Want to Write a Book?

When we sold our pharmacy in Pryor Creek, several friends asked me what I was going to do. One day, a pretty friend with long, dark hair asked the question.

“Well,” I confided. After all, she was a friend. “I’m going to write.”

She smiled happily and chirped, “Oh. I’ve always wanted to write.”

“Really?” I asked. “What do you want to write?” I’d known for years I wanted to write romance for the HEA factor if nothing else.

“Oh, I don’t know,” my friend answered. She didn’t know what kind of book. Didn’t know what it would be about. Had no idea of genre, publishing houses, characters, plotting or anything else people usually study up on, even if they never really get a story idea.  “I just want to write a book.”

That was my first encounter with that attitude, but not my last. I had no idea how to answer her.

Today, I’d tell her to read, “5 Ways to Develop a Book Idea.”

It might have been named, “5 Ways to Go Beyond Just Wanting to Write a Book.”

BTW: I love #5. FORCE YOURSELF TO HAVE FUN (girls love having fun!) AND BELIEVE IN YOUR WRITING! (Easier said than done, but doable.

English: Photo of the Pryor Creek Bridge just ...

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Oh, No! Not Routine!!!

Illustration Friday - Routine

Routine. Good thing or bad?

Above is supposed to be a poll. If it’s not there, vote in comments. Would you? Routine–good or bad?

Maybe the poll isn’t fair. Some routines can be good. (Dance routines are good things. Right, DWTS?)

For some people routine is a great thing, while to others it means b-o-r-i-n-g. (IOW-death.)

How about for a writer? Check out this blog. It might change your mind.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/7-writing-routines-that-work?et_mid=621483&rid=234608531

Where the Magic Grows

Some writers have this thing I’ve always envied, where they can be alone, meet with their muses and write, write, write. The really good ones have a little bit of magic growing there.

It’s called an office.

Marilyn Pappano’s was the first one I saw for myself. Hers is really cool! I’m awful with distances, but it’s about thirty feet from her backdoor, has two rooms, air and heat and even a place where she can nap when she’s exhausted.

I’m not sure, but I think it used to be a chicken house. Or a clock builder’s workshop. I can’t remember. 😦

I’m not sure where she keeps it, but I know there’s a place in there where magic blooms. 🙂

Another friend, a newer writer, has an office that’s outside her house, too. She has access to magic I know, because she’s extremely determined as well as enthusiastic about writing. (I’m anxious to read her stuff.) Her office used to be a barn.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips has a huge, two story office in her house. (Click on the link to see pictures.) She has tons of built in bookshelves, and somewhere, over in the back, a vat where she stirs up magic. (I know it’s there!)

Stephen King’s office.

Here’s a link to a pic of Leigh Duncan’s “work space” aka office. (You call it corn, we call it maze.)

My office?

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These days is a recliner. 🙂 My laptop sits of a table next to it. Since I’m most creative early in the a.m., I have piles of solitude. And quiet? Yeah, except when Molly is demanding a treat or it’s storming outside.

What about my books? Most are on my Kindle these days. The rest are in my overfilled everything room. Printer? It’s in the next room. Dictionary? Encyclopedia? Thesaurus? Online. Online. Online.

What about days when I write for more than a few hours and others are around?

Well, there’s always white noise and ear buds. 🙂

Of course, there are a few things I’m missing. I don’t have an area where magic grows (just blood, sweat and tears) but I’m hoping to find one.

The video below is James Scott Bell in his office. He’s sharing his best writing advice, but he shows us someone of the things in his office as he does. Maybe I should take a tip from him.

He definitely knows where the Magic Grows.

What’s your office like? Do you have a place where Magic Grows or are you, like me, still searching?

Synopses–ugh.

Don’t you love, love, LOVE writing synopses?

Snort.

In my mind, if you do, you must be nuts! (JOKING!)

Honestly, I’ve only met one woman the entire time I’ve been writing who said she really liked writing the little buggers. (And yeah. She might have been . . . )

Maybe short story or non-fic writers have a gas writing them, but as a rule (my rule, anyway) people who write fiction over 50,000 words hate them.

Why? Because as a rule, a novel author can’t tell you her name in less than ten pages. 😉 How could she tell you about her great story in that space?

Maybe, if we stand back and look at the how, it’ll be easy. (Snort, again.)

Here’s some great advice from Writing the Smart Synopsis by Nancy J. Cohen:

Open the action with a hook. You already know this is crucial in your manuscript, but it applies to your synopsis as well.

Use action verbs. Your story should be engaging as you convey it to the reader.

Make sure the story flows in a logical manner from scene to scene.

Include your character’s emotional responses and stay in her head as you would in the story. Use transitions if you switch viewpoints.

Show your character’s internal struggle as well as her external conflict. What’s inhibiting her from making a commitment to the hero? What is causing her to doubt her abilities? What lesson does she need to learn about herself in this story? Motivate your character’s actions so her responses seem logical.

Explain the ending. In a mystery, this means you tell whodunit and why. In a romance, it’ll be your dark moment and the resolution of the romantic conflict. You’ll want to describe how your character has changed or grown from this experience.

Okay, that SOUNDS easy peasy (clears throat, rolls eyes) but it’s more than that.

  • Let your voice shine through. (And when it’s a long-winded voice, that ain’t easy.)
  • Include the tone of the book. (You don’t want it to sound humorous if it’s a dead serious suspense.)
  • Make sense. (That’s the hard part.)

The best advice from Nancy’s blog on writing the smart synopsis? “Let your critique partners read your synopsis.”

Believe me, it’s easier to see problems from the outside looking in than it is to see what you didn’t include, even though you think its there. And to make sense. 🙂

Please pop over to Nancy’s place and read the entire blog. She’s a real help!

A Hero to Come Home To

A re-blog from Marilyn Pappano.

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I’ve got my first review for A Hero to Come Home To (coming 25 June), and it’s the kind of review that makes an author jump up and down with joy!  First, it’s a great one!  Second, it’s a great one from Publisher’s Weekly!   Third, it’s a Starred Review  from Publisher’s Weekly!   They just don’t hand those Stars out too freely, so I’m absolutely thrilled to get this one!  Read on and share my happiness!

“Pappano shines in this poignant tale of love, loss, and learning to love again. Teacher Carly Lowry wants nothing more than to find peace after her husband, Army Staff Sergeant Jeff Lowry, is killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Two years later, what’s sustaining her is the Fort Murphy Widows Club, aka Tuesday Night Margarita Club, based at Fort Murphy, Oklahoma. On one club outing, Carly meets a man who captures her attention: Sergeant Dane Clark, who lost a leg in combat and who can’t quite believe anyone will want him again. Can the two overlook their losses and build a new life together? Pappano creates achingly real characters whose struggles will bring readers to tears. Well-placed secondary plots seamlessly set the stage for additional books in the series.”

And it got a STAR!!!!!

 

 

Disaster in Oklahoma

It’s springtime, therefore that means bad weather. Oklahoma has more than had its fair share over the last couple of days. If you haven’t heard the news about the tornado’s that hit us, turn on the news. Even national media have sent crews to Moore to cover the devastating damage.

It looks like a war zone out there.

I won’t post pictures. I’ve seen enough. Buildings and homes reduced to rubble. Vehicles tossed around like matchsticks. People and animals buried alive under the debris. Last night over a hundred people were pulled from what was left of their homes. Thankfully they were alive! I know a lot of prayers were answered.

However, others weren’t as lucky. So far, as of this writing, the confirmed death toll is 24. I pray this doesn’t change. But I don’t know if everyone has been accounted for or if there are people out there whom they haven’t found yet. Trapped. If so, I pray for their recovery.

There was another tornado on Sunday that struck the town of Shawnee. Lives were lost there, too. Homes and businesses destroyed. People’s everyday and ordinary worlds changed in a matter of minutes. Just like it did for those living in the Moore and Oklahoma City areas.

I don’t live anywhere close to the areas affected by Sunday and Monday’s tornados. Nor will I be traveling there. I have no skills that would help in the recovery efforts and I’d just be in the way. My heart is there, though. I’m praying for all the people affected, for those who are doing the search and rescue, and for those who are working hard to restore some of the services we each take for granted. i.e. electricity, water, phone, etc.

We can each still help by donating to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and a multitude of agencies (including animal rescue) that will be there to help with immediate needs. I’m not going to list them here but you need to check out the validity of them. Unfortunately, there are people who jump at the opportunity to scam others out of their money during times like these and take advantage of those who can least afford it.

PLEASE keep all the people who have been directly impacted by the storms in your thoughts and prayers. Oklahoma appreciates you.

IT WORKED!!!

I posted a bunch of videos yesterday, and all you saw was the url to watch them. Thankfully, one of my Smart Women friends took pity on me and gave me instructions on how to do it right.
This is a test. We’ll see if I’m capable of following directions.

How about a little WRITING ADVICE from Holly West?

YAY! YAY! YAY!

Thanks a ton, Rhenna Morgan!

Please, check out her website/blog. She’s gorgeous and (more importantly) has a fantastic sense of humor.