about myself way too much. I do not deserve to be happy. Chasing my dreams means finding contentment in futile things, seeking comfort and recognition, taking the easy road. In short, I am not a lovable person and would not be a likable character in a book.

We’re all human. We’re all a mess. It is our nature to be selfish, but grace is about getting what you do not deserve. My very life is grace. Redemption through God’s love, mercy, and grace allows me to change my life’s basis. The purpose of life turns from living for self to living for Christ and others.

I can’t forget and deny myself without help, without Christ. But through His grace, He draws my attention away from self. And I want to be selfless in order to…

  1. honor and glorify Christ because He saved me from myself
  2. love and care about others like Christ loves me

What are your thoughts? Do you think society is promoting beliefs we actually know are wrong? I’d love to chat with you in the comments. You can also tweet or email me!

 

Under the sun, I found we were left to drown
Evil abounds, weight is pullin’ us down
No sight or sound, impaired to His care
Chasing after the wind, running after the air
Deserving of desertion, servants of destruction
And everyday we taste of a grace that we’re unconcerned with
My sin I should be burned with, I’m guilty, filthy, and stained
But He became a curse, drank my cup and took my pain
And for that He reigns, through faith I’m changed
And I don’t have a reason why He loosened up my chains

I don’t believe in luck; I believe in Grace
But they say we’re lucky cause we seen His face

Lucky Ones (Lecrae ft. Rudy Currence)

#WriterRecharge Update II

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Writer Recharge

  • Bachelor thesis and exams. Done! Haven’t partied yet though. I feel a bit low since now I need to look for a serious job and the carefree student life is over. Anyone got connections? 🙂
  • Second draft Hidden People. I started on Saturday. I do not think I will reach my goal of 50k by the end of the month. It turns out to be more work than I expected.
  • Physical fitness. Still nothing more than walks. But that’s better than nothing.